Roland Dürre
Wednesday July 26th, 2017

Shouldn’t Business Serve Humans?!

In Unterhaching, we have a great soccer club, a number of IT enterprises such as the InterFace AG and even world-famous companies. One of them is Wrigley.

Let me relate to you what I learned over the last few weeks. I did not make any attempts at verifying the story, but it is quite possible that things I heard in the form of reports or gossip around here are the truth.

I am sure the degree to which Unterhaching has become considerably more famous even beyond Germany is due to the Spielvereinigung Unterhaching.

Besides soccer, we also have volleyball, gymnastics and several other successful athletic areas in Unterhaching – as well as several more interesting enterprises and a wonderful outdoor swimming pool and much more.

The Unterhaching Civic Office is certainly glad that the famous Wrigley enterprise has its European headquarters here. And perhaps in the future, you will have to say “had”.


The big concerns want power. To this end, they like to swallow up other concerns.


It is quite possible that, with its profit of 35 billion US dollars in 2016, Mars falls a little behind Nestlé (turnover in 2015 was 88.8 billion). That is just more motivation for Mars to catch up with the big rival.

Currently, they are preparing for the merging of the animal hospital chain VCA Inc. (Veterinary Centres of America). Mars wants to spend 9.1 billion US dollars, including the debt. It is supposed to further strengthen the business area “animal health”. To me, it looks more like mania and misdirected late capitalism. I can imagine only too well (or rather, too badly) what the leading US food giant wants to achieve by the merging.


Food producer invests in animal hospital. Shame to him who evil thinks.


Wrigley was swallowed by Mars as early as 2008. Initially the European headquarters remained in Unterhaching. Another important Mars location is obviously in Viersen near Düsseldorf.

Now, Mars wants to centralize a few of its activities in London. One of the consequences will be that people now living in Unterhaching or Viersen will have to move to London. This might hurt some residents of Unterhaching, for others it will be an exciting challenge.

But then, this is what you get in a global world and economy. After all, most of the people seem to like it, since they support it – at least with their consumption habits.
But that is not what this article is about. What gives me pause is the reason they give for moving to London.


Big concerns assume that, in the future, the central key towards success in our competitive world will be the quality of marketing.


To the concern, that seems useful, and even necessary, because it assumes that, in the market for PROVISIONS, only an enterprise that has the best MARKETING can establish itself and perhaps even add to its turnover. And among the top managers, they assume that the most efficient and effective marketing firms basically sit in London. Consequently, they seek close proximity to them – and go to Great Britain. Regardless of the Brexit and such. In my opinion, the Brexit is more an operetta than anything else.

PROVISIONS concerns are, first and foremost, after turnover and results (profit). And, in the eyes of the concerns, MARKETING is the determining factor in this field. Everything else, like the quality of food and the consequences for your health, only plays a minor role.


Business should serve the people, not vice versa!


For the concerns, only one thing is important: the people must buy the cheaply produced mass food at a price that is as high as possible. To make it attractive for the masses, it is made “convenient” and optically seducing. Enriched with aromatic ingredients, “the taste of the world“ is generated and realized. “Cheap” is more important than quality, optical appeal and wrapping is more important than the content, uniformity beats diversity, mass has priority over class, storage life beats freshness, logistic feasibility has priority over taste. …

Thus, there is a strong LOBBY that forbids the legislators in Europe and Germany, for instance, the clear marking of a product if it contains substances that may be detrimental for your health.

And what do the people do? Nothing. They believe what marketing says and buy like lemmings all the products by Mars, Nestle and co. Unfortunately, this is also true for Unterhaching.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Eugenie Wirz with Christian Mendoza (young entrepreneurs from Poland) at the UTUM-Hackathon (2016)

During my work – or should I say hobby – as a mentor for UTUM (unternehmerTUM) and TUM, I had the privilege to accompany a number of young persons for a time out of their life. I also met many nice people who are very active, both professionally and socially and who promote young persons (some of whom have fallen upon dire times) and start-ups with a huge amount of idealism.

I particularly enjoyed working with Eugenie Wirz (her friends call her Jenna). I first met Jenna several years ago, when she was still in charge of the UTUM mentoring program and worked particularly hard for “her” mentees.

Now, she has a new task at unternehmerTUM in the European context: the program “Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs“. It brings many ideas and fresh perspectives (Ideen und frische Perspektiven) to the UTUM world. In the magazine TUMcampus 4 | 16, on page 12 , you can find a “special” under the title “Learning from Successful Enterprises“. The Exist-Founders’ Program (Exist-Gründerprogramm) is also among those who promote it.

In the Wirtschaftswoche, you will find an article that describes how “you can learn abroad how to be a founder”. For examples of successful projects, click here.

In my role as the one who accompanied quite a few start-ups, especially with very young founders, I now understand that, more often than not, it is exactly this program that is an important chapter when it comes to writing your own entrepreneurial script. Consequently, it was my pleasure to write this article for Jenna and her program “Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs”. So if you know young founders, why don’t you give them this information?

And if there are questions about the project, do not hesitate to contact Jenna via email.

