Roland Dürre
Wednesday August 10th, 2016

Bavarian Constitution, Common-Good Economy…

… Eye-Level, Intrinsify.me, Democratic Enterprise in Management, Holocracy – and Buddhism in Management .. These are all Things I Like. 
- but, please, no CSR!

Vajrasattva (Tibet)

Vajrasattva (Tibet)

Most of us want the same thing: an economy that serves humans. As opposed to humans serving the economy.

That is why I love the Bavarian Constitution (Bayerische Verfassung), where one article explicitly states that it is a huge privilege granted in Bavaria to do business in a community – and how this right is an obligation for the enterprises and entrepreneurs, making it a must for the goods and services they provide to first and foremost be useful for the people.

And in another article of this wonderful constitution, the entire thing is repeated and emphasized again for the finance sector! However, said finance sector could not care less, instead mostly doing things that would be unconstitutional – at least in Bavaria.

I am talking about Articles 151: business is linked to the common good; principle of contract freedom and 157: amassing capital; money and credit. But those are far from the only articles truly worth reading; there are quite a few more of them in the Bavarian Constitution…

I equally appreciate the Common Good Economy around its protagonist Christian Felber. They came up with a common good matrix that makes it possible to check what contribution the enterprise you work in or even perhaps “manage/own” makes for the social life. And it is worth the effort of informing yourself about it.

The project eye-level, along with the film is something I admired because it showed that there are actually enterprises practicing eye.-level successfully.

The brave ideas of the people at intrinsify.me, too, are very close to my heart, as are the clear concepts introduced by Andreas Zeuch who was the inspiration for entrepreneur democrats (Unternehmens-Demokraten). They show that democratic enterprises work better. And they also came up with the wonderful slogan:
ALL POWER TO NOBODY! 

Even the friends of holocracy make a huge impression on me, even though I see the danger of a tiring democracy that might easily lead to “holocrazy”.

A short time ago, however, I met a young entrepreneur. His name is Julian Sametinger and he wrote a Bachelor Thesis  (Bachelor-Arbeit, click here to read it, it is really very much worth reading) on “Buddhism in Management“. It is a wonderful piece of work and more exciting than some criminal stories. And, basically, it covers all you need to know. It is also the reason why I write this post.

I have a huge amount of respect for all these ideas. Their very existence makes me enormously grateful.

But, please, to not offer me CSR (Corporate Social Responsity). It is hypocritical, produced by university ethics-talkers and rehearsed with ethics commissions appointed by the state. I mostly find it pompous gibberish as we know it from politicians and lobbyists. Except that it has been graphically beautified with federally financed high-gloss transparencies and posters of the important associations.

If you want names, I will gladly provide the details about some evil and not quite so evil professors, along with their often absurd concepts and more or less ridiculous activities. Since, however, this blog is supposed to be more about the positive ideas than the negative, I will end this article here.

Thank you for reading it and goodnight to you all!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Saturday January 24th, 2009

For the Bavarian Constitution!

Someone wrote a cynical (?) comment under my article about texts on the financial crisis, where I cited sections 151 and 157 of the Bavarian Constitution. I found this comment rather terrible. I really believe that it is hardly possible to better describe the purpose of economy and legitimate free market economy than those two articles do it. And I also believe that our constitution was drawn up by wise people who felt a high ethical responsibility. It will therefore not be easy to improve on our constitution.

Consequently, after reading the aforesaid comment, I took an even closer look at our Bavarian Constitution, during which process I found several other sections that made quite an impression on me. I will therefore relate them as follows:

Article 141 Protection of the natural basis of life and cultural tradition; the right to enjoy the countryside

(1) Care for and protection of the natural environment held in trust for the benefit of future generations is the duty of the individual and the State community. Animals shall be respected and protected as living beings and fellow creatures. The State, Municipalities and legal bodies also have a paramount responsibility, to protect the ground, water and air as the natural basis of life, to relieve or restore damage which may occur and to ensure that they are used as economically as possible, to preserve and constantly enhance the productivity of the ecological balance, to protect the forest with regard to its particular importance for the ecological balance, and to relieve or restore damage which may occur, to care for and preserve indigenous species of animal and plant life, their natural habitats as well as characteristic natural sites and landscape.

(2) The State, Municipalities and legal bodies have a responsibility, to care for and preserve artistic treasures, historical and natural monuments as well as the landscape, to restore damaged artistic and historical treasures as far as possible to their former condition, to prevent the exportation of German artistic treasures abroad.

(3) Everyone is entitled to enjoy natural beauty and relaxation in the open countryside, particularly through access within reasonable distance from towns to forests and mountain meadows, streams and wild fruits. At the same time everyone shall be obliged to care for nature and the landscape. The State and Municipalities have the right and duty to provide open access to mountains, lakes and rivers and other areas of natural beauty, to extend access through the restriction of private ownership, and to provide pathways and nature parks.

