Bar Stool Economics (for the day that’s in it)

Bar Stool Economics

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to €100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.

The fifth would pay €1.

The sixth would pay €3.

The seventh would pay €7.

The eighth would pay €12.

The ninth would pay €18.

The tenth man (the richest) would pay €59.So, that’s what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. “Since you are all such good customers,” he said, “I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by €20.” Drinks for the ten now cost just €80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men-the paying customers? How could they divide the €20 windfall so that everyone would get his fair share?

They realized that €20 divided by six is €3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer.

So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so:

The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).

The sixth now paid €2 instead of €3 (33%savings).

The seventh now pay €5 instead of €7 (28%savings).

The eighth now paid €9 instead of €12 (25% savings).

The ninth now paid €14 instead of €18 (22% savings).

The tenth now paid €49 instead of €59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the bar, the men began to compare their savings.

“I only got a Euro out of the €20,”declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man, “But he got €10!”

“Yeah, that’s right,” exclaimed the fifth man. “I only saved a Euro, too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more than I did!”

“That’s true!” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get €10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!”

“Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison, “we didn’t get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!”

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a 20% tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up any more. In fact, they might start drinking overseas.

For those who understand, no explanation is needed.

For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.

Update: These are useful understanding (severe) income inequality in the modern world

First mediocristan (the basis of most statistics)

Next stop extremistan (the modern economy)

Chapter from The Black Swan

http://www.math.nyu.edu/fellows_fin_math/gatheral/extremistan.pdf

  • Greenflag

    mack,

    ‘For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.’ ?

    Am I reading here above the know all arrogance of the Dept of Academically Flawless Ivory Towers ?

    ‘If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes’

    A big IF there . From whence the figures ? And where were they concocted ? In and on licensed premises ?

    Perhaps we need to remove ourselves entirely from the bar stool culture , sober up and look at the world through a clear set of orbs instead of through a hazy mist of beer induced hallucinations .

    On second thoughts the prospect of an overnight conversion to national teetotalism might be just enough to send our Taoiseach and his Finance Minister and the Tax Revenue mandarins on a binge 😉

    I’m afraid it will take a lot more than a few ‘parables’ to restore faith in the ‘all knowing wisdom ‘ of either our political leaders or the economic policy elites who have ‘failed’ the people /peoples of the western world 😉

  • kensei

    A story told by one that understands percentages, but doesn’t understand marginal utility.

    Awful, awful, awful.

  • RepublicanStones

    Whilst they may be sitting at the same bar, this parable neglects the fact that the poorest are supping a can Dutch Gold out of a paper bag, whilst the richest are sipping a nice Andechser Weissbier Hefetrüb.

  • McGrath

    That’s not how the tax system works everywhere. It’s more a reflection of how it works in the UK or Ireland, where there is a greater incidence of burdening the highest earners. ( but not as bad as say – Denmark or Sweden) The analogy fails to account for VAT which everyone pays and all the other exise taxes that are a part of life. Nor does it account for the tax deducts and write offs effectivly available for only the very wealthy.

    That’s how the tax system works – everyone should understand it.

    Why are we talking about primary school economics? If your getting at something, spit it out.

  • Dec
  • Greenflag

    Mack ,

    It would appear from Dec’s rebuttal that you are suffering from a ‘viral’ infection . 😉 That yarn sounds a bit like Joe the Plumber’s ‘economics’.

    Anyway the world has moved on . No longer do the masses want to ‘tax’ the very wealthy or squeeze them until the pips squeek . It’s now looking more like a case of les miserables getting down off their barstools and demanding that the Madoffs , Fitzpatricks , Stanfords etc and the Bishops and the Mortgage Brokers and Bankers and Insurance gangsters are dragged from their ‘refugia ‘ and hanged /impaled /or guillotined in the nearest sports stadium 😉

    Unless of course the bar owner reduces his beer prices to 0 😉

  • Mack

    Dec –

    The income tax paid by the tenth man does appear to dip slightly in Ireland (see Ronan Lyons bar chart linked to below)

    http://www.ronanlyons.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/taxpaid.png

    Kensei

    A story told by one that understands percentages, but doesn’t understand marginal utility.

