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Unformatted text preview: hrowing people out of work. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall,
Plauen has lost about 10 percent of its population, as people move away in search of a better life. The town seems unable to break free from
its past. Every year a few unexploded bombs from World War II are still discovered and defused.
At the moment, Plauen’s unemployment rate is about 20 percent — twice the rate in Germany as a whole. You see men in their forties, a
lost generation, too young to retire but too old to fit into the new scheme, staggering drunk in the middle of the day. The factory workers
who bravely defied and brought down the old regime are the group who’ve fared worst, the group with the wrong skills and the least hope.
Others have done quite well.
Manfred Voigt, the McDonald’s franchisee in Plauen, is now a successful businessman who, with his wife, Brigitte, vacations in Florida
every year. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Manfred Voigt attributed his recent success to forces beyond his control. “It was
dumb luck,” Voigt explained; “fate.” He and his wife had no money and could not understand why McDonald’s had chosen them to own its
first restaurant in East Germany, why the...
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- Spring '08