a(nother) sad day, a(nother) sad policy development, a(nother) sad country

 

I received a mail from, Zsuzsa, a good friend of mine – she sent it also to others; Adrian and John, also fiends of mine, circulated it via some mailing lists – and I want to do my part in distributing this news, hoping also to contribute to mobilisiation of as many as possible. Thank you for standing together, the only way to overcome. — While sitting here, writing …, no, I will not cry; and I will not answer in the biblical way of Exodus 22-25

22 “If people are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely[e] but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. 23 But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life,24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.

But I will make use of the energy, that comes from the confrontation with evil …

Here now

Zsuzsa’s mail

Yesterday [=August 8th; p.h.) (full vacation time, nobody at the universities) the government sent a government decree to all universities. There  was no previous consultation or discussion. The decree forbids the teaching of GENDER STUDIES.  Almost all universities have some such subjects, CEU and ELTE Masters degree studies. The decree allows those already enrolled to finish their degree, but nothing else. Despite the exceptionally hot weather there are already many signs of indignation and outcry, and some started to organise conferences or petitions. Civil associations will send open letters, etc.

Do you see any way foreign organisations – including SPA, BSA –  could join us? Maybe open letters to  our government? And how should it run?

Dear Prime Minister , or

To Prime Minister of Hungary, Mr. Viktor Orbán!

We have been informed by…? that a government decree enacted  without previous consultation with the interested parties have been sent out ordering the closure of the teaching of gender studies. (We understand that those already enrolled at MS courses may finish their degree but no new courses are allowed.)

Our understanding of the legal and real autonomy of higher education excludes such measures. However, even if it may be legal according to Hungarian legislation, it seems to us a major attack on social science. Gender studies form since … an integral part of …etc.

(If somebody  has official contacts with Hungarian teachers of gender studies, this may be mentioned.,)

We ask (?) the Hungarian government to withdraw the decree in order to…

….

Please, help with the letter, with possible forms of support, with whatever you think.

I have to add that 2-3 years ago they already prohibited the courses of anthropology and andrapedagogy, but then noise was not loud enough. (The original Law of higher education made it the right and duty of Univ Senates to found  or close faculties, degrees etc., but this was altered too, in 2015. Hence the current step is “legal”.)

sad greetings from a self-revelating  dictatorship,

Zsuzsa

Adrian’s mail, sent via mailing lists, accompanying Zsuzsa’s lines

I have just received this email from Zsuzsa Ferge whom I have known and admired for nearly 50 years. The first professor of social policy in Hungary, she has made a major contribution to the social sciences, and especially social policy and sociology. Recently there have been increasing attacks on the universities, reducing their powers and that of the Hungarian Academy of Science ( Zsuzsa was made the first social policy member some 15 years ago). This is the latest development.

I have a very poor record in getting my own government to change decisions, let alone another one. But it does seem to me important to show that there is wide concern at developments such as this one. I do not know whether many individual letters or group ones will have more impact – both probably.

Best wishes, yours, Adrian

Finally John’s mail

Thanks, Caroline. The BSA and European sociological networks have it in hand already. But as it hasn’t reached me via ESPAnet or the European social policy jiscmail, I’ve added them here and would encourage maximum further dissemination to all the networks we are linked with in whatever subjects even at the risk of overlap and duplication.

John

*******

Still, I may add one point – I discussed it actually frequently with John, with Zsuzsa and so many others: It is not just about Orban and Hungary, as little as the discussion about Turkey is about Erdogan and Turkey, as little as Italy is a just one single case, as much as “we are all Greek” – we are all …, if we are ready to be!

Annunci

Privatisation through the backdoor

 

on New Deal For Irish Families, states at the end of his article

Real choices for mothers and their partners requires a social investment state that supports families throughout their life course.

Of course, at first sight it is laudable but then …

 

Would it not be even more laudable and plausible to establish another reference as the words of Bertrand Russels who suggests in his In Praise of Idleness

that four hours’ work a day should entitle a man to the necessities and elementary comforts of life, and that the rest of his time should be his to use as he might see fit. It is an essential part of any such social system that education should be carried further than it usually is at present, and should aim, in part, at providing tastes which would enable a man to use leisure intelligently.

Indeed,

(l)eisure is essential to civilization, and in former times leisure for the few was only rendered possible by the labors of the many. But their labors were valuable, not because work is good, but because leisure is good. And with modern technique it would be possible to distribute leisure justly without injury to civilization.

https://www.datocms-assets.com/45/1522837592-soldi-alati-2.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&ch=Width%2CDPR&auto=compress&w=
500&h=500&fit=crop&dpr=1&fm=jpg

Isn’t the rhetoric of “social investment”, seen in connection with targeting choice between family and career, not only wrong by way of reducing social policy on a labour market instrument, but also by way of misguiding the understanding of work? Isn’t it with such social investment perspective also established as private matter through the backdoor? Instead of paying for childcare privately the state (or possibly private public partnerships) ar paid in kind, through the work they do instead. Redistribution of wealth has to go hand in hand with redistribution of  work. Indeed, Nicolas Bueno in his short Introduction to the Human Economy makes a point that is surely interesting enough to overcome the idea of social investment as a social policy. He writes

Once human beings are delivered from being thought of as mere producers of economic value, a part of the time and energy that was before only dedicated to producing goods and services can be used in order to create something else. But what can individuals create with their human potential? Human benefits.

