Roland DürreTuesday August 28th, 2012
When I read a newspaper during my vacation, it mostly means I am a few days behind. But then, the newspapers from a few days ago also have quite some content. For instance, Turkey wants to renovate 40 million flats to make them earth-quake resistant. They want to control it centrally. Calling it a huge national effort.
They introduced a governmental program that looks epoch-making. Now doesn’t that sound great? It sounds like somebody has eventually found a solution to a problem. At long last, someone actually gets active. Here comes the great national rising – modern Turkey on its way towards the future. It will certainly go without saying that such a huge national project cannot take the inhabitants into consideration. After all, we all want it to be a success, don’t we?
The report sounds a little like Chinese reports. I do not believe in these kinds of programs. They cause too much frustration. Once in a while, you get a few (initial) success stories, but eventually, there is almost always failure. We find too many negative examples for such mega projects, both in countries and societies. Mostly, they leave behind more ruins and wreckage than improvement.
Exactly those companies that previously profited from having people live in derelict buildings will again profit from these projects. Much money will be burned. And in the end, a lot will have been without much effect and the positive consequences will be rather moderate. Regardless, I am sure it makes sense to make buildings earth-quake resistant. Because, after all, what would be the alternative?
Even with topics as important as this one, I would prefer a policy that enlightens the people through transparent information and communication. Such an approach should aim at changing social concepts and create a spirit of rising, which again would motivate local initiatives. Which would probably be less expensive and, above all, more sustainable.
(Translated by EG)
Roland DürreMonday August 27th, 2012
IF blog is now in the middle of its Summer Slump. I am staying near the beach for two weeks, seeing to duerre.de. And I add a few “catch phrase articles” to the “keywords”. Today, I will write about “education”:
In our complex society, education is the basic requirement for success.
This is both true for every individual person and a good society.
Education will create knowledge, knowledge will give you joy, joy generates courage.
If you have knowledge, joy and courage, your chances of happiness are pretty good.
Woe to those societies that economize on education.
Is it possible that the shortest articles are the best?
(Translated by EG)
Werner LorbeerFriday June 29th, 2012
“8% interest is too much for the Southern European nations“. – “If the Euro fails, Europe fails“. What pitiful sentences!
Yet the historical truth is so near. Firstly, the ratings of the Southern countries (and of others, too) were certainly wrong. The agencies gave their readers the wrong impression of security and should be admonished for it. But they certainly should not be admonished for now slowly approaching the truth.
As to the market: now, as they took off the blindfold, the players on the market want to get rewarded for the risk they took. Well, to be sure, this is now the only way to wake the political classes from their dreamy fantasies: I do not believe in < self-imposed moderation as Germany propagates it. But considering the moderation effect of interest rates, I would be quite optimistic.
A consequence of this would be that the gentlemen JunkerHollandeMontiundCo would not get interest assistance. But, ladies and gentlemen, feel free to put all your – certainly considerable – wealth into southern state government bonds.
Wouldn’t it be nice to be a mouse and listen? Which government bonds do Roth and Steinbrück buy? Do they really, out of sympathy, only buy those from Greece, Portugal and Spain? And then, when finally the entire mountain collapses, we will dance Sirtaki with Anthony Quinn: “Don’t be sad, dear boss, life is too short”.
In order to show the truth about what nations can stomach and what they actually did stomach in the past, you can look at the figure below. It shows 10 years of government bonds and I took it from Markt-Daten.de.
In the past, many nations successfully coped with higher interest rates, for instance the FRG when we had to finance the re-unification. I remember well the malice at the financial centre of London when they saw our high interest rates – did any of them volunteer to help us finance them? No. All over the financial centre of London they were quite happy with the high German interest rates.
But now let us enjoy the life of this summer, all the Junkers, Roths, Steinbrücks, Trittins and the other good people! This is the end of investment, the end of the film, Anthony Quinn and the duped financier. There is no alternative. Here we have life without old age, without civilization, living now and ignoring tomorrow… how thoroughly nice and absent-minded.
(Translated by EG)
Roland DürreMonday June 18th, 2012
On Sunday evening, I watched “The News”. Incidentally, this is a stupid euphemism! How would you watch news?
I found it remarkable that they were talking about a “Fateful Hour for Europe”. Just because they had tiny general elections in a tiny European country. Incidentally, the same country will get a really serious beating next Friday in the soccer game. Because they misbehaved big time.
Or maybe they will cause a sensation. Well, when we are talking soccer, nothing is impossible.
But they call it a “Fateful Hour” – and for all of Europe, at that! Another one of those euphemisms. Are we looking at the next “European War”, or what?
So what is this all about?
