State of Mind.

This post might not pass any seriousness test, yet when a friend sent me the photo below I could not help but feel that this clearly unindented design is a subconscious consequence of the embryonic German desire to actually look into the future and reap the benefits of the socio-economic changes (“Hartz IV”) as well as of the periodically reappearing shadows of the pasts (Bernd Eichinger’s movie “Der Untergang“) and as such rather well describes the current German state of mind, for the minute assuming that there is such a thing… (for the non-Germanophones, the text on the additional red Stern cover-layer reads: “how to become your own boss”).

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About Tobias Schwarz

German, turned 30 a while ago, balding slowly, hopefully with grace. A carnival junkie, who, after studies in business and politics in Mannheim, Paris, and London, is currently living in his hometown of Mainz, Germany, again. Became New Labourite during a research job at the House of Commons, but difficult to place in German party-political terms. Liberal in the true sense of the term.

His political writing is mostly on A Fistful of Euros and on facebook these days. Occasional Twitter user and songwriter. His personal blog is almost a diary. Even more links at

6 thoughts on “State of Mind.

  1. How do the words go with the picture?

    It’s my understanding that when the nazis took over in 1934 they went
    through all the large companies, all the newspapers, all the schools
    and purged everyone that was insufficiently pro-nazi.

    Nora Waln wrote an account of her experiences in Germany at the
    time, “The Approaching Storm: One woman’s story of Germany 1934-38.”

    According to Nora the nazis built a file of everyone willing to work,
    some 25 million people.

    Nora says, “I learned that both employer and employee must be under
    state control. Neither strikes nor lockouts were allowed,…”

    Worker’s wages were kept below government jobs. Corporations were
    restricted from distributing more then 6 percent of their profit; the
    rest must be reinvested. Nora, “No one can change a job without permission
    from the Labor Front.” “Wages are settled by the Labor Front.”

    Nora Waln: “No one is supposed to have a business which is nonessential.”
    Nora again, “There are too many people wanting professional and clerical
    jobs,…Boys and girls about to leave school have to state their preference
    for careers, but if that work is not needed they must take something else.”

    It all seems very far from the spirit of the title: “How to become your
    own boss.”

    But then again, maybe what is intended is irony? I hope it’s not
    that modern germans have no clue and aren’t aware of the irony.

  2. The economic history of the Third Reich is an interesting subject. It is true that the ideology instituted the so called “Primat der Politik” which means the prevalence of politics over economic concerns in each and every respect, and yes, private consumption was restricted simply because so much money and production facilities had to be used for armament. Accordingly, from 1936 on, wages and prices were blocked from rising to cover up an increasing inflation. From then on, it was largely a command style economy, albeit one in which business owners usually managed to turn a healthy profit, if they knew how to deal with the political leadership that was usually devoid of economic knowledge and sometimes only too eager to become a product champion for something – like Goering with the Luftwaffe. After the ministerial buereaucracy had been dismantled during the 1930s, everyone realised that the best way to get something done was to produce a paper with Hitler’s signature. And that’s how things were done in the Fuehrer-State, not through “laws” but through fiat. Very inefficient. The US strategic bombing survey of 1957 was very surprised that, at a time when the area bombing became a daily routine, German output rose significantly. The answer to the riddle is that Albert Speer – then put in charge of military production – was actually effective at improving the organisational mess the Fuehrer-state had created.

    As for the words – maybe it’s too subtle a joke. “boss” is a synonym for leader, which is the English word for Fuehrer. So reading a headline like “how to become your very own F-…”

  3. I think it was unintentional on Stern’s part. I saw the juxtaposition and thought “what a mistake.” Stern had two articles they wanted to highlight – one on self-employment (“Ich AG”) and one on the movie. The people who made the cover weren’t thinking about how they looked together.

  4. Further to Doug’s explanation, it looks as though the ‘be your own boss’ bit isn’t part of the actual cover of the magazine, but rather one of those separately-printed, stapled-on promotional pieces that extends less than the full width of the cover per se. (Note that I am only writing ‘per se’ because The Editors has forbidden it.)

    Still — oy vey! Somebody at Stern is in for a spanking.

    Der Spiegel, by contrast, played it safe this week, putting good old Friedrich Schiller on the cover (though his hair was on fire).

  5. >I think it was unintentional on Stern?s >part. I saw the juxtaposition and >thought ?what a mistake.?

    Absolutely – I’m sorry if my initial explanations did not make this suficiently clear…

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