By Jonathan Nemetz
In 2008, Barack Obama’s presidential campaign was the first in American history to spend over $100 million on online advertising. Most of the advertising was directed at Facebook, a site just four years old at the time. Yet despite its relative infancy when compared to television and print advertising, Facebook was extremely effective in increasing support for the Illinois senator, especially among a younger demographic. Partially due to this embracing of digital advertising, 70% of voters under 25 voted for Obama: the highest percentage on record. In 2012, the Obama campaign added networking to their toolbox, getting 600,000 users of the “Obama 2012” Facebook application to reach out to approximately 5 million other Facebook users. Of that 5 million, a million took action in favor of the campaign, such as registering to vote.
This looks like a winning strategy that has worked for Democrats in the past, and should continue to work. Yet, as the Trump campaign showed in 2016, this is not a strategy that the Democrats have a timeless monopoly on. The real estate mogul was able to raise $250 million through Facebook during the 2016 election cycle, making up the bulk of his online fundraising. In addition, new updates and functions on the site allowed the Republican nominee to organize events, reach new audiences, fundraise, push supporters to register to vote, and much more. On the other hand, Hillary Clinton mainly used the massive forum to organize people who already supported her campaign, and failed to use it as a megaphone. So it seems that increasing usage of Facebook will be vital for a Democratic victory in 2020, and prevent the same conservative domination of the site that was so dangerous in 2016.
Since the Obama and Clinton campaigns, however, Facebook and its relationship to the public have dramatically changed, and rarely for the better. The Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which Facebook’s negligence led to the leaking of 87 million Facebook users’ data, raised serious concerns about the trustworthiness of the company. In that vein, awareness of Facebook’s data selling and data mining made people feel less private on the website. Then, with the 2016 election, the algorithms of the social media website became particularly susceptible to an increase in fake news, which politicians and pundits from across the political spectrum both denounced and exploited.
Facebook’s reputation not only has changed, but so have its demographics. While the company has expanded overseas to reach 2.4 billion users, domestic engagement with the website has been shifting to an older audience, who are already likely to vote. Younger potential voters are moving away from the older Facebook, and towards connecting on sites such as Instagram and communicating on apps such as WhatsApp.
Yet, even if Facebook is still an effective tool, Democrats face a larger problem with the company, namely that of politics versus policy. Progressives from William Taft to Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt have always made big stands against the size and influence of corporations, and today’s progressives are no different. Major candidates for the Democratic nomination in 2020, such as Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Kamala Harris, have already said they would attempt to break up Facebook were they elected. Even candidates as moderate as Joe Biden or Pete Buttigieg have said they would seriously look into it as president.
Yet despite their denouncements of the website, they still use very robust Facebook accounts to reach voters. Elizabeth Warren even got 150,000 clicks for her video on why Facebook needs to be broken up, on the very site she was advocating to dismantle. This raises the question of whether it’s hypocritical for candidates to benefit from a system that they deem corrupt and dangerous for democracy as a whole. While it may not seem like having a Facebook account to organize supporters would help the site in any substantial way, it significantly increases the power and influence of a site that many politicians wish to see less of in American life.
Perhaps the most prominent way that candidates have accidentally aided Facebook is through the use of advertisements. Despite being two of the earliest advocates to break up Facebook, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris respectively, were the two top Democratic advertisers on Facebook, at the beginning of the 2019 summer. While their combined $2.5 million isn’t even half of the advertising revenue that the Trump campaign has put into Facebook’s pockets since January of 2019, it still directly contributes to the company’s resources and ability to dominate the market even further.
In addition, not only does Facebook profit directly from the advertising spending of these campaigns, but a campaign’s very use of the platform benefits it through exposure to other people’s advertisements. By updating and sending notifications to the 11.1 million people who follow openly anti-Facebook candidates, they are directly contributing to traffic on a site they distrust. Once people have been drawn in by a notification from their campaign, they may stay and continue to view Facebook advertisements, generating the site revenue. In addition, by bringing supporters back to the website, more people are exposed to the fake news and misleading headlines that have permeated much of Facebook since the 2016 election cycle.
Still, that engagement has another much more nefarious consequence, which is that of data collection, something Facebook handles mostly through a subsidiary known as ‘Facebook Pixel’. Pixel is billed to businesses and organizations as a tool that allows website owners to get a better sense of the demographics of visitors to their site. In turn, Pixel claims, they will be able to better optimize their website for their audience.
