Roland Dürre
Saturday August 17th, 2019

Growth.

Chess is not the only area where, once in a while, you should use your brains.

To me, it seems clear that humanity, that is we all, must produce LESS. That means

– fewer cars,

– fewer planes,

– fewer tanks,

– fewer machines,

– fewer streets,

– fewer electronic devices,

– fewer buildings,

– less concrete and tar,

– fewer wars,

– less plastic,

– less waste,

– less meat,

– less CO2 …

– and so on.

It goes without saying that we also have to use up, or, better said, “destroy”, less oil, coal and gas, as well as soil and nature. Perhaps we should also stop making more and more water reservoirs, because in the long run, it is rather doubtful if they are very beneficial, whereas the damage they do is quite obvious. In general, we should completely stop with how we affect nature.

I see a lot of GROWTH potential for this list that tells us all the things we should do LESS of. To put it broadly: we should do fewer stupid things!

In other words, it is clear that growth as a general healer is a thing of the past. Thus, whenever you hear news about the economy growing, this is bad news. And if you hear about “negative growth“, then this is good news.

As always, the huge political and economic goal of our times is GROWTH! And what do the institutions we humans installed, such as governments and central banks, do? With their money market policy, they try to support, even force, growth world-wide. Even such strange tools as “negative interest rates“ are applied. Just to give the great fire of the economy some fuel at all costs.

The BREXIT is a good example. Whenever I hear people who criticize the Brexit, the main argument I hear is that the BREXIT will not only minimize the prosperity and economic growth of the Brits, but also that of all of us. But wouldn’t that be good news for the world? One might conclude that we need many many BREXITs and a totally new and different form of globalization.

For the sake of growth, we have negative interest rates. However, they do not bring us “social justice”. On the contrary, they create an even stronger polarization between the poor and the rich. I never understood them.

Whenever I let someone else have money, there is always a real risk that I will not get it back. So why would I let someone have my money if I know in advance that, in addition to the risk of losing it, I also get back less than I gave?

The evolution forces our society both individually and collectively to struggle against growth. By now, we even have laws that require LESS. And since politics do not want to act, they now appeal morally to the individual person. Fly less, eat less meat, and similar calls are heard all over the place. Since politics are incapable of doing their job, the problem is now handed back to the citizen.

Thus, we get a schizophrenic system. To me, our perverted economic system looks like a steam engine. The banks and politics put in more and more, thus increasing the pressure. The people try to impede the machines that are processed by the steam engine in order to minimize the mania.

Normally, what you get is a big bang. Which is the consequence of very ordinary system failure.

However, it is more than doubtful if, in a capitalist system, it is possible at all to break free from the growth-oriented environmental destruction and from the fossil exploitation in favour of a sustainable and circular economy without questioning the basic principles of capitalism.

But why is LESS so hard? My personal experience with LESS is very positive. Consequently, I tell myself: how nice would it be to have a voluntary, creative and collective LESS policy.

Less noise, less waste, less destruction. That would really be a huge transformation with lots of change, including the governing capitalist metrics. If we had such an innovative process, a lot would be destroyed. Because innovation is creative destruction.

However, there must be someone who controls the transformation process and tries to assuage the consequences. Who could that someone be?

Politics? They currently discuss the soli. It might be a good idea to re-organize it, instead of abolishing it. Let us forget about re-unification. And let us use the soli in order to alleviate the downward spiral for those who, predictably, will suffer from the transformation that is necessary in order to save the planet. After all, the consequences of said transformation will probably be more dramatic than those we had after the re-unification.

The transformation will come no matter what. And unless we get under way instead of procrastinating, it will come by itself. And it will probably be rather disruptive and hit us even harder.

Our politicians are definitely procrastinators (Prokrastination).

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Friday May 17th, 2019

Owehoweh Huawei!?

Again, the Americans are putting pressure on us. They want to punish all the countries that build up communication networks with Huawei technology.

It is basically about the backdoors the Chinese enterprise Huawei allegedly included in its technologies. These technologies are supposed to be espionage tools. This is a presumption that might be close to the truth, but it is far from proven.

Huawei currently has 180,000 employees and they really own them. Since it is a Chinese world concern, this came as a surprise to me.

