Empowering instead of burdening – entrepreneurs are worried

They listen to us. They are interested in entrepreneurs' views on the economy and society, on the economy, ecology and social issues. They recognize how important the voice of small and medium-sized enterprises is for Germany. The assessment of problems, the proposals for solutions from the entrepreneurs who are responsible for the number of jobs in Germany.
They take us seriously. That used to be the case. And so today we are at a dangerous point, at a crossroads.

Entrepreneur in the shadows

Until recently, there was still a constructive exchange with politicians. But at the moment, my fellow entrepreneurs and I are increasingly experiencing a refusal to communicate with us. That promised appointments are being canceled. That a cooperative approach is no longer desired.
For me, this attitude of refusal reflects a dangerous tendency: Our economic, ecological and social future is at stake.
Why? Because some politicians or office holders don't listen to an entrepreneur like me?
No, but because an entrepreneur like me, just like you, just like everyone in Germany, is increasingly overshadowed by something threatening: ideology.
For me, 'no longer listening' is a symptom of such an ideology. An attitude that does not rely on reason and common sense, but on beliefs and traditional assumptions that now seem to be set in stone. An attitude that is fundamentally suspicious of people. It doesn't trust them to find solutions to our problems on their own initiative, out of freedom and goodwill - and therefore relies on rules and bans, regulation and bureaucracy.
I see this shadow as a danger that can darken our future.

Do something - empower

Because threatening things come to life in the shadow of such an ideology: Thinking taboos, for example. Only one solution to a problem is conceivable. Just look at the energy transition to minimize CO2 emissions. Measures, requirements and bans are being initiated here that are not derived from rational considerations, but from basic ideological assumptions. Anything that contradicts this is unthinkable, even unspeakable. If you raise the issue of a return to nuclear energy with fourth-generation reactors in this country in order to point out a sensible, more efficient, healthier, more sustainable and affordable way out of the energy impasse - taboo.
You can see this from current political surveys - how much resentment is caused by such a mood, in which people feel that their concerns, their fears and even their creative ideas are not being heard.
And this is where I see us at a crossroads: it is becoming increasingly difficult for entrepreneurs to operate freely and responsibly, guided by their own values. It is becoming increasingly difficult for people in our country to experience a freedom that goes hand in hand with trust and responsibility: a climate of mistrust and division is spreading.
I see one of the main reasons for this in the ideological attitude of our politics, which increasingly burdens people with rules, prohibitions and mistrust, imposing more and more on them without giving them a real say - and thus conjuring up the worst shadows we can imagine in Germany.
But I am certain that we can take a different path - by working on a climate in which we entrepreneurs can do what we are capable of. In which all people are empowered to work together sensibly because they feel that they are trusted. Because they are trusted to shape issues in a positive way.
We have the brains for this. The motivation of so many people to work together sensibly is there. They don't need complicated rules, instead of being forced to comply with prohibitions.
The opportunity is there for us to shape our economic, sustainable and social future in such a way that our lives, the lives of our children and grandchildren, can continue to be rich, healthy and meaningful in the future. Let us seize this opportunity.

Detlef Lohmann

PS: An open letter, which was published in newspapers and which I also support, arose from the concerns of mainly medium-sized companies here in southern Germany, which had come together in the WVIB, the Wirtschaftsverband Industrieller Unternehmen Baden e.V. (Baden Industrial Business Association). I am attaching it here for you.

"We are at a turning point.
Many companies are looking to the future with concern.
The attractiveness of Germany as a business location is at stake.

The major political goals are the right ones:
Economy, ecology and social issues must be considered together more consistently.

Ways and measures, on the other hand, are currently often wrong.
The right way is to revitalize the market economy instead of fighting it. Without a market economy, there is no progress - neither ecological nor social. And no prosperity either.

The drivers of every market economy are the people in the companies. We must free our companies from unnecessary bureaucratic ballast, otherwise we will prevent progress, drive value creation abroad, fail to attract talent and fail in the great transformation towards climate neutrality

Our state, which has become rigid, must become leaner, faster and more agile. Many things no longer work, almost everything takes too long!

We need investment in infrastructure, education and a digitalization master plan from a single source.

We have a cost problem. We need an immediate moratorium on taxes and bureaucracy.

We can only achieve the great transformation if we avoid conflict-prone bureaucratic instruments and focus on simple, good and technology-open regulation! People want to be better involved and less patronized.

A positive example of a successful approach: if we continue to make CO2 emissions more expensive across all sectors as part of the previously successful emissions trading scheme, we will create a key incentive to save CO2 and drive innovation. And we have sufficient funds to cushion the change in a targeted manner.

The best price brake for energy is investment in a secure, low-CO2 energy supply. We must first switch on new sources, then switch off old ones, otherwise the energy transition will result in shortages and inflationary pressure for everyone, despite billions in subsidies.

Europe's strength is our common internal market, our people, our education and research landscape, our infrastructure and, above all, our political and economic freedom. If we want to win the future, we must focus on deepening these strengths and less on subsidies for foreign corporations."

Freiburg, 05.07.2023
Presidium, Executive Board and Advisory Board of wvib Schwarzwald AG
The signatories: Presidium, Executive Board and Advisory Board of wvib Schwarzwald AG

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