Roland Dürre
Friday October 6th, 2017

Catalonia

My Dream of EUROPE

La senyera – The Catalonian Flag.

Currently, everybody talks about Catalonia. So I will also add my “five cent”:

I would be quite glad if Catalonia were to secede from Spain. It would not do any harm to Europe, either. On the contrary.

And Catalonia would not be able to escape the EURO, either. Consequently, we would also have to permit them to remain in the EU and ignore a possible veto from Spain if Catalonia applies for EU membership. After all, they already were members, which means that it is not a new membership.

Maybe the remainder of Spain wants to continue with the monarchy as established by Franco and apply for leaving the EU? However, I would not recommend it to them. They definitely should refrain from re-erecting Franco monuments and leave fascism well alone.

We might need a few additional stars – just like we need more of them in the skies?

But this is not about Catalonia. For me, it is all about a vision for Europe that would probably contribute a little towards solving a few of the current problems.

What we need is a EUROPE that is a close-knit federation of regions (i.e. regional countries or states). These regions should have more or less the same size and thus be able to cooperate at eye-level. My assumption is: the smaller the states, the more of them we have and the closer they are connected, the better!

To be sure, to make it a success, a few requirements that are hard to meet would need to be fulfilled:

  1. A federation of European regions would have to serve the people – and not the entrepreneurs, concerns and speculators.    
For me, that is a central requirement. Consequently, free markets at any price, the mindless abolition of borders do not have priority. Limitless growth, maximum consumption for all and unlimited riches cannot be the ultimate goal of a new “federation of values Europe”.  Just like a misinterpreted freedom without duties is not a value.
  2. Europe cannot be allowed to become an end in itself.    
Europe must not aim at becoming a superpower and have an internationally leading role, perhaps even be some kind of new world police. Because that is not what we need and besides, a Europe that develops sustainably will have an important role worldwide with huge influence anyway, even without nuclear weapons and carriers.
  3. Solidarity is not something that is achieved through subsidies.    
Solidarity between regions and humans cannot be achieved by handing out cheques. In particular, it cannot be achieved exclusively by handing out cheques. The subsidies for farming in the old EU are a good example. They destroyed exactly what they (perhaps) wanted to preserve.
  4. The national states must go.    
That is true for all of them, especially the big ones like Germany, France, Italy, Spain … (and also Great Britain, which, as of now, is still part of it). Because we no longer need all this nationally dominated lamenting – we could actually leave it, for instance, to soccer.

For me, the points 1 and 4 are the most important.

Ad 1.)  What is so bad about a county protecting its local markets and characteristics in a reasonable way? What is so bad about more control if crime increases? As I see it, you need some kind of border control when you have reached a certain dimension. And if that is so, then I prefer a systematic and controlled way of doing it, rather than  the haphazard way we see today.
In a living and responsibly functioning Europe, there can be no room for lobbyism and the currently existing oligarchy of interest groups they call parties.
This may sound unimaginable, because you need to re-define democracy and probably you will also need a more direct democracy. But we are entitled to some utopian ideas!
Because we have the right (and the obligation) to preserve the European cultures in all their diversity and to also preserve a heterogeneous Europe. This must be explicitly desired in a Europe of regions. It must be discussed together and supported by ample means. Otherwise, Europe will never really materialize.
And it must happen in the interest of all people – except the speculators and some super rich individuals or super powerful systems. Especially if they are de-personalized and have become independent.

Ad 4.)  
How nice would it be to have a Europe of smallish regions. The reasons why it would be nice are mostly rational. Basically, small and self-organised systems always work better than big ones, especially if those big ones are also controlled and administered externally. Flat hierarchies make a realistic form of subsidiarity easier. Politically spoken, we would only have two, rather than – as today – three hierarchical levels in the “upper echelons”.
In this model, the EU would be the top level and the international presence of all regions. It is controlled by the council of the regions, all of which can have their own autonomous structures. The nationally infected level in between, for instance Berlin, Paris, Rome – or, in this case, Madrid – would be gone for good.
You would also no longer need a veto right for individual states (no matter if we are talking a few 100,000 people or 80 million). It would be replaced by a qualified majority in the council of regions.
Whenever a region falters or behaves totally irrational, which is something that can always happen, it would be easier to heal than today. Just remember how impossible it is to influence a country like Poland. In a system at eye-level, it would also be easier and more direct to practice solidarity than it can be done with the current EU sprinkling system.
In other words, the EU would have to consist of “states” none of which can be bigger than, for example, Bavaria. But perhaps even Bavaria is too big to be just one EU region? Even here, a reasonable division is quite feasible, and thus at least a good solution would be possible.
So we have to divide the national states. It would be easy for the FR of Germany, because we already have a rather reasonable county structure. You could just take it (and perhaps improve it as suggested in the last paragraph). I would leave small states like Bremen or Hamburg. If currently Estonia qualifies for EU membership, why should not the two proud German Hanseatic Cities be a region each – just like Estonia would be a region?

