Has Google had any employment problems
Rethink the economy
I recently drove past the branch of a larger company. It said in large letters on the window: "You can buy satisfaction" - a little distance - "We are satisfaction". We are satisfaction? Regardless of the question of how far this corresponds to German usage - it sounds like "I've finished", I remembered as I continued that I had just read something else in the newspaper. In a survey of 6,000 employees by Infratest in the spring of this year, only 12% said they were "satisfied" with their work, with their job. Unfortunately the shop was closed, otherwise I would have bought a lot of satisfaction! By the way, it was "Toyota".
Are you content? Do you want to live in our century? Would you rather have lived earlier, maybe be very old, or would you like to live in the future? If you think about it, make yourself aware of your decision: If you change the incarnation period, you are foregoing a lot - first of all, your neighbors in the broadest and narrowest sense. You do without people with whom you are allowed to live and shape here at the moment.
For me personally, there is no greater happiness than being able to live now. There are two main reasons for this: First, we live in the age of freedom. Spoken quickly - done hard. When ever in human history have we been more creative than right now? We can make decisions and we can make them come true. We can do things that people in earlier centuries only dreamed of. On the one hand, we have the opportunity to think freely. On the other hand, we have created the physical conditions that allow us to implement our ideas. The potential freedom of modern man is on the one hand an opportunity and on the other hand a danger. Because nobody thinks for you, nobody acts for you, you have to want to do it yourself. Realizing freedom is the task of our century.
The second reason why I am very grateful that I can live today is you who are here today, as well as all the other people who have accompanied me on my life path. Because without all these people, what came into being would never have been possible. My family, my friends, my children, partners, colleagues, all of them have an essential part in what has come about. Thank you very much for your contribution, and for your support. Without the many suggestions, without the criticism, the resistance that I have also experienced in life, on the other hand, without the trust, what has arisen would never be possible.
For example Alnatura. When Alnatura was created, 98% of those questioned said: "It won't work anyway." Why? "Because", they told me, "you want to realize an idea. You have to discover a market niche much more instinctively and be effective from instinct. You and your thoughts will not work anyway". Well, so far it has worked pretty well. I think we can be proud of the fact that we act out of awareness and not act opportunistically. In a few days, on October 1st. This year the oldest organic supermarket in Germany, namely the Alnatura Super Natur Markt in Mannheim, will be 20 years old.
Representing the many people who have accompanied me, I would like to mention the three Wolfgang's. Well, with the wolfgangers, I have it. These are Dr. Wolfgang Goerke, Wolfgang Gutberlet and Götz Wolfgang Werner. Wolfgang Goerke is here today. I am very happy that you are here. We have a long friendship during our studies and then also during our doctoral studies, during which we struggled a lot and hard about some words and concepts.
My very special thanks go to two people, one of whom I have not met personally, namely Rudolf Steiner. I was lucky enough to meet the other personality: Herbert Witzenmann. Without the two of them, what has arisen in my life would not have arisen this way. Born in 1950, that means belonging to the 68ers, at the age of 21 - that is the age at which you, who are starting here as a student, are today - two questions were important to me: First, is there a criterion of truth? Is there a chance to be able to see reality? Can I somehow be sure that what I recognize is reality and can I find a motive for my life from it? Is there any way to gain security? That was the one key question that touched me and that led to many consequences. Intense discussions with pastors and others, leaving the church. The second question was: am I capable of free action? Can I really implement what I have recognized under certain conditions or do I depend on all sorts of influences that I cannot overlook. Can I do something useful or is it just an illusion? How can I contribute to sustainable development - and that was my motivation for life - of the earth and people? What do I have to do to realize the idea of freedom?
Dear students, these are probably also the questions that you consciously or unconsciously brought to our university. I would like to get to know what interests you. I want to listen to you, want to understand your questions. I want to help you so that you can perhaps better formulate your questions. I would like to encourage you to understand the world and especially the economic world better. I can accompany you on a journey of discovery. You have to walk and think for yourself. I can stimulate you to experience - you have to seek and gain the knowledge yourself. You have to want to see reality for yourself.
