Anecdote concerning the Lowering of Productivity
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14-08-2012, 01:37 PM (This post was last modified: 14-08-2012 01:40 PM by Vosur.)
Anecdote concerning the Lowering of Productivity
"Anekdote zur Senkung der Arbeitsmoral ("Anecdote concerning the Lowering of Productivity" in Leila Vennewitz' translation) is a famous short story by Heinrich Böll about an encounter between an enterprising tourist and a small fisherman, in which the tourist suggests how the fisherman can improve his life. It was written for a May Day programme on the Norddeutscher Rundfunk in 1963, and is considered one of the best stories written by Heinrich Böll."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anekdote_zu...beitsmoral

You can read the English translation of the story right here. We read this story in our politics classes back in 11th grade and I enjoyed it a lot. Reading it caused me to ask myself "What's the ultimate goal of studying, getting a job and earning money? For what purpose am I going through all the trouble and spending so much effort into school?". I have a fairly low living standard (i.e. all I require is my own apartment, access to water, food, electricity and a PC), which is why it's basically unnecessary for me to study (psychology) and get a job that earns me a lot of money if I have no use for it anyway. In some way it lowered my motivation to put any effort into what I'm currently doing, because I see no point in doing so.

That being said, 'tis probably just the talk of a lazy German youngster who ain't wanna be as efficient as the rest of his country folks. Dodgy

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14-08-2012, 05:14 PM
RE: Anecdote concerning the Lowering of Productivity
(14-08-2012 01:37 PM)Vosur Wrote:  "Anekdote zur Senkung der Arbeitsmoral ("Anecdote concerning the Lowering of Productivity" in Leila Vennewitz' translation) is a famous short story by Heinrich Böll about an encounter between an enterprising tourist and a small fisherman, in which the tourist suggests how the fisherman can improve his life. It was written for a May Day programme on the Norddeutscher Rundfunk in 1963, and is considered one of the best stories written by Heinrich Böll."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anekdote_zu...beitsmoral

You can read the English translation of the story right here. We read this story in our politics classes back in 11th grade and I enjoyed it a lot. Reading it caused me to ask myself "What's the ultimate goal of studying, getting a job and earning money? For what purpose am I going through all the trouble and spending so much effort into school?". I have a fairly low living standard (i.e. all I require is my own apartment, access to water, food, electricity and a PC), which is why it's basically unnecessary for me to study (psychology) and get a job that earns me a lot of money if I have no use for it anyway. In some way it lowered my motivation to put any effort into what I'm currently doing, because I see no point in doing so.

That being said, 'tis probably just the talk of a lazy German youngster who ain't wanna be as efficient as the rest of his country folks. Dodgy

Thanks for this. Böll's story nicely points up the difference between "work to live" vs. "live to work." it should be better known here in the U.S., with our vaunted "Protestant work ethic" that makes a lot of people define themselves through their work, even if it gives them little satisfaction, and go downhill fast when their working lives are over. What should be a means to an end often becomes an end in itself.

That said, I think the tourist in the story could have presented a more effective argument to the fisherman: "It's true you don't need to do any more fishing today, since you have plenty for today and tomorrow and the next day. But what about next month . . . or next year? What if the weather turns bad and you can't fish for weeks? What if the fish go elsewhere and your catches dwindle? What if you suffer an illness or injury and can no longer go to sea? Doesn't it make sense to sacrifice a bit of enjoyment today and tomorrow so you can shore up your reserves--put some fish in the freezer!--in case bad times come?" The fisherman is indeed focused on the right thing, but a "take no thought for the morrow" philosophy may result in his not being able to enjoy the sun and the sea in the future.

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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14-08-2012, 05:25 PM
RE: Anecdote concerning the Lowering of Productivity
First, I liked the story so thanks for sharing it.

(14-08-2012 01:37 PM)Vosur Wrote:  "What's the ultimate goal of studying, getting a job and earning money? For what purpose am I going through all the trouble and spending so much effort into school?"

Vosur, let's look at this question from another direction. Who is paying for you to go to school?
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14-08-2012, 11:37 PM
RE: Anecdote concerning the Lowering of Productivity
(14-08-2012 05:25 PM)Jeff Wrote:  Vosur, let's look at this question from another direction. Who is paying for you to go to school?
I'm visiting a public school, so I guess that would be the government.

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15-08-2012, 12:57 AM
RE: Anecdote concerning the Lowering of Productivity
(14-08-2012 11:37 PM)Vosur Wrote:  
(14-08-2012 05:25 PM)Jeff Wrote:  Vosur, let's look at this question from another direction. Who is paying for you to go to school?
I'm visiting a public school, so I guess that would be the government.

Good. Where does the government get the money it uses to pay for your school?
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15-08-2012, 05:56 AM
RE: Anecdote concerning the Lowering of Productivity
(15-08-2012 12:57 AM)Jeff Wrote:  
(14-08-2012 11:37 PM)Vosur Wrote:  I'm visiting a public school, so I guess that would be the government.

Good. Where does the government get the money it uses to pay for your school?
As far as I know, from taxes paid by citizens.

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15-08-2012, 06:03 AM
RE: Anecdote concerning the Lowering of Productivity
(15-08-2012 05:56 AM)Vosur Wrote:  
(15-08-2012 12:57 AM)Jeff Wrote:  Good. Where does the government get the money it uses to pay for your school?
As far as I know, from taxes paid by citizens.

Good. Now, why are your fellow citizens willing to pay for your education?
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15-08-2012, 06:25 AM
RE: Anecdote concerning the Lowering of Productivity
(15-08-2012 06:03 AM)Jeff Wrote:  Good. Now, why are your fellow citizens willing to pay for your education?
Taxes are mandatory. Whether or not they are willing to pay them doesn't matter. That being said, even if you had a choice between paying and not paying taxes, I couldn't possibly know why they would do it.

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15-08-2012, 06:54 AM
RE: Anecdote concerning the Lowering of Productivity
(15-08-2012 06:25 AM)Vosur Wrote:  
(15-08-2012 06:03 AM)Jeff Wrote:  Good. Now, why are your fellow citizens willing to pay for your education?
Taxes are mandatory. Whether or not they are willing to pay them doesn't matter.
That being said, even if you had a choice between paying and not paying taxes, I couldn't possibly know why they would do it.

When the universe was created those school taxes did not exist. At some point between then and now, your group of citizens decided that they would tax themselves to pay for your education. I don't care if you know why they did that, I'm asking you to think about why they did that. What are the usual reasons that people are willing to spend their own money?
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15-08-2012, 07:14 AM
RE: Anecdote concerning the Lowering of Productivity
(15-08-2012 06:54 AM)Jeff Wrote:  When the universe was created those school taxes did not exist. At some point between then and now, your group of citizens decided that they would tax themselves to pay for your education. I don't care if you know why they did that, I'm asking you to think about why they did that.
I guess because they thought education should be free for people that come from lower/middle-class families.

(15-08-2012 06:54 AM)Jeff Wrote:  What are the usual reasons that people are willing to spend their own money?
They usually (expect to) get something in return, something like goods or service.

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