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From June, 22 to 25, 2000 the Congress of Fantasy will take place in Passau, Germany.
Informations about this event may be obtained from the promoter:Erster Deutscher Fantasy Club e.V.
Informations at the homepage will permanently be actualized.
In April a leaflet with informations about the Congress will be published and can be ordered at the above mentioned address.
On the occasion of Michael Ende's 5th death anniversary an anthology with the subtitle "Michael Ende - Gedächtnisband 2000" will be published (The main title is not yet determined and it will be published in German language only).
It will contain a number of essays from international authors on the life and work of Michael Ende. Happily we are able here to introduce to you an essay by Yasuyuki Hirota from Fukuoka, Japan, which will be included in this book (German translation by Franz Schröpf).
© 2000 by Yasuyuki Hirota
The author has a trilingual homepage, Japanese, English and Spanish, where he offers still more material about Michael Ende:
E-mail address: email@example.com
Michael Ende's View on Economy
- mainly with the materials only available in Japan -
Nobody will doubt that Michael Ende(1929~1995) is one of Germany's most outstanding writers in the 20th century, as Roman Herzog, then president of Germany, paid homage to him by stating in his condolence telegram "There is no German of todays generation who will not remember the books of Michael Ende he has grown up with". Rich in imagination and storytelling, Michael accomplished quite a few heartwarming adventures like "Jim Button," "Momo" and "the Neverending Story" where heroine and heroes venture around the world. His fantasy was so alluring that Momo, one of his masterpieces, has been translated into more than thirty languages, making Ende one of the most distinguished fabletellers only comparable with Saint-Exupéry, Lewis Carrol and so on.
Strange to say, however, that he published so many books in which his ideas about the real world, that seems irrelevant to his profession, can be seized, like in "Fantasy, Politics, Culture (1982)", "Dialogue on Arts and Politics," "Talk with Ende" (only published in Japan), "Three Mirrors" (also only published in Japan), and so on. His work as a critic wasn't even limited to the literary field, though, and NHK, a Japanese non-profit broadcasting organization, produced two TV programs with his collaboration: "Einstein Roman 6: Ende's Civilization Desert" (1991) and "Michael Ende's Last Words" (1999, original title: "Ende no Yuigon", with the English version titled "Michael Ende on the Money-go-Round", produced by NHK in association with NHK Enterprise 21, Inc Group Gendai, the only posthumous work). As a resident of a country where so much information about Ende's ideas is available in a language that is next to impossible for Western Endists with no beforehand study to understand it, I'll show you some outline on it in this article.
Thinking of writing an article on Michael Ende everybody will imagine the German language as the best one to obtain some material, but in fact some publications are available in Japanese only since some books and VTR have been done by Japanese companies. I'll give a brief introduction to every book only available in Japan before getting to Ende's economic view itself. I hope these quotations will help you browse through every book's contents, too (even though they have nothing to do with economics).
