Hans Bonfigt
Thursday May 9th, 2019

Ultra posse nemo obligatur ?

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Roland Dürre
Wednesday March 27th, 2019

Growth, Inflation, Travelling and the Future

Some time ago, I heard in the that our Federal Government corrected the figures concerning the expected economic growth for 2019. It is now 1%. Is that good or bad?

Yours truly giving a wise presentation …

First and foremost, there is the question if this number is a nominal one or a real one. If it is real, then it also considers the inflation rate. If it is nominal only, then that would mean that we have no growth or even a negative growth. Because, even the official number for the expected inflation rate in 2019 is 1.8%. That is more than the expected growth.

And to me, it feels like we have more than these “official” 1.8% of inflation. You only have to look at the price increase if you go and buy rolls at the local bakery. Or how the cemetery costs for my mother have developed. Or the rents in general. They say that stamps for letters will also soon be more expensive – and the same is true for public transport. Well, stamps are a good example: following the old rules, the Deutsche Post would have been allowed an increase of 4.8 per cent. That would have been from 70 to 73 Cent for a standard letter. Now they believe it will probably be from 85 to 90 Cent for a standard letter. So let us forget about those 1.8%.

Under this light, we actually tend towards a negative growth rate. And I think this is good news. I am sure that less is more. If there is more and more growth, people will fly more and buy bigger cars.

Looking at my own life, I realize that I consumed far too much. But I also flew too much, went too much by car and ship. I now try to reduce these things.

I am more or less car-free, which is not really as easy as I thought it would be. Because, after all, travelling is nice and also rather important. You learn a lot when you travel.

But even bike tours cost a lot. There is no doubt that the highlights among my bike tours were Crete, Cyprus, Tunisia, Morocco and Cuba. Well, in general, you need to fly to get there.

Germany, Austria and Italy are also nice destinations for bike tours. You can actually do it by train, but the offers get worse all the time. A few years ago, they banned bikes in the night trains to Rome.

However, I also did many ship cruises. My last trip was in the Caribbean, where I learned extremely much. The same is true for my Antarctic trip, as well as my South Sea and Asia and Middle America trips.

Currently, ship cruises are really suffering from a bad reputation. Understandably. Actually, it starts weighing on my conscience.

Island hopping in the Mediterranean Sea is also something I like very much. You find out a lot about the culture we have inherited. You can enjoy nice hiking tours. And every few days, you can end up on a new island.

Except that you have the ferries. They are either huge or extremely fast. And they all transport cars. Which means that even the smallest island will be full of cars during high season. And the ships probably drink more oil than the slowly moving cruise ships.

There is another disadvantage to travelling, too. If I travel, I will need somewhere to stay overnight.

Because mostly I do not sleep in my tent. At the same time, I have several unused rooms at home and am using rooms in the guest country. Well, they had a nice idea: . It was the simple idea that you could let other travellers have your rooms while you yourself were travelling. Except that in real life it does not really work so well, which many town elders deeply regret.

I am currently trying to fly less. And I want to take the regional trains when going on bike tours. But I do not wish to totally abstain from visiting other countries and cultures. For instance, this summer, a very old wish of mine will come true. I will take the train from Moscow and go to Peking and visit my son. Unfortunately, there is no longer a good train connection between Bavaria and Moscow. In other words: the long train trip will start with a flight to Moscow. And going home from Peking is, of course, also easiest if you fly.

If I do not travel, I save a lot of money. I would have to burn the money if I do not want it to cause me damage. Because if I give it to someone else, what will they do? They will probably take the next plane and spend their holidays in the sun. Because it is fun and basically not very expensive.

So what should we do? As I see it, the countries of this world have the duty to control what is detrimental to all of us. In our consumer system, this can only be done through the price. That means we need to increase the tax on energy and especially on Kerosene. If such a measure reduces growth, then this is not a disadvantage but something we will want.

Now some of you will say that this is not fair because only the poor will suffer. But: is it really necessary that we all drive a SUV and fly to the DomRep?

(Translated by EG)