Vienna has always been ruled by the Social Democrats. Today we have a coalition of red and green, the far right FPÖ (Jörg Haider’s former party, comparable to France’s Front National) is the main contender, and the blacks, the ÖVP, the Austrian Popular Party, the “conservative”, pro-economy, pro-rich, anti-social change party, they are not very popular in Vienna at all.This faceless guy is their local leader, and all I’ve ever seen from him were posters with ridiculous, hollow claims. Or not even claims.
Here it is “The best welfare program: new jobs!”. He only forgets to tell us how he intends to conjure them up 😀
OK, this guy is an especially sorry specimen, but in their essence most politicians are like that. Politics is like that. It’s all hollow talk. And still, I see it in Villach (where I live now) as compared to Klagenfurt (where I grew up) what the difference is between a city ruled by the left and a city ruled by the “conservatives” or, even worse, the nationalist populists. Villach just works and even in difficult times prospers, Klagenfurt goes down the drain.
Same in Vienna. Why? I think it must be, because in order for a community to prosper, it takes coordination and planning on a big scale, and part of that coordination can’t be profit-oriented. If you leave everything to the forces of an unrestricted economy, you’ll have fine iPhones and bad infrastructure. Or infrastructure that favors partial interests and not a greater common good. There is simply no incentive in it.
Take the US. They were ruled by oil and coal for a long time, and to a high degree they still are. Public transport is not in the interest of oil producers, and therefore public transport was widely destroyed, at least the part of it that does not burn oil. It’s pretty contrary here in Vienna. We try to keep car traffic down (with very limited success) and we spend lots of money on rail-based, electricity-powered public transport. Leave it all to the forces of the market, and tramways, undergrounds and intercity trains will vanish. They are good for the environment, they help control the sprawl and enable dense architecture (as opposed to for instance L.A.), but they don’t max out profits for the oil industry.
Same with education and public health care. The rich can pay for it anyway, why should they invest in infrastructure that, for instance, enables social mobility? It would be stupid to expect that, regardless of what their sales drones say.
The Song of the Day is “Hollow Talk” by Choir of Young Believers. Hear it on YouTube.