“Crotchety, Over-Critical Culture”

Comparing Germany’s entrepreneurial business world to Silicon Valley’s? This post will be even shorter than usual.

Silicon

One reason why California continues to draw talent out of Germany is the contrast between Germany’s crotchety, over-critical culture, with its fear and condemnation of failure.

This compares unfavorably with California’s inspiring can-do optimism and fail early, fail often, keep trying until you succeed” mantra. Additional reasons are the much higher salaries paid to engineers and programmer in California, the sunnier, warmer weather and California’s huge head start in building a startup-friendly business ecosystem.

“We need to build critical mass in one city, and that city is Berlin. It’s built a global reputation as a cool, hip, affordable city with a lively startup scene. We should double down on that.”

 

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A Show Of Forest

Greta joins forces with the Robin Hoodlum activists of Hambach Forest in Germany. You know, in Media Hyperspace? Nothing can stop them now or something.

Greta

Climate activist Greta Thunberg makes surprise visit to German forest – While on her way to a UN climate conference, 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg stopped in western Germany to stand with activists at the Hambach Forest. The woods have been threatened by a nearby lignite mine.

Greta & Co really need to get out (of the forest) more and gather a little real world experience. For health reasons alone. As William James (The varieties of Religious Experience) once put it: Spiritual excitement takes pathological forms whenever other interests are too few and the intellect too narrow.

“This is so important because it is so symbolic.”

German Of The Day: Igelsex

Go figure. It’s pronounced “eagle sex” but it means hedgehog sex.

Igelsex

Germans kept up at night by noisy igelsex (that’s hedgehog coupling) – Police called out to reports of nocturnal disturbances find hedgehogs ‘having fun.’

I don’t buy it, though. I think these Germans were kept up at night, tossing and turning, worrying about the German economy.

“Germany’s economy is highly dependent on exports, and that’s what’s hitting the German economy now. If the trade conflicts persist for many more years, this will hit Germany very hard.”

A Pattern Is Clearly Emerging

After years, if not centuries of intense observation, German climate scientists have now come to the shocking conclusion that it can get really hot here in the summer.

Summer

“As opposed to the winter  months,” one scientific interviewed said, “where we have observed a significant and prolonged drop in temperatures during the same period we took these measurements, it often happens that some summer days in Germany can get like, you know, hot as hell.” “Yeah,” another scientist colleague added, “and we now believe that this is most likely to take place during the month of July, for some odd reason.”

Germany swelters in record-breaking Europe heat wave – A record high temperature in Germany is forecast to stand for only a day as Europe’s second summer heat wave bites. Ships have been stranded, rail travelers urged to delay trips and tigers fed chicken ice blocks.

Saving The Planet The Convenient Way

Lord knows that “saving the planet” from climate change is hard work.

Planet

That is why so many Germans are so “conscientious about the purchases they make, ride bikes and try to reduce their trash and carbon footprint.” They are also perfectly aware of the fact that they “can’t solve the problem on their own,” which us very, well, convenient but “they can force politicians and businesses to act,” which they do, if it isn’t all too inconvenient, that is.

And all of this gives them a good conscience, which is good. A good conscience one must have when one is riddled with guilt. A good conscience one must have when one is driving one’s expensive German non-electric automobile down the autobahn at excessive speeds, for example, or purchasing goods and products grown or manufactured on the other side of the planet being saved and flown in to Germany at dumping prices. A good conscience one must have when one simultaneously exports one’s plastic waste to the other side of the planet while flying off on vacation three times a year to culturally exchange with other cultures about the virtues of saving said planet.

Good conscience and convenience go hand in hand here, in other words. Here, too, Germany is a forerunner and we should look up to their shining example with admiration and humility.

“Sustainability is becoming a ‘quasi-religious’ promise of salvation.”

The Next German Folk Hero Is Born

For fifteen minutes or so, at least.

Folk Hero

Carola Rackete has been lauded as a heroine and decried as a criminal for helping asylum-seekers stranded in the Mediterranean Sea. What drives the 31-year-old German captain of the Sea-Watch rescue boat?

