Roland Dürre
Wednesday August 10th, 2016

Bavarian Constitution, Common-Good Economy…

… Eye-Level,, Democratic Enterprise in Management, Holocracy – and Buddhism in Management .. These are all Things I Like. 
- but, please, no CSR!

Vajrasattva (Tibet)

Vajrasattva (Tibet)

Most of us want the same thing: an economy that serves humans. As opposed to humans serving the economy.

That is why I love the Bavarian Constitution (Bayerische Verfassung), where one article explicitly states that it is a huge privilege granted in Bavaria to do business in a community – and how this right is an obligation for the enterprises and entrepreneurs, making it a must for the goods and services they provide to first and foremost be useful for the people.

And in another article of this wonderful constitution, the entire thing is repeated and emphasized again for the finance sector! However, said finance sector could not care less, instead mostly doing things that would be unconstitutional – at least in Bavaria.

I am talking about Articles 151: business is linked to the common good; principle of contract freedom and 157: amassing capital; money and credit. But those are far from the only articles truly worth reading; there are quite a few more of them in the Bavarian Constitution…

I equally appreciate the Common Good Economy around its protagonist Christian Felber. They came up with a common good matrix that makes it possible to check what contribution the enterprise you work in or even perhaps “manage/own” makes for the social life. And it is worth the effort of informing yourself about it.

The project eye-level, along with the film is something I admired because it showed that there are actually enterprises practicing eye.-level successfully.

The brave ideas of the people at, too, are very close to my heart, as are the clear concepts introduced by Andreas Zeuch who was the inspiration for entrepreneur democrats (Unternehmens-Demokraten). They show that democratic enterprises work better. And they also came up with the wonderful slogan:

Even the friends of holocracy make a huge impression on me, even though I see the danger of a tiring democracy that might easily lead to “holocrazy”.

A short time ago, however, I met a young entrepreneur. His name is Julian Sametinger and he wrote a Bachelor Thesis  (Bachelor-Arbeit, click here to read it, it is really very much worth reading) on “Buddhism in Management“. It is a wonderful piece of work and more exciting than some criminal stories. And, basically, it covers all you need to know. It is also the reason why I write this post.

I have a huge amount of respect for all these ideas. Their very existence makes me enormously grateful.

But, please, to not offer me CSR (Corporate Social Responsity). It is hypocritical, produced by university ethics-talkers and rehearsed with ethics commissions appointed by the state. I mostly find it pompous gibberish as we know it from politicians and lobbyists. Except that it has been graphically beautified with federally financed high-gloss transparencies and posters of the important associations.

If you want names, I will gladly provide the details about some evil and not quite so evil professors, along with their often absurd concepts and more or less ridiculous activities. Since, however, this blog is supposed to be more about the positive ideas than the negative, I will end this article here.

Thank you for reading it and goodnight to you all!

(Translated by EG)

2 Kommentare zu “Bavarian Constitution, Common-Good Economy…”

  1. Bberlina (Tuesday August 23rd, 2016)

    Der Begriff “Freistaat” hat ja ursprünglich eine andere Bedeutung, als heute allgemein angenommen wird. Ohne den opportunistischen Puffer SPD (wieder mal) hätte Bayern durchaus sozialistische Züge haben können (ünchner_Räterepublik), wie man u.a. in Art. 151 und 157 sehen kann.

  2. Chris Wood (Friday September 9th, 2016)

    Bachelor-Arbeit , (zum Lesen draufklicken), mit dem Thema „Buddhismus im Management“

