There hasn’t been a political vote for a long time that has been so important to me: the prohibition of weapon exports. I’ve given several public statements at StopArmut events, discussion panels and party meetings on my opinion to ban Swiss military exports. Below is the ad which was published in several newspapers yesterday. And tonight I’ll be going resp. laying on the street at the biggest Swiss Flashmob ever!
Well, my presentation last Sunday at EGW Steffisburg concerning the StopArmut Sunday 2008 was officially called just an ‘input’ ;) But thanks to all those who provided great feedback on an early version of the text I was able to write it almost like a sermon. Thanks to Stefan Hochstrasser, Joël Lavanchy, Dominic Roser, Anne Barth-Gasser, Barbara Hämmerli, Til Gerber, Gerhard Bärtschi and Markus Meury!
In the evening I was invited to a book vernissage in Zürich. The finance expert Naoko Felder-Kuzu presented her book “Kleiner Einsatz, grosse Wirkung” which was substantially supported by Credit Suisse. (thus I’ll keep my CS account despite their last weeks losses ;)
On my train ride home I read half of the book and may already say the purchase was a successful investment! While providing interesting footnotes and important references, the author accomplishes to fascinate the reader with her enthusiasm for microfinance. Among others Naoko writes a short history of microfinance and compares it with European lending models of the 19th century. She illustrates the fundamental differerence between dependency-creating donations vs. sustainable microfinance (while pointing out not all problems can be solved with microfinance). And she also explains disputed issues such as why the borrowers have to pay high interest rates or how finance institutes are finding the right balance between social assignement and profit maximization etc. I can warmly recommend this new book which provides a brief 100 page introduction into “doing good while doing well!”
Do you think you earn too little? Such as Klaus Zumwinkel hiding some millions before authorities (and now paying with his job as German Post CEO). But even I as poor doctoral student am placed on the top 4% worldwide. Do the test yourself and see if you really have to worry for the 3% who earn more than you or if we should start thinking about the 96% other of world population (thanks to Dominik Roser showing me this great link!):
Awards for innovations are a great thing. First of all, you may win. Competition is fun and provides energy to accomplish more than you’d do if there are no rivals. Second, even if you don’t win, you still have done something cool. Because next to the extrinsic motivation of a prize you need also intrinsic motivation to participate in a competition so you feel happy when you’ve reached your personal goal even if you don’t scoop in. And third, if it’s a reward for something good (however this is defined…) then public benefits as well. It benefits from the innovation achieved by the winner as well as the progress accomplished by the entire industry or community.
What would be other great things that should be awarded? I dream of an Open Source Award for different kinds of groups: developers starting a new, wanted OSS project, firms releasing previously proprietary code as OSS, pioneering government agencies choosing OSS solutions, schools that teach on Linux computers etc. Secondly, I’d love to see more adoption for Fairtrade products: restaurants or cafeterias which switch to Fairtrade coffee, retailers and manufacturers which certify their products on Fairtrade labels such as Max Havelaar, housewifes or -husbands who buy Fairtrade products rather than M-Budget (Swiss low cost product line) etc.