    Marginal utility is irrelevant, unless you feel entitled to every extra Euro someone already wealthy earns?

    Oddly it’s a description of a progressive tax system, but it get’s those with left wing sensibilities riled. It works both ways. Increasing the top marginal rate hits higher earners harder.

    However distasteful you find them, our standard of living would be lower without them..

  • Greenflag

    Mack ,

    It would appear from Dec’s rebuttal that you are suffering from a ‘viral’ infection . 😉 That yarn sounds a bit like Joe the Plumber’s ‘economics’.

    Anyway the world has moved on . No longer do the masses want to ‘tax’ the very wealthy or squeeze them until the pips squeek . It’s now looking more like a case of les miserables getting down off their barstools and demanding that the Madoffs , Fitzpatricks , Stanfords etc and the Bishops and the Mortgage Brokers and Bankers and Insurance gangsters are dragged from their ‘refugia ‘ and hanged /impaled /or guillotined in the nearest sports stadium 😉

    Unless of course the bar owner reduces his beer prices to 0 😉

  • Mack

    Greenflag –

    It’s done the rounds a lot by now. It even was on Leo Varadkar’s blog some months back.

    EDIT – Though the rebuttal seems to be more like ‘Joe The Plumber’ economics, in terms of shifting goal posts. Some of the wealthy benefit from tax breaks, but the general principle holds, most of the tax is paid by the wealthy. In Ireland something like the top 4% of earners pay nearly 50% of the tax while earning about 25% of the income..

    See my comment to Kensei above, it describes a _progressive_ tax system (a flat tax system would look totally different). But it does bring out the begrudging attitude that a lot of people have toward the wealthy. If we had less people creating wealth, all of us would suffer because in order to maintain our standard of living our taxes would have to go up..

    Can’t live with them, can’t live well without them…

  • Mack

    Ronan Lyons full blog on the subject is worth a read

    http://www.ronanlyons.com/2009/07/28/a-little-quiz-on-irelands-income-tax/

  • Wow. There’s a place where people don’t pay VAT then?

  • kensei

    Mack

    Marginal utility is irrelevant, unless you feel entitled to every extra Euro someone already wealthy earns?

    No Mack, it’s the whole fucking ballgame. At £15,000 a year, the next £1,000 you earn will have some serious marginal utility. At £1,000,000, much, much less so. Therefore despite the fact that the tenth man received only a 16% cut, it might actually have less utility to him that the dude receiving a 33% cut. It may still be just or more sensible (and I’ll ignore all arguments that those ta the bottom are more likely to consume the cut etc) to have the tenth man take only a ten percent cut. That’s why we have progressive systems in the first place. It’s why what the tenth man pays is still worthy of debate. And as it happens, it doesn’t even always work out as even cuts. The Bush tax cuts in the US, for example, went disproportionately to higher earners.

    Anyway, progressive income tax systems are just, in principle. But they aren’t a panacea for income inequality problems. I don’t believe that anyone should eb atken out of income tax. Even if they work out better off net after benefits, the principle that everyone pays in and everyone receives should always be mainatined. Conversely, a small section of the populace taking more and more of the pie is fundamentally corrupting to democracy. They accumulate more influence, and by virture of the need to have some taxation from them, coercive power.

    In any case, try directing these emails into the same place that the requests to use your bank accounts to transfer money for an African prince go. Awful, awful, awful, awful this

  • Mack

    Kensei –

    No Mack, it’s the whole fucking ballgame. At £15,000 a year, the next £1,000 you earn will have some serious marginal utility

    Umm.. Progressive income tax systems, like Ireland’s allow you to keep that extra €1,000. The question is how much, if any, would you allow the wealthy to keep? Do you accept that beyond a certain level of taxation you create huge disincentives to create wealth?

    If so, then you agree with the moral of the tale.

    If not, give your inner communist a hug! But we only have to look at Germany were productivity in the East was 1/3 (33%) of that of the West..

  • Mack

    Kensei –

    Awful, awful, awful, awful this

    I disagree – I think it produces a great reaction from readers and forces people to think about these issues and their own reaction to them.

