cafe and post office peaceful people walking

Everybody always complains about taxes: money the government gets from income or actual wealth. Some make it a point and feel extremely fine when they even swindle the government out of taxes, as if they were a modern hero, a ‘Robin-Hood’-type…

But those who complain the most or even put their money into companies or banks outside the state they made it in, are those that benefit most by stability, infrastructure, general level of education or innovations. Innovations based on creativity which is much more probable when the surroundings are calm and secure and ‘knowledgeable’ enough.

The countries in the world with the highest tax rates at the same time are the most stable, secure and – compared – social in terms of healthcare, care for the elderly or the streets you walk in at night… you name it.

Before the civil society was ‘invented’ based on the concept of democracy, in Europe the so-called ‘feudalistic system’ was in place: no working hours, almost no social security in terms of laws, except severe – or not so severe – recommendations, greed and selfishness almost unhampered by law, so anyone who felt like it would populate the streets – and rob.

Knights very often just as much as the poorest, who might be forced to send their children away, as in the famous fairy story of ‘Hansel and Gretel’: where it seemed the parents were to blame, when in actual fact a complete lack of social security was.

Modern taxes are there to support a government and its officials in running a system of society that is – comparatively – just.
Just by protecting the weak and keeping the strong(er) ones at bay.

Streets are clean, buses take you almost anywhere, and are usually reliable and on time, trains carry goods with schedules that make planning possible.
Children from an early age are well-kept in kindergartens and preschools, to be educated well, and kept safe until their parents get off work.
Hygiene standards in public healthcare are high, as indeed they are in research and technology – which makes it possible even during a pandemic to take care that society does not sink into an abyss of poverty and despair, as it did during the plague.
Justice in law is aimed at.

No human system is perfect! Alas, the sky is blue everywhere, as someone put it. Or, even more lyrical, the sun shines for the righteous and the unrighteous, the same way.
But very often, the ‘dose makes the poison’!

And so keeping an eye on those that are weak of character, anyplace, in government, law and the community at large, is a good idea.

But: too low or NO taxes are a bad idea!

Sun, Rain, Weather, Water – and a Little Lightness of Being

In many European countries for some time now sun is being considered to be a feature, even rather special or valuable. Sunny days are called ‘good weather’, rainy or cloudy days are ‘bad weather’. And some people think it necessary to even brag about the fact that they have the means and opportunity to travel into (more) sunny regions than the ones they live in.

In other parts of the world, the sun is a very dubious luxury. You need so much water or liquids to drink in order to stay healthy. Not even the recommended 1,5 l per day are available there. People would perhaps like to make themselves a tea or coffee. Or have a nice soup for a cold. Apart from cooking other kinds of food! Or keeping clean – clothes, the house – themselves!

The sun in those parts can be damnable or at least unwelcome.

The movie ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ has a number of very graphic scenes shot in the desert, with appropriate soundtrack, that make abundantly clear, what it can mean to be victim to a grim climate involving a lot of sun.

Although the desert has always had a fascination for many Europeans, partly because it is so different, next time the weather turns bad over here, think again, perhaps. I remember a visitor of ours, who came from the Near East ‘only’, with enough water for everyday use, vividly, to this day, over 25 years ago, when she visited Germany for the first time. Driving with us through half of it, you might say, from Frankfurt/Main to the South of Germany, she was amazed at how green everything was! Over and over she repeated, ‘look at this countryside, so much green, so many trees, so many pastures – incredible!’

So, next time in these parts, before you complain about the weather turning ‘bad’ – perhaps you could instead think of what it would be like if you came from some part in the world where water is scarce, like the big deserts in Africa (I yet have to see personally). Where you often have not enough water even to wash yourself, much less, to cook – or just drink whatever you like, as much as you like, anytime. And you may come to appreciate tap water again: it’s the best controlled water in the middle of Europe and can be drunk from the tap without any further ado…