From a New York Times news article about the competition to replace Angela Merkel as the leader of the Christian Democratic Union political party comes this passage about one of the contenders, Friedrich Merz:
in the same interview, he refused to answer a question about the size of the personal fortune he had amassed since leaving politics nine years ago, going on to lead the Germany office of BlackRock, considered the world's largest private fund manager, and to become senior counsel at an international law firm.
Pressed on whether he was a millionaire — many Germans are skeptical of extreme wealth, believing that social equality helps to ensure public peace — he said only that his net worth was "not below that."
The line "many Germans are skeptical of extreme wealth, believing that social equality helps to ensure public peace," made me smile as I thought of how one might try to compose a similar sentence generalizing about Americans. "Americans are conflicted about extreme wealth. They believe that it often is a just reward for hard work, innovation, and value creation, but they are also influenced by Christian concepts of wealth as an obstacle to piety." The Times doesn't consider it, but it may be elements of Christianity as much as concern for "public peace" that also inform German views. It is the Christian Democratic Union, after all. I do think these attitudes, whether cultural or religious, play a bigger role in public policy and in politics than they are often given credit for.