Your Monthly Good News, November 2014

There’s a problem with your everyday media: It is fed and nurtured by bad news, by misery, wars, crises, catastrophes. To make matters worse, journalists seem to think that their only task is to be critical about pretty much everything, leading to a depiction of politics and everyday life as disgraceful and appalling. Therefore most people believe that everything goes down the drain.
But hidden in the latter parts of magazines and newspapers, tucked away in nameless afternoon TV shows, you sometimes find news noone prepares you for: There’s more democracies now than there have ever been, you learn. Extreme poverty fell by 500 million people in the last 30 years. These are the rare occasions when good news gets so big that not even your everyday media can keep quiet about it. In our column Your Monthly Good News, we provide you with good news from the corner of the media machine, news that might give you a reason to be as optimistic as we are about the state and future of the world.

This is only the news we have noticed. If you come across something, a report, a short note, whatever, please just send us the link via and we’ll include it in our next collection.

November’s Best News

The best news I have seen this month comes from the small German town of Goslar. Towns like Goslar have generally not really been the seedbed of good news in the past decades: people all over Germany – or indeed, all over the world – are moving to bigger cities, leaving Goslar and places like it depopulated and empty. Flats stand vacant, houses are torn down, economies shrink.

This is exactly why Oliver Junk, the mayor of Goslar, a Christian Democrat and a seemingly very cool guy, has made an inconvenient proposition: He announced publicly that he would be glad if more refugees would come – or be assigned – to his town. There would not only be enough space for them – instead of being put into mass ermergency shelters they would be able to live in actual flats, guesthouses, and hotels – but they could also contribute to the local economy, which is often desperately in need of manpower.
Junk’s proposition makes sense on so many levels that it’s really hard to see why noone seems to have thought of this before. Small towns all over Germany – or indeed, all over Europe and the West – grapple with the exact same problems: depopulation, aging inhabitants, lack of personnel for the remaining businesses. More refugees can be a solution to this problem, and at the same time, small towns and villages have a lot to offer for refugees: space and safety, above all. But also an economic perspective and probably better circumstances for an integration into the host populations. As the examples of Nahe or Schwäbisch Gmünd show, it’s often easier for refugees to enter into contact with the local population when they’re not in a big, anonymous city.

So let’s hope that the Goslar model of welcoming refugees spreads – especially in Europe with its current so-called “refugee crisis.”

A view of Goslar, Germany (Rainer Dollichon, CC-by-SA)


Ulrich Exner: Warum Goslar auf noch viel mehr Flüchtlinge hofft, Die Welt, 20. November 2014

Dagmar Rosenfeld: Kommt her zu mir!, Die Zeit, 27. November 2014

Your Monthly Good News, November 2014

Bill Gates: We Can Eradicate Malaria—Within a Generation, gatesnotes, 2 November 2014 – “Based on the progress I’m seeing in the lab and on the ground, I believe we’re now in a position to eradicate malaria—that is, wipe it out completely in every country—within a generation. This is one of the greatest opportunities the global health world has ever had.”

– Auch im Country scheint die Botschaft der Toleranz anzukommen.
– Even in Country music the 21st century seems on the edge of arriving.


Franz Eibl: Lucke steckt im Schwitzkasten, The European, 7. November 2014 – Die AfD zerlegt sich selbst. Lang gedauert hat es nicht. In absehbarer Zeit könnte dieser Spuk vorbei sein.

