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Indybay Feature
Post-lockdown world
by German weekly
Wednesday May 13th, 2020 4:37 PM
Everything works, nothing has to.
Is it even conceivable that after the crisis everything will continue as before?
28 realistic-utopian proposals for a completely renewed society after Corona., May 2020
Post-lockdown world
Everything works, nothing has to
Is it even conceivable that after the crisis everything will continue as before? 28 realistic-utopian proposals for a completely renewed society after Corona

[This May 2020 article by the Freitag community is translated from the German on the Internet,]

Eternal Peace

Once upon a time there was a major maneuver that flew in tens of thousands of weapons and soldiers as spearhead against any threat. Defender meant rolling several thousand kilometers to the Russian border to deter. The peace activists protested without hope that the march of 28 states to the east was a superfluous threatening gesture, a devastating contribution to the climate catastrophe and a waste of money and resources. Even before man and mouse blocked roads and rails, the exercise was ended in a controlled manner. Warships turned back on the Atlantic. An invisible enemy had appeared, flying under every radar, undaunted by anything and bringing public life on the globe to a deadly halt. The soldiers with their heavy guns were powerless and began their journey home. The embarrassment at the false concept of security was overwhelming. From then on, the world defended itself together against broken health care systems and lung-contaminating smog. Against hunger and poverty, a world citizenship law was enacted on the advice of Immanuel Kant. Eternal peace was only a few meters away. Daniela Dahn

Digital is better

Corona, this much can be said now, has done more for digitization in a few days than the pleas and begging of thousands and thousands of online users have ever been able to do. A genie is out of the bottle, and he won't let himself be locked back into it when this crisis is finally over. That this is the case not only has its good sides, of course: mixing up private and working life is not healthy in the long run. But at least the tongue-in-cheek narrative that is often cultivated in executive offices, namely that a day in the home office is no more than a paid holiday, can now be finally banished to the realm of fables. Not only is it possible to work in a different way, it can also be more productive and sustainable than that of generational presence. The current crisis is not only being shouldered by many companies, but especially by those who move safely and skillfully in digital offices. In the future, even in more classically positioned companies, this will not only be greeted with amazement, but also with respect and the appropriate remuneration for the operationally relevant aspects. With a quarter of a century delay, Tocotronic is finally proven right: digital is better. For all. Jan Jasper Kosok

We decide

Corona has thrown the world off course, which should have happened anyway: for reasons of ecological crisis. Being off track is a chance to come to your senses. We are all now "doing without", Steinmeier spoke of it, and it is not a demand as it is in ecology, but a fact. I hope that the imminent economic new beginning will lead to the democratization of the economy, that is, the abolition of capitalist rule over the markets. In other words, the abolition of capitalist domination of the markets, and that we decide in universal, free and equal elections which types of goods may and may not be produced. Just as Trump is now deciding on General Motors! But for us to do it, for the whole of society. If we fight for this right, we will also have the strength to avoid falling back from the present "renunciation" to the earth-destroying gluttony. Because we do not want to renounce the earth. Michael Hunter


Bizarre, but somehow also nice to hear an interview with the promenadologist Martin Schmitz one afternoon. He is introduced as a professor of stroller science and skilfully explains his approach to stroller science. This goes back to the Swiss sociologist Lucius Burckhardt. Schmitz reminds me of a completely different man, Ian Sinclair, psychogeographer, a profession one could take up in the next life. To wander through his texts seems to be the highest degree of freedom. And "The Edge of the Orion" is a beautiful book in which Sinclair follows in the footsteps of the poet John Clares, who escaped from a mental hospital more than 150 years ago and returned to his home village. An arduous journey full of melancholy and melancholy. Promenadology used to be a minor subject. Hard to believe. Kathrin Gerlof

