Roland Dürre
Tuesday October 22nd, 2019

(Deutsch) Ein Hauptfehler unserer Gesellschaft!?

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Roland Dürre
Friday October 18th, 2019

(Deutsch) Leseproben.

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Roland Dürre
Tuesday October 15th, 2019

(Deutsch) Melancholie im Oktober.

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Roland Dürre
Thursday October 3rd, 2019

(Deutsch) RUPERT LAY LESEBUCH

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Roland Dürre
Wednesday September 18th, 2019

The Smart Mask of Digital Capitalism.


In the mountains of the Peloponnesus, on the way to Vatyna.

Earlier this week, I returned from three weeks in Italy and Greek. Two of those weeks were spent camping on the Peloponnesus. I had had many plans.

The first sector in my list of good intentions was that I wanted to swim, ride my bike or hike every day and enjoy life. In this, I succeeded as seldom before.

The second sector of my list was about writing a few articles. In particular, I wanted to write a recension about a book by Timo Daum, that is to be published on October, 7th, 2019 by the Oekom-Verlag.

Unfortunately, this did not happen. I was caught up in a comfortable lethargy. But at least, I read about two thirds of the book. I also collected material and am now very optimistic about finishing the recension before the book is on the market.

The book by Timo Daum is titled  »The Car in the Era of Digital Capitalism. How Algorithms and Data Control Traffic « . It inspired me towards many new ideas. But I will write more about this in my recension.

When I found out that the same author had also written a »Criticism of the Digital Economy«  (which I have not yet read), it dawned on me that there is a new digital capitalism. To me, it seems to be even more powerful and brutal than the one we know so well from the last century.

Among other things, the digital capitalism is such a success because it has replaced the “humane face“ with a »smart mask « , behind which it hides in an absolutely ingenious way.

The smart mask is supposed to make us believe that digitalization improves the world. It gives the mega predatory capitalism a humane face and promises us that we get a clean electronic world, a common-good economy, a shared economy, shared knowledge, a great design, products that are friendly towards people and the environment, and many more nice things. In other words, you get a smart life in a smart world and society. Smart life in a smart city.

Smart, smart, smart!!! In reality, however, it is more than ever all about money. This is true both for our old Europe and the new China.

I am reluctant about using a new term like smart. Consequently, I will first and foremost ask:

What exactly is the meaning of “smart”?
I heard a nice definition by a co-founder of NextHamburg. He said that smart solutions work towards a social goal with digitalization. The formula is:

Social + Digital = Smart !!!

That sounds nice, but it is a lie. My Chinese friends are much more pragmatic. In their view, every product that is linked with WLAN and has internet access is a smart product. It does not matter if it is a saucepan or a set of scales.

The probably most powerful and greedy concern of new economy gave itself the motto:
“Don’t be evil!”
We really liked that, didn’t we?

Then they gamified  their products and turned the offices into fun parks where you have a world of fun, but where the people actually worked harder than ever. The mask is glamorous.

Microsoft, too, has nice toys. Very early on, they collected brownie points with wysiwyg and, above all, with solitaire. And they asked us:
Where do you want to go today?

And then Apple came and turned the cult into a religion.

We fell for it. As programmers, we really enjoyed what we did and were quite surprised when we saw how much we earned by doing it. Our hourly rates were considerably higher than those of the engineers. At least, they, too, enjoyed it.

We were intoxicated by Open Source and Agility. The Law of Moor (Mooresche Gesetz) looked like it was no longer following the laws of nature. Topics such as blockchain and AI generated hopes for the future that will not survive closer scrutiny.

After the drinking binge, you will always get the next morning. Even more potential will necessitate even more infra structure, more energy and raw materials, more (electric) cars, a world of more consumption and culture. It is easy to hide total digitalization behind the smart mask as part of the total technologic supremacy of our world.

And today, we learn that, even more than ever, the goal is the generation of cash. And that the promise of the new digital world that they will save the planet, is also an empty promise. And in the new smart madhouse, everything is about growth and the funny stuff.

Consequently, my definition of smart is that it is a strategy that earns you a lot of money in little time. It is a term that has absolutely nothing to do with sustainability.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Thursday August 22nd, 2019

Money.

Virtual and digital.

Im Smoking – es geht zur Gala. 

Wearing my Smoking – on the way to the Gala.

Money has always fascinated me. Not only because you can buy everything with it, but also because it is something virtual with important functions and with immense strength and power.

Money is a virtual commodity. It needs belief and symbols If you want it to fulfil its purpose, you actually need an almost absurd belief in the value of money. Because nobody wants to spend anything he values without getting something real and secure in return.

Money will work as a currency if a huge collective unit accepts it as “valuable”. If you have no majority of people in a society who believe in it, then you can forget about it.

In terms of architecture and functionality, money has two functions.

First and foremost, money is a

I. means of payment

that simplifies the exchange of goods, perhaps even enables it. But it also has a second function that you want to strictly separate from the first. It is about money to be paid back in the future, generally also called “debts“, along with “providing“.

