Hans Bonfigt
Thursday October 19th, 2017

(Deutsch) Hell’s Angels

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Roland Dürre
Sunday October 15th, 2017

Great Orators and Their Stories – #7 Jolly Kunjappu

I started with the “Day Labourer” Alain Neumann. Then I told you about Hans-Jörg Bullinger and Hans Strack Zimmermann before arriving at Augustinus Heinrich Graf Henckel von Donnersmarck, Klaus-Jürgen Grün and Rupert Lay .

Today, it is my special pleasure to add my friend Jolly Kunjappu to the list of names in my personal hall of fame.
Jolly’s motto is INSPIRING PEOPLE. Today, he sees himself as a Performance Artist, Keynote Speaker and Philosopher. In his life, Jolly Kunjappu lived many different roles. Among other things, he played music with such well-known musicians as Mick Jagger. He also organized “drum” seminars for top managers.

One of the activities I shared with him was my cooperation in the series of presentations about peace. Here is what he himself says about it.

You will find several articles about what he does in the IF Blog.

I bow to Jolly and his life work.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Klaus Hnilica
Thursday October 12th, 2017

Failed Emancipation

Carl and Gerlinde (Instalment #54)

“Waiter – please bring a double cognac as fast as possible …!“,  Carl cried out excitedly while he was literally gulping air …

“Under way”, groaned the waiter while hurrying along his table. Thick drops of perspiration were building on his broad forehead.

“Whatever is the matter with you, Carl? Is it really necessary that you start filling up on cognac this early in the morning, when morning has hardly broken?”, Gerlinde irritably asked while taking a small sip of her freshly pressed orange juice with a worried expression on her face.

“Fear thee not, Gerlinde, I only need something really stiff to digest the news I am just reading in the paper here!“

“So – what sort of news is it?“ Gerlinde asked with raised eyebrows.

“Just imagine, the king of Saudi-Arabia and his very ambitions sun Mohamed bin Salam actually now, in the 21st century, want to allow women to drive cars!“

“How come?“

“Well – starting on June 2018 – women in Saudi-Arabia will be permitted behind the wheel of a car even without the consent of their husbands. Isn’t that absolutely maniac?“.

“Great! But as I know these brothers, there will certainly be some foul exhortation idea behind the deal… “

“Perhaps – but before you judge them too quickly, my dear, maybe we should remember that in Germany, too, the husband had the exclusive right to say what his wife and children should do until 1958.“

“Hm – great! But at least the women did not have to wear veils, did they“?

“No, they did not have to do that – but even if men allowed their wives to work, they were the ones who decided what happened with the incomes!“

“Super – that is what pimps still do for their sidewalk birds, isn’t it? “.

“Correct. The world is still as it should be in this patriarchal milieu!“

“It seems to me that you really need more cognac, Carl! If you are under the influence of alcohol, you definitely do not talk quite as much nonsense …“

“Yes, but only because I mostly go to sleep immediately! But where is this incompetent waiter now with my medicine?“

“Perhaps the waitress is quicker”, said Gerlinde. She jumped up and set a not-bad-looking young waitress onto the path of the dreamy waiter.

“And besides, if their husbands had not consented”, Carl, who obviously now knew no peace, continued, “women were not allowed to open their own bank accounts until 1962. How does that strike you?“

“There you see, my dear Carl, that is exactly why I absolutely do not wish to marry. I certainly would not want that to happen to me!“

“However, my dearest Gerlinde, this precaution is not necessary, because ever since 1969, every married woman in Germany is fully contractually capable.“

“Wow – that means everything really went at breath-taking speed with respect to the emancipation of the females – I am sure the CSU was the absolute pacemaker …“

“You mocker”, Carl smirked. He was still waiting for his cognac and getting more and more impatient …

“You are really poorly off with your cognac, Carl! In the meantime, would you like to take a sip of my orange juice? …“

“Excuse me! Has the day come when we men can no longer even drink our own cognac ?…“

“Carl, I will soon break out in tears“!

“Yes, please do – because otherwise I will have to do it”, Carl moaned.

“But there is truly no reason for you to do that, my dear Carl – with the exception that your cognac does not arrive, you men have no reason at all to lament, do you?“

“Oh – oh – and what about the ’Female Federal Chancellor Forever’; she is not only Honecker’s Late Revenge but also the Revenge of all Women Against Men for suffered wrongs!“

“As always, you are exaggerating, Carl!“

“I am not exaggerating at all, because the ’Female Federal Chancellor Forever’ would even be elected by all the women and elderly persons if she were ’a mounted specimen’  …“

“You know, instead of talking such nonsense, you probably had better get your own house in order “!

“Why is that..?“

“Why don’t you look at all the ’male specimens’ – for example the wonderful Herrn Schulz – or the kissing Herrn Junker – or the divine Mr. Trump – along with the grinning Kim Jong Un – or the eternal Bavarian drooling Herrn Seehofer… or – or – or … compared to those honourable gentlemen, even a ’preserved specimen of the Female Chancellor’ looks like an improvement to me …“

“Well, unfortunately, and as an exception to the rule – and very reluctantly – I have to agree with you, dear Gerlinde: the guild of men currently active is really a unique example for the word pitiful!“

“There you see, Carl …“! – when Gerlinde said this she had enough tact to suppress all display of triumph!