Article 152 Supervision of the economic: provision of energy

The ordered production and distribution of economic resources to meet the needs of the population shall be supervised by the state. The state shall be responsible for ensuring the provision of electricity for the Land.

Article 158 Obligations attached to property

Property entails obligations. The manifest abuse of property and ownership rights shall not be countenanced by the law.

Article 160 Property in mineral resources, traffic and utilities; public ownership

(1) A corporate body or co-operative under public direction shall generally control property in economically significant mineral and energy resources, in railways and other routes and means of public transport, in water distribution and in power utilities.

(2) Generally essential means of production, major banks and insurance concerns may be transferred to public ownership in the interest of the population as a whole. The transfer shall be effected under the law and shall be adequately compensated.

(3) Enterprises in public ownership can be managed in a private enterprise form if this is in accordance with the commercial purpose.

Article 161 Distribution and use of land

(1) The distribution and use of land shall be supervised by the State. Misuse shall be terminated.

(2) Increases in the value of land which arise without particular effort or capital investment on the part of the owner shall be utilised for the general public.

The aforementioned citations are in agreement with my set of values. However, I notice massive violations of every one of these articles every day. What use are a constitution and laws if we no longer take them seriously? Just because we have been living in a part of our planet that has been pampered and spoiled by general wealth during the last 50 years, we have no right to forget the really important things in life. We must not throw away our future. I therefore demand that our constitution must again be adhered to, because:

🙂 You cannot be an enemy of the constitution if all you demand is the adherence to same, can you?

By the way, I found a typing mistake in the German version of the Bavarian Constitution. Section 169 is headed as follows:

Artikel 169 Midestlöhne, Tarifverträge

Which, of course, should read: Mindestlöhne and can be translated as follows:

Article 169 Minimum wage; collective wage agreements

(1) Minimum wage levels may be established for every occupational field such as make possible for every employee and his family a minimum standard of living according to the prevailing social conditions.

(2) Collective agreements on working conditions formed between employers and employee associations shall be binding on the members of the employee associations, and may be declared generally binding where they further the general interest.

I am a little on the conservative side. In my opinion, typing mistakes are acceptable in a blog. However, a constitution should be free of typing mistakes, especially if published in the internet. And especially in the internet, typing mistakes should be easily identified, since the spelling checker puts red dots underneath them. That is why I will now send an email to the Bayerische Staatskanzlei and ask them to correct the typing mistake.

Or is the typing mistake symptomatic for the fact that nobody is interested in our constitution anyway? That would be real bad news. Here is the  Link if you want to inform yourself.

🙂 Typing mistake was corrected in end of January!

All texts in cursive types:© Bayerischer Landtag

RMD

(Translated by Evelyn Gemkow)

mehr »

Roland Dürre
Monday October 29th, 2018

Sugar Coating (Entrepreneur’s Diary #126)

Last week, I learned some new vocabulary – sugar coating.

Following the motto “having a soccer table in your office does not in itself constitute #newwork“.

For me, it is quite clear that, in our social life as well as in our work-life, transparency within the enterprise and the participation of the relevant stakeholders (employees) are very important.


”Sugar coating“ as part of ”culture engineering“?

In my book enterprises are social systems where people work together in different roles for an economic goal – i.e. the goal of offering products and services that they will benefit from to people. Just like the Bavarian Constitution says.

Basically, enterprises are not machines that can be mechanically controlled by “management” that tries to minimize the input and maximize the output. Instead, enterprises are composed of humans.

A Great Team – InterFace Connection GmbH 1986: Celebrating.

That is extremely important. Just like I also consider values such as appreciation, respect and general considerateness when dealing with each other absolutely relevant in an entrepreneurial culture.

#newwork needs just as much communication as it needs civil courage and constructive disobedience. The elite of an enterprise should not be system agents. Instead, they have to be coaches, inspire people and give impulses. And the vast majority of an enterprise also has to try (and be able) to live the values they formulated.

For me, these are the pre-requisites and the basis of #newwork.

Especially in my sector, I discover more and more enterprises that “sugar-coat themselves”. Regardless, they still move at the edges of the German work legislation. And they form their processes and the entire system with an absolute priority on profit. For them, “entrepreneurial health management” is basically just an investment that is supposed to minimize the number of people who call in sick. For them, modern work environments are just a means to save on the rent for office space. And their decor is a sugar coat with great design and life style, both of which are supposed to impress the employees.

If you want #newwork to have any effect, then you cannot make it part of a strategically planned, human resource controlled ”enterprise culture engineering“. Instead, it must be lived by the employees –with intrinsic motivation.

