The following is a transcript from Chapter 4 of the 1979 book “Rama II”, a science fiction written by Arthur C. Clarke, author of 2001 and other bestsellers.
The similarities to the current global commercial (non-?)crisis are rather frightening and I’d like to leave the following further uncommented.
4 THE GREAT CHAOS
[…] An unrestrained burst of conspicuous consumption and global greed lasted for just under two years. Frantic acquisition of everything the human mind could create was superimposed on a weak economic infrastructure that had been already poised for a downturn in early 2130 . The looming recession was first postponed throughout 2130 and 2131 by the combined manipulative efforts of governments and financial institutions, even though the fundamental economic weaknesses were never addressed. With the renewed burst of buying in early 2132, the world jumped directly into another period of rapid growth. Production capacities were expanded, stock markets exploded, and both consumer confidence and total employment hit all-time highs. There was unprecedented prosperity and the net result was a short-term but significant improvement in the standard of living for almost all humans.
By the end of the year in 2133, it had become obvious to some of the more experienced observers of human history that the “Raman Boom” was leading mankind toward disaster. Dire warnings of impending economic doom started being heard above the euphoric shouts of the millions who had recently vaulted into the middle and upper classes. Suggestions to balance budgets and limit credit at all levels of the economy were ignored. Instead, creative effort was expended to come up with one way after another of putting more spending power in the hands of a populace that had forgotten how to say wait, much less no, to itself.
The global stock market began to sputter in January of 2134 and there were predictions of a coming crash. But to most humans spread around the Earth and throughout the scattered colonies in the solar system, the concept of such a crash was beyond comprehension. After all, the world economy had been expanding for over nine years, the last two years at a rate unparalleled in the previous two centuries. World leaders insisted that they had finally found the mechanisms that could truly inhibit the downturns of the capitalistic cycles. And the people believed them—until early May of 2134.
During the first three months of the year the global stock markets went inexorably down, slowly at first, then in significant drops. Many people, reflecting the superstitious attitude toward cometary visitors that had been prevalent for two thousand years, somehow associated the stock market’s difficulties with the return of Halley’s Comet. Its apparition starting in March turned out to be far brighter than anyone expected. For weeks scientists all over the world were competing with each other to explain why it was so much more brilliant than originally predicted. After it swooped past perihelion in late March and began to appear in the evening sky in mid-April, its enormous tail dominated the heavens.
In contrast, terrestrial affairs were dominated by the emerging world economic crisis. On May 1, 2134, three of the largest international banks announced that they were insolvent because of bad loans. Within two days a panic had spread around the world. The more than one billion home terminals with access to the global financial markets were used to dump individual portfolios of stocks and bonds. The communications load on the Global Network System (GNS) was immense. The data transfer machines were stretched far beyond their capabilities and design specifications. Data gridlock delayed transactions for minutes, then hours, contributing additional momentum to the panic.
By the end of a week two things were apparent—that over half of the world’s stock value had been obliterated and that many individuals, large and small investors alike, who had used their credit options to the maximum, were now virtually penniless. The supporting data bases that kept track of personal bank accounts and automatically transferred money to cover margin calls were flashing disaster messages in almost 20 percent of the houses in the world.
In truth, however, the situation was much much worse. Only a small percentage of the transactions were actually clearing through all the supporting computers because the data rates in all directions were far beyond anything that had ever been anticipated. In computer language, the entire global financial system went into the “cycle slip” mode. Billions and billions of information transfers at lower priorities were postponed by the network of computers while the higher priority tasks were being serviced first.
The net result of these data delays was that in most cases individual electronic bank accounts were not properly debited, for hours or even days, to account for the mounting stock market losses, Once the individual investors realized what was occurring, they rushed to spend whatever was still showing in their balances before the computers completed all the transactions. By the time governments and financial institutions understood fully what was going on and acted to stop all this frenetic activity, it was too late. The confused system had crashed completely. To reconstruct what had happened required carefully dumping and interleaving the backup checkpoint files stored at a hundred or so remote centers around the world.
