Why is it that there is so few real (authentic and helpful) community in our Western societies? At least in Germany? At least in the part of Germany that I know?

Community, just as climate and faith, is no material entity, but rather a statistical figure, or if you want, an informational entity. That is, we must beware of category errors, so as to mix up these categories of entities in language. Therefore, let us not think that community “is there” if some preconditions are met, instead it “can be measured” wherever it is made up, and the “preconditions” are the positive influence factors.

But in our current state of society, there are many negative influence factors (to be detailed out). So that, due to lack of knowledge and as a “least common denominator” in society, practical community in groups larger than two is normally confined to sitting down, eating, and talking superficial stuff.

When talking against small talk here, I don’t want to not surpass the fact that, at times, the content of small talk is only the meaningless vehicle to implement important non-verbal communication, like showing interest in another person, showing love, but also (and more common) showmanship and self-display etc.. In these situations, you can forget about the content, but what is important is the mode of communication: respecting or not respecting the communication partner(s), letting them talk or cutting in, the intention of the jokes employed etc..

Why was Jesus born in a manger? ‘Cause of all the merciless religious crazy people who’d not let his mother in a house, ’cause she was pregnant bot not married. Hey c’m’ on, if it’s your home town, you know some people there, and can ask them if they have a room if you’re in a real distress. Everybody has at least one room left. But religious hypocrites don’t have one, if it’s for a pregnant unmarried woman. No sinners in the house, please. So, welcome to the real world, Jesus. Your first experience was to be kicked out by religious crazy people … . Sad, but true.

Here’s a thought that regularly came to me when talking with tax consultants, lawyers, gamers and teachers (with permission for one country’s school system), to name some.

There are two sorts of skills: those useful in a certain culture, and those universally useful. Of course that’s a rather rough model, as every skill has varying parts of both.

Acquiring cultural skills is to learn the rules man made up for navigating and operating in a certain society. To me, such haphazardly defined rules have no worth and no justification. It’s a waste of time to become an expert in them (while it’s surely necessary to learn the basic rules, as it’s an interface to ones current society).

Personally, I never had the motivation to acquire one of the above mentioned skills, and also not to learn a rare language, become an expert in doing my German income statement for the tax, learn to play a complex game and the like. Simply because these are not useful in a global context. That’s my personal globalization, so to speak. I’d rather want to become an expert in English, cross-cultural understanding, social skills, computing, technology, mechanical construction and the like, as these are globally relevant and will help me when traveling and living in different places of this world.

I just read the Vierte Berliner Rede (4th Berlin speech) of the German Federal President Horst Köhler. It answered some of my questions regarding global economic foundations and principles of function, but only some. I’ll elaborate here on some stuff that I got inspired to when reading that speech.

Köhler said that all industrial nations where national debt increased in times of increasing welfare are nations where all the people lived beyond their means. He called national debt a draft on the future: something that has to be paid back by future generations. (And I would add: either by state bankruptcy with its negative bye-effects on economy, by inflation or by indeed paying the debts.) Köhler gave a cool and simple explanation of what national debt means. But to me, at least one question remains:

Calling national debt a draft on the future hides the fact that this money got distributed as salaries in the whole nation. The naive judgment would be that people profited from national debt by either getting the stuff the state bought (streets, schools, unemployment benefit, …) and / or salary for working for the state.

A basic creed of our economic system is: the needs of man are infinite, but the means to fulfill them are finite. That should be rather: the greed of man is infinite, and the means to fulfill his greed are finite. But the needs of man are finite, and the means to fulfill his needs are infinite. How that? Because the world is full of ever-renewing resources like fresh water, wood, energy from the sun etc.. These resources are enough to give a mankind of limited size what it needs, for all eternity long (i.e. at least 5 billion years, as our sun will last as long).

Need is a wish that’s justified, while greed is a wish that is not objectively justified. Wanting water, food, protection, social community, a nice workplace and health is justified, as this is what human nature needs. Nature can afford all this for us all, and even adds bonus on top of that. As nature is made by a God who gives freely and richly to all. But wanting to be mightier than all other people, or to own a luxury ship, or to jet around the world all life long is greed: it’s motivated by a defective mind in the sense that it lacks something very basic (some say, God) that it tries to cover up by materialism. In terms of need, greed can be recognized by the fact that somebody owns something that he cannot peruse: a billionaire can never use his ship to the extent that a travel business can use theirs. The sad thing here is: potential welfare is lost here, as it’s lost wherever a resource is not used to its full potential, that is, wherever something is bought that is not needed. That way, greed takes the resources that other people on the planet need (and causes poverty), and that future generations need (as in the case of oil, coal etc.). Put another way round, greed can be recognized by the fact that nature could not provide this stuff to all people. Luxury is not necessarily greed, as I said above that nature adds a bonus. But wanting excessive luxury, on the cost of the current and future generations, is greed.

Now, back to the national debts and the financial crisis. The problem is that both the state and individuals were able to utilize the money system to fulfill their greed. That’s possible because of credits (as a general option, or, because of way too much volume for credits). A credit means that money can go where it does not fulfill people’s needs, just because it fulfills the business owners’ and / or money owners’ greed by means of the rate of return. With every share of an automotive business, shareholder accepted over-production just because they got their rate of return.