Huawei offers a multitude of products in the end device sector, but also industrial products in the 5G-network technology field. They are important for our mobile communication network. It seems that several German telecommunications concerns are already business partners of Huawei.

That is exactly what annoys the USA. Now, the USA threaten their “allies” with sanctions if they use Huawei technology.

But who is the competition of Huawei, where we can buy the 5G technology that is so important for us? I am no longer quite as up-to-date as I used to be because I no longer find technology so interesting.

In Europe, we might be talking enterprises such as Ericsson and Nokia. I am not sure that you can still take them seriously when it comes to technology. Our Korean friends also have Samsung.

Besides other Chinese enterprises, Cisco is probably the most important competition for Huawei. Cisco Systems is an enterprise the software and devices of which have been criticized for their many backdoors during the past decades. But then, they are American and consequently good backdoors.

If you wish to make yourself knowledgeable about backdoors, I would recommend the FEFEBlog for information and links to articles on the topic. Or you might just want to google.

Our world has changed. Siemens used to be the global market leader in communication. Now, our American friends tell us what technology we should use. We in Germany no longer master the technology.

I am sure that Siemens, too, had backdoors in its software. Simply because you need it for maintenance work. However, I find it hard to see the then Siemens company as a data provider for secret services.
Perhaps the reason why Siemens lost the market completely is because they did not help anybody in their espionage work? Perhaps it was not the incompetence of the management? Who knows?

Well, we are monitored all the time anyway. The question is only how and by whom.

Brave new world.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
I
wrote this article several days ago and published it today because of current events.

Roland Dürre
Thursday May 16th, 2019

Afraid of the Silk Road?

There is a general moaning heard all over Europe:
Help! The Chinese are coming!
And especially our bourgeois parties are making themselves understood extremely well in the chorus of warnings!

The network of ancient silk roads and connecting business routes.(from: Wikipedia)

What is the reason? The Chinese invest in infra structure on a world-wide scale. They buy and maintain infra structure for transport and logistics all over the world. Basically, that is all very useful for business.

So what is so bad about this?

Basically, Europe – and especially Germany – is the big winner of global business. And is there anything that is more useful for business than stable and secure transport routes?

After all, the new silk road is not a one-way road!

And I know no commander who likes to sail home with an empty freighter. The shipping companies do not like it either. Basically, we Germans would have to be more than happy about the Chinese creating all that is necessary for more export of products. One of the reasons is that the once-upon-a-time world police USA has become more and more unpredictable.

I presume we are afraid of the soon to be competition. Well, that fear is justified. Because we have the wrong products and, on average, we decrease more and more. Because we are satiated and do not understand change. And where we do understand it, we refuse to accept it. And we continue with regulations that will kill us, both in the short and long run.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Monday May 13th, 2019

Wikipedia and the Copyright.

The Logo of the encyclopedia

“It is difficult to predict things! Especially if they are in the future “.
Even our Munich hero Karl Valentin knew that.

Consequently, I am thinking about a method that starts with the past and then ends in the future. It is not a prediction, but more an extrapolation.

Let us look at the past and at the history of the media. This business sector found out quite early that intellectual property (as created in the copyright legislation) is far easier to scale than material products or even services. Consequently, this field has been doing business with particular success ever since the printing press was invented.

Trading with intellectual property makes enormous margins possible.

The media moguls knew that you can do business quite well with knowledge and information, provided the property you create and trade falls under the term “property”. They started very early with the creation and installation of laws that made it possible to buy intellectual property from authors and other generators of said material and then earn a lot of money with it.

Copyright legislation is the “licence to print money”.

And they also saw to it that the deadlines for intellectual property were always duly extended. That is why, in the USA, these laws are called Mickey-Mouse-legislation (Mickey-Mouse-Gesetze). Walt Disney succeeded several times when it came to extending the copyright deadline for Mickey Mouse.
.
What is the state of affairs with knowledge and information?

Following the reasoning that the generation of knowledge needs an effort, it was declared capable of being owned. Consequently, the generator is given the right to the intellectual property, which is supposed to give him the material advantage generated by the intellectual property. Well, I, too, think that scientists should be amply paid. But that does not mean that things an intellectual worker creates are actually their property and belong to them. If you accepted that, you would have to call these people “owners of intellectual property”. However, I do not think that knowledge is a property that should be traded.