Return of the repressed

At a press conference in 2002, the former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said that there are known knowns, things we know. There are also known unknowns, things we know we don't know. Finally, there are unknown unknowns, things that we don't know that we don't know. With reference to the latter, Rumsfeld wanted to cover up the fact that the USA had no evidence of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. The philosopher Slavoj Zizek noted shortly afterwards that there is a fourth, much more decisive category: unknown knowns, that is, things we actually know but do not want to know. The Corona crisis has immediately revealed a whole series of these collective unknown knowns. The fact that supermarket cashiers and carers are underpaid, that the health system is structurally overloaded, that agriculture is based on often exploitative labour migration - all this is of course well known, but in normal social life it is always successfully suppressed. In this respect, the current state of emergency appears as a kind of return of the repressed. It remains to be hoped that this will have a therapeutic effect on the post-Corona world. Nils Markwardt

Overcoming corona

I wish for an Orwellian language correction not in the dystopian but in the utopian sense. When all this is over, one can only talk about the ****19 like everyone else does about Voldemort in Harry Potter. The world then says, He, whose name you are not allowed to mention. You know who. In all languages, people will talk about him like that and know who is meant. Only those with the antidote will be allowed to pronounce it. Likewise, Bonds will not be named after him under any circumstances, psychoanalysts recommend it and probably do well to do so. The beer of the same name should also be renamed. My sons will become brewers in the Eifel, perhaps in Bitburg. The sustainable beer from fair cultivation will be called Immuni. A zero-alcohol variant will be on the market, kosher and halal will be particularly tolerable. And every year there will be a festival where Italian arias will also be sung. Katharina Schmitz

A different approach

While Andreas Scheuer and Ulf Poschardt are playing "Need for Speed" together, the real world has been renewed. Mobility lovers travel in a relaxed manner by train, motorways have a maximum speed limit of 120 km/h, and city centres have been freed from car traffic. The new Minister of Transport, together with the citizens, has developed three indicators of public welfare, according to which all transport policy measures are designed: 1. Does it serve the majority? 2. does it protect the weakest? 3. is it climate-friendly and sustainable? Climate-neutral mobility is now rewarded and actively promoted by the state. Local public transport always has priority over mobilized private transport. The traffic lights are adapted to the needs of pedestrian traffic. Pleasant paths offer space for relaxed strolling or cycling. Children go to school and play outside safely and naturally without parents. Where intimidating vans used to park before the pandemic, charming places have now been created. Older ones meet to chat, younger ones to chat. Kerosene is duly taxed and parking is controlled and charged. Game over for the boys at the consoles. The common good now sits at the controller! Oda Hassepass

Keeps dimension

The experience since the emergence of the virus is: Just as nature comes to consciousness of itself in humans, it can aim to reveal its presumably highest form of development and provide it with the consciousness of being at its mercy. Does this mean that the experienced defenselessness is "processed" differently "after the virus" than by repression? Experience shows that a return to the norm quickly and reliably suppresses the memory of time out from the norm.
"Do not go to new wars now, you poor things," Bertolt Brecht once warned his countrymen. What did it achieve? It will hardly be worth more than a shrug of the shoulders that the realization that the consumption of monkey brains caused the HIV virus to enter the human organism did not reach the wild animal market in Wuhan. And if it did, it was probably acknowledged with equanimity. In this respect, the resolution that one must always consider what mankind does through recklessness or arrogance is only an empty phrase. The riddle of excess is not solved by this, for it is none. Lutz Herds

Free Internet

What we call critical infrastructure today must not be forgotten tomorrow. State services of general interest, the provision of public goods, the guarantee of basic rights - all these have shown their existential importance in the crisis. The unscrupulous transfer of state responsibility into the hands of private actors should come to an end. This also applies to areas that have been completely privatized and commercialized up to now. If communication via digital media and the Internet is to become vital, a basic service that is accessible to everyone is needed here too. Just as there should be a right to our data, we need a public Internet that makes us independent of the monopolists of digitization. Universities, educational establishments, schools, public institutions, museums and libraries could benefit, as could every single citizen. Steffen Mau

All are equal

I wish that after the Corona crisis, people would all be the same size or smaller. Six feet fifty should do it, I think. But let the experts decide that. The leveling would have to be done by a last mutation of the virus, how that can be done, let metaphysics think about. That's what we pay them for, even better than the virologists, who, to be honest, are getting on my nerves right now. But I am drifting away. The idea that all people should be equally small came to me just here at this table, I'm sitting with my son studying, who will soon be ten, but only measures 1 meter 30. He gets teased, or at least you act surprised that he is not "seven or something". Son is brave, and I have to confirm to him that even as a little boy you can become a great football player. He knows: At the last World Cup there was a player who was 1 meter 63 tall, as it was written on the Panini picture, name just forgotten. I add: Ribery 1.70, Messi 1.69, Maradona 1.65. Such perseverance slogans need not be. So, 1.50m worldwide. Michael Angele.