The economics course at Alanus University is a discovery trail. It has just been sketched by Professor da Veiga. A brave undertaking, but it is all the more gratifying that you are here, because what good would it be if you weren't here to make what you have come up with a reality? I want to help you discover what is called the "entrepreneur". The side of you that is active, that recognizes the opportunities, that knows at lightning speed that there is a possibility that we can make something of.
Entrepreneurial thinking and acting is required if we want to solve the challenges of society and the economy in a sustainable manner. I would like to encourage you, dear students, to broaden your perspective in our joint work. I would like to show you how one can not only look out of one side of a house, but that there are also possibilities to see the world to the right and left and behind us. I would like to encourage you to form your own ideas, and I would especially like to make it possible to experience what is possible today. If we are open and courageous, a new economy is possible. You just have to have the courage, and you will learn that here. You will get the tool here, that is my understanding of my task here in the department, "Rethinking economics". It is an opportunity, but it is also a great challenge and task for us, for me.
The appointment as honorary professor at the Alanus University is first and foremost an expression of great trust. For this, our warmest thanks go to the university, the representatives, especially the rector Marcelo da Veiga. Because without his commitment, his commitment, his "merciless ruthlessness" in pursuing the idea, that would not have been possible. Thank you so much for that. I would also like to thank the Software Foundation and the Damus Foundation, who have made a significant contribution to making the new business degree a reality. Because it is not normal and customary for you to think up something on the sofa and then it will become reality so quickly.
I would like you to participate in my results of direct observation and my experiences, dear students. That is the basis of my work. The background that should enable me to go on this path of discovery with you is my studies in economics, occupation with organizational development, seven years of professional experience as an employee at Nestlé, experience with my own company Alnatura and, in particular, studying anthroposophy Rudolf Steiner and the social organism of Herbert Witzenmann.
My topic "rethinking the economy" seems to be in contradiction to the demands of the times. Climate and environmental problems, banking crises, employment problems, energy shortages, famines, the effects of globalization and religious struggles, the list is long and new items appear on our agenda every day. It is not my intention to talk about it. But do we even have the time to think in this situation? Do we not have to act quickly, as the practitioners and especially the politicians are loudly demanding and hectically doing? Shouldn't we rather formulate "do business anew" instead of "rethinking the economy"?
In the FAZ of 08/28/2007 there was an editorial by Christoph Hein with the headline "China's expensive environmental catastrophe". It culminates precisely in the question "What can China do?". His report shows the fatal consequences of a modern industrial society, all of whose energy is aimed at economic growth and increased productivity. I quote: "Leaving poverty behind, maybe even getting rich quickly, is an understandable goal of every Chinese. But growth is now endangering the people in the country because it pollutes the environment. Rivers and lakes are falling over and children are becoming Born crippled. More than half a billion people have no access to clean drinking water. Soils are contaminated, food is polluted. Just 1% of the urban population breathes clean air. According to estimates by the World Health Organization, 750,000 Chinese die each year directly from the effects of polluted air The economic costs are the equivalent of almost 50 billion euros. The consequential costs of environmental damage now make up 10% of the gross domestic product. " So, the Chinese economy is growing between 8 and 10% a year, and what is breaking it is the exact amount it is growing. In view of this description one is really worried, the analysis is printed in a recognized journal and is certainly not exaggerated. But if that worry became fear, we would fall under their bondage and miss the opportunity to learn the right thing from it, to think and do the right thing.
I would now like to mentally peel an onion with you, step by step. You won't get any stinging eyes from it! We proceed in stages and dedicate ourselves to the phenomenon of "economy" until we get to the core of the idea. Starting with the example of the Chinese economy, what can we learn? What can we learn for our own social situation, what can we recognize?
First, Chinese society is geared towards rapid economic growth. What we have experienced with us over many years goes there in fast motion. The radical economization of all areas of life leads to the unleashing and delimitation of the system, which only follows its own logic. All areas of life are taken. Rüdiger Safranski writes in Der Spiegel "The disenchantment, ie the spirit of economic and political usefulness, also spreads to art". There is nothing that we leave out that we do not submit to the dictates of the economy. The model of society is the economy, would be the result of this first observation.
But further - the economy wants to create value, wants to produce something for people, wants to help people shape their existence. An economy that is only geared towards utility and economic success is not conducive to life - see China. It not only destroys the environment and robs people of their existence today and tomorrow, it is also economically inefficient. The destruction of one's own resources, i.e. the destruction of soil, air and water, compensates for z. B. the total economic growth in China. Second result: an economy that is only run economically is uneconomical.
