After the difficult years with the pandemic and the consequences of the war in Ukraine, many Germans have little hope for their economic future.
According to a recent survey, only one in seven (15 percent) believes that they and their families will be better off in the next five years than they are today.
As can be seen from the "Trust Barometer" for Germany presented on Thursday, this is a drop of seven points compared to the previous year.
Only in Japan (9 percent) and France (12 percent) are people even more pessimistic.
In 24 of the 28 countries surveyed, respondents are lowering their expectations.
Confidence in personal wealth gains is still greatest in Kenya (80 percent), ahead of Indonesia and India (both 73 percent).
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The Trust Barometer is a survey commissioned by the American communications consultancy Edelman, which has meanwhile been carried out for the 23rd time.
To this end, around 32,000 people in 28 countries were questioned in half-hour online interviews last November.
Trust in the institutions of politics, business, the media and non-governmental organizations is queried.
In the most recent survey, only business managed to achieve a trust level of 50 percent.
Politics and the media came to 47 percent, civil society organizations increased slightly to 41 percent.
Each survey has a current focus.
This time the additional questions revolved around the polarization of society.
In Germany, two thirds of those surveyed believe that the country is more divided than in the past.
The authors of the study see Germany, along with other Western European countries such as Great Britain, France and the Netherlands, at a crossroads as to whether the divide can still be overcome.
In the USA, many Latin American countries, but also Spain and Sweden, this is no longer the case because social fronts have hardened considerably.
"Countries whose population sees their country as polarized place less trust in institutions, which in turn increases polarization," says Christiane Schulz.
Dissenting colleagues undesirable
In numbers, this means that around 70 percent of those surveyed in Germany say that the lack of mutual respect has never been greater than it is now.
Almost two thirds consider the social fabric to be too weak as a basis for common goals.
Particularly striking: Around three quarters of people with a strong opinion on social issues would neither offer help to those who think differently, nor accept them as neighbors or work colleagues.
Those surveyed have high expectations, above all, of business executives to counteract the split.
Top managers are expected to take a stand on climate change, energy shortages and the wealth gap – after all, 80 percent of workers are concerned about keeping their jobs and 69 percent are concerned about high inflation.
This is another reason why eight out of ten participants in the survey expect companies to pay fair wages and salaries.
73 percent demand that employees be retrained if necessary, and 69 percent expect companies to pay a fair tax share.