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„Komunismus znamená v pravém a úplném smyslu bludné učení, že nikdo nemá míti žádné jmění, nýbrž aby všechno bylo společné, a každý dostával jenom část zaslouženou a potřebnou k jeho výživě. – Bez všelijakých důkazů a výkladů vidí tedy hned na první pohled každý, že takové učení jest nanejvýš bláznovské, a že se mohlo jen vyrojiti z hlav několika pomatených lidí, kteří by vždy z člověka chtěli učiniti něco buď lepšího neb horšího, ale vždy něco jiného než je člověk.“

Karel Havlíček Borovský ve svém časopise „SLOVAN“ 26.7.1850


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Bata Tomas a logoBata Tomas a EU

Albert Einstein: „The problems that exist in the world cannot be solved by the level that created them.“

Tomáš Baťa: „It doesn't exist - it can't.“

***

Business and social debate at the Tomáš Bat'a Memorial in Zlín. I recommend a great debate by people who call things and events by their real names and remind us how relevant the legacy of Tomáš Bat'a is (from the eighth minute). Bata was the largest Czechoslovak company and the seventh largest in the world. April 3 was the 145th anniversary of his birth. Below is an excerpt from the debate.

***

Tomas Bata: "My factories without people are just pieces of steel and concrete."

The young, newly-entered secretary did not greet Bata in the corridor before she reached the end of the corridor, she was unemployed - of strictness and character. "A man with a crooked character can't do a straight job."

Bata was an emotional company; it's not money that keeps it going, but the enthusiasm of the people. You can't give what you don't have. You can't appreciate yourself, you can't appreciate other people. It was Bata that taught people to find a relationship with themselves and to be able to give that to others. That's where Bata's service begins. It's not defined, it's something extra. It's a conscious perception of people, situations and life itself. It costs nothing, that's the beautiful thing about it, it's not connected to finances.

The most precious thing we have is our time and our energy.

Let us learn to serve and then we will not be able to escape money. Service is like a magnet, when people meet, they like to come back to us. Service is a business philosophy.

Ivan Batka: „Covid is not the cause, but the accelerator of the necessary changes!“

The economy has led to this situation. It was not surprising at all. We knew it for a long time. It wasn't caused by China, but by us making a long-term decision to give the hard work to others (in Europe it will just be design and research) and what have we come to? Where there is manufacturing, logically design and research moves there and the know-how we once had has been transferred elsewhere and we no longer have it. If you stop playing football, you can't win games.

The energy crisis, why?

If ideology and utopia prevail, then logically there must be a consequence. That consequence is where we are today. Everything has to be done professionally and everything cannot be solved in one day (green ideology). We are not in a crisis, but in a period of transition. It was the same from 1928 to 1932. It will start with an energy crisis - if there is a cold, there will be blackouts, because anyone who understands a little can calculate that. There just isn't enough energy. With the energy crisis, we get into an industrial and economic crisis. The reality is that businesses are shutting down today. There will be no fertilizer, food will get more expensive next year. We don't have AdBlue, so trucking is collapsing. It is not China that is causing the collapse in shipping (it will ship out in 3 days), but the USA, where there is chaos, empty containers and ships. The same spills over to England and Europe because we are dealing with things exactly as Bata would not have dealt with them and as he fought against.

Einstein's definition of insanity: "Doing things the same way and expecting different results."

A classic case of printing money over and over and over again. It doesn't work and it doesn't solve anything, so we do it again and again ...

We have one crisis, we print money, we have a second crisis, we print money, we have a third crisis, we print money. Why do we print it? Because everybody says it will be different next time. That's Einstein's exact definition. Energy crisis, industrial crisis, economic crisis. A bunch of companies in Europe are standing still, coal has no ceiling, whatever is available outside Europe is bought by China, it does not get to Europe. China has banned the export of fertilisers, food, raw materials and other things because it needs to provide things for itself.

The moment you displace things to China and China bans things from being exported, I think we are in for a very interesting period, and that is only because we have decided to outsource. That means that you start to have your feet on the table and expect somebody to do something for you. That is Europe today. It was always the downfall of any empire the moment it started to outsource.

Bata liked to use a saying from the Bible: "Only in that field is born where the farmer follows his plough."

If we do not follow our plough, let us not be surprised at the consequences. We are in a fundamental transformation that we do not name, we do not recognize. Therefore, we will suffer the consequences. It will not be easy and it will be a very big challenge for everyone, because there is no European industry. In the Czech Republic, we have only a few companies that make final products, and we are often just a subcontractor in a chain. The subcontracting chain is being disrupted by the transformation and must be fundamentally changed.

Crises in a company are completely different, I trigger them by deliberately creating a crisis, for example I demolish a house where unnecessary things were put away, where people have their attics where they naturally put things away. The moment you don't have that land, the whole organism has to adapt to the fact that there is no land and therefore it logically leads to a change in people's behaviour and a change in processes. Even the change in processes will be made by the people who are doing it.

The future is not what it used to be.

Modularity is a field for future uncertain times. I'm appalled that entire countries talk only about dating. We're not able to support ourselves, that we're actually fed by these subsidies. Bata would talk very uncompromisingly about these things. Prof. Milan Zelený: "It's like a circus that comes for a weekend and on Monday everyone is prosperous, it's quiet - and there's a crisis."

We can't make a tender, there must be companies to do it, ours won't pass. These are the consequences of everything that has been put in place. Go back to localisation, use our people, our heads, then we are able to function. The farmer has to stand behind his plough and look after his field.

When Bata discovered a floor of useless officials, "Everybody out and hoe the beets!"

