Roland DürreFriday June 14th, 2013
In my opinion, public restrooms where you have to pay are a symptom for our society’s decline!
At the airports of this world, there are always really lots of toilets. The number is gigantical, each one of them is equipped lavishly. In my experience, toilets on airports are basically always clean – and hardly ever crowded.
At Munich airport, they even ask me – after my cost-free use of the restroom – to give them some electronic feedback on the experience. You can press a button with sensors and smiley symbols as you exit. It seems to be the newest fashion. The luxury toilets at our airport and all other airports I know are always free.
Neither is excuse: “this is how it has to be, because you cannot be expected to carry change in all national currencies” legitimate. We have a big, shared European currency; besides, every adult air-traveller carries at least one credit card or similar global means of payment (cell-phone) at all times. And children are permitted to dive through even in the German malls. And for a country with its own currency, such as for instance Switzerland, it would certainly be easy to organize, for instance by selling two special-purpose coins on crossing the border: to be used at public airport toilets.
But air-travellers are something special and, consequently, airports are privileged places. Also with respect to toilets. You also have toilets at railway stations. But they really cost big time! Except if you are a privileged railroad user owning a “BahnCard Comfort”. Then you are permitted to enter the lounge – where using the restrooms is free. But only in big cities.
The ZOB (Munich Central Bus Station) at Hackerbrücke also has modern and clean facilities. They, too, cost money – and I mean MONEY.
On the other hand, small railway stations and bus stations usually have no toilets at all. If you use the regional cross-country busses often, you will know that quite a few stops are really remote places.
Politicians and Bums
At Munich Central Station, you can witness what comes from this kind of policy. Because in this area, you have a few more homeless persons than elsewhere. And they cannot afford using the restrooms. You can see and smell the consequences.
Now I imagine life as a bum at Munich Central Station.
And let us assume I am already somewhat elderly – therefore needing restrooms a little more often than I used to. So if I reside near the Central Station and wish to “do my business” legally, it gets expensive.
Let us say I need to spend a penny ten times a day. These days, you have to pay considerably more than 50 cents each time, sometimes up to one Euro (so far). Well, it gets expensive. You will have to pay five to ten Euros every day. Just for the disposal of physical necessities. It is probably more expensive than providing the body with physical necessities.
Even if I were a collector of returnable bottles, this would not give me much of a head-start. You get less than 10 cents for a glass beer bottle – and even the precious ALDI plastic bottle will only gain you 25 cents. That means I have to find at least ten bottles of beer for one visit to the toilet. Taking my example, that would be a hundred bottles each day – a real challenge for a bum.
Basically, that leaves you with only one alternative: you have to be mobile – and move to the airport. But I am afraid the security might be just as well-organized there as the toilet crew. And I am sure there is no room for bums at the airport. It seems that life gets harder and harder for bums – but not only for them.
I always find it tragic that our society does no longer have money for public toilets and similar things of the same importance. After all, providing this kind of infra-structure in the public domain is a central basic task of every society, isn’t it?
Consequently, I demand public, clean and free toilets at all highly frequented places! And I am quite prepared to accept a video supervision including alarm function – so that vandalism committed at those places can be traced to the perpetrators and they can be caught and made to pay.
Incidentally, the punishment I would advise for vandalism is not money or jail. Instead, they should have to work as toilet cleaning persons where they did their deed.
Which would include their right to use the toilets in a civilized way.
(Translated by EG)
Roland DürreTuesday March 26th, 2013
Here is part of a discussion I came across as some kind of “exchange of letters on the internet”.
In the 1950ies and 1960ies, science fiction was a much-loved genre imported from the USA. Among other works, Frederik Pohl, representing a mainstream I will – for reasons of simplicity – just call “Social Fiction”, published a story titled “The Midas Plague”. It is based on a consumer society busily trying to sell products and services produced in over-abundance by robots to the people. The citizens have rationing cards: the lower their social position, the higher the minimum consumption they are allowed. In other words: if you order something on yourself, the others will have to pay.
Consequently, luxurious residential areas represent the slums and allotment holders’ colonies are some kind of Beverly Hills. At this time, it is irrelevant that the author does not really do a lot with this ingenious idea of his.
I remembered said story when one of my friends pointed me towards an article in the “Welt”. It says:
According to a study by the Deutsche Bundesbank, the fortune owned by private households in Germany is a lot less than that held by private households in Euro crisis countries like Spain or Italy. Last Thursday, the Deutsche Bundesbank, at Frankfurt/Main, informed us that the average wealth of German households amounts to 51,400 Euros. In Italy, the sum is 163,900 Euros, in Spain 178,300 Euros.