    I consider Buddhism in general, and for management, in terms of the referenced Bachelor Thesis from Breitenbücher and Sametinger.
    But first a note on my attitude to religion. My practical morals come from my Anglican upbringing, Christ’s Parables and the Sermon on the Mount. Of course I cannot think that this is bad, (even if hard to live by)! Now I am an Atheist. Of course there is plenty not known to science, but all “theology” I have seen conflicts with what is known or reasonable. It seems unreasonable to rely on the ideas of men who knew so much less than we do. In contrast, one sees that science and technology function, (although perhaps not economics and politics).
    I do not know much about Buddhism. Is it a religion, although no God seems to be involved? It seems nice and harmless as a religion for others, but its idea of reincarnation is pretty silly. What has been reincarnated as me, when I have no memory of the virtuous lives I must have had, to justify my present life as an Englishman? The idea was easier to believe when few people lived long enough to get serious brain problems. The few could be dismissed as gone crazy. So most people could believe that their mental (spiritual) existence could continue after their body failed. The first person ever known to have reached age 100 was the first Master (aka CEO) of my college, in “Elizabethan” times about 500 years ago. He was Anglican and used to settle arguments with his Catholic close friend, by boxing. Without helmets or gloves, this causes less brain damage. Incidentally, this friendship shows how tolerant and secular England then was, at least for the upper classes.
    A similar idea explains why, for thousands of years many people have accepted strange ideas about life after death and God, ideas largely spread by old men. For some 200,000 years after homo sapiens, (and one or two other hominids), developed brains of similar size to modern ones, human life changed very slowly. Agriculture came during the last few thousand years. The wheel was invented perhaps 5000 years ago, though it seems that some sort of boat came 40,000 years ago. Today things have hugely accelerated. Things like cars, TV, internet, PCs and mobile telephones dramatically change our lives every few years. The wise old men earlier could rely on lifetimes of learning. So they were trusted. When they could not find explanations, they constructed ideas that could “explain” anything. These ideas were also trusted. But these days, trust in us old men is diminishing. One sees that we cannot learn fast enough to cope with the rate of change. (Roland seems to be an exception, but can he really keep up for another 10 years)? Of course, some things learnt 50 years ago may turn out to be still useful, but increasingly, youth is taking control. Gates, Page, Brin and Zuckerberg, (unfortunately not Snowden), before age 30, changed millions of lives. The murderers of IS, nearly as young, act largely voluntarily, unlike the soldiers of 100 years ago, driven by old men. Trust in older politicians is also diminishing.
    The philosophers of 2000 years ago were trusted then and until 500 years ago. An exception was Socrates, who in his time was considered rather a joke, until they decided to execute him for undermining democracy, (and effectively contempt of court). He was unlucky to live in a time of change (turmoil), with which he coped badly. But Plato rescued his reputation.
    So, back to Buddhism. Its concept of one’s aim in life, effective extinction of the individual, seems a bit negative. Christian or Islamic heaven seems more attractive, although I was never mad on virgins.
    Consider the four “noble truths” from the Bachelor Thesis:
    1. Buddha’s five instances of suffering/discontent, (all associated with clinging to something), are birth, aging, death, joining with someone unloved and not joining with the loved one. (I suspect that marriage is meant). Birth seems to be seen from the baby’s point of view, which is fairly silly. Typically, the man ignores the mother’s viewpoint.

    2. The three sources of suffering, (greed, blindness and hate), are very incomplete. What about people suffering from terminal cancer? Is greed for a few more hours without pain really the cause of their suffering? The Bachelor Thesis from Breitenbücher and Sametinger confuses, (among other things), greed with thirst.

    3. The third “noble truth” is that all suffering comes from clinging to some pleasure, so that the right way to go, “nirvana”, is to free oneself from desire for pleasure, and thus avoid suffering. This seems a bit negative.

    4. The fourth “noble truth” comprises the 8-track way to get there; eight things to do properly. Some seem a bit odd, and again the list is very incomplete.