However, the information that Pixel collects isn’t directly shared with the website utilizing the service. Rather it is sent to Facebook servers, who use that demographic information to create and target ads based off of who a website wants to target. However, Facebook then uses that information to also identify and link visitors of a site to a Facebook account, and increase the data they have on hand about that person to sell. While this could be considered morally dubious in its own right, when political campaigns get involved, it gets even messier. Facebook Pixel tracks everything that a user does on a campaign site, including whether or not they donated, and even how much they donated to a campaign. This means that ads and online campaign messages shift to favor the demographics that are spending the most in donations, rather than those who are not in an ability to do so. This diminishes the exposure that politically inactive and poorer citizens get to current candidates and issues, as they are less valuable as donors to campaigns.
In 2008 Barack Obama was certainly aided in his election by a savvy usage of Facebook, but what excited people more was his character: his drive to stand up for what he believed in, pride in his convictions, and an ability to challenge the status quo. Yet in refusing to budge from the tactics of his campaign, democrats have been forgetting its ideals. Despite multiple start ups trying their hand at challenging Facebook, the Social Media giant still dominates the industry, and influences how Americans get political information. But continuing to use the website portrays real activists as opportunists––double-speaking hypocrites that wish to have their cake and eat it too. If Democrats want to continue to be the party of challenging big business, strengthening privacy, and pushing ahead, it’s time for politicians to unfriend Facebook.
by Jonathan Nemetz
The nation of Poland is no stranger to authoritarianism. Whether under the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, Nazi German occupation, or a Soviet puppet regime, Poland knows the taste of authoritarianism. Which is why so many were shocked when a nationalist, right-wing government swept into power.
In May of 2015, Andrzej Duda of Poland’s ‘Law and Justice Party’ (PIS) was elected to the presidency. The PIS party was founded in 2001 on the ideas of economic intervention, socially conservative values, and strong Euroscepticism. His election was a sharp contrast from the centrist, pro-European ‘Civic Platform’ that had led the nation for the prior eight years. Then, in October of 2015, the PIS Party won 37.6% of the votes in a parliamentary election, giving them control over the legislative and executive branch.
After taking strong control of the government, PIS wasted no time in attempting to assert their power over the judiciary and the people of the country. Following the election of Duda to the presidency, PIS began a politically charged and largely unfounded investigation of the ‘Civic Platform’ Party on a myriad of charges, including corruption, collusion with foreign governments, and intentional actions against the Polish people. In the summer of 2017, PIS leaders introduced several pieces of legislation with the aim of making Poland’s judicial branch of government (The ‘Constitutional Tribunal’) subservient to its president and parliament. One of the bills would effectively push out all of the judges that were not nominated by PIS. Another would give parliament the direct ability to decide who can even be considered for a spot on the court.
While the streets of Warsaw and Krakow were flooded with protest against this descent into authoritarianism, 700 miles away, Brussels held its breath. The European Parliament gave repeated warnings that, were such legislation to pass in Poland, the country would no longer fall under the European Union’s criteria defining a democracy. Despite the objections of the Polish people and the EU, the bills passed. In a letter of condemnation to Poland’s PM, EU President, Antonio Tajani, said that Poland’s actions against their judiciary were “...against the fundamental principles of the EU treaties”.
In December of 2017, the EU gave Poland an ultimatum. Poland would have to restore the independence of their judiciary by March 20th of 2018, or face up against Article 7 of the European Union’s constitution. Article 7, although so far never invoked, is how the European Union can revoke the voting rights of member states that do not comply with standards of human rights and democratic values. March 20th came and went but no change was made, and the European Union began proceedings to remove Poland from the European Union. That was until Hungary stepped into the picture.
Back in 2010, Hungary had gone through their own wave of right-wing populism. In that year’s elections, Hungarians broke with the progressive presidents that they had consistently elected since the founding of the modern Hungarian Republic in 1989. The national conservative ‘Fidesz’ party had been around for years, but never received as much support as it did in 2010, being elected both to the presidency, as well as to a supermajority in parliament. The party’s leader proudly proclaims his intention to create an “illiberal democracy” aimed at rooting out ‘anti-Christian values’. The Eurosceptic party had used fears over immigration and cultural debates to rise to power, making them and the Polish PIS party natural allies. This natural alliance became their stated policies when, after the EU’s ultimatum, the prime minister of Poland, Mateusz Morawiecki (The new leader of PIS), and Hungary’s prime minister announced that they would stand together against Brussels, vetoing any action against either country.
