Friday, October 10, 2008

Coches caros, coches baratos.

Son datos que ya no llaman la atención, entre el vendaval de malas noticias que nos sacude estos días. Sin embargo, este artículo del Financial Times sobre la crisis en la industria del automóvil tiene un par de detalles curiosos.
Las grandes marcas, las de toda la vida, están en graves problemas. Parece que la gente se ha cansado de comprar coches o mejor dicho, ya no tiene dinero. Por ejemplo
Volvo Cars, owned by Ford Motor, yesterday announced a fresh round of 4,000 job cuts, bringing its total planned reduction in headcount to 6,000, or about 25 per cent of its staff.

Pero no se trata sólo de los suecos:

Volvo's axeing of jobs adds to a lengthening list of temporary plant closures and layoffs across the continent by all of Europe's big carmakers from the UK and Spain to the Czech Republic and Poland, from Renault and PSA Peugeot Citroën to Daimler, Volkswagen, BMW and Ford."We'll see a lot of companies going down to a four-day work week in Europe," said Prof Peter Cooke, a motor industry specialist at the University of Buckingham in the UK.
Hasta aquí, todo mal. Lo que me llamó la atención, sin embargo, no ha sido esto, sino la segunda parte del artículo, las buenas noticias:
Rolls-Royce goes against the flow to recruit workers as its sales rise more than 40% While most European car brands are cutting shifts and sending workers home, Rolls-Royce is hiring.The luxury carmaker, owned by BMW and based in Goodwood, England, hired 200 staff this year and will add another 200 in 2009. Its sales are up by more than 40 per cent this year.Rolls-Royce, along with a handful of luxury brands such as Ferrari and Lamborghini, is still seeing sales rise, even as most other carmakers cut back.

No sé si captáis el matiz. Pepín y Xicu ya no alcanzan para comprarse un turismo con el que escaparse a comer la empanada de los domingos, pero mientras tanto los accionistas de su empresa se pasean por el concesionario de la Rolls con la chequera ya abierta. Son malos tiempos, sí, pero no para todos.
Tanto el Volvo como el Lamboghini son más que máquinas. Son símbolos. El Volvo es la tecnología barata, el sueño de la clase media, la recompensa al fiel empleado de las cuarenta horas semanales. El Lamborghini es la obscenidad del rico, el puro despilfarro, el cartel que proclama "soy más poderoso que tú" a los pobres fracasados que miran desde la acera.
Hoy, 2008, el Volvo está en decadencia y el Lamborghini está en ascenso. Así de claro

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Mozart y Dios

There are some music pieces which are just powerful: they flow you away like a flood, like the waves of a furious sea.
The Great Mass kyrie is one of these, but I don`t feel it like a storm or a gale but instead like the quiet, benevolent, almost indifferent might of a huge beast, like the unstoppable dragging of a glacier along the valley. It doesn`t really matter what I am thinking at the moment, or what I am going through: working problems, boredom, whatever it is. This shocking tune simply gives me peace: overwhelming, blissful, amazing peace. I was 18 when I first heard it, and remember that I could hardly breathe for the time it lasted, that the joy was so unbearable I almost cried.
The first “Kyrie” is nothing but an introduction, something like “hear, hear!” which heralds the core of the piece, the “Christe”. And then there the gates open, and the soprano enters, and words fail. I mock Mormon missioners and Witnesses of Jehova, I despise the self-help drivel and the groundless “hope” that Ophra-like psychologists and religious fanatics alike claim we should feel. And yet, if Mozart managed to find this beauty, if this music is something real, then perhaps we are entitled to feel hope, after all. Perhaps there is more in life than fear and disappointment. Perhaps there is a merciful god, somewhere.