RMD

Klaus Hnilica
Tuesday February 14th, 2017

Woebegone Europe – What Exactly Is It?

At the moment, nobody can probably say what kind of construct the so-called ’Europe’ is. Economically, it does not look too good, its crisis countries struggle against increasing unemployment rates, it is politically divided and the citizens and elites have become more and more each other’s enemies because, after seven years of Euro crisis, they now see themselves confronted with a refugee stream from Africa and the Near East that does not look like it will end in the near future.

Is this the demise of this ’European Artificial Concept’ European Union (EU) and currency union, where none of the governments that are part of the whole is capable of showing us a uniting narrative – which means that the stupid shouting of rightist disruption mushrooms is being slurped up by an abandoned citizenry like Grail Messages?

Or is this diffuse concept EU doomed because all its borders have to stay open? Since, as the German Chancellor – who simultaneously writes into her subjects’ annals that a 3,000 kilometre-long border as Germany has it cannot be controlled anyway – tells her citizens that otherwise the Euro will have failed. Just like the EU with its 14,000 kilometres of borders, cannot be expected to control them all?

And those who think they know better and tell people that ’Schengen ’ should under all circumstances have been adhered to and that the exterior borders should have been protected are told that, after the interior borders had fallen, they perhaps learned nothing at all from the world financial crisis that, too, was initiated by the Americans. After all, did anybody care about the Maastricht Rules when the individual governments hastily saved their banks because the economic control mechanisms had failed – or that is at least how they interpreted it – and, consequently, everybody had to return to the ’primate of politics’ as a matter of course?

And that is how we are going to continue, no matter what! As it is, the safety packages and soft budget limitations are an excellent tool for keeping the interest rates of ’Mr. Draghi’s EZB’ low and even for, without any shame, indebting ourselves even more without having to deal with the intricacies of debt reduction and structural reforms as the usual dumb asses demand!

What a pity that parts of the population and the EU and currency union get more and more dissatisfied regardless: masses of them run towards the leftist parties in the south and towards the right extremists and national conservatives in the north and east, instead of at long last becoming wise and taking their example from good old Germany – this is true for the euro crisis, the refugee crisis and the energy revolution! It would be quite easy, wouldn’t it?

Even if there might be the danger that the occasional wisecrack who believes that Germany, based on well-meaning, will actually do the wrong thing due to its uncoordinated policy, thereby threatening to destroy the peace project of a unified Europe. One of those wisecracks is he historian Heinrich August Winkler. He says: It is part of our German responsibility to kiss inflated moral egos that especially progressively inclined Germans world-wide possess good-bye. It is an erroneous belief that we, if necessary even all by ourselves, have to realize the good things. It must not become our lives’ lie!“

Hm – how confusing! This is definitely not what our Federal Chancellor thinks?

But maybe the man actually has a point?

KH
(Translated by Evelyn)

Roland Dürre
Friday February 3rd, 2017

A Story About the EURO History.

Europe is More Than the EU (and the EURO).

After all, we no longer have the five-hundred Euro bill – regardless of the fact that the currency is losing value.

Last Tuesday, I went to the Café Luitpold where I attended an event the title of which had been advertised with the sentence you can read in the heading of this article (up to the brackets; what is in there is mine).

Harald Lesch had been invited as the star of the evening, but unfortunately he had to cancel at short notice. His replacements were two “Europe experts”.

Regardless of Harald Lesch not being there (in fact, he had been the reason I registered for the event), it was an interesting evening, especially because the nonsense they all talked was very refined. Mind you, we are talking people who in our country are considered the elite in science. To be sure, it is sometimes annoying if you have to listen, but for me it is also a morbid joy to listen to refined nonsense.

The two gentlemen on the podium started with Ancient Rome and some of their theories were really rather absurd. For instance, when someone in the audience asked if the downfall of Europe perhaps had something to do with losing our spirituality and religion, the answer was that the true danger for Europe was not from atheists but from agnostics. The offered explanation was that a fanatic atheist finds it easier to understand a strict Islamic faith than an agnostic.
Which makes integration easier.

That was my “Oh-my-God” moment.

My friend Sigi was also at this event in the nice coffee shop in the noblest part of Munich. After the presentation and discussion, Sigi told me a story that sounded quite familiar. Because I had often told it similarly – but never to Sigi.

To make up for it, let me tell you that Rudi Jansche told me the story as early as twenty years ago, albeit in the future form at the time. It was before the EURO was introduced and Rudi was one of the top managers of a relevant English concern in Germany that had a lot of power in the rest of Europe and also in the FRG. And I often wondered where my mentor Rudi had gained all this foresightedness.

I will now tell you the EURO story (Sigi’s and mine) as I myself experienced it:


In the early 1960s, I was in France as an exchange student. They still had the French Franc. My French was not yet very advanced and I was a little confused to see that a sports jacket, for instance, cost 100 (cent) Francs. And my host said that he had payed ten thousand (“dix milles“) Francs or  “dix milles balles“.

