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Politics in the Age of Acceleration and Sharing

Why do international crises always come over us so suddenly, seemingly without any signal? This happens because we consistently ignore all the signs. We want to know everything in real time-and miss the big connections. No one worried whether or not the risks on the exchanges could be goo great. No one took seriously the early warnings of economists Robert Schiller and Joseph Stiglitz.
Whoever sows weapons sows refugees. Weapons kill even without war.

By Klaus Peter Weinert

[This article published on 3/30/2016 is translated from the German on the Internet, www.deutschlandradiokultur.de. Karl Peter Weinert is an economic journalist. He works for radio, television and print media and focuses on economic and social questions, ideologies and theories.]

Why do international crises always come over us so suddenly, seemingly without any signal? This happens because we consistently ignore all the signs, says journalist Klaus Peter Weinert. We want to know everything in real time - and miss the big connections.

We are all well informed. The status reports of our friends and acquaintances land on our smart phones in real time. The news apps tell the latest news with a vibrating impulse and the editorial in the newspaper - oh that was with yesterday's breakfast. Nevertheless every big crisis of the last years catches us completely unprepared. Here are three examples.

The new market of Dot.com businesses had imploded years before 2008. The smoldering crisis of the real estate economy and the risks of hyper-modern securities products reached the international financial markets with the 2008 collapse of the Lehman Brothers investment bank. The global economy fell into one of its worst crises.

No one worried whether or not the risks on the exchanges could be too great. No one took seriously the early warnings of economists Robert Shiller and Joseph Stiglitz. While they warned of the crash, the Red-Green German government blithely continued deregulating.


Can the radical right riots be really surprising? For years, a research group of the University of Bielefeld warned a radical rightwing mentality was forming all over Germany.

Anti-Semitism and hostility to foreigners have increased since the beginning of the 1990s even in high society circles. No wonder, inhibitions have fallen and hatred is openly lived out in the refugee crisis.

Concerning the refugee crisis, did European politicians really believe all the people who for years escaped to Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey were taking vacations? It was only a question of time before the refugees would make their way to Europe.

All these crises began long ago. What drives politics, the media and all of us to consistently ignore all the signs?


In our age of acceleration and speed, there seems to be no alternative to working with what comes on our table. Only the topical seems very important since we are fed by agencies and correspondents, experts and Facebook, party colleagues and diplomats, citizens and neighbors. There is no time for analysis, connecting news with other facts, bringing this in a temporal-historical connection or drawing foresighted conclusions.

Politics, economy and also journalism often condense events into ever smaller news clips or bites. Quarterly numbers are demanded, not annual numbers. Short-term decisions are characteristic, bills reduced to bits, not long-term decisions. World events only interest us in real time. The overview is lost.

The overview is lost because we want more and more simplicity and strive to eliminate contradictions. We divide the world in good and evil, in economic and uneconomic and in foreign and German - or postulate simple causal chains like "taxes down, jobs up."

But complex systems like our societies do not function so simply. The consequence is that marginal and unspectacular developments or distant countries with their problems are simply negated. We don't notice them in the hectic real time twittering.


By Paul Schobel

[This article published on 3/30/2016 is translated from the German on the Internet, www.kontextwochenzeitung.de. Paul Schobel, an industrial pastor, gave this address a the end of the 2016 Easter march in Stuttgart.]

Easter marches today seem like relics from a past time when hundreds of thousands took to the streets. This year there were 20,000 across Germany. The news about this skids into the margins. This does not change the necessity of protest, says our author.

Albert Einstein once noted: "A person invented the atomic bomb. But no mouse of the world hit upon the idea of constructing a mouse trap." Still we sit in our self-constructed trap. For millennia, humanity has waged war on itself.

Our human species has the license plate "Homo sapiens." However wisdom seems like a distant star. In the election results two weeks ago, the IQ (intelligence quotient) of our people fell a few points deeper in the cellar...

We are unjust to the attribute "homo sapiens" as long as the monstrosity of stupidity rules the world. The present human exchange of blows would be more correctly paraphrased with "Homo idioticus" - unable and unwilling to solve conflicts nonviolently and finally learn from history.

