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Volker Pispers: Capitalism + . . .     07.02.2011

[Prosperity needs slaves]

[A german myth]

Ever more, ever more. Productivity, growth. And then, our third god: our diligence, the myth of hard work in Germany. Especially West Germany. The German was always proud of his diligence. And as the Wall9 fell, many West Germans said: See what the East looks like. Look over there how appallingly shabby everything is. They couldn't have done any work at all. It's just as ruined as it was at the end of the war. Over here everything was also broken down. And now? What do you see here, and what does it look like there? We were diligent. We rolled up our sleeves. And no-one gave us anything for free. And now we're supposed to feed them - they must have loafed around the whole time. The country there still looks like the worst areas in the south of Italy. Only difference: the shitty weather. ☺
No, misery in the rain is something that the German despises. ☺☺ Misery in sunshine is quite relaxing. Wretchedness at 40 degrees in the shade, with beach and palms. That's what the German is fond of, that's where he can relax. Wretchedness in the rain he doesn't like at all. We were always proud of our diligence. The West German regulars' table was always diligent. And rolled up the sleeves. The Germans declare: All people in the world could have a life like ours if they would only work hard. That's the myth: be diligent and reap your reward. Africa is so rich in natural resources. If he would pull himself together the African could lead a totally different life. ☺ But here we are out of luck.

The Chinese is not so lazy. ☺ Neither is the population in India. And there are more disasters to come: the Romanian has decided to start working. ☺ Now that isn't exactly the role of the Romanian, is it? The Romanian is supposed to run around in the woods as a gang of thieves. We construct mobile phones, the Romanian pilfers mobile phones. That was the agreement. And now they steal whole mobile phone factories. Nokia moved from Bochum [Ruhr] to Romania. And the Germans, who were always proud of the free market economy, suddenly moan about predator capitalism.

All of a sudden talk is of predator capitalism. Now what might that be? capitalism -> predator capitalism, water -> wet water? ☺ What was it that Nokia did? Did the Nokia Board of Directors meet to conclude: Which is the most beautiful city in the world? ☺☺ Where is it absolutely essential that we build a plant? Not at all. Nokia was forced to come to Bochum by the offer of a check, with a €70 million bribe. In plain language: a subvention. We paid Nokia €70 million. That's why Nokia came to Bochum. And two years ago the sum was used up. And then Nokia asked: is any more coming? And Rüttgers2 answered: nope. We have nothing more to offer. That was in 2008, do you remember? At that time we still had an economic boom. Then you don't give money away. Were we already in the crisis, then we would have found a way to help Nokia. ☺☺ The Nokia employees would have all been given a free Opel [car]. But in a boom period? And so Nokia said: good, then we'll go to Romania, they are giving us €20 million for the 200 jobs. First we'll transfer the jobs there, and then we'll see further.

And all of a sudden, as Nokia moved to Romania, the West Germans realized for the first time: The Wall had been our friend. Clearly, we in the West profited from the Wall. The greater part of our prosperity has been thanks to the Wall. We became prosperous not because of our diligence. We have so much because we could buy so much for our income. We were a high-wage country with cheap imports. For this situation we have to thank the Wall. The Wall kept away the cheap workforce of Eastern Europe but allowed the cheap imports through - a perfect semi-permeable membrane. And we could heartily express our indignation over the injustice of the Wall. A true win-win-win situation. ☺☺

The [US] Americans have just erected such a Wall. Have you seen it? The Americans constructed a Fence towards Mexico through the desert over hundreds of kilometers, with barbed wire and heavily guarded. The Ossies [East Germans] would feel themselves quite at home. ☺ The Americans are trying to keep the cheap labour in Latin America at bay. To achieve that they spend hundreds of millions of Dollars. Each year. We got the effect scot free. And for all those years the Wall maintenance was also free. ☺☺ And as the Wall Operating Company, ☺☺ as the GDR got into serious economic difficulties for the first time in 1983, Franz-Josef Strauß [then Bavarian Premier] kept them alive with a billion DM credit. Exactly as with the Greeks today. We offered help willingly. 1.5 billion DM for the GDR, at that time a really huge sum.

[A lucrative investment]

There was a big discussion - should such a regime be given assistence, morally and anyhow? Strauß said: you have to keep a good thing going. ☺ I wouldn't claim that Strauß was a fan of the SED7. But Strauß knew how important the Wall was for business in West Germany. Strauß was a dealer and business guy. He didn't die as millionaire because he was Premier in Bavaria. No. Strauß was the prototype for the conservative-business alliance in Germany. That's quite clear. Strauß made deals with the fascist Pinochet in Chile, and with Honecker, a Communist. He made deals with Idi Amin, Burkassa, Gaddhafi, and Khoumeni.