The riddle was soon solved. They had had a currency reform in France shortly before my visit. The “nouvel franc“ had been introduced. It equalled 100 old Francs. People could continue to use the old “francs“ as “centimes“. Basically, all they did was drop two digits. Many people, however, still spoke and had the mental concept of the old Franc, regardless of the products now being priced in the shops in new Francs.

For more information about the French “currency reform”, Wikipedia – here is an excerpt:


On December, 27th, 1958, the introduction of the Nouveau Franc (NF) as of January, 1st, 1960 was ordered. One NF, since 1963 officially only termed Franc (F), equalled 100 old Francs (anciens francs). The old Franc coins could still be used as Centimes. In everyday life, the old Francs continued to be part of the language for decades.


This Wikipedia article is absolutely worth reading. It gives you a good idea about the French inflation.

I have a vague memory that there was a time when one Deutsche Mark (DM) bought you more or less one nouvel franc (NF) – or vice versa. However, that time was soon over. It only took a few years for one Deutsche Mark to buy you three Francs. And matters continued in this way.

It was quite a surprise for me to see how with every visit in France the baguette got less expensive (for me). After all, its maximum price was regulated by law and apparently the state paid to subsidize it. Just like it surprised me that, even after several visits in France, I remained “le boche“ for some French people. Some of the families that had formerly been friends with my host family actually started to avoid them because they had opened their homes to a “boche“ and also – which was even worse – had sent their son to Germany, where the arch enemy lived. The good news is that, regardless, I soon found many young friends in France.
Our family (with my parents and my sister) mostly went to Austria on vacations. I still fondly remember the Schilling. It was truly an adventure to have the turnpike opened for us at the border and to drive through and then use a foreign currency. We were in a foreign country!

The Schillings – both the 1-Schilling coin and the 5-Schilling coin – looked beautiful. I remember that one DM equalled roughly seven Schillinge. This never really changed very much.

Both the vacations with my parents in Austria and my French exchanges were soon a thing of the past. Having escaped the parental home, I more and more often chose countries like Italy or Greece.

This is how I learned about Lira and Drachmens. Those were totally different kinds of currencies. The bills were greasy, the coins reminded you of GDR money and they were worth practically nothing.

In Italy, I was surprised to notice that the pizza got cheaper by the year for me, regardless of the fact that, nominally, it got more and more expensive in Lira. It was similar in Greece. For the owner of DMs, it was paradise. Unfortunately, those times are now long gone.

From the perspective of the Italians and Greek, it was not so great. For instance if they wanted to buy a Mercedes. Except that, as soon as they had the bank agreement for the credit to buy the car, said Mercedes was already more expensive. And that meant they would then buy a 2CV, R4 or Lada instead.

And then the EURO came. And everybody was happy. The German industry and the international concerns were enthusiastic, because now they all could sell a lot more. After all, now there was a shared domestic market with a shared currency. So you could really get under way and either destroy or take over the remaining local competition, depending on what seemed most advantageous for your own business.

Initially, the Italians and Greeks were also quite happy. After all, the prices for the nice German automobiles remained stable. Now you could afford them, just like you could afford so many more of the beautiful things the German and international concerns flooded the country with.

I was the only one who was not happy, because now, the Pizza and the Gyros was more expensive than before in Italy and Greece. Formerly, whenever we rode our bicycles over the Alps to the Mediterranean Sea, the general rule was that staying overnight got less and less expensive the further north you travelled. That is no longer true today. Now the least expensive places to stay overnight are in Bavaria. It gets more expensive in Austria and continues in the same direction in Italy.

Naturally, there was a downside to the EURO. The beautiful cars from Germany, like many other things, had been bought on credit. And while the German industry was all fascinated and sold record numbers, some countries were destroyed by their debt. It was no longer possible to “heal” through devaluation. The only things that remained of the nice Euro straw fire were inflation and less income.

The creditors wanted high interest rates from these weak countries and got them, too – and that caused additional pain. Just like it is always painful if you are already bankrupt and have to pay a lot of money without getting anything in return.

However, the EZB, the EU and the International Monetary Fund saw reason. They lowered the interest rates and bought the trash bonds in order to avoid the great “catastrophe” of state bankruptcy of one or several member states.

That seemed to save many European countries, not only in the south. But it was especially beneficial for the biggest of all debtors in Europe: Germany, i.e. us. Our reward for agreeing to it was that we no longer had to pay any interest. We would not otherwise have let it happen, because, naturally, our motto is “Germany first“!

This is how we won twice over: first our industry took total advantage of the shared market thanks to a shared currency – and then we no longer had to pay any interest for our national debt. All of a sudden and in a wonderful and smart way, we suddenly had a balanced national budget.

My friend Rudi foresaw all these things. But the responsible government under the great Chancellor of the re-unification did not.

Even if that government had not wanted the EURO, that would not have helped. After all, even at the time, the government, along with the entire EU, did whatever the industry said. And the industry wanted the EURO. Incidentally, that was also true for the other EU countries. Or, to be more precise: they wanted to do away with the DM, because the dominant role of the strong DM had been a constant annoyance for them for a long time. And the only way to get rid of the DM was the introduction of the EURO.

