two acting the same way does not mean twice the same thing done

The other day I read in the SZ two short notes, each referring the to a main article in other sections. The one dealing with the control of banks, the other looking at subvention of cinemas in Germany.

Remarkable is that the first shows the reference for more info being available in the section of economy, the second referring to the “Feuilleton”. It is at least worthwhile to think briefly why the support of the national industry is in one case a matter of economics and in the other case classified as supporting the national culture.

Be it as it is – and to be honest I trust that Gruetters is really concerned with the promotion of arts – there remains a bit of a riddle: Why do we speak in in the one case of economics, in the other of culture. Could it be that national interests play a role and that they are prioritised in economics whereas they remain veiled, while existing in the gap between Germany’s strive for national competitiveness and the spirit of the nation of poets and thinkers?

Perhaps it is becoming clearer when we consider another message, recently issued by a proponent of the free market. What is commonly understood as essential functioning of the market – the change of prices based on emend and supply – is criticised by rebuking the very same practice of one competitor – making offers and setting prices based on the principle of “prices following demand”. So we learn from one of the dominating figures of “market-free hotels and (chain) restaurants”:

In addition, the portals led hotel owners to so-called yield management.

He (Eugen Block, private hotel and restaurant owner) dislikes the fact that prices on the Internet are sometimes adjusted to demand every hour; guests have to pay 50 or 500 euros for the same room. “If a fair is, the emergency situation of the guest is exploited. At other times the rooms are sold at prices that threaten the existence of the guest. That, says Block, “is also simply bad marketing. He himself takes a fixed price, which fluctuates by a maximum of ten percent depending on the season.

So what? Defending the “free market” against an internet firm for applying the principle of the free market? Every Blockhouse (brand-name of Block’s restaurants acts in the same way of using quasi-monopolist power against others, though usually by seeing the price up. … Something strange here I suppose.

The decisive difference is the sovereignty linked to the person, or, using the words from the translator’s (William Guthrie) introduction to Savigny’s Treatise on the Conflict of Laws and the limits of their operation in respect of place and time:

It has to do with the capacity of persons to have rights, not with their capacity to act, i.e. to acquire or lose rights. It forms an exhaustive treatise on the person, in its legal sense, from the beginning of capacity for rights at birth until its termination by death, with all its limitations and modifications in respect of freedom, political rights, dependence arising from the family relations, and other causes of less extensive operation.


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