Learning from Germany

Re "What Germany Got for its $2 Trillion" [May 18]: The stimulus package for the former GDR led to two significant benefits you failed to mention. The payments of social benefits to pensioners and the unemployed — which accounted for a large percentage of all money spent — massively increased the purchasing power of many East German households. This added demand enabled those "Ossis" with entrepreneurial instincts to start up small businesses or open franchises, and offer a much wider variety of affordable, Western-standard goods sooner than would otherwise have been possible. Secondly, western industrial investors, attracted by generous subsidies, dismantled...

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