"Talk with Ende"
(original title: Ende to kataru, Asahi Shimbunsha, 1986)
This book records the interview with Ende by Michiko Koyasu (a Japanese female Germanist who is quite familiar with Rudolf Steiner and anthroposophy, too) with Fumi's help (her daughter who had spent some years in Munich studying at a Steiner school, who was then a Japanology student at the University of Munich). This interview was held on July 22 (Mon), 1985, just four months after Ingeborg Hoffmann's death (March 23), in Munich where he had spent his youth and he had come back to after his fifteen year's life in Genzano, near Rome. Ende's remarkable comments in other fields besides economics are as follows. "'Momo' is a tribute of gratitude to Italy and also a declaration of love" (chapter 1), "Psychoanalysis has no end... The true yourself, however, is out of yourself" (chapter 2), "The current world is totally built up on the cause-and-effect theory. Techonology won't work well if it doesn't rely on such a theory.. However, this idea can't be applied to us the human beings. We have some aspects that are incomprehensible from such a viewpoint... If we try to analyze ourselves we'll exclude our capacity to 'hunch'" (chapter 3), "Surely the post-war literature has so far spread away the idea that authors must illuminate readers and let them know the unknown facts. In short, authors are teachers who give readers some lessons. However, I find it an arrogance" (chapter 3), "His (Steiner's) words come from a recognition with a long process. It's nonsense to cling to them as if they were golden law... To read Steiner is to urge yourself to do your own process to create your own thinking" (chapter 4), "I hope that Eastern world and Europe have a true talk on the artistic and cultural issues… both of them have their own great tradition while European one is distinct from the Eastern one, so the talk between them will be very fruitful" (chapter 4), "What I always try to do is very similar to the alchemists or storytellers in the Middle Age, i. e. to translate or transform the external world's representation into the internal one's figures... All the cultures in any region or any time are nothing but the formation of the external world at the internal one's criteria" (chapter 5), "The true moral doesn't obey the criteria given from outside but occurs as one's own spontaneous decision" (chapter 5), "I suppose human beings have two wonderful phenomena: one is 'memory,' and everybody is aware of it... The another is the act to 'forget,' and I suppose this is even more important than to memorize… once what you memorized is forgotten, do you know where it goes to? To our unconsciousness. It becomes the base for your life's whole continuity... Usually everything is transformed into the depth of the unconsciousness, which will eventually form our own personality with a huge amount of other unconscious memories… the more memory you forget, the richer personality you'll get... The more past you have in mind, the more future you'll have. Not only the past you remember consciously, but also the one that are sunk into the bottom of the oblivion will be deformed and reflected in your future" (chapter 7) and so on.
Visit my homepage( http://www3.plala.or.jp/mig/talk-uk.html ) for further information on this book.
(original title: Mittsuno Kagami, Asahi Shimbun, 1989)
Ende visited Japan in March of that year and talked with three Japanese intellectuals: Hisashi Inoue (novelist), Mitsumasa Yasuno (painter) and Hayao Kawai (Jungian psychoanalyst), and the themes vary from economy, Wörgl's (Tirol, Austria) trial (it would be made clear to the Japanese public by the NHK-TV program in 1999) to Edgar's painting style, Jung's theory, and so on. Ende's other notable comments are as follows:
"The difference between our modern culture and the all previous ones is as follows: all the previous ones got their culture's measure by their previous ones while our measures can't be acquired from these, so we should foresee the future to determine how we should act" (chapter 1), "My father was well unconcerned of the expressionism's techniques and sometimes behaved even indifferent to it" (chapter 2, on Edgar Ende's painting style), "Why can't darkness be also so holy just as light is? No color can exist without both of them. The world which consists of only light is invisible and imperceptible just as the dark world is" (chapter 2), "In the ancient mathematics 1 is the biggest number.... since 1 includes all the conflicts into a greater integrity, unity, the unity which embraces both the visible and invisible worlds. Such an integrity is 1, and we call it the Almighty. The duality itself is already the devil... The devil isn't against God, but if you have a two-side confrontation inside it's already a devil" (chapter 2), "Japan once had to give up its own culture's development to head for the industrialization. Just like grafting, Japan had to cut once its stump to set something totally different. Such internal contradiction is much bigger in Japan than in Europe" (chapter 2), "Those who have another eye on their head must see that trees aren't the composition of chemical matters at all but living existences which inhabit the Earth together with me... To solve the ecological issues... we have to have an internal relationship with nature" (chapter 3), "(In the Western World) those who were respected by people had no sexual desire… they'll be respected if they give up their sex… if the intercourse in the dream has much more impact than the real one, you'll lose your interest for the daily intercourse because it's not so exciting as that in your dream. I suppose the abstention originally meant that" (chapter 3), and so on.
Visit my homepage( http://www3.plala.or.jp/mig/mirror-uk.html ) for further information on this book.