And when the time came to test this alliance, it held. Article 7 requires unanimous support to strip voting rights, impose fines, or take other punitive actions against member states. When all three were proposed against Poland, Hungary vetoed the resolution.
Now the European Union is stuck between two terrible options. To join the European Union, a nation must show that they a have free markets, respect for human rights, and an impartial and effective judiciary. But now, Poland’s membership is threatening these democratic traditions. They can’t kick Poland out, but keeping Poland in the union legitimizes a regime that is openly hostile towards accepted standards of government ethicacy. But as Poland continues to close the borders kept open by EU law, and openly disregard the founding principles of the EU, Brussels is struggling to determine what they can do. And unfortunately, it isn’t much.
At the moment, Poland is the EU’s largest receiver of funds from the organization. And although, compared to many former Soviet-bloc countries, Poland’s economy is strong, the money that they receive from the European Union is extremely important. Between 2007 and 2013, Poland received just over €64 Billion Euros directly from the European Union. These funds helped to increase the stable development of Poland, by assisting projects that rapidly modernized education and sanitation in the country. If the EU could reduce this aid, it would be a powerful deterrent against Polish authoritarianism, as Morawiecki’s regime would no longer receive direct funds for development, nor vital EU subsidies, such as those for agriculture. Without this international assistance, rural populations that keep the PIS party in power would be hurt the most, and see first hand the effects of rejecting Brussels’ requests. However, premature funding changes require a unanimous vote and thus are subject to Hungary’s veto ability. It won’t be until 2021 that EU funding will be open for debate again, and Poland’s funding can be punitavely reduced without unanimous approval.
But in the nearly three years until that happens, the EU may need to focus less on the defiance they have right now, and more on the potential defiance that may arise. If countries can openly refuse anything from environmental regulations to democratic ideals, without consequences, as Poland has, other nations may begin to wonder why they are still listening to the EU if it won’t take punitive actions. If the European Union is unable to enforce its founding principles, what real power does it even have?
As the Syrian Refugee Crisis and slow economic growth continues to plague Europe, the European Union can’t recede into the shadows. There is certainly no lack of issues for Brussels to address, but as countries drift towards nationalism and populism, if they can’t tackle the issues that they were created to stop, the Union’s very purpose may begin to fall into question.
By Jonathan Nemetz
In July 2014, the internet was looking for the new trend of the summer and found it in an unlikely place: the ALS Association. The “ALS Ice Bucket challenge” became an online sensation, averaging 70,000 tweets about the challenge every day throughout August. Over the span of the challenge, politicians, celebrities, and many internet users posted 1.2 million videos on Facebook and raised an estimated $115 million USD for various ALS foundations.The Ice Bucket challenge brought lots of new attention to ALS, but also attention to how generosity may function in an increasingly social-media focused world.
Most recently, the basketball star LeBron James worked in tandem with the public school system in Akron, Ohio to open a new $8 million USD public school called “I Promise”. The school would provide free bikes, meals, and college tuition to its students. In an eleven minute speech at the highly publicized opening ceremony, James stressed the importance of helping at-risk children, and that his LeBron James Family Foundation would continue to search for ways to help areas that needed it most.
In recent years, social media has been used by celebrities to encourage donations, political action, and volunteer activism, all of it in vastly different causes ranging from climate change to sexism to extreme poverty. At the same time that celebrities have been making their donations a public event, companies have noticed the brand success of generosity, and have begun to take notes. Now celebrities and companies alike are joining with charities to promote their brands and their values, creating a new group of donors engaging in so called “Pop Philanthropy”.
Although the donations can be extremely helpful, and done in good faith, psychologists and economists have begun to worry about the effect that the public philanthropy of celebrities has had on the general population. One of the most alarming shifts in donations, to many, has been how celebrities shift donations focuses to sensational organisations and causes. Experts fear that people only give during crises, when giving year-round is the only way to prevent those crises in the first place. For instance, many developing nations receive vast amounts of free aid in response to disasters, but not the year round aid to develop their infrastructure to prevent the devastating effects that those can have.