II. Financing the present and providing for the future

In this context, we now get the additional dimension of time. You can accumulate money in order to provide for your future. It is called saving.

You can also try to improve the present at the cost of a future. In other words, I can buy and get and use something today but pay for it (a lot) later or in instalments. For instance because I have no money today but assume to have money tomorrow. For whatever reasons.

This is how I can build a house with borrowed money. This is how you also generate income from capital or rights. All I have to do is find someone who believes me when I say that I will pay my debt back tomorrow, i.e. at a defined time in the future.

Both – saving and borrowing – precludes that the currency will remain stable as time goes by. But that is seldom happening. However, before we deal with the phenomenon inflation, let us talk about interest.

After all, this covering of time only became possible through interest. Now, if you owned more money than you needed (in other words, if you were rich), you could give the money you did not need to someone who needed it. This person (also called debtor) could buy what he needed and had to pay interest for being given money. And he could calculate how much more he had to pay for something he needs immediately.

If you talk interest, you immediately also need to talk inflation. If, for instance, the inflation is higher than the interest rate, then you can become rich by indebting yourself – totally without any work. And this is how “the devil will always shit on a huge pile of shit”. In other words: poor and rich automatically build opposing poles.

As I said earlier, money has always been a virtual commodity. It has often been represented by actual things (coins, paper notes). If you had these objects, you were able to take part in the property game.

Typically, the objects were special things, like coins or paper.

As civilization progressed, you could generate your own money. All you needed was the trust of your business partners. Laws and the debt tower improved your security. For instance, you could formulate debt contracts as bills of exchange and received goods against an unconditional pledge of payment for a certain time in the future.

Today, we have less and less objects that represent money. This is how money becomes an entry in a global book that describes who the money belongs to. The global book is realized and kept by a complex banking system. It is called technological advance that this book is now no longer written on paper but digitally administered.

With Blockchain technology, they now try to do this accounting in a digital, decentralized and global manner. In particular, they want to be independent from central service providers, mostly with camouflaged identities, which means the owners can register through their sw system and need not lay open their authenticity.

Mostly, however, these currencies are still linked to state systems. And the money is administered by private enterprises, the banks. That makes sense, because historically, it has been assumed that countries cannot become bankrupt. After all, everything belongs to them and they can always take the money from their citizens.

But in reality, it is the trust of the citizens in their country and its currency that carries the system. If this trust is no longer there, the currency can easily be dead. It happened several times in the past, and the consequences were always catastrophic.

So modern currencies like the dollar, the Euro or the Renminbi can easily die. Even if it sounds unimaginable to us, it can easily happen. Without the function of money, business life is not imaginable.

Mental experiment:
What would happen in such an event?

The answer seems simple.
New currencies would have to come. The necessary requirement is that the people trust in them. Such a trust can best be generated in groups that share mental concepts.

Nobody ever said these groups have to be state regulated. These communities should be huge. The biggest communities we find are those in the internet. Consequently, the idea that huge internet enterprises should carry these communities sounds logical.

This is why I see a facebook currency (for example) in a different light. And I believe it would be a good idea if we prepared for such a currency. Simply to have something on standby if the dollar, the Euro, or the Renminbi (or all of them) will collaps.

Let me be clear about this:
It might happen that, in our country, currencies that we have discriminated against and fought, like the LIBRA, will suddenly become saviours of the world-wide business life. If, for instance, the three currencies collaps, where are we supposed to take our money?

It might happen faster than we would like it to happen.

Here is another difference between Libra and similar currencies and Bitcoin:

When all is said and done, what facebook wants to do is organize a faith group currency. LIBRA will probably become a classical, purely digital antiquated currency. It has nothing to do with a crypto currency. Bitcoin is totally different – the distinctive criterion is that the owners are camouflaged behind their software and their registration and remain anonymous. However, it seems to me that anonymous property is not something we want in our society. And even with Bitcoin, you only get it in theory. If nobody else, then at least the miners prevent it.

nd here is a cynical question: I could easily imagine the catholic church as provider of an internet currency. There are still many people who trust in it – and there is a great argument in favour of such a provider – the enterprise has 2,000 years of success behind it.

RMD

Roland Dürre
Saturday August 17th, 2019

Growth.

Chess is not the only area where, once in a while, you should use your brains.

To me, it seems clear that humanity, that is we all, must produce LESS. That means

– fewer cars,

– fewer planes,

– fewer tanks,

– fewer machines,

– fewer streets,

– fewer electronic devices,

– fewer buildings,

– less concrete and tar,

– fewer wars,

– less plastic,

– less waste,

– less meat,

– less CO2 …

– and so on.

It goes without saying that we also have to use up, or, better said, “destroy”, less oil, coal and gas, as well as soil and nature. Perhaps we should also stop making more and more water reservoirs, because in the long run, it is rather doubtful if they are very beneficial, whereas the damage they do is quite obvious. In general, we should completely stop with how we affect nature.