For me, the Munich decision about the Third Runway is more important. Perhaps this is really the beginning of an about-face – away from the concrete-chromium-jet-set society? I am not yet courageous enough to be hopeful.
But let us get back to all those billions. In German, one billion means 1,000 times 1,000 million. Unlike the British convention!
Then I heard in the news how fortunate it is for us Germans, too, that Greece will now remain in the EURO zone (?). Otherwise, we Germans would have had to pay additional costs to the tune of more than 100 billion Euros.
Now that, too, is bullshit. But even if it were so: what is an extra 100 billion in this game? In this game, the public corporations of the FRG are already indebted by more than 2,000 billion Euros. Not too long ago, it was a little less than 2,000 billion. In view of this, 100 billion are less than 5 %. This is ridiculous.
And currently the national debt is increasing faster than ever before, regardless of the “debt brake” (another one of those linguistic stupidities) and “an overwhelming tax flow”. Neither the “obligation to economize“, nor the “fiscal package“ (again twice linguistic stupidity) can change anything about that fact. The system is no longer linked to a person. It just runs as it runs.
Besides, it is quite irrelevant whether we reach the 3,000 billion for our national debt sooner or later. Basically, it is quite simple:
This kind of national debt, no matter if we are talking Germany, Greece, Europe or the USA, can only be overcome by one means: inflation (or even better: collapse of the currency).
Let us discuss the friendlier version: inflation (I consider collapse rather unlikely, which is why I am not discussing it).
If we want to achieve a nominal reduction from 2 billion in real debt to 1 billion in a certain time interval (let us say, for instance, five years), then the value of the money must be reduced to half its worth. If we want a reduction from nominally three to one billion, then the money value must be reduced by the factor three. In terms of inflation, there is not that much difference, is there?
Firstly, it is not such a bad idea if the very rich, for a change, have to let go of some of their wealth. The determining factor whether or not someone is going to lose or actually even profit is his or her mixture of investments. And this is one area where the rich cannot be sure about the best strategy. Gold and real estates will not necessarily be the best choice. Which is why mostly the losers are in the majority. In the past, quite a few millionaires ended up paupers.
Unfortunately, the truly poor people who have nothing but their retirement money are the real losers. For instance “Grandma with her savings account” or the “Hartz 4″ recipient. And many more. But it will happen anyway. All we can hope for is that the pain will be eased a little.
Maybe the solution is actually some sort of “un-conditional basic income” – along with supplementary occupations in the typical low-income sector. There is enough work in our society – even for the so-called “social fringe groups“ and “persons with few qualifications“ (another one of those unfortunate phrases).
When we are talking inflation, we often forget that many basic necessities, such as food, are still relatively cheap in Germany, regardless of all the inflation we have. With many products, inflation was softened in the past through an “increase in productivity“ and a “readiness to forego top quality”.
The latter of the two aspects is something I cannot understand. But it can be explained by a (slow) adaption to the lower living standards based on the consumer being massively influenced towards poorer but more attractively labeled products – which, in actual fact reveal a tendency towards an abnormal living quality – through marketing.
The former of the two aspects, increased productivity, might well be a dying swan. After all, “increased productivity“ is only partly due to “real creativity“ and “innovative solutions“. In fact, it is mostly more the result of us treating nature and resources extremely lavishly. Along with a systematic exploitation of humans, both here and in other regions of the world. Using humans and nature in a “non-sustainable“ way might be another one of those euphemisms.
Well, the wealthy people, in particular, are now changing their consumer habits. More and more often, quality beats quantity. It gets more attractive to have “less” instead of “more”.
We face many problems – and they get more and more obvious. However, the only way to solve them will be through creativity, innovation and a different mental concept. “Everything is functioning quite well” and “this is what we always did” will get us nowhere!
So here we go – start NOW
(Translated by EG)
Roland DürreFriday May 18th, 2012
Today is the last day the graduates from Bavarian “Grammar Schools” of the year 2012 can give written testimony of their competence. They will be asked questions in mathematics.
Well, today is May, 18th. In Bavaria, the school year is supposed to last until Wednesday (!), August, 1st. We have to thank the Minister of Culture and Education, Ludwig Spaenle for the shortened year. Mind you, we are talking 2.5 months!
Now isn’t that strange? But how did this shortened school year originate?
I graduated from German “Grammar School“ in 1969. A few years before that, the compulsory military service was shortened to 18 months. Up until then, the graduation exams were written at the end of term, in July. Some universities, such as TU München, only allowed freshmen in the winter term (starting in November). The military service for the graduates started on October, 1st, which meant that you returned one and a half years later, at the end of March. That meant you had to somehow spend another half year before you could start with your university studies. In other words, the total time lost for the so-called “W18-Mann” was two whole years.
