Brainstorming with B

What comes to mind these days when hearing the letter B sheds days?

Of course, Black Friday – walking along the street, looking in the shopping centres, opening a website, switching on the radio … Black Friday is everywhere. Leaving economics aside, one may wonder how it is possible.

Black lives matter – this could be another one; working on a book is coming to an end. It is a book, going back to the public event organised by the Human Rights Centre at Central South University; while the publication is running late, the topic of racism is still an important one. It is about racism in the sense of hostilities and physical attacks against people of colour, including the Chinese, as it is still suggested that the virus is a Chinese weapon against the rest of the world etc.. But there are also more subtle forms of racism as the fear of the West to loose its hegemonic power. It is the hegemonic system,, that systematically caused huge poverty in countries of Latin America and Africa; and economic model which exploited countries on a global scale, not shying away to call that policy developmental aid.

Black humour then – although one has to hold breath seeing a Twitter-message as the following, not least as it doesn’t even look like black humour but is an blunt reflection of the carelessness of exactly that exploitative model that is erected on harsh individualism of the privileged.

The image fo this tweet had been linked from an article, titled Christmas Slopes on the Ropes , informing about restrictions for holiday makers during what is known as festive season – the feast of Christ, once again showing that there is not much in praying for individuals’ support and mercy when it comes to fight for human rights, the rights of people to live and be safe.

Quality … – consistency is everything

Surely unwanted, but done — at the desk, when I paid for the headphones in a market selling multi-media ….The product’s barcode was scanned, and the same moment I have been asked if I wanted to add insurance, the question being accompanied but a brief explanation of what is covered:

if you use the headphones and you are getting dizzy …., well, if the headphones then fall down and are getting damaged, it is covered by the insurance.

Of course, I had been thinking .. not about buying such insurance but about the meaning of quality and what it means in such context of a multi media supermarket (and other outlets, stores, shops and of course also producing entities. A somewhat official definition of quality managements goes like this:

A quality management system (QMS) is defined as a formalized system that documents processes, procedures, and responsibilities for achieving quality policies and objectives. A QMS helps coordinate and direct an organization’s activities to meet customer and regulatory requirements and improve its effectiveness and efficiency on a continuous basis.

I found it on the website of the American Society for Quality – as they have certification courses in place, I suppose it is somewhat authoritative. Back to the shop and the question then, I assume that the main point about quality is that a consistent system its in place – it reminds me of ISO-standards: in principle they work in a very strange way: you say what the standard is and if it is reached you are good. We have had a discussion on this, in connection with shelter for the homelessness. An organisation offering services for homeless people may set s standard for its performance that only 5 % of the people whom they helped finding accommodation return at some stage to the centre, being homeless again. Wow, that would be success, right? Now, looking at the other side it may become tricky. Let us assume they supported 10 people to find accommodation, two people actually stay in the accommodation, five pass away after sleeping rough on the street during frosty nights, two disappeared … unknown destiny and one actually returned to the organisation, looking for help again, What can be said? I feel glad for the two who have proper accommodation now. I am sad, seeing that such a norm-setting process can claim to be successful as the self-set target is reached and I am upset to see that such quality assessment still allows so much misery in there real world.

Sure, back in the shop …. it is in this perspective complaining on a level of high living standards. But still, I felt tempted to ask if the insurance covers as well the cost for medical treatment or if this would still up to health insurance – an institution that is increasingly under pressure due to privatisation of health services, mismanagement and wrong politics. Well, I resisted temptation.

maintaining mental health

Bill Gates, profession: philantrop and good-doer.
PH, profession: grumpy complainer.

**********

Saw an SUV, standing half on the footpath, a sign saying:

dear police, dear regulatory authority, here it is allowed to park on the footpath, reference §§§….

After walking on for a few meters I return, leaving a note: dear driver, i am wondering if it is about doing what is legally allowed or what is reasonable and thoughtful.
Signed: PH, professor of legal science

**********

Parship und Statistik: alle 11 Min verliebt sich jemand, es macht freilich nur Sinn, wenn sich 2 verlieben und dann noch gegenseitig – Caravaggio ist eh unschlagbar.
Parship hat aber nun neue Plakate – endlich haben die alten Ladenhüter es auch geschafft😈

Parship and statistics: every 11 minutes someone falls in love, but it only makes sense if 2 fall in love and then even fall in love with each other – Caravaggio is unbeatable anyway.
But Parship has new posters now – it seems that finally the old shelf warmers have made it.😈

(in the meantime they changed again: interesting how images of such services change: from originally “selling people”, now selling social relationships and even attitudes – resembling some form of Gleichklang – harmony)

**********

Daily Malice

Seeing this fellow, I felt tempted to find some comforting words like: don’t worry. Even if you look ugly, you may have some inner values … – that is what really counts.
The real and serious point: why is it that they bread dogs, so much against nature? Even leading to the poor fellows suffering ill-health at some stage, e.g. suffocation, spinal dispositioning, hip-problems …