A fair system

The most obvious is probably the end of the dual-track healthcare system, i.e. the abolition of private health insurance. The merger would finally guarantee genuine solidarity, money would be distributed fairly, contributions would fall, and care would be improved. It should be recognized now at the latest that hospitals, health insurance funds and care facilities must not be subjected to a profit-oriented system that is broken down.

All state aid packages are misdirected, because only individual groups, mostly companies and entrepreneurs, benefit. But what about the employees? Those who have been made redundant because of Corona, and whose company still collects the emergency aid? Many such examples are the reason to put an end to social patchwork, to give everyone security and to take away fear of relegation. We need the unconditional basic income. At the same time we should finally recognize that not only banks are "systemically relevant", but also educators, cashiers, postmen, carers, etc. They deserve decent wages, on which they should be able to live and also save for holidays and pensions. Suddenly we realize how little we need the car. If the public transport system now switches back to the regular timetable, why not increase the frequency, lower prices, expand the network, promote sharing services? More social driving after social distancing. Renouncing your own car does not mean renouncing driving. But less so without being disadvantaged. Boris Kunofski

Nato becomes civil

Summer 2022: At the suggestion of US President Joseph Biden, the North Atlantic Council decides at the NATO summit in Bergamo to gradually transform the military alliance into a sanitary and environmental alliance.
With this Biden takes up an old idea of his predecessor in office Richard Nixon. As early as 1969 (!), Nixon wanted to provide NATO with a "civilian pillar" to enable it to combat global threats such as the greenhouse effect more effectively. The 30 NATO states also committed themselves to investing two percent of their gross domestic product in the procurement and storage of medical equipment (rescue centers, laboratories, hospital ships, respirators, protective clothing, medicines, etc.) by 2030. One third of the current military budget of $1.5 trillion is to be invested in the development of a worldwide medical service. Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty will be amended to allow the Alliance to declare a state of emergency in the event of climate disasters and epidemics. According to designated NATO Secretary General Annalena Baerbock, it is planned to replace NATO by an eco-social UN Security Council by 2050. Wolfgang Michal

The world in 2030

Easter 2030. The Pope now beatifies all Catholic Corona victims. Federal press conference spokesman Augstein announces the recruitment of another 100,000 Africans* for the recycling of cars and airplanes. Greta Thunberg changes from the Transtalantic Rowing Ship Line to the Greenlandic Avocado Holding. Former chancellor Habeck becomes chairman of the board of BMW-Daimler-Südwind. Till Lindemann invites to the traditional bat feast for middle-class politicians. Despite Alzheimer's, Heidi Klum hosts the 20th season of Deutschland sucht den Superpfleger. The European anti-trust office has no objections to Friday's takeover of the time. Suhrkamp announces that Durs Grünbein will finish Uwe Tellkamp's unfinished novel. Every second German*in wears a mouth guard tattoo. I still don't regret that I can only look at it from below. Erhard Schütz
abate debts

Genesis 3 instructed the Israelites to hold a Jubilee every 50 years, in which all debts are cancelled, indicated by the blowing of a ram's horn, the "yobel". After the coronavirus pandemic, we too will hopefully be healthy, but heavily in debt: Our governments, who have fought the artificial economic coma on tick. Instead of arguing about who should pay off all the debts and how the burden of debt should be distributed, we too should let a jubilee year follow. Because the most important thing will be..: To avoid the mistake that followed the financial crisis of 2008/2009, the deadly austerity policy that we and especially the countries of the South are still suffering from today to pay off our debts from the bank bailout. The best way to do this would be as follows: a European fund buys up all the oppressive mountains of debt, yes, even the unserviceable national debts of Italy and Greece, and then, as after a war, it cancels them for a fresh start. What jubilation. Pepe Egger

