Berlin’s economic woes have been long in the making and, considerable as they may now be, they only threaten to get worse in the future – at least in the short term. And although there actually appears to be enough work to go around, albeit illegal, what this city really needs is Aufbruchsstimmung (a “new start” atmosphere, the drive for economic renewal), an influx of new ideas and industry.

And being that the government’s hands will remain tied for the foreseeable future, it looks as if the Berliners are going to have to do this all by themselves. Berlin needs a new chance, in other words – or a second life, if you prefer.

My proposal: After finally having realized that there is a fully functional, 3-D virtual world out there which is entirely built, owned and managed by its 2,389,608 residents (as of two minutes ago), one in which a booming marketplace is already up and running, I think that it is high time that Berlin go virtual, too.

That’s right, it’s time to do an end run around the atrophied Berlin government and hesitant real life entrepreneurs and dive right into a purely virtually solution instead (with “in-world” money, of course). Let’s rebuild Berlin online. And then let’s start our own businesses there. If you could get your hands on the virtual Friedrichstraße first, for instance, just think of the killing you would make there (one woman in Second Life has actually made her first real million with virtual real estate, no joke). Because as Second Life puts it: “From the moment you enter the World you’ll discover a vast digital continent, teeming with people, entertainment, experiences and opportunity.” And opportunity is what we want here (I mean, there), right?

Hmmm, in a way it sounds a lot like Berlin – only with a functioning economy: “The Marketplace currently supports millions of US dollars in monthly transactions. This commerce is handled with the in-world currency, the Linden dollar, which can be converted to US dollars at several thriving online currency exchanges.”

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Who wants US dollars these days? But hey, once our businesses are up and running, we can always talk to the management later about currency matters, can’t we?

I’m considering opening up a pizza shop, by the way, right next to the Brandenburg Gate. So don’t get in my way (hey, Linden dollar, Unter den Linden, I really think we’re on to something here).

And if you don’t think that my proposal has any basis in reality, well just ask Ms. Dewey about it, a close virtual friend of mine.

Come visit me at Observing Hermann…

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