For over three weeks the electronic financial management system that governed all money transactions was inaccessible to everybody. Nobody knew how much money he had—or how much anyone else had. Since cash had long ago become obsolete, only eccentrics and collectors had enough bank notes to buy even a week’s groceries. People began to barter for necessities. Pledges based on friendship and personal acquaintance enabled many people to survive temporarily. But the pain had only begun. Every time the international management organization that oversaw the global financial system would announce that they were going to try to come back on-line and would plead with people to stay off their terminals except for emergencies, their pleas would be ignored, processing requests would flood the system, and the computers would crash again.
It was only two more weeks before the scientists of the world agreed on an explanation for the additional brightness in the apparition of Halley’s Comet. But it was over four months before people could count again on reliable data base information from the GNS. The cost to human society of the enduring chaos was incalculable. By the time normal electronic economic activity had been restored, the world was in a violent financial down-spin that would not bottom out until twelve years later. It would be well over fifty years before the Gross World Product would return to the heights reached before the Crash of 2134.
New Airport Insider recently published a blog by one of who they call the “Generation Y”, students, getting ready for the travel and aviation industry. What triggered my attention there was a very basic, though very common misperception, what I call “the inside-out-look”.
What’s wrong with that?
That is rather easy. If you provide flight services, you fly both directions. Worse, if you subsidize any airport, you likely do it to attract commerce to your region (tourism is commerce too). You likely don’t do it to make the people in your region to take their money elsewhere. As such, the focus of airports and politicians alike must be on the outside in, or as we say in the travel industry; the incoming.
In the example, which is very common, the French author considered “rail” a competitor to flight. Which is true on the inside-out-look, or outgoing, but it’s simply missing the point once you look outside-in.
Aside of Germany, France and a handful other nations, train is usually no issue. Within these countries, train is very competitive on the local market, especially the high speed trains like French TGV or German ICE. But now I go abroad. Into another country. I go into any travel agency, even in France or Germany and ask for international travel. Give me a guess: How often will they offer you train, even i.e. Paris-Frankfurt? All they intuitively look for in phase 1 is “flight”. Is the city the client wants to connect to bookable on the GDS (Global Travel Booking System)? If not, the agent (hopefully without showing you) rolls the eyes, curses you and starts looking up how the f*** to get you to that godforsaken town you ask for…
In short: If you have an airport “nearby” with scheduled services that link you into the global aviation networks on the GDSs (connections are important), you are visible. Else, you’re an annoyance. If there is an airport “nearby”, travelers may take train, bus, rental car or taxi for the remainder of the trip.
Likely, not knowing the language, maybe not even the local alphabeth, it’s going to be a taxi or a car from a large (global) rental car company offering navigation system. Or a personal pickup…
Later, the train may become a competitor. But that’s another story. To trigger global commercial interest, an airport is a strategic answer.
But not just the airports, but also the connectivity by scheduled flights, which can be booked in the GDS, connecting the airport to the global aviation networks! Second lesson, most local-minded politicos miss to understand with their inside-out-look…
Today the big shots are called by the Arab airlines, Emirates wiht 39 Airbus A380 just ordered another 140 of that mega-airplane, their fleet of 200 aircraft triples with more than 400 new aircraft on order. And Lufthansa’s Star Alliance partner Turkish Airlines doubles the fleet, adding almost 200 to the existing 200. And as mentioned, Istanbul gets another airport (they have two already) for another 150 million passengers, three times as many as Frankfurt manages today.
Lufthansas order list may look similar, but most of the aircraft needs to replace older generation “gas hogs”. And with 10 A380 and another four on order, with 29 747 with just 10 new on order, Lufthansa is in no position to play in the same league as an Emirates.
What many oversee is the commercial impact of aviation. As I show for many years now the correlation of economic centres in relation to airports and their size, there is simply also a historic development giving a warning example.
As Carthage and Rome have been the centre of the world in there time, as was Genoa (Columbus) or Bombay. Always the metropolises where strategically located at trade routes. And as shipping (the one on the water) got competition by rail, street and aviation, developments in aircraft construction shot airports like Shannon or Anchorage into the insignificance of history.