Next layer of onion: We realized that we need to change something. But we are still acting in such a way that the result of this insight is a tremendous acceleration. All work and life processes are accelerating. We are building our earth ship with the greatest energy with the aim of making it viable. But the results are still sobering. The problems grow in step with the inflation of our actions. If we cannot stop the negative consequences of the economy through economic thinking, this leads to the insight: The economic crisis is not a crisis that can be resolved by economic means.
The result: we want, we have to tame, discipline and regulate the unleashed economy. Never in history has a society passed so many laws. Every misconduct is followed by a normative regulation or sanction. The idea behind this is that we could condition people's behavior. We think of a herd for which the gates of the sheep pen are always set differently so that the animals run in the direction that we consider the right one. There is a second therapeutic approach that has come more and more to the fore in recent months: We should reflect on the values of our society. Reason, one should consider leisure, progress and happiness in life. But the call for old and new values, for ethical good behavior - does it really show consequences? Ethics management, sustainable development - all of the terms that should lead to a value attachment, as it is put, in the economy. But my observation is, it doesn't really work.
The result: In the economy itself, there is no solution at all for our crisis, it is not an economic crisis at all. We will never - and this is my firm belief - get out of this hamster wheel, which is turning faster and faster, if we do not step back a little and recognize that the problem has its cause in a completely different place. You could actually get the impression, which is always suggested to us, that everything is inevitable, we cannot change anything. But that in no way corresponds to the observation; because neither anonymous powers nor the much-cited economic constraints, no survival goals or anything else force us humans. We are free to choose, we create through our actions the world that surrounds us and that is our destiny.
Why are we destroying our world? Is someone forcing us? Yes, we force ourselves to do it because we subordinate reason to utility. Max Frisch, the Swiss writer, put it sarcastically in 1986 - and you can't put it any more briefly to characterize this irrationality: "Reasonable is what pays off". As long as we blindly follow the economic principle and accept it as a practical constraint, we will not change our situation. To accept the dictates of economic constraints without reflection is beneath our dignity. Each of you is called upon to see through this and react accordingly. From this follows: It is not the economic constraints, but the constraints of thought that determine us and the economy.
Now we've peeled off another layer of the onion and realized that it has something to do with thinking, our problem. So now we have to devote ourselves to this detour and deal with thinking and tackle another layer, recognizing economics thinking.
In three lectures in January 1909 on the practical training of thinking, Rudolf Steiner characterized three obstacles that repeatedly stand in our way when it comes to thinking practically, to thinking out of the context of reality:
First, our thinking habits. We tend to repeat what we have been trained to do, what we have learned, to judge from it. We are in a cage of experience. We have always done it this way, so we will continue to do it this way in the future. That’s one thing.
The second: We cut ourselves off. Steiner describes it as encapsulating people in their thinking. We think of something. In our company there is the nice saying "I thought something", i. H. actually, "I made something up". But it's not about thinking something up, it's about going in and thinking out of the respective topic. The point is not to think something into it, but to get it out of the essence. It's not about self-realization in business. It's like jumping in an introductory cage.
And finally, thirdly: We believe that our thinking only takes place in the head and that it has absolutely no relevance in the world. We think that there is no spiritual outside of us. But how would you ever want to know the world if it weren't designed out of the spirit? How should I be able to drink water if there wasn't water in the glass? It is the same with the mind. Only by having spirit in the world can you get it out. Only because the world has been brought forth from the spirit can we participate spiritually in it.
That is something that has always troubled me: How is it possible that we as humans accept that modern science suggests to us that it is not so and that we have to accept that the research content is only material? In my opinion, this fundamental assessment of reality is the real cause of our way of thinking. The reduction of reality to the material is the real cause of modern civilization, which is completely oriented towards the satisfaction of physical needs. We use all of our strength, all of our abilities again and again to make things materially better and more comfortable. But that is the real crisis of society and also of the economy that we put up with it. I can only call on you, dear young people, to see through this. It is in hundreds, in thousands of textbooks that the materialistic economic model is correct and that one has to accept it. But on the one hand you demand freedom from values, on the other hand you set a value by saying that it is only reality what matter is. Is that scientific? It is certainly not scientific to make a valuation in this sense, which in my opinion would not be necessary either. To limit the subject of research in such a way, to reduce it to material phenomena. We can do more than human beings, it is beneath our dignity if we allow ourselves to be reduced to a purely materially explainable product.
