Which side are you going to “end up” on?

here’s an article absolutely worth reading

(the title “Is inequality about to get unimaginably worse?
gives you a hint how important it really is!)

it’s no longer really a question of IF you’ll have to choose which side you want to be on, but WHEN.

(seriously, read the BBC article, otherwise the rest of this post won’t make sense)

Just to illustrate: here’s some seriously life-changing medical development:

but guess who is going to have that stuff implanted?

Certainly not the unwashed (and no longer useful) masses!

The big question is: are you going to be on the “useful” … or on the “no longer of use” side of the equation?

Apologies if this comes across as a little bit ‘too scary’ for a sunny Saturday morning … but ignoring this is the same thing as not taking care of your retirement YOURSELF, instead of relying on someone else.

I don’t know about your country, but even here in Germany, the power-house of Europe, we have massively increasing rates of people who retire … pretty much with NOTHING, simply because they didn’t take responsibility earlier on in life!

Which is also why e.g. I’m so p***sed off by this stupid nonsense with the guy who gets dragged off the flight, and gets compensation:


the real issue is this: we (yes, YOU and I and everybody else) have a large role to play in this!

We don’t take FULL responsibility!

Take the example of the overbooked flight situation:

We demand rock-bottom prices …

… but are not willing to accept that at rock-bottom pricing, … well, there isn’t much room for things like ‘customer service’, having enough wiggle room to transport another 4 staff without having to throw people off the flight etc.

The same applies to your DSL, your mobile phone provider, quite possibly your health-insurance, most of the things we buy …

in many/most cases happily ignoring the destructive impact it has (working & living conditions in the Far East + rapid destruction of the environment over there come to mind).

Every time you get the “cheapest” possible deal … someone, somewhere has to cut corners and “take”.

Right now, we can “push” the impact of those actions “away” in many cases … but as the BBC article suggests: that is going to change, and it’s going to change fast.

To use Steven Covey’s analogy: you can’t keep withdrawing from the back-account, at some point you have to deposit.

And that’s precisely what we as a species are NOT doing at the moment: depositing!

Not nearly enough!

The good/scary/bad news (depending on which side you’re on) is this:

those who just take, take, take are precisely those who will quickly find themselves on the “oh look, you just outlived your usefulness” side of the equation (fortunately, they won’t even really notice because they’re too busy staring at their mobile phones addicted to the regular buzz they get from the other ‘takers’)

So, to come back to the title of this post: it’s not really about “ending up” on either side – it’s all about choosing your path to get to the side you want to be on!

Your thoughts? Which side are you going to be on – and what actions are you actually taking to make sure you’re going to be there?




  1. Dear Veit

    Well, you asked for my thoughts. I tend to wonder around my multiple interconnected thoughts like some giant series of cogwheels. Perhaps I’ve always been a systems thinker without ever knowing what the term meant.

    As one of life’s observers, I’ve noticed a certain consistency and it’s this. Structure tends to drive behaviour, this has huge implications but before delving into this thought/idea, I think it only fare to answer your big questions.

    “The big question is: are you going to be on the “useful” … or on the “no longer of use” side of the equation”?

    You also said; “but even here in Germany, the power-house of Europe, we have massively increasing rates of people who retire … pretty much with NOTHING, simply because they didn’t take responsibility earlier on in life!”

    I’ve always wanted to be useful, to help, to support, to grow, to develop.

    The problem is this and it’s connected to my observation. For me being helpful is to understand and discover. Those are my two dictionary words and I tend to apply them all the time.

    Structure Drives Behaviour

    What exactly does that mean and how does it play out?

    Structure could include anything which has a bearing on our lives; the structure of our brains, the genes we have, how those genes might be expressed, where we live, the conditions of our lives, the parents we are born from, the society we live in, the health system, the education system, the money system, I could go on but I hope you will see where I’m going with this.

    I’m going to respond your point here first; “but even here in Germany, the power-house of Europe, we have massively increasing rates of people who retire … pretty much with NOTHING, simply because they didn’t take responsibility earlier on in life!”

    I could probably write a book which challenges the notion that people didn’t and don’t take responsibility earlier in life. I don’t suppose you or your readers want to read a tome on why I think it’s a tad short sighted but it is linked to structures driving behaviours.

    What I do have is a personal anecdote.

    My father took life seriously and was I think a responsible human being. At some point, I’ll probably create a short documentary about his efforts to help us have a better life but that’s for another time.

    During his time on planet earth, he fought in the second world war, he was a statistician, an engineer, an inventor and when he died he had nothing. We couldn’t afford to bury him and had to get money from the RAF benevolent fund so we could pay.

    It wasn’t his feckless behaviour that saw him die as a pauper, it was the system in which we all operate, the system which drives our behaviour.

