The young generation in Germany is surprisingly capitalist. Two-thirds of 16 to 29-year-olds believe that economic advancement is possible for everyone in this country if they make their own effort. On the other hand, only 18 percent think that the social classes are fixed and that the poor have no chance at all of moving up in today’s conditions. This is shown by a representative survey by the Allensbach Institute for Demoscopy for the Association of Young Entrepreneurs, which is exclusively available to WELT AM SONNTAG.
In no other age group is the optimism about promotion so strong. A good 70 percent of those under 30 are also convinced that Germany can only maintain its prosperity in the future if there are people who take on entrepreneurial responsibility and take economic risks.
31 percent say that the state should provide comprehensive security with high taxes and levies. A relative majority of 37 percent, on the other hand, favors low taxes and levies and demands that everyone should take care of their own social security.
In the total population, the study yields the opposite result: supporters of the omnipotent welfare state easily predominate here. A comprehensive welfare state is significantly more important than low taxes and levies, especially for the 60+ age group. Especially since the tax burden falls significantly in retirement anyway, while with increasing age usually more and more benefits are claimed from pension insurance, health care and nursing.
Younger people are more inclined to take responsibility for their own security because they have to fear that they will be overburdened in the course of demographic change if the welfare state makes overly generous promises. The danger that the younger generation will be financially overstretched in the future is not only seen by those under 30, but also by two thirds of the general population.
However, this does not imply a rejection of the German model of the social market economy. Like the older generation, young people also tend to associate positive terms such as freedom, prosperity and security with the local system. And not even one in four under-30s thinks of poverty or exploitation.
The Allensbach study draws the connection to politics and points out that the FDP and the Greens did particularly well in the federal elections last autumn among young and first-time voters. However, not only among the young supporters of the FDP, but also among the under 30-year-old Green voters, a large majority lean towards liberal and free-market attitudes.
“Personal responsibility and freedom are the order of the day,” says Sarna Röser, Federal President of the Young Entrepreneurs. The young people’s conviction that their own effort is worthwhile shows “that Ludwig Erhard’s promise of prosperity works and that the young people also perceive it that way”.
The fact that the young generation today is more committed to capitalism than in the past and that personal responsibility is more than just a catchphrase for many has long been evident in practice. More and more young people are rushing to the stock market. According to the Deutsches Aktieninstitut (DAI), 1.5 million under 30-year-olds now own shares or fund units.
Of the approximately four million new investors who have dared to go public for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis, one in four was between 16 and 29 years old. And in the two past Corona years, this group again had the highest growth rates.
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