  • The real world implementation though has higher earners paying less in practice than in theory, since the last guy would not have had to pay 59 euro because his financial adviser would have had his money in BES schemes/offshored/written off against self-employment expenses/otherwise insulated against the full whack of the marginal rate.

  • Mack

    Mark Dowling –

    Possibly, but in general the top earners pay more. In Ireland, I think, the top 4% pay around 50% of the tax but only earn 25% of the income.

    BES schemes and the like have value in terms of creating jobs and growing business. It’s like a tax on job creation, there’s risk involved the investor may not get a return. Who do you think is better at creating jobs and building companies the state or business people?

  • kensei

    Mack

    Umm.. Progressive income tax systems, like Ireland’s allow you to keep that extra €1,000. The question is how much, if any, would you allow the wealthy to keep? Do you accept that beyond a certain level of taxation you create huge disincentives to create wealth?

    Well, you expect some impact at 100% income tax (though not total; even here prestige would still retain attractions). I think the effect is vastly overplayed. People are adaptive.

    If so, then you agree with the moral of the tale.

    Did they rationally discuss it? Did they adjust things up a bit. No, um, they beat him up. The tale is written in such a way that it implies any discussion of this is ingratitude.

    Give over.

    If not, give your inner communist a hug! But we only have to look at Germany were productivity in the East was 1/3 (33%) of that of the West..

    Did Capitalism collapse between 1945 and 1980? 80% top marginal tax rates were not unknown. –

    I disagree – I think it produces a great reaction from readers and forces people to think about these issues and their own reaction to them

    No, it’s just right wing propoganda. rewrte without the manipulations for emotinal repsonse and perhaps I’ll give you a pass.

  • Mack

    Kensei –

    No, it’s just right wing propoganda

    Right wing propaganda for a left-wing / social democratic / progressive tax system ?

    Come off it! It’s not propaganda for a flat-tax it’s propaganda for a progressive-tax system, only you are too blinded by a dislike of high earners to see it.

    By the way, the Nassim Taleb videos and chapter are well worth looking at. Good explanations for income inequality in the modern inter-connected world. Nothing fair about it of course.

  • kensei

    Mack

    Possibly, but in general the top earners pay more. In Ireland, I think, the top 4% pay around 50% of the tax but only earn 25% of the income.

    Marginal utility.

    BES schemes and the like have value in terms of creating jobs and growing business. It’s like a tax on job creation, there’s risk involved the investor may not get a return. Who do you think is better at creating jobs and building companies the state or business people?

    And here is me thinking the state used the money to pay for public services and invest in infrastructure, not “building companies”.

  • kensei

    Mack

    Right wing propaganda for a left-wing / social democratic / progressive tax system ?

    Come off it! It’s not propaganda for a flat-tax it’s propaganda for a progressive-tax system, only you are too blinded by a dislike of high earners to see it.

    You apparently appear to be spectacular missing the point of what you put up.

  • Mack

    Kensei

    And here is me thinking the state used the money to pay for public services and invest in infrastructure, not “building companies”.

    Exactly, but it socialist countries that is what the state does. Private enterprise does it better so there is value in those types of schemes.

    By the way repeating ‘marginal utility’ after a fact is just confusing. I’m not suggesting they shouldn’t pay most of the income tax – merely pointing out that they do. Which as you may have noticed, is not well understood.

  • Mack

    Kensei

    You apparently appear to be spectacular missing the point of what you put up.

    No, I’m not. The first 4 then 5 pay no income tax, I haven’t calculated whether there are two marginal rates or one (I would guess one for simplicity).

    Regardless – it is a progressive tax system.

    They show what happens when you cut the marginal rate, and perhaps in left-wing-land taxes can only ever go up, so they’ve commited some sort of cardinal sin. But the main point for me, is the importance of the tax the wealthy pay within the tax system and indeed the danger of squeezing too hard in that area. Admittedly for ardent far-left socialists you can’t soak the rich enough –

    Well, you expect some impact at 100% income tax (though not total; even here prestige would still retain attractions)

    some impact? some? You’d expect a collapse, perhaps not to 0, but a massive collapse none-the-less!