My former boss compared this with the old American railroad tycoons. Their self-conception was to build rail tracks and operate large iron horses, not the mass transport of people and goods. As the first aircraft were developed, they belittled these developments. As the World Wide Web developed, Microsoft belittled this development and to date limps reactively behind current developments (the Windows 8 Apps are simply uncompetitive compared to their Apple paragons).
And currently, the politicians of the “industry nations” miss to set the right tracks for the future. Would Moscow get the Russian corruption in check, no politicians would dare to challenge the authoritarian regime of this resource rich country. Just as they handle China with velvet gloves, knowing exactly that money rules the world and in the end, if they want to “profit” from the business, they dodge their high moral and ethics first… And aviation is simply a punching ball for them, screaming “noise” and “pollution”, no matter the major, largely unsubsidized developments in quieter and fuel efficient aircraft… Yeah, don’t think, just hit’em and milk’em!
For aviation, it is finally about moving people and goods from A to B (as efficiently as possible). And who believes the thousands of aircraft seats ordered in the Middle East would fly empty… Where does the traffic flow? Minimum growth in Europe. A graph by the CEO of Turkish Airlines given when he took seat of chairman of the European Airline Association AEA pinpoints it:
At the same time Lufthansa impairs it’s cooperation with Star Alliance Partner Turkish Airlines, with the reasoning that they would “unfairly” pull longhaul passengers to their hub in Istanbul. “Obstinacy” you call that I think. Because factually, in the current political sludge and struggle for survival, Lufthansa has nothing substantial to counter such developments
Aviation in Europe: Lufthansa and Air Berlin have rested too long on their successes, Western politicians simply understand aviation as a milk cow they can drain, ignoring the negative repercussions to commerce of their decisions against aviation development. Even Ryanir “stumbles” and frantically tries to reshape the own, aggressive business model, replacing it in fact with a core-different business model. If that will succeed? I doubt it.
My expectations: One global hub will remain in Europe. With Easyjet and current focus by Norwegian, London has a good chance, if they get their capacity problems managed. London isn’t dependent on the drip of British Airways as are Frankfurt (Lufthansa) or Paris (Air France), being tied to these airling operators for the better or worse.
Passengers from or to Europe then will fly with regional feeder services into the real global hubs in Moscow, Istanbul, Abu Dhabi or Dubai. As a hub to South America Portugal could position itself, but also Madrid and Morocco (outside the EU) are showing ambitions, a prophecy being rather risky there.
The traffic and commerce streams are changing. And I have concerns about the ability of the industry nations politicians to realize that the world suddenly bypasses them. And when they wake up, it will simply be too late.
A new hype shakes up the business world. Everybody talks about “Big Data”. But what is that all about?
Basically it’s an utterly normal issue. More and more data is collected, increasingly larger amounts of data have to be analysed and made “usable”. And this is the crux of the matter, even NSA faces problems with. Because you can’t see the wood for the trees. And to call for the example of the Needle in the Haystack… As I showed years ago, that “problem” is none, but can be solved quickly with the right tool (a strong magnet)…
But what the “experts” try here, is to find from a randomly found pine tree needle from the forest, all the other needles that originally belonged to the same tree. And the forest grows!
The first, Big-Data-experts came up with, have been personal profiles, coming from a variety of different sources. That Google and Facebook still offer me young Russian ladies for marriage is a good sign that they are way off even that goal. It makes their life not any easier that I don’t work at German Mail in Bonn, neither being the treasurer of Kassel.
Big Data is simply a reality, no “hype”. But it remains a “problem”. To manage “big data”, I need the matching technology on the one side, on the other intelligent and fast fitering algorythms. And as the amount of data grows faster than the processing power, the real problem is predictable. Either I filter the large amount of data very rough, or I filter smaller amount of data very detailed. A question of width and depth of information. So what does NSA do with the data? First, filtering it by catch words and phrases. Then have a highly paid analyst try to separate the wheat from the chaff.
1. False Positive. This defines information that is incorrectly assessed. I.e. in Spam an important message the computer considers Spam. Is it about people and the NSA, a “false positive” can have devastating repercussions, such as the denial for totally innocent people trying to enter the U.S. (such happening).
