Introducing VirtualVolition

Welcome to my newly created personal blog VirtualVolition. I’ve been thinking for quite a while about launching a blog where I could share my many (sometimes too many) thoughts on issues that interest me. Most of these issues are related to economics, philosophy, politics and entrepreneurship, but include more down-to-earth topics as well. Normally I do not think highly of new year’s resolutions, but I had to actually pick a moment to make this idea happen. I already go to the gym and I don’t smoke, so what else is left to start the new year fresh? Right, a blog. Thus, for the occasion I chose 2016.

Before I start with posting my thoughts and opinions, I feel the urge to explain my motivation and intentions in general. As with most initiatives, they result from the observation of a problem. In my case, I believe there is a general lack of interest in, and engagement with issues that either concern us directly, or that have an impact on our environment. By “us” I primarily mean fellow students and others of the so called ‘generation Y’. From my point of view, we are not critical enough in assessing these issues (if we do at all), and we too often fall back on the relative comfort of ignorance.

To be more concrete, let’s take the debate around the financial crisis and wrongdoing in the financial sector as an example. As students, we arguably have a big stake in the proper functioning of this particular industry, since it has to safeguard our future earnings. It is also a potential source of employment (at least for many of the students in Rotterdam who are active in the area of finance and economics). It is safe to say, however, that there are still some substantial, unresolved issues in terms of morality and integrity within the financial sector. Several recent publications by journalists speak volumes of what is wrong – and more worryingly, how little has changed over the past couple of years. Solutions are indeed hard to develop and often only partially successful, but it seems even more difficult to make people interested for something they clearly have an interest in.

So far my motivation. With this blog, I would like to encourage readers to engage with some of the issues that affect us and our environment. What is important about these issues is that they do not only affect us personally, but also have a profound influence on the world around us: our perceptions about immigration, our interactions within companies, and our experiences of public insecurity are all contributing to this thing we call society. Consequently, we have, quite simply, the opportunity to preserve the things we hold to be good, and change the things we like less. This is how I came up with the term ‘virtual volition’, as volition roughly means the will to do something. What this something actually consists of and how one should go about it, is for you to decide.

Yes, this blog has an intellectual, idealistic ring to it. I have some outspoken opinions concerning the issues I will discuss. Yet my aim is not to draw you into my point of view, but rather to invite you to develop and express your own. Agreement is nice and useful, but hardly satisfying. Although some stuff might sound naive or pretentious, I believe it is always better to express your opinion (hopefully in a convincing manner) than to remain ignorant by looking the other way.

Well, there you have it. I hope my intentions didn’t scare you too much. After all, this blog is just an experiment in sharing my thoughts. And if I can encourage some of you to think and share along, that’d be nice.


Author: Felix den Ottolander

Owner of China Hand (