This is what I have been preaching for decades, both because it is my personal experience and because of what I see in many enterprises.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
For more articles of my entrepreneurial diary, see: Drehscheibe!

2036_500Through my friend Thomas Michl, the call for a blog parade on #FutureVision2036
 by Yasemin Akdemir came to my attention.

I do not wish to speculate about what the world might be like in twenty years.

Because since Hans Ulrich of St. Gallen wrote his theories about “Change in Management”, we know that “the future cannot be predicted”!

And it is not at all my style to come up with courageous outlooks.

But I will gladly relate to you what I would the world to be like in 2036!

First and foremost, it would be important for me to see most people being wiser and more peace-loving all over the world.

When I say wiser, I mean that humanity should increase both in its mental concepts and behaviour and that it should push the ever-present enmity into the background, both externally and internally.

Peace in my definition means that more and more persons manage to live in harmony with their own existence, also by appreciating their own value. The only way external peace can grow and prevail is if people like and appreciate themselves and thus find their own inner peace. It is the only way to make the many beloved enemy concepts disappear and also the only way towards successfully living in peace with nature, other people and other social systems.

Apart from this, I would wish for more neutrality and less moralism, for example also when it comes to sexual prudery. On the whole, the importance of religion should dwindle. How can anybody claim something to be the absolute truth that has been constructed by humans? For example, I also would not wish that children are still injured and maimed in 2036 for “religious reasons”.

There is a great sentence by Frederick II. Of Prussia: “Let all people become happy in their own chosen fashion” and it would be nice if this sentence were still true in 2036. But not the “violation of religious feelings” should be illegal. Instead, the social discrimination of “infidels” by “believers” and the attempt of those believers to “religiously reform” those infidels should be against the law.

In 2036, we should no longer misinterpret peace as a state of affairs where all that is possible is permitted. The meaning of the word must be replaced by an understanding of peace in the sense of “being able and willing to live your life responsibly”.

It would make me very happy if, over the next twenty years, people learned how to become independent of marketing and external control. And maybe they could understand that their most valuable commodity is time. And that we can enjoy our life at the moment in joy – without having to think about it too much. How about a little more sub-consciousness and, to make up for it, less cerebellum?

In 2036, we would like to live in a “fear-free” space. Fear grows between your ears and has nothing to do with really threatening situations and a healthy respect of dangers. It would be nice if, by then, we no longer think we have to define ourselves by our looks, property, success, money….

There is actually one concern of mine for 2036: can we live our lives in harmony with our environment? I would like to be able to breathe the air in the cities even if I am a pedestrian or ride a bike. In order to achieve this, we would have to understand that “individual mobility” it not a concept of the future if it is based on heavy vehicles. Nor does it matter if said vehicles are powered by a combustion motor or an electric motor.

And, in 2036, I would like to live in a society that accepts that I am a human being of flesh and blood who has the right to enjoy his body with lust, which would mean that I am entitled to enough physical exercise in everyday life. And I mean in a way that does not just make me a means to an end. I want to be able to rollick and romp even when I am grown up.

In 2016, I no longer wish to be manipulated by marketing and ruled by lobbyism. Instead, I would like to be what we were created to be: agreeable mammals equipped with a little bit of ratio who can live their lives autonomously.

Another prevalent principle of our economic activity should be “sustainability”. This means the economic cycles would have to be organized and practiced in such a way that the principle #nowaste has highest priority. This is also true for energy – just like with everything else, this has to be done by using “smart technologies”, but also by every one of us limiting ourselves to the necessities.

We humans are not here to serve the economy – instead, the economy should serve us. Instead of a global “predator capitalism”, we need a functioning regional “common-good economy” in 2036. Even if said common-good economy might be a little less efficient – which, incidentally, I do not believe it would be.

Many of our habits have to – and, as I believe, will – change drastically. This will be true both for mobility and the production of goods. One possible solution might be the increase of „shared economy“, individually promoted by “less vanity and egoism”. The success recipe of the future will be “less is more”. “Growth as the solution to all problems” was yesterday (and even then, it was utter nonsense).
Consideration will also have to prevail whenever we actually do something. And we will permanently have to ask ourselves if we really need all the things we buy.

So what I wish for 2036 is an enlightenment 2.0 that we take seriously and develop diligently. It should also be the formative factor of all our lives. And I am and will remain optimistic that, with courage and joy, we will get there. Among other things because we support the new “digital world” and nice blog parades.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Saturday February 20th, 2016

Basic Constitutional Law, Article 14, Section 2

It was accepted on May, 23rd, 1949 – before that day, they had other things to worry about.

In my art article “Texts on the World Financial Crisis” and other blog articles, I already enthused about our courageous and almost lusty Bavarian Constitution.