Aides are paid appropriately

After the corona crisis, which has been survived relatively unscathed, it is clear that nursing staff and hospital employees can neither pay the rent more easily nor recover their lost nerves from the cheerful singing and clapping on the open balcony. A nationwide nursing strike breaks out in post-Coronaic Germany, making visible what everyone knew before: these workers are needed more urgently than ever, yet they are badly paid and have to work under extremely hard conditions. After the strike has brought almost the entire health system to a standstill (again) within two days, Germany will be the first country to pay nursing staff as well as assistant doctors (instead of currently just under 2,800 euros gross up to 4,000 euros gross). Training is gaining in prestige, and more and more young people are choosing the nursing profession for economic and idealistic reasons. In addition, a trade union parade for the system-relevant occupational groups will be held on 1 May to celebrate the achievements of the latest industrial action. Gossiping is only allowed there. Constantine Novotny

tax the rich

Tax researcher Stefan Bach laughs in disbelief when he remembers 2017: Together with colleagues he had presented the study "Who bears the tax burden?", a significant result: The ten percent of the poorest income had been taxed 5.4 percent harder since 1998, the top percent had been able to celebrate a relief of about five percent of their gross household income. The new edition of the 2027 study makes it clear how much things have changed in Germany: the poorest have since been relieved by five percent, the richest by an average of ten percent more responsibility. The paradigm shift was certainly initiated by the inevitable wealth tax at the beginning of 2021, which was soon to be followed by the reactivation of wealth and inheritance taxes.

Bach also talks about the forthcoming publication of a colleague's analysis: according to her, the ad hoc introduction of a European digital tax in the summer of 2020 was one of the factors that triggered the current boom in small cooperative, public-interest oriented companies. It is too obvious that in the Corona crisis, the tendency to monopolize in favor of now associated digital groups such as Amazon had intensified too much for this to have had no consequences. Sebastian Puschner

Cooperation of science

The American virologist Nathan Wolfe wrote after the past pandemics had subsided that the idea that we could one day announce "the last plague" and delete the term from our vocabulary was really bold. He believes in the interplay of technology and modern means of communication that make it possible to detect skipping viruses early on. That is perhaps too optimistic. But perhaps the world could learn from this pandemic and cultivate cooperation in a field where there is usually competition and a race to the bottom, namely science. Because contrary to lip service to the contrary, the current hunt for drugs and vaccines follows principles that govern the whole system: privatization of profits, socialization of risks... If, in the future, knowledge vital to survival were to be withdrawn from private law acquisition, this would be a first step towards the "global alliance" that President Steinmeier is only invoking. Ulrike Baureithel

Can grind in

It's just a thing about utopias. My husband receives WhatsApp messages talking about the newly crystal clear water in Venice's canals or dolphins that you can now see again. They make him aggressive, these beautiful pictures. He's Italian. People die every day in our country, people lose their jobs, they are desperate, he says. A doctor friend of his complains: People should stop clapping for us, rather protest against the conditions in hospitals. Is that too extreme? I also see positive things: a father who is intensively involved with his children, they can suddenly tie a bow. Brother and sister who invent games, fantasy, even mediate in arguments. They have to get along. It's an involuntary crash course for everyone, for soft parents also as a consequence: Mum works, dad goes out with you, no discussion! This can go on for a while. Please make sure to take an aperol shot. Maxi Leinkauf

A new climate policy

In crisis situations such as Corona, we all learn to do without: to protect ourselves and others, we go out less, give up dancing, travel and football matches. Most people do this voluntarily - because it makes sense, it is in solidarity and saves lives. If we take climate science seriously, then the lung virus is just a small foretaste of life in a permanent state of emergency. Whether pandemic or climate: both crises have one thing in common: the better the prevention and resilience of a society, the better the negative consequences can be contained.