Put another way round, credits increase the speed of economy. Without credits (or with credits only for very special cases), the speed would be way slower: companies would have to be in business for decades and save money before they can build their own building. But every company that is in business while having debts did increase the speed of economy beyond what’s sound and healthy. Unhealthy speed means “freedom without personal responsibility” (to use Köhler’s words), and this is enabled by credits. Now, we need to ask, if money is just a means of value exchange, who did give the credits to companies, and that way enabled them to build up an unhealthy economy that fulfills our greed (but not even our needs, e.g. our social needs, because we work way too much). The answer: in industrial nations, the value comes from the millions of small and big investors, of people like you and me, who deposit their money at a bank, in shares or in a fund, to gain from the rate of return. These people allowed others the freedom to use their money without any responsibility, i.e. they gave the might that’s associated with money away, which led others to concentrate that might by means of credits!

So, basically, the economy’s crisis is the fault of a greedy public. People wanted a rate of return just for their money, without being personally responsible for what’s done with the money. They were too lazy to move its ass for a rate of return. Ok, many have worked for the money they saved (ironically, in a company that probably lives on credits itself). But the next step would have been to found an own zero-debt business that ethically tries to fulfill the need of people, and refuses to fulfill greed.

Here’s my current understanding of the genesis of worldwide economic crises, and the underlying mechanisms of our economic system. It emerged from some very interesting discussions with friends.

The current economic system relies on “fiat money”, that is, money without (full) Gold backing. Only in the fiat money system, money can be “generated” (by the state printing it), only in this system inflation is possible (through money printing) and only in this system, book money is possible.

Book money is used as follows: a bank gets some deposits of “real” fiat money from private persons, and lends this to other persons or banks. The fact that this money can be lent a second, third etc. time means the generation of “book money”, which far exceeds the amount of cash money. And the fact that money is lent only in exchange for interest rates (that are higher than the inflation rate) means that the need for money permanently increases. Which is only possible through increasing the amount of book money, by lending to an ever increasing number of people (to earn from the interest rates). The bigger this number of people has to be, the more riskier the business gets (lastly including failing subprime lends). And, the credit acquisition includes also an ever growing number of credit grantors, including the state, at last, which has to support breaking banks.

But if no new credits can be given out or lent finally, a credit crunch happens, and then the financial system breaks and is restarted. This happens once in every 70 years or so; the last time was the worldwide economic crisis in 1932, and currently we have the current repetition. Resetting the financial system means, basically, state bankruptcy: the state had to use money printing to overcome the credit crunch, because even the state could not lend any money from banks anymore (it had done this too often already and is yet no longer deemed credit worthy). Excess use of money printing means, however, hyper-inflation, and then, the start of a new currency.

The fact that credit is promoted that hard means that companies have to take credits, in order to keep up with competitors who took them first. Which means that companies tend to end in excess production in the end, like the worldwide car industry currently (at the end of 2008).

Excess production also means that people have to work harder than necessary, as they work for products that the world does not need. It is an important insight that the amount of work to fulfill the basic needs of humanity is limited. Given the means of industrial production and justified wages for one’s work, nobody of us had to work more than 1,5 hours a day on average. Now, how comes that we don’t get the justified wages? First, because the ratio of government expenditures to gross national product is currently at approx. 50% (in Germany), so that you can only use 25% of the money you earn to buy a product, the rest goes to the state (50% of the money you earn, and 50% of the money you pay to the vendor). Of the 25%, the vendor and the chain of distributors get their share, the inflation (some kind of modern confiscation) gets its share, and the finance system owner get their share though the interest rates that companies have to pay. So in the end, you can buy stuff and services for just approx. 5% of the money you earn, though you got the 100% on your bank account. The trick is this: the theft happens after you get your money, not before! (Addition: from the 5%, you can rarely buy any quality products, as vendors try to sell trash.)

I stated above that system breakdowns (with all the collateral and disergistic effects)
are inherent in our financial system, due to credit promotion. And then, that the credit promotion is the reason of excess production and inadequate wages. Now, the big question is, who does profit from all this if the people loses? Those who give out credits and are able to rescue their property in time. Which are, the super-rich people in the world: those whose property the world is. As they have so much more than they can enjoy personally, their properties serve only the purpose of might. (And, of course, security: people try to be independent from God, but fail upon dying.)

So, the end result is this: stressful life, inadequate wages, and economic crisis is just a result of the might aggregation of some. To answer the question where the resources went that should be in the hand of the people: might was bought with them, in the indirect sense of “buying” as “trading possible efficiency for something else”. Might as a horrendous price. About 95% of the gross national product, as stated above. And we all pay this sad price since the emerge of Nimrod. Yes, we could call our current financial system a modern form of slavery: it looks nice from the outside and comes along with some nice things like freedom of speech (enabling me to write these lines), but its character is just about retention of power as the slavery system was.