Rebecca Hamlin: A recent shift in immigration law will change less than you think, Monkey Cage, 7 November 2014
– In the midst of this rather grim-witted analysis of the slow- and confusedness of the American asylum system, we get some interesting information: It is actually, slowly but steadily, changing for the better. For example, women who fled from abusive marriages now stand a better chance to be granted asylum status. And there’s more: In Canada, this has already been put into practice since the 1990s and has worked pretty well: “This approach has not opened the floodgates, but it has led thousands of women to find safe havens.”
Danny Hayes: The media aren’t holding female candidates back, Monkey Cage, 7 November 2014
– Good news about the in most regards rather devastating elections for the American congress: There’s more women now than ever before in Congress. And, even more interesting: Media coverage of female candidates is not – or very rarely – sexist,  as scientists have found. Also: “research suggests voters don’t appear to discriminate against female candidates.” American society seems to move on.
„Am Anfang war es sehr schwer“,, 7. November 2014
– Auch kleine Nachrichten können gut sein: Bajan aus Afghanistan ist erst seit zwei Jahren in Deutschland, unterrichtet aber schon andere Flüchtlinge in Deutsch. Seine Erfahrungen mit Deutschen, auch auf dem Land, sind durchweg positiv.
– There’s a new trend among young urban hipsters in Sweden: sober dancing. How is that good news? Ask any alcoholic trying to stay sober. Or as Mårten Andersson puts it: “If you want to go out dancing, flirting, and talking to people you don’t know, then there should be at least one place where you can do all that without alcohol.”
– Even in the US, climate change starts to become an important political issue, one that is likely to urge politicians – even Republicans – to become more active about it in the future.
– Auch wenn diese Analyse insofern typisch ist, als sie eine gute direkt durch eine schlechte Nachricht konterkariert, bleibt doch stehen: Ja, der Arabische Frühling hat zumindest eine funktionierende Demokratie hervorgebracht – Tunesien.
– Kapital und Militär verschwören sich – und heraus kommt eine Rettungsaktion für Flüchtlinge im Mittelmeer.
– In the midst of civil war, murder, and ethnic cleansing in the Central African Republic, there still were – and are – people like Bernard Kinvi. Thousands of Muslims have been saved thanks to simple human compassion. The commitment of people like Kinvi seems to spread, and the country has arrived at an if yet unstable truce.
Tulip Mazumdar: Ebola outbreak: MSF to start West Africa clinical trials, BBC News, 13 November 2014
– There’s progress in the fight against Ebola in West Africa, especially in Liberia. But as soon as news are not as bad as they used to be, media attention wanders away.
Proteste in Ungarn: „Orbán, hau ab!“, Spiegel Online, 17. November 2014
– Die Proteste gegen Orbán gehen weiter.
Hasnain Kazim, Marius Münstermann: Geplatzter Dialog: Warum über Homosexuelle nicht in Moscheen diskutiert werden darf, Spiegel Online, 17. November 2014
– Auch wenn der Titel wie immer negativ ist: Die Grundlagen für einen Dialog zwischen deutschen Muslimen und Homosexuellenverbänden sind offenbar gelegt.
– Experten sind sich ausnahmsweise einig: Kiffen gehört legalisiert. Jetzt muss es nur noch die Politik einsehen.
Paul Krugman: When Government Succeeds, The New York Times, 16 November 2014
– Economist Paul Krugman tells some stories of government success: “The moral of these stories is not that the government is always right and always succeeds. Of course there are bad decisions and bad programs. But modern American political discourse is dominated by cheap cynicism about public policy, a free-floating contempt for any and all efforts to improve our lives. And this cheap cynicism is completely unjustified. It’s true that government-hating politicians can sometimes turn their predictions of failure into self-fulfilling prophecies, but when leaders want to make government work, they can. […] Yes, sometimes government officials, being human, get things wrong. But we’re actually surrounded by examples of government success, which they don’t want you to notice.”
Parag Khanna: Das Welt-Puzzle, The European, 19. November 2014
– Generell ein schöner Artikel, der auch mit einigen interessanten Neuigkeiten aufwartet: „Für jeden Kilometer an Grenzzäunen errichtet die Menschheit heute mehrere Kilometer an grenzübergreifender Infrastruktur: Schienen, Straßen, Pipelines, Kabelverbindungen, Brücken, Tunnel. Global werden derzeit etwa 1,3 Billionen Euro pro Jahr in militärische Technologien investiert, aber 2,5 bis 4 Billionen Dollar in Infrastruktur.“ Dazu gehört auch eine gute, optimistische Deutung des neuen Regionalismus: „Je mehr kleine Puzzleteile die globale Ordnung hat, desto weniger autark kann jedes einzelne Teil sein. Ein Beispiel: Die Anzahl der von Nahrungsmittelimporten abhängigen Länder steigt beständig an, und auch die Menge der grenzübergreifend gehandelten Nahrungsmittel nimmt zu.“
– Wie eine (auf diesem Blog bereits einmal erwähnte) Studie der Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung zeigt, sind rechtsextreme Einstellungen in der deutschen Bevölkerung in den letzten zwei Jahren drastisch zurückgegangen. Aber was macht Spiegel Online daraus? – „Deutschlands Mitte tendiert laut einer Studie der SPD-nahen Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung latent nach rechts.“ Der Artikel schweigt sich dann über den Rückgang weitgehend aus, bis er ihn am Ende notgedrungen und verschämt doch noch erwähnt. Ein hervorragendes Beispiel dafür, wie Medien mit guten Nachrichten umgehen.
Zuwanderer bringen Deutschland Milliarden, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 27. November 2014
– Eine Studie der Bertelsmann-Stiftung hat errechnet, dass Ausländer in Deutschland ein durchschnittliches Plus von 3300 Euro erwirtschaften; sie entlasten also die Sozialkassen. Das ist an sich weder verwunderlich noch eine wirkliche Neuigkeit – aber trotzdem schön, dass darüber halbwegs breit berichtet wird.

Paul Krugman: Euro Bond Yields, The Conscience of a Liberal, 27 November 2014
– Wie sich herausstellt, steckt Frankreich eben nicht in einer Schuldenkrise: Es kann sich nach wie vor problemlos Geld leihen.

Sorry for the language mess. It just happened.

About Author: WWWWWSören Brandes

Geboren 1989 in Paderborn, hat Geschichte und Literatur in Berlin und Lund studiert. Master in Moderner Europäischer Geschichte. Promoviert derzeit am Graduiertenkolleg „Moral Economies of Modern Societies“ am Berliner Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung über die Geschichte des Marktpopulismus. Lebt in Berlin-Neukölln und interessiert sich für eigentlich alles, insbesondere für Globalisierungsphänomene, den Einfluss der Massenmedien darauf, wie wir denken und leben, und europäische Politik. Mail:, Twitter: @Soeren_Brandes, Facebook: Sören Brandes View all posts by

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