Consequently, they introduced the “W15+” for the first time in my graduation class of 1969 – strangely enough, the girls, too, were concerned. The underlying idea was simple. If the male graduates who had to be trained for ”defending the country“ were allowed to start their military service on July, 1st and permitted to serve the missing three months “at a not yet specified time in the future”, they would return late in September and the total loss of time would only be one year.
Accordingly, the last school year (depending on how you counted, it was named either the 9th or 13th form), was made a shortened school year. Of course, they stuck to this nonsense until today, even though the duration of the compulsory military service has been shortened several times, which should have made the shortened school year unnecessary.
I had assumed that the introduction of the G8 (reduction of the grammar school time from 9 to 8 years) would have been the latest date for abolishing this shortened school year. Because if you shorten the entire education time so considerably, keeping up the shortened school year definitely seems less goal-oriented than the abolition of an entire school year.
Today, I realize this assumption of mine was totally incorrect. I assume the teachers’ lobby had a word or two to say in the process.
So now we did not get a G8, but a G7.5. This is another one of the escapades of Bavarian educational policy. Maybe Herr Stoiber just forgot to take a closer look when he introduced the school reform.
But then, what can politics do where lobbyism is so strong? Again, it is all about votes. As always…
Incidentally, I do not know a single W15 who later had to go back and serve those missing three months. Well, this is a rather harmless form of the then also quite normal “injustice in the legal procedure of compulsory military service“. Also, I personally know quite a few super athletes who were excused from military service for very fishy medical reasons, regardless of their having been “fit as a fiddle”.
That, too, was quite normal in those days. Well, it is also a kind of lobby, isn’t it…
(Translated by EG)
Incidentally, to this day, I never saw any of my graduation exams again. At the time, we fought quite fiercely for being permitted to see them after correction. But in 1969, the administration and politics were just as arrogant as today when it came to ignoring what the citizens wished. The reasons given were always obscure, if there were any reasons given at all.
Even after the legal preservation time for the exams had expired, my graduation works, which I consider my personal intellectual property, were never handed back to me. As I see it, I have a legal right to intellectual property, at least as far as my German essay is concerned. But they ignored this argument. Of course, I would have been happy to take photocopies, instead of the originals. After all, the paper I wrote the essay on was not my property.
Today, the graduate students do not get their works back either. They can only take a look if very special circumstances are claimed. So is it a surprise that more and more people demand more transparency?
And it also shows that intellectual property is only taken seriously if commercial interests of certain sectors are concerned and they are backed by their lobby. So, again, we have lobbyism. Incidentally, lobbyism can be very stupid, because more and more often, it is detrimental to precisely those it wants to advance.
Roland DürreFriday April 13th, 2012
First 2012 IF Forum – Living (and Surviving) Sustainably – April, 17
Heidi Schiller – energy entrepreneur in Africa will present.
Black – White – Multi-Coloured (Schwarz – weiß – bunt.)
Some impulses for looking upon this one world of ours a little differently.
Or course, we will, again, broadcast live into the internet!
The broadcast will start shortly after 6 p.m.
You can see the video stream of the presentation at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/IF-Forum (link). If you want to test if the video stream can be loaded with your browser, call the aforementioned Websitee.
In addition to the broadcast, we will make a video recording and publish it at youtube (channel: rolandduerre).
I already look forward to a huge internet audience!
(Translated by EG)
And there are always a few vacancies for cherished friends
Roland DürreSunday April 1st, 2012
I am almost embarrassed to admit to it in public – but I have a very intimate connection with “wikileaks”. And my friends (who, naturally, want to remain anonymous) disclosed a few secrets for me. Those secrets will soon be handed over to “Bild-Zeitung” – of course after a thorough check. But I can already report today …
So, bear in mind that this is top secret! Do not even think of telling anybody!
A secret study done for the Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung by Z_punkt and Future Matters about the future of parties contains a devastating prognosis for the parties currently dominating Germany in an oligarchical manner.
Germany threatens to become a two-party democracy! Similar to the USA!
Well, initially this prediction is a little surprising, but then it is easy to understand, isn’t it? What is less easy to understand, however, is which parties will be the dominating future powers. All you can do is see and marvel – we are talking the GREEN PARTY and the PIRATE PARTY.
According to the survey, the GREEN PARTY will have their supporters among the conservative, religiously influenced and esoterically minded voters. It will become a party for those people who believe that the problems we will face in the future can only be solved by a global ecocracy.