If we wish to heal EUROPE, then we may and must definitely have and strive towards these kinds of utopian ideas! Otherwise it will never become true! And then comes the big hangover!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
Here is a positive idea about the so detrimental shared currency:    
I basically believe that the best solution would be to have different currencies according to the “maturity/state” of a region (I will call them EURO1, EURO2 and EUROn). But that is a very complicated topic. I would rather not discuss it here.
However, here is a positive idea if you have only one EURO: It is quite possible that one EURO for all regions– regardless of many disadvantages – could also have a huge advantage. One EURO for all of them would be something like the iron ring that holds them all together. And thus it makes it impossible to exit and helps when it comes to overcoming future regional crises. But then, that would again need another utopia to become reality – a currency policy of the EZB that differs from the one currently witnessed under “Super-Mario“ Draghi.

Roland Dürre
Monday October 2nd, 2017

QUESTIONS (NOT JUST) FOR ENTREPRENEURS

A no more quite “green” but still young entrepreneur in his Unterhaching office (1993 ?).

On June, 7th,
I asked several human and general questions.

And I supplemented them on October, 1st by writing a few theses about what it means to “be human”.

The current social consensus – if such a thing still exists – is something I understand less and less.

Today, let me ask a few questions concerning our “social market economy”. If that is something we here still want at all – because, for a long time, it has now only existed to a limited extent.

The economy is supposed to serve the people. Rather than vice versa. The same must be true for enterprises. They, too, are supposed to serve the people – instead of people serving the enterprise.

The Definition:
An enterprise is a social system that has an economic goal.
The goal of an enterprise is to create products and/or to generate a service. They develop structures and organize themselves. Enterprises have a structure that should actually serve the interest of the people and not work against it.

The Rule:
Common good is more important than profit maximization!
In a social market economy, the enterprises must realize a shared common-good economy. Bowing to the influence of lobbyists in order to increase your own profit is just as forbidden as externality (Externalität – costs being externalized). The principle that profit is privatized but losses are socialized cannot prevail!

And there are more questions:

  • Why are enterprises allowed to offer things that nobody needs? And why can they then artificially create the demand for it?
  • Why do enterprises that produce in the sectors armament and tobacco have the highest margins by far?
  • Why do concerns so often act criminally?
  • Why are criminal enterprises then even subsidized or socially accepted?
  • Why is it permitted that, for enterprises that work in the health sector (medicine, pharmacy,…), the shareholder value is more important than the mandate to make humans more healthy?
  • Why have so many enterprises (social systems with an economic goal) shed their human-based concepts and become systemically independent?
  • Why do we still have disciplinary bosses?
  • Why is work still measured in time units?
  • Why do even high-tech enterprises have punch cards?
  • Why is there no transparency to incomes?
  • Why do we need human source departments?
  • Why do top managers often earn many hundred times more than their employees?
  • Why do you need marketing if you offer high quality products?
  • What is the duty of marketing, other than manipulate people towards consuming?
  • What kinds of enterprises do we have if – with the help of lobbyism – they change the rules to their advantage and thus generate no end of damage to the common good?
  • Why is the “fear to lose your job” (without further consideration) a free ticket if you want to keep useless economic and social structures and if you want to destroy the environment?
  • Why is “change and modification” not at all possible if it threatens economic interests?
  • Why do they always point out how great the economic risks are, but ignore or question  the chances in all the discussions?
  • Why does the interest of the shareholders always have priority over the needs of the other stakeholders (employees, customers, providers, … )?
  • Why do so many people believe that privatization is the magic medicine that solves all problems?
  • Why are communal and/or state-owned enterprises still frowned upon and considered second-class enterprises, although, for example, many local providers show that they actually know what they are doing?
  • What is the practical advantage of “ethical fig leaves” like “CSR“ (Corporate Social Responsibility) or “BGM“ (Betriebsgesundheits-Management)?
  • Why do we not understand that enterprises, as social systems, are closer to being biological units than machines where, by turning the right screws, you can control and increase the turnout and profit to your liking?
  • Why is the consumer in theory the “protected holy cow”, yet in practice he is always more the “disregarded and hunted animal that consumes”?
  • Why is the stakeholder value still the end-all-be-all?
  • Why is everything just about growth and maximization?
  • And many more questions …

Basically, we all know what should happen. Isn’t it terrible that everybody knows it yet nobody is interested? Perhaps because money is the only metric unit that counts and that everybody believes in.