But what is the principle of modern science? It is the principle of experience. The criteria of scientificity are generally valid, in that what occurs in our consciousness must be tangible, that it must be reproducible and that it must be intersubjectively comparable. You have to come to the same conclusion as I did, and to the same conclusion. We need to be able to exchange ideas on this. According to this method, Rudolf Steiner developed the idea of creative knowledge. I would like to evoke a few points of view in you or draw your attention to them, because for me it constitutes a basis for what we want to develop together later with regard to "rethinking the economy".
I have a glass here. The glass is still half full with water. Next to it you will see something else that is wrapped in black. Now the question is, what could the other be? Does somebody has any idea? What kind of form does it have? What's similar in size? Do you have any guess what it might be? Well, it's probably not a mouse, nor a tube of toothpaste, not a giraffe, not a car, not a human. Another glass? Well, let's see - it's not a magic hour, but almost. I can pick it up. So it looks bad with the second glass. A dice cup? An hourglass? A diabolo? Yes, there are two hemispheres and something else in the middle. What does that show us? It shows us that when you have the term you can recognize something, name it and if you don't, then you can't. Not everyone could have seen it that way who had not already had something to do with diabolos. Anyone who doesn't even know what a diabolo is would have laboriously groped their way up to it and tried to use all possible terms to describe what it is. The interesting thing here is that we do not completely depict reality, but build it up in cognition, and that today we have such a situation in ourselves that, if we observe closely, this reality does not come to us ready, but that we in cognition Build reality.
It is very often said, what does that have to do with economics, what should I be interested in? That's epistemology, that's complicated. As far as I know, it is essential because it is the basis of all research. The way I know reality. Is reality ready, or do I build reality up in my cognition? That is the alpha and omega, that is the key to everything else. Is that what arises in you a subjective image? Are you only a consumer of reality or can you observe how you model reality in your consciousness by having very specific perceptual impressions on the one hand that come to you through your sensory-nerve organization, suddenly, incoherently, unasked, suddenly, making no sense. On the other hand, you can concentrate on something and then, by carefully adding observation content to observation content, you can gradually individualize this term, this glass-like shape, to what later turned out to be a diabolo.
Witzenmann - that was so understandable for me to understand - describes this process in such a way that he says it is like a veil, a conceptual veil that I throw over the unrecognized object and then fix it in many places with my perception, and everywhere there Where the conceptual and the perceptible come together, the form arises in my consciousness. I model what is outside in my consciousness. But only because consciousness in the sense of conceptual individualization comes into contact with the elements of perception. The more superficial this is, the less precise. The more precisely, the more precisely it is done, the easier it is to remember. The exciting thing is to watch what is actually going on.
It is important, e.g. first, that the sensual is formed from the supersensible. That the conceptual grasps what is given and not the other way around, and that it is something in which we can experience that we ourselves are creatively active. The fact that we cannot simply look at reality, but that we produce it in us through our own activity under certain conditions, that is a very important insight, at least for me. Because you become a creator, not just a creature, you recognize, you are a productive being, not just a consumer, you do not consume reality, you produce reality in knowing by individualizing the generality of the conceptual, shaping it in the process. What emerges as an idea also gains form by taking that which has a material character out of its isolation. Although it individualizes the conceptual, it is itself universalizable.
Now you may ask, why must we have made all of this so complicated? Can't you do it faster and easier? You can put something on top of that and say: It's much more complicated, because our human organization is such that it is so complicated. Why is it that our human organization divides the stream of reality on the one hand into what is perceivable and on the other hand what you consciously grasp? If you were asked what you remember now, everyone would remember something different. Although you are all looking ahead, you will only remember afterwards what you have realized in your mind. If I turn your attention to that little red corner in the middle of the tent wall, you will all be able to remember it, I suppose. If I hadn't, I'm sure one or the other didn't remember. So reality is split up by our organization. Why? Yes, so we can put them back together. If it weren't divided up, it would be ready for us. Our human organization is the physiological basis of our freedom. Only because we are made in this way are we capable of freedom at all, otherwise we could just consume reality. No, it's not like that. We consciously produce them in recognition. A brilliant observation by Steiner, further developed by Witzenmann. By helping to shape the concepts, we help shape our spiritual being. We take part in the spiritual world. That is the point of contact, the level of experience of spiritual freedom.