This is what drives us to the streets on Easter year after year, this idiocy and madness of war. Today we patiently give the signal again. We will never accept or reconcile with war. We will not rest until this specter disappears at last where it belongs: in the dustbin of history.

Senseless wars drive millions of persons to flight. Whoever is struck on the head by bombs from one's government witnesses that whole cities are pulverized. Nothing else remains for those who face religiously charged bandits and cut-throats than to scrape together the last few cents for a rifle.


Fighting the causes for flight means fighting war. War is a mass murderer that destroys living spaces of whole peoples and devastates the souls of survivors and bereaved. War must be abolished for the sake of God and humanity.

If that is true, we must put a stop to the game, to the accomplices of war, the weapons manufacturers and arms dealers. Armaments kill even without war. We have known this for a long time. Gigantic sums are pulverized in the arms budgets, invested in death instead of life. Costly resources and the whole potential in creativity, imagination and technical skill are misused to destroy life instead of promoting life.

The "master from Germany" is already the fourth largest arms producer on this globe. We inflict havoc worldwide with weapons flogged at bazaars that are trivialized as "small arms." We arm our enemies. People flee from our weapons. "Whoever sows weapons will reap refugees." Therefore our demand is close the borders to weapons and open them for people.

War- and civil war refugees are only one group. The others come from the hunger sections and slums of this world. We now send back in masses so-called economic refugees to supposedly safe countries of origin. Young persons without a future or any perspective have nothing top lose - except for their naked life. With the help of modern media, they see our good rooms as through a window and revolt. Nothing will stop them, no upper limits, no barbed wire and no walls... Refugees will come as long as the causes of flight remain.

Let us not fool ourselves. What is happening worldwide may be the beginning of an epochal upheaval. The persecuted and oppressed of this earth, all those suffering hunger and poor devils, will break out and take their share. This is the other side of globalization.

To me, humanity has only a simple choice. Humanity can either learn to share and make sharing into a concept or this planet sinks in chaos, terror and violence. Poverty will overrun us like a tsunami if we do not share the goods of this world, work and income with each other. Only a new world formula, sharing, can save us from that!


We practice the exact opposite. Capitalist countries aren't innocent lambs. They jointly caused what they now deplore as the "refugee crisis." Capitalism divides humanity more and more in poor and rich. Pure greed and increased profits dominate. A "good life for everyone" with participation and development has never occurred. Capitalism is neither willing nor able to fulfill the most primitive human needs: food, clothing and housing. Therefore capitalism is jointly responsible for the turmoil in the world and the streams of refugees. "This economy kills," the pope says and I agree.

Like bloodsuckers, corporations under the eyes of their governments attack poor countries, plunder their raw materials, fish their oceans dry and transform blossoming landscapes into stinking waste-dumps. We flood the agricultural markets in Africa with cheap imports from Europe, supply tomatoes and chicken parts - and rob people of their foundations of existence. They have to flee in order not to die of starvation.

Now we are overrunning the world with dubious trade agreements like CETA and TTIP. These trading blocks will completely strangle non-EU member countries. The refugee streams will dry up when we practice solidarity economics, share the goods of this world with each other and justly distribute the common gross domestic product.

The command of the hour is that we accept and receive refugees, grant them protection and open up a future befitting human life to them. Therefore I appeal to all friends of peace:

Do not watch as thousands drown in the Mediterranean who must struggle against walls and barbed wire and are miserably reduced to poverty in muddy camps. We demand safe escape routes and not rotten deals with rulers who despise human rights. We urge Europe to finally be in solidarity and sanction the resisters.

Let us come to meet the refugees. We protect you here; we take you in our midst. We respect you and your dignity.

We fight against the nationalists and racists.

In the journal of the unforgotten Rudi Dutschke, this note was found from Easter 1963:

"Jesus is risen! Joy and thankfulness are our companions this day. The decisive revolution of the world through love overcomes all things. Accept the revealed love, the reality of the now. Don't let the logic of madness continue."

Yes - madness should end with this revolution! Join the "rebels" today. Let us revolutionize the world through love. The greater the "degree of saturation" in understanding, solidarity and mercy, the less room will be left for hatred, terror and war.

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