• Leon de Leeuw

Since the Corona crisis, there's been a discussion on cheap flights across Europe. The air now is cleaner than ever. Flights have been cancelled at large. Vacations are cancelled. Now that's all valid because of the virus. But the discussion is about the flying at large. For when this is over. So forget about the virus, that's not what the article is about.

If you scroll through some Dutch comment sections, on websites such as Nu.nl, there's many in favor of stopping cheap flying altogether. They look with disdain on people flying to Lisbon or Barcelona for cheap. And for short, because these are often weekend trips. You'd nearly be ashamed to take a flight at all. There's a lot of thought police going around. I'm for the principle of Live and let live. Do no harm onto others and stay out of other people's business.

Now I understand this clean air and less traffic on the road is all great. But when you want to halt flying across Europe, you immediately interfere with the free market. And I bet many are in favor of government regulations in this matter. I strongly disagree. Supply and demand dictates the market. As such, when there's enough demand for that cheap flight to London, it will be full. You dictating the market on your personal beliefs is not immediately changing the demand. Indeed, traveling by train for distances under 500 km is friendlier for the environment. Beyond that, it's flying. And many companies could shift from plane to train rides for Amsterdam-Paris or Rotterdam-London. Or do meetings remotely only. Lots of fat to trim in the business world. In fact, if those who can continue to work from home, there'd be so little traffic on the road we can all afford to fly to Rome once or twice a year.

I'd prefer no market interference from the green parties or the government. When there's enough people not willing to fly, the planes will be half empty and airlines will immediately reduce the number of flights. It's called voting with your wallet. What annoys me the most is that many of these environmentally conscious people dictating others to adapt their lifestyle, probably fly themselves as well. For that one wedding in Southern Italy, or that one trip a year. And of course, then the tickets better be cheap. But hey, THEY fly for a good reason AND only once a year. All OTHER people fly for no reason and just for fun, making that immediately illegitimate and unnecessary. What these people do is voting with other people's wallets instead of their own. This world can only be improved starting by cleaning our doorstep. Disagree with cheap fares and frequent flights? Don't fly. Have a civil discussion about actual facts on the environment, ask your boss if you can't do that meeting online or hop on a train to Munich for that conference. And all other people, well, they will vote with their wallets once the time comes. Because if there was no desire for such flights in the first place, they wouldn't have been there.

Set a good example, make a register for non-flying virtue signalers. Be on the board. Sign up yourself. I bet the register will remain empty, because you actually have a good reason to fly to London while all other people don't. And if you stay home and never fly, that's great. But perhaps water the plants instead of limiting other people's freedom of movement, willingness to live life and keep the economy going. Are low-cost airlines unfair in regards to their personnel? Most definitely. But that's a whole other discussion. And indeed we can vote with our wallets again. Perhaps KLM does better in that regard. But let me guess, apart from business travelers there's very few willing to spend extra for fair treatment of staff, right? While you're at it, look up the salaries KLM pays out for short and long-distance flight crew. The same salaries, both abhorrently low. This is the free market. If flight staff chose the better airlines such as Emirates and Etihad, they would be better off. If there's no positions open with these airlines, guess what principle applies? The free market. Instead of becoming a pilot, go in the trades or do something else that there is demand for. Yes, there should be strict government regulations on treatment of staff. But within these lines, there's nobody who's been forced to go work for Ryanair or others. Supply and demand applies, always. And I'm happy that's the case. Keep flying safe!

  • Leon de Leeuw

Time equals money. So all money is produced by investing time in a cause. The time investment, either as in starting a company, working for a paycheck, or anything of the sort, will lead to money. Some investments of your render more profitability than others. But this post focuses on time and money being equal. In fact, time is more important of a resource, because it cannot be renewed. Hence time must be considered as incredibly valuable, No matter if you see others waste tons of it each day. Time is what is given to you, and there can be no more.