The economic principle determines our society. The measure of all things is economy, material success.
Second, the economic crisis is not an economic crisis but a general human crisis. The environmental situation is the mirror of our actions. We meet each other fatefully in what surrounds us. Our ideas, our conceptions show up in the outside world.
Third, the appeal for ethical good behavior and regulatory fury cannot tame the economy.
The motto "doing business anew" does not go far enough. A paradigm shift is necessary, we have to withdraw ourselves and our society from this materialistic restriction, which is valid in relation to the material, we have to want to supplement natural science with spiritual science. We have to want to rethink our thinking.
Fifth, the experience of the unprejudiced observation of our own cognitive process is that the supersensible shapes the sensual and not the other way around. It is man's primal experience that man is the creator of reality and not its consumer.
We can think reality, and under certain conditions we can also recognize the truth. That was the first question I asked at the beginning. In the countercurrent of the conceptual and the perceptible, reality emerges anew in every situation. The highest thing that will be the yardstick for us in the next considerations as to what we can produce at all is spiritual freedom, the realization of human freedom. In this respect, the measure of all things is not the economy, but the person. That leads to a clear turning point. We have now worked our way up to a point, and when we go back out into the world from that, it will be very different. What is the goal of the economy? The aim of business is to humanize reality, to transform nature, to transform substances so that they can serve man. It is the creation of a world of work in which people can develop in terms of their free development opportunities. It is about a world that, in its development, is led by us humans beyond what it could achieve as a world, as nature.
We can transform the material further, further develop it beyond what is possible in the natural context. What is the mainspring, what is the task of man? The task of the human being is the realization of humanity, of that which lies in us as potency, as opportunity. Because we individualize ourselves in the just characterized cognitive process by producing the concepts. We not only individualize the concepts based on the perceptible, but we transform ourselves as spiritual beings. Here you can also see - for me at least that was the decisive point in my biography - I am not just a creature, I am a creator. I am not just a natural being, I am a cultural being. I am not just a being that is impressed, that cannot escape being impressed. I am an expression, I can shape the world. I don't have to submit to the impressions of the world.
So economy cannot make sense to itself. Economy cannot give itself any content either. That is the real core question of modern economic life. It is the real illusion that is still being cherished that the economy can control itself. She can, she should, she won't be able to. Economy is a means of design for living spaces, for work spaces, it is one of the best awareness training facilities that one can create. But we have to make sure that it really serves people.
Now let's go a little further. Let us try, after the onion theory, to tackle the next layer, the phenomenon of economics. Let's take a look at the whole from the outside. It's an incredibly complex goings-on on this globe. New structures are constantly emerging. Everyone, whether he is a consumer or a producer, is weaving, figuratively speaking, on the economic carpet. We don't know what ideas they have, what colors they use, what patterns they weave. Sometimes it doesn't go together at all, but we weave, we spin, we knit what we can and thus create a world that is constantly changing, which is always looking different. That is the fascinating thing about the phenomenon of the economy, it is not a causal genetic connection, it is not a cause-effect connection, as we get portrayed again and again, but it is a living organism. Well one could say, yes, it is a living organism like a plant. No, it's not that simple. The rose will always be a rose and always will be a rose. If she gets little water, she gets a little smaller. When it is dark, it is not good for her. That will modify the rose, but not fundamentally change it. Rose remains rose. But economic shape does not remain economic shape in this sense, because people with their individual impulses, their individual ideas, their feelings and fears, their hatred, their joy, with everything that drives them, their egoism, their creative mania, whatever always, of their love - to shape the social organism. I don't know what you're up to tomorrow. Even if they tell me, it could change overnight. We don't know what's going to happen. It is a complex structure.