A similar problem is faced by blood banks, which need blood when a disaster strikes, but more often end up with a massive surplus after the blood is needed. When a hurricane or earthquake occurs, people line up to donate blood to areas in danger, but it is often too late. Blood banks can only hold blood for 42 days, meaning that a month and a half after major disasters, blood banks end up throwing away blood by the gallons. Blood that would have saved lives, had it been donated before a catastrophe.
On average, celebrities tend to use their platforms in the wake of major disasters, creating a trend of reactive, rather than proactive charity. Although this is still admirable, it causes people to be less generous for other causes. When people donate to a charity that a celebrity has recommended, it fills up their “Moral checkbook”, making them less likely to donate in the future. And in the age of social-media, this can manifest in ways that provide no help at all. Some psychologists have shown that reposting the words of a celebrity, or publishing a post showing support for a cause, has the same effect on our brain as donating. This tricks people into thinking that they are doing good, without taking substantial action for that cause. Or, seeing celebrities donate can give the illusion that problems are being fixed, when lots of work is still needed.
The debate on whether or not celebrities have a positive impact on monetary donations may never be over. Of course, activism and donations rise when celebrities use their platforms for good, but the negative effects cannot be ignored. Yet perhaps the more important debate isn’t if someone can, but who and why. Now that companies are adopting the social media philanthropy of celebrities, exploitation of charities for corporate gain is also a new and emerging dilemma that charities face. Charities doing real good have to wonder if companies are manipulating their causes. Earlier this year, Nike donated $25,000 USD to Portlanders for Safe and Healthy Schools, an organization that helps to remove hazardous materials from Portland public schools, as well as modernizing their facilities. The donation came at the same time that the school board was looking into the sponsorship relationship that Nike had with the districts sports teams. Although $25,000 would only make up a very small portion of the organization's budget, it is enough to ask if Nike was trying to bribe the public with goodwill into supporting this sponsorship. And if Nike was using this donation to convince the school board to continue to allow the business relationship between Nike and the district’s athletic teams, should the company refuse such a potentially exploitive donation?
Entire businesses have also begun to sprout up in response to this new demand for public donations. The aptly named Pop Philanthropy, has started to capitalize on this trend, working with their clients to “Provide them with creative tactics that captures the attention of consumers…” as their site claims. Companies like Toms Shoes boast of “one for one” policies, where the purchase of one of their shoes or other products leads to a pair of shoes being given to a child in need. And although this promotion has garnered them lots of financial success, the actual impact has been limited. The company's founder claims that he wanted to allow more people to get an education by giving them shoes. However, the Toms brand is attempting to fix a problem that does not exist; fixing a lack of shoes to get people to school is far less effective than targeting poverty or discrimination. And in truth, the influx of free shoes can oftentimes crash local sectors of the economy that center around clothing. But despite these problems, the appearance of charity and generosity keeps Toms in business. People continue to buy their clothes thinking that making a difference is as simple and painless as buying a part of everyday life. The people who buy Toms are trying to do something good, and trying to feel as if they are doing something good. Unfortunately, doing something for the right reasons does not always correlate with the right outcomes.
While some charities worry about what certain donors are trying to do, others are worrying about who those donors are in the first place. In 2015, an adult film company signed three separate $25,000 checks to foundations focused on researching breast cancer. However, the total $75,000 had first been turned down by several other charities, and when in 2014 it had donated to a testicular cancer foundation, the charity asked for the donor to remain anonymous. The same company also launched a line of branded clothing and other products whose proceeds would go to preventing domestic abuse.
As ridiculous as this is, it underlines an important relationship between publicity, charities, and social media. If donations are just donations, does every dollar count, or is a line drawn at some point between Nike and adult film companies? Ultimately, there isn’t a right or wrong answer for how charities and businesses should interact in an increasingly social media driven world. But as a consumer, ask yourself if buying this product is truly making the difference that you think it will. As a donor, ask yourself what led you to give or be active, was it an expert on the situation and its needs, or your favorite actor? The line between charities, celebrities, and businesses is one that is being redrawn, and one that may be hard to redraw in time.
By Jonathan Nemetz
A unified Africa seems like something that could never, and should never work. A multitude of religions, cultures, and languages sprawl across the massive continent, not to mention a diverse biome of massive deserts, dense jungles, and breathtaking savannas. Yet despite all of its differences, the African continent came together on December 2, 2017 to agree upon the final draft of an agreement that creates the Continental Free Trade Area.
