7 billion people on the planet today. good occasion to revisit hans rosling’s thoughts on development:

i like this guy for the fact that he presents quantitative data and not only anecdotes or ‘common sense’. for sure there’s an art to social media, but there is also a science. i fully agree with his main points for social media communication:

  • – quantity is always better than quality, to increase your reach
  • – avoid crowds: share on weekends
  • – to be shared, content needs to be interesting, not engaging
  • – stop talking about yourself!
  • – help your audience make their friends look cool
  • – good story structure: the villain is wronging the victim
  • – give your audience a box of crayons, not a rubber stamp

dominik wind, berlin activist & thinker, participated in a panel at the influencer conference the other week, and this blog post pretty much summarizes the panel. you should really read it, especially for the researched facts.

There´s no better way to sum this up then Ronen Kadushin, who developed the open design concept, did at the panel: “We´re pretty much fucked.” Dave Pollard wrote: “We have unleashed the sixth great extinction of life on Earth […]. We have created a political and economic industrial growth civilization monoculture that is unsustainable, out of control and unstoppable. I´m a hopeless optimist so of course I can´t take “unstoppable” although reading through my research I´d agree on “probably unstoppable”.
The only quite utopian option I can think of is that a majority of us understands:
Industrialism and consumerism are the reason for, not the solution of, the problem. The technocratic promise of “inventing our way out of the problem” is proven wrong by the sheer numbers and statistics. It brought us here. We CAN´T have more cars, more traveling, cheaper clothes AND our planet. It´s time to act, the window of time left to act is closing.

yes, it sounds alarmist, but he has a bunch of figures to back it up. i pretty much agree with him that we are living in critical times. and perhaps all we can do at this point is damage control. we’ve heard about runaway climate change, and that virtually all scientists agree on what’s happening. in the US, activists are fighting keystone XL, and in mckibben’s words, if they fail, it’s ’game over for the climate’. we’ve even been told that our time will be coined ’the age of stupid’.

so, where do we go from here? i do fear it might be too big of a problem. it seems like people need to personally feel the effects of something before starting to act. however, we might not have the luxury for trial-and-error; the error might set us back too far. perhaps there’s no other way than to run everything into the ground, and start all over again with what’s left. reset. perhaps sustainability is something that our current society just wasn’t built for. perhaps from a greater perspective, sustainability means that the natural system will get rid of the destructive factor: mankind.

on the other hand, perhaps damage control can significantly us slow down before the crash, so we might be able to survive. but we need to turn the steering wheel hard, now. we have to go back to the drawing board and create systems that are not based on unlimited economic growth. i think we need to act and communicate with a high level of urgency (similar this dylan ratigan or howard beale), and get shit done. anyway, there’s no reason not to try it. nothing that’s worthwhile is ever easy. and who would like to be involved in anything less than saving the world?

i’m looking forward to meeting dominik again to figure out some solutions. and he’s not as gloomy as it might appear from the excerpt. after all his blog is subtitled ’replace fear of the unknown with curiosity.’

richard wilkinson has some great data to show that inequality in a society is related to virtually all measures of social dysfunction, not just a few things. in more equal societies, this has not only positive effects for those on the lower end, but also for the more privileged ones.

to get a hint at how the US got to such a high level of inequality, malcolm gladwell makes an interesting point about income tax:

nest, the thermostat that learns about you, so you don’t have to learn about it! neat idea, elegant design; very curious how well it will work and how quick you’ll have your money back by saving energy!

available for pre-order in the US now, hope it will be available in germany soon! (thanks dkomm from another nest for the hint!)

nice video from new york asking a good question: ‘where do we go from here?’

just received some sad news from oakland, where police seemed to have used tear gas, rubber bullets and smoke bombs to clear out the protest camp.

in berlin, there was a group of 25-30 people spending the night out in front of the reichstag, even though they were not allowed to have tents. so in effect, this was the first occupation! and they also made it through another night till monday, and as far as i know, also till tuesday morning. thanks to all of you who stayed there in the night!

however, on tuesday the asamblea was informed that they will not be tolerated any longer on the reichstagswiese.  even individuals (i guess if they ‘look like’ they support #occupy) will be arrested and charged! so they had to move to an ‘alternative spot’ 350 m to the west. the bundestag will vote on the EFSF on wednesday, so it doesn’t seem like a huge coincidence that the government wants the protesters gone. the plan for tomorrow is to meet at the ‘alternative spot’ at 3pm to figure out how and where to do the asamblea at 5pm. it seems there also might be support camps in kreuzberg and friedrichshain. let’s hope there will be a livestream! so much for now, i’ll leave you with this interesting video manifesto (in german) and i will be back on saturday.

