Saturday, April 20, 2024

Deeper Life Conversations

In conversation, they tend to ask 10 to 20 times as many questions as the average person. They also laugh more, to show they like what you're saying.

And they ask deep questions about a person's values, beliefs or experiences. For example, if you've just asked someone what they do for a job, a deep follow-up question could be, "Did you always want to be/do that?" Or, "What do you love about your job?".

"What I'm really asking you to do is talk about your experiences, what brought you to this place, your beliefs," Duhigg says.

"It's really powerful."

Supercommunicators' have better conversations. Charles Duhigg and Beverley Wang show how you can too

Can a New German Party Steer the European Left in a More Effective Direction? 

Sahra Wagenknecht shook up the German political establishment with the January launch of her new left-populist political party. She’s now looking to do the same in the European Parliament. 

We don’t want to live on top of each other. Always amazes me that people escape ultra high density cities to enjoy life in Australia then advocate for the same to be done here.


The Culture that is Germany

FT: When it launched its fully automated stores four years ago, Germany’s regional supermarket chain Tegut billed the experiment as a window into the future of shopping. But the Fulda-based retailer has since been embroiled in a legal fight over a centuries-old principle enshrined in the German constitution: Sunday rest. Be they robotic or staffed by humans, most shops in Germany are not allowed to open on the last day of the week — and courts have upheld that ban.

You are probably thinking this is a Baptists and Bootleggers story but actually it’s a Baptists, Catholics and Bootleggers story.

Both the Protestant and Catholic Churches have formed an unusual alliance with Germany’s powerful unions to defend the status quo for years, and spearheaded the campaign against the Sunday opening of automated stores. In March, the alliance encouraged pastors to criticise the shops in their weekly sermons.

No word yet on whether the 8-hour day or bathroom breaks will also apply to robots. You will note that MR has posted on Sundays for over 20 years

East German history


I’ve posted a few times over the years about a trip I made with my partner to Leipzig in East Germany back in 1984, and I confess that the now-defunct country retains a kind of fascination for me. My rather banal judgement then and now is that the country, though marked by annoying shortages and inefficiencies, had a standard of living sufficient to give people an acceptable life in material terms, but that its lack of freedom, political repression, retention of its population by coercion were all unacceptable. I recently revisited an exchange I had with Tyler Cowen, 17 years ago, and I still think I was basically right and find it ironic that it was me, the leftist, championing freedom against the “libertarian” fixated on living standards.

I’ve just read Katja Hoyer’s wonderful Beyond the Wall: East Germany 1949-1990, which I would recommend to just about anyone. She traces the DDR from its origins to the fall of the Berlin Wall. The people who initially led the country were, of course, communists. But Hoyer reminds us that they were communists of a particular kind: the exiles who were left after Stalin had murdered most of them (he killed more of the German communist leadership than Hitler did). As such, they were cautious and conformist to a fault, and unlikely to strike out independently. They were also leading a ruined society, occupied by Soviet troops, with few natural resources and where, in contrast to the West, the victorious occupying power indulged in reparatory plunder rather than development aid. It was also a society initially seen as provisional, pending unification, and Hoyer argues convicingly that Stalin’s offer of a neutral unified Germany in 1952 as a means of preventing a NATO-aligned West Germany was sincere (though unlikely to succeed).
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Yanis Varoufakis: My Berlin Speech on Palestine That German Police Entered the Venue to Ban

Germany sends the cops to shut down a conference on Palestine on trumped-up grounds. What next?