In the mail yesterday I received my copy of the number one best-selling hardback in Germany, Deutschland Schafft Sich Ab, by Theo Sarrazin. German lacks a present continuous tense, so many English notices about the book have used the English simple present, Germany Abolishes Itself. I think the present continuous captures the authors intent much more closely. the subtitle, “Wie wir unser Land aufs Spiel setzen” can be translated, “How we are gambling with our country.”
The author, Theo Sarrazin, is an economist and veteran of the German Department of the Treasury. In 1989-90 he was the head of the Government Commission which oversaw the union of East & West Germany and managed the integration of the two currencies and economic systems. He also served on the executive management team of the German national railway and as Finance Senator for the the city of Berlin. He is a member of the left-center Social Democrat party. A man of many accomplishments, very knowledgeable on financial matters, public policy, and public finance.
His book has provoked a firestorm of criticism. He was forced to resign from the board of the German Federal Bank and there has been talk of expelling him from the Social Democrat party.
The book has not been translated into English, and I’m not aware of any US publisher who has announced plans to. It’s an important book though, with many parallels to the US situation.
Sarrazin identifies three deadly trends which he fears will prove fatal for Germany. 1) A declining birth rate; 2) Unrestricted immigration; 3) Failure of foreign immigrants to integrate into German society.
Underlying all these themes is a repeated denunciation of political correctness which has stifled debate over the problems facing Germany, and the tendency of every part of modern German culture and institutions to absolve individuals for any responsibility for their circumstances.
I’ll post more after I’ve had a chance to read more. Might even try my hand at translating a bit…