The highest human right in the elderly FRG (Federal Republic of Germany) is no longer the “dignity of man“; it has become “the protection of acquired possession“.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Friday March 17th, 2017

We Cure the Symptoms and Ignore the Sources.

Long Live Populism!

or
Talking Instead of Acting?

Charly, the Great Dictator.

Now I witnessed the first (electoral) campaign events with Martin Schulz. Even from the distance, I got the impression that this is another and admittedly talented attempt at using the general uncomfortable feeling of many persons as a resonance body for someone’s own goals and demanding a few improvements where small details are concerned that, however, only equal a treatment of symptoms if you look at the entire picture.

In these speeches, I perceived what is probably generally called populism and what is probably the last remaining recipe for success in the current generation of politicians. Apparently, nobody ever got the idea of asking what caused the problems and then introducing change in a social consensus through political activities.

Consequently, Martin Schulz is the next populist looming on the horizon for Europe. This time it is a candidate for the one “party of the people”. Again, the motto in the speeches I heard is the same:

We are appalled by the symptoms and enjoy to point out what went wrong, but we do not dare to approach the sources.

After all, that would be system-critical and call for change. Which is an absolute no-go. Especially for the SPD. Because that is something the comrades forbade themselves many years ago. After all, they want back to power. And even when they were part of the government, they avoided all “system-critical” issues wherever possible. Because “holy” practical constraints and systemic necessities stood in the way of change.

The environmental catastrophe and destruction of our planet (plastic, climate, …) and the social polarization of humanity with all its consequences such as flight because of destroyed living space and more left them just as untouched. In fact, they would like to just leave these issues out of the government altogether. Because it would only have be a nuisance.

“Social Democracy First” is rhetorically easy to communicate. Except: it is a little harder to actually realize and then to work on the causes. After all, you do not want to be (too) inconvenient and you also would not wish to hurt anybody, would you? These topics do not even appear in the electoral slogans, because bad news are not popular. Especially if you can no longer ignore them.

Regardless of the fact that reality, too, might well be a good topic for populists. See the video below. But if you talk about reality, you cannot be afraid of your own courage. You have to be able to bear the truth. And you are ill-advised if you fear that it might cost you votes. So what you need is courage. But currently, it seems that cowardice is more popular. Fear happens between the ears and it reigns over the world in a truly demonic way.

So here, yet again, I am trying to describe the reasons why our society drifts apart into fewer and fewer rich and more and more poor people. Which is exactly where you should get active if you call yourself a social democrat.

The reasons for polarisation are:

  • The free speculation with everything: currencies, enterprises, food, raw materials, property, copyright, all sorts of rights …
  • A property legislation that protects individual “mental property” in an exorbitant and excessive way;
  • A general understanding of ownership that seems to have totally isolated itself from the maxim of “ownership is also a responsibility”;
  • The social legitimacy of illegitimate influence on common-good interests exerted by interest groups (aka lobbyism as a criminal act of advantage theft);
  • Propaganda, including the seduction and manipulation on all levels, also of the sub-conscious, as a normal business method (aka marketing). Seduction that aims at making the concerned persons behave in contrast to their will and ratio.

Although we know better, we still believe that

  • Growth beats health;
  • Taylorismus beats task-identity;
  • Shareholder Value beats common-good economy.

When will we understand that

  • the interests of the stakeholders (customers, employees, …) should have priority over the shareholder interests and that
  • In a society with a future social togetherness instead of private property preservation must have the highest priority both for all individuals and the entity?

So why do politicians never talk causes but instead only make loud populist noises? And why do they always only write in their programs about minimal corrections and symptoms that need to be cured? And why do these methods actually make them successful?

🙂 Here is an example for POPULISM I rather like. Even if Harald Lesch is only partly correct (and I can easily imagine it), my aforementioned “social fear” might soon no longer play a role at all, because surviving will be more important.