    Being poor was for us, not a choice, as a family we did everything we could have imagined, to get ourselves out of being poor, but it came back to bite. It was almost as if the more we tried the more the system had us.

    Now, I happen to think I was very lucky to have been born to a mother and father who did their very best. I’m lucky to have had a richer life up to the age of 12 than most people have in their whole life, if you’re interested, you may read a blog post I wrote a while ago;

    I happen to think my early life helped provide me with ideas and structures which others would never even dreamed of. I’ve been luckier than many and did manage to create cash to buy a home, okay I lost it all and had to start again at the end of my 30s, (ended up in Saudi Arabia but that’s another story).

    You did a webinar recently, which I enjoyed. One of the points you made was that we must try to see the world through our prospects eyes. If we don’t then we are in grave danger of guessing and will very likely be wrong.

    I wonder whether perhaps you may be seeing the world of others through your own eyes?

    As someone who tries to observe, to understand and discover do I focus on doing things to make more money or should I devote my brain and knowledge to possibly better humanity?

    It’s a stark question because as the rich get ever richer the poor get ever poorer and therefore become useless.

    The underlying cause of huge amounts of wealth transfer is a highly unstable and unsustainable money system. I recognise that this is a statement and all statements should be challenged so I look forward to a further debate.

    Meanwhile, as more and more people are unable to earn enough to save money, they are forced to make buying decisions which appear crazy. The point here is that their jobs don’t pay enough to buy better quality products and services. This structure then means businesses who want as much cash as possible build to a price otherwise they would go bust. Wages are forced lower so businesses can still profit and so it goes on.

    Human nature is of course very strange! A video made by the Bank of England, which discusses at least part of how money gets created gets 133,000 views https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvRAqR2pAgw

    A video created called Jedi Kittens Strike Back https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z3r9X8OahA has around 22,000,000 views.

    So the first video has potentially huge implication for every one living on planet earth and the second is a bit of fun.

    Food for thought?

    • Hi Steve,

      thanks for the long reply – I’m not going to answer every point, but here are a few observations:

      personally, I agree that there are always a few “unlucky” ones who truly get screwed by the system and/or the Universe … however, most of us have a choice.

      and if that choice is to drink, smoke, waste most of your time on a mobile phone and f*** yer lil’ brain out in Magaluf … instead of making sure your pension fund is filled to the brim, then

      a) you shouldn’t complain (btw, I’m not talking about YOU, but about “one”….) and
      b) you shouldn’t rely on the state to bail you out.

      far too often I hear young people say “well, I’ll do like my dad: cash-in-hand jobs (aka: don’t pay their taxes), and collect social benefits, no point getting a job”.

      and yes, of course that behaviour is driven by structure (if you’re around idiot parents who demonstrates that it’s ok to life off welfare and do odd jobs, this is ‘the norm’ for you).

      But, you still have a choice – to either accept that for yourself, or do something else.

      (which is incidentally the reason why so many successful entrepreneurs come from simple or poor backgrounds, instead of MBA-level families: they have a real reason WHY they want to make a change)

      so yeah, I totally get that people want to be entertained … and watch Jedi kittens. But message to them is this: go and read that BBC article at the beginning of this post. After that you may wish to watch the Bank of England video


      PS: my wife, who is definitely more ‘left-leaning’ than me, and I had a long discussion about this whole thing earlier.

      Her take: it’s time for the masses to rise and demand change.

      My, slightly more pessimistic view: those in power make the rules. It’s been like that forever, and it will be like that forever (simply because it’s human nature). And if/when those ‘in power’ no longer need the masses, well, what’s the point of having the masses?

      Just as an example: Germany’s Federal Minister of Finance is a 74 year old guy who has done a lot for our country … but is so far removed from the current reality it’s not even funny.

      What we need is someone who truly understands crypto-currencies, massive data, AI etc and its impact on the financial future of our country and the rest of the world.

      Alas … he’s part of the ‘inner circle’, and thus we’re looking on as Germany (along with most of the Europe, perhaps most of the “Western” world) maneuver themselves into a dead-end … falling further and further behind nimble, and fast-moving countries like China.

      • I used to be left wing, then right wing and now I’m not on any wing. Not sure trying to have independent thought is helpful because people expect one to be in some kind of club, guess I’m in a independent thinking club… Is that a niche?

        My view of choice is that it’s a bit of a myth. A stinking rich person has a choice of buying a Porsche a Ferrari or an Aston Martin but wouldn’t be seen dead in a second hand Fiesta (unless you’re called Warren Buffet).

        For there to be choice one would need “Free Will” and I’m no longer certain that is as real as people think it is.

        Cheers to you and your wife, have a nice Saturday.

        p.s. Should I go to China!

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