However, the Bavarian Constitution is subsidiary to the Basic Constitutional Law of Germany. To be sure, Bavaria never officially became part of the Federal Republic of Germany – but it can be assumed that, over the last few decades, the Free State of Bavaria conducted itself in a way that implied its consent to being part of the FRG.

Yes, the Bavarian Constitution is my personal favourite – I rather like it. Now I also read the Basic Constitutional Law of Germany (Grundgesetz) and I would recommend that you all, too, read it.

And I find it truly imperfect. Here are some totally random examples I am not at all enthusiastic about. Let us begin with Article 8.

Art 8

(1) All Germans shall have the right to assemble peacefully and unarmed without prior notification or permission

(2) In the case of outdoor assemblies, this right may be restricted by or pursuant to a law

Comment: Something is guaranteed. But, naturally, you can restrict it. All you have to do is introduce a law.

Art 10

(1) The privacy of correspondence, posts and telecommunications shall be inviolable.

(2) Restrictions may be ordered only pursuant to a law. If the restriction serves to protect the free democratic basic order or the existence or security of the Federation or of a Land, the law may provide that the person affected shall not be informed of the restriction and that recourse to the courts shall be replaced by a review of the case by agencies and auxiliary agencies appointed by the legislature

Comment: Something cannot be violated. But, naturally, you can restrict it. All you have to do is introduce a new law.

Art 14

(1) Property and the right of inheritance shall be guaranteed. Their content and limits shall be defined by the laws.

(2) Property entails obligations. Its use shall also serve the public good.

(3) Expropriation shall only be permissible for the public good. It may only be ordered by or pursuant to a law that determines the nature and extent of compensation. Such compensation shall be determined by establishing an equitable balance between the public interest and the interests of those affected. In case of dispute concerning the amount of compensation, recourse may be had to the ordinary courts.

Comment: Something is guaranteed. But – all you have to do is institute a law; then you can restrict everything. You may even dispossess someone. But section (2) is even worse. Can you get less committed if you want to say that someone who owns something not only has rights, but also obligations? And can you be more slack than this if you want to say that something should also serve the public good.

The entire text continues in this way. It is the same with Art 13 (inviolability of the home), Art 16 (right of asylum) or Art 17a (restriction of rights in military or alternative service). All the time, you read that everything is allowed and then again restricted.

I found this article particularly painful:

Art 20

(1) The Federal Republic of Germany is a democratic and social federal state.

(2) All state authority is derived from the people. It shall be exercised by the people through elections and other votes and through specific legislative, executive and judicial bodies.

(3) The legislature shall be bound by the constitutional order, the executive and the judiciary by law and justice.

(4) All Germans shall have the right to resist any person seeking to abolish this constitutional order, if no other remedy is available.

Comment: I wonder if all that is left of these nice concepts is words that have totally lost their value. Who has all the power today? Well, it definitely is not the people. Instead, an oligarchy of parties and institutions, united in an ill-omened alliance with the truly powerful interest associations and lobbyists of capital and gamblers, has all the power. Through their federation, they mutually increase their power. And because it cannot be done without humans and said humans are more a hindrance than anything else, humans are manipulated and indoctrinated to serve the right purpose.

Isn’t it funny that we have the right to oppose in Art (4); even armed opposition as an ultima ratio is not totally out of the question if you follow the words verbatim…

As I see it, the legal position is unambiguous. Germany was obliged to give itself a new constitution years ago. But then, the powerful persons do not seem to care a lot about law. Consequently, no German Constitution seems to be upcoming.

And I am not sure if this should make me sad or happy. To be sure, our Basic Constitutional Law is not optimal. And, of course, in these times, we need a very strong, courageous and happy constitution – with a wide social consensus for the future, freedom, humanity and education.

Except – I am sure a new constitution, too, would be written by the lobbyists. See TTIP. Democrats would have no chance.

Instead of writing a new constitution, it might be a good idea to protect what remains of our Basic Constitution against even more attacks. Regardless of where these attacks originate. A turbo-capitalist and neo-liberal constitution, written by Parties & Germany AG and sold through populism would certainly be a great misfortune

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
The picture of the flag is common property. Here is the Wikipedia Link.

Roland Dürre
Thursday October 15th, 2015

New Concerns is What the World Needs.

When I wrote this heading, I thought of the wonderful song by Ina Deter. It fits quite well, because, after all, most of the concern heads, especially in Germany, are (still) men. So here is her song:

I dedicate this article to my friend Hans Bonfigt. His last article as a guest author brought an immense number of new IF Blog readers in its wake. This is how it happened: Hans has a “historic enemy“, Felix von Leitner. Even in the good old usenet times, they often “crossed swords”. Felix writes the much-read blog.fefe.de and set a link from there to the guest article by Hans in the IF Blog. And then the show started: more than 20,000 readers clicked on this article within a few days. And many other articles, too, benefited hugely from the effect.