Yes – this is exactly the speech I would like to hear from a politician…

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Sunday February 19th, 2017

POST-FACTUAL TIMES

A short time ago, a friend of mine told me

“that he no longer listens to the BR news and also no longer watches the official news of the state-subsidized stations ARD and ZDF. He also no longer likes the classic newspapers such as SZ or FAZ (he never mentioned BILD) and consequently feels comfortable without them. To make up for it, he now likes watching programs such as Heute-Show and the Anstalt (both of them on ZDF, but that is pure coincidence).


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Reading IF-Blog – it’s a must!!!


In addition, he reads a few blogs such as IF-Blog or FEFE. Along with reading the Postillon, that – supplemented with the occasional visit of the cabaret with programs such as Markus Barwasser (Pelzig) – is absolutely sufficient for him to be well informed, also in the sense of democratic responsibility.

My first reaction was to smile. But then I understood that some truth is hidden behind that statement. I even found an explanation:

If a cabaret performer or blogger relates theses or facts, he is well advised to do some serious research and groundwork before publishing them. Otherwise, he might easily be heading towards problems in our post-factual world. The “normal press”, however, never seems to have had that problem.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

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)

Hans Bonfigt
Saturday June 25th, 2016

Great Britain: You did it again …

Erst 2012 enthüllte die Queen das “Bomber Command Memorial”, welches die Männer und Frauen ehrte, die mit aberwitzig hohen Verlusten erfolgreiche Einsätze gegen Deutschland flogen, welches sich anschickte, ganz Europa zu unterjochen.

Roland Dürre
Tuesday June 14th, 2016

Microsoft Buys Linkedin – spontaneous contemplations.

Just a few ideas about the deal …

Zeitgenössische Ganesha-Statue

Contemporary Ganesha statue

Well, this news came as a surprise to me, regardless of everything else:

Microsoft buys Linkedin for 26 billion dollars.

The reason for my surprise, among others, was that, basically, this looks like a fairly low price. After all, a “German” enterprise allegedly offers more than 60 billion for an enterprise that some emotionally consider a “criminal rat shop”.

There might be good reasons (Gründe) for Microsoft to make the deal. I, too, estimated that Linkedin was a little of an underestimated outsider among the really big internet players.

And I also thought the buying strategies of Linkedin, for instance when taking over video2brain and other great enterprises such as slideshare were rather conclusive.

Now, it looks to me like all these activities were just meant to make the bride look a little prettier and thus make more money.


My first question when I heard about the deal was

Why do the customers of Linkedin (an enterprise) not get a vote when it comes to selling Linkedin (that same enterprise)?

And I immediately had to correct myself

Well, the customers do have a vote – all they have to do is remove their account!

If all the customers were to do just that, the whole affair would soon come to an end. Except that, if radically realized, such behaviour would mean leaving all these systems. From A to Z. In other words: you would personally have to disappear from the virtual world. And that is not an option for me.

When all is said and done, you come to the conclusion that it is not just the virtual reality and not only the internet enterprises. Instead, this is all also about my real life: how I live, what I eat, my mobility, my clothes, my energy level.

Consequently, I will reduce my ideas to one question:

What economic system are we in if, according to Prof. Otte, a threshold value of more than 6.1 billion US dollars was moved over the last year through “merging and acquisition” (M &A) world-wide, which is a record number?

And my question gets more precise:

How is it possible and legal that an enterprise can accumulate or get this kind of money and that it can happen at such speed?

I know a book by Georg Zoche, with the title World Power: Money (Weltmacht Geld). Of course, money is power. Consequently, it makes me very thoughtful how concerns can become so rich (=powerful). Mind you, this is happening at a time when our planet slowly but certainly dies and humans kill and torture each other. Because they are poor and consequently become victims of war entrepreneurs.

I am sure you all remember scene 4 of the first act in Shakespeare’s drama »Hamlet« (written around 1600):
“Something is rotten in the State of Denmark.“

RMD
(Translated by EG)

My appreciation for the powerful in our society is dwindling. The population no longer understands how they act and, what is more, how they govern us. After all, it seems like they react more than they act. And how they reign over us and control us.

What is the reason for the growing dissatisfaction with what our politicians, managers and representatives of associations do? Mind you, it happens regardless of all of us basically being good-natured and being quite prepared to overlook the weaknesses and incompetence of our compatriots.

Let me try to explain the phenomenon.

20160602_160932_resized

Here are a few characteristics of human nature.

Some people impress me. They are successful and still humble and humane. They create new things, radiate joy and courage, act and make a difference on a daily basis.

Here are a few ideas of mine – again, they are model-like and I know full well that there is no black-and-white. Some characteristics make humans happy and successful.