    The basic concept of Buddhism is described, namely that everything that happens is initiated by people, and then leads to a further chain of events. This conflicts with the two best established scientific facts, (which are mostly referred to as “theories”, because some important people find them hard to believe), namely evolution and quantum theory.
    Quantum theory has established rather definitely that things happen by chance, (see Bell’s inequalities), and that these chance happenings are not only in people’s heads. In any case, the Buddhist belief would mean that nothing ever happened before people existed.
    Genetic evolution works with random mutations. Perhaps one could believe that these are only pseudo-random, but even then people could not initiate everything. (I think that the importance of God’s grace is not seen by all Christian sects. Some Protestants believe people can get to heaven by being good).
    Various early thinkers considered thought more fundamental than the “real world”. One’s eyes can deceive one! “Cogito ergo sum” reduced this to a blind alley. Philosophers now hold this to be meaningless. But more important is that millions of experiments have shown that progress comes from investigation. The top monks would have learnt more by helping their brothers in the fields etc., rather than sitting thinking in cubicles.
    That’s enough about some of the nonsense in Buddhism. There are unacceptable aspects in other religions too. For instance, the Koran gloats about “unbelievers burning eternally in hell”. That’s not nice! Modern Anglicans are nicer, but Christ was not strong on biodiversity or animal rights. Hindus still have the nasty caste system.
    Religion and political systems are linked, and evolve like species, (but largely without dna). We should stick with ideas that work, but discard those that are seen to be wrong.
    The “Bachelor Thesis” is rather strange. I am used to exams rather than theses, for a bachelor degree. I see that a faculty of business management was involved. But it could have been theology, philosophy, sociology, or psychology. Why is such strange German language quoted, although the references are recent? I thought for a while that it might be a joke. My main criticism is that I see no effort to measure the effect of Buddhism on the success of management. Its possible advantages are considered largely in terms of benefit to the manager, rather than benefit to the concern’s employees or shareholders. There are no statistics of productivity or health of employees. (But my experience of management is largely as the object, rather than the subject).
    Anyway, the chief criterion for evolutionary success, is survival. Buddhism does not have a good track record. About 2000 years ago, China and India were largely Buddhist, but not now. Hinduism and Islam took over in the Indian subcontinent. China has moved on a few times, and keeps pockets of Buddhism, largely for tourists to visit. Christianity and even Judaism have survived better, although Christianity would hardly have done so without neglecting Christ’s teaching to love one’s enemy. Many “Christians”, contrary to Christ’s words, also take the Old Testament too seriously.
    To survive, religions need to be a bit aggressive. Buddhism is too nice for success in management or elsewhere. I think successful Buddhist managers succeed in spite of Buddhism, rather than because of it, but I cannot produce statistics to support this.
    Optimists can hope that humanity will become so nice that nice management can succeed, but that is just a dream. As the World becomes overcrowded, and resources run out, we see things moving in the other direction. It’s not just the Middle East. Despite a recent reduction in hunger, most of the World is in a mess. Corruption is rife. Nationalism and inequality are increasing in the developed countries. Nationalism is the main source of inequality between people. And who can say that this is bad? If we all become equal, perhaps we shall become extinct. Monocultures are unstable.
    How about Buddhism in management? It can certainly not work in a capitalist (neo-liberal) environment. If managers concentrate on self-improvement, rather than sales and profits, this will satisfy neither customers nor shareholders. The company will be taken over or just go bust. Workers will lose their jobs. But for Buddhists this will seem OK, (like Nirvana).
    Buddhism in management could perhaps work in a Buddhist World, with no competition. But it is too late for that. The current World population cannot be maintained without people struggling for survival. (Probably it cannot be maintained anyway). England’s move towards dominating the World for a couple of centuries began with the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII.
    The chances of Buddhism saving the World are even worse than the chances of Naomi Klein’s Socialism or my Anglican Atheism.

    P.S. Isn’t it funny that Junker is trying to get Apple to pay more tax in Ireland, considering Luxembourg’s history of helping tax avoidance. The reasons for corporation tax are unclear. The money should perhaps better go as wages or dividends, which will then be taxed, or as useful investment in innovation. Governments waste a lot anyway.
    P.P.S. TTIP looks bad, giving corporations more power against governments. But governments have records of starting wars, leaving poor countries to starve or drown, etc. So perhaps corporations are a lesser evil.

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