 

Vermeers “Woman in Blue” and the challenge to counter global hegemony of “stakeholder-democracy”

Of course, this “Davos of the East” as it is sometimes called,, and which I mentioned previously, is a special challenge as it is about an invitation to accept the rules of the hegemon, while it is for me the obligation to maintain the role of the anti-hegemeon while knowing that there is always the one option: being seen as fig-leaf or, and this is the serious problem, being absorbed: the anti-hegemonic position being reinterpreted and smoothly welded into the existing interpretation of things. – Dialectic of change one may say; there is no way to succeed but one has to try nevertheless and endlessly like Sisifo.

Part of the dialectic is of course to be in one way or another part of a group that is in line with widespread claims of a

representation of a post-nation state governance system

referring to Katerina Gladkova who is analysing Two years into the SDGs, asking if it is about neoliberalised development? What she says with respect of the SDG-strategy, finds its valid application in many of these “new institutions” – they are another

window-dressing exercise in democracy. The multistakeholder model dilutes boundaries of accountability and is not representative of the needs of the many; on the contrary, it serves the interests of the privileged minority advocating for the neoliberal world order.

******

I became aware of the task in an entirely unexpected context, namely when looking – together with Angela Maria Opel, as part of the guided tour “Love letters in the Painting of The Netherlands” – at Vermeer’s Women in Blue Reading a Letter, currently hosted in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich. A seemingly harm-, possibly meaningless painting of which the value is at first glance its beauty – and as well all know beauty is always contestable. And equally any interpretation of one painting is questionable because painters are children of their time and a single painting is only a piece of the jigsaw, composed by painter and time. The contemporary trinity of Dutch paintings can be seen in map, letter and necklace, frequently appearing not only in Vanmeer’s work. It is the trinity of the young and independent republic, the temptation by the glamorous jewellery, representing the ancient regime – and the dispute over it, now, as the weapons had been laid down. As such , reading the letter may have been not least a matter of political commitment, a question of resisting the temptations of short-sighted glamour and persisting in moving forward towards the new republic which represented at the very same time a new economic formation. Seen in this light, the review of the painting can also be seen as reflection of the close connection between the political and the personal: the urgency of reading, pushing aside the obvious temptation by vanity, the longing for true love standing against the superficial glamour, and this means also the possibility of rejection, the dispute about love going beyond the visible glamour – indeed, the rejection of such letter as depicted by Gerard ter Borch; indeed, not every gallant soldier had been a welcomed soldier.

On the other hand, the light, so typical for Vermeer, can be in some way as competent for the glamour of the pearls: the glamour of the outreaching trade of the new republic … – sending the loved one away for the explorations or receiving the news from abroad? – it had been the tension also of Gabriël Metsu, positioning the Man Writing a Letter and the Woman Reading a Letter side by side, all at a time when Claude Lorrain was painting the variations of the seaport (yes, I had been teaching on tis, in Budapest [economic thinking in six paintings])

An interesting detail may be that Vermeer actually used “real blue”, extracted from lapis lazuli – something for instance van Rijn could not afford /// …. . In other words, Vanmeer represented very much the upper class, most likely the new hegemons. This thought may be extended – the blue of the woman’s garment finds its continuation ih the cooer of the wall in front of her, where it still continues as shadow. As such it continues as well from the map – on may suggest that it is marking the seafarers nation, and it finds finally its strange settlement in the chair, covered with a material with of darker blue, kept tight with golden nubs. – Thus we would have the perfect tension: while the weapons are silent, the soldiers trying their fate in a peaceful “mission with their gallantries”, representing the old regime as much as the regime’s attempt to convince by jewelry and words, the new economic power provides a firm and guided resting point. The old and the new hegemons standing against each other, courting her, The Netherlands.

Sure, such interpretation is not least a matter of speculation, or turned positively: a matter of inspiration and reflection – the reflex of time and times, space and spaces.

******

– With this we return to the beginning, though we are not talking about any new republic, we surely talk about some far reaching changes. Understanding them, and understanding them in their deeper meaning we have to go beyond the reflection of extended stocktaking. Robert Cox actually outlined the challenge, writing about two different kinds of theory:

Beginning with its problematic, theory can serve two distinct purposes. One is a simple, direct response: to be a guide to help solve the problems posed within the terms of the particular perspective which was the point of departure. The other is more reflective upon the process of theorising itself: to become clearly aware of the perspective which gives rise to theorising, and its relation to other perspectives (to achieve a perspective on perspectives); and to open up the possibility of choosing a different valid perspective from which the problematic becomes one of creating an alternative world. Each of these purposes gives rise to a different kind of theory.