And now we have a problem. I very much look forward to hearing what the new miracle candidate of the SPD has to say about it. After all, he supported this line in the EU parliament, didn’t he?

Now he must and will again talk German: Germany first. After all, there is no second German politician (with the possible exception of the Great Bavarian) who learned better from Trump how to “popularize” the people.

He, too, will have nothing to fight the current system of party and lobbyist oligarchy with, nor will he want to. But I am sure that he will manage to promote his own so unbelievable career. And now he dreams of becoming Federal Chancellor.

Well, that is fine by me. It probably will not make the slightest difference who reigns in the Berlin of megalomania. Merkel alongside Schulz or Schulz alongside Merkel. The only certainty is that Mr. Gabriel will remain Federal Minister of State (due to secret understandings – the main tool of current policy).

Consequently, nothing will change about my story. It will end like so many fairy tales: and if they did not die, they will continue to govern.

Supplementary comment: 
From EURO fans, I hear all the time that it is so much nicer to travel these days. The disadvantage of having to change money is a thing of the past.

That is an argument I do not understand at all. In the also not so good old days, I always had travellers’ cheques on me. I had to change them in the country of destination. It was probably total nonsense, but my super-ego ordered me to do it.
Today, however, money is only an accounting unit and the conversion from one currency to another is one of the easiest tasks for our “digital world”.

But then, the EURO happened and now we have it. I would really have liked to ask the two Europe experts if they considered the introduction of the EURO useful for the idea of a new shared Europe or if it was detrimental. I never got the chance to ask that question. I cannot answer the question, but I assume it was more detrimental than beneficial.

Now, we not only have the EURO, but also the zero interest rate. And there is a continuing rise in national debt for European countries that is still covered by the EZB and the International Monetary Fund. That is a situation about which nobody can predict how long it will work out well.

During our last PM Camp, Gerhard Wohland said that a problem is a state of affairs that cannot continue. Nobody has a solution to our problem. Perhaps there is no solution. Consequently, those responsible in Europe will just continue in the same way as before. What other choices do they have?

For me, however, Europe is so much more than the EURO. And I believe it is totally irrelevant when and how it will explode. After all, it is only an accounting unit that will then be replaced by new and just as virtual accounting units. A good administration will be quite capable of doing that.

To be sure, this will be yet another situation where you will get winners and losers. Most likely, the rich ones will again be the winners and the poor ones will be the losers. But that is something we are more than used to and so we will continue until there is the next bomb.

And that sounds like logics of history to me. Perhaps the bang will come soon, because the world has far greater challenges to master than your average currency crisis.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Monday September 19th, 2016

At Night: Thinking of Europe.

Thinking “Europe” at night,
gives me more than a little fright …
(Heinrich Heine)

flagge-europaeische-union-euCatalonia wants independence from Spain. Scotland wanted to leave Great Britain. After having received threats and fear having been spread all over the place, they now did not get a majority. Now they are sad because they did not succeed.

GB as a state with a great democratic tradition, on top of having been a founding member, now wants to leave the EU. However, leaving is not something they regulated in any way (this is true both for leaving the EU and the EURO). It seems doubtful if this is possible at all as far as laws go.
National and European law is too tightly interwoven. Nobody seems to know a solution – but nothing will change.

The Mediterranean countries stagger. The FRG, too, is still European champion when it comes to the federal deficit. Bavaria has not felt well in the FRG for a long time, yet they keep financing Berlin/Brandenburg. More often than not, the “coalition disagreements” look like harbingers of a “Bavarian Exit” to me.

More and more EU countries show an extreme lack of solidarity. Everybody wants to preserve what they have. At the Eastern borders, they rattle their sabres because of an (allegedly?) increased threat from neighbours. At the Southern borders, they feel threatened by refugees and solve the problem with dubious deals.

Regardless of knowing better, Europe keeps sticking to the mantra “growth”. More and more soil is sealed by layers of concrete, the individual traffic has total priority over all else and some countries actually want to return to nuclear energy. Europe is soundly in the grip of global concerns for whom the shareholder value – more than ever – has absolute priority. The enterprises are no longer here to serve the humans. Instead, the humans have to serve the enterprises. People are just a herd of consumers who can be manipulated at will through marketing.

Regardless of being absolutely against the trend, agreements such as CETA and TTIP that propagate total, world-wide and limitless competition get signed. Such behaviour is based on the division of labour and will, naturally, promote the exploitation of humans and entire countries. And the predictable conflicts are to be ruled upon not by independent courts but by courts selected by business representatives.

In the meantime, the Euro again pushes entire regions towards bankruptcy. It is all financed by a state bank that creates a huge balloon. Sooner or later, this balloon will explode – and then everybody will again start lamenting about the next world-wide economic crisis.

Politically, the concept of self-interest will lead towards more and more populist regimes that mock democracy and humanitarianism. The way people communicate with each
other has become cold. The European nations have started accusing each other of misbehaviour, the first slogans demanding that individual countries be excluded have already been heard – regardless of the fact that an exclusion, just like an exit, is not regulated anywhere and probably not legally possible. But that is not what mattes, as long as the money flow is intact.

