25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall

There was a prog on BBC 4 last night, part of the BBC’s celebration of the anniversary
It was only as I was watching it that I suddenly thought, in 12 years stationed in Germany I never visited Berlin! 4 of those were before the Wall came down. I can’t believe I never took the opportunity to visit, especially before the wall came down, I have never witnessed driving through CP Alpha, the Berlin Corridor, or seeing CP Charlie. I was definitely not a stay on camp type squaddie, I got out there and explored Germany, but for some reason not Berlin, it’s now on my “priority visit now” list
You missed out!

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In a fairly recent (2016) study, Dimap (a German survey company) asked folks in the former GDR if they thought that things had been better under the old regime. Of those aged over 50, fully 65 percent said that they were. Surprisingly, in the age group 25 to 35, 45 percent of those asked also agreed with that. So it’s worthwhile to examine how such results were produced.
Your survey does not back up your conclusions.
65% of over 50's in 2016 would be in their 20's when the wall came down and 45% of the 25 - 35 year olds either weren't born or were too young to remember.
It seems "Ostalgie" is rife in the unborn!
 

DaManBugs

On ROPS
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Book Reviewer
Has a country ever existed that did not use money (in modern times)?
obviously people can barter, but currency provides a means of fungible exchange.
All true. But only because we've become accustomed to those facts. No person in the modern world has ever experienced a society without money and in the meantime it's also become the only norm that we use when deciding whether others are "below us", "above us" or on a level with us.

But that doesn't mean that it's all carved in stone! We, humans, have the power to change things for the better. Think of the priceless advantages to humankind if we dispensed with "money" altogether. Thieving would be a waste of time. Hoarding stuff to increase its value would be a waste of time. In fact, lots of crimes in the modern world would simply be a waste of time.

Of course, many would maintain that if you can't "accumulate", then there's no ostensible incentive to help or improve in life. Really? I honestly cannot remember one single case when I was in the British Army when a comrade ever said (or implied) that they wouldn't help one another because there was no "reward"(in whatever form) in it for them. That was essential human nature at work.

MsG
 

The_Gremlin

Old-Salt
I was 22 at the time and worked/socialised with a lot of West Berlin Police under the age of 30. To say that once the initial euphoria had worn off they were distinctly underwhelmed by the prospect of funding the 'Ossies' would be fair comment.

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That may be true.
But I was more referring to the young generation in the East. They seemed more keen on ending communism than the older generation. Obviously the younger you are the easier to adapt to any change.
 

The_Gremlin

Old-Salt
All true. But only because we've become accustomed to those facts. No person in the modern world has ever experienced a society without money and in the meantime it's also become the only norm that we use when deciding whether others are "below us", "above us" or on a level with us.

But that doesn't mean that it's all carved in stone! We, humans, have the power to change things for the better. Think of the priceless advantages to humankind if we dispensed with "money" altogether. Thieving would be a waste of time. Hoarding stuff to increase its value would be a waste of time. In fact, lots of crimes in the modern world would simply be a waste of time.

Of course, many would maintain that if you can't "accumulate", then there's no ostensible incentive to help or improve in life. Really? I honestly cannot remember one single case when I was in the British Army when a comrade ever said (or implied) that they wouldn't help one another because there was no "reward"(in whatever form) in it for them. That was essential human nature at work.

MsG
I disagree. I think humans have always stolen, way before currency was invented. People would just steal the food or clothes or whatever they wanted. These items could then be bartered.
 

The_Gremlin

Old-Salt
All true. But only because we've become accustomed to those facts. No person in the modern world has ever experienced a society without money and in the meantime it's also become the only norm that we use when deciding whether others are "below us", "above us" or on a level with us.

But that doesn't mean that it's all carved in stone! We, humans, have the power to change things for the better. Think of the priceless advantages to humankind if we dispensed with "money" altogether. Thieving would be a waste of time. Hoarding stuff to increase its value would be a waste of time. In fact, lots of crimes in the modern world would simply be a waste of time.

Of course, many would maintain that if you can't "accumulate", then there's no ostensible incentive to help or improve in life. Really? I honestly cannot remember one single case when I was in the British Army when a comrade ever said (or implied) that they wouldn't help one another because there was no "reward"(in whatever form) in it for them. That was essential human nature at work.