In France, so the Deutsche Bundesbank, the average wealth of a household is 113,500 Euros. In Austria, it is closer to the German sum with 76,400 Euros. In Germany, the citizens living in the East own a lot less than those living in the West: 21,400 Euros as opposed to 78,900 Euros.
[There are more interesting numbers to be found in the same article about what people are worth in diverse EU countries]
That means that, compared with the highly indebted crisis country Spain, the forerunner and highly productive Germany is as poor as a dormouse when it comes to property (fortune minus liabilities). Even the French who, after all, statistically work six days per year less than the Germans, are far better off than the Germans. Maybe that is because the real incomes sank by 4.5 % between 2000 and 2010. Or maybe the Germans prefer spending their money at Malle, rather than practicing “build your own house”?
I prefer leaving comments on the informative value of these average numbers (what age exactly is it and where aver is it going?) to the statisticians. However, the logical conclusion seems obvious:
The poorer the countries, the richer the citizens, and the poorer the citizens, the richer the countries.
Countries that fail economically will create wealthier citizens.
Well, the EZB saw that a long time ago, didn’t they? But then, only the rich will get rescue funds.
Now I know: wealth will not come as a result of thriftiness and hard work. It will come as a result of debts and spending. It is an innovative, realistic and economical concept.
So why did I ever study economy? Errrare humanum est!
I know the author of the text quite well. He likes pointing our noses towards contradictions. To me, considering the current situation, the numbers look at least exciting. However, I would certainly not wish to stir evil between us and our European neighbours. But still, in some way or other, these numbers, too, show that things have gotten into a real mess, haven’t they? And we will hardly be able to avoid a huge reform, because otherwise the “great reform” will come and catch up with us without our consent.
Personally, I am actually glad that I did not study economy.
However, I, too, believe you will never accumulate riches by hard work and thriftiness. It might be better to indebt yourself…
(Translated by EG)
Roland DürreSunday March 17th, 2013
Today: communication, mail and messages!
I take calls from everybody at all times. Most of my friends, however, know that you should only call others if you have something really, really important to tell them. Consequently, I have to answer the telephone relatively infrequently. But there are some exceptions . Some people call me more often than strictly necessary. And since those people are very nice people, I forgive them.
But seriously: if it were up to me, I would write quite a few new things on communication in “Etiquette in Society, Business and at Home – 2013”.
For instance, when it comes to the letter C as in “communication”, I would write the following commandments:
- Never call anybody unnecessarily!
- Only use the telephone function of your small, mobile computer when you are in a totally hopeless situation!
- In particular, avoid calling while travelling – no matter if you are walking, riding a bike, driving a car or going by train!
- Only call someone if you have arranged to call beforehand!
- If you cannot avoid calling someone, find out if maybe communicating via Hangout or perhaps Skype is a better alternative!
- And, please, prepare in advance what you want to talk about. Arrange your ideas and have all documents you may need for reference handy before you start dialling!
- And, please, do not be too talkative and long-winded!
Under the letter M like in “Mail” I would formulate as follows:
- Only send an email if there is no better alternative!
- How about re-reading about TOFU!
- If you have to send an email, avoid long footers!
- Avoid at all costs attachments with some strange legally necessary and yet totally useless phrases!
- Wherever possible, send your email only to one recipient!
- If at all, use “cc” only as in the way of sending a “copy to”!
- Never send “bcc”, because it is forbidden!
- Well – and if we are talking one of those ping pong emails: why don’t you just delete all the rubbish and all those footers!
More on the letter M like in “Messages” :
- Wherever possible, avoid SMS!
- If you have to send short messages to people, use the medium preferred by your partner. You might use “What’s App”, FB Messenger, Twitter DM or some such!
- Do not write short messages unnecessarily long!
And here another letter M like in “Miscellaneous” where I would give you basic advice as follows:
- Never think in terms of distribution, but always in terms of communities!
- In communication, too, transparency and openness are the central values!
- Whenever you write about persons, keep in mind that the person concerned might read it!
I am sure you could find more on the subject. And if necessary, I am quite willing to justify every one of the aforementioned points. And in the future, I will also try to adhere to my own rules a little better.
(Translated by EG)
Roland DürreTuesday March 5th, 2013
Last weekend, a new type of decision making process amongst politicians has been established. Here is how it works: a small country has a plebiscite. To be sure, the result is not totally understood by anybody and partly misunderstood by more than just the “Europeans“, but so what?
