One globetrotter’s plea: We who live in Germany, must realize that we are disgustingly rich
Subsequently, I will be referring to Germany. Here, we are living our socialization inside a crystal ball where it’s snowing tremendous security. Weighed against the global standard, we have everything, and actually plenty of it. And that being said, our ‘everything’ is not even limited to sometimes, but it is an unlimited and steady flow. So as much as it might seem normal to us, let me hold on for a moment and look back:
Born in 1987, I contemplate the following as a young person raised in the 90s. Everyone who now is around 28, will be able to relate. We kids from back then grew up in a very exclusive comfort zone.
During this maybe unique time, which was characterized by extreme prosperity, we were allowed to enjoy the freedom of growing older in peace and harmony. An incredible gift! From the point of view at that time, but surely and more so, from today’s point of view.
Those who haven’t taken this fact to heart yet — You will keel over when traveling the world. Guaranteed! Just short and crisp, keep the big picture in mind, because sometimes it helps to appreciate the abundance of pleasures we witness in this country.
Remember how incredibly rich you already are — without even having lifted a finger:
- Clean (!!!) drinking water from all pipes and warm water if you feel like it– thanks to a boiler.
- Secure energy supply — 24/7 and at any place.
- Food in all imaginable forms, meaning fruits, veggies, eggs, milk, meat etc. Your bakery, confectionery or butcher’s is open on almost all weekdays.
- You have access to safe public transportation (locally, regionally and nationally) — plus it comes at affordable prices.
- Kindergarden, elementary school and other educational institutions — free of charge — are firmly anchored in the social system.
- You avail yourself of healthcare services through hospitals/clinics at the highest standards and with experts in all fields.
- You live in a country boasting a variety of nationalities which makes it culturally diverse.
- There are equal opportunities for all citizens — regardless of their nationality, background or origin.
- Also, there’s plenty of job opportunities in all areas — Be it with a diploma or a junior-high school leaving certificate.
- Germany offers a dual vocational training system: A package including monthly pay, a job contract and healthcare.
- You can enjoy public bank holidays, paid holidays and special allowances as well as a nightshift bonus.
- Life in Germany means access to child support, parental allowance, unemployment benefit and social welfare for people in need.
- The chance to gain international experience in Europe or overseas in America through schools, universities or private institutions is yours, too.
- You have freedom of speech, religious liberty and a free life in general. On top of that, you can feel safe and don’t need to be anxious about your future.
„That’s quite common, though.”
That’s what we used to think bar none. And that’s also, how we used to live. Be it in the classroom or in our leisure time, we take one thing for granted: The high standard of living in our everyday lives was what we considered to be our birthright from day one.
Slowly but surely, we were taught a few terrifying side notes about the “Third World” and introduced to wars, famine and other forms of suffering in the world — but in theory only.
The crowd around us practically followed the nonplus-ultra a.k.a. the “American Dream”. And did we start complaining out of boredom, would we kids be silenced with a treat. The smile on our faces was just a few Deutsch Mark away, anyways. Of course, our unknowing parents and teachers were not the ones to blame, since their primary task was not living up to the role of owning our education, but the implementation of our curricula.
We all are to blame. “We didn’t know any better” is the honest bottom line, that often is drawn by parents and officials. A really sad lesson. But please don’t forget that a lesson is also our chance to learn from it for the future. I like to call it: The challenge of the 21st century — Do it better.
Third World — What a crappy term
Good, that around the marvelous millennium some new trends such as organic/eco, Fairtrade and Demeter emerged. Words like “vegan” and “vegetarian” became more mainstream and it was not only in the field of nutrition where something was happening. Even yoga and the harmony of spirit, body and nature marked upcoming trends attracting an increasingly growing audience.
The curiosity among the general public surged and many people followed suit. Healers, reiki- seminars and Feng Shui courses sprang up like mushrooms. Those, who wanted to make a living from the new trend, filled with hope, optimism and anticipation, made their entry in the White Pages. — Mostly only to end up just waiting to be found, though.
So back then, it rather was a rare-case scenario in our daily lives when we would cross paths with fellow citizens who were geared towards sustainability and lived their life consciously. And even if that occurred, then we raised our antenna and snoopily peppered them with questions. But how often did we ask only, just to laugh at these people behind their backs afterwards?
“Honey, my co-worker is a vegetarian.”
Back then this sort of pioneers, who more than often happened to be a character as well, did not find any recognition as such. We also did not acknowledge their healthier lifestyle and sense for sustainability. Instead, we used these individual examples, who more than often seemed just to conduct themselves in a peaceful and calm manner, as conversation material in our cracker-barrel round.
Instead of recognizing the real value they added, they were laughed about. Let’s just go back 15 years: Instead of making us share, repair or give, we medially were driven on all levels to — yeah, right: buy. Those, who weren’t playing the game or who wanted to spend their one and only life in a more conscious, sustainable, quiet and minimal way, were simply shrugged off and labeled ’He’s so eco…’.