MsG
You have a point there.
The closest I have ever come to living in a society without money was whilst on active service with the army.
But that was obviously a limited and temporary environment, similar to being on a ship at sea etc.
 

The_Gremlin

Old-Salt
All true. But only because we've become accustomed to those facts. No person in the modern world has ever experienced a society without money and in the meantime it's also become the only norm that we use when deciding whether others are "below us", "above us" or on a level with us.

But that doesn't mean that it's all carved in stone! We, humans, have the power to change things for the better. Think of the priceless advantages to humankind if we dispensed with "money" altogether. Thieving would be a waste of time. Hoarding stuff to increase its value would be a waste of time. In fact, lots of crimes in the modern world would simply be a waste of time.

Of course, many would maintain that if you can't "accumulate", then there's no ostensible incentive to help or improve in life. Really? I honestly cannot remember one single case when I was in the British Army when a comrade ever said (or implied) that they wouldn't help one another because there was no "reward"(in whatever form) in it for them. That was essential human nature at work.

MsG
I think the hoarding assets issue is more to do with fiat currency creation.
In gold or silver terms, hoarding tins of beans (or even houses) doesn't really pay off so much, as commodity money doesn't devalue.

It's also to do with the legal system protecting property rights.
 
That may be true.
But I was more referring to the young generation in the East. They seemed more keen on ending communism than the older generation. Obviously the younger you are the easier to adapt to any change.
Fair enough.

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That may be true.
But I was more referring to the young generation in the East. They seemed more keen on ending communism than the older generation. Obviously the younger you are the easier to adapt to any change.
That's a fair point and also you have to take into account that Germans living in the East had not had a democracy since the early 1930's. By 1989 anyone under the age of 60 would not have known a state that didn't control every aspect of life, including education, the press, work, housing etc. Therfore the prospect of having to think for themselves and have choices was indeed a daunting one.
 

The_Gremlin

Old-Salt
That's a fair point and also you have to take into account that Germans living in the East had not had a democracy since the early 1930's. By 1989 anyone under the age of 60 would not have known a state that didn't control every aspect of life, including education, the press, work, housing etc. Therfore the prospect of having to think for themselves and have choices was indeed a daunting one.
If I was living in East Germany at that time, it wouldn't have been the lack of choices that would have concerned me.
It would have been the prospect of unemployment, loss of housing etc.
 

DaManBugs

On ROPS
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Book Reviewer
I disagree. I think humans have always stolen, way before currency was invented. People would just steal the food or clothes or whatever they wanted. These items could then be bartered.
I appreciate that you disagree, but I put that down to the fact that no-one in modern life knows how it is to have a disregard for the so-called "principles", importance and "value" we attach to belongings. That all began around 10,000 years or so ago when folks began to lead more settled existences and the defence of land and belongings became of much more existential value. Folks 100,000 years prior to that had radically different ideas about society and its (their values). Don't forget, even in the 1700s and 1800s. the original natives of the US thought that the settlers were totally insane when they wanted to buy land from them. They had absolutely no conception of actually "owning" land. For them, it was all nature and open to everyone.

With that, I mean that the concepts developed and "set in stone", as it were, in the world in which we live at present were not always there and can be changed, just as they were changed in the past. There's no reason to suppose that we can't progress to a more equal, more just and more peaceful world - if we want to.

MsG
 
If I was living in East Germany at that time, it wouldn't have been the lack of choices that would have concerned me.
It would have been the prospect of unemployment, loss of housing etc.
You were guaranteed housing and employment in the East, it was after the wall came down the old folks had choices to make.
 

goodoldboy

MIA
Book Reviewer
I really did, it’s to my deepest regret that I never visited, I really wish I did.
I visited Berlin for the first time in 2015 and absolutely loved it so get yourself out there!

Concerning the other comments here I think that East Germany was the most Communist of all of them, probably down to their German thought processes.

Although the average worker hated the Stasi and the other agencies they learned to keep tight-lipped. Those who knew nothing but communism enjoyed being organised with provision of housing, authorised and sponsored state shops, set times and places for their holidays plus (mostly) guaranteed work and income. It is my opinion that they missed these things when they became part of a united Germany because they had to think and fend for themselves. It was too much for many of them which is why they yearned for their former cold, hideously polluted and organised lives.

Anyway, I certainly enjoyed the former East Berlin, had a great time and really hope that any other new visitor to the city has a lovely time there!
 