2. Privacy Protection. It’s being compromised and I keep lately quoting the former U.S. Presidents Franklin und Truman:
“Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” [Benjamin Franklin]
“we want no Gestapo or secret police. FBI is tending in that direction. They are dabbling in sex-life scandals and plain blackmail. J. Edgar Hoover would give his right eye to take over, and all congressmen and senators are afraid of him”. Ersetze FBI durch NSA… Und was, wenn die “Teaparty” tatsächlich an die Macht kommt (vergleichbar bei uns der NPD)? [Harry S. Truman]
Replace FBI by NSA… And what, if the “Tea Party” in the U.S. really get’s to power (comparably our NPD)? We call it something falling into the wrong hands.
In aviation, we also work daily with “big data” and not just British Airways develops ideas to merge their customer profiles with the public profiles of their clients from the Social Networks… We also have to think about how far we want to go. Or if there are other areas of “big data” of interest, such as operations management.
To make this very clear… This is notagainst U.S. or Russia or Germany, we have enough problems everywhere. It is a case to point the mirror to the U.S. and Russia.
Is it truly necessary to prosecute Edward Snowden and to mess internationally (not just with some South American President) on all diplomatic levels to catch someone who has done what he believes to be right at the risk to never see his home again? “Exile” was a punishment in the past and exile is what Snowden chose.
Snowden obviously had a point, even in the United States, many citizens think he did “the right thing”. And is that not what America claims to be all about? Spying friends is certainly not what it is all about and even as a historic friend of the United States and it’s people, I don’t like the witch hunt I see here.
Now comes Alexei Navalny and the United States, in the midst of a global diplomatic crisis expresses their disgust with the court ruling? As wrong as it is, I think the United States currently has to start looking into a mirror. Dear Michael McFaul, Ambassador of the U.S. in Moscow: “We are deeply disappointed in the conviction of @Navalny@Snowden (and @Manning) and the apparent political motivations in this trial.”
What did become of that “Land of the Free and the Home to the Brave” I love so much? Big Brother? I liked Tom Clancy’s “NetForce”. But Prism goes far far beyond it!
A country that supports such control of citizens and friends alike has to allow the warning cries from Germany – we have a history that tells stories about abuse of information and publicity. Not just Gestapo, the East German Stasi has tried just the same. What makes you better? The government? The Weimar Republic was not a bad government, but do you know what comes tomorrow? There are stories about one J. Edgar Hoover, about whom Wikipedia says:
Late in life and after his death Hoover became a controversial figure, as evidence of his secretive actions became known. His critics have accused him of exceeding the jurisdiction of the FBI. He used the FBI to harass political dissenters and activists, to amass secret files on political leaders, and to collect evidence using illegal methods. Hoover consequently amassed a great deal of power and was in a position to intimidate and threaten sitting Presidents. According to President Harry S Truman, Hoover transformed the FBI into his private secret police force; Truman stated that “we want no Gestapo or secret police. FBINSA is tending in that direction. They are dabbling in sex-life scandals and plain blackmail. J. Edgar Hoover would give his right eye to take over, and all congressmen and senators are afraid of him”.
In the wrong hands, who knows what might have become of the United States? Listen to Truman. Mr. Obama, today you are the president.
On the other side, we have some Alexei Navalny who dares to threaten Putin and to research and make public illegalities in Russia. It takes a lot of bravery and civil courage to do so in Russia, even more unfortunately in a Russia of some Vladimir Putin. Whatever good he may have done for the country in his past, he sticks to power too much to my liking at the risk to not end up an icon just as one Nelson Mandela (as he still could I believe), but closer to one Joseph Stalin. At the same time ruining what one Mikhail Gorbachev and the people of Russia had achieved with Glasnost. Though with greedy politicians and industry managers in the “West”, there is not much danger, anti-democratic countries may suffer from commercial repercussions, right? And Putin might have a “good reason” for his doing, though even with good motives, I think he’s in danger of messing it badly.
The question is also more of a Christian dimension: “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Who is the United States, with a war in Iraq based on the lie of “weapons of mass destruction”, with Guantanamo and witch hunts against Bradley Manning or Edward Snowden, with an NSA mass-trampling on privacy concerns that the illegal attempts of data collection by Google, Microsoft or others become a child-game in comparison?
