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Konrad Werner: Is the economy real?

Konrad needs someone to explain the economy to him.

I don’t understand most things, but I especially don’t understand the economy. For example, I’ve never got is why we think we live in capitalism? What’s capitalist about it? Because the news keeps telling me that every industry – in Germany especially but really everywhere – wouldn’t survive without some kind of subsidy from the state, or at least a lucrative state contract. Especially in Germany.

Coal, for instance, is apparently such a bad way of making money that it needed €1.22 billion from the state this year to keep going. So does solar power, though in the form of special tariffs rather than subsidies. Cars? Just a few years ago, the government needed to keep that going with the Abwrackprämie. TV? Ok, the shitty private TV stations manage to keep going by pumping Mogadon adverts in between the Rohypnol shows they show, but all the good telly is publicly funded. Art? Not only is all theatre and opera dependent on the state, but all of Germany’s movies – even the turdburgers that Til Schweiger squeezes out – get most of their funding from some state sponsorship board or other.

I can’t talk. Almost all the words I produce are state-funded, one way or another. I got to go to Georgia this summer because an independent, not-for-profit magazine was doing a workshop there. Who put up the couple of thousand that funded the jolly? The Goethe Institute. I slept in a classroom.

So why do people keep talking about the economy as if it’s a real thing that we somehow can’t control, like the weather? Our finance minister keeps saying that he won’t reduce taxes or raise benefits, because we don’t know how the economy will develop in the future. Yes you do! Because all the government does all day is put money into this or that part of the economy, whichever one it feels like it wants to put money in. The economy isn’t like the weather. It’s man-made.