So now you are sitting here, dear students, and we want to explain this complex something to you, and you should recognize it. With that we got into quite a dilemma. That is the theoretical dilemma of modern economics, in which, by the way, it still finds itself. This is not my personal opinion, you can find it in many textbooks. How are you going to explain that? One approach is we make theories. There are many micro- and macroeconomic theories in economics in particular. I heard you were learning this. You have to learn a lot to understand that. They are cause-and-effect relationships, they are explanatory models, but if you look closely, even with a simple price model, supply, demand, average price, an unbelievable amount is assumed in each case of how people behave, how one or the other is . What is so beautifully called ceteris paribus condition in science - this is constant and that is seen like this and and and. Then a model comes out that is easy to handle, you can explain everything with it, but it is not suitable in relation to reality, because reality is not like that. You don't behave like Homo oeconomicus. So, we have theories that reduce reality, reduce complexity and thus cannot grasp reality - on the one hand.
On the other hand, there are case studies. You see, we slide from the abstract side into the concrete, into the individual case, ultimately into the level of perception. Let us describe the life story of a company. Then the students would have to work out all of this, why it worked or why it didn't work. These are isolated cases. This is not a theory, but we don't get anywhere with that either. That is then what one has learned and taught in the business administration schools. In the meantime we have realized that we are on the wrong track. Large universities have now found that 80% of the executive directors and managers of large American companies do not come from there, as in the past, but only 20%. Because business administration is not what we want. We don't need administrators. We use the term here at the university, but the content is business creation or innovation. So, we don't need administrators in business, we need creators. That is why at the established large universities, efforts are made to awaken the liveliness of the people with art and other activities, because the economy is incredibly diverse and requires enormous creativity. So, with the two models on offer, we cannot get close to the essence of the economy.
There is also the socio-organic method. It's not well known yet, but we want to help change that. The point is that we do not describe what we see in the physical world. Rather, it is a matter of recognizing what is the cause behind what is active in what is shown in the physical world. We do not describe reality, but the factors that cause reality, namely the forces of formation. The method I need for this is of course a different one. At this point I can quote a sentence by Rudolf Steiner that sounds a bit complicated at first. Regarding this descriptive, socio-organic method, he says, "By characterizing you come to a concept that you modify to verify, and you then get an economic view." Quite simple in and of itself: you have a phenomenon, you form a term - we have just tried that - and then you approach comparable phenomena again with the term and you will find that they are different again. You modify the concept and then gradually get a more flexible concept, with which you penetrate more and more the pictorial principle of what is shown in the appearance. Because we want to advance to the pictorial principles. That is the socio-organic method. That will be one of the topics of the Institute for Social Organics to deal with the further development of this method.
"Rethinking the economy" - we have gained two insights.First, the economy needs a meaning from the cultural area, from knowledge. Second, the method for realistically explaining economic processes is the socio-organic method. Now maybe an example, because we want to get even closer to what constitutes economy. An example of the socio-organic, characterizing method.
The original idea is the countercurrent principle, as described by Rudolf Steiner in the National Economic Course. There he shows how you can ultimately trace back everything that you can observe in terms of economic phenomena to the effectiveness of two different processes of value creation. On the one hand, you apply work to the natural foundation, transform nature. That's what you do in business, you apply your work to fetching the apples from the tree, putting them in boxes and then taking them to the market. Or to process them into applesauce in a machine, put them in the jar and ship them to a store via wholesalers. But during this process there is a second process that is very different. You guide, control and shape the work with your human mind. For example, by sharing, organizing and coordinating the work process. By dividing what you used to do alone - everyone picked their apple tree - now into several. One of them sets up the ladder, climbs up, sits on the tree and picks the apples and puts them in the containers that have been presented. The second transports them away, the third sorts them out and puts them in boxes. And the result is that 40, 50, 60, 100% more apples can be harvested in the same time. The special thing - and I want to point this out - is that these two value-creating processes, i.e. applying work to nature and spirit to work, devalue each other. The more Spirit you apply, the more natural foundation work you will save.
Now you suddenly see how economic value creation can be explained. Not by saying, as in classical economics, that it is the optimal allocation of land, labor and capital, but by how the result is created anew through the interaction of two opposing processes. They do not describe what is, but what is behind the appearance. Just like in art. Art and business are closer than you think. The countercurrent mind to work, work to nature is an example of the socio-organic method.