More and more, the EU shows that it is a very un-democratic system. With a powerless mega parliament and commissioners who keep exposing themselves to ridicule. All the institutions that control Europe have become buffaloes of the concern lobby and the capital, all the powerful European bodies and associations are in the hands of capital and business. Politics have been high-jacked, the politicians have to serve their masters. The law of the moment is: you do not bite the hand that feeds you. And whenever there is a situation that might turn out critical for the “Big Ones”, then the EuGH will see to it that the laws are interpreted in a way that supports the leaders.

New legislation is passed all the time. Sometimes the laws contradict each other. Due to legislation inflation, nobody takes them seriously any more. This is how they are more detrimental than useful. The consequence is a degradation bureaucracy all over Europe as we used to know it from the “socialist countries” of Eastern Europe. It died because of its bureaucracy. Change was no longer possible and the division of labour on state-level had destroyed all diversity.

If a huge concern massively and intentionally violates a law that was supposed to protect humans against poisonous gasses and particles, then nobody is interested. Even if said concern cheated on millions of customers. The big ones will go home free. After all, you depend on them.

Once in a while, they make an example with a small enterprise. Just like the modern messengers who carry sad news, the whistle-blowers, are punished while the tax evaders go home free. Because their behaviour was “inside the law”. Regardless of the fact that they built constructs for no other purpose than tax evasion that have nothing whatsoever to do with reality. One of the reasons why they did this was that they knew how powerful they are and that nobody would dare to make them unhappy. After all, their revenge would be an existential threat to smaller countries.

The “rich FRG” heals its own financial situation through a very strange interest policy from the top but to the detriment of a doomed southern alliance. Subsidies are handed out, not just to the “system relevant” financial industry – but always at the cost of the future and thus of the citizens. The fact that this will always make the majority of the poor and of the middle classes poorer and the few rich ones richer does not interest anybody.

Much is preached about values. But nobody lives what they preach. Christian roots are preached. Enlightenment as a value hardly plays any role any more. More and more freedom is sacrificed in the name of allegedly more security.

Tolerance is demanded but not granted, solidarity called for but not given, democracy undermined and human rights reduced. They demand attentiveness and promote enemy concepts.

That is not the Europe I had dreamed of. Basically, I do not feel German, nor European. The national anthem, Federal Eagle and Black-Red-Gold colours do not give me special feelings. To be sure, the yellow stars on blue may look a little more attractive than the bland “black-red-gold”, but they, too, are not my colours. Nor do I see any reason to be proud of being German. Just like there is no reason for me to be proud of the colour of my skin.

I am a person from, in and bred by this world. Where I come from and what language I speak is irrelevant. I like and appreciate all humans equally. I am in favour of peace. I used to be glad that we had Europe, because it was my impression that Europe did a good job. Unfortunately, that is a thing of the past. What currently happens in Europe gives me pause. The trend is evil.

Since my early adolescence, I was always traveling Europe. First as an exchange student, then on vacation, and soon mostly riding my bike. I particularly liked the Mediterranean regions, such as Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Greece and Cyprus. And I always met friendly people who gave me a warm welcome – and who helped me whenever I had a problem. The same happened to me in The Netherlands and Belgium, later in the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania and Lithuania.

That is enough reason for me to love Europe – I do not need to have one currency for this. But also outside the EU, for instance in Kenia, Tunisia or Morocco and China, Cuba and India, I had many nice and beautiful experiences. Wherever I went, the people accepted me and I felt they understood me.

As I saw it, the people were always very much ahead of their governments.

Consequently, what I would wish for is a world of connected regions, without national countries and military agreements. A world full of diversity and without levelling. A world where the useless oppositions and fear will disappear more and more, making room for the celebration of an all-encompassing friendship.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
In my next post, I want to explain to you why I like small, de-centralized systems better than the big, central ones. Especially when it comes to actually solving our problems.

Roland Dürre
Thursday September 8th, 2016

HELLO WORLD – An Open Letter – #PEACE

Symbol of westeuropean peace movement

Symbol of west european peace movement.

A short time ago, I had a great conversation with someone I hold in very high esteem and learned to love. I want to recruit him for our project PEACE. A day after our conversation, I sent him a letter – here is what I wrote.

My dear friend!

Now that one night has passed since we met, I would like to thank you again for yesterday’s conversation.

You asked the right and important questions. That is of high value. Because you will only find solutions if you have asked the right questions.
Here is my attempt at giving a short answer to your wise questions about the project PEACE (why and how):

For me, PEACE is the general metaphor for the opposite of what, in my opinion, is wrong in our society.
All over the world (with very few, rather dubious exceptions), an economic system that manipulates people is pre-dominant. It puts “shareholder value” and the increase of wealth for the acting agents over all else in unprecedented consistency. War, too, serves as a means to this end.

This system could not care less about the well-being, the physical and emotional health of the humans and also about our planet. I can prove this for many sectors, also due to the special insights I have gained through my network.