“Knowledge is the only thing that grows as you share it“.

Which means you should probably share it, doesn’t it? Yet, if knowledge becomes personal property and belongs to someone, then its volume is artificially reduced. That is beneficial for few but detrimental for many.

So I am opposed to including knowledge, information, rights, natural structures, laws, regulations and similar things in the concept of property legislation. Incidentally, this is also true for data – which becomes more and more fashionable.

The motto seems to be: my data belong to me!

Newspapers and books are goods that have been existing for hundreds of years. The editing is an old business sector that grew exponentially with the printing press. And it gave itself ever more optimal rules.

As in all sectors, following the basic concept of capitalism and logics, competition and mergers caused the rise of huge enterprises.
“Intellectual property“ is easier to scale.

This made publishing companies more powerful and richer. Equalled only by the realty concerns thanks to the special trilogy – ownership of the soil and buildings, cheap money and quick price increase – and by other gamblers who bet on raw materials, bonds or currencies – they managed to get rich and powerful in an extremely short time.

Encyclopedia were particularly good business.

For all publishing companies, the encyclopedias were especially important. It was good business, because encyclopedia were mostly high-price products that also needed updating relatively soon. The leading publishing companies always had at least one enterprise in their empire that produced encyclopedias. And the profit they made over the decades was reliable.

Eventually, these encyclopedia were also electronic books. They were distributed on cheap data carriers for high prices. It was truly a licence for printing money. However, it did not take long before someone put an end to it. The internet appeared. And a group of crazy volunteers founded a free encyclopedia, in 2001. They called it Wikipedia.

”Innovation is creative destruction“.

For many, this was a painful experience. It also hit the publishing companies who had been benefiting from the innovations in printing machines and communication for many years. It meant that there was an end to all the great commercial profit they had made in the encyclopedia business. The publishing houses probably suffered enormous losses. They became victims of the internet or of Wikipedia and had to close enterprises or find a new business purpose. It was probably quite painful for the German media concerns.

They say that the internet never forgets anything. That is not true. I have been looking for many things, for instance the first web-pages of InterFace Connection GmbH – and I never found them. It is not the internet, but the concerns that have the excellent memories. They actually never forget anything. And for them, the sentence “revenge is sweet” is quite true!

Now they are a huge step closer. After many years of patient and diligent lobby work, they now managed to get the copyright reform  bill through the European parliament. Immediately afterwards, the VG-Media sent their first bill to google. I am sure the publishing companies will soon follow suit. They say the German way is going to be to pay instead of using upload filters. Let us wait and see.

So how is Wikipedia doing?

Let us postpone an analysis of the media concern and instead take a look at Wikipedia. At first sight, it is a really beautiful story – a free and independent society of people working on an honorary basis writes down what they know. They finance the entire project totally advert and sponsoring free – exclusively by donations from people who use the system.

This is how Wikipedia, a few years after it was initiated in 2001, destroyed all its competition. Wikipedia has a monopoly and is now the only remaining encyclopedia. That is what makes it so important – but it also makes it extremely fragile. Its only competition is probably the internet itself, which is also threatened.

Shadows loom over the internet and Wikipedia.

As before, knowledge grows exponentially. But the work force at Wikipedia does not. On the contrary: as I see it, Wikipedia has become the club of old white men. Here, too, we pay the price as time goes by.

Young and female people are few and far between at Wikipedia. We are talking the typical next-generation problems we also see for chess clubs, the voluntary fire-fighters and now even the powerful DFG. This is how I and my friends at Wikipedia see it. All statistical data I found are usually ten years old and totally untrustworthy. Mind you, Wikipedia was founded in 2001, which, as of now, was only 18 years ago!

Who among the young generation likes to do the dry work of an encyclopedist, who has to play by strict rules? Especially if the way the old white men treat the next generation is rather unfriendly?

Wikipedia is an infra structure of knowledge.

The knowledge grows, the technology ages. And there are fewer and fewer people who do the maintenance work on the infra structure.

In the extreme model, the work force at Wikipedia will die out.