The Continental Free Trade Area (Or CFTA) is an economic zone across all 55 nations of Africa that aims to eliminate up to 90% of intercontinent tariffs by 2027, and lays the groundwork for a central African government, similar in style to the European Union1. It unifies many regional free trade zones that had already existed in Africa into a single agreement that is far larger and far more ambitious. The announcement of the agreement has many excited both about the prospects for African economies and a new experiment on large-scale free trade for developing economies.
The Continental Free Trade Area receives many of the same benefits as other free trade agreements, namely a massive swell in economic growth. The combination of so many economies leads to more competition and easier transfer of capital and information, creating an economic boost, which has been estimated for Africa to be as high as 9% annual GDP growth3. In addition, supporters claim that the free trade area could create much needed diversification in the African economy.
Africa’s current economy is mostly centered around the exploitation and export of natural resources to countries with limited natural resources, mainly Europe. However, African countries have significant overlap between the natural resources they possess, meaning that the more lucrative industries between the now tariff-free African nations will not be the current natural resource industries. There will be no incentive to build up these resource operations when massive new markets do not need many of those goods. Instead, Africa may see a growth of industries found in emerging economies. Manufacturing, production, and even middle-class industries such as credit could begin to emerge with more and more commercial exchange within the continent3. Supporters hope a larger amount of consumers and producers will also drive innovation and competition in an area that has been stuck in technological backwater for so long.
Many of the people that have pushed for the free trade zone said the agreement was not only an economic victory, but a cultural one as well. A unified African economy is a powerful force in seperating Africa from dependence on its former colonizers. A push for free trade is a push for an Africa more free from the shadows of colonialism. The unification could give the new coalition more influence on the global stage, something Africa has lacked for the vast majority of its history. With a combined GDP of nearly $3.5 Trillion USD, the continent will have more leverage in international policy and trade deals in dealing with other nations and organizations3.
However, the plan is not without its opponents. Most of the objections to this plan center around the practicality of i;critics point out that this plan would be undermined by the lack of infrastructure required for such a massive and poor continent.
The first major concern is that Africa is simply too large of an area to manage under a single organization. In the eyes of many, the European Union is already too bureaucratic and slow to draft meaningful legislation that creates a positive difference. The Continental Free Trade Area holds 55 member states which is almost double the EU’s twenty-eight members. The CFTA also has many more diverse factors to be kept in mind: the economic, historical and cultural differences between places such as Algeria and Angola are massive and will have to be very carefully considered. Creating policy to benefit such a large area will be no small challenge for the new organization to overcome4.
The second concern is that the governments of Africa will become far poorer than they already are. Due to Africa’s poor infrastructure and rampant corruption, internal tax collection is extremely difficult. As a result, trade tariffs are a main source of income for many African nations1. However, with the elimination of these tariffs under the CFTA, cash-strapped governments will have to cut back on spending or rely more heavily on illicit or immoral methods to bring in revenue. Not only does this concern citizens of the continent, but charities and global organizations also worry that the progress in education and standards of living may be hindered more than helped when their government funding is cut. Security experts also warn that with less funds, the ability for these nations to fight African terrorists is dramatically decreased, causing terrorists’ threat to the people of the continent and world to continue to grow4.
Despite the possible dangers, many are hopeful that the CFTA can be a model for economic growth and free trade in our global society. Ironically, Africa’s history may actually helpin this situation. When colonial powers began providing independence to many African nations, they drew the borders of new nations arbitrarily to the people actually living there. Some tribes found themselves on either side of a new border. What were once peoples and civilizations were now separated into many different nations. All these new nations now governed several groups of people from different backgrounds. The arbitrary nature of these countries has led to the lowest rates of nationalism anywhere in the world2. Thus, while other parts of the world may worry that their country is disadvantaged in an agreement, Africans have no strong allegiance to such nations. Africans only see more jobs and more prosperity in Africa as a whole. When nationalism does not interfere in global policy, people only see the betterment of people as a whole.
This positive change for humanity extends outside of Africa as well. The data gathered from such a poor area experimenting with extreme amounts of free trade can be used to improve other poor economies in the developing world. It could be an example of both policies to follow and policies to avoid3. Because everyone involved recognizes that this will not be a flawless agreement, but instead a tentative first step towards a brighter African future. A tentative first step with lessons to be taught, and hopefully carried into that brighter future, for the whole world to learn.