Who is Germany, recently having delayed again ratification of the signage of the United Nation Convention against Corruption? The country that does not take a stand for what’s good but who’s government yields to the lobbies?
But being “bad kids on the block”, we are still democratic countries. The ones who can make a stand is us. The people. I can decide to dislike and talk about Edward Snowden. I can condemn the NSA, no matter how much I do believe Barrack Obama to be a “good man” or how much I do love America. We have the saying: Power Corrupts. Absolute Power corrupts absolutely. But we, the people still can raise our voice, we can blog and talk and discuss and stand for what we believe in. And in the end of the day, we make mistakes as anyone else. But at least I can look into the mirror and say: “I like this guy”. And if we are lucky, we do what you Barrack Obama said you would want to become the President for: To make a Change.
And I don’t think Angela Merkel is in a good position to do that right now. Slave to the lobbies, pampering Putin for Russia’s natural resources and wealth and, as she does for China, not any more democratic than Russia these days. Neither is Obama, for what I am immensely sorry! But I am. And not throwing any stones, I can beg: Obama: Stop the Witch Hunt! And I can beg: Putin: Don’t end up the man who reinstated dictatorship in Russia!
You’re both good, decent men! Show it!
This article today calls me to pull out my favorite Lazarus Long-quotes once more:
Democracy is based on the assumption that a million men are wiser than one man. How’s that again? I missed something.
Autocracy is based on the assumption that one man is wiser than a million men. Let’s play that over again, too. Who decides?
Any government will work if authority and responsibility are equal and coordinate. This does not insure “good” government; it simply insures that it will work. But such governments are rare–most people want to run things but want no part of the blame. This used to be called the “backseat-driver syndrome.”
Referring to the air traffic taxes in the U.K., Ireland and Germany, a renowned consultant lately compared tourism politics in the Middle East / Emirates and in Europe. In the Emirates, aviation and tourism are considered economic factors – in Europe a cash cow for the politicians…
Now we have the ITB in Berlin, the most important trade fair for Europe in the World. Our chancellor, having recently opened CeBIT computer fair in Hanover was not seen in Berlin yet. Instead, Philipp Rösler, Commerce Minister and head of the minority party FDP (currently 3%, unlikely to make it into government again), was sent to the opening ceremony. Following a scandalous interview by Merkel’s fellow party member Klaus Brähmig, who advised Germans to boycott travel to Egypt, following publications of negative impact on the “ecological air travel levy” (simply “the aviation tax”), the signal could not have been clearer. The value of Tourism in the mindset of our political elite is non-existing, except for being a possible cash-cow. This is also confirmed, looking at the bureaucratics and the political “non-support” for the German airports in the question of night operations.
An airplane that is on the ground costs money. And if you fly transcontinental, flights may arrive and leave at night. On regional flights, utilization is a key driver for economic operations. By limiting flights to daytime-operations, Germany strengthens surrounding countries and regions, without such limitations. And the airlines in those countries, as they can utilize their aircraft more.
Another topic of the same issue: The European Safety Umbrella (ESFS or whatever new name they give it). Currently Germany guarantees 230 Billion Euro of that one – the country’s household last year was 355 Billion Euro… We better hope that Greece survives. But what I miss to see, is an active political support for the Greek tourism industry. All the experts emphasize Tourism to be the major economic driver and business for Greece, but thanks to the political hick-hack, the Tourism is in recession there! It might be wise to invest some of the money to stabilize (maybe provide guarantees and affordable credits to businesses) to assure Greece tourism companies to survive and even prosper…? But the politicians now focus on Tunisia, Egypt and other areas, neglecting Greece and thus giving the wrong signal.
What “strategy” does the political elite in Germany and Europe have for Tourism as an economic factor? What are the lobbying organisations doing – and why is the tourism industry so weak?
German Tourism Association DTV reports a record year in German Tourism1, German Airport Association ADV reports a passenger record2 – the same news reaches us from all over the world… Crisis? What Crisis?
Airplus3 and American Express4 published their outlook for 2012, expecting a stable market, more meetings, but increasing cost for air and accomodation… Crisis? What Crisis?