With Corona, this means: the fewer people are infected and the better the health system, the milder the pandemic, keyword #flattenthecurve. The situation is similar with climate change: the less CO2 is released into the atmosphere and the better cities and communities prepare themselves, the more tolerable the consequences such as rising temperatures, weather extremes and social conflicts. Keyword #mitigation (i.e. mitigation). Just as people currently stay at home as a preventive measure and have to pay fines in the event of violations, climate protection could also look like this: Politics could spend national CO2 budgets or climate rights. Everyone gets free tickets to pollute, those who consume more CO2 have to pay fines, apply for exemptions or buy rights. Fossil fuels thus become a luxury. A bonus-malus system would be more socially acceptable: CO2-intensive behavior would not only become more expensive through taxation or the CO2 budget rule, but climate-friendly behavior would even be rewarded - for example with noticeable tax rebates or Christmas checks at the end of the year. This would slowly but surely become ingrained: If I don't take preventive action, it will cost me dearly - my wallet and society. And if I take the train instead of the scheduled flight, I will even be rewarded. It's similar to Corona: If we all stay at home, fewer people are ill - and I myself will most likely stay healthy. Susanne Götze


During the crisis, the market economy was given a devastating judgment: Shut down non-essential production, it won't last long. Economic resilience? Nothing. This would be the order of the day: Pandemics, they say, will become more frequent.
Resilience requires the development of a basic service for all, the provision of capacities. But this is not possible as long as profit maximization determines what is produced. We ourselves, as a society, must decide in the future. At present, respirators are being produced instead of cars, disinfectants instead of perfume and face masks instead of suits. That is good. After #Corona, we'll talk further: More personnel in medical care? Expansion of public transport, fewer cars? Mobile phones with long life cycle? Solar panels instead of brown coal? Apartments for everyone, instead of luxury lofts for the few? Robots in production, more leisure time for the people? It will not prevent the next pandemic. General deceleration, however, would not cause anyone to panic any more. Sabine Nuss

Back to Pop

I look forward to Last Christmas. I really am. Worst Christmas carol ever, I wanna hear it again. I want Wham on the radio playing up and down. The horror will be over, my chronic bronchitis and I, we'll still be here and hopefully all our friends will be too. Last Christmas is even supposed to be a feature film. I have to see it, but not until Christmas. Christmas Eve after Corona, we're finally playing Sissy Booze. I've always wanted to do that: We watch all three parts. And every time somebody shouts "Your Majesty", we lift one. Or: "Franz!" Karsten Krampitz

Land belongs to all

If people were fish, they would have privatized the sea long ago. This may sound strange to us land animals. But why do we find it normal that our land is at the mercy of market forces? That would be very different in a better world. We would have understood that even a plague separates the haves from the have-nots: cramped rented apartments here, homes with their own "outlet" there, that makes a big difference when you have to stay at home. From now on, public authorities would only grant land under ground lease, primarily to companies or collective housing projects that build in a non-profit and socially balanced way. Then the properties of speculative investors would be socialized. Finally, the local authorities would take over the land completely, piece by piece. Private owners would be given leasehold contracts for several generations, and they could keep their little house. But the speculation of the few at the expense of the many would come to an end. Stephan Hebel

Using robots

The jobs in which you earn badly are systemically relevant. That was the insight during the pandemic. The fairy tale of the fairness of performance no longer caught on. After all, nurses, tram drivers and harvest workers slaved away around the clock, but they could hardly afford to pay their rent. While the company heirs, in the face of state-imposed idleness, feared for the power of the work fetish as a substitute religion, all those who actually have to live from wage labor suddenly took the classic topos of the political Sunday speech at its word: What counts in life? "The main thing is work! No matter how poorly paid or meaningful it is" - nobody came up with this answer. During the "disposable time" that the lockdown brought, the old dream of liberation through robots and machines experienced a renaissance instead. Also because they are not in danger of falling ill with Covid 19. John Maynard Keynes, who was not suspected of socialism, predicted the 15-hour week for the year 2030. In times of digitaliation, this is not a utopia for many jobs, but it is not yet a liberation either. With the very modest sums of money that are being brought into the debate on the basic income, this is not going to do anything for an adequate life for everyone. It would be better to clarify: Whose robots are these? Martina Mescher