"Einstein Roman 6: Ende's Civilization Desert"
(original title: Einstein Roman 6: Ende no Bunmei Sabaku, NHK shuppan, 1991):
for the first time broadcast on NHK TV in 1991 and after that a book was published. Chapter 2, titled "Civilization Desert" of this book is available in German too, in "Ende's Notebook." In this book Ende blames materialism by the following expressions: "It seems to me what's called rationality and scientific enlightenment in the Civilization Desert has so far produced what's perfectly contrary to what people with rationality and honesty demand" (chapter 2), "What's called now the children literature goes back to the beginning of the 19th century. Before then Märchen (fable in German) had already existed, but it was not only for children: Fables were more significant than today and both children and adults lived in the fables' world. But the modern intellectualism began to exclude all the traditional European spirituality, and expelled all the personifying world view with the flamboyant passion, making the whole world literally inhumane" (chapter 2), "I believe a totally different science is now being needed. One that can enrich again the Civilization Desert, one that makes our Reservation redundant… one that gets over the intellectualism not by the 'irrationality' but analyzing and seeing its self-contradiction and that gets people back to the field of experience by realistic, or experienceable thinking" (chapter 2), "In short the whole world consists of energy and matters, and there's no difference between human beings and matters. Things like souls don't exist at all and concepts like liberty, dignity, beauty and humor are nothing but fantasies. This idea incited something that inevitably dismantles us" (chapter 3), "the idea of racism or racial discrimination was invented by extending Darwin's thought…eradication of all the 'valueless' lives, and concentration camps" (chapter 4), and so on, and I believe this book will be of great importance for those who study Ende's view on the values.
Visit my homepage( http://www3.plala.or.jp/mig/einstein-uk.html ) for further information on this book.
Visit my homepage( http://www3.plala.or.jp/mig/einstein-uk.html) for further information on this book.
"Michael Ende on the Money-go-Round" (NHK, 1999): The Japanese version of this TV program was broadcast on May 4, 5, July 3 on NHK-BS1 with the title "Ende no yuigon" (Michael Ende's Last Words in English) and will be rebroadcast on December 21 on the same channel, produced by NHK in association with NHK Enterprise 21, Inc Group Gendai (producer: Junko Murayama). English version is also edited, but as of Oct. 30 (when I write this part of the article) this version hasn't been broadcast out of Japan and currently the English version of this TV program isn't available to the public (Japanese version is of course available, though). A book on this program will be published in 2000, enabling Endists to do further researches. In this TV program some local currency movements, like Wörgl's (Tirol, Austria) experiment in 1932~33, Ithaca Hour in Ithaca County, NY, USA, DöMak in Halle, Germany, Wirbank in Switzerland, are presented.
Visit my homepage( http://www3.plala.or.jp/mig/will-uk.html ) for further information on this TV program:
Visit my homepage(http://www3.plala.or.jp/mig/will-uk.html) for further information on this TV program:
2. The importance to have a utopia and what prevents us from having it
Before touching Ende's economic view I'd like to quote some words from "Fantasy, Politics, Culture" in which he insisted on the importance for us to have our own utopia:
the talk starts with Michael's story at Dudtweiler-Institut (the biggest shopping mall corporation in Switzerland). He was asked by the corporation to read a sentence of "Momo" (the barber's part) at the congress in front of many managers, labor union representatives and members of "the Club of Rome", he accepted and headed for Switzerland. Then he recited that part of his book, the audience became unable to react, and soon they began discussing this phrase's literary value. After having listened to this Ende said the following (I shortened it because the original one is too long).
