Germany’s Building Boom Seen Largely Artificial

Germany’s widely advertised building boom of the last two years has been carried out to the extent of 72.6 per cent at the public account, according to an analysis of the semi-annual report of the German Institute for Business Research in the current issue of the Statist, noted British financial periodical.

“Though, statistically, ‘private building’ accounted for 27.4 per cent of the total the Statist declares, “another 22.3 per cent represented industrial construction. This, in turn, was industrial plant construction and extension carried on in pursuance of the Four-Year Plan and, though perhaps ‘private’ in form and in some cases even privately financed, traceable to the initiative or direct orders of the State.

“The most striking feature of this analysis is that private residential construction (including that of cooperative building societies) accounted merely for 5.1 per cent of the total volume of building. This derisory percentage was even smaller than in 1936 (6.1per cent) and may decline still further when the grandiose schemes for the rebuilding of the four cities (Berlin, Munich, Nurnberg and Hamburg) get under way.”

Analyzing employment figures, the Statist points out that among the re-employed during the past year, were 170,000 who had been “small, independent shopkeepers and artisans who, more or less under Government pressure, have given up the ‘ hopeless struggle for independence’ as Dr. Ley, leader of the Labor Front, put it some time ago, and have decided to join the ranks of the industrial proletariat.

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