The entire world, above all the EU, is surprised to hear about this totally new idea and suddenly everybody finds it great that managerial income should be limited and lower. In Germany, the politicians of (almost) all parties vie with each other to say what a good idea it would be to follow the results of the Swiss plebiscite. Even the FDP, who always used to be against it when these kinds of topics came up, find the Swiss Model very acceptable.
Wouldn’t that be a totally new way of uniting the world politically: the Swiss continue with their plebiscites. But as of now, their votes are binding for the entire world. Let the administrations world-wide take up the results and apply them everywhere. That would certainly be a future-oriented model of “lean politics”. It would also save a lot of money spent on elections and electoral campaigns. Lobbyism would be restricted to Switzerland – where it would not do any harm, because in that country, the people are wise enough not to fall victim to lobbyists.
All over the rest of the world, we could abolish parliaments and reduce governmental functions. The word globalization would get a totally new meaning for politics. In terms of business savings, this would have an enormous effect. The costs would be minimalized, resources would no longer be uselessly wasted and the output would certainly be no worse than it is now. Basically, we are talking revolutionary progress.
(Translated by EG)
But here is my – probably better – idea when it comes to income of managers. Why not just determine a factor (for instance between 20 and 30) and multiply this factor with the yearly income of the person earning the least at the entire enterprise. The result could be taken as the absolute maximum for what a manager should earn. It might also be a good way to avoid regulations for minimum wages and the like.
Now I am just waiting for someone in Switzerland to come up with the idea of a maximum income for stars, soccer players, race drivers….
Or, even better: how about the Swiss population deciding that lobbyism should be totally banned from political life. …
So, here we go, my dear Swiss people!
Roland DürreSunday March 3rd, 2013
Yesterday, Ottobrunn had a real election campaign. Because today they elect the mayor (Wahl des Bürgermeisters). Consequently, all central locations of the anti-village were filled with campaign stands for the four parties with their candidates and protagonists. Useless presents were distributed, a brass band was playing and the CSU candidate was chauffeured to the place in an electro-mobile. Stupid slogans, such as “he is one of us“ on posters dominated the scene. Again, true arguments and declarations in favor of values were few and far between.
It was not relevant for me, because, after all, I am still a citizen of Riemerling/Hohenbrunn and will soon live in Neubiberg. But, again, I found the stupid “marketing show” revolting. But then, it also awakened me, because, after all, I, too, am allowed/called upon/obliged to vote in the near future. This year, we will have both federal and state elections.
At the SPD stand, I also saw a picture with their top candidate. In fact, this is the gentleman who, for me, makes it impossible to give my vote to the SPD in the federal elections. A slightly choleric “soci” (?) who likes taking money from the communities governed by the SPD, who considers violating the law a legitimate thing to do, who wants to send soldiers into neutral countries and more of the same sort of things.
And he also seems to have little knowledge, because he seems to forget that the salary a Federal Chancellor earns comes with quite a nice pension. A pension beyond anything a normal citizen can dream of. It also comes with a guarantee of employment as lobbyist after he quits the office. It is some kind of high-quality dismissal protection, not just for former Federal Chancellors and ministers.
But then, how is a politician with a healthy self-service mentality supposed to think of such a profane thing as old-age pension? For the normal politician, it is a matter of course. The same is true for the state limousine – which is something I would be ashamed of. Especially if I were to drive it at the cost of the citizens.
But there is something you have to give our Mister S.: he is a master of speech. Above all, he finds the right terms for what he wants to say. For instance, a short time ago, he called politicians clowns. To be sure, he was talking about foreigners. But still it was full on the mark. Absolutely great!
Looking at politics today, both in Bavaria and Germany, the EU and the USA, the only term that really fits is: most of them are clowns. Thanks, Peer. You really said it in a nutshell – and that makes it all a little more human and tolerable.
We are governed by hungry busybodies behaving like clowns. And these clowns even manage to make me laugh again and again. Even if there is nothing really to laugh about.
Incidentally, I rather like one of the Italian clowns. Because he is opposed to everything. And that is exactly how I, too, feel. The political helplessness is more and more a threat to the future of my children and to this entire world. And there is nothing I can do about it.
Consequently, the urge to “oppose everything as a matter of principle once in a while“ gets more and more frequent. Especially since now the pirate party, too, is no longer an option for me. Basically, they forgot that they originally wanted change. So they wrote another stupid party program. Change hurts. It must not be controlled by interest groups. It must not be based on preserving one’s riches and governed by an accountant mentality. Instead, it should follow a social consensus that unites the people, instead of ripping them apart.