**********

A new laptop, the worst I ever owned. To some extent it is not a problem HP is responsible for (windows 10 is just a disgrace), but to some extent it means there is a good part left for HP: a repair under warrantee had not been undertaken properly; the battery does not keep up with what had been promised (to say the least); and not least the figuration of the machine is overcomplex, thus the opposite of userfriendly, contradictory and not well thought through.
Writing and submitting a feedback (“esteemed customer and user, we highly value your opinion and reporting your experience allows us to improve our performance”) had been another waste of time, a message that had been ignored. On the issue of privacy from my side: I will surely not recommend HP to others.

**********

“I see said the blind man” – one of the favourite phrases, Bob, an old friend of mine, used to say. He surely would have said so, seeing this:

It is a special application, part of a general application. The applicant is asked to complete this form in case s/he needs a barrier-free version, the font-seize surely not allowing access for those who have limited eye-sight.

It reminds me of a toilet, the door hosting a large sign

The problem: the door had been too narrow to access it even with an ordinary small wheel chair

forgetful …

Too often I forget, announcing publications – may be that it is an inner-opposition, an attempt to stand up against the academic system of which we can hear and read again and again how corrupt it is. The book Es werde Licht. Die Einheit von Geist und Materie in der Quantenphysik has another example right at the beginning. Anyway, hear some info on recent publications that may be of interest:

Social Policy Development in the International Context—Social Investment or a New Social Treatise?; in: R.-D. Hepp et al. (eds.), Precarized Society, Prekarisierung und soziale Entkopplung – transdisziplinäre Studien; Wiesbaden: Springer Fachmedien: 2020; https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-658-22413-4_3; pp 41-57

The Comedy of Big Data or: Corporate Social Responsibility Today, While Corporations Wither Away? In: M. Mulej et al. (eds.), Social Responsibility and Corporate Governance, Palgrave Studies in Governance, Leadership and Responsibility, 2020: pp. 57-92; https://doi.org/10.1007/978- 3- 030- 46095- 2_3

СОЦИОЛОГИЧЕСКИЕ ИССЛЕДОВАНИЯ
Цифровизация в контексте прекаризации Digitisation – putting precarisation into context
Получено 09.08.2020 Одобрено 02.10.2020 Опубликовано 10.11.2020 DOI: 10.19181/lsprr.2020.16.4.10

Для цитирования: Херрманн П. Цифровизация в контексте прекаризации // Уровень жизни населения регионов России. 2020. Том 16. No4. С. 119–128. DOI: 10.19181/lsprr.2020.16.4.10
For citation: Herrmann P. 25 Digitisation – Putting Precarisation Into Context. Living Standards of the Population in the Regions of Russia. 2020. Vol. 16. No.4. P. 119–128. DOI: 10.19181/lsprr.2020.16.4.10 

https://youtu.be/mDdUK5PtGLU
Vortrag auf dem Europatag des Diakonischen Werkes Deutschlands und Eurodiakonia; 2.10.2020
Steht der Sozialschutz unter Druck und muss durch die Suche nach Neuregelungen gerettet werden? Oder stehen wir vor der Aufgabe, moeglicherweise Chance, Gesellschaft neu zu denken? Dies ist die Grundfrage, an denen sich die Diskussion von Sozialschutz, Digitalisierung und künstlicher Intelligenz in der EU heute abarbeitet.

Ratio turns into nonsense, benefit into menace – again

Applying for citizenship/naturalisation in Germany means that the applicant has to undergo a test with a variety of questions. The concern issues of culture, religion, politics and policies, the economy and you name it. One of them asks

What does the abbreviation CDU stand for in Germany?

It is a multiple-choice question and the following is suggested:

  • Christian German environmental protection
  • Association of German entrepreneurs
  • Christian German Union
  • Christian Democratic

Now, leaving the official and formally correct answer aside, there is a good reasons for identifying the Christian Democratic Union at least ideologically with a club of German Entrepreneurs. Well, we may speak of a dilemma: saying the truth instead of blindly following the rules may be hugely counter-productive.

preparing the end of humankind ?

Ratio turns into nonsense, benefit into menace  
Woe unto you, that you are grandchild!  
The right, that is born with us,

Translated from Goethe’s original:

Vernunft wird Unſinn, Wohlthat Plage;  
Weh dir, daß du ein Enkel biſt!  
Vom Rechte, das mit uns geboren iſt  
(Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von, 1790: Faust. Ein Fragment; Leipzig: Goeschen: 32)

Well, this could be written today without changing any substantial issue. Online teaching will remain if not dominant so at least as co-player on the agenda. To discuss respective issues, I attended recently a meeting for lecturers and casual lecturers. One of the issues had been the problematic that students are reluctant to switch on the video. Of course, there are many sides that can be discussed in this context. One point that came up, and been about obliging students to leave the video switched on – confirming the decision would not be recorded for the purpose of publication. However, such a proposal was harshly rejected, the reason being concerns with data protection. 

