17 November 2012

Easy to Assemble

'Sparsamkeit ist geil,'
The magnate sez.
In the end, it's merely
a choice of lifestyle.



Lutz Eitel said...

The funniest sentence in there is: “It handed the investigation to auditors Ernst & Young in May to ensure greater objectivity.” Haha. What annoys me about how the subject is treated here in Germany is that it’s again painted as if all were down to individual decisions (considering companies as persons, of course). Like in that awful movie “The Lives of the Others,” where the whole state surveillance system would depend on the moral decision of the single agent. One major political decision here in the West was to keep economic relations high at some price, to have a counterinfluence against the Eastern block and to carve out some mutual dependencies. Much simplified: we made them export stuff they would have needed themselves and gave them international currency for it. Politicians knew exactly how stuff was produced and what the human rights situation was. We would buy some human rights (and some not. We had political prisoners of our own, though they rather got banned from employment.) But these were matters of politics, of highest level negotiations, and while I’m sure any single Ikea manager is a greedy cretin, the decision to tolerate the forced labor was not part of their production strategy, but made by the system. (Well at least this saved a child somewhere in Asia from the workhouse ...)

Greyhoos said...

Interesting, Lutz. And thanks. I don't believe it's received much coverage here (or in the English-language press in general), so this sort of thing is naturally bound to confuse some people. But as to what you're saying: Yes, of course.

"Mister Gorbachev, tear down this wall...so we can have access to that 'non-unionized labor force!"

Lutz Eitel said...

It's more complicated, of course. It made no economic sense for the Bundesrepublik the buy the GDR out when they did. That just translated into unemployment. It made a lot of economic sense for lobbyists, who got most of the valuable property/real estate "back" that presumably once had belonged to their fiefdoms. But the politics were like this: for one giddy moment it had looked like the GDR would do their own thing, opposition would make up their own post-socialist state, which would have been absolutely awesome. And that could not be tolerated, so the transaction had to happen quickly and more hurtful for a lot of people than would have been necessary with a little more time ...

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