The Netherlands is facing similar problems where depressed salaries, lack of housing and rampant overt racism are making it difficult to attract digital talent from all over the world.

You know, countries could have promoted STEM education as a pursuit decades ago but given the state of things, nothing is getting done in technology without people from outside of Europe. Let’s see whether we make the smart choice this time round, or whether we’ll see countries ‘cutting their nose to spite their face’ as the saying goes.

Take Germany for instance — when Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer was defense minister, she tried to reform the Bundeswehr Procurement Office with little success. Currently, over 11,000 employees work for the agency — an enormous increase since the Cold War, when considerably more material was being procured by considerably fewer employees. In 2010, the procurement office was already heavily criticized for its inefficiency and large size, with its 8,500 employees — and the situation still seems dire.

That is a wild number of people who are not getting anything done and who then become a pension burden on the public budget.

Even as the world has caught up with him, Finkelstein remains most comfortable on the margins — ideologically aligned with a left that won’t always have him, platformed by a right that won’t always listen, and insulting them both.

Yet Finkelstein is ambivalent about being pressed back into the cause and sympathetic to younger generations’ relative lack of interest in “old fogies.” “I recognize,” he said, “that it is your moment, it’s not my moment.”

A pretty fair profile of a man who’s a polarizing character.

Schools wasting money is not as big of a deal as it is made out to be here. Not every investment can be a good one and you have to deal with that and just keep investing. My business partner used to say that innovation in the education field is like driving a van full of money to a school building and setting it on fire. Soit.

The main issue here is that a purchase like this (hardware firewalls!) fits in the rampant fear based culture around digital technology here where schools have their own IT (which they can’t deploy or manage) and everything needs to be absolutely secure. The net result of that way of thinking is of course that nothing is even slightly secure.

I had previously posted about a deep dive of the connections of the anthroposophical movement with fascism.

What’s also quite poignant are the fascist foundations of the ecological movement in Germany. It’s not just fascist but in the weird post-war political space here every type of idiocy is pretty much represented.

Petra Kelly is essential to understand why the Greens are so so opposed to nuclear energy. She got together with an officer of the German army who was used by the Stasi (as part of the Generals for Peace) to argue for disarmament. He eventually shot her and himself to death.

It’s a good example of how anything peace movement related here was a ploy by the Russians not to get their ass kicked (and still is).

And here’s a historical treatment of all the ecofascist tendencies that tried to be part of the ecological movement in post-nazi Germany. Some of them got disillusioned and rebuked by the party’s tendency towards eco-socialism, but others managed to latch on.

The absurd cast of characters in both of these stories are a clear testament for how pretty much everybody in German society after the war was damaged goods.

Berlin has a not very well-known facility that allows you to request a Meldebescheinigung online, pay for it online and receive it by mail. I attended Arian to it and it saved his bacon.

Many people here will deny that government digitalisation here is possible or desirable both of which are statements that are untrue and deranged. It is possible to create better services for people. Germans just choose to live in abject squalor for no reason.

Listened to the latest episode of the German eGovernment podcast with the Minister for Digital for Bavaria. That is the state here that’s seemingly the farthest along when it comes to digitalisation and it now has the following ambitious plans:

  • to have internet reception everywhere
  • to remove fax traffic inside the state government by 2026

And then I switched it off because I don’t think anything good could come after that.

Learned in this podcast episode about class justice in Germany something rather remarkable.

Germany has a system of income dependent fines called Tagessätze. These are meant to make punishments more equitable by making people who make more money pay more.

It turns out (and I’m sure very few people are aware of this) that courts do not get access to tax records to determine the fine base. They take a guess at the income and most of the time, they guess too low.