"I'm very interested in the fact that during this century no positive utopia has been suggested. After two utopias, Jules Verne's scientific one and Karl Marx's socialist one, have been proven to have some contradictions all that were depicted, such as Wells' "Time Machine" and Orwell's "1984", are nothing but a nightmare. People of this century are worried about their own future. Nowadays we don't even have the courage to think what we really desire. So I'd like to suggest you the following: we now fly on a carpet to the future (100 years from now) and everyone will tell the others how he wants the world to be. Isn't it impossible at all to think of our real desire as far as we discuss the "obligation of facts" just as today's congress? If we tie ourselves up to hope something, the methods and means to come it true will also be found. All we have to know is just know what we desire. So let's play a game together. In this game you can say anything, like "Industrialized society is better," "Non-industrialized society is better," "I want to live with this technology," "I'd like to live without it" and anything else if you follow only one rule: you can't say "it's impossible." In short, everyone will tell what future is desired."
After a couple of minutes' silence a man replied: "What does this talk mean? It's total nonsense! We should stay in the area of facts otherwise we can't survive in the race and we will be economically ruined without at least 3% economic growth per year." And Ende had to give up his trial because some people blamed and attacked him.
You may wonder why it is so important to have our own utopia, but it's because by planning the utopia we can see what has to be done to reach it while in this case such people didn't even want to change the rules of the game as they believe they can't do so, as shown in Ende's following words: "I suppose the Utopia of the values has been the essence of all the cultures. In other words, first of all something is projected on our future and next we'll follow what's projected."
We've just seen that such people are so busy with trying to avoid the next dangers that they're unable to imagine the eventual collapse that is also approaching them. Everybody knows that this game (the current economic system that forces human beings to pay at least 3% of interest) won't last for good, they're trying to realize what has already been proved impossible, they're eager to gain further profit but don't have the slightest idea to adopt another economic game that can set them free from the current "economic race." Ende gives an example in telling how they are obsessed.
"I saw a TV program on sea pollution, ... finished by the producer's last words that were something like 'so chemical factories should stop flowing the waste matters into the sea.' The producer stops here without developing his thought further on. Let's see why: when they stop flowing out the waste matters they'll be forced to raise the price of their products. Products are now so expensive they lose their market. Consequently there'll be millions of unemployed taken in the street. In short, nationals or companies who commit the sort of 'crimes' (those who go on offering low-priced but not-anti-pollution-measured products) will profit from such a situation. And that's why countries like Europe, US and Japan are obliged to go toward a more-consumption policy."
There's no doubt that consumers like to buy cheaper goods at the store because they don't know how such articles were produced when they go shopping. The only thing they can see clearly at the store is, of course, the price tag, and everybody will rush for lower-priced ones if everything else of the product is the same. Producers are well aware of such consumers' psychology, they try to cut costs that are irrelevant to the products themselves (anti-pollution facilities on the factory or workers' wages, for example), and they end up with harming the environment due to the fact that consumers don't know how much the ecology was damaged when such goods were produced. It's because producers have no direct contact with consumers, producers have no way to explain consumers why their products' prices rose, and once they raise it they run the risk of losing consumers who are unable to understand why articles are more expensive.
But why does it go that way? Can't we avoid such a silly economic scheme? Ende suggests us the key to get rid of it in "Fantasy, Politics, Culture" as follows:
"In these times it sounds too naïve or even ridiculous to say something like this, but fraternity is the rule that is inherent to modern economy. We can't apply 'the free game between demand and supply' to the economic field. If so, what'll happen is 'the battle of everybody against everybody else' and the weakest will always be the 'sufferer.'"