Back to Hans. Sometimes he has a tendency towards brutal language. Once in a while, it will deflect you from his basically good ideas. If he does not like an enterprise, he affronts it. Some consider this defamation. That is not nice. I, too, believe that his absolutely valid ideas would perhaps be better accepted if his condemnations were not so all-inclusive.

I respect this. Because, in his harsh way, he is probably correct. Basically, most of what he writes is actually quite harmless if compared with the naked truth.

Just take a close look at the concerns that dominate the world. In Germany, you usually have enterprises with a good reputation, a precious brand, lots of prestige and history. They have a well-trained work force, lots of knowledge, good sales channels and a high degree of publicity. Through their processes and build-up, they seem to be equipped to cope with all kinds of potential mishaps. Mostly, the employees – due to well-worked-out wage agreements – earn more than persons working in the social sector or freelance. Due to an excessive job protection legislation, their jobs are also a lot more secure than those of the rest of the working population in this country.

However, if you look behind the glittering façade, you will see that the patina crumbles. More often than not, their classic business models fail and classic turnover areas are endangered. Far too often, they employ persons who are paid far too well and are no longer needed in the scenarios of the future. Inherited liability weighs heavy on them and the market changes to their disadvantage. New competition threatens them.

There are huge inner weaknesses hidden from the outward appearance. Much that glitters is not gold at all. It is truly fear-inspiring. If I then continue by analysing the behaviour-controlling values of business that controls the world, it makes me dizzy. I am talking world-wide, for all concerns in all sectors.

Because we have desolate conditions in the global economy. Strangely, we tolerate them. There is not the slightest bit left of the common-good economy idea – as for instance laid down in the Bavarian Constitution. Nobody accepts the duty given to the industrialists with the right – which I personally consider of high value – to do business.

The good reputation of an enterprise, too, has become means to an end. If you have it, it is easier to make a profit. Ethics is wrapped into CSR – Corporate Social Responsibilty and used only to camouflage reality. Because all concerns and enterprises in business follow three unwritten laws:

The three commandments of current capitalism:

First Commandment

Do not develop products for what humans and the market needs. Instead, control the market in such a way that it will buy those products that give you the highest profit! In order to achieve this, manipulate the people permanently through a collective brain-washing, also called “marketing”.

Second Commandment
Set the rules and regulations for your business dealings in such a way that they will exclusively be beneficial for you! In order to do this, use the superweapon “lobbyism”! It must be your highest priority to control politicians through your lobbyists in such a way that all legislation is to your benefit!

Third Commandment

It must be the absolute goal of all your entrepreneurial activities to maximise the profits and the shareholder value! Profit thus gained must be privatised as fast as possible, losses have to be socialized immediately!

These commandments of modern capitalism have priority over all else, be it employees, customers, suppliers or other stakeholders. World-wide and without exception. Because in Asia, China, India, Japan, Korea, South-America, the USA or wherever, the one and only important factor is: profit.

In Europe, the situation is no better. Just look at the former EG or the Comecon countries. I cannot imagine that it is different in Switzerland. Nor do the Scandinavian concerns give reason for hope: just look at the stories around, for instance, IKEA.

To sum it up, you can say that, for all concerns and many more business enterprises, gaining and maximizing profit and consolidating your position on the market always has absolute priority. This is how the concern business has come to a point where all that matters is survival. The preservation and constant strengthening of the own system have become the exclusive goals as determined by the system itself. And the end justifies the means. In theory, such systems are called “de-personalized”. And making self-preservation your exclusive goal makes you inhuman and is the first step towards a fascist system.

An enterprise should aim at: supplying the people in the country with goods that promote their well-being. This is opposed to the current direction of business. The needs of the people are no longer served. Instead, the goals are formed along the lines of business. Of course, if you do this, there is no room left for a “common—good economy” as the Bavarian Constitution demands it. For me, this borders on “criminal behaviour“.

Now I will take a close look at all sectors. I wonder if I will find one that is not criminal?

It cannot be the food industry (why do you no longer call it victuals or nutrition industry?). In this sector, even the smallest customers are manipulated towards eating unhealthy through lies. One (not only food) scandal follows on the heels of the last, fraud and blackmail are common practice. Lower quality and extortion are accepted for economic reasons, the same is true for environmental destruction, not only in the Third World countries. In this respect, I only mention particularly dire cases like the seeds situation as a side-line.