What will happen then? A knowledge infra structure without maintenance? Even as it is, the quality of the articles gets worse. And there are other problems, such as technological ageing, poor coordination, too little clarity in content and structure, organizational problems. There is a lot that needs to be done at Wikipedia.

Wikipedia is probably the largest user of foreign copyright world-wide.
They felt that they needed to be careful about copyright legislation and demonstrated their concern by turning off their servers.

Those who are in favour of the copyright reform try a placatory approach:
Wikipedia is, after all, for the common good and consequently not part of the reform!

But is Wikipedia really for the common good? As you see above, I wrote: Wikipedia lives from the donations of its users. I, too, only give money to Wikipedia because I want to keep using the service. Wikipedia is more or less blackmailing me:

Pay something and make sure that you will still get your service!

Perhaps the enterprise Wikipedia is not really a common-good-oriented one in the sense of tax-relevant definitions? All those who donate money expect (and get) something in return for the money they pay. Their payment only seems to be voluntary. They depend on Wikipedia and give money because they fear that otherwise there might be an end to what they get in return.

Huge concerns are very patient and think in long-term concepts.

Now the media groups have taken up the scent. The copyright reform showed them that it pays to do lobbyist work. They certainly know that Wikipedia would be an exciting object.

After all, the lobbyists are currently practicing how you can deprive NGOs of their title “common-good”. With such a measure, you could further weaken Wikipedia, or even take away the basis of its existence. And later, you could re-introduce it to the Reich as a common enterprise that belongs to several enterprises. In the sense of a re-unification. I already hear the message:

Lobbyists, let us go and visit the ministry of finance. We will get Wikipedia.

Here are the good news 
At least Wikipedia would survive – even if full of adverts and interest-motivated articles. But on the whole, this would be a good fit for our modern internet world.

Brave new world!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Saturday April 13th, 2019

Pitiful Politics!

It is really frustrating.

Will we actually manage???!!!

These days, politics (successfully) only deals with things that aim at preserving the power of the ruling class. The latest example is the danger to – if not the destruction of – the internet by the “copyright reform”. It is focused on preserving the property of the ruling class. As all politics in the FRG.

Would it not be more important to save the planet?

The important topics, like how to cure the planet, are left to the street. And politics ignore the problem, because the actors are trapped in the concepts of the last century. Their values are: growth and prosperity over everything – also over the world, along with: preservation of all property as a German Human Right.

Wise white children are supposed to shut up and leave the destruction of the planet to the experts.

If children are courageously marching for a new world – then the old white men top it all by telling them to shut up and “please leave the topic to the experts”. Meaning those who should have known better for more than fifty years but ignored it because of their egoistic mind-sets. It may be old and yesterday’s news, but it is also extremely sad news.
Lobby control and the attempt to have fewer representatives in parliament have failed.

However, politics also fail when it tries to mend “small” but important issues, especially if they violate traditional concepts and old structures. For instance, they sabotaged the Lobby Register and removed very necessary changes like for instance the reduction of the ever-growing number of representatives in our parliament from the agenda, because these issues are “unsolvable”. The introduction of rules how to reasonably integrate e-rollers into normal traffic is just as difficult. And they will probably extend the fee and crime catalogue by many more regulations. Because you do not want people who went by public transportation without a ticket to feel lonely in their cells, do you?

In our country, dispossession is a legitimate political instrument.

Dispossession is used all the time if it is about the interests of the big ones or perhaps the community. The motto is: jobs are always in the interest of the community. It does not matter if it is about armament, the production of airplanes or coal mining.
However, these jobs are only worthy if they bring profit. If they do not bring profit, they will quickly be transferred to Slovakia (as is now again happening in Augsburg).

Dispossessing G MAFIA? With pleasure.

If you want to dispossess concerns, then you hear consensual murmurs from the CDU representatives, provided it is about the modern enemy G MAFIA . The digital concerns of the G MAFIA are Google, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, IBM and Amazon.

Well, quite a few consumption representatives will become hesitant when it comes to the last mentioned (Amazon). Because who is going to bring us all the parcels that we, as consumers, absolutely need to have within 24 hours? The famous international logistics enterprise DB (Deutsche Bahn) will definitely not manage it quickly and on time, regardless of its expensive slim logo.