On the other hand, there will be the second great people’s party – the PIRATES. For them, the surveyors predict that they will tend to win the liberal-minded voters from the more educated social levels. If there are those among you who find it hard to believe these predictions made by the futurologists, maybe you should remember that the institutes doing the study are enterprises with an extremely good reputation. The reason why these institutions enjoy such high appreciation is that their predictions for the future have a success rate of about 98 %.
The documents I am referring to, however, do not just contain the results of a political study, but also numerous protocols and emails, even DMs (direct messages) from twitter and facebook! So here is what we conclude:
Being closely affiliated with the CSU and due to the frightening political situation, the Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung not only mailed the survey to its sister party CDU, but to all people’s parties, such as SPD, “Die Linke”, FDP, “Freie Wähler” and NPD. To me, this looks like a great act of solidarity among competing, basically even opposing parties.
I find the various reactions by the parties and politicians concerned particularly interesting. We found them in our “secret material”:
Being a very pragmatic party, the FDP showed real greatness and decided to beat fate to it and annul themselves. This kind of consistency deserves respect – who would have thought it of a clientele and change party? Chapeaux!
In order to pave the way for an official ban, the NPD will now distance itself from its V-persons. In this fashion, they will be able to give a plausible reason for their disappearance and gain the martyrdom status they have been hoping for all along. As I see it, this is an infamous strategy.
After the results of the study have been published, the SPD fell into a state of paradoxical paralysis. The leading troika is in a state of profound shock. Their new strategy is: “harmonize with all and none“. Well, I guess that is no surprise, is it?
Personal reactions by the two great protagonists in the “Christian-democratic“camp are particularly remarkable – as far as can be seen from the Wikileaks documents.
Our Bavarian Prime Minister Seehofer quickly decided to become a pirate and wants to prepare for the right moment to make the transition. What we can see from the emails we have, however, seems to indicate that transfer negotiations are not running too smoothly.
Our Federal Chancellor, on the other hand, is a totally different matter. If we can believe diverse facebook communiations, the change to the Green Party is already a matter of course. With remarkably little resistance, the Green Party will make her their top candidate. They already look forward to a possible eco-dictatorship during the next three legislative periods in Germany.
But do not forget – this is top secret. Do not tell anybody!
(Inspired and translated by EG)
Roland DürreTuesday March 27th, 2012
Last weekend was another election weekend. For me, this is reason enough to think about parties and politics. And about how political opinions are shaped today. After all, it is one of the tasks assigned to parties. They are paid for it by the state.
Today, taking part in a democratic forum for shaping your political opinion is nowhere near as costly as it probably was 50 years ago. We live in times where this is possible without having to sacrifice long nights full of cigarettes and red wine.
The “only” thing an active citizen has to invest these days in order to shape his political opinion is his time. What is needed is the good intention and the potential of as many people as possible to acquire knowledge and evaluate the challenges of the modern society in an autonomous and self-responsible way. You have to think, understand and accept other people’s opinions and views, or else counter them.
In order to do so, you have to develop values and your competence for dialectically debating arguments. Fighting slogans and simplified dogmas are no help. Electoral promises are no longer welcome. The citizens have to remember their autonomy and refuse to accept simplified “certainties” and frivolous babble. They must start anew as responsible citizens who question things.
And, above all, they must be prepared to re-evaluate their own interests and vested rights.
Democracy is a question of culture and education. It depends on the willingness to accept the general welfare as a common value. That is something you basically need no money for!
We live in a time when the shaping of political opinions can be achieved extremely easily. Nowadays, you can inform yourself and others at a low cost, communicate and discuss matters with others without problems, make up your own mind and convince yourself and others. Even if the other parties concerned live far away. Because we now have the internet!
Consequently, the state should no longer throw the money of its citizens away by subsidizing fossilized party structures!
Basically, the money is just spent for marketing, thus strengthening the oligarchic position of the existing parties (Oligarchie der vorhandenen Parteien). And that is something the German philosopher Karl Jaspers warned us against as early as 40 years ago. Unfortunately, his warning went unheeded.
Modern parties will not need federal money for their central tasks. Giving them bounty on head for each voter only supports the crustification of grown power structures. Those who are powerful get most of the money and thus can invest even more into marketing.
I often hear the argument that party financing helps against a situation as we find it in the USA. There, a candidate only has a chance to get elected if he is either super-rich himself or/and has friends with a lot of capital who (for whatever reasons) are prepared to give him money for his electoral campaign. However, those sums are in a completely different league. Some additional (federal) money would not really make a huge difference.
So here is what I propose:
Ban marketing for politics (as has been done for tobacco and alcohol), reduce propaganda through public ostracism, base the electoral campaigns on facts, rather than influencing the opinion building process through the supply of party structures with “federal money”.
(Translated by EG)