Among my sources – just to give an example – are discussions with managing directors of a very relevant pharmaceutical concern I cooperate with in a research project. And if I then take a look at the current evaluation of the newest pharmaceutical projects (one out of 23 is labelled green, few orange and more than half of them are labelled red), I know exactly why that is so (see yesterday’s SZ).

Unfortunately, this is true for many (perhaps even all) sectors, be it healthcare in general, food, energy, finances (banks and insurances), raw materials, merchandize, cars, communication, technology … Of course, it goes without saying that the weapons industry is also among them.

And (unfortunately) this is no conspiracy theory but can be proved by facts.

The EU, too, unfortunately, is (now?) a very undemocratic organization. It is dominated by the concern interests and, when all is said and done, you can even say that they were the ones who founded it. Just like the EURO is not a political product but one that was demanded by “business”. Yesterday, an EuGH decision, again, proved this (see yesterday’s ZEIT).

However, I do not wish to start a discussion about all these wrongs. I would rather talk about terms such as reform, revolution, change, modification, innovation, evolution, transformation. Those are also the terms my presentations are based on, no matter if they are about digitalization, leadership or entrepreneurship.

These are all difficult terms: in my book innovation means “creative destruction”. Reform is violence-free change. Everyone calls for reforms – yet nobody wants change. And change always means violence.

For the project PEACE, I use the term: transformation. Perhaps it is my goal to create a communicative concept to counterbalance the “non-peaceful” concepts. And I definitely do not want it on a religious level. In other words, I am not a missionary.

Instead, I want to give emotional and rational incentives for thinking. My intention is to inspire people. I would like to plant the idea of contemplation and activity. I am thinking of a snowball system that allows people to find autonomy without dogmata and drugs – that would be nice.

I kindly ask your forgiveness for my heart brimming over and consequently my goals being rather high. It is partly because – at least that is how I perceive it – I already managed to do quite surprising things in my life. Things I myself would never have believed possible.

On the other hand, I see myself as a rather humble person who can also live quite well with small success. After all, first and foremost, the journey is the reward!

But: not noticing and doing nothing is out of the question.

In my role as a mentor, I only support people in “homeopathic” doses. And I am happy whenever I can make others a little happier and more successful. And then I am very content and happy myself. The same is true for “my start-ups”..

My main personal goal is to live in gratitude.

Many heartfelt greetings and let us remain in contact!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Tuesday June 28th, 2016

BREXIT

Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom.svgWell, here is some personal comment of mine on the, as I see it, disgraceful BREXIT discussion.

 

