18 April 2011

Q: Do We Have to Change Our Way of Thinking?

This trick film did not give solutions, but it stated, that something is wrong. I always asked: Why do we have always to grow and were is the end of  growth? And nobody could answer my question.

Perhaps it is the wrong question. When I look at the German economy, no, at the German banking business, everything seems to be as before. They earn more money than before the crisis and we payed hundreds of billions of Euros to save some banks. On the other hand we discuss, if it is worth spending 10000 Euros for ... There seems to be no relation between the financial and the real world. (For my German readers: Look here.)

But when we go down to our real life, things seem to be different from what they should be.

I read some days ago in a German Newspaper the FAZ, Der trügerische Traum vom mühelosen Reichtum by  Volker Looman  (The deceitful dream of the effortless wealth) 

The hope for a real increase of capital alone by interest and compound interests fulfills itself rarely. Greed, inflation, wars, reforms and taxes let money and interest never come to the bloom. But many savers are happy to cheat themselves.   
The author explains with hard facts, which I do not fully understand. But under the bottom line: You loose money if you safe money one way or the other.

Money - Pink Floyd + Lyrics
A: Sure, but that is not enough. We have to change our way of thinking and living. Several years ago (1973) there was a book written by E.F. Schumacher "Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People mattered."
The most striking thing about modern industry is that it requires so much and accomplishes so little. Modern industry seems to be inefficient to a degree that surpasses one's ordinary powers of imagination. Its inefficiency therefore remains unnoticed. (Wikipedia citation)
A Buddhist economist would consider this approach excessively irrational: since consumption is merely a means to human well-being, the aim should be to obtain the maximum of well-being with the minimum of consumption.... The less toil there is, the more time and strength is left for artistic creativity. Modern economics, on the other hand, considers consumption to be the sole end and purpose of all economic activity. (Wikipedia citation)
It may be an old book but it is way ahead of what we read today in "normal" newspapers and economical books. Give it a try. It is worth the time.

So again here is a little story:

QRP-14 Backside
Have a look at this little radio transceiver. It looks nice but it took me some time to build it. Of course I had a little help by my friends and the developers Uli Graf, DK4SX and Dieter Engels, DJ6T), who live about 60 km from here. What do you think you can do with it? Yes, you can communicate with other people. (Ok you have got a cell phone) My QRP-14 is not much bigger. And how far do you think you can transmit? It has at maximum 5 Watt.

A Light bulb has 100 Watt - no, in Europe only 60 Watt and the room gets not very bright, when you turn it on. So you sure have a dimmer and you can turn the lamp down to 5 Watt. What do you see? Nearly nothing. It's dark. But with that power I can talk to a friend in Argentina. This is about 13000 km. Not bad and I do not need any relay stations. I can talk (ok in morse code) directly to my friend like on the phone. 

QRP-14 Frontside
It is easy to use and I can even reduce power. But if I have to reduce power, there is an easier way. I take another radio:

That is not a Transmitter: It is a steel table leg, Ooops not the whole leg, just 20 cm. I got this stealth radio during a visit in Lithuania (1989)  from my friend Vytas (LY2PU). At that time they had to build their radios from surplus material. If you have a look inside you will be astonished:

The whole Transmitter for 20 m
This is all there is. So we will do again some maths. This radio has the POWER of 2 Watts. When you turn your bulb down to 2 Watt it will not even glow. You will be sitting in absolute darkness. No problem: I can call my friend Tim in Boston. He is only 6000 km away. But he will hear me loud and clear. And we can tell him, that small is sometimes beautiful, but our bulb needs 100 Watt. But he comes back and says take LEDs. They need around 10 mA. You even can take 10 LEDs then you need about 0,1 A. So it takes 12V*0,1 = 1,2 Watt

Small is most of the times beautiful not only in amateur radio.

Look at a commitment for radio amateurs Q: Is QRP a way to "Small is beautiful"?.
Have a look at an ongoing discussion: Q: Do We Need a (Ham) Community to Think Small?