  • Greenflag

    Mack ,

    ‘If we had less people creating wealth, all of us would suffer because in order to maintain our standard of living our taxes would have to go up’

    Assuming of course that the wealth created is ‘real wealth ‘ and not just a giant ponzi scheme ‘

    ‘Can’t live with them, can’t live well without them’

    Again I’d qualify that with a repetition of my remark above . We can do well without the ‘ponzi lads ‘ and we could do even better if we had politicians who understood the world they lived in and had a better grasp of human nature and how it can be led astray and indeed lead astray .…

  • Mack

    All true and fair points Greenflag. Some sectors which have enjoyed huge monetary rewards have probably had a negative impact on wealth (financial services)..

  • Mack

    Less progressive now by the way, the new social insurance tax will apply to all earnings..

  • Scaramoosh
  • Mack

    Scaramoosh are you trying to give me a coronary? At least we’re not Greece, or Dubai or Latvia. What great company we’re keeping these days..

  • Different Drummer

    The Mack Writes:

    “Oddly it’s a description of a progressive tax system, but it get’s those with left wing sensibilities riled. It works both ways. Increasing the top marginal rate hits higher earners harder.

    However distasteful you find them, our standard of living would be lower without them..”

    And it’s a position that has been responded to time after time by revolutionary socialists:

    The socialist revolution is not about taxation or controlling the state it is about controlling the means of production that actually *creates* the kind of value which only the top seven percent continue enjoy.

    So by that definition the ‘Socialist countries’ were not socialist as the mass of producers did not control the means of production or the political direction of the state.

    In a Genuine Liberal Democracy the mass of producers do still have a degree of influence that is why we have the ‘progressive’ reforms that we enjoyed as they were realized by the labour movement .

    BTW Mack the viral e-mail is also piss poor rhetoric it constructs a flawed model of the status quo and then on its basis misconstrues what it should but can’t imply: That all ‘socialists want the poor little rich kids to pay for their beer’.

  • Mack

    Different Drummer

    So by that definition the ‘Socialist countries’ were not socialist as the mass of producers did not control the means of production or the political direction of the state.

    Oh dear God. So true socialism is impossibly hard to implement?

    Nice in theory, but impossible in practice? That just about sums up my impressions of it.

    If you want, and have the time, can you explain how true socialism would work? How the masses would control the means of production but the state wouldn’t? Are we talking employee share schemes? Would you still have competition, and hence the possibility that one group of workers would out compete another? Which would lead inexorably to capitalism, and free enterprise I think..

  • kensei

    Mack

    Exactly, but it socialist countries that is what the state does.

    I’m sorry, has the UK, US or Ireland become Socialist while I wasn’t looking? Straw man.

    They show what happens when you cut the marginal rate, and perhaps in left-wing-land taxes can only ever go up, so they’ve commited some sort of cardinal sin.

    The story would have worked equally well with a tax rise; the progressive system is not the point of the argument. The point of the argument is:

    Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up any more. In fact, they might start drinking overseas.

    Why not just start printing paragraphs from Atlas Shrugged?

    But the main point for me, is the importance of the tax the wealthy pay within the tax system and indeed the danger of squeezing too hard in that area. Admittedly for ardent far-left socialists you can’t soak the rich enough –

    I’m not an ardent far-left socialist. Squueezing the rich also has diminsihing marginal utility. But when looking at where to apply tax squeezes or tax cuts, looking at ability to pay and impact on standard of living is certainly a factor. And perhaps those at the bottom or in the middle should ahve got a bigger cut. It’s worthy of discussion — why should they just take the barkeep’s distribution?

    As I said, progressive taxation is not a solution to the bigger problem of widening income inequality.

    some impact? some? You’d expect a collapse, perhaps not to 0, but a massive collapse none-the-less!

    Ok, the government effectively caps wages at 25 million by imposing a 100% tax above this threshold. Does the dude earning 25 million who really enjoys his job and is given other perks stop coming to work? I think the amount of activity that’s left, while obviously greatly reduced would be surprising.