Airbus Industry reports a record order backlog, with the Airbus 320-family (mostly 319+320) being the most demanded aircraft in the world today… Crisis? What Crisis?
Yes, what crisis? The average income of a senior manager in the “Fortune 500” across the world has multiplied in the past five years (at least doubled), at the same time, the average income of a worker in the same company has decreased (thanks to inflation and loss of monetary value)… My tone now becoming sarcastic: Crisis? What Crisis?
Throughout the world, increasing natural disasters are reported to be a result of Global Warming. But our politicians cannot agree on counter measures. The EU Emission Certificate Trading is challenged by the main emitting countries, namely China, the U.S., but also Russia… Crisis? What Crisis?
The Greece Prime Minister informed the EU years ago about the inevitable bankruptcy. The politicians avoided that at all cost, their delay tactics gave the banks the opportunity to move all risk from the banks to the tax payers. Thank you Mr. Ackermann, thank you Mrs. Merkel! Thanks to such “politics”, no longer the banks are “challenged”, but the European states are! This is no “sitting it out” of our representatives of state, but I call it criminally corrupt! Crisis? What Chrisis?
The U.S., it’s currency being the lead world currency, is brought close to a bankruptcy in itself, thanks to the Republican “opposition”. How stupid can such a (Republican) “representative of state” be?
But: The German Minister is caught having copied his doctorate work – “Guttenplag” has been a nominee for the word of the year. Our Federal President is being caught taking credit and other benefits (free flights or holidays) from industry managers. And while corruption is forbidden and you can go to jail for it, lobbying invests record amounts last year – securing the politicians to vote in their favor. And not just our former Chancellor Schröder is safely and well paid employed by an industry, he secured long-term deals and commitments with during his state of power… Bunga-Bunga! Crisis? What Crisis?
Russia is corrupt? At least you know that! The Arab Spring is in danger to become a barrel burst in Egypt? Global Warming is no issue, but the tourism industry is the milk cow to the politicians (whereas in the Middle East they are a factor to support commercial development). Crisis? What Crisis?
I tell you what crisis we have:
The Bank Crisis: The banks are the real power in governments.
The Political Crisis: Our politicians do not represent the people, nor any strategies or ideas: They simply represent the lobbies that pay them fortunes and do everything to keep in power, not to loose these honey pots!
If they would have any “strategy”, they would make the beer-tab-tax-report a reality and safe millions of Euro in tax administrative cost. They would make travel and tourism a strategy. They would seek minimum wages and support future development like solar industry – and not add tax burdens on them. As they would support families, enabling them to combine business and family – and have day care for the children (something I found painfully amiss myself last year!)
2011. Euro-crisis is my personally most disturbing issue of the year. “Stress test” has been selected “Word of the year” in Germany. And it covers more issues…
Stress test 1: Fukushima
We have just one planet. I personally was “pro atomic energy”, as we did not have many alternatives. Now we have them, solar energy solutions are getting better and solar parks in the worlds deserts could provide enough energy anywhere – given, we invest in the infrastructure. But Germans sue against overland power lines, as they go by in there neighborhood… How shall we install such across Europe or beyond?! German saying about the saint of the fire fighters: O holy dear Saint Florian, spare my house, take the neighbor’s one”…
But Fukushima also stands for a disastrous communication by “the government”. Not only in the beginning, but to date! Worse than Chernobyl? Not only the GAU, but also the communication!
Stress test 2: Stuttgart 21
Internationally likely irrelevant, German Rail tries to invest billions into a new – state of the art – railway station. They went through the bureaucratic processes, but simply kept it quiet. Once they started to build, suddenly “the people” learned about it. I do believe, the following outcry could have been neglected, if the communication would have taken them into the process from the beginning. But the mindset of the decision makers (world wide) is simply to ignore the public and do things. That backfired here and it shows that communication becomes public now – and people get organized quickly, using the new technologies (not just the “social networks”).
