Associations and Unions

Whenever I have to deal with associations, I get this funny feeling. Mostly, it turns out that said strange feeling was justified. Except – feeling weak in the stomach will not help, will it? Consequently, I will try and put the strangeness of my feelings into words.

In my personal opinion, most of the associations and unions we have in Germany are no longer useful. As a general rule, they no longer serve their original purpose. As time went by, they got more and more remote from their members. The remaining members are just staying because they hope to benefit personally through the membership, or else they are afraid cancelling their membership might have a detrimental effect or be a risk of some sort.

A strange “Super-Ego” keeps the remaining members from cancelling their subscriptions. Or else, they are just too lazy to actively do the cancelling. You get used to it, you know. The fee seems a small affair, and, after all, it seems that membership gives you a few small privileges.

But are all these associations and unions still goal-oriented today? New circles are created and develop. You no longer have to organize your membership, it just happens. It is possible to impose political pressure on someone without using an association. And there is another advantage to “communities“, as well: as soon as the circle is no longer needed, it will dissolve by itself. What a blessing.

But then, what exactly is my problem with the associations and unions? I think associations cannot help becoming systems. And systems are something that easily and quickly acquire lives of their own.

Initially, a system will mostly still work for the “honourable goals” as formulated by the founders. But in no time, this will change. It will get more and more important for the system to preserve itself. And as soon as a few years have gone by, said self-preservation will be given top priority by the system. Sooner or later, self-preservation will become the one and only purpose of the system. And in the worst case, the system will emancipate itself from everything personal and start dominating its environment – or at least massively try to influence it for its own benefit.

Apart from the systems created by humans, there are also “super systems”. Some way or other, they developed by themselves and suddenly dominate the world (financial business, international tourism, …). But they do not really belong here, because they are not the associations this article is about.

If the associations I am talking about reach a certain measure of systemic power, we often automatically get some kind of “function feudalism”. Well, it is quite logical, isn’t it? After all, the “system inside the association“ wants to survive. Consequently, it gives the system agents, the functionaries, a reward. We are talking benefits such as nice working conditions, a good income, convenient regulations, many facilities to spend their leisure time at, a sympathetic attitude for those who are incompetent or refuse to work hard, a high social status, nice business trips, lavish old-age pensions and much more.

Of course, the functionaries rather like it. And it goes without saying that preserving the system will automatically become the driving force behind their activities. For them, too much would be lost if the system were to disappear. And here we are in the middle of the spiral turning – perhaps even unconsciously, but perhaps consciously – which causes a new sort of feudalism.

So here is my plea: please do not come up with new clubs, associations, interest groups, etc. Cancel your membership of those that already exist. Instead, create free communities. They can be created and grow, but they can just as easily disappear again as soon as the time to do so has come.

(Translated by EG)

Here are some of the associations I am talking about:
ADAC, ADFC, BDI, BdU, BdV, employers, employees, IHK, RK, VdA, VDI, VDE, VDK ….
I am sure there are dozens, if not hundreds more.

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