  • Mack

    Kensei

    I’m not an ardent far-left socialist.

    I didn’t say you were. Most of the time you come across as centrist, except when discussing wealth creators. I’ve never read Ayn Rand, but her writing must be painful if any comment that highlights their (wealth creators) value to society induces this kind of reaction.

    I was making the point about an analogy about a left-of-centre taxation system and the role of the wealthy within it.

    Note the new Social Insurance tax is not as progressive. You wouldn’t be able to make the same ‘the system screws the poor’ point with it..

  • Rory Carr

    “Do you accept that beyond a certain level of taxation you create huge disincentives to create wealth?”

    It’s not so much that, Mack, what really gets up one’s nose is that these individuals get richer and richer by clawing off the wealth created by the labour of others. I mean how fucking hard would a Quinn or O’Reilly or whoever have to work to actually produce value equal to the wealth that they individually cream off? The answer is of course that it would be quite impossible for any individual, he must rely upon the productive labour power of others and in order to increase his personal wealth he must unfairly (and coercively) deny them their just share of the value so created. It is of course social theft on a grand scale.

    That may be Marxist Economics 101 but it doesn’t make it any less true.

  • Mack

    Rory –

    Most of Quinn and O’Reilly’s wealth is in their companies, O’Reilly has already lost 1 of his companies this year and Independent Media is a tiny fraction of the size it was 2 years ago.

    They’re not necessarily getting richer and richer.

    There is a huge element of risk (normally) in setting up your own company, most people fail and don’t end up as successful as either of those two. Or Michael O’Leary, or Bill Gates, Larry Page or Steve Jobs.

    We do benefit in the aggregate from the risks taken and their success.

    The workers who work for them do benefit too, and we have laws and unions to protect them from exploitation where neccessary. We need more Quinn’s and O’Reilly’s to create more jobs in Ireland right now.

    he must rely upon the productive labour power of others and in order to increase his personal wealth he must unfairly (and coercively) deny them their just share of the value so created

    I’m not convinced by that. They (workers) are free to negogiate their terms of employment when they join. If they are mission critical or join early enough this often includes stock options or equity / profit share in the firm. How many Microsoft of Google millionaires?

    Most of us won’t be so lucky, but most of us are not taking the same risks. We are free to do so, to strike out and attempt to build our own business. I’m happy enough to take a cheque every month for my labour and benefit from the risks taken by others (both in terms of creating my employment and in the innovations entreprenuers drive)..

  • kensei

    Mack

    I didn’t say you were. Most of the time you come across as centrist, except when discussing wealth creators.

    I like wealth creators. I think there should be more done to encourage business startups and risk taking. I just think it has really very, very, very, very little to do with the top rate of tax. If you’ve got that far you have more than likely already made it.

    I’ve never read Ayn Rand, but her writing must be painful if any comment that highlights their (wealth creators) value to society induces this kind of reaction.

    It’s not about highlighting their value. It’s point is an emotional grab / scare tactic as an arguement to cut their taxes. Or at leats nto raise them.

    What it highlights is the need to deal with extreme income inequality and the need for people to understand marginal utility of income when discussing tax policy.

    I was making the point about an analogy about a left-of-centre taxation system and the role of the wealthy within it.

    No, you were forwarding a bloody chain email.

    Note the new Social Insurance tax is not as progressive. You wouldn’t be able to make the same ‘the system screws the poor’ point with it..

    Like I said, I think everyone should be paying tax.

  • kensei

    Mack

    I’m not convinced by that. They (workers) are free to negogiate their terms of employment when they join.

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

    Stop, you are killing me.

  • Mack

    Seriously?

    Northern Ireland is hardly a hot-bed of startup activity, but if you were to venture further afield you’d find that you would be well rewarded for your risk taking if you joined a startup. If it was successful.

    Chances are of course, it would fail and you’d have lost some income vis a vis a higher salary you could have negogiated as a wage slave elsewhere.

  • kensei

    Mack

    Your value is determined by the market. The amount of actual “negotiation” you get to do is minimal.