That’s easy. It’s the drug she’s taking: Guilt. Guilt gets people high. At least here in Germany it does. Guilt-induced moral intoxication turns its users from nobodies minding their own business into moral supermen saving the world. Those they claim to help are of secondary importance.

“I have decided to enter the port of Lampedusa. I know what I’m risking, but the 42 rescued people are exhausted. I’m taking them to safety now.”

Not If You Work For A Living

Is Germany’s health care system a model for the U.S.?

Health

Nope. Unless you want to pay a considerable amount of what you earn for your regular health insurance (15 percent – and climbing) – that’s the el cheapo insurance, by the way, the “private” insurance costs much more. Your husband/wife get to pay that fifteen percent, too. Then you get to pay extra for countless other things like dental work (1000 euros for a crown ain’t no big deal, for example) And if you’re a freelance, self-employed type you normally can’t even afford the regular insurance. You have no choice, however. You cannot opt out when it comes to insurance here.

However, if you’re on the dole and even openly admit that you have no intention of going back to work, everything is covered for you.

This is what “free health care” comes down to, folks.

“The ones who are able to pay more, pay more. And the ones who aren’t able to pay that much, don’t pay that much.”

German Of The Day: Eigentum

That means property. But property doesn’t mean much in Germany anymore. At least not in Berlin under its current “red-red-green” city government.

Property

Another word you might be interested in here is Enteignung.

German officials facing protests and endless complaints about threats to affordable housing in the nation’s capital have decided the solution may be a five-year ban on rent increases and fines as high as $550,000 for violators.

Officials in Berlin, a city of about 3.7 million residents long known for its affordable housing options, announced this week that they plan to temporarily freeze the rents charged on publicly and privately owned apartments in a bid to halt runaway gentrification.

“It will scare away investors who will find alternative markets with less regulation. It’s a socialist and populist attack on the free market and it’s not going to lead to a single new apartment being built.”

 

We’re Not Worthy!

Actually, we’re too worthy – and that’s the problem.

Rich

If they think their ranking on rich lists is too low, American tycoons fume. German ones kick up a fuss when theirs looks suspiciously high, explains Heinz Dürr. When a magazine called him a billionaire a few years ago, Mr Dürr rang the editor to remonstrate. The reporters had double-counted his ownership of Homag, a maker of wood-processing machines that Dürr, his family’s mechanical-engineering firm, bought in 2014. Plutocrats have reached the top of politics in America and Italy, while in Asia the super-rich often display their wealth in ostentatious style. Germany’s magnates love to shun the limelight.

Which reminds me of German oddities 302 and 25.

German 302. Germans have a big Neid (envy) problem. They are perfectly aware of this and often complain that they live in a Neidgesellschaft (envy society) but keep turning green with envy all the same. One comedian claims that Germany is the only country in the world where the need for envy is stronger than the sex drive.

German Oddity 25. When Americans refer to something as being “typically American” they generally mean this in a positive way. When Germans refer to something as being “typically German” they generally mean this in a negative way.

Whatever Is Not Expressly Allowed

Is verboten. In Germany. If you’re Facebook, Google, Amazon, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter and Co., that is.

Facebook

Recognize a pattern here? They’re all American companies and they’re all “free” to use. The Germans, of all people, surely must have figured out by now that nothing is ever for free. But they haven’t.

GERMAN REGULATORS JUST OUTLAWED FACEBOOK’S WHOLE AD BUSINESS – FACEBOOK’S MASSIVELY LUCRATIVE advertising model relies on tracking its one billion users—as well as the billions on WhatsApp and Instagram—across the web and smartphone apps, collecting data on which sites and apps they visit, where they shop, what they like, and combining all that information into comprehensive user profiles. Facebook has maintained that collecting all this data allows the company to serve ads that are more relevant to users’ interests. Privacy advocates have argued that the company isn’t transparent enough about what data it has and what it does with it. As a result, most people don’t understand the massive trade-off they are making with their information when they sign up for the “free” site.

“We disagree with their conclusions and intend to appeal so that people in Germany continue to benefit fully from all our services.”