Going into 2018, Africa faces a myriad of problems and conflicts that need solutions. But by valuing cooperation and unity within their continent, they are no longer going into all their conflicts alone. As the rest of the world enters just another year, Africa enters a new era where its strength and diversity is utilized for a safer and more prosperous continent.
By Jonathan Nemetz
On September 12th, the technology juggernaut, Apple, revealed its newest generation of iPhones, including the iPhone X. The phone comes with facial recognition, a 5.8 inch retina screen, and a controversial one thousand dollar price tag. Most of the people taking selfies and texting on their new phones never think once about the complex machinery beneath their new super retina screens. Complex machinery made in… Germany?
On the back of many iPhones you will find a label that boasts its assembly from the People’s Republic of China. And that is not incorrect, finished iPhones come almost exclusively out of Chinese factories. However, if you were to open up your iPhone, you might find circuits and machinery proudly manufactured by companies like Blaupunkt and Metz. These are Germany’s economic powerhouses, headed by refined manufacturers and engineers who create electronics, robotics and machinery that power and assemble everything from the country’s famous automobiles to the parts in refrigerators, air conditioning units, and iPhones.
This economic model is a strange case for a European economy, especially one that has such wealthy and powerful prospects. Many people would agree that moving away from manufacturing and into creative or service industries is a sign of economic progress for a nation. Yet, Germany seemingly rejects this idea, as one of the richest and most influential nations in Europe with a manufacturing-powered economy. Despite being roughly 1/90th of the world’s population, German exports make up about 1/10th of global exports. Germany has also achieved astonishingly low unemployment rates even by European standards. However, this dominance is beginning to wane. An aging population and economy is causing many to worry about Germany’s future as a competitive part of the manufacturing world.
Many of Germany’s problems stem from the often praised system of Mittelstadt. These are small, manufacturing-based businesses that often specialize in high-quality, precision manufacturing. These companies will train youths in an apprentice-like school, from which the students are often hired into the manufacturing companies for those they apprenticed. Mittelstadts are also often praised for their willingness to work with labor unions. These compromises with labor unions allowed Germany’s employment level to stay relatively stable during the 2008 financial crisis. In addition, a calm and steady German currency made investment into the country easy for many years. Then, when Germany joined the Eurozone and adopted the Euro, Germany’s high-tech companies were released with no tariffs on the rest of Europe, turning even small companies into powerful and profitable businesses around the world.
However, even with successes in the past, the system of Mittelstadt is beginning to show its cracks. Most importantly, the economy and people are beginning to age. For many years, jobs in manufacturing were more respected and seen as “true” work as opposed to jobs in finance and large corporations. However, more and more, the German youth are looking for white collar jobs like those in the United States and United Kingdom. Students have begun pursuing more degrees in finance and business, leaving many Mittelstadts without apprentices who would become the next generation of workers. Despite the new demand, German public schools are unprepared to teach subjects like finance and business in the depth required for those planning on attending university for those degrees.
The problematic lack of workers is amplified by Germany’s decreasing population. Although German birth rates have been on the rise in the past few years, they’ve only passed a low bar.. For decades, birth rates in Germany, especially on the eastern side, have been at rock-bottom. Now they have risen to 1.5 births per woman, which is still below the rate for a stagnant population at 2 births per woman4. It is expected that this trend will continue, and the population of Germany will end up decreasing by about 10 million people by 20604. The German economy will have to adjust to stay viable and relevant with fewer and fewer people working every year.
Merkel’s government is attempting to address many of these issues. With her recent re-election as Chancellor, she has promised to continue to build upon many programs aimed at modernizing the infrastructure and economy of Germany. She has decided to increase programs that promote the construction of renewable resources. Not only do these programs drive growth in more modern industries, but they also help combat the country’s problems of high energy bills and poverty. For many years, German power has come from coal plants that have begun to age and are now inefficient and expensive to maintain. This has led to many problems with providing sufficient and affordable power, something that renewable energy has a real chance of remedying. In addition, problems with internet availability are being fixed with bipartisan support for legislation which will make broadband internet more widely available. This may help German students pursue more advanced education opportunities and provide another method of schooling for students, ultimately impacting the economy positively.
These are certainly great starts but many see it as too little too late. With a changing population and an outdated system of education, the German economy is beginning to face its biggest challenge since the reunification.