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Business

Business Leader Rejects Schröder Critique

The head of Germany's main employers' association, Dieter Hundt, has rejected a charge by Chancellor Gerhard Schröder that companies care too much about profits and too little about jobs. With one month left before Sept. 18 elections, polls show Schröder's Social Democrats trailing well behind the conservative opposition. Schröder last week blamed companies that pursue "one-sided shareholder value policies" for fueling the persistently high unemployment -- currently 11.5 percent -- that has both dogged his time and office and now his re-election campaign. He said firms must recognize that they have "a responsibility for factories and jobs." But the director of the BDA business association responded by telling the online newspaper Netzeitung that "I am convinced that companies -- both big and medium-sized -- are fully conscious of their responsibility for Germany," adding that "the most socially aware company is no use if it goes bankrupt."

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