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The_Gremlin

Old-Salt
I wasn't allowed into the former Eastern Bloc until 2015 and that included Berlin. I visited the city the same year and absolutely loved it so get yourself out there!

Anyway, I certainly enjoyed the former East Berlin, had a great time and really hope that any other new visitor to the city has a lovely time there!
Why not?
 

DaManBugs

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If I was living in East Germany at that time, it wouldn't have been the lack of choices that would have concerned me.
It would have been the prospect of unemployment, loss of housing etc.
And those were points that the East German citizens never had to worry about. A right to work was anchored in the GDR Constitution, as was a right to being housed.

It's often touted that in the GDR there were no homeless, no unemployed and no beggars. While that's correct with regard to the unemployed and homeless. there were beggars. The GDR Constitution guaranteed everyone a place of work, but it also made being unemployed a crime. Nonetheless, there was a tiny minority that was regarded by the GDR regime as "hopeless cases". Those were the few "beggars" (for want of a better word) in the GDR. They had accommodation in barracks mostly on the edge of the towns and cities and were given 10 Ostmarks per day to "survive". That's 70 Ostmarks per week. When you consider that, when I lived in the GDR, I could easily buy a whole month's of groceries for 40 Ostmarks, it becomes clear that the so-called "beggars" in the GDR had no real, existential problems - apart from being "hopeless cases" and written off by the state. Which is also in contrast to how similar "hopeless cases" are treated in Capitalist societies.

MsG
 

The_Gremlin

Old-Salt
I appreciate that you disagree, but I put that down to the fact that no-one in modern life knows how it is to have a disregard for the so-called "principles", importance and "value" we attach to belongings. That all began around 10,000 years or so ago when folks began to lead more settled existences and the defence of land and belongings became of much more existential value. Folks 100,000 years prior to that had radically different ideas about society and its (their values). Don't forget, even in the 1700s and 1800s. the original natives of the US thought that the settlers were totally insane when they wanted to buy land from them. They had absolutely no conception of actually "owning" land. For them, it was all nature and open to everyone.

With that, I mean that the concepts developed and "set in stone", as it were, in the world in which we live at present were not always there and can be changed, just as they were changed in the past. There's no reason to suppose that we can't progress to a more equal, more just and more peaceful world - if we want to.

MsG
Well land ownership all comes down to the legal system that can / will enforce it.
Even in the UK today, if a pension company buys a mountain, is that really a good investment? If anyone has the right to roam on it and it produces no income, what value is there to ''owning'' that mountain?
All the pension company is doing is entrusting its money into the legal system of the UK. ie trusting that someone may in the future wish to purchase that same mountain from them.
 
I don't know what your military background is but there are many places that were or are out of bounds to military personnel depending on their job. My FinL worked up at the Teufelsberg in Berlin and was not allowed East.
I wasn't allowed in the RoI for many years.
Depending on your level of clearance and your current knowlege, you can be restricted from travelling to all sorts of places.
Sadly though I was never stopped from visiting Hull!
 

The_Gremlin

Old-Salt
And those were points that the East German citizens never had to worry about. A right to work was anchored in the GDR Constitution, as was a right to being housed.

It's often touted that in the GDR there were no homeless, no unemployed and no beggars. While that's correct with regard to the unemployed and homeless. there were beggars. The GDR Constitution guaranteed everyone a place of work, but it also made being unemployed a crime. Nonetheless, there was a tiny minority that was regarded by the GDR regime as "hopeless cases". Those were the few "beggars" (for want of a better word) in the GDR. They had accommodation in barracks mostly on the edge of the towns and cities and were given 10 Ostmarks per day to "survive". That's 70 Ostmarks per week. When you consider that, when I lived in the GDR, I could easily buy a whole month's of groceries for 40 Ostmarks, it becomes clear that the so-called "beggars" in the GDR had no real, existential problems - apart from being "hopeless cases" and written off by the state. Which is also in contrast to how similar "hopeless cases" are treated in Capitalist societies.

MsG
Someone once told me that in the UK begging increased when the govt started passing laws that made street selling more difficult. In Victorian times, the streets would be full of people selling all sorts of stuff. But then councils started insisting on form filling, insurance, trading standards, taxes etc, etc.

Essentially, at this level, bureaucracy and the legal system forced out capitalism and people just begged for sympathy, rather than sell for commerce.
 

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