In 1997, four words uttered by then-Labor Minister Norbert Blüm burned themselves into Germans’ collective memory. They were: “Your pensions are safe.”
This assurance was given during a speech to Germany’s lower house of parliament, the Bundestag. Two decades later, most Germans have lost faith in the sustainability and future solvency of their country’s statutory pension scheme.
Normally, logic would dictate that if the state has lost the ability to provide for its citizens, then those citizens would find a way to provide for themselves. Unfortunately, Germans haven’t just lost faith in their government – they’ve lost faith in their private institutions as well.