In this case producers can't pay additional attention to ecology-protection because the additional cost will prevent products from being sold well. But the reason producers are forced to ignore anti-pollution costs is because they are in the midst of economic Darwinism, and the only way to get rid of it is to change the fundamental economic system. The fraternal economy, suggested here by Ende as the alternative, tries to transform such fatal errors of the current economy, and I'll delve into this area on part 4 of this article. Let's pay attention to Ende's other remarks on the current economic system in chapter 1 of "Three Mirrors":
"Given such a situation we have only two options: to go on the current way fearing that this will ruin the whole world, or to stop it fearing the massive unemployment and economic collapse. The only way to get over that I see is that those in the economic world notice, with their reasonable insight, that the money system itself must change"
And a short story in this respect, titled "Kukania's rebellion," is available in "Ende's notebook" In this story a charismatic guy called Franz convinces people in a campaign to buy only necessary things. Sales were going bad, and only in Germany as many as 20 million unemployed filled the streets. Politicians and entrepreneurs, afflicted with such sudden economic recession, assassinated him to revive the economy. An interesting description is found in this story: "'one man's death is much better than the collapse of the whole system.' The assassination was committed by a mafia's key person (criminals aren't so harmful for the society. Arsonist, pickpockets, thieves, or even killers contribute to the sale by harming it, which serves for the maintenance and creation of new workplaces. Not to mention the ecological criminals.)" This means, what is against our morale can serve the current economic system, too, and entrepreneurs don't care about it as far as it yields some economic profit. Our economy is so stuck with the obligation to make profit that economic actors can't afford to pay attention to their moral code.
Another description from Ende is shown in the same book on "Money and Growth": Ende says that the current economic and financial system "have got all the characteristics of the true cancer," or "it's necessary for such an economy to go on growing and reproducing," pointing to the problem of the current financial system. After pointing out that "we must know that in today's world there's no case of the non-capitalist economy that can satisfy people's demand without obliging growth or reproduction," Ende shows that the current system needs more and more energy consumption as "this 'wonderful' growth doesn't come from nothing. The tremendous costs for that growth is paid by the Third World, or the harshly-exploited and destroyed nature on a global scale. And when the nature can't, such growing energy demand must be satisfied 'unnaturally.'" Surely the energy people consumed aside from food was limited to firewood for cooking or heating for a long time, but after the Industrial Revolution we have tried to satisfy our energy demand by resorting to carbon, oil and nuclear power, which Ende takes as an alarm and he says that we can't go on this way for good. When politicians appeal to such facts, however, their politics won't be adopted due to the opposing industrial world which detests the economic slowdown of growth and by the labor unions which are against the subsequent unemployment. Ende finishes this short story with a satire as "you can advance too little on a ship which is heading in a wrong direction."
3. What is capitalism and communism?
This may have led you to the conclusion that Ende's idea has a lot to do with communism. He was also known, however, as a die-hard dissident of communism and his such attitude becomes clear in "Momo", too. Guido tells a middle-aged female tourist one of his stories about the cruel tyrant Marxintius Communis in which Ende's image of communism becomes clear and in some communist countries this story was even omitted (including former East Germany).
But what was the problem communism suffered from? Ende left a couple of remarks in this respect, but the clearest one is found on "Michael Ende on the Money-Go-Around" as follows:
"Marx actually thought that the problems of capitalism can be solved by replacing the many small private entrepreneurs by only one, the state. The main problem was that Marx did not actually want to change capitalism but only wanted to hand it over to the state. The two major opposing economic powers over the past 50 to 70 years were in fact twins: private capitalism and state capitalism. But we have never actually experienced a non-capitalistic economic system as such. I think Marx's merit is that he came up with many concepts which made actual criticism of the economic life possible."
We tend to think that communism is the opposite economic regime to capitalism, but in fact they share quite a few points: both systems possess companies controlled by individuals or the state, only a small number of people enjoy most of the fortune produced by the economic system, ordinary people are expected to play the role entrepreneurs want them to play, and so on… It's in this sense that Ende said capitalism and communism are twins, and what's important for us is to be free from both private capitalism and the state's one.
In "Fantasy, Politics, Culture" Ende made another severe remark on communism: In the talk with Eppler he picks up two ideas on his book, i.e. "conservative with respect to values" and "conservative with respect to structure," commenting "those who cherish the values try to change the structure to save it while the others 'destroy' it." "Conservative with respect to structure" it seems that Ende talked of the social system of the communist nations, even without clearly mentioning it. Those who have read "Momo" must have noticed his irony on communism in Marxentius Communis' story as I mentioned before, but communist nations' first task is to maintain their own structure, tending to kill all the dissidents as Stalin, Pol Pot and Mao Tse Tung did, and the last one, above all, carried out an additional vandalism called "Proletarian Cultural Revolution" that demolished thousands of China's historic treasures from 1966 to 1976. These facts endorsed Ende's anti-communism where not only politics but also the economy and the culture are manipulated by the mercy of the centralist and almighty government.