Dispossess estate agent concerns? No way!

Yet even if “dispossessing” of estate agent concerns – whose lobbyists fraudulently took over hundreds of thousands of estates that were previously state-owned – is so much as mentioned, then there is an outcry, especially among the “Christian“ parties. Those are the parties which, even in their titles, violate copyright regulations. After all, Trump – whom the conservatives secretly idolize (Bavaria First) – also became a billionaire with estate gambling and later a hero of the population and US president. So how can you even think of dispossessing these estate gamblers. It is probably also against all rational thinking. If you dispossessed, how would you compensate the interim-owners when it comes to all the value increase the property enjoyed after having been bought cheaply from the state? Not at all? Well, that is quite impossible. And all other options are far more expensive.

“Transgender toilets“ are more important than “lobby control”.

During the last few months, the most important topics in this country have been “forced vaccinations” and “organ donation per default”. And “no advertising for abortionists”. The top of the list is “transgender toilets“. Do we have no other problems?

The MIV (motorised individual traffic) rules the world.

Cars beat people. That is how it has been for decades. To me, this concept became incomprehensible a long time ago. In my life, “individual” mobility means that I actively move (on foot or by bike). I also like going individually by train or bus. But I do not understand why my individual self should “serve” a powerful, dangerous and extremely heavy machine in a complex system “traffic” with all its chaotic side-effects, where I become an omni-potent controller and where I can nourish my seemingly now omni-potent ego.
Let us look at the necessary change in mobility.

An urban society (smart city) and the car do not go together well.

Cars smell and destroy people. They produce noise and make life miserable. Regardless, we still hear everywhere “free car rides for all citizens“ and “more space for cars“. And, as before, the speed limit remains a NOGO. Because it is against all rational thinking (which, frankly, does not feel too progressive at this point).

Two of our convenient and yet atrocious habits are voyages by plane and by ship.

Both ways of travel destroy our planet at an especially high rate. And it does not make any difference whether it happens because we enjoy it or because of the holy globalization.

Without flights and world trade, globalization and world trade are not possible.

We have to reduce both. And perhaps we also need to think less in global terms. “All business is local“ might be a start. This should also be true for politics. It would mean that we would not need armies for the world either, nor would we have to produce and export mines in order to preserve world peace. 
And it is also quite normal that, while the meat consumption decreases in this country, the export of meat explodes.

If many Boeing machines remain sitting on the ground because they are – due to profit – sub-optimal flying objects, then you will not notice this from the offer in flights. Because we have many planes sitting in the desert and awaiting permission to fly.

In terms of realistic mathematics, we should be aware of the fact that our aircraft industry cannot continue to build all these planes in the future. We need to adapt and build fewer.

Since that is not what we want, we subsidize the already tax-free Kerosene at Munich Airport. And we fly more and more, also national.

This is how the stock exchange price of Airbus increases all the time. The same is still true for automobile concerns.

Because here, too, the priority of growth is a given. Even if millions of new cars are sitting on parking spaces. And because our jobs are always a holy killer argument. Even though we learned that, here, too, change will be inevitable. How many sectors have disappeared from Germany? Innovation is and always has been creative destruction.

Our democracy has been destroyed.

It is high time that we start looking for the reasons why our democracy has been destroyed. We really need to reform it. I cannot really think of a solution to the problem. But this, too, will destroy the preservation of property and is very “politically incorrect“. Because it questions the prevailing balance of powers.

However, there is one symptom I see that destroys democracy. It is named Grindel. In my book he represents not only the current generation of CDU representatives. With CDU and ZDF, he became a member of parliament – and then later the head of the DFB. Well, you might ask the question: How could the DFB have been stupid enough to vote for a CDU parliamentarian as their head? It was quite predictable what was going to happen in such an event.
Why do all the parties I particularly dislike have three-letter abbreviations (CDU, CSU, SPD, FDP …)? Perhaps this is why I no longer like three-letter abbreviations? My suspicions about and dislike of system agents from politics and business have been growing for a long time.

I guess that the social environment in the parties corrupts the people. Especially the three-letter parties only attract a special kind of person these days. You will only become a member if you hope it will give you personal advantages. And when it comes to the fight for top positions in the party, you have to be really competent with F… methods.