Subsidies are the road to hell. During the crisis, Bata cut prices by 50%, started exporting factories abroad - and grew. It's going to get more expensive, printing money started inflation much earlier. Ivan Bata: Banks, instead of financing projects, moved money into stocks and speculative things. This is waiting to be solved. There is more money in derivatives alone than the output of the entire world economy. "It's a poison ball that everyone is afraid to touch," said one global financial expert. Forget that gas and electricity will return to the levels of two years ago, that's not possible. Let's build our industry and economy with an end product that serves the customer directly. Foreign companies helped us build, for example, car companies, but the huge dividends are gone, abroad, while their industry is long dead, as everyone knows. We can't make as many cars anymore because they started being made in China. It now has its own cars, its own industry. There's nowhere to take them, why doesn't anyone name it? And we continue to put this country in debt because we're doing exactly what we're not supposed to do.

We're going to rehab again.

I don't agree with subsidies, bailouts, printing money, refusing loans, living on debt. We are going exactly the other way and logically we will suffer certain consequences. All this will force us to look at things from a different perspective, to understand that printing money will not solve the problem.

Moving from a linear to a circular economy - doing less and more with better quality.

We'll get 50% more expensive, but our products have to last 2x as long as before. Products must be innovated, not replaced. We have to finally come to the point that we can't have a new cell phone, a new ski, a new brand every year, I don't need a new bike all the time. We are creating a huge amount of waste and problems. Ivan Bat'a: Bat'a told us how to do it, his amazing grail that he left for the country and entrepreneurs, I couldn't decipher it for 10 years: Alexander the Great went to the richest merchant of the time and asked him: "Please, what is the secret of your success and wealth, how is it possible that you are the richest man in the world? The merchant replied, "I buy dearly, I sell cheaply." Prof. Jan Švejnar hasn't got it yet: "The real art of business is not to compete with others with low wages, but with high wages."

Bata was a fiercely right-wing politician like Ronald Reagan: "If something works, tax it; if it stops working, subsidize it.", this is how he spoke to socialists. Bata was a believer in honest and characterful work with the idea that everyone should start with himself. An endless spiral of inflation leads to the demise of society. 

Tomas Bata: "Ninety-nine mistakes, 100th success."

Bata's visionary proof of balance: 'Let us not forget ourselves'. Bata knew that the more his co-workers forgot about life, the more they would soon stop enjoying work. He didn't want people to be fixated on the work itself. For managers at Bata, the rule was: "Have at least one hobby. Learn to slow down. Balance is important."

***

145 years ago Tomáš Bat'a was born - he died tragically in a plane crash in 1932.

Tomas Bata by 1931: 24 companies, 1,045 stores, 16,560 employees.

Jan Antonin Bata from 1932 to 1942: 120 companies, 5,810 stores, 105,700 employees.

Bata Jan AntoninJan A. Bata saved thousands of Jews by sending fathers and their families to Bata's foreign branches before the Nazi occupation began. He supported the training of 1,000 pilots when he sensed the beginning of the war. Supported the resistance against Nazism and the exiled government of Edvard Benes in London. One of his company managers in Slovakia, Capt. Josef Trojan, was one of the greatest heroes of the Slovak National Uprising.  Jan A. Bata was sentenced by the Communists to 25 years of hard labour. To this day, his descendants have not been returned the confiscated property or paid compensation. In Brazil again to build cities and factories. In 1956 he was nominated for the Nobel Prize (he renounced his candidacy in favor of another Brazilian). He died in 1965, on the day of the opening of the new bridge over the river that was his idea with the words: "Truth will come to the surface like oil over water". 

Let us redirect the current in the right direction while there is time, otherwise the coming times and trials will sweep us away!

Jan Šinágl, 31.10.2021

***

Appendix for a comprehensive understanding of Bata's system and ideas

Bata said that he wanted his people in the company to be educated and rich, because only they are free. And his statement was that first we must teach people to earn money (and of course to work honestly and well), then we must teach them to save and not to go into debt, and then we must teach them to spend this money wisely. So work, yes, but with these goals and components. Then people rightly post in the discussion and get angry that they work all their lives and have nothing. But this is just incorrect and useless discussion over a misleading text. We are not supposed to compete on cheap labor, but to add value and pay our associates well. Like Bata did. But if they don't explain the above context of Bata's words and take the shortcut, misunderstanding arises and the whole discussion and criticism is unnecessarily played out on a poorly defined and grasped context.

Otherwise, what has to be added to the engines of new diesel cars and trucks today is defacto produced as a by-product of ammonia and urea production, and because it is not profitable for fertiliser companies to produce fertiliser now, given the high price of gas (which is why there will be little of it next year and why food will probably continue to become more expensive), there is not enough of it.

Another English word - outsource - is to outsource, to subcontract. This has destroyed all empires, I often like to use the comparison that the Roman legions started losing when they recruited foreign tribes to fight for the Roman Empire and this gradually led to its disintegration and demise. The parasites prevailed. That's why I emphasized the biblical analogy of the farmer behind his own plow that Thomas was so fond of.

I then mentioned Jan Bata during another discussion of about 45 minutes. I completely agree with you that Tomas Bata laid the unique and extraordinary foundations of the temple and Jan Antonin built it into glory and prosperity. They were like yin and yang - only the work of both of them makes a unique whole. It was only politics, greed and the struggle for possessions that finally destroyed it, as it has many times in history. Even today, unique temples are being demolished due to ideologies.

It was Rašín and Švehla who were otherwise wise when the republic was founded. They thoughtfully sent bands into the streets so that the establishment of the republic would not become an attack on people and temples, but a celebration of change and the emergence of a new stage in the common journey of Czechs, Moravians and Slovaks.

Ivan Bat'ka, 31.10.2021

***

1.11.2021: Speech by the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic ing. Andrej Babiš at the Climate Summit in Glasgow

Ivan Baťka: Mistakes cannot be redeemed with money

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