unthink, the new un-facebook just launched and crashed after 4 hours. their first video did make me curious, and so i’m waiting for them to get back up and running. actually, this is not even such a huge problem for them; they obviously have customers, it’s a ‘news’ story to tell, and since they’re the ‘underdog’, i doubt that people will hold a grudge against them.

i too am much more interested in what they have to offer. they’re certainly are idealistic enough to change some things, let’s see if they will be overflowing with neat tools and great notions. techcrunch’s explanation of their model:

On Unthink, user data isn’t sold to brands. Instead, users choose a brand to sponsor their page, by way of an ad dubbed “iEndorse.” The idea is that a user will select a brand they feel some affinity with, and will then become an advocate for that brand. Users who don’t want to select a brand have the option to pay for the service instead ($2/year).

if they let me choose from ANY brand so that i could pick an eco-social brand, i could probably live with this. i would indeed like to have more control over who gets to mine which parts of my data. as soon as they’re back up, i’ll have a look. send me a tweet or fb message if you want an invite.

[UPDATE: it’s back up, though super slow. find me here. gotta admit, i’m not a fan yet..]

a week after the #occupy protest started in berlin, there was another march today! it wasn’t unregistered, so it wasn’t a march, but just a bunch of individuals who all just happened to go for a walk around the same time. :) on the way we passed a tourist bus, where some girls were chanting out the window “we – are – the 99%!” we met another group of people at brandenburger tor and then went over to the reichstagswiese. probably around 1000 people were there, and we held an asamblea and working groups. there was a great spirit in the air, and i met some really interesting people today.

we still do not have a camp in berlin, because tents are not tolerated anywhere. quite unbelievable considering the “sympathy” all kinds of politicians (including our chancellor) expressed in the press. mr. lammert, please allow this camp!

but even without tents, people have been meeting every day at 3pm at the reichstag, and held an asamblea at 5pm. on sunday (2nd protest day) the asamblea found a very creative way to deal with the problem that the berlin police does not accept public gatherings without a leader (or a leader-less movement). after the cop announced over the human mic that there needs to be a leader, it was suggested that everybody registers a demonstration, so everybody is a leader. facing a mountain of paperwork from 300 registrations, the police seemed to tolerate the meeting.

another very creative solution was found on friday, when the police threatened to fine everybody for breaking the assembly law. thanks to the awesome livestream, a viewer from hamburg helped out by telling them (via chat?) that if people stand 6 meters apart from each other, it is not an assembly according to the law. brilliant! what a great case of the internet allowing information to be shared in meaningful way! of course, with the human mic, the asamblea could still communicate with each other and it even drew a bunch of attention from the tourists!

i’d like to share another story from a dear friend of mine. he was also there last saturday and got carried away by the police. well, after the cop kneeled on his head and twisted his arm to get him to stand up (yeah i know, weird logic..). well, he wasn’t arrested, but taken away from the center and released further to the side of the area. when the cop let him go, he put the visor of this helmet up and said: “my name is <his full name>, and i am sorry.” really great to see that this guy still tried to be a human being. and i certainly didn’t want to overgeneralize the police behavior in my account of the first night, i’m sure most of them do their jobs without any malice, but there are some that really need some anger management courses. anyway, they should realize that they too are the 99%! i can’t wait until the first one takes a seat on the side of the movement.

my thoughts on the current situation:

i think we need more structure in the asamblea. moderators and a speaker list would make it fairer and more effective. currently it’s hard for people with lower voices or that are a little shy to get to speak. and yes, not enough women get to speak. a suggestion: a 2-3 people moderator team: 1-2 people keeping a list of people raising their hands and one person to show whose turn it is.

the movement needs to grow. we need to be the 99%. the crowd today was much more diverse (with even more “rather conservatively” clothed people today), but we should also grow in size. to do this, i think the “agreement” that organizations should not be very visible should also extend to the antifa (who stayed peaceful during this movement as far as i know). the movement needs to speak to a large group of people, and too many media images from the black block won’t be helpful (when they just started chanting today, that’s where most of the cameras ran to).

we need to think about a plan for the winter. we have to continue the asamblea and the working groups. and have weekly walks (‘spaziergänge’). and ideally some form of a publicly visible camp-like demonstration.

as i write this post, i am witnessing the longest occupation so far via livestream: about 25 people are still at the reichstag, and it seems like they are tolerated by the police. awesome, even without tents, i think we can call this an occupation camp now. :)

asamblea tomorrow at 5pm, working groups from 3pm. next march, october 29. join us!!

