Germany invented socialism. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels were Germans. The Social Democratic movement that shaped the modern European welfare state also originated in Germany. Although the country profited greatly from its reintegration into the world trading system after World War II, Germany never really came to terms with Anglo-Saxon capitalism and skepticism about it still runs deep.
Now, with Germany’s economy no longer functioning smoothly, capital moving abroad, and unemployment rising, criticism of capitalism is again gaining momentum. The public is upset about top managers’ salaries and the fact that big German companies fire workers despite record profits. In response, the government has urged managers to publish their incomes and abolished the bank secrecy laws that were once considered sacrosanct.