  • Greenflag

    For those of an entrepreuneurial bent you just can’t beat the American approach to wealth creation . From the nation that spends hundreds of billions on foreign wars while large numbers of it’s own population die from lack of access to health care or can’t afford prohibitive private health insurance we now have a glimpse of the future direction of how the emisserated american middle and working class can pull themselves up by their bootstraps and reignite their long lost gutsy inner entrepreuneur 🙂

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=121211164

    Can’t see it catching on this side of the pond . But you have to admire the chutzpah of some of the web sites -getting folks to pay up the ante for the ‘privilige ‘ of being allowed to beg on the internet makes all those sales of indulgences guaranteeing pain relief in the hereafter seem like an honest trade ;)?
    Now there’s a revenue enhancing idea for Messrs Darling and Lenehan . Why not sell ‘begging licenses ‘ to the newly dehoused or unemployed as a means of enabling them to build up the capital they will need to compete say with the likes of Bernard Madoff or Sean Fitzpatrick ;)?

  • Different Drummer

    Yes Mack you are right the debate is about how socialism could work as opposed how capitalism isn’t working. That is not a minority opinion by the way (that Capitalism isn’t working and is increasing inequality) so the question then becomes how will socialism survive.

    You Continue:

    If you want, and have the time, can you explain how true socialism would work? How the masses would control the means of production but the state wouldn’t? Are we talking employee share schemes? Would you still have competition, and hence the possibility that one group of workers would out compete another? Which would lead inexorably to capitalism, and free enterprise I think..

    Yes that is what happened in Russia with the New Economic Policy the state itself became a giant tyrannical **capitalist** holding company.

    I’m not sanguine about that failure as it sharpened the modern choices for humanity between Socialism or Barbarism. The more you degrade the former the more likely you will end up with the latter.

  • Mack

    Kensei

    Your value is determined by the market. The amount of actual “negotiation” you get to do is minimal.

    That is true for established companies, but not startups. If you’re interested in that type of thing, go to those open coffee mornings and see if you can team up with some entreprenuers as a co-founder. You’ll get feck all squared pay (until the company makes money), but you will get equity.

  • Mack

    Different Drummer –

    Still no explanation of how your utopian system would or even could work?

    Look here’s the thing, despite your rhetoric, it’s been tried – those who tried it failed badly. The great leap forward was a disaster and killed tens of millions.

    Capitalism isn’t perfect, very few would argue that it is, but it is the least bad of all systems tried so far. And modern capitalism encompases the most workable ideas from socialism. Look at where living standards are now compared with 200 years ago (or even 20 years ago in Ireland)? Those are real, massive, achievements.

    Your idea that support for some form capitalist economic system is lower than support for a socialistic one? Completely and utterly nuts.

  • Different Drummer

    Well Mack

    …we can all refuse our labels it seems that you think you can also prove how (State) capitalism will not produce barbarism or more inequality..

    BTW my point was that your viral e-mail is totally inadequate to what is involved in this debate and is also totally useless in understanding what our government is ACTUALLY doing with OUR money right now …and why.

  • Quite right, Mack.

  • Different Drummer

    Hi David I was wandering when You would show up again…

    I don’t think you or MACK have the slightest interest in an alternative to the current system – it would be a complete waste of my time as you would not and cannot accept the premise that it flows from: that the current system is failing us and must be changed.

  • Different Drummer,

    I agree that the current system of fettered capitalism is failing us. The State must retreat from trying to control everything although that is tricky now the EU runs Ireland, wouldn’t you agree?

  • Different Drummer

    That makes me feel a bit spooked –

    Why?

    Because it’s like Walter Benjamin the jewish friend of Bertold Brecht (no minor personalities now) meeting up with a well known member of the opposition on Capri while they were both on holiday – they didn’t talk politics they talked culture and the German classics…

    I see someone’s done a very good job in East Belfast of preserving a nature walk and keeping the developers out…
    and I’m looking out my window at all that German mist which I know will clear in a few hours.

    Black mountain will not look as stunning as it does now…

    -ahhhhh beautiful Weimar

    sorry that wasn’t the response you were perhaps looking for…