Now, in a further step, I would like to take a look at the phenomenon and the organizational principle of the division of labor. Why? Because the division of labor has changed a tremendous amount in the economy and is a determining factor. We don't normally have that in consciousness. I will limit myself to a few, but I want to give another example of what "rethinking the economy" means.
The first thing we can observe: there is a productivity gain through the division of labor. It has a huge impact, the fact that 40% of people today can produce the goods and services that are necessary for everyone. That is the basis of what Götz Werner propagates as the idea of an unconditional basic income. Only because we have become so incredibly efficient can we deal with such an idea.
A second point that may not be as immediately obvious or obvious is that of work motivation. If someone as an artist can do a work alone or as a craftsman z. B. designs a cake, then it spurts out of his eyes with joy when he describes how something is created. If you watch, you can tell that he enjoys his work. Not so many people have the privilege anymore. Due to the division of labor, I only have a limited activity, I am limited to this activity, and the intrinsic motivation, the motivation from the work itself, is no longer given. But what does that actually mean? Because we have the division of labor, we can (and must) now voluntarily gain an interest in the work. When I have the joy in doing directly, it is wonderful; But because I am mostly separated from this source of motivation today through the division of labor, I have the chance to develop a conscious approach, e.g. B. to be active out of interest in people.
In this respect, the division of labor is the social basis of our freedom, just as its added value is the economic basis of our freedom. After all, the most exciting thing that is hardest for us: The division of labor is practical altruism. You cannot provide for yourself at all with what you do, you always work for others. You do it whether you want it or not. We usually don't want to, because we always pretend we're working for ourselves. We still live completely in the idea that we work to earn an income. We earn an income in order to be able to live. But the reality is, you work with others for others, and the moment you sit here, thousands of people are working so that you can get home safe afterwards, so that the refrigerator works, the telephone or whatever. You cannot provide for yourself with what you produce. They only work for others. Economy is altruism.
How do we manage to overcome egoism now? We will certainly not make it with moral demands. As early as 1905, Rudolf Steiner formulated the main social law in one of three essays on the subject of "Spiritual Science and Social Issues" with a view to the division of labor, in which it is expressed that the welfare is greater, the more people succeed in the altruistic one To really live the system. In his words it sounds like this: "The salvation of a group of people working together is greater, the less the individual claims the benefits of his work. That is, the more of these benefits he gives to his employees and the more his own needs are satisfied not from his achievements, but from the achievements of others. "
When do I enjoy working for others? That is exactly the question that immediately follows. When you fall in love with someone, you will do anything for them. Just always falling in love with your customers, whom you don't even know, is, I think, a little asking! So that points in the right direction, but it's not the solution. But I need a reason for my activity, a reason that lies in the other person. Only then do I like to work for him, otherwise I only do it reluctantly. That is a second, essential pillar, because all three together complement each other. With Rudolf Steiner it reads as follows: "If a person works for another person, then he must find the reason for his work in this other person, and if someone is to work for the whole, then he must find the value, the essence and the He can only feel the meaning of this totality if this totality is something completely different from a more or less indefinite sum of individual people. It must be filled with a real spirit in which everyone participates be such that everyone says to themselves that it is correct, and I want it to be so. The whole must have a spiritual mission, and each individual must want to contribute to this mission being fulfilled. "
How, that is the next question, how do I get access to this spiritual mission? Well, I work for others, I can understand that, but how do I manage to see any meaning in wanting to work for others? This requires the third, namely a spiritual conception of the world, as explained above: "It is just right in the very own sense of the word: One can only help the individual if one only provides him with bread. One can only provide bread for a whole one helps her to a worldview. "
We can see from this that the economic question and the future of the economy and society is ultimately a question of consciousness. It is a question "Do we want bread for the world?" Then we will produce stones or "Do we want spirit for the world?" Then we can produce bread. Can we really keep an eye on what is essential or can we be impressed by the speeches about practical constraints. What is the essential? The essential thing is that man is the measure of all things. When we have gained this insight and experienced it ourselves, do we then want a society, do we want to create relationships that actually correspond to people and finally, and that is the most important thing, do we have the courage to do that? Because there are always a thousand obstacles that appear very quickly.
To conclude, let me take a look, not just on "Rethinking the economy", but on "Doing business anew", "Redesigning the economy" from the impulse I tried to develop with you. We worked our way to the core of the onion, and now we want to go planting onions for the future.
