Recent studies produced by historians Christian Booß and Helmut Müller-Enbergs also show domestic surveillance in East Germany went far beyond the Stasi's network of IMs. The two work at the BStU and not long ago, they happened across Stasi informant groups into which hardly any research has been conducted. They found that institutions in which people provided information about others were categorized as POZW -- which stood for "Partner in Political-Operative Cooperation." In contrast to IMs feeding information to the Stasi, these people were not forced to sign a document obliging them to pass along information. But they did so nonetheless. Numerous POZW reports are still in existence -- from banks, for example, or libraries, hospitals, registration offices and judiciary agencies.
The problem, then, for Germany is not economic, but political. Because the unification of Germany happened so recently after so many years of division, some citizens bristle at the side effects of living in a nation with such diversity in economic output. Activists from the more economically vibrant areas protest the fact that their tax dollars are being used to subsidize government programs and living standards in the less fortunate parts. But this dynamic plays out in the ., without the regionalist undertones found in Germany. Take, for instance, South Carolina, which gets back in government spending $8 dollars for every $1 dollar its citizens pay in taxes, whereas many states like New York and California get back less than a $1 for every one they send to the federal government.
Many Germans have begun to modify their eating habits to lower their calorie and cholesterol intake. Since the unification of East and West Germany in the 1990s, the government has faced the challenge of bringing the living conditions in the former East Germany up to the standard found in the former West Germany. Upgrading housing, schools, and utilities will continue after 2001. Despite unequal living conditions, Germans in all parts of the country are well nourished. In fact, most German children have enough to eat.