  • The persons who went to give their opinion in GB decided. They probably do not like the EU and, to them, the disadvantages for their country seem more obvious than the advantages. It is something you cannot rationally discuss anyway, because there are too many pro and con arguments on too many different levels. You cannot weigh them or put them into metric systems, either. When all is said and done, this is about emotions, which means the decisions are gut decisions.
  • The outcome of the vote, however, should be accepted by all, both the extra-wise ones in the EU and those who voted in favour of GB staying in the EU. And in particular those who could have voted but did not. If now the entire world starts feeling morally superior to the Brits, then this is, in my opinion, the opposite of appropriate.
  • Also, you should not forget that neither the British Government nor the British Parliament are strictly obliged to act according to this referendum. In other words: so far, nothing happened. And, as so often in politics, nothing will happen. The only thing that will probably happen is that the money flow comes to a standstill – or perhaps it will be camouflaged differently 
Now they do a bit of cheating – and with every single day that goes by, the topic #brexit will become more and more remote. Only a few thousand EU functionaries will try to find a solution that makes it possible for the British Government to not lose face before their voters and at the same time for the EU not to take serious damage. It will all happen as was shown to us when they discussed the TTIP behind closed doors.
  • Personally, I do not believe the EU is an important or even critical factor for Europe’s future. Well, it is simply an extra administrative office. I am far more concerned about the NATO and the numerous national and nationalistic tendencies. They keep extending the NATO, not taking into consideration the worries and fears of our neighbours. I sadly miss a discussion on this issue. And it is quite possible that national interests will be promoted, rather than minimized, due to the current state of affairs.
  • Looking at the EU as an economic unity, I am disappointed.
    • As an economic unity, the EU, and in particular the EURO, perhaps had a positive impact only for Germany (as the leading nation) and a few small countries like Luxembourg (as financial centre of Europe’s concerns and banks) or Estonia (as the gateway to Russia). All others are more or less on the loser’s side.
    • Even in privileged Germany, we have huge problems, such as the pronounced polarisation between the poor and the rich (more and more poverty, making up for more and more extremely rich persons) or when it comes to education. This, too, is probably one of the developments the EU is responsible for. And that, for instance, Spaniards have to go to Germany if they want to survive economically is just bizarre. In other cases, they talk of economic refugees who must under no circumstances be given asylum. We all agree that humans must not be discriminated against because of the colour of their skin, their gender or their religious beliefs. But they may easily be discriminated against because of where their passport has been issued – systematically and in a very differentiated way.
    • I think a region has the right to contest central attacks by concerns or ruthless dumping prices. Whenever in history they tried to balance the powerlessness of those who suffered injustice by subsidies, they usually failed or achieved the opposite of what they had intended. And in the end, it always led to unjustified personal gain.
    • For me, it seems particularly sad that the power of the lobbyists seems to have grown at all levels in Europe. They are now in a position to control all of Europe.
  • Looking upon the EU as a shared living space gives me a sense of failure. I witness no end of regulations. Today, small enterprises, especially in the crafts, are threatened in a way that was hardly ever so drastic, at least as far as West Germany is concerned. 
Many things have become worse, rather than better: for instance the mobility concept in the public transportation sector. To make up for it, they now started an unbelievable charm offense in favour of individualized traffic with the combustion motor, probably on the instigation of Germany. 
The EU was not even able to standardize network mobility over the last few years. Your simple smartphone user will notice this whenever leaving his home region. There is no doubt that politics look at the advantages for the capital, the concerns and the banks. They totally forget that they should be serving the people. And the EU functionaries are basically system agents who are, first and foremost, concerned about their own well-being and money – often even more so than most of those on the national levels.
  • Looking upon the EU as a political unity, I am disappointed. Just look at the example we just witnessed with the impossible behaviour and the completely non-existent solidarity when it came to refugees. Besides, who is responsible for our state policy when it comes to Russia, etc.? All I see is dangerous deficits.
Here is another provocative note: 
As globalization continues, the only confederation that should prevail is the UNO. Because problems will be more and more global, rather than regional.
  • The political structures and the arrogance of the EU functionaries absolutely remind me of such grey systems as the Comecon. We are all well aware of what they brought us. Allegedly, there was a time when there was only one brand of bread produced in the entire USSR and most of its vassals…
  • Is it really such bad news if GB will become a number of smaller systems? Isn’t that the logical consequence of a development they already initiated in soccer a long time ago?
  • History as I personally experienced it teaches me that, basically, after a big system collapsed, all parties concerned were happier than they had been before. I cannot talk about the Roman Empire, because I do not know about it. But I know not a single Slovene, Croatian or other person from the formerly big Yugoslavia who mourns its demise. I went to Yugoslavia in the early 1970ies and can easily sympathise. During my bike trip to the Black Sea, I met a Serbian who said that some persons in Serbia will now have to kiss their dream of a Great-Serbian Empire good-bye. .
The situation is similar in Czech Republic and Slovakia – I never met anyone in Prague or Bratislava who wanted the ČSR back. 
And there are precious few who actually lament the fact that the aforementioned Comecon and the USSR no longer exist. I know quite a few ex-GDR citizens who could not be less enthusiastic about having the old systems back. 
Permit me to be a little polemic. 
If the FRG were to disintegrate in a reasonable way, the Bavarians probably would not be totally unhappy, either. But then, even those counties that are, at least financially, totally ruined – such as Berlin-Brandenburg – would probably stand a chance at getting a little healthier, instead of sitting down and collecting alms from other counties for eternity. Speaking of which: eternity might actually be a short time, because regardless of what most politicians assure us of, the situation in the communities and counties all over Germany keeps deteriorating (basic needs, infra structure, education, incomes,…).
  • On free movement: I hear all the time that free movement for EU citizens is a huge advantage when it comes to choosing your place of work and residence. And that the Brits destroyed the future of the “young generation” because now they cannot work in the other European countries as easily. 
I am not sure if a social system with the dimensions and diversity of Europe can function at all. I am sure some control is necessary. 
Here is an example: 
In China, most of the people would like to live in Peking. Of course, that is not possible. Consequently, people who want to live in Peking have to meet certain requirements. For instance, they have to have graduated from university or document ample riches.
  • Another advantage often stated in favour of the EU is that we have no border controls. I would gladly accept border controls if that meant we do not need the total digital control state. Intelligent border controls (see railroad or airports) will not cause queues, either.
  • Last not least: 
I do not like a Europe of nations all of which are prepared to sacrifice freedom for security and where quite a few look more like dictatorships and corrupt systems with fascist tendencies than functioning democracies.

 

Final remarks:

I am for diversity and against stupidity. I am worried that huge systems might promote stupidity. Consequently, I am in favour of a EUROPE of connected and linked regions who will gladly and voluntarily integrate themselves into the federation. Meaning: a EUROPE that follows the rules of subsidiarity.
I dislike a EUROPE that dances at the puppet stings of concerns and business interests. I dislike a EUROPE that is reigned by party oligarchy and first and foremost follows lobbyist interests. All of whom use fear as the main motivator for business transactions.

I want my EUROPE to be administered in an agile, open and slim way. It should respect human rights and individual/private affairs, decide in an ethically responsible way and, where necessary, be prepared to give up property.

