PHILLIP J. BRYSON (Tucson, AZ, U.S.A.) EAST GERMAN CONSUMPTION : CONSTRAINTS AND PROSPECTS* "Only that can be consumed which is first produced." . - Erich Honecker At the outset of the 1980s, with the world economy in recession, pros- pects for the East German consumer looked somewhat bleak. Progress over the past few years had been significant, particularly with the dramatic expan- sion of social welfare policy measures in the 1970s, but that progress was en- dangered. Declining productive efficiency, an ongoing energy problem, and the demands of external markets and financial obligations combined to cloud the future. ' In spite of current difficulties, the East German consumer is the richest in Eastern Europe, and in material terms remains several years ahead of other Soviet bloc consumers. He remains many years ahead of his Soviet brothers. Nevertheless, East German planners cannot be complacent about progress. East Germans do not measure their well-being by East European standards. They compare their material lot with the living standards observable in TV broadcasts from west of the Elbe. They desire to close the remaining gap of several years (one which they have not been able to narrow in the past de- cade
East Central Europe – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1984
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