For a Conservative it makes no difference. When it comes to business deals he doesn't let himself be hampered by values or moral considerations. ☺ The Conservative deal-maker doesn't join the church congregation on Sundays because he believes in God or wants to hear that crap about sexually disturbed priests. ☺☺ The Conservative takes a seat on the hard bench because he hopes to find business partners there. For the same reason he is member of the carneval society, the shooting association, the traditional costume club, and in the CDU. For him it's all the same. ☺☺ The Conservative is successful because he is capable of focussing on business: dough, dough, dough. And that's why we call them the Blacks. ☺ And when the Leftist sees this, he gets Red with rage. And the Liberal gets Yellow with envy. That's how this all hangs together. ☺☺

1.5 billion DM for the GDR, back in 1983. This sufficed the GDR with its 17 million detainees for a further six years. ☺ From that you can judge how well they managed their household! Today that's nominally €750 million. The Hypo Real Estate [Bank] wouldn't even need two hours to send it through the chimney. ☺ The GDR was broke. And how we laughed, back then. Compared to today's Greece and the USA the GDR financial basis back then was eminently solid.

[Aside: Who's afraid of the big public debt?]

Compare the public debt then with what we have today. It's ludicrous. The amount of debt is of no import whatever. Lenders are not interested in getting their loan back. What they want are interest payments. How much debt you have doesn't matter. This is devoid of all reason and sense, ladies and gentlemen. The Greeks have a public debt of €26,000 per capita, the Americans have €30,000.
And now Barack Obama has presented the household plan for his term of office. Over the four years he intends to increase the per capita public debt by €15,000. I.e. the Greeks have public debt of €27.000 per capita. And the US Americans now have €45,000. And who is credit-worthy?? The Americans of course. They must get their loans, because they have an army. It would otherwise drop by to collect the money. ☺☺

But the life of the Greeks is being turned into hell. They are being forced to save €10 billion in their household. For Germany that would amount to €80 billion annually. Can you imagine what would happen here? And the Greeks have to see to it that they reach this goal. Not saving the €10 billion is going to get them into real trouble. What would happen then? I think then they would have to pay a penalty. And from what cash would they pay this penalty? I think Merkel would lend them the sum, don't you? ☺☺ This is all crazy. ☺☺ Barack Obama has set up a household plan for his four years in office - you can check it in the media. He says: in the first year I will allow $1,600 billion new debt. $1,600 billion! So, in the second year I will make another $1,600 billion new debt. In the third year also $1,600 billion. And for the fourth year he stated that he would halve the public debt. Right, only in the fourth year. He needs time to prepare the trick. ☺ The gag is to state that the public debt will be halved. In reality nothing is going to be paid back to the lenders. What Barack Obama means is that during the fourth year he will make only half as much new debt as he did in the previous three years. Try to work out this kind of diet plan with your doctor. ☺ Tell him: during the fourth year I don't want to reduce, but I want to gain only half as much ☺ as in the first three years. And in medical circles they are debating about when a brain should be considered dead. ☺

It's great. The amount of debt plays no role whatever. The question is whether fresh money is obtainable to pay the interest. That's clear. And when Americans don't raise enough loans they go over to printing the money. Within the Eurozone we now do that too. Over the last two years the Americans have been printing money without end. Had the GDR back in 1983 printed money, they would have been criticized: that's only monopoly money, what do they want to do with it? The Americans are now also printing play-money. The dollar is worth almost nothing now. Only, you [the audience] are buying the dollars from the Americans for your old-age pension - so, good luck! ☺☺

[A german myth: further example]

Another little example of the functioning of the Wall9. You all know the Billy Shelf. Billy Shelf is now 30 years old - Ikea staged a big anniversary last year. Even as students we could afford the Billy Shelf. A stable shelf with a backwall, everything you would want. It was cheap. Why? Because back then Ikea produced in the GDR. They even produced in GDR jails - did you know that? The Billy Shelves were produced by political prisoners. Think about that next time you dust the shelf off at home. ☺ It had all the features of a typical GDR product. You may remember - one time the holes were missing, then the screws. ☺ But we could afford it! If Ikea had produced the stuff in West Germany paying West German wages, no student could have afforded it. Would have been much too expensive. But the brothers and sisters in the GDR worked for chicken feed. They didn't get what we would call a wage. They themselves couldn't afford Ikea; and they couldn't renovate their houses.

And now maybe you understand. One Euro [an hour] jobbers have always existed in Germany. It's just that before 1990 we did not have to see them because of the Wall. ☺ The Wall tumbled and Ikea moved on. At first to produce in the Czech Republic. Then the EU came to the Czech Republic. Wages rose. Ikea moved on. Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan. Always a step further.
    I don't want to join the fusspots in the back rows to discuss the time order. Don't laugh - at night high school teachers are allowed to run around freely... ☺☺
The point is neither the geography nor the details. The point concerns the underlying structures. The enterprises are still moving on. To countries where the wages are still lower than where the firms are currently producing. A point will come when they have circumnavigated the globe. Just wait. When you in Bonn are prepared to work for €2 an hour because otherwise you get nothing between your teeth, then Ikea will come and produce here. And then you can take your revenge on the Chinese with a shitty little Billy Shelf.

2) Premier of North Rhine Westphalia
7) Socialist Unity Party (GDR ~ German Democratic Republic ~ East Germany)
9) I.e. the Iron Curtain

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