My dream is of a social, humane Europe that fights radically for peace and will not export weapons to any place in the world. Of a Europe that seriously lives like it understood the message that our planet has already been destroyed to a huge extent. And that we cannot continue to destroy our environment and nature, which also goes for our microcosm. I mean a Europe that will not subsidy environmental sins (kerosene), that will do without irrational, gigantic projects (S21) and that will promote quality on a broad range. I mean a Europe that, at long last, forgets its ideologies and dogmata, like that “all problems can be solved by growth”, that “life is basically a fight of all against all” or that “children need to be educated and people need to be punished for their sins”.

Consequently, I am glad that the Brits courageously voted for the BREXIT. Regardless of the fact that I found the prejudices and what was called self-evident – both of the BREXIT supporters and their opponents – often rather stupid and incredibly hypothetical (speculative). Both sides claimed the right to predict the future and justified their assumptions with arguments that I found simply ridiculous and criminal.

We will probably have to get used to the fact that the scale that measures dishonesty in political agenda is open at the top. Still, the vote for BREXIT is a strong signal. It sends the message that we cannot continue as before. Perhaps it will bring movement into politics and make the ladies and gentlemen a little more thoughtful. But then, I am rather sceptical. The citizens will probably have to do it themselves.

But I think the first reaction of the EU partner governments is also quite wrong. They said the exit has to happen quickly and it must be guaranteed for all times (!?) that they can never re-enter. That strongly reminds me of a family where one child wishes to move out and parents who do not like the idea threatening the child with the information that he or she can never return. Fifty years ago, such behaviour was absolutely normal, I experienced it more than once.

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
Saturday April 2nd, 2016

Walls !?

I am currently in China. And I am looking at how things are going there. And I must say, in China, matters are sometimes totally different from Germany. The things I see put huge question marks behind some of the things I took for granted. Some of my belief patterns, too, were radically shattered. In fact, I cannot even formulate it as quickly as it hit me.

I feel that the time when our “defining culture” as given by the USA – – God’s own country – ruled is over. What was it they said twenty years ago? We were in the USA and knew that what we experienced there would be similar in Germany ten years down the road.

However, the US dominance is about the end – for me, the only question is if the “Prussian China” will replace the USA or if the “chaotic India” will have a word to say about it. After my personal experiences in Mumbai early last spring and now in Peking, Pengyao, Xi-an and other cities, I currently tend towards China.

Hoch die GREAT WALL mit Käppi nach hnten.

Up the GREAT WALL wearing baseball cap reversed.

But be that as is may: China is definitely the country of walls. Both historically and today in the internet – where they actually show the Russian and other regimes how to build digital walls.

Allegedly, China spends more money on its censorship activities and also uses more employees for maintaining it than for its army. As unbelievable as this sounds, I can still imagine it quite well. The very concept has something special to its name and censorship is definitely something that consumes resources.

So this is another time I am going to visit and see the Big Wall. And I will climb some of it. And my personal explanation of the GREAT WALL is:

There is a huge Chinese Community (nation, empire, people, however you wish to call it). It took a long time to organize itself and find its own order. Over the centuries, it became huge and powerful. Around the middle of the second millennium, they noticed that the systems around their own dominion differed from their own system. The change happening all around them was considered a threat. Consequently, they built a wall.

Isn’t it the same today?

When all is said and done, the purpose of a wall is that your own system is protected. And China probably succeeded in this respect with their GREAT WALL. Now it is quite a moot point to ask whether building this great wall was useful for China in the short run or in the long run or anywhere in between.  You can ask if the wall succeeded in preserving the values worth preserving. Basically, the answer to this question, along with its usefulness, is the most important argument in favour of such decisions as building a gigantic wall with all its monumental consequences.

Chinas Smog und Dunst macht vor der GREAT WALL nicht halt.

Chinas Smog does not stop in front of the GREAT WALL.

I guess the great wall was quite useful for China in the short run. It conserved the stability of the huge empire and made it even more powerful and richer.

But I doubt that the usefulness of the wall was sustainable. Perhaps, in the long run, the wall actually brought considerable disadvantages? To be sure, it helped to preserve an old order, but as time went by, the consequence was that the country grew weaker and weaker? Because there were no dynamics left. And thus China lost the strength necessary for a meaningful future.

And perhaps, without the GREAT WALL, China would not, centuries later, have dived into this unfathomable phase of weakness from which it only knew how to liberate itself through a bloody and cruel revolution instigated by Mao-tse-Tung, a revolution that went on very complex and painful paths?

And perhaps, without the wall, there would never have been a radical cultural revolution as a late consequence. A revolution that actually led straight to an excessive and seemingly perverse turbo capitalism.

We are talking a success metric the desires and activities of which follow only one principle: the greed for money and the hunt for riches!

And the same will probably happen with all the Chinese (and Russian and other) internet walls: they will have special effects of their own we cannot even begin to understand today. And perhaps they will be most detrimental for those who today think they benefit from them?

These ideas about walls, fears and xenophobia are not restricted to dictatorships. European and EU- countries that, so far, still consider themselves democracies might be well advised to ask themselves if, in the long run, walls will really make sense.  And they might all re-establish my idea that transparency and openness are usually the better maxims.

These kinds of ideas particularly move me in the upcoming era of natural catastrophes and the subsequent conflicts and migration waves.

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.