“But still, God has mercy on us men, Gerlinde: because at long last, my very dearly craved cognac is arriving!“

In fact, the friendly waitress suddenly came scuffling from nowhere and placed a huge brandy balloon – into which Carl might actually have jumped directly – in front of him under a thousand apologies and manoeuvres for the endless waiting time. And before Gerlinde could look around properly, his head actually already hung in the balloon up to his neck…

This was the only possible explanation for the fact that Carl, immediately after the cute waitress had vanished as picturesquely as a gazelle, could come up with the dry statement that, regardless of all currently felt superiority of the females, nobody could seriously doubt that even this lovely waitress was still moving on a pair of ’waiting upper legs’  …so why would we need a superiority complex? When all was said and done, women were, like in all times, basically just ’a piece cut out of man’, weren’t they?

KH
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Friday October 6th, 2017

Catalonia

My Dream of EUROPE

La senyera – The Catalonian Flag.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RMD
(Translated by EG)

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

A few thousand years ago, homo sapiens invented  the wheel and – a little later – the lever. It took us humans a few more millennia until the wheelbarrow was invented – although it is, basically just a combination of the wheel and the lever. After that, it did not take too long for such basic things as the crank and the gear-wheel to be invented. And the steam engine, the Diesel motor and electricity…

And with the information and communication technology, we really got under way.

This looks like they took me to the photo studio – and I was probably wondering what was going to happen.

I often wonder when our house had its first electric motor. I am sure it was no earlier than 1955, when we moved from the country to the city. I still remember that, in the late fifties, a spin-dryer for our laundry basement was a modern achievement – and it definitely had an electric motor.

As far as I remember, there were no other  electronic devices (Elektro-Geräte) in our household at the time. Until we got the first Märklin model railway. Then things really started to happen.

Up until then, the mechanical devices in our household all had a hand-crank. And complicated gear-wheels. For example the meat chopper, the coffee grinder, the machine for making cream. The drill, too, was hand-worked.
Consequently, I admired gear-wheels very much …

There came a day when our teacher took the class to see the Renk Zahnradfabrik
(it must have been in my third or fourth form)
– today, it is a stock-market enterprise and part of  MAN AG.

The school was next to St. Anton’s church and not far from the “Wittelsbacher Park“. In this park, you could see something special: the “Rudolf Diesel Hain“. It was a quadrangle that had the size of an allotment garden and cypress-like plants grew all around it. There was an entry and an exit and inside were huge rocks from Japan. On copper plates, one could read what the Japanese People had written to thank the Great German Rudolf Diesel for his invention of the motor (at least that is how I remember it) that saved mankind world-wide from debasing and hard physical labour. That is why they had made the City of Augsburg – where the great man had been born – a present of this rock.

The Rudolf Diesel Hain was a nice piece of nature that became my cherished refuge when I could not be bothered to attend weekly mass on Sundays.

For me, the tour of the plant was very exciting. It is definitely something special to see how iron is processed – and the people working in the business were just as special. After the tour, the tour guide gave our teacher a rather heavy gear-wheel (perhaps 20 cm in diameter). It must have weighed several kilograms.

I assume that the gear-wheel was a throw-away product. It seems that the wife of our teacher was not too enthusiastic about the strange thing he brought home.

When school started on the next morning, he put it on his desk and announced: now you all will write an “adventure report” about our trip. And the winner (the student who wrote the best report) was going to get the gear-wheel as prize.

I was absolutely over the top. Because I absolutely had to get this gear-wheel. To be sure, I was the total outsider, because writing was my Achilles’ Heel. Since I had learned to read before starting school and was already through with most of the Karl May books, I found the school books rather boring.

But what is all this if there is a prize you absolutely want to win? Nothing!
Consequently, this was an essay I wrote with more effort than I ever again did anything in my life. I wanted that gear-wheel, still remembered my fascination with the trip and wrote the script for the play. I even tried to avoid formal mistakes and took care of my punctuation – which were things that, in those days, I generally could not have cared less about. I even took special pains with my handwriting. I strongly suspect that those became the only pages in my exercise books that were not poorly scrawled.

Since that day, I know the meaning of the word “motivated”.

I had to wait a day or two, then came the decision. And – lo and behold – I came in first and won the gear-wheel. And I was the happiest person alive. I remained the happiest person on the way home. However, when I arrived at home, the only comment my mother had when she saw my good grade on the essay was “there you see: if you make an effort, you really can write a good essay”. The gear-wheel was not at all appreciated. On the contrary. The comment was: “What a peculiarity are you bringing home this time?”

Well, my teacher had probably met with the same indifference a few days earlier when he brought it home. But that was not really much of a consolation for me.

The gear-wheel got a special place in my room. It smelled nicely of machine oil.

I still remember how, perhaps ten years later, my mother forced me to throw it out. It was a really nice gear-wheel.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

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)

I looked upon the world with a child’s eyes. And all I could do was admire it.