As money is produced by people investing time, it means that if you spend money, you indirectly buy something with your time. A part of your finite life is invested into that new couch or TV set. And just as much as your money is produced by time you took out of your life, so is other people's money. Meaning if you borrow money, you borrow other people's time. Time equals life as the whole human life revolves around the undetermined amount of time we have on this planet. Hence if you borrow other people's money, you borrow other people's life.

No matter if you borrow from the state, the bank, your brother or your aunt, that money got to them by a time investment of some sort. Hence the obligation of paying back money you borrow. No matter how little. Keeping in mind that you don't borrow money they might not even need, you borrow time from their finite life which will inevitably end, just like yours. And as time is a resource that is incredibly valuable (even though people are wasteful of it often), the burden is on you to pay back every dime.

Even if you were a teenager who signed on a dotted line, even if you feel misled or have a useless degree, the loans are yours to pay back. You were an adult at the time and not knowing what you get into, is no excuse for not paying back loans. And if you think borrowing from the state to finance your studies is not taking other people's time, that's wrong. As it's on the taxpayer's dime, no matter how little per capita.

Often I see people being undisciplined in paying back or not starting to pay off anything until reminders start coming in. And that's not the way it should go. As a matter of etiquette, what one borrows must be returned. And there's no bailouts for a study loan. As an adult, it's a duty to pay it back. And it's not all that hard if you work on it in a disciplined manner. And as the all-inspiring Jocko Willink says: "Discipline equals freedom". Each dime you pay off, the closer you are to being free from the burden of financial obligations.

  • Leon de Leeuw

Somehow only once the door closed behind Simon, he realized he was going to be alone for the whole week. His wife was off on a conference and Simon had no idea what to do with his free time. Granted, he had to work, but what about the evenings? He had not been alone in a long time as he and his wife did nearly everything together.

Simon felt slightly sad but also a relieved. He had been keeping up appearances for a long time and since about a year or so, he just didn't feel like he used to. Some kind of sadness had dawned upon him ever after they returned from their last summer vacation. Overall it had just been dull. His wife, Veronika, didn't laugh at his lame jokes like she used to.

At least when they got married, she still thought he was funny, or at least cheesy. He at one time splashed some water at her when swimming. She was on her sunbed and got angry, because it messed with her sunscreen.

Simon now had some time to put things in a row. "If things go south, at least we don't have children", he thought. As he brewed some coffee, he already poured some milk into the cup.

He slowly sipped his brew and decided he might as well clean the house. After drinking it all up, he felt energized and refreshed. He took the vacuum cleaner and went through the whole house. As everything looked clean and smelled kind of fresh but not completely yet, he decided to mop the floor. He turned the tap all open and put a bucket with a strong cleaning agent underneath. As it filled up, he mopped all through the kitchen. It made him feel a bit better and organized his mind as well. He liked being alone so far, although it still took some time getting used to.

He looked through the window and saw Yoanna, the neighbor from across the street. She clearly winked at him. Simon had always found her to be an attractive lady. He waved back, in a shy and withheld way. She smiled and went on her way. Then it felt like a butterfly was trapped inside his stomach, he hadn't felt this in a long time. Was he even happy at all, what if he was destined to be with another lady?

It was just all a blur for Simon. There was no clarity and he merely followed the path of life as his father did. He just slid into things and life flowed along steadily. He poured another cup of coffee and sat down. He thought to himself "What if I had listened to myself, before doing what I did? Would I have even been in this place at all?" He looked outside the window again and saw an older man walking his dog.

He reflected a bit more and asked himself where time had gone. He just didn't know how he got here, and didn't know where his life would go. As the water in the bucket went cold, he went into the hallway and put on his jacket. He walked the same way as he saw Yoanna walk, about twenty minutes ago. He then changed his mind and walked the other direction, which led to the next town nearby. He felt his pockets and didn't have anything with him. It didn't matter though.

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