Now my Super Ego admonishes me to go to the elections. Because, after all, I find democracy a good idea and am very grateful to live under a rule of law. And as a citizen, I have a great responsibility.
But then, whom to give your vote to? The alternatives are so lacking in alternativeness that I am totally at a loss.
(Translated by EG)
Roland DürreMonday February 18th, 2013
Well, we all know that, don’t we? But this time around, I am not talking my personal life balance. No: last week, assisted by our partner from the learned profession of certified accountants, we did the InterFace AG balance sheet. Again, I discovered some very absurd regulations required by this legislation of ours that by now is rather impoverished and powered by interests.
Here is an example:
During last Friday’s meeting, where we discussed the final issues of the business year 2012, I discovered a loss in the Loss&Profits titled: “Deduction on Stock”.
I am surprised. Since when does the InterFace AG own stock? I never knew about it. But then I remember:
Of course, we have stock! In our company, employees can exchange some of their overtime (if they have worked overtime and so desire) for additional old-age reserves. The technical term for this procedure is “long term working time account” (nomen est omen).
It means that the overtime an employee who participates in this program has worked will not be paid to him directly. Instead, the sum will be added to his personal pension fund. Since this money does not belong to the enterprise but to the employee, the enterprise has to be very careful with it: they have to make sure the accumulated money will not be included if there is a bankruptcy. Consequently, we saved this money as so-called “charge securities“ and pledged them to our employees. That was exactly what the regulations said we should do.
Like many other things in this country, the system involves quite a bit of bureaucracy. But it might well be a reasonable addition to your personal old-age security. Apart from the fact that, in all probability, the money will be worth next to nothing by the time you eventually get it. But then, all “Riesterers“ will face the same situation.
A few years ago, our legislation hit again. In its famous regulation mania, it added a few laws on “long term working time account”. Allegedly, this happened in order to improve a bad situation. In reality – at least this is what I think – .it was promoted by lobbyism.
Employers were forced to save these kinds of money exclusively as so-called “certified stock“. Common things like your savings account or fixed-term deposits are not an option, regardless of the fact that, at least nominally, these would be ways not to lose money over the years.
Consequently, we had to turn our “charge securities“ into “certified stock“. And we always selected giving priority to the criterion security.
And what happens? – In the very year 2012, when the DAX had a dramatic development, our “certified“ stock suffered a significant loss.
So what is my conclusion?
When they initiated said law, the most important parts of it were written by lobbyists and then copied into the law by our legislators. Just like quite a few of our politicians and non-politicians who hold doctoral titles did a lot of copying. And I find this kind of copying less harmful when it comes to a doctorial thesis than when legislation is initiated. In fact, I would wish for more transparency when it comes to the legislation process.
Which plays right into my prejudice that everything that is called “certified“ basically smells fishy.
(Translated by EG)
Roland DürreThursday February 7th, 2013
… but rather, work is supposed to help humans.
I am sure this sentence has been spoken by many people before me. At the moment, however, I do not feel like researching. After all, without feeling like it, it would actually mean work. Besides, the sentence sounds a little like Marx (juk).
But there is certainly some truth in this sentence. For me, the definition of work is if I have to or am supposed to do things I absolutely do not enjoy just for the money (among other things). If, on the other hand, I enjoy “doing things”, then this is not work. It is pleasure.
And I am probably happier if I am permitted to do things I enjoy, rather than being forced to do things I absolutely do not wish to do. And being a “white collar” or “scientist”, I actually have the chance to be in this kind of nice situation. At least that is my goal for my last years as part of the work-force.
But then, isn’t that again the arrogance of the “white collar”? And for most people it remains nothing but utopian and not possible? Because there will always be the kind of work that is so “juk“ that nobody ever will want to do it. And that means you will always need those “poor people” who have to work in order to survive. And who are consequently prepared to do things they actually do not wish to do just for getting “that funny stuff”?
(Translated by EG)
Incidentally, I occasionally prefer wearing black turtlenecks. I hope this is not the uniform of the cherry-picks?
Roland DürreThursday January 31st, 2013
I am sitting in my office. The spring sun is pouring in and the window is open. A copy of the Motorwelt magazine found its way to my desk.
Here is some information for all those nerds who do not know it: the ADAC is Germany’s most important association. It is the car drivers’ association. With 18 million members, it is the second biggest automobile club of the world (after the US’s AAA). The “Moborwelt” is the monthly tabloid and central organ of the ADAC.