  • Experience

    Numerous things belong in that category: 
Experiences from living with a partner. The experience of having you own children. The willingness to exchange the enmity you harbour against yourself and others against joy. The readiness to also embrace extreme situations, as well as to personally take pains, even until you reach a border. The experience of good and poor cooperation in teams. Practicing authentic communication. Gaining and working towards principles in life, such as the ability to be happy and the readiness to accept love. Knowing that you always should first be prepared to give, rather than take. Inner contentment that you can only reach if a necessary amount of physical exercise is reached. Connecting with nature.
    My playful comment on this concept, which I actually mean quite seriously, is that humans need to be “kept species-appropriate”. However, it seems that the heads of our society cannot manage to do this at all.
  • Education
    Today, I define education mostly as the conscious tackling with questions of humanity and society, because everything else can directly or indirectly be found on the internet. If you want a “good education”, you need to be lucky enough to meet the right teachers. It can be individual persons or teams. You need to learn from masters who help you to ask the right questions and to unveil your own prejudices. You need to learn how to be a critical listener and how to quickly discover rhetorical tools. And then you need to practice, practice, practice. All through your life.
    I sadly miss all these things in the heads of our society.
  • Autonomy

    First and foremost, autonomy is the willingness and capability to take responsibility for your own life. 
Looking at the lives of (not only) our “powerful”, I discover that these often seemingly so successful persons, in particular, often live a “second hand” life. External manipulation creates their needs. What they want, what might be good or bad, is controlled from the outside. Artificial reactions beat sadness or joy about things that happen in real life. For instance, it is easier to cry when watching “Love Story” in the cinema than when you bury a friend. They no longer understand that consumption is not the path towards “happiness”. Empathy is replaced by an intellectual, ethic-rational definition that tells you when and how you might show your emotions. And they believe in endless growth. …
  • Freedom
    They exchanged their freedom for being famous and having a career. They are no longer the masters and mistresses of their own lives. They can no longer do what they really would like to do and, even if asked to, cannot do what their individual needs demand.

Especially the powerful functionaries, politicians and business managers are subject to an enormous control from the outside. As a general rule, they have become slaves of their own system. Their lives are controlled by an excessive calendar and an accompanying team of humans who tell them what to do for months in advance.

This is how I perceive the powerful of our world when I meet them in our country or watch them in the media. They are always in a hurry, always stressed out, always artificial, with many beautiful words but without ever making a commitment. To me, they look like representatives of another world or, even worse, zombies of a system that by now has become perverted.

Where are they now, the authentic personalities in top positions who are authentic and focused and who actually find peace inside themselves? I mean those who have no need to constantly proof their value by, basically, just saying what everybody wants to hear and then permanently having to ingratiate themselves?

The Selection Criteria on your Way to Power

The answer is that the characteristics I demand in such a personality diametrically oppose the selection criteria on the way to power. Because if you wish to become rich and powerful, all the factors I described before do not count. In fact, they are quite a hindrance and will make sure you will be a failure in this world. Even at school, all you need to do is behave. When growing up, you have to submit to a huge indoctrination that dominates our socialization. Doubts and ideas of your own will be punished. If you have better knowledge, said knowledge will have to be sacrificed in favour of climbing the ladder of success. Those who are not prepared to subordinate their own beliefs in favour of the patterns generated by the belief in the big lies of late capitalism will drown in the poker game of power. And then the traffic lights of the Germany AG will show the RED light for them.

The only way to accumulate power and wealth (which, basically, is the same thing) is if you strictly accept the dogmata and drugs of the “America-European values” and act as strictly in the frame set for these activities. You have to learn and become fluent in knowing how to use the rather absurd rules of the “shareholder value” to your own advantage. And you have to subjugate yourself completely under the perverse metrics of business and politics.

If, on top of all this, you also know the right people in the Germany AG or if you were born into the party oligarchy, then your career and money affairs will soon blossom.

So how can we change this world?

As I see it, actively planning anything based on ratio will not help at all. Evolution is called upon and it will solve the problem. The main reason why it will work is that the old die out. And I notice especially with young people that they think differently. Luckily, more and more of them no longer believe the rubbish we tell them. Instead, they discover themselves.

This is how evolution will soon create great surprises. The “digital transportation” might well be a driver. It will definitely be “a part of the solution”. But that, too, is something evolution is not really interested in.
RMD

Folégandros, June, 3rd, 2016, My ideas while eating my breakfast.
After yesterday’s long hike through the Greek sun.
(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
Monday January 25th, 2016

The Democratic Opinion Building Process

Bild vom wunderbaren PM-Camp in Zürich.


