Interview with Dieke
Dieke Koster on the book “Distribute Power,” interview by Jos Boersema
16 November 2018, Groningen (translated)
Jos: How much of the book did you read ?
Dieke: until i knew what it was about.
Jos Boersema: How did you like the book ?
Dieke Koster: If I could make a very nice summary in a few words … I have to think for a moment …. It always is the question with a book like this, whether or not it will be understood, what people take away from it.
Jos: What is your opinion on the book ?
Dieke: I thought it right on target, that i do know. Often such a book will linger in generalizations. I also thought, you know a lot of English words.
Jos: This kind of book often does not reach beyond some general statements. I was reading many good things in the program of the Party for the animals, including the idea that the natural resources belong to all; the program of the Socialist party states that the economy needs to be democratized. That is where it stops.
Dieke: Such are stagnating generalizations, the trick is how to do these things.
Jos: What is your opinion on how this is described in my book ?
Dieke: I asked myself how many people could understand so many words.
Jos: Would you agree that everyone has a right to land.
Dieke: Yes absolutely. It would also have a positive effect on the overpopulation of our country. It would also help other countries.
Jos: What about the idea to give people both agricultural land, a parcel in an industrial zone with the necessary access roads.
Dieke: Than I wonder how many people will start their own little factory. They would have to join forces, and the soil should be next to each other. It will take a tremendous amount of hassle and arguments before that is settled.
Jos: The idea is to keep a spacious spare area, meaning more parcels than people. That creates air in the system, for people to swap land with each other (possibly for money), and to find a place to come together. Soil can also be rented for a price.
Dieke: Naturally, that is true, but it always demands co-operation, but people will have to agree with one another, which is very difficult. There are too many people, more people than air. The world population has grown very rapidly. (…)
Jos: If people have to agree in a company, it would only be suitable for people of proper conduct, of which there might not be many. However it is not necessary to start a co-operative on free land. Someone who wants to start something can do so, hiring others as employees.
Dieke: That is true, but it would have to possess an amount of money to pay the wages.
Jos: No, that can be saved from previous business by the business …
Dieke (interrupts): If that is possible
Jos: Indeed, that is correct.
Dieke: It is dependent upon if your enterprise proves succesful.
Jos: Correct … I will continue …
Jos: … The business will therefore not have much money, and can only grow slowly.
Dieke: That is without question a fact. Many people will have trouble understanding this. You will have to be willing to.
Jos: willing to do what ?
Dieke: To not be earning anything for a long time.
Jos: Hurray ! This is precisely the point with free land for all. There will be no or minimal costs, costs which could destroy the business.
Dieke: Yes, the costs are very dangerous. It makes the company possible, but also sinks it.
Jos: It seems we have outdebated this. There was still a point about excess population. We will have to make due with the land that we have. This is also true for an economy in which land is in the possession of a small amount of people, who will proceed to exploit the more or less helpless others.
Dieke: Yes that is true. They are rather helpless. They even have to buy water.
Jos: So, we have written down a lot, that is how it goes if being interested in the details.
Dieke: Absolutely !
Jos: Despite seeing some dangers or challenges with land for all as an inalienable right, are you nevertheless positive about its implementation ?
Dieke: At the moment it seems impossible, because there is not enough land. you would have to turn the whole ocean to dry land.
[Short debate about why this is a different topic, too fast to record.] *)
Jos: Whether or not there is sufficient land is a different question, while we are now focussing on the issue of what to do with the land that we do have.
Dieke: That is true.
Jos: Do you think we should proceed with trading land as we do today ?
Dieke: No, actually everything should be deeply reformed.
Jos: Land for all is a deep reform of the system.
Dieke: It is a good start, but try to get it done …
[In reviewing the interview, Dieke added the word “+ keeping”, meaning it would be very difficult to keep the system operational.]
Jos: Would you like to have free land, if everyone else also gets theirs ?
Dieke: Yes, but only if everyone else also gets it.
Jos: indeed, that is why i asked it that way. Do you have something to add [to the interview] ?
Jos: Thank you for the debate.
Dieke: OK, at your service.
Jos: What was your education ?
Dieke: Social geography, which i used to call antisocial geography. Humans where reduced to statistics.
[A few more days later …]
Jos: Dieke, i looked up how much agricultural land you would get in the Netherlands: 42×42 meter. That would be a nice piece of land, wouldn’t it ?
Dieke: it would be quite nice, less than a quarter hectare. you can do something with it, especially if you work together.