A Lesson in History – Economics of East Berlin

Go Lean Commentary

The book Go Lean…Caribbean serves as a roadmap for elevating Caribbean society; the book posits that the history of East Germany is a tutorial to the Caribbean effort. As such there are direct references in the book of the failed Communist State (Pages 132 & 139).

On this date 25 years ago, the “walls came tumbling down”, quickening the reunification of the nations of West Germany and East Germany. That is the headline, but beneath the surface, the German Democratic Republic (GDR or East Germany) was also rife with some other ugly truths.

In summary, the City of “East” Berlin was a maximum security prison in the heart of Europe. (This refers to City of East Berlin, not the whole country of East Germany).

Title: 25 Years Ago – The Berlin Wall Crumbled

CU Blog - A Lesson in History - Economics of East Berlin - Photo 1On the night of November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall came down. East German authorities opened the border between East and West Berlin and the door to the fall of tyranny.

The wall went up in the early morning darkness of August 13, 1961, to keep millions of people from fleeing communist East Germany after World War II. It fell as suddenly as it had been built. For 28 years, Germany was a country divided not only by ideology but by stone, barbed wire and deadly force. The Berlin Wall — die Mauer — stood as a testament to the eternal struggle between open and closed societies. For all its might, the wall could not stop the free flow of news into East Berlin.

The West side of the wall became a stage for politicians and a canvas for artists. The East side grew grimmer, as social and economic problems worsened. In the end, people rose in protest. When the wall finally crumbled, there was dancing and celebration. But the wall’s toll could not be forgotten: Nearly 200 people died trying to escape; more than 30,000 political prisoners were jailed.

Today, the fallen wall is a memorial to their sacrifice, one of the world’s great symbols of the victory of freedom over oppression. The eight, 12-foot-high segments of the Berlin Wall in the Newseum’s Berlin Wall Gallery weigh 2.5 tons each and came from throughout Berlin. The Newseum acquired the pieces in 1993, along with the three-story East German guard tower that stood near Checkpoint Charlie.

Newseum Institute – Archives and Exhibit of News Artifacts

CU Blog - A Lesson in History - Economics of East Berlin - Photo 2This is more than just dry history. No, this is a lesson plan for the Caribbean empowerment effort. That effort is part-and-parcel of the Go Lean…Caribbean movement, this refers to the book and accompanying blog/commentaries. The book posits that the experiences of East Germany and the reunification with the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG or West Germany) provide a fitting example for the Caribbean people and institutions. What most people in the Caribbean may not realize, due to the far distance of a continent away, is that the national border for West and East Germany did not traverse through the City of Berlin, but rather 100 miles to the west of Berlin; (see map here). So the City of Berlin stood as an “island” within the country of East Germany, with that island itself split into West and East territories. (This is so similar to many Caribbean locales). The Western portion of Berlin belonged to West Germany; the residents had travel access via “air bridge” to other ports in the Federal Republic of Germany, while East Berliners were restricted – imprisoned in their own country, despite committing no offenses. This is classic human rights violation.

East Berlin, and by extension East Germany was a definitive Failed-State.

This audio-podcast here relates a practice of East Germany selling prisoners to the West for hard currency, so as to remediate the government’s economic deficiencies:

Video: Public Radio International East Germany Prisoner Ransom … http://youtu.be/FjozYlAlMew

The narratives described in this audio-podcast constitutes state-sponsored human trafficking.

This is abominable!

The German Reunification was not a merger, rather it was a repossession. East Germany was at the precipice of a Failed-State. The Caribbean today is at a similar precipice of dysfunction. This status is not due to the failure of communism (though one Caribbean member-state – Cuba – does feature a failed communist society), but rather the global financial crisis. Cuba also parallels East Germany with a human trafficking crisis; many citizens are desperate to leave the island and families pay huge “ransoms” to extract them.

The review of the historic events of this day regarding the Berlin Wall 25 years ago is more than just an academic discussion, the book Go Lean…Caribbean aspires to economic principles that dictate that “consequences of choices lie in the future”. The book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). The people of the Caribbean may not know the intimate details of East Germany, but we do understand societal decline and dysfunction all too well.

What have we learned from the East/West Germany experiences? How will those lessons help us today?

