German trade union demand: nationalize critical infrastructure
German trade union demand: nationalize critical infrastructure

4 July 2024 – Asian and European stock market quotations are in a positive mood today. And the demands and verbal attacks by the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) for the nationalization of critical infrastructure in Germany seem like something from long-gone communist times and have obviously not been thought through to the end.

What are the stock markets doing today?

As little can be expected from the United States today due to the 4th of July holiday, it is worth taking a look at other regions of the world. In Asia in particular, the markets reacted to positive signals from the United States with a rise in share prices to their highest level in 27 months. And the markets in Europe also opened optimistically today. The German DAX, as well as the pan-European STOXX 600 and the markets in the United Kingdom, were up at the start of trading.

German trade union demand: nationalize critical infrastructure

The German trade unions, above all the Confederation of German Trade Unions (Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund, DGB), recently published a position paper on the energy transition and the development of electricity prices in Germany. A few days ago, the DGB then used harsh verbal attacks to criticize the failed nationalization of a large part of the German electricity grid. And called for critical infrastructure in Germany to be placed under state control.

In its accompanying newsletter, the DGB states that Germany would have to burden itself with an accumulated investment requirement in the three-digit billion range if it bought back the electricity grids.

Of course, the DGB does not mention in its newsletter that Germany would then have to recoup these more than 100 billion euros elsewhere, e.g. through tax increases, and that the members of the German trade unions would then have to pay the grid fees in another way.

What actually is critical infrastructure in Germany?

Calls for the nationalization of critical infrastructure, which in Germany include not only energy, water, waste disposal, government and administration, but also transport, traffic, food, finance and insurance, information and telecommunications technology, health, media and culture, are reminiscent of communist forms of government and could quickly turn into a bottomless pit. In the end, someone could call for the nationalization of oligopolistic steel manufacturing structures – even if they explicitly do not represent critical infrastructure.

More nationalization equals more communism

For the parties to collective bargaining, the right to freedom of association in the German constitution stipulates that interference in collective bargaining, even by the state, is not permitted. However, why the DGB believes it has to intervene in political events and campaign for non-functioning communist structures in return remains questionable.

Following the DGB’s call for the nationalization of critical infrastructure, we wonder what the farmers’ associations would think if their farms, as critical infrastructure, were now also to be placed under centralized administration and continued as collective farms.

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