A quick hint to a solution: search autarchy, either as a group or individually, either explicitly or (better) implicitly. Implicity autarchy is e.g. a side effect of a well functioning Christian congregation: it is a solidarity group, needing little from outside. For example, it needs no psychiatrists, social workers, banks, family tutors, health insurance, old age insurance etc., and in tough times also no physicians, food providers and others. Wherever the Spirit of the Lord reigns, there is truly freedom.

One of the things, that the current so-called “world-wide economic crisis” teaches, is this. That this world is a brutal one, where every nation thinks of its own first. Crisis time makes it obvious, while good times conceal it.

For example: the media represents that we in Germany are currently worried about ourselves. And our allies in the EU and overseas, but only because we think that it’s easier to go through crisis together. We care about saving our car industry and the financial sector … .

But a plenty of nations is in much worse a crisis for decades. Nearly all of sub-Saharan Africa, for example. And we simply don’t care any more. Not that we really did before, but now it’s obvious. We let Africa die from AIDS, poverty and corruption, and care to secure our own wealth, blessings they never had. That’s brute. Which does not mean that there’s an obvious better alternative (spreading efforts all over the world is in danger of just going phut). But its brute nonetheless.

To constructively extend my previous post, here’s my opinion how war should be used as a legitimate means. I believe, this would solve a great bunch of problems.

  1. A sovereign country or treaty organization may decide to go to war if it is attacked by a foreign army. This is the only reason where one party is allowed to decide about war on its own. Getting shot while indeed defending ones own family is better than if the whole family gets shot.
  2. All the other cases of war, such as “freeing a country from an oppressive regime” (which is the “later assigned reason” for the Iraq war), has to be decided by the United Nations Security Counsel.
  3. In these “other reasons”, no regular armies of U.N. member countries are dispatched. This could lead to wars for “political reasons” again, namely, if the U.N. Security Counsel decision got flawed by some means like by the influence of any super power. The solution is to have a U.N. army of volunteers, who can decide individually if they want to go to war.
  4. The proposed U.N. army should consist of politically trained, highly intelligent volunteers, from all over the world, with good discernment abilities, no prejudices, world travelling and cross-culture experience and a perfect understanding of the current political situation, and of human nature and its immanent problems. They would volunteer for the U.N. army with the motivation to fight for world peace and freedom, and get paid only a moderate salary contributed by U.N. member states.
  5. The proposed U.N. army would consists of only (!) highly specialized, highly trained soldiers, like in the current squads, commandos and special forces, but way better, and way more intelligent. They would have the world’s best equipment at hands, esp. also for personal protection.
  6. The kind of warfare would be innovative: it would be surgical only. The proposed U.N. army could consist of a moderate 10,000-30,000 people. Surgical warfare means to remove (capture, or, if necessary, kill) key persons only. In the case of the Iraq war, had it been approved by the U.N., this would have been perhaps 300-1,500 political any military leaders of the Iraqi regime. And in the Iraq war, as it went, with the U.S. taking action without its country attacked and without U.N. approval, this could have been Mr. Bush and 299-1,499 political leaders and military leaders. I believe that no other people would fill the gaps of the removed ones, simply out of fear of the personal consequences of getting removed also (i.e. being captured and judged in an international court, or, in the worst case, if capturing goes bad, shot). This means also, techniques to really effectively identify leaders and to find and remove them on foreign ground without “collateral damage” would have to be developed.
  7. The soldiers in the proposed U.N. army would have a really really dangerous life, as they operate on foreign ground only, and not from a distance and with brute force as is done in current warfare. To limit the bad effects of this danger, there would be strong admission guidelines, including: no family, no spouse, or a spouse where it can be expected that she / he can handle even the death of its dearest one.
  8. Earning money must not be a motivation to be in the proposed U.N. army. This would lead to Rambo-style people searching admission, and faking the political understanding, intelligence and love for peace that’s expected from candidates. The reason to be in this army would be to do a special contribution to a better world. And the public, world-wide honor as one of those who indeed, day-by-day voluntarily risk their lives for the well-being of this world’s citizens.

Side note. If you can think yourself into the head of one of these proposed volunteering U.N. soldiers, do this. Explore the love for truth and the love for the innocent people in the whole world that such a man or woman must have, to decide to join that army, and to decide to join an individual U.N. approved operation. They really want to make the world a better place, though these intelligent guys and gals with all their abilities, knowledge, physical strength and youth could have the whole world to their feet. Yet they prefer to be poor, and to risk their lives for good. If you got the feeling, meditate on it for a moment.

And then, imagine that such a one fights not for the good and innocent people in the world, but for the well-being of the bad ones. Of those that should get removed!!! And, even worse, they let themselves be removed by the U.N. army instead of those that should get removed. Got it? Then you have a moment of understanding (like me, for a moment) of … what this guy did for all of us: JESUS.

(7) For it is rare for anyone to die for a righteous person, though somebody might be brave enough to die for a good person. (8) But God demonstrates his love for us by the fact that Christ died for us while we were still sinners. [The Bible, Romans 5:7-8, ISV]