Nor is it necessary for me to write about those industries that supply humanity with raw materials. We all know what traces those robber barons have left on our planet. The same is true for their sub-division, the oil and petro industry. Allegedly, enterprises such as Gasprom even have their own para-military organisations, which is equipped like a private army with heavy weapons. Why? Well, it is clear, isn’t it? If necessary, they can use force to give weight to their interests.

But the EVU’s do not fare any better, either. Neither does the chemical or pharmaceutic industry. You read all the time that medicine is licenced after the best of tests have been executed (exceptional healing capacity, negligible side-effects) and thus is now on the market. And after many users – often children and teenagers – consumed the medicine for a long time, you suddenly hear that the positive effect was ZERO and the side-effects were considerable. But that is nothing. You continue with “business as usual”.

Trade, too, probably has no clean slate. What harsh measures do the discounters use both against their competition and their suppliers! And the customers, too, are constantly cheated. They dominate the field with a long-term, ruinous cut-throat competition. The only thing left in the end will be the ruins of many no longer needed chain stores and a destroyed infra structure.

I will not even mention the traffic enterprises and finance services, the speculation, world and gambling companies, the media enterprises, the weapons industry, the logistics sector, let alone the luxury food industry.

My own sector, the IT industry, too, is not one I trust. For instance, I can well imagine that many producers are quite happy about all those virusses and spams appearing. And about the eavesdropping and much more. I assume that only a small part of the hardware and software systems actually are still made for processing and communicating data.

No. Most of the server and storage systems are probably sold for spam and virus defence, as well as for eavesdropping and such. It would be quite easy to de-activate the spam flood in emails with a suitable protocol (even the old telefax machines had a code provider) – but nobody wants it. Probably because it would be a shame to let all this nice business go.

Here is something else I notice:

No matter how high a profit. The higher the better. Even if it looks rather amoral.

I once read that, at Reemtsma (sector: luxury food industry – tobacco) the EBIT of a good year can well be as much as half of the entire turnover. Let us assume that, in this sector, the turnover is only one twentieth of the capital. Then the capital return rate is 1,000%. Well, there were times when 4% were considered a reasonable turnover return rate (in the 1950ies at VW – those were also the times when you still could get a low one-digit interest on your conventional bank account). If you take 200 as the factor turnover/capital, you get a turnover rate of 10,000%. Well, not everybody can achieve this!

And what do I read on the Reemtsma Website as a reprimand?

Illegal cigarette trade is among the most lucrative crimes…
I wonder why!

Today, there is no upper limit to what marketing may cost. And manipulation need stop nowhere at all.

The only thing that matters is that it does what it is supposed to do. Especially in the sector of “digital marketing”, you hear of enormous progress. The most modern scientific results in neurology and psychology are utilized. Thus, the cost of marketing and sales grow all the time. In some enterprises, they are already as high as half the turnover. In other words: the customer who buys the product pays half of what he pays for measures executed in order to make him buy the product.
Is that OK?

This is even true for enterprises, for example, in the pharmacy sector. One would assume that, basically, medicine does not need advertising. After all, it is badly needed, isn’t it? But nothing could be further from the truth – here, too, the advertising costs is easily 40% of the total turnover and more. And for enterprises promoting internet “services” such as for instance booking hotel rooms, the per cent ratio of marketing might well be more than half of the total cost.
Even politics manipulate us through marketing. Not just when it comes to lobbyism. Normally, the party that has most of the money at their disposal will eventually become the reigning government. Because they can employ the better marketing companies and campaign better. In almost all cases, there is a correlation between the number of votes and the money used in the electoral campaign. But where do they get the money? Of course, from the institutions that have a) money and b) important interests. So who are we talking? Well, those enterprises that would wish to make the rules for their business the rules of our society. I see a huge threat to our democracy! In fact, thinking of the elections for the next president of the USA – who call themselves “God’s own country” – gives me pause.

This is why I cannot really do anything other than say Hans Bonfigt is somehow right when he says things rather bluntly.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Monday October 27th, 2014

Tolerance & Religion

Currently, I am thinking a lot about morals and ethics. One of the reasons is that I discovered how, for almost all persons, moral rules dominate almost all their decisions. This is especially true for all my wrong decisions.

Until recently, I believed that decisions are usually based on either rationality and common sense (brains, ratio) or intuition and heuristics (gut feeling). I thought this was also true for my own decisions.

And now I discover that I was profoundly wrong in many cases (and had to suffer consequences). Simply because I believed: “this is how I had to decide, because this is what you do”. Or in other words: I was incapable of resisting (too cowardly to resist?) the “this is how you do it” or the “this is not what you want to do”. Because my decisions (especially the bad ones) were influenced by morals and moralizing.

Besides morals and ethics, you will also find some ingredients in the Hotpot of philosophy which are hard to digest, such as “religion” or the virtue “tolerance”.