Formerly, the ADAC was mainly the lobbyist of the “car-drivers’ community”. Today, the ADAC is an organisation that mainly tries to get hold of their members’ best: the money. One of the means to this end is the “Motorwelt”. Through numerous adverts, it tries to seduce the ADAC members (and others) into buying marge-strong “special bargains” (often from highly profitable ADAC subsidiary enterprises).
The focal topic of the current edition (No. 2, February 2013) is “TRAFFIC JAMS”. It demands massive investments for extending the road system.
Here are a few citations from the magazine:
“Germany needs an all-enveloping street modernization program.”
As early as the title page, we are informed that:
“Nothing but TRAFFIC JAMS – 595,000 kilometres of cars standing in line – chaos on German streets.”
On page 20, I read:
“Et an average, every German citizen spends eight work days each year sitting in a traffic jam”.
And a little later:
“Citizens and the economy suffer from street conditions getting worse and worse. The politicians witness the strong increase in traffic but do nothing about it.”
For me, this is again something that stuns me. Because I believe we in Germany have more serious problems than the condition of our streets (education, demographic data, society, climate, …). In my opinion, the chaos is not caused by the standstill, but by all this mobility. To me, it seems that not only the German car drivers, but also the citizen “with foreign roots” is stuck. I am in favour of a soft but constant reduction and de-emotionalisation of individual traffic.
And speaking of myself, I am glad to no longer belong to the species “German car driver”. After all, I won eight work days, didn’t I? And when I also take into consideration how many hours the ”German car driver“ spends not sitting in the traffic jam and instead having to work behind the steering wheel, I feel truly happy. Some way or other, I seem to save a lot of time and energy. And then I can use some of what I saved for writing an IF blog article.
(Translated by EG)
Roland DürreWednesday January 30th, 2013
Our Federal Chancellor is a very industrious lady. She works around the clock. No matter how far she has to travel, she is always ready for a business trip. Now, Frau Merkel just returned from a trip to South-America with her entourage. With Brazil, she visited one of the future super powers. She went there in order to fight for raw materials. Raw materials for us. For Germany. For the German industry. Against the Chinese.
Well, I might have simplified it a little, but this is how I understood what the media have been telling us.
But what nonsense is this? We are living in a “global world” – especially when it comes to business. The EU and the USA keep telling us that their goal is a radically free market economy, except when we are talking their own business affairs. In Europe, too, privatization is the magic formula.
Consequently, it is clear that the raw material will end up with those who pay best. In fact, in the long run this might even help to support the good goal “no waste”. Except that we have not yet reached that stage. But it can happen quite fast.
China, however, is our production country. For many years, we have now closed down production plants in Europe and outsourced them to Asia. Because this is cheaper and we also get rid of all the noise and pollution caused by dirty industry. And now the only thing we have to deal with is how to dispose of the imported luxury waste.
With this in mind, it would seem that we have to see to it that China gets free access to the raw materials, wouldn’t it? And we should start planning where we can export our luxury waste to. The same is true for nuclear waste. After all, we can now finally export it abroad without breaking the law.
Perhaps the next business trip our Federal Chancellor takes will again be to Africa. Of course in the interest of Germany.
(Translated by EG)
Roland DürreMonday January 28th, 2013
The story of the day before yesterday with the mothers and their jobs a few days ago is still on my mind! Especially since I have actually come across the term “foreign roots“ more often.
In official statistics, they informed us about mothers “with foreign background”. Well, the opposite of “foreign roots” would be “national roots”, wouldn’t it? Or do they mean “German roots” as opposed to “non-German roots”? And do mothers really have roots?
What nonsense. I decided to reciprocate and came up with a totally different differentiation of mothers.
Some mothers are “strictly Catholic”, some are “enlightened Lutheran”, “Jewish”, “Islamic”, “Buddhist”, “atheist”.
Some mothers are “Barbie-doll mothers – some are “totally over-over-protective“.
Some are “Sagrotan mothers“ who have their sons circumcised for reasons of hygiene and some are “bum mothers”.
Some are “rich mothers” and some are “poor mothers“.
Some are “working-class mothers“ and some are “mothers with an academic background”.
Some are “3-c mothers“ (church, cooking, children) and some are “1-c mothers” (career).
Some are “ethically upright mothers“ and some are “mothers with an amoral life-style”.
Some are “single mothers“ and some are “part-time mothers“.
Some are “zero-child mothers” and some are “n-children mothers”.
And then I will do a statistic overview about how many jobs are available for all those categories.
Thank you very much!