4. Ende's economic utopia: what is needed for the economy
So what's Ende's economic utopia? Let's go back to Ende's comment on "Phantasie, Kultur, Politik" as follows:
"In these times it sounds too naïve or even ridiculous to say something like this, but fraternity is the rule that is inherent in modern economy. We can't apply the 'free game between ''demand and supply' to the economic field. If so, what'll happen is 'everybody's battle against everybody else's' and the weakest will always be the 'sufferer.'"
As we have seen many times in modern society, neo-liberalism (the current form of capitalism) favors the most able ones like Bill Gates, but we can't forget the fact that more and more not-so-able people are losing their jobs or getting homeless. Due to the economic intensification of the race companies are forced to reduce their workforce, some of the employees lose their jobs and others are in charge of more and more work, but why is it needed for us to live such a harsher life? Who will profit from such an inhuman life? Only capitalists with a huge fortune will be happy to exploit so much from the current economy at the cost of most of the people in the world, so Ende tried to propose another economic system where fraternity, instead of the merciless economic race, governs us.
But what's the "fraternity in the economy"? For a long time this question has been an enigma for me, even Ende quoted Silvio Gesell on page 15 of "Three Mirrors." It's the NHK-BS TV program, then, which gave me the answer. That TV program, titled "Michael Ende on the Money-Go-Around ('Ende no yuigon' in Japanese)" in English, presented the cases of Wörgl's (Tirol, Austria) Labor Certificate (1932~33, visit http://userpage.fu-berlin.de/~roehrigw/woergl/ for further information in German), Ithaca Hour (Ithaca County, NY, USA, 1991~, http://www.lightlink.com/hours/ithacahours/home.html for further information in English and other languages), DöMAK(Halle, Germany, visit http://www.anhalt.net/doemak/ for further information in German), WIRBANK (Switzerland, visit http://www.wirbank.ch/ for further information in German, French and Italian), but in this article I'll limit myself to the first case about which Ende had been talking to Hisashi Inoue in March 1989, as recorded in the book "Three Mirrors" as follows:
"Before the adoption (of the second money) half of the residents were unemployed and the town's cash box was empty. After adopting and circulating it along with the official Austrian currency, a miracle happened; within a year everybody became employed, the town became rich, and the official money had disappeared! When the Austrian Central Government knew it, however, it immediately forbade it because most capitalists didn't like such an idea to be spread all over."
But what happened in Wörgl? This alternative local currency in that Austrian town was introduced with Silvio Gesell's some epoch-making ideas. On this TV program Ende begins with presenting Silvio Gesell (1862~1930) as follows: "I only know that the first one who reflected on this was Silvio Gesell, at the time of the Government of the People in Bavaria shortly after the World War I. he came up with the theory that money must be able to age. He said it must be seen to it that money disappears again at the end of the economic process. A metaphor: just like the blood which is created at the bone marrow with the purpose to supply the entire body with nutrients. At the end of the process it ages and is discharged." After immigrating to Argentina at 24 and succeeding as an entrepreneur, he witnessed the South American economy with inflation and deflation due to the monetary policy's disorder, which brought the national economy on the verge of bankruptcy, and he thought that the monetary system has a lot to do with the social order, and proposed the alternative monetary system called "free money (Freigeld in German)" in his book "The Natural Economic Order" ("Die Natürliche Wirkschaftsordnung" in German, visit http://userpage.fu-berlin.de/~roehrigw/gesell/nwo/ to read the whole text in German) published in 1916, which had highly been appreciated by Keynes as "I believe that the future will learn more from the spirit of Gesell than from that of Marx.'
