The System And The Change It Needs Now

05/22/2020

Corona's spinning everything upside down. If we don't wait until the whirled up things settle down exactly the same way as before, this offers mankind a great chance. But this opportunity must be seized. by all of us. And as long as major debates cannot take place in person, we have digital networking. But the change we need will not come automatically. For the climate, for digitalization, for health and for our cooperation and being together.

If pork is not to cost anything, then the work of people to "produce" it must not cost anything either, but certainly not their transport, their accommodation, their supply. The dignity of these poor people is in any case not mentioned in the current mess of the meat industry. It is being trampled underfoot. And this almost free pork is supposed to be systemically relevant as part of the food supply? What kind of system is that?

The discussion about the appropriate remuneration of activities that are actually relevant to society, such as those in nursing, in hospitals, in health authorities, in transport and in the police, fire brigade and emergency services, began in mid-March and has been dragging on for two months now, without any real fundamental change in the way they are valued. This is not a good sign.

Relaxation Exercises Coming from Very Old Thinking

The measures taken in Germany since mid-March to contain the infections, severely restricted contacts, keeping distance and staying at home if possible, have worked quite well. So well that many people are now confused. Were all these measures perhaps not even necessary? Have we been unnecessarily restricted in our rights? Would it not have been necessary to limit contacts and close day-care centers and schools? A loosening up competition is the order of the day. A good ground for repeat offenders with and without doctoral or professorial degrees, who now give their conspiracy stories a brand-new coloring and reach millions of clicks. Always there: the hordes of nationalists and right-wing extremists in and around the AfD, the bearers of the Reich Citizen's Flag and other dangerous extremists, who now flag blue instead of brown. Those responsible for the FDP in the state and federal government hope for a small profit, which might be won if they show move in the same direction. Sometimes bashfully, sometimes allegedly by mistake, mostly, especially on the talk shows, quite openly.

Was it wrong to close the borders? Are they reopened too late? The virologists are amused by this question because they know that the virus feels equally comfortable on both sides of the border fence and spreads. It is the protective measures that make such a big difference in the impact of the disease on both sides of the border. The rich nation can protect its citizens better than a state that is broken and declared superfluous; the liberal nation can do so with greater consideration than the authoritarian or autocratic nation. But it does not help the one if the other is helpless. The virus will quickly make its way again through all countries, by sea and by air. And it threatens to overwhelm even the best care.

Systemic Disease in A Double Sense

The virus is new. It's not just attacking a single organ. Doctors now speak less and less of a new type of lung disease and more and more of a systemic disease. In addition to the lungs, SARS-CoV-2 can also eat into the liver, heart and kidneys, the blood vessels, and the brain. Many scientists are certain that the transfer of the virus, which is harmless in animals, to humans is linked to our subjugation of the earth, plants and animals to the farthest corners of the globe, to the subjugation of all life to the maxims of our economic system: growth and free markets. And several years ago, they predicted such pandemics that would be fatal for mankind.

Then came the shutdown, which wasn’t one for us, compared to Italy, Spain, France, the USA, China and other countries. But still: Suddenly the market was shut down and the state intervened in a regulatory manner, and in such a way that the growth of the economy was dramatically stopped. In the USA there is currently talk of imminent deflation. Never has there been a comparable situation in the land of unlimited opportunities, where prices are falling for practically everything because there is no one left who can or wants to buy it at the old prices. And it is not even clear that it will be bought at the currently rampant knock-down prices. The virus has contradicted the maxims of our economic system. It has eroded them. For the first time in my life, which began shortly after the Second World War, the top priority is not economic growth but the fight against a deadly, unknown virus for which there is no cure.

Covid-19 has also attacked the social system. In all countries where the rule of law and the welfare state were and are held in low esteem, where supposedly strong men are in office and dignity, society is now particularly badly off. For the strength of the bigmouths from Trump to Putin and Orban is not far off in this threat. And it is precisely in countries like Germany, which are quite well organised, that people want less state, especially now. The virus challenges mankind. And it has no answers.

Time for Questions

It's time to start looking for answers. For alternatives to the life, economy, being governed and governing we know and which has led to what is currently throwing everything out of kilter.

Nobody has those answers right now. Nobody knows the alternatives. It would probably be a step in the right direction if we could find the right questions. Some ideas for discussion:

  • Do we need a nation state? Would a smaller, more regional, city-based state organization - like in the ancient Greek and medieval Italian city-states - be more appropriate? Digitally networked worldwide?
  • Doesn't the need for public health care show how important it is not to leave basic human care to the profit-seeking of industries? Shouldn't we get back on the road to strong public infrastructures for health, communications, transport, traffic and security?
  • Home offices, video meetings and webinars - all of a sudden, digital networking is not only dangerous and bad, but helpful and continuative. How can we use this impetus to promote the socially meaningful use of digital technology in all areas and not leave it to the pure and ruthless pursuit of profit by a handful of corporations in the USA and China?
  • The global climate continues to change dramatically for the worse. How can we help the Fridays for Future Generation to use the pandemic for a new push in their struggle? How can we use the good experiences with less air pollution, the lack of aircraft noise and the audible birdsong, the almost carless roads from the first weeks of the down economy to make a change that works?

Comments, further questions and of course first answers are welcome!

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