Hinterseer Straße, Ramsau (OSM)

As I am writing this blog entry, the last hours of 2015 are slowly passing, and this one is the last quiet hour, as we are expecting a number of friends: same procedure as every year.

The image I like not only for formal reasons – most readers probably know my preference for careful usage of colour – but also because of its symbolic power: As we are looking down on the past year, we have to recognize that the majority of things are tightly interconnected, as these frosted tree roots are. Just think of the northern hemisphere’s hunger for cheap energy and the war zone that the middle east has come down to, our only marginally decreasing emissions of CO2 and the continously rising average temperatures, widespread attempts to fence quarters, cities and nations and the millions of refugees searching possibilities to survive, the growing weapons market and the rise of subnational criminal gangs, the bankruptcy of states and the successful tax dodging strategies of the most profitable corporations, the rise of radical xenophobia and the failure to invest successfully in education…

I am painting too grim a picture? I wish this would be true, and I will continue to work for it not to come completely true. But as I try to make plans, I see flaws and failures around, mine (and this is no small number) included.

Good news? Yes, the Financial Times predicts a growing art market. Good news indeed, the only question is for whom.

I thought about ending this post with stanzas from Dante’s Divine Comedy: ‘Lasciate ogni speranza’, but I know better, so I thought. But I can come up with nothing but “Happy New Year 2016 to all”. Let’s make the best out of it.


  1. Happy New Year, Markus! How about, “the best of times and the worst of times?” Aren’t they always intertwined? 2016 is an election year for us, which probably puts much of the world in a state of anxiety, this year more than ever. Critical juncture. I hope we do the right thing for everyone’s sake!

  2. Happy New Year, Michael – to the best of times and the worst of times, you are right!.

    Yes, elections in the U.S. are watched throughout the world. I was in China for a conference/trade fair in 2008, and when Obama’s victory was declared, quite some Chinese were dancing with completely foreign people, expressing their joy and hope. So let’s hope for the best!

  3. Hi Markus. I like your new years post, both the photo and your comment about the state of the world. Perhaps you could include the increasing concentration of wealth in the hands of a few at the direct expense of the middle-class. I’m reminded of the old Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times.” Unfortunately we live in very “interesting” times. Here is wishing both you, and the world, a happy new year.

    1. Jeff, wealth distribution is certainly a hot topic that interests me since I saw those transformation curves for the first time in school – and they’ve certainly grown worse in those decades passed. Interesting times for sure…

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