The Great Depression, that began in 1929, spread over the world very quickly, driving lots of companies and projects into bankruptcy and robbing millions of workers of their work. Wörgl, prospering as a terminal railway station, wasn't excluded from this terrible economic crisis, and in 1932, when then mayor Michael Unterguggenberger decided to introduce the local currency, the picture was so desperate: 400 of 4200 residents were unemployed, without the slightest sign to decrease the number. He thought that money stock and consequent circulation jam was the biggest problem that caused such an economic slump, and began to coin the local currency in July 1932. The city itself became the entrepreneur, hired the unemployed, and paid them with bills called "Labor Certificate." On the back there was printed: "Everybody! The sluggish circulation of money has triggered a worldwide recession and completely ruined millions of working people. Therefore the exchange of labor and services must be improved and the living space for the already outcast must be regained… 'The Wörgl Labor Certificates' shall serve this purpose. They alleviate misery and provide work and food", and this bill came to be used so quickly at the trades in town, the city hall's income also increased, and the TV narration points to something very important: "Circulating money can perform economic activities several times." But why was the money circulating so quickly? It was because this bill was valueless without putting a stamp on it whose value is 1% of the whole bill every first day of the month. In other words, this bill loses its value 1% every time a new month comes. So it's nonsense to keep this bill in your hand, everybody rushed to use up this bill, this "aging money" promoted the consumption and activated the economy. It was also used for the officers' salary and bank payment, and neighboring towns which saw Wörgl's miracle tried to adopt the same system when the Austrian central government banned it in September 1933, afraid that this system will menace capitalists' prosperity.
Even though Wörgl's case came to a sudden end, in recent years thousands of local currency movements, like Ithaca Hour, DöMak in Halle and Wirbank, were put into effect. In this article I won't get into their details because how they are organized is indifferent to Ende's economic viewpoint, but I'm sure it's worth going on this way for those who are interested in this field too.
I'd like to finish this part of the article by citing Guido's interesting opinion on the fee: as a tourist guide he tells quite a few false stories invented by his whimsical talent, clients end up with claiming the contents' falseness, and he tries to defend himself as follows:
"I'm only doing what poets do. Anyway, my customers get their money's worth, don't they? I give them exactly what they want. Maybe you won't find any stories in any guidebook, but what's the difference? Who knows if the stuff in the guidebooks isn't made up too, only no one remembers any more. Besides, what do you mean by true and untrue? Who can be sure what happened here a thousand or two thousand years ago? Can you?" / "There you are, then! How can you call my stories untrue? Things may have happened just the way I say they did, in which case I've been telling the gospel truth."
Of course what Guido told tourists has no academic endorsement, but it's also true that his stories pleased them, and as far as they enjoyed such stories isn't it worth paying him some money to acknowledge him?
Whenever we hear the word 'economy' we think of the economic race that is getting more and more serious, forcing companies to fire thousands of employees who are filling the streets. But the reason the current economy is so severe is based on the fact that the currency we use requires interest rates, and every currency user is obliged to make profit only in order to pay interest. The economy's basic principle can be changed, though, and by adopting another currency on another philosophy we could live more stable a life. I'd like to finish this article with Ende's last phrases on "Michael Ende on the Money-Go-Around":
"The victims of our system are now third world countries as well as nature who are exploited relentlessly in order to sustain the system. Those investing money only for the best possible profit to increase capital and to expand will have to pay dearly because economic growth will ask its price. If reason cannot get mankind to change, then events will do it for them. My possibilities as an author is rather limited, but I consider them under the aspect that I can develop ideas and thoughts which might possibly help mankind not to make the same mistakes again and also help them to create a society of a completely different kind. I believe that mankind will receive a blow that will make its ears ring for many centuries to come. People always think 'that is the way it is with money. It cannot be changed' . That is not true. We can change it. We have created it and therefore we can undo it."
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