You may kindly ask them, but not oblige them … doing so, would be a serious issue of breaching the right to privacy.

Indeed, ratio turns into nonsense, benefit into menace. , If we continue thinking this way, we have to be afraid that one day attendance in the class is equally problematic in the light of data protection. Going even further anything, that forces us to show up in the public, can be seen as problematic in the light of data protection, in the light of breaching privacy rights: going shopping, taking a means of public transport, going to coffee or pub, and of course even going to the public administration as for any service becomes seriously problematic. And the service workers ???? — sure, seeing this as a matter of privacy rights and data protection; equally true is, however, another interpretation: we have been fighting to be heard, to have a say in public matters, however, the result of a conservative turn is complete individualism, the loss of any rights that could be considered as social rights. Finally, MargaretThatcher succeeded — there will be no such thing as society. Taking Aristoteles, Marx, Durkheim and the many others who said that humans are social beings, seriously, we are thus preparing the end of human existence.

Looking back in order to search for the future

Pausing for a moment is not a bad thing, even if we are forced to. There is a lot of talk about the new normal and indeed, it had been last week that we had been confronted with some news that had been surely worthwhile to think about. It had been world overshoot day, this on a global level. Qatar reached it already on the 11th of February, Indonesia will be the last, reaching it on the 18th of December (https://www.overshootday.org/newsroom/country-overshoot-days/)

Of course, there are massive economic problems as consequence of the pandemic. However, a detailed analysis shows that these are problems of production: the commodity system of capitalism requires to keep costs of production low, thus separating production proper and consumption. This appears a to be a problem of distribution and linked injustice. However distribution is not really the problem. The problem is that commodity production in the understanding of capitalist production depends on separating production of use value and production of exchange value. Only refocusing the entire process on use will allow to produce what is needed by human beings instead of investors.

Artificial Intelligence

It is in the meantime a widely used term, possibly also a widely misunderstood one?

Wikipedia suggests on the disambiguation site the following:

Artificial intelligence is at this stage a widely used term, and of course we even agree by small-signing the dotted line of the big thing:

Occasionally I access websites, using the phone. In a blink of an eye the search history is available on the other machines. Sure, I do not have anything to hide …, and as said: I signed. But what exactly did I sign when? Recently I had been looking for a shop – I needed the address and knew that there are some branches in town, however, I did not know that this is actually a national chain. The web suggested the maps with the branches in Berlin, then the general website, and then … the question if I would allow google to use my position. hum …and at the very bottom

Consoling: the postcode is wrong. Or in more popular terms: Artificial intelligence has something humane: it is at times equally stupid.

皮特·赫尔曼:种族主义:日常致死还是拒绝陌生人的问题 – Racism, a matter of daily killing

(English below)

由中国人权研究会指导,中南大学人权研究中心、阿姆斯特丹自由大学跨文化人权研究中心和国家高端智库武汉大学国际法研究所联合主办的“针对当代形式种族主义:疫情带来的挑战与各国应对”国际视频研讨会7月3日召开,来自中国、美国、荷兰、德国、南非等国家和联合国的近20名人权领域专家学者围绕相关议题展开深入研讨。中南大学人权中心教授,欧洲科学与艺术学院院士皮特·赫尔曼在会上作题为《种族主义:日常致死还是拒绝陌生人的问题》的发言。

  皮特·赫尔曼认为,我们必须寻找提供公共担保的条件,来塑造我们自己的生活。在社会中,这是关于健康和服务,是关于教育,也是关于提供一个环境,使生活便利。在我们有条件的地方,从生活在不同的国家和在不同国家工作的经验,我们有条件真正展现在社会中。你不会发现种族主义,只有这种限制性的和公共的私人问题。

 视频

Under the direction of the Chinese Society for Human Rights Studies, the Centre for Human Rights Studies of Central South University, the Centre for Intercultural Human Rights Studies of the Free University of Amsterdam and the National Human Rights Commission of China. Against Contemporary Forms of Racism: The Challenge of the Epidemic and States’ Responses”, co-hosted by the Institute of International Law, Wuhan University, a high-level think tank “The international video symposium was held on July 3, with participants from China, the United States, the Netherlands, Germany, South Africa and other countries and the United Nations’ Experts and scholars in the field of human rights held in-depth discussions on related topics. Peter Herrmann, Professor of the Human Rights Center of Central South University and member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, made a speech entitled “Racism: everyday life”.

  Peter Herrmann argues that we must look for conditions that provide public guarantees to shape our own lives. In society, it is about health and services, it is about education, and it is about providing an environment that makes life easier.

Video