Because:
“For us, religion is sacred!”
and
“You have to be tolerant!”

I, too, believe tolerance is a precious value. The ethical person will say:

You should always be tolerant!

Tolerance beats morals!
The only thing you should be intolerant about is intolerance!

Well, one might counter that intolerance against intolerance is again intolerance, isn’t it?

Let us take a look at tolerance in practice using the example of religion. Both our Federal Constitution and the Bavarian Constitution give the “Freedom of Religious Practices” very special protection. It is almost conspicuous. And the law drawn up in accordance with the constitutional regulation strictly prohibits the violation of “religious sentiments”.

Instead of just demanding tolerance and respect, it actually means you have to subjugate yourself before the religious sentiments of others if you really strictly want to abide by it.

For me, this requirement is too much. Who is to decide what is a religion and what is not? A mass takes upon itself an absolute obligation towards theories and rules they basically themselves invented. In doing so, they cite a special, higher, external non-explainable instance. And then they systematically hand this “belief” on from generation to generation – which eventually leads to the creation of such systems as churches with all their advantages, but also with very significant disadvantages.

But how to decide which kind of belief that has become a system is a religion? And who is fit to decide? If I carefully read the chapter about religion on the Bavarian Constitution, then I get the impression that the fathers of the constitution mostly meant the Christian religions. And among those only the “better” variant.

So is this absolute tolerance demand for “religious sentiments” really acceptable? Especially if people who are victims of their religion believe themselves to be in possession of the absolute truth and consequently demand things which in the worst but frequent case violate humanity?

Perhaps this is why the beautiful term tolerance has now deteriorated to become a “buzzword” – just like, unfortunately, did the words freedom, common welfare and sustainability.

A short time ago, I demanded tolerance in my commentary on a blog. I also called it a basic “primary virtue”. And the reactions told me that there are actually some moralists who already seriously demand a “tolerance police”.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.

For the time being, this is my last post on morals and the like. After all, opposing morals and moralization is already some kind of morals and moralization.

😉 Starting tomorrow, I will again write about whatever comes to mind from everyday life.

Roland Dürre
Friday May 2nd, 2014

Starting a Business Today!

Nowadays, whenever I attend business contests and/or read business plans, I get the impression that……

… there is no Bavarian Constitution making it mandatory for a businessman that his business must be useful for the entire society.
… the only purpose all founders of a new company have is money and power (and, if they are male, women).
… the opinion of the shareholder value is still the only goal of an enterprise..
… even the tiniest bit of meaningfulness in an enterprise is very often missing.

Because, mostly, all I read and hear is numbers. The turnover and results are the focal issues. And the product, as well as the enterprise to be founded, are just means to an end. Said end is “making money”. Absolutely exclusively. And if there is no other way, then you get it by selling the new enterprise after a short time with enormous profit.

Those are the moment when I think:


Something is wrong.

I also read very often that you need a lot of money (… several millions of Euros … ) in order to build up a strong marketing sector and an ever-present market. Because this is the main problem.

And then I think: 
Why does nobody invent something we humans actually need?

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Sunday November 25th, 2012

Parties, Pirates and Party Programs – Help!

It was always held against the Pirate Party that they have no program. So what are they doing? They are coming up with one.

In my opinion, they are making a mistake!

If a truly different party comes up with a program, then the program should be: 
“we have no program!”

Such a party should be capable of deciding upon values (as shared by all members) based on ethical responsibility and agreed upon as a consensus.  And then they could “make these values their own”. One would assume that is enough work.

Why do we need values instead of programs?

Give people a program and they will assume they are right and possess the truth. That is a dangerous assumption, because there is no absolute truth. And if someone or a group of people claim they possess the truth, your inner red light of warning should immediately start blaring full throttle.

So – do not give us programs!

I would very much prefer a commitment in favour of values – and in addition to this a statement or, even better, a promise, for example:

All our decisions will be based on a responsible, ethical balancing of interests. We will, to the best of our ability and using our common sense, always strive for neutral technological competence and feel bound to act according to those aforesaid values!

Now that would be a nice commitment, wouldn’t it? If I were a party member, I would propose a “five-point manifesto”. It might, perhaps, be something like:

  • We will – on purpose – dispense with a program.
  • We trust in the values found by enlightenment, its knowledge, reason and honesty (transparency).
  • We respect the German Constitution (or even better: The Bavarian Constitution) and the UN Charta .
  • We will follow common sense and use the “Golden Rule “.
  • Our decisions will always be based on a responsible balance of interests, our behavior will always follow our values.

That would be it!

