The Author: Dr. Dr. Rainer Zitelmann
Rainer Zitelmann and Capitalism
Capitalism – the subject of this book – has occupied Rainer Zitelmann in very different ways in different phases of his life. Starting out as an anti-capitalist rebel, he later turned his back on anti-capitalism and finally became a successful capitalist himself.
Rainer Zitelmann – The Young, Anti-capitalist Rebel
Rainer Zitelmann was born in Frankfurt am Main in 1957. His interest in politics developed from an early age. When he was eight, he sent a booklet of political cartoons to the chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and later German Chancellor Willy Brandt. As a teenager he gravitated to the far left, founded the Red Cell at his school at the age of 13 and published the newspaper Rotes Banner (Red Banner). As a high school student at the age of 16, he read all three volumes of Karl Marx’s Das Kapital, produced a summary of them that ran to hundreds of pages, and wrote extensive papers on Marxist value theory.
Rainer Zitelmann – The Historian: National Socialism and Capitalism
In his twenties, Rainer Zitelmann increasingly turned away from Marxism. His ideological shift was largely the result of his growing preoccupation with Hitler and National Socialism. “Until then, I had not dealt very intensively with the darkest epoch in German history,” reports Zitelmann in his autobiography. “According to Marxist theory, ‘fascism’ was a reactionary expression of the dictatorship of the capitalist economy, the last attempt, so to speak, to save the capitalist system from destruction. I started to question this theory when I started to investigate that specific period of history more closely. I concluded that Marxist theory could not explain the phenomenon of National Socialism, an insight that contributed to me generally distancing myself from Marxism.” Zitelmann wrote his first doctoral dissertation, which was published as Hitler's National Socialism. His doctoral work broke new academic ground and, for the very first time, evaluated all of Hitler’s recorded statements. Zitelmann concluded that anti-capitalist and socialist ideologies played a much greater role in the dictator’s reasoning than had previously been assumed (view PDF).
Dr. Rainer Zitelmann – The Publisher: Capitalism versus the Welfare State
In 1992/93, Dr. Zitelmann served as editor-in-chief of what was, at the time, Germany’s third-largest publishing group, Ullstein-Propyläen-Verlag. From a critic of capitalism, he had become an enthusiastic proponent of capitalism.
Dr. Rainer Zitelmann – The Journalist: From Contemporary Thought to Real Estate
In 1993, Zitelmann moved to one of Germany’s leading daily newspapers, Die Welt, initially as head of the paper’s respected “Contemporary Thought” department, before moving on to the “Contemporary History” department, and finally the “Real Estate” desk. He had shifted his focus more and more to economic topics. For Die Welt, Zitelmann established Europe’s first daily real estate section at a daily newspaper and went on to became one of the best-known German real estate journalists.
Dr. Rainer Zitelmann - The Capitalist
In 2000, Rainer Zitelmann finally saw the opportunity to become an entrepreneur and set up his own business. He founded Dr.ZitelmannPB.GmbH, which he went on to establish as by far the leading positioning and communication consultancy in the German real estate industry. The company was extremely successful – Zitelmann invested most of his profits in Berlin’s residential real estate market. He pursued an emphatically anti-cyclical strategy and – contrary to the advice of “market experts” – also bought properties in “bad locations,” whose inherent potential he recognized. His strategy paid off and, with real estate prices rising rapidly, he sold a number of his apartments at a significant profit.
Dr. Dr. Zitelmann: His Second Doctoral Dissertation Focuses on Capitalists
In 2016, Dr. Zitelmann sold his consultancy business to his most senior employee, who continues to run the company successfully under a new name, PB3C. Dr. Zitelmann had already returned to the world of academia during his time as an entrepreneur and wrote his second doctoral dissertation at the University of Potsdam, which was published in 2018 under the title The Wealth Elite (http://the-wealth-elite.com/). This time, he decided to focus on the protagonists of capitalism – the capitalists themselves. Zitelmann interviewed 45 entrepreneurs and investors, most of whom were self-made multimillionaires, worth between 30 million and one billion euros. His work garnered a great deal of attention and positive reviews from leading German media, including Der Spiegel, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Die Welt, etc. The book has been exceptionally successful, especially in China, where it has been published in Mandarin. In 2018, Zitelmann went on an extensive tour to promote the book, visiting five of China’s largest metropolises.
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