But with today’s grocery, we opt for organic, rather than conventional
What today is considered flattering and a popular status on social media, back then was meant to be derogatory. Even though “More, higher, further and plenty of everything” still remains the leitmotiv that dominates advertising, the “I am not stupid” market, which was created by a commercial run by the big electronics provider Mediamarkt, no longer will do the trick.
Today’s society is about a significantly and increasingly resistant collective character. And principally it is more sophisticated than in the past. If this development also goes hand in hand with a higher awareness level, remains to be seen. However, nowadays it takes a whole lot more of creativity to create new needs.
To be honest: Who in the world did even bother that it was children who were assembling our electronics Chinese factories and that our clothes were being produced in Bangladesh? Because in our everyday life, we buoyantly went about our day — ‘business as usual’.
No matter if we were the young or the old, if we were just newcomers or if we had already immigrated years before. No matter, if our generations had had their roots in this country already for generations: Our rampant conglomerate consumerism and its boundless greed reflected our real zeitgeist. That was, what it was all about.
Having a job, making money, buying our happiness — and rather not doing too much thinking about how we actually lived our lives. This worked fine, because we were just fine economically, in fact we were tremendously fine — Awww, simply wonderful. Surely, we were keeping better than anyone else. I know that for a fact — after having traveled countries such as India, Bangladesh and Nepal.
Consumerism often satisfied us — temporarily
Everyone please feel free to doubt my statement. I am absolutely convinced that the broad mass of our population literally is in a constant state of shock. And as a result, it is extremely paralyzed in a way. Paralyzed in the sense of numb, triggered by an artificial overdose.
No longer receptive enough, and hence not that easy to satisfy anymore. Maybe the shallow consumerism of the last decades has just temporarily satisfied us — obviously the happiness didn’t last, on any level. Many of us have the issue that available consumerism no longer does anything for us — and it leaves us unfulfilled.
Materialistic consumerism became more of a habit. A change was overdue. It took quite a while, until a distinct minority with courage, patience and endurance stood up against a divided people — but in the end the change has come.
A pretty palpable ripple hit, and ran through all the different classes of society. And the extremely small minority from back then demonstrated clearly, that a step towards conscious sustainability was not a step backwards, but that it could rather be a step ahead. These facts mirror not so much your individual wealth, but the one of a whole society.
The country’s mainstream set healthier life goals
Even though this statement may be challenged, it remains a result of my almost four year-long travel across Europe and Asia. Today, a healthy lifestyle takes root way easier than it was the case some 20 years ago.
Especially in Europe, and definitely very smoothly in Germany — one of the wealthiest countries around the globe. By the way, now only a minority does still laugh at healers, yoga teachers and self-healing powers. The desire for organic and fair products in line with a conscious nutrition has established itself almost everywhere — take the rich, richer or extremely rich people in this country.
Keep “I am rich” as your constant reminder
What else serves a symbol for collective wealth, an entire nation’s awareness of a healthy-lifestyle. In my view, we experienced a truly positive development as kids which surely can be put down to the new technologies in this country, among other things.
Networking thanks to the internet, marks the door to enormous opportunities: Be it direct communication, general exchange of knowledge or simply information — in real-time. Hence it won’t come as a real surprise that the rest of the world, too, longs for the same standards.
Because it is obvious to everyone. And especially recently, all eyes are on us or moving in our direction, respectively. At times voluntarily, but at too many occasions also it is also the result of a hopeless predicament without any choice, why people set out on a journey to Germany. For many people, a home like Germany symbolizes enormous prosperity — plus absolute safety on top of that!
In the years to come, our wealth will be redefined. Not only regarding our funds and assets, but more so on how we handle all the challenges ahead and how we eventually tackle the same. Because money and assets don’t usually come with a guarantee for moral values, and definitely they don’t ensure brotherly love by default.
The following claim may sound slightly overblown, but:
The whole world is served to you on a silver platter
The blessings of our time and your individual destiny pave your way to be part of a minority who bathes in gold. The comfort zone you are dwelling in, is one of a kind, and it is one that only a one-digit percentage of this world population can be lucky enough to even touch. The awareness of this fact should become your new foundation.
Better, you really internalize your present wealth asap. Since on your journey around the globe, this reality will constantly knock at your door — and you will have to face it. Please prepare well — mentally.
By the way, earlier I went into detail on my personal retrospect into what our past society was consumed by. “Why?,” you are probably asking. Because sooner or later, you probably also will return back home.
Many globetrotters are struggling big time on their way back home and at their actual arrival back home. I will shed some light on my own homecoming later on. It may be experienced differently by each and every one. However, too many times the return is connected to some brutal and mind-blowing insights.
At the beginning, many of us may know exactly where to head for first in their lifetime adventure. Upon crossing the finish line though, there often is a lack of real understanding of where we come from, in first place.
This article is available in German here; http://www.huffingtonpost.de/alexandros-tsachouridis-mondon/wohlstand-deutschland-wirtschaft_b_14412912.html
Translation by Martina Hollweck.
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