[EDIT: ’asamblea worldwide’ has become the unofficial protest song in berlin since SAT, english translation of the lyrics in description]

i’m part of the awesome crew at reset.to now (part-time)! check it out: it’s the only german-speaking platform to combine information and action. i love this integrated approach: how often have you read something, thought ‘well, what can i do about it?’ and forgot about it a few minutes later. at reset.to, that will just be the start! you’ll find out what you can do, how you can get involved (on various levels) and also donate directly to awesome projects (100% forwarded)!

the team is pretty cool, everybody is a pleasant mix of treehugger, social justice advocate, digital nomad, entrepreneur and music lover! love it! :)

#occupytogether ist das große thema. die medien reduzieren es auf einen bankenprotest, meine erfahrungen in berlin sagen dass es eine demokratiebewegung ist, wie z.b. jacob jung sehr gut kommentiert.

mein persönliches anliegen ist, dass wir systeme aufgebaut haben, die unbegrenztes wachstum voraussetzen, und wir dies in einer welt mit endlichen ressourcen nicht aufrecht erhalten können. das kann doch eigentlich nicht gutgehen!

ein fundamentales system ist die geldschöpfung. dazu muss man sich auch mal damit auseinandersetzen, was geld denn überhaupt ist bzw. wie es geschaffen wird. dass wir keine währung haben, der ein wert zugrunde liegt, sondern eine FIAT währung, bei der geld aus schulden produziert wird, und zwar von banken (und nicht dem staat!). ich habe mich jetzt schon länger mit dem sachverhalt geld=kredit befasst, und finde es immer noch schwierig, die konzequenzen davon ganzheitlich zu verstehen. hier ist ein gut gemachtes video zur erklärung der geldschöpfung (teil 2). ich bitte sehr darum, mich auf fehler in diesem video aufmerksam zu machen!

auch an folgendem beispiel wird doch deutlich, dass unsere geldschöfpung kein nachhaltiges system ist: wenn geld nur dadurch entsteht kann, dass eine bank einen kredit verleiht, wofür sie zinsen einnimmt, dann kann doch dieser kredit samt zinsen ja niemals vollständig abbezahlt werden, da man für die ‘rückzahlung’ der zinsen erst wieder neues geld erschaffen muss, was auch wieder verzinst ist. und im prinzip wäre eine rückzahlung gar nicht erstrebenswert, da es ohne kredite kein geld gäbe! ist das nicht paradox!?

ganz alleine bin ich in diesen überlegungen anscheinend nicht. in den USA gib es ja den anwärter auf die republikanische präsidentschaftskandidatur ron paul, der schon sehr lange davor warnt. ich finde paul sympathisch, einen anderen politiker, der schon so lange konstant zu seinen überzeugungen steht, kenne ich gar nicht. auch seine grundeinstellung zur freiheit des menschen gefällt mir; auch wenn ich glaube, dass es viele fälle gibt, in denen bedeutend mehr freiheit für alle geschaffen werden kann indem die freiheit weniger einzelner leicht einschränkt wie (wie z.b. bei verkehrsregeln). aber paul ist auch extremer vertreter der österreichischen schule der ökonomie (luwig van mises, friedrich hayek, und dergleichen), die eine anti-zyklische finanzpolitik (à la keynes) strikt ablehnen, und hier gehen unsere ansichten stark auseinander.

auch im deutschsprachigen raum gibt es warnende stimmen: franz hörmann, professor an der wirtschaftsuniversität in wien hat letztes jahr ein buch mit dem titel ’das ende des geldes. wegweiser in eine ökosoziale gesellschaft herusgebracht. außer dass es ganz oben auf die leseliste kommt, wollte ich noch auf ein interview hinweisen, in dem er sagt: “alle währungen werden verschwinden, weil sie technisch nicht mehr funktionieren können.” auch dirk “mister dax” müller (aus dem video) warnt vor dem crash, vorgestern gab er ein interview im handelsblatt in dem er feststellt: “wir sind in der endphase”.

das klingt alles ziemlich düster. dass es düster ist haben wohl so einige leute verstanden, daher ja auch die rege teilnahme an den #occupy bzw. acampada demos. aber ich würde gerne unser geldschöpfungssystems besser verstehen. vor allem würde ich gerne mal eine verteidigung des aktuellen FIAT-zentralbank-zinseszins geldsystems hören, die über eine “so haben wir aber die moderne welt aufgebaut”-argumentation hinaus geht. und ich würde nur zu gerne wissen, welche konkreten modelle für ein alternatives geldschöpfungssystem es gibt, und was dazu getan werden müsste. braucht es dazu wirklich einen crash bzw. einen reset?

freiwillige vor! ich würde mich wirklich sehr über input zu diesem thema freuen!

[EDIT: bei echo gibt es einige interessante vorschläge, ist aber noch ausbaufähig!]

oder sehen wir uns am samstag bei #occupyberlin (fb event)? am samstag geht’s um 13 uhr am alexanderplatz (neptunbrunnen) los, bis 15 uhr sind wir dann am platz der republik vor dem reichstaggebäude!