Picture of the wonderful Zürich PM Camp.

Ever since I remember thinking myself, I have been both impressed and confused by my own species. How we love and hate. How we wildly celebrate and mourn together.

How, because of totally irrational constructs, we fight each other to the death and are capable of the most unspeakable cruelty. How we quarrel and have arguments and then make up again. How we contradict ourselves. How, once in a while, we actually make some progress and yet then slide back again. How we believe in constructs we invented ourselves.

The more I learned, the more the twists of human history over time surprised me. For millennia, the course was a zigzag line and in between we went forward and back. Again and again, there was also some small progress. But we never really made the huge step forward. Consequently, humans are still incarcerated, cut up and tortured. And there is endless hypocrisy and lies. Collectively, as always, we murder and pillage in the name of God or in the name of the people or for a cause – or in the name of whatever.

It is quite fascinating to see how, on the one hand, we really made progress (I mean enlightenment and similar achievements), what great toys we developed in technology and yet how absolutely backwards and unwise (stupid) we remained at the same time. And how we find it quite normal that we are in the process of, as a matter of course, destroying our planet (and ourselves). Regardless of the fact that a different life would probably be a much more agreeable life.

To me, it seems that, especially collectively, we are stupid as one person alone could never possibly be. In fact, it is quite legitimate to follow Gunter Dueck and say that there is a very special collective sponge stupidity. Stupidity as in: the opposite of prudence.

Regardless of this threatening reality, I still believe in the utopia of a just society free of punishment, violence and war. But how to get there? If at all, it can only happen through communication and mutual understanding.

Would it not be nice if we were to manage peaceful solutions for all kinds of social challenges through teams and groups by way of consensus? And if, then, we could realize those solutions together? Following the Seneca motto:

Philosophy is not about talking, but about acting?

As we see on a daily basis, meetings are not really an appropriate means for making progress, are they? Perhaps it would be best to have peer-to-peer meetings with a fixed topic to discuss. Because everything begins with two persons meeting. But then you do not have a group or team effect.

This is how, as early as perhaps fifty years ago, Habermas defined the honest discourse. I described it in my presentation on “The Change in Management“ (Der Wandel im Management – see at the bottom of this article). And in fact, we have already come a little closer to it.

PMCampDOR Intro 2015My colleagues of Art of Hosting, too, sound encouraging to me, as do the PM Camps I was able to attend.

Barcamps are very “basic” events. The hosts create a setting in order to make it possible for their guests to have good conversations. The persons who come are those we want and they will be true part-givers. And they decide in which direction we are going. It is an anti-conference, the democratic opposite of a conference.

Barcamps and similar formats like “Open Space“ are precious concepts. In Germany, there are thousands each year. They are about many topics: Sometimes they are about re-activating life in the city or the solution of social challenges. Other topics often discussed in barcamps are the work-life, education, family, research, gender issues, society, health, innovation, life, mobility, entrepreneurship, change, diversity, the future and many, many more.

I often get the impression that there is no important topic today that is not taken up on a barcamp somewhere. And I understand more and more clearly that all these anti-conferences and barcamps are the places where persons can make a difference and have an impact on the future. After all, during these events, people meet in order to share knowledge and experience – and they build networks!

Since all these many barcamps are so important, I am rather glad that, so far, I never heard about a fascist or right-wing radical barcamp. Maybe the methodology of a barcamp is a contradiction to “fascism”, thus making them mutually exclusive? Isn’t that a wonderful idea?

I related those ideas to my friend and partner Eberhard Huber. His reply was:

I think the ideas of fascism and barcamp are, indeed, mutually exclusive. Fascism is always connected with some dogma. Said dogma always claims to possess the absolute truth. Dogmata and claiming to know the absolute truth need prophets you listen to. Given an open discussion such as they happen in a barcamp, the only thing that will inevitably happen to the status of the prophet is loss.

Well, this gives you hope, doesn’t it? And perhaps, some day, we will actually manage to fulfil the requirement formulated by Bertrand Russell. He said:

» All increase in technology, if you want it to promote, rather than lessen human happiness, causes the same increase in wisdom. «

Maybe, with new communication and new formats, we will, at long last, manage to gain the crucially necessary WISDOM. And then we might hope that, by the time our generation is extinct, the future generations will do a better job.

RMD
(Translated by EG)