Swabian Housewife caught

Well, even the Swabian housewife  is on occasions unfolding her own way and casts light and shadow on her path.

One of these occasions had been recently uncovered.

Indeed, harping on about principles, resulted in a disastrous consequences.The teaser of the article reads in my translation as follows:

sueddeutsche.de Economy
27 February 2019, 05:18 Hartz IV
Job centres spend 60 million euros to collect 18 million
• Job centers must also reclaim small amounts from Hartz IV recipients. This causes an enormous administrative effort.
• In 2018, a total of 18 million euros in small amounts of up to 50 euros were reclaimed. However, this cost around 60 million euros. This is shown by new figures available to SZ.
• Reclaims are made when job centres discover that they have transferred too much to Hartz IV recipients. The Federal Agency has long demanded a de minimis limit for smaller amounts.

But isn’t this exactly against the principles? Yes and no – as there are two principles: the one is about what we learn from an article in the guardian?

They shop frugally, use credit cards rarely and save up to a third of a property’s value before applying for a mortgage.

There is another, though in some way linked, principle: discipline and discipline-enforcing zero-tolerance policies – honoring the cent is the ultimate rule, even if it costs a fortune … and even if it for the price of self-denial. Looking at conservatism, it sometime too simple to reduce things on black and white – they are simply deep, dark black.  


The Price to be paid

Much has been said about the price to be paid for success … and often the German’s are praised: zeal, diligence …, though Protestantism was and is not necessarily dominant amongst the Germans, this tribe is often presented as incarnation of the protestant work ethics (as Max Weber analysed it). Topics for many discussions; many topics for discussion.

One aspect, often forgotten, had been mentioned by Immanuel Kant, though emerging from a possibly unexpected, even unrecognised context (English below):   

Die vorzügliche Achtungsbezeigung in Worten und Manieren selbst gegen einen nicht Gebietenden in der bürgerlichen Verfassung – die Reverenzen, Verbeugungen (Complimente), höfische – den Unterschied der Stände mit sorgfältiger Pünktlichkeit bezeichnende Phrasen, – welche von der Höflichkeit (die auch sich gleich Achtenden nothwendig ist) ganz unterschieden sind – das Du, Er, Ihr und Sie, oder Ew. Wohledlen, Hochedeln, Hochedelgebornen, Wohlgebornen ( ohe, iam satis est !) in der Anrede als in der Pedanterei die Deutschen unter allen Völkern der Erde (die indische Kasten vielleicht ausgenommen) es am weitesten gebracht haben, sind das nicht Beweise eines ausgebreiteten Hanges zur Kriecherei unter Menschen? ( Hae nugae in seria ducunt. ) Wer sich aber zum Wurm macht, kann nachher nicht klagen, daß er mit Füßen getreten wird.[1]

Preferential tributes of respect in words and manners even to those who have no civil authority – reverences, obeisance’s (compliments) and courtly phrases marking with the utmost precision every distinction in rank, is something altogether different from courtesy (which is necessary even for those who respect each other equally) – the Du, Er, Ihr and Sie, or Ew. Wohledeln, Hochedeln, Hochedelgeborenen, Wohlgeborenen (ohe, iam satis est!) as forms of address, a pedantry in which the Germans seem to outdo any other people in the world (except possibly the Indian castes): Does not all this prove that there is a widespread propensity to servility in men? (Hae nugae in seria ducunt) But one who makes himself a worm cannot complain afterwards if people step on him.[2]

Worthwhile to think about it, not least as it reminds a bit of Mills, thinking about the dissatisfied human and the satisfied pig.

It may be worth to mention that, looking for the text on the internet, usually quotations omit the last sentence, thus, I would say, omitting the price to be paid for such success.

[1]    (Kant, Immanuel, 1793: Die Religion innerhalb der Grenzen der bloßen Vernunft. Die Metaphysik der Sitten; 437)

[2]    (Kant, Immanuel, 1793: The Metaphysics of Morals; Introduction, translation, and notes by Mary Gregor; New York et altera: Cambridge Univesity Press, 1991: 232)


Myths — looking at the debt-crisis and the question of reparations in the context of Greece is surely important in terms of the pure and immediate calculation – it had been an issue that had been frequently brought forward in the recent months in connection with the “Greek case” which is more a “German case” or a case of the European hegemonic power centres. However, doing so should also go beyond the crude equation, i.e. the amount of money Germany owes.

A historically wider perspective may remind us that this “deal”, stroke in London (London Agreement on German External Debt) in 1953, was part of a complex strategy. This agreement can be seen as foundation of the German politico-economic success, that makes it today a superpower again.

And looking at “Mutti Merkel” we should never forget the small step of the Germans, emerging from the

Volk der Dichter und Denker

(People of poets and thinkers)

to the

Volk of Richter and Henker

(People of judges and hangmen).

An instructive documentation is provided in the film

Die Lüge vom Wirtschaftswunder

Sure, in about 43 minutes there may be some contestable details, or there may be a lack of details as missing statistics etc.- so the complains of some commentators. However, looking today at history, we should think more about the wrong evidence, permanently distributed in the spirit of the well-known fact that history is always written as history of the ruling classes. – This film obviously unveils more truth in the short time than the history books of the 67 years.

Questions, not only asked when writing about Bärlach, Gastmann and Tschanz (German filmGerman Audiobook).

Migration, German openness and … – the other side

Germany is frequently praised for the policies in connection with migration. And there is surely no reason for any kind of black and white paintings, nor for applying a too broad brush – we are currently elaborating in a small group from the scientific council of attac (Association pour la Taxation des Transactions financières et pour l’Action Citoyenne (Association for the Taxation of financial Transactions and Citizen’s Action) a positioning paper.

There is surely one thing that is frequently overlooked, and it is sufficiently shocking to have a look. It is the

Institutional racism and a lack of government action

Varieties of capitalism – impressions of an eternal tourist

Rome – Berlin
Long queues – visitors waiting for access to a building
One building? Of course not – how could it be so when talking about two different cities.
Still, one common feature:
They are waiting to access the cupola: of the basilica in Rome, of the Reichstag in Berlin
Faith and democracy??

Faith versus democracy??

One point is striking: not so much that there are only few religious people wearing a habit in Berlin. But surely that there so many police(wo)men, security guards … wearing ordinary working uniforms instead of the fancy gala uniforms they wear back home.
Very much the same though: the huge amount of people sleeping rough next to the train station … and for them it is surely not a major difference that in the one country it is Caritas, in the other the Bahnhofmission that looks after them, the one with sleeping bags the other with a soup kitchen …

…. Variety of capitalism …