2005-05-05

Die SPD, die Kapitalisten und die Heuschrecken

--- Man hat es nicht leicht, als General einer gro�en, aber mit dem Umbau von der Industrie- zur Wissensgesellschaft noch nicht ganz fertig werdenden "Arbeiterpartei". So erregt M�nte zwar momentan zumindest Aufmerksamkeit mit seiner Kapitalismusdebatte und den Schwarzen Listen von Heuschrecken. Doch mit den bem�hten Vergleichen scho� der SPD-F�hrer �bers Ziel hinaus, erntete Proteste bei j�dischen Forschern, die sich an die Nazi-Metaphorik erinnert f�hlten. Die Schlacht der Worte ist so seit �ber einer Woche gro� im Gange.. Inzwischen haben auch internationale Medien die Spur aufgenommen. So etwa heute die New York Times, der zufolge die Schelte nicht immer die Richtigen trifft: Karl-Heinz Stiller might have felt entitled to a victory lap, right about now. His company, Wincor Nixdorf, has completed a grueling five-year run during which it was sold to demanding American private equity investors, rebuilt from the ground up, and taken public in Germany's first major stock offering since 2001, after the Internet bubble burst. Not only did Wincor Nixforf survive, but it thrived. ... But last week, Mr. Stiller was startled to find that his company had won notoriety of a different sort, when its name - and those of its former investors, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company, the leveraged buyout firm, and Goldman Sachs - turned up on a so-called locust list. This internal report, prepared by Parliament researchers for Germany's governing Social Democratic Party and leaked to the press, named Kohlberg Kravis, Goldman Sachs, and other American and British firms as foreigners who have plundered German assets, laid off workers or been just plain greedy. Earlier, the party's chairman, Franz M�ntefering, told the German tabloid Bild that such investors "stay anonymous, have no face, fall upon companies like locusts, devour them and move on." ... In Germany, the antiforeign sentiment these days is stoked by the convergence of three trends: a flood of private equity money into the country; the extended weakness of the nation's economy, which feeds fear that German jobs are leaching out of the country; and the fading fortunes of the Social Democratic Party and its leader, Chancellor Gerhard Schr�der. Aber immerhin: die US-Investoren sackten insgesamt 974 Millionen US-Dollar ein bei dem Deal und verdreifachten ihren Einsatz nach dem B�rsengang von Wincor Nixdorf.

Der Economist besch�ftigt sich ebenfalls mit M�nteferings Vor-NRW-Wahl-Kreuzzug gegen die b�sen Globalisierer, Jobschl�chter und Abkassierer: it has actually touched a deep national nerve. This has to do with the painful transition that Germany is making from a social market economy, in which firms and services were supposed, at least publicly, to be run by consensus for the �general good�, to the starker mechanisms of the market and shareholder value. Competition from abroad, and especially from new EU members in central Europe, is driving this change in part. But the biggest factor is Germany�s persistent economic malaise. ... The public are angered by the fact that big German companies are beginning to make record profits again, after three bad years, and have achieved that by cutting costs, particularly their wage bills, and by reducing investment, especially in Germany. Last year the 24 top industrial companies reduced their investment in Germany by 20%, and worldwide by 10%, according to Handelsblatt, a business daily. At the same time they increased their dividends and payouts to shareholders by 40%. So there is an impression that companies are rewarding their owners, but not cosseting their workforce as they did in the past�they are, in other words, adopting an increasingly Anglo-Saxon approach. The debate raging in Germany is about whether the country is quite ready for this kind of capitalism rather than the more socially oriented Rhineland variety that is ailing, but not quite buried. Mr M�ntefering is clear where he stands: �We want social market economy, not market economy pure.� Ein fast schon romantischer Ansatz in diesen Tagen?

Und sonst: Top Al Qaeda Figure Is Held in Pakistan. Abu Faraj al-Libbi, a Libyan, was seized with three other men after a shootout Saturday in the town of Mardan, about 40 miles northeast of the city of Peshawar, Pakistani and U.S. officials said, Washington Post

The Bush presidency: A pretty sticky first 100 days. Hardly a triumph. But don't count George Bush out just yet, The Economist.

Unbedingt lesen: Lautsprecher des Kapitals. Die Initiative Neue Soziale Marktwirtschaft streitet f�r die Freiheit der Unternehmen. Sie ist so erfolgreich, dass selbst ihre Gegner sie schon nachahmen, Die Zeit.

Bloggermeinungen zu R�bels "Geniestreich", dem k�uflichen "Gegendarstellungsportal" fairpress.biz: Ein fairer Deal? im Dienstraum, Blogartiges "Rechtfertigungs-Portal" beim Netzjournalist, Vampire der Journallie bei ITW und Copykill & �Presserecht�? im Medienrauschen.

15. Internationaler Tag der Pressefreiheit. Die Bilanz zum Welttag der Pressefreiheit f�llt ern�chternd aus: Allein seit Jahresbeginn kamen nach Zahlen von "Reporter ohne Grenzen" 22 Journalisten wegen oder w�hrend ihrer Arbeit ums Leben, 103 sitzen derzeit hinter Gittern, heise online.