I believe we have recognized that the greatest challenge for all of us is that we can only shape the economy properly and be active in the economy if we move far beyond what is economy today. We can only be meaningful if we look at it from different points of view and let it be meaningful. First of all, it is about the realization of human freedom. It is man's very own task, it is about the realization of humanity. And secondly, the other way around, it is about the humanization of reality, namely the design of the entire world of work that is around us. It's about how do we manage, together with other people - that is the social question - to create a world in which the individual can develop? These are the three big tasks that are related to each other. Ultimately, if we look at the actual economic sector, how do we manage to transform the substance, i.e. the substances from which we design products, in such a way that more appears than is contained in the substance. That is something that brings us very close to what art represents, according to my experiences and findings. Because in art, which is of course purposeless - that is a big difference to the economy - but let's look at the process - it is about the fact that something arises in you when you experience something that gives you the certainty of an effectiveness, a content, that goes beyond what you can see on the outside.
I experienced it as a young person, at the age of 21, when I heard the overture to "Parzival" for the first time. I knew the story, I had never heard Wagner's opera before, had never bothered with it. The individual personalities, the Parzival motif, the King Arthur motif, were already evident to me in the overture. I didn't know if it was so, but it was clear to me that it was. I have experienced the essentials of what lives in these personalities inwardly. You are probably familiar with this yourself. Each of you has had such experiences. Where you are touched by the fact that you can experience much more than you can outwardly. This is where real human existence begins, where art can be experienced, experienced.
This is my understanding of the economy, which is sometimes smiled about here and there, but I am firmly convinced that it is our task to really contribute to an aestheticization and to help nature express itself better than it can itself. We are not that far away from it when we ask "Is the carrot as right as the carrot is?" or can we still give any support that the carrot gets better. Perhaps the biodynamically bred Rodelika carrot is already the real carrot? It is important to ask the question, can the carrot be whole carrot and live out its carrot-like character, what can we do to ensure that the carrot becomes even more carrot? The point is not that we make the carrot the way we need it so that we can chop it well or that it grows quickly, is thick, large or thin, but it is about what is in the essence of the carrot and how it can we help that what is present there can express itself. That is the real job of the economy.
The name Beuys is closely connected to this place here. Some time ago we had a seminar with Johannes Stüttgen, a Beuys student, he quoted a sentence by Beuys which, for me, expresses what I want to say here incredibly well. It may be known to one or the other, namely the question: Why is the Mona Lisa smiling? And the answer "The Mona Lisa smiles because she knows more than Leonardo". That is a good sentence, because the artist - Beuys - is expressing the assessment that Leonardo went far beyond what he could consciously understand at the point in his work, and that he created something that What is a stronger form of expression than what he can imagine has a stronger effect. That's why the Mona Lisa smiles. She smiles because she knows something more, and that is really art.
You only experience this as the one who can recognize it through experience. I can only recommend you, especially young people, take the opportunity not only to experience art here, but also to practice it. Use the opportunity. I myself worked for a sculptor for at least three hours a week for seven years, from the age of 21 to 28. That was very important to me. I still do a lot of it today, but that time was very important. Take advantage of this situation, because the transformation of the material is what you will also do later in business. If we succeed in contributing to a disenchantment here - only humans can disenchant nature - then the ideal semblance of the sensual can appear. In this sense, the economy is a collective work of art in which the most diverse people are involved, which is constantly changing and which aims to produce an aesthetic expression.
I am coming to the end and thus back to the beginning. Is there anything better than living in these times? We can recognize reality, we can realize spiritual freedom. We can contribute to a humanization of the world for others with others. We can build a new economy, a new society that makes sense for people and the earth. And we can do all of this because the people are there who want exactly that. That is what has to get us moving again and again and what can inspire us. That there are people who really want something like this. These people, who are waiting for your future performance as customers, are there. These are the farmers, the artists of a new culture, a free society, an aesthetic society. If you are on this path, I would like to remind you of a personality who died exactly today, namely on September 17th, 828 years ago, Hildegard von Bingen. With this sentence I would like to send you into the afternoon. It comes from "Welt und Mensch":
"Man should first consider all his works in his heart before doing them."
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