Stress test 3: Euro Crisis
How this crisis is handled, is an example on the same issue. Politicians simply ignoring the people. German public television ARD (“Das Erste”) in their program “Monitor” reported, how German government kept Greece from going bankrupt, not to the benefit of the people, but to the pure benefit of the banks! Meanwhile, the EU bailout funds, mainly “paid” by Germany exceeds any household – if Euro goes broke, we will go broke on the big scale! I therefore call our government (and Chancellor Angela Merkel) simply corrupt!
Need another proof? The recent elections in Russia. Everyone says, they were staged by “United Russia”, the party dominated (owned) by Putin and Medvedev. The people – a first in Russia – demonstrated against it. Published proof via mobile phones and Internet. Now Putin and Medvedev offer Europe to invest 20 Billion into the Euro… When? No information. But suddenly all political dissent ceases – you can’t argue against the corrupt government, if they offer you such bribe! Bribing I call it, bribing it is!
Other Stress Testing
In a recent report in the printed version of FVW about global aviation and Emirates vs. Lufthansa quoted Gerd Pontius of Prologis Hamburg: “While aviation in the Gulf Region is part of the [government’s] commerical strategy, Europe[an politicians] only see it as a milk cow.” (translated from German).
And while that is true, our experience now includes daycare in Germany does not allow for decent child care. Original from our experience in Erfurt, capital of the state of Thuringia: “If you want a kindergarten place for your child, to get it for a one-year-old, we have a waiting list until 2013.” So in fact, before you get pregnant, you have to secure the place for your child! And better don’t move here, because you won’t get daycare for your child either. From 2012, we shall have a right for daycare. But instead of making the daycare available, the politicians hope to delay it by another three years or pay the fees to the parents who end up without daycare, without ability to look for a job, because they have to do that on your own.
That is our government: Sit it out. Don’t move, don’t change, only if you have to. They call this conservative and are proud of it.
There is a recent crisis in the governing party “FDP”, our foreign minister is member of that one. They would not even be elected if elections would be today. Yesterday, a question was asked, but not followed up upon: What are the differentiators between the parties?
In the good old days, CDU as “Christian-Democratic Union” was conservative, focusing on business, commerce and Christian values. SPD was the party for the workers, a group that becomes increasingly large, but has no voice in politics today. They don’t have the lobby = political bribery! That history made them the best friends with the workers unions! FDP was the party for the small and midsized companies and their owners. That made them a natural partner for the CDU, but they focused on the smaller businesses and they were not the friends of the workers, but of the managers.
The Greens came in the 80s to power and made environmental issues and responsibilities a topic for the political society. They lost their bite in my view, as they did not seek an environment-friendly political strategy, seeking solutions to the pressing problems within the social and commercial environment, but they ignored anything but environment – to their believe, streets, air traffic and commerce is hostile. If they would have answers that are more practical, with a strategy toward their goal, they could even become my friends. With their stubborn opposition on aviation, I’m sorry. Give me an alternative (such as my old WIG-idea) and finance that.
But the politicians now want to serve anyone and most of all, they want to be friends with the lobbies and they are afraid to oppose for the sake of “their” voters – that makes them gray, they loose their color. They all become alike: Corrupt!
Change. We need people like Obama in the U.S.! Who is struggling against his narrow-minded opposition, also called the “political establishment”. No, that “political establishment” does not want “change”. They do not want the “good for the people and the country”, they want their pockets filled.
Will that be be better when we go to England? I doubt! Though the political opposition by Cameron lately is to me a good sign. And I suggested to my friends on Facebook, that I welcome Croatia in the EU, but recommend them, not to change to Euro any time soon. Yes, despite their problems, England is better off without the Euro right now…
Lots of Food for Thought and lots of concerns and missed opportunities.
So to finish this one off, about the question, if it is a good idea to launch a Regional Airline Network in Europe in these days… There’s an opportunity! We will need to make flying easier, better available. And the concentration to the hubs leaves many regions without decent airline connections they need commercially. So they need flights. Not the politicians, not the airlines, but commerce and industry. And that is an opportunity. Yes, it is more difficult than we expected to secure the funding, but it looks good and we are very sure it will pay off. So yes, it is a good idea and if you know regions needing air services, we have some good ideas how to make that happen 😉 Refer them to me 😀
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