  • Brain Drain is unrecoverable – East Germany learned quickly that they had to keep their talented citizens by any means necessary, and thus the wall. The CU/Go Lean roadmap places priority on the atmosphere for the Caribbean talent to want to stay in the homeland and for the Diaspora to repatriate..
  • Most valuable resource – East German sold their human resources to the West; (over 300,000 people according to the above audio-podcast/VIDEO). This was their best marketable resource. The Go Lean roadmap posits that one person can make a difference and impact the economic engines in the fields of endeavor. Rather than one, the CU/Go Lean effort strives to foster the masses for their collective and individual contributions.
  • Promote opportunities for the Pursuit of Happiness – People in the West were NOT trying to sneak into the East. Basic needs were not fully satisfied there, so higher level needs were rarely pursued. The Go Lean roadmap posits that when the basic needs are in place, only then can the pursuit of happiness be tackled.
  • Consider the Greater Good – Complying with this Greater Good principle would have prevented a lot of the conflict during the 28-year East-West segregation. This philosophy is directly quoted in the book as: “it is the greatest good to the greatest number of people which is the measure of right and wrong”. The CU/Go Lean roadmap calls for a number of measures that strike directly at the Greater Good mandate: accountable justice institutions, economic empowerment for rich and poor, strategic education initiatives, proactive health/wellness, etc.
  • Quit on “failed” policies  – With the Soviet Union and Eastern European trading partners collapsing, the East German currency, the Mark, had become worthless outside of the GDR, creating the acute need to merge the two German economies. The GDR did not try to prop up the failing currency beyond 1989, instead they transferred its financial & monetary policy to the stewards of the stronger West Germany currency. The Go Lean roadmap will employ a technocratic Caribbean Central Bank and Caribbean Dollar so as to shore up the currency and economic engines in the region.
  • Negotiating as partners not competitors – Considering the German reunification models, consolidating millions of people with divergent politics and cultures into one Federation requires toleration and adjustments by all stakeholders. Success is possible only when all sides are willing to negotiate as partners not competitors. The CU requires negotiations and treaty considerations for economics, security and governing solutions. So the Go Lean roadmap adopts negotiations as a community ethos.
  • Reconciliation of issues is not optional, more conflict will emerge otherwise – There was loss of life and many human rights abuses in the history of the East-West schism, and there must be accountability. The CU plans for Truth & Reconciliation Commissions for dealing with a lot of latent issues in the last Caribbean century (i.e. Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic, etc).

The related subjects of economic, security and governing dysfunction have been a frequent topic for blogging by the Go Lean promoters, as sampled here:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2585 A Lesson in History: Concorde SST
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2480 A Lesson in History: Community Ethos of WW II
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2359 CariCom calls for innovative ideas to finance SIDS development
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2330 ‘Raul Castro reforms not enough’, Cuba’s bishops say
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2297 A Lesson in History: Booker T versus Du Bois
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1531 A Lesson in History: 100 Years Ago Today – World War I
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1433 Caribbean loses over 70% of tertiary educated citizens to the brain drain
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1309 5 Steps of a Bubble – Learning from the past and mitigating negatives
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1014 All is not well in the sunny Caribbean
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=816 The Future of Caribbean Integration and CariCom
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=782 Open the Time Capsule: The Great Recession of 2008
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=623 Only at the precipice, do they change
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=599 Ailing Puerto Rico open to radical economic fixes
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=451 CariCom Chairman to deliver address on slavery/colonization reparations
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=353 Book Review: ‘Wrong – Nine Economic Policy Disasters and What We Can Learn…’

The purpose of the Go Lean roadmap is to turn-around the downward trends in the Caribbean today, to reverse course and elevate Caribbean society. This CU/Go Lean roadmap, applying lessons from the last 25 years of German history, has developed these prime directives, pronounced as follows:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines.

The Go Lean book details a series of assessments, community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to empower all the factions in the Caribbean region:

Community Ethos – Economic Systems Influence Choices & Incentives Page 21
Community Ethos – Consequences of Choices Lie in the Future Page 21
Community Ethos – Money Multiplier – Control of Local/Regional Currency Page 22
Community Ethos – Anti-Bullying and Mitigation Page 23
Community Ethos – Intelligence Gathering Page 23
Community Ethos – “Crap” Happens Page 23
Community Ethos – Minority Equalization Page 24
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future Page 26
Community Ethos – Ways to Improve Negotiations Page 32
Community Ethos – Ways to Manage Reconciliations Page 34
Community Ethos – Ways to Improve Sharing Page 35
Community Ethos – Ways to Promote Happiness Page 36
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategy – Vision –  Integrate Region into a Single Market Economy Page 45
Strategy – Agents of Change – Globalization Page 57
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Department of Homeland Security Page 75
Implementation – Assemble Existing Super-national Institutions Page 96
Implementation – Ways to Pay for Change Page 101
Implementation – Foreign Policy Initiatives at Start-up Page 102
Implementation – Security Initiatives at Start-up Page 103
Implementation – Ways to Deliver Page 109
Planning – Ways to Ways to Model the EU Page 130
Planning – Ways to Make the Caribbean Better Page 131
Planning – Reasons Why the CU Will Succeed – Germany Reunification Model Page 132
Planning – Ways to Improve Failed-State Indices Page 134
Planning – Lessons from East Germany Page 139
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs Page 152
Advocacy – Ways to Better Manage the Social Contract Page 170
Advocacy – Ways to Foster Cooperatives Page 176
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Justice Page 177
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Homeland Security Page 180
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Intelligence Gathering and Analysis Page 182
Advocacy – Ways to Protect Human Rights Page 220

1989 was pivotal in the history of modern Germany. Today the unified country is the Number One Economy in Europe and a role model for the Caribbean.

Now is the time for all of the Caribbean to learn the lessons from East Germany’s failed economy. The book Go Lean … Caribbean posits that the Caribbean is in a serious crisis, but asserts that this crisis would be a terrible thing to waste. The people and governing institutions of the region are hereby urged to lean-in for the empowerments described in the book Go Lean … Caribbean. This is a big deal for the region, the same way 1989 was a big year for Germany. While “impacting Germany” is out-of-scope for this CU roadmap, applying effective turn-around strategies (as in emerging from communism in Cuba) and elevating the Caribbean neighborhood is realistic and plausible. We can make our Caribbean homeland a better place to live, work, and play. 🙂

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Share this post:
, , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *