Berlin – less poor and still sexy?

A few monts ago I read a McKinsey Germany very detailed report on the prospects for business in Berlin for the horizon 2020. A series of issues, still lingering, were highlighted. But also a number of thriving industries which could go from being the exception to becoming the norm.

In Berlin there used to be the best German brands and industries. 1945 and the wall zeroed that out.

Still, there have been green shoots for a while, which hopefully will become if not oaks, bamboos or linden trees! The new BeBerlin campaign logos highlights them. Culture and tourism are the sectors on which BeBerlin had been focusing until now. But it’s not enough to sustain a city with 3.5m population.

Berlin badly needs jobs, jobs which pay rents and reduce need of Hartz IV. And shake off a certain pseudo-bohemian attitude which is neither creative, nor particularly sustainable and which drives down the price of creative services in Berlin (“Will do web design for food and warm-miete, well no, you know what? better to live off Hartz IV and do nothing, it’s more fun”) and actually many hard-working self-starters – and actually finance the Hartz IV – to move to a place where the services or the products they sell can be sold at a better price, as the Dummy magazine highlighted a year or so.

Because the problem of Berlin – as highlighted by McKinsey – is that it is a rare German city which exports very little. It lives and produces for its own insular market, which is good, but could use some diversification. Biotechnologies, nanotech, movie industry, design, electric mobility, energy, media, IT, fashion on top of the obvious tourism and culture. Because the city can remain creative, without becoming the capital of corporate “evil”. It can remain affordable without getting too gentrified. But this only if more people can make a decent living on their own. And since the elections are getting closer…

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