On June, 7th, I asked a lot of questions, see here.

But perhaps it is better if you first read this article and then deal with my questions.

They were questions about how irrational we humans are.

Questions that hurt me.

Because we ruin the world and destroy ourselves.

Because we are a society where this is all common knowledge, and yet we DO NOTHING.

Because these questions as such are already hard to understand and you cannot find an answer.

However, it gets worse when I start thinking about what it means to LIVE.

And all the things we CAN DO, EXPERIENCE and CREATE.

Things we CAN DO

  • We can THINK.
  • We can TALK.
  • We can FEEL.
  • We can LOVE.
  • We can DANCE.
  • We can DRAW.
  • We can SING.
  • We can DREAM.
  • We can TELL STORIES.

Our EXPERIENCES

  • We are man and woman.
  • We have children.
  • We live.
  • We are at a loss.
  • We are helpless.
  • We must die.
  • We are torn between helplessness and omnipotence.

What we CREATED

  • Language.
  • Script.
  • Mathematics.
  • Music.
  • The wheel, the lever, the wheelbarrow, the bike
  • Tools, machines and the internet.

We have become so prudent that we actually feel and know:

We cannot continue in this way!

Yet we do nothing.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Saturday September 30th, 2017

Isn’t Life Nice if You Are Not on the Phone All The Time …

Sometimes I am not sure why, but it seems that, these days, I never have time to write. Perhaps it is because I enjoy life very much and take plenty of time off. Which means that IF Blog suffers.

Consequently, for reasons of efficiency, I use ideas I discussed with other persons as a basis for my articles. Which is what happens today.

For instance, if I have a new business partner and we plan to exchange ideas quite frequently (cooperating), then I ask him not to send me emails but instead to switch to a chatter of his choice. And I start a thread for us.

Besides, I ask my business partner to only call in case of emergency (for instance if I am late for an appointment) or if there is something really important that absolutely needs to be talked about immediately.

If necessary, I initiate a shared document or a shared documentation room and then the cooperation can start.

Once in a while, it is necessary to communicate synchronously. It can happen either “f2f “ (face to face“) or, depending on the topic to be discussed, in a nice coffee shop or in a working environment (quiet office with white walls and preferably white tables).

If the location-time threshold is too high, then “f2f” is too much of a nuisance and we use telecommunication technology instead. The worst-case scenario would be the classic telephone, mostly we use the videophone. We synchronize our appointments in the chat, but only for the near future. Because appointments in the far-away future would unnecessarily impair our freedom. And who knows if, a few weeks from now, a meeting is necessary at all?

If we are a team (more than two persons), then the good telephone conference is out of the question. In that case, I usually insist on videophones. Because I consider it rather sub-optimal to have a telephone conference with several persons simultaneously.

🙂 Incidentally, a telephone call is nothing other than synchronous transfer of voice over IP.

But here comes my article:


My mobile number is public knowledge. It is on my internet page. It is easy to find me there. Luckily, nobody calls me, not even bad bots that, allegedly, visit my website all the time in order to do this kind of thing. The number is also part of my signature and I still send far too many emails. Because there are so many persons who are immune to learning and insist on email, even sending files (especially word documents) via email.

So much about internet nonsense

Image by Christian and Daniel (©
Visual-Braindump 2016) during the last Dornbirn PM Camp.

But even in normal circumstances, the telephone does not ring often. My friends only call me in emergencies, because they know that interrupting people through the telephone is
not just impolite but also detrimental to the person you call. If the telephone rings all the time, I cannot concentrate on my work. And I do not want to throw away the most precious commodity I have: time.

So I rarely use the telephone. For instance in order to exchange ideas at a pre-arranged time. Which, then, will happen quickly and efficiently.

More and more often, I replace the classic telephone by videophones, face time, hangout, skype or some such. Simply because then I can see the persons I communicate with, and vice versa. We sit in front of the computer anyway, because, during our exchanges, we also trade information on another level (perhaps visually or audio). And then we write the results down while we talk. Mostly, we also write minutes, not because we need to prove something later, but because we want to preserve our results and conclusions.

If I were to talk on the phone all the time – as I frequently see it around me – I would manage to do only a small fraction of the things I actually do.

And that would mean I wold not have any time at all left for writing IF Blog articles. Or to travel and see nice places.
Some people I know, especially if they work in huge enterprises, cannot work during the day at all because of all the meetings.

They do the work at night. They talk on the phone during the two hours they spend sitting in their cars. Because this is rather practical, isn’t it? And then they complain that they have no leisure time left. Sooner or later, they will suffer from a burnout. This is not what I want to happen to me.

Consequently, my telephone is on “do not disturb” for 12 hours each day. Then no incoming call can disturb me. If I actively monitor my telephone, I, of course, notice that someone tried to call me. And if necessary, I can call back. And then I enjoy being a nuisance, because, after all, the caller, too, had accepted that his call might have been a nuisance to me.
Well, some people annoy me. So much on cell-phone etiquette or #newwork 4.0.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Hans Bonfigt
Friday September 22nd, 2017

Krampfhennenreport #1: VerbraucherschützerInnen

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.