I see a lot of GROWTH potential for this list that tells us all the things we should do LESS of. To put it broadly: we should do fewer stupid things!

In other words, it is clear that growth as a general healer is a thing of the past. Thus, whenever you hear news about the economy growing, this is bad news. And if you hear about “negative growth“, then this is good news.

As always, the huge political and economic goal of our times is GROWTH! And what do the institutions we humans installed, such as governments and central banks, do? With their money market policy, they try to support, even force, growth world-wide. Even such strange tools as “negative interest rates“ are applied. Just to give the great fire of the economy some fuel at all costs.

The BREXIT is a good example. Whenever I hear people who criticize the Brexit, the main argument I hear is that the BREXIT will not only minimize the prosperity and economic growth of the Brits, but also that of all of us. But wouldn’t that be good news for the world? One might conclude that we need many many BREXITs and a totally new and different form of globalization.

For the sake of growth, we have negative interest rates. However, they do not bring us “social justice”. On the contrary, they create an even stronger polarization between the poor and the rich. I never understood them.

Whenever I let someone else have money, there is always a real risk that I will not get it back. So why would I let someone have my money if I know in advance that, in addition to the risk of losing it, I also get back less than I gave?

The evolution forces our society both individually and collectively to struggle against growth. By now, we even have laws that require LESS. And since politics do not want to act, they now appeal morally to the individual person. Fly less, eat less meat, and similar calls are heard all over the place. Since politics are incapable of doing their job, the problem is now handed back to the citizen.

Thus, we get a schizophrenic system. To me, our perverted economic system looks like a steam engine. The banks and politics put in more and more, thus increasing the pressure. The people try to impede the machines that are processed by the steam engine in order to minimize the mania.

Normally, what you get is a big bang. Which is the consequence of very ordinary system failure.

However, it is more than doubtful if, in a capitalist system, it is possible at all to break free from the growth-oriented environmental destruction and from the fossil exploitation in favour of a sustainable and circular economy without questioning the basic principles of capitalism.

But why is LESS so hard? My personal experience with LESS is very positive. Consequently, I tell myself: how nice would it be to have a voluntary, creative and collective LESS policy.

Less noise, less waste, less destruction. That would really be a huge transformation with lots of change, including the governing capitalist metrics. If we had such an innovative process, a lot would be destroyed. Because innovation is creative destruction.

However, there must be someone who controls the transformation process and tries to assuage the consequences. Who could that someone be?

Politics? They currently discuss the soli. It might be a good idea to re-organize it, instead of abolishing it. Let us forget about re-unification. And let us use the soli in order to alleviate the downward spiral for those who, predictably, will suffer from the transformation that is necessary in order to save the planet. After all, the consequences of said transformation will probably be more dramatic than those we had after the re-unification.

The transformation will come no matter what. And unless we get under way instead of procrastinating, it will come by itself. And it will probably be rather disruptive and hit us even harder.

Our politicians are definitely procrastinators (Prokrastination).

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Sunday August 11th, 2019

(Deutsch) Die CLOUD im Theater.

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Roland Dürre
Saturday August 3rd, 2019

The Art of Braking

 

The hyperloop secret.

 

Schema des Hyperloops
(from: Wikipedia)

Among other things, I also mentioned Elon Musk in my last . Let us look at another one of his topics: the . It is also one of the high-technology projects/ideas where Elon Musk invests.

The underlying idea is simply that land-oriented vehicles  are easier to move around in an evacuated  tube than in fresh air. Typically, land-oriented vehicles use wheels (railway), but sometimes they are magnetic levitation trains or hovercrafts

 

 

As I see it, the specialty about hyperloop is that it has been generated as an open source project, i.e. the findings are commonly available. There is also a competition, which is held every year in a test tube in Los Angeles. The vehicle with the maximum final speed wins. Mostly, the participants are teams from universities.

The TU München won this competition several times. This year,  they also won it. I find this quite remarkable. Consequently, I asked the question: “how can a team from a country like Germany that is no longer the leader in technology and digitally win such a competition?” 

The answer is remarkably easy:
The length of the test distance  is finite. So far, the pods pass a tube that is only 1,200 metres long. And the TUM team soon realized that the top speed correlates both with the time and the distance you can use for acceleration. So the first goal must be to minimize the brake distance, because this is how you have as many metres as possible for acceleration.

And – sorry for this cynical remark – as everybody knows, when it comes to braking, we Germany are really great. Consequently, the vehicle  WARR of TUM (note the naming) has the best braking system of all the vehicles in the competition. Thus, it can still accelerate when the competition is already braking.

For his Hyperloop contest 2020, Elon Musk plans with a distance of around ten kilometres, including a bend. Maybe the braking advantage of WARR will no longer be so pronounced then.

Regardless, it will still be true that:
if you want to be fast, you first need to learn how to brake. Because since the total path is limited, you need to find a way to use as much distance as possible for acceleration.

Here is a nice metaphor for life:
If you want to be fast, first learn how to brake! 

RMD