Hello, neighbor

Tonight I'm going out to celebrate, to my neighbors. We're celebrating because Sabine died yesterday, she was 68, not very old, cancer it was, lung cancer. Only since she was ill and lived with Annie, that's my neighbor's name, did I really get to know her. Now I bake a quiche, because Annie and her mother loved it, my quiche with goat's cheese, nectarines and walnuts. I'm looking forward to seeing all our neighbors and Annie's friends, whom I've only known since - since Corona. Since we started getting to know each other. Tonight there will be salads and my quiche and we will talk about how nice it was, the last time with Sabine, three days we celebrate her farewell now, we all got time off for it. Annie already said it yesterday: What a luck that Sabine died only after Corona, because before that she would have been alone with all this. When death did not belong to it. It was not allowed to be shared. When he was locked away in hospital and nursing home. Sabine liked my quiches.
Especially those with goat cheese, nectarines and walnuts. Elsa Koester
New solidarity

Speculation is cheap, wishes are allowed. My wish is that the Corona crisis will end the era of unbridled individualism in Western societies, according to which each person is his own neighbor and largely responsible for his own well-being. Since the Corona viruses now rampant around the world can reach everyone, it is obvious that not only our well-being but also our naked lives depend on the very holey quality of common goods. These were not only created by today's taxpayers, but many generations before us have helped build them. With the climate crisis and the refugee crisis, many people have become aware again that we are generic beings. Our species, which is unique far and wide in space, will not survive as a loose group of lone warriors and through selective actions of charity. Integrative solidarity systems are necessary and possible. They are not given to us, they must be fought for. Sabine Kebir

Right of way for cyclists

A month ago, hardly anyone would have thought it possible: Municipalities are cutting temporary Corona wheel tracks off their city highways. Decelerated large cities, which have never paid much attention to the safety of cyclists, are engaged in accident prevention - after all, the valuable hospital beds are now needed more urgently for people suffering from viruses than for cyclists with doors closed. But let us not delude ourselves: After Corona, the multi-lane avenues will once again belong to the overlying car traffic. The perseverance of the comfortable should prevail. Unless public pressure manages to turn this delicate seed of a viral traffic turn into a plant. That costs comparatively little: walking and cycling are prioritized at the expense of car traffic - garnished by a dense network of ticket-free buses, trams, trains and cheap stationary car sharing. Those who want urban quality of life should now support the many regional initiatives. Michael Merten

A social system without gangsterism

These days, numerous people experience what it means if one cannot visit any cafés or cinemas for days and weeks. Thus, what it means not to be able to participate culturally. Perhaps it is dawning on all of us how countless Hartz IV recipients, single parents or recipients of small pensions feel, who permanently have to do without this "luxury".

Hopefully, those who have spent their lives on the road to success as self-employed or employees will remember the frustrating positions they may now experience for the first time. It could be the beginning of a new solidarity between those who have been spoiled by success and those who have been left behind. Would a social system without fiddling around and quick, unbureaucratic help for all after the crisis be conceivable? Absolutely, but only if the center does not forget, even after Corona, that anyone can get into trouble at any time through no fault of their own. Marlen Hobrack

Was it one beer or a Corona too many?

Unfortunately the small conveniences are gone, the short trip to Malle or the conference in Vienna. But it's astonishing that the big city is now finally implementing cycle roads and that the energy mix is changing worldwide with the expansion of renewable energies, great! The speed limit of 120 km/h is enforced in Europe, except in the Netherlands, where only 100 km/h is still allowed. Andi Scheuer has not been heard of for a long time, but Winfried Hermann is now in the cabinet. If this red-green-red would now understand that the introduction of 5G technology, through a democratic process with European sovereign rights, can provide the basis of life for all with a regulated basic income, wow! After this daydream, I would be happy if the "reconstruction" worked without the arms industry - we've had enough deaths this century anyway. In peace we could think better than dream! Alexander Kursawe
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