The Grindelization of politicians.

Consequently, it seems to me that the meta-reason for our dilemma in politics is quite clear: 
The system of “oligarchy of parties“, along with the “dictatorship of the concerns“ is the reason why politics are only actively pursued by people who represent a negative selection of society and who, additionally, have been negatively socialized. The long road that starts with the membership of the party youth organization and ends with a top party position and in parliament will only be travelled successfully if you use strange methods that are really distasteful to me. And that is formative.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.

I wrote this article for my grandchildren. I want them to know that there were also some old white men who opposed the nonsense other old white men propagated.

Roland Dürre
Thursday June 14th, 2018

RPA. ROBOTIC. PROCESS. AUTOMATION.

Walk & Think in the springtime sun.
Englischer Garten, Munich, 2018, 11th of Avril

In my conversations with young friends, RPA (Robotic Process Automation) has soften been introduced to me as the new “business hype topic“.

Officially, my first contact with RPA was at the “Symposium Digitale Verwaltung“ – which was organized by ITSMF – on April, 24th, 2018 in Nuremberg.

As you can see from the agenda, the “crème de la crème” of German digitalization was there. And, besides the topics “block-chain” and “artificial intelligence, which are probably unavoidable these days, many presentations were about RPA .

Then I found an article  in the facebook forum  Agile Administration | Exchange and Peer Counselling, which unfortunately is a closed community (due to the high quality of its discussions in this forum) with a comment that contained a note about Johann Herzberg, who is a group leader at the “county-wide IKT strategy” in the Berlin Senate of Interior Affairs.


”… the smart, i.e. automatically and real-time self-controlled, organization of situations and processes. (…) it is imaginable and probably, for reasons of efficiency, even desirable that an application system that is embedded in an AI environment can promote and finalize processes independently in the future. In the smart world, control will no longer happen through written notes but through decisions that will most likely have been reached through algorithms and only corrected by humans where necessary.“

This statement is an excellent description of the current development. Also, it will not only happen in public offices, but also in many areas of the “free economy” where white-collar jobs dominate, for instance everywhere in the financial sector. This future development is also called Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Many protagonist assume that RPA will cost many well-paid jobs. I am not yet quite sure how to judge this development. I will write an IF blog article about it. Various aspects…


Well, the statement is really loaded, isn’t it? Official orders will no longer be written by humans but by machines (robots). I am sure there are quite a few people who will not like the idea. But then, the assumption is that humans are expensive and IT is cheap. And that humans make mistakes and machines do not. There is certainly some truth in this.

As I see it, Herzberg describes the current development quite well. I find the definition of “smart” in the context of organization quite appealing.

However, I have two reservations:

My opinion about the first sentence is that such a system that processes these applications will not need artificial intelligence. In my book, “artificial intelligence” is a “self-learning system”. And a fully automated organization that controls itself in real-time is probably necessary even for “traditional programming” (the implementation of what today is often called algorithms) and will not need artificial intelligence.

About the second sentence: of course, there will still be decisions that come as a written “order”. The data with the results will continue to be saved in digital form. It does not really matter if these (hopefully public) entries in a database will then be embedded in traditional text and perhaps even printed on paper. Because also an “order document” on paper has its inner semantics and therein structured data that symbolize the result of the “order”.

The development Herzberg describes will not only take place in probably all sectors of public administration but also in many (all?) areas of “free economy“.  I am sure this development will be particularly obvious in the white-collar jobs. The financial sector is a good example. Many employees who now earn good money in banks and insurance companies will probably become redundant. It might happen quite soon.

This future development is also called Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Many protagonists assume that RPA will kill well-paid jobs on a huge scale.

Personally, I am not really worried. We had the same situation frequently in the past. In Germany, most of the jobs used to be in agriculture. Today, the number of people working in agriculture is by far the minority. Then we had industries such as the coal and textile industries. They also disappeared, just like the big post-war heroes Grundig, Telefunken and others. Just like the German automobile industry will some day disappear.

But we will certainly come up with new nonsense that absolutely needs to be produced in order to give us something to occupy our time with. And if there really comes a time when we want to restrict ourselves to the necessities – and perhaps that is what we will have to do in order to save the world – then there will be two options. Either we will finally be allowed to work less. Which is what I would like best.

