A bit more than fifty years ago a panel discussion took place in Berlin, published in the book: Herbert Marcuse: Das Ende der Utopie. Vorträge und Diskussionen in Berlin 1967. The discussion took place in the immediate aftermath of the murder of Benno Ohnesorg. It had been one of a series of events, organised by the SDS (Sozialistischer Deutscher Studentenbund).
Interestingly we read in the TOC ‘Morals and Politics in the transition society’, going the to the relevant section the title reads ‘Morals and Politics in the affluent society’. The major topic is best looked at in terms of public spaces, freedom and responsibility. The presentation looks at digitisation, GAFA and BAT in the light of regulating private quasi-monopolist ownership versus regaining publicness.
The recording of the lecture can be found here.
Well, toilets are not the most favorite topics: we all use them, but we usually do not talk about them.
Did I say we all use them? Actually I received the other day a mail, linking me to a website with the heading
An amazing and alarming figure. Much has been done, but a lot remains to be done, indeed.
But looking at what is actually done is not less alarming: the use of “public” toilets is increasingly also absorbed in the stream of privatisation, i.e. you have to pay in train stations etc.; last year I used such facilities in a coffeeshop (one if not the one of the most widespread places not only in Germany) and read something like:
I am cleaning this toilet without being paid by the owner. I appreciate your donation.
Yes, I remember the word donation had been used and that the lady had not been paid by the owner.
All this, by the way, gets an additional slant if we think that more and more people in the so-called developed countries are homeless – for them this kind of privatisation is another obstacle in their life.
And there is another additional remark that may usefully be made: the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are supporting the UN-initative: the 19th November now being World Toilet Day. Do something good and talk about it … – why not: don’t do any harm initially, then there is not so much reason for doing good to repair the damage.