But I do not think it makes any sense at all to establish a new party. Still, I certainly could list a few values to guide a new party:

  • demanding the freedom to live by the rule of: “living self-responsibly and being able to do so“,
  • managing to have a violence-free society with fear-free areas, with a minimum of punishment/vengeance and without wars,
  • at long last make men and women “equal“,
  • make all relevant levels, and in particular the public area, as transparent as possible
  • and
  • promote a social climate with a relative right to property and freedom of trade.

Incidentally, many of these issues have been wonderfully formulated and written down in the Bavarian Constitution . Unfortunately, it has become a little utopian . Neither is it valid any longer, because the German Constitution has precedence. Still, it is and will always be a truly beautiful piece of text.

But back to parties. If now the Pirate Party also come up with a program, then I truly no longer know whom to give my vote to. So the only remaining option for me is to join the majority of non-voters.

Because I definitely do not wish to give my vote somewhere between mechanical function and measure catalogues and dogmatic statements of belief. Both are cunningly served in a camouflage packet. I call them camouflage programs, because – as we now again see with the Pirate Party – the really hard-core topics have to be excluded, anyway. Otherwise, a compromise is not possible. A social consensus cannot be made out, just like there is not the slightest hint of a social outline.

This is not about demanding that “everybody must unconditionally be provided with the means to survive“ or “that all nuclear power plants be closed down in three years”.  Neither is it about parental money or educational money. Or “A Free Ride For Free Citizens“, depending on what you believe in either for car drivers or those who go by train.

Not to mention meaningless declarations that you intend to solve conflicts without using violence. And whenever it gets difficult, you want the masses to decide. Without before having generated the necessary transparency.

No, this is about having a reasonable concept in management and still make more good decisions than bad ones. And in that respect, programs will not be any help. This seems pretty clear, because change comes at such enormous speed. How can I decide today what I will do in two years’ time if by then the facts will be totally altered? I am fed up with seeing people speculating about an unpredictable future, also in politics.

Consequently, what I want when I vote is a decision in favor of values. And I would like to trust that my representatives and the politicians want to and can and will act according to their values.

Mind you, I, too, am not in the possession of absolute truth. Still: I believe these ideas are worth being discussed. On the other hand, let me say:

Dear Pirates!

Maybe that is why you get these poor results in the current polls? Because you are now turning into a “normal party“. And we certainly have enough of those already. I do not think we need yet another one. Consequently, the word might soon be: easy come, easy go.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Saturday March 31st, 2012

brand eins in April

This time around, it sat in my post box on April, 29th, – the new “brand eins”.

It sprawls on the hunting-leopard’s fur – capitalism. There is a black ribbon running horizontally over the page – and on it, they wrote with red ink: No Half-Measures.

And underneath: 
Focus capitalism
.
After relevance in March!

Is there a special meaning to the red ink? Will “brand eins” become a leftist inflammatory pamphlet, like the Bavarian Constitution?
See my article on the world-wide financial crisis (Texte zur Weltfinanzkrise).

To be sure, we are now approaching the end of late capitalism. Is that why “brand eins” now has the focus on capitalism? Well, I quickly open the magazine and take a closer look.

The editorial by Frau Fischer calms me down. She is right: many things are topsy-turvy in this world. But there are worse things than capitalism. Even if it is to some degree responsible for what went wrong. Just like its small brother, communism. Well, it died already. Or at least, it disappeared (because the corpse has not yet been discovered).

No matter how you see it, capitalism is currently without competition. We all know the absence of competition makes you weak, but capitalism will survive even this phase. And it will change and always be resurrected. Because humans have this late-capitalistic gene.

“brand eins” in April tries to explain why so many people (I think by now it is the absolute majority) feel uncomfortable and are scared. And why we are so worried because of our extremely late-capitalist economic habits and the radically non-sustainable consequences.  How, with gruesome thoroughness, we exploit everything, really everything that seems even the tiniest bit worth exploiting. We do this without any regard to loss and totally ignore all better knowledge to the contrary.

The few articles I managed to read yesterday want to explain the uncomfortable feeling. Speaking for myself, I must say they rather heightened my uncomfortable feeling, instead of lessening it.  I find it great that a business magazine is courageous enough to look upon the system that, after all – just like we all – “brand eins” depends on for survival, from a totally different, critical perspective.

Consequently, even if it is quite heavy, the magazine will be part of my bike luggage when I go to Munich Central Station tonight. At the station, a late-capitalist, feudal 1st class compartment with its own shower will be waiting to bring me to Rome. I already look forward to occasionally, at the end of a beautiful bike day, taking “brand eins” out in the evening when I stay in a nice Hotel between Naples and Palermo and enjoying a good glass of wine. Surrounded by mafia environment, I am sure I will think a lot about how late capitalism makes sense or not!

😉 And, of course, I will also think about how I can best profit from it…

RMD
(Translated by EG)