However, I assume that the idea that less is more and growth is nonsense will only dawn on us when it is too late. And then we will have to really work hard in order to survive.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Saturday March 10th, 2018

You Know: He Might Actually be Right, Our Mister Trump.

Two facts are beyond dispute:

1) The EU imposes higher import taxes than the US

and

2) the US import more from the EU than they export into the EU

(source: Zeit)

Roland in Southern Georgia, where, for an entire century, wales and seals were killed just because it was profitable – which is also some kind of globalization.

Well, this suggests that the “partner” with lower import taxes is “the stupid one“, because he is the one who gets to import more than he can export. Basically, that sounds logical.

Let us look at the numbers and first take cars as an example.
The USA impose 2.5 % import taxes on cars. The EU imposes an import tax of 10 % on cars that transport passengers (cars, pick-up trucks if the loading area is smaller than half of the axis distance). This means that the EU imposes four times as much import tax as the USA.
Additionally, German car producers and their customers are also massively state subsidized (business car privilege, Diesel cars, research funds and prizes, no speed limit and no tolls, …).

The situation for motor bikes is similar:
The USA charges 2.4% for the import, the EU charges  8 % for motor bikes with a cubic capacity up to 250 ccm and 6 % for motor bikes with more than 250 ccm. In other words: the EU charges more than 3/2.5 times as much as the USA.

In general, it can be said that the current import tax rates for the two partners USA and EU are relatively low . Depending on which source you take, you can read:

“For the EU, we are talking an average of around 3 per cent of the product value, for the US, we have a little less than 2.5 per cent.“
(Cited from and source: Handelsblatt)

“According to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the import tax of all US products in 2016 were at an average of 3.5 per cent. On the other hand, EU products had a rate of 5.2 per cent, and China even one of 9.9 per cent.“
(Cited from and source Spiegel)

So both sources say that the EU import taxes are, on average, considerably higher than those imposed by the USA (according to Handelsblatt by 25 %, according to Spiegel almost 50 %. For more information about import taxes, click here).

If you consider the twenty leading import and export countries for steel in 2010 (source: Wikipedia), you will notice that many countries exported around the same amount as they imported.

For Germany, this meant an export of 25,352 and an import of 22,733 (thousand tons) in 2010. For many other countries, such as Great Britain, France, Italy, Canada, Austria, Mexico, South Korea, Taiwan, … the export/import balance is similar.

Countries like China, Japan, Russia, that, for instance, exported twice as much as they imported, or at least considerably more than they imported. On the other hand, the USA imported twice as much as they exported – and the tendency increases.

But let us now assume the countries would first use their own steel and only export what they do not need, or else import what they cannot produce.

What a gigantic savings potential would lie in such a behaviour, along with all the avoided extravagance and environmental damage? Because overcoming the time-space threshold generally costs so much more than the allegedly so cheap transport.

In the late-capitalist world order, these ideas are unpopular and inconvenient. The conservative economic science of the 19th and 20th centuries, too, will simply tell you such assumptions are nonsense.
Because, according to the old theories, free trade is beneficial for all parties concerned and basically the requirement for global wealth. But what will “global wealth” be worth for me if the planet is spoiled in the process? Is such a thing as “global wealth” possible at all in reality?

In late capitalism, globalisation basically always was exclusively oriented towards taking advantage of the world-wide differences in wealth in order to maximize profit. It is always about making use of cheap labour. External costs, such as the destruction of nature, will be ignored – and this has been practiced for a long time. The fact that overcoming the time-space threshold costs considerably more than just the transport is “forgotten”.

In my eyes, the much-praised globalization becomes more and more suspect. I do not know how Mr. Trump feels about it. He is probably the last person who has the environment on his agenda. But perhaps protective taxes are exactly what the world (the environment) needs today.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
They say that a “trade war” is now threatening. I find it rather sad that the term “war” is used in this context. I believe we would find it quite easy to live with the consequences of a world full of tax mechanisms. The same is true for border control mechanisms. The consequences and the atrocities of all kinds associated with a true war, however, would mean a totally different dimension of misery.

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

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
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)