The first purpose gives rise to problem-solving theory. It takes the world as it finds it, with the prevailing social and power relationships and the institutions into which they are organised, as the given framework for action. …

The second purpose leads to critical theory. It is critical in the sense that it stands apart from the prevailing order of the world and asks how that order came about. Critical theory, unlike problem-solving theory, does not take institutions and social and power relations for granted but calls them into question by concerning itself with their origins and how and whether they might be in the process of changing.[1]

Indeed, then contributing to the debate on new technologies, unemployment and precarity, will be not least a matter of refraining from using those terms. It is more a matter of looking at the underlying overall goals and the framing contexts, the why behind the what. It is, in other words, about rejecting the mainstream principle, by Richard and Daniel Susskind[2]seen in the fact that professionals

are inclined to ask themselves what it is that they do today … and how they might make that service a bit quicker, cheaper, or better. Not often enough do professionals ask themselves the more fundamental question …” (37 f.)

which they understand as matter of defining the overall purpose of any undertaking we investigate. May be, being asked to talk about growth and security of employment, I should make socks statements that the need for growth is the real Sisyphos’ pain and security of employment a promised glamour of an ancient regime, similar to the jewelry that had been positioned as decoy against the new republic which may finally become at some stage a res publica, not worrying about privacy of data but about wrongly claimed publicness of GAFA.

******************

[1]           Cox, Robert W., 1981: Social Forces, States and World Orders: Beyond International Relations Theory; in: Millennium – Journal of International Studies; 10/2; 126-155; here: 128; DOI: 10.1177/03058298810100020501

[2]           Susskind, Richard and Daniel, 2015: The Future of the Professions. How technology will transform the work of human experts; Oxford University Press

relational processuality and processual relationality

Next then

Elastyczne zatrudnienie: globalny chaos czy nowa równowaga rynku pracy?/

/Flexible employment: a way to a global chaos or to a new model of labour market stability

It is a panel of the 28th Economic Forum, scheduled for the 4th to 6th of September in Krynica.

Looking at the announcement of the participants in the panel I see that

Guests from Russia, Germany, Hungary, Kazakhstan and Poland 

are announced. And that makes me wondering if they forgot me or in which box I am put. Well, I know that I am officially there in my Munich position at the Max Planck Institut for Social Law and Social Policy. Still, I am also “Hungarian”, due to the link with Corvinus University, and “Fin”, being pat of the University of Eastern Finland and …

… and am I joking?

http: //next.myworshiptimes31.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/55/2013/12/safety-net-copy.jpg

In some respect of course, which means that we are facing the reality and thinking remaining captured by four methodological flaws (see the contribution on Value Theory – is there still any value in it? – is it still worthwhile to talk about it?; in:Changing the Socio-Economic Formation: New Labour Relations, New Forms of Accumulation, New understanding of  Intelligence [working title; forthcoming]):

  • methodological individualism
  • methodological nationalism
  • methodological solutionismus as strategy of technicism, going hand in hand with permanent strategies of externalisation and relative downgrading of living standards
  • methodological presentism not least due to the urgency of matters that need to be addressed in the light of the previous point, i.e. methodological solutionism. Paradoxically, this implies that future is suggested to be present. While it enlarges the space for action, it reduces its substance as the latter can only be grasped in the light of the presence. Rüdiger Safranski contends

the enormous depth of interference of techno-social action strengthens its repercussions which are getting manifest only in the future. The manmade share in the future is increasing. Yet the openness of future still exists because the risk event may occur – but it may also not do so. No risk insurance can disperse the worries; worries can even increase indirectly via the increased want for security. … Security drives towards more security simply due to the fact that, getting used to security, one is hypersensitive when it comes to something menacing.

(Safranski, Rüdiger, 2017: Zeit. Was sie mit uns macht und was wir aus ihr machen; Franfurt/M.: Fischer 2017: 79)

However, as much future is integrated into the presence, it limits itself to presentism as factually only the real presence exists as point of reference. This results in linearly defined thinking.

While widely seen as separate issues, they can only be understood as entity of societal realities and their analysis, making us understanding agency, space, matter and time in specific ways and, as practice is also based on the way we are understanding realities, these pillars are also shaping these realities.

Finalising the work on the book “Digitisation and Precarisation – Redefining Work and Redefining Society”, edited together with Vyacheslav Bobkov, I am getting another time aware of the actual tension of problems “running in circles”: debates on globalisation and precarity are very much caught in such vicious circle as long as they cannot overcome those methodological limitations: there is no relational processuality, and equally no processual relationality that commences in one area: one industry, one issue (like globalisation, digitisation, precarisation …) or one locality unless we want to limit ourselves to spotuality: an unchanging world, given once for ever, not able and not destined to move. Indeed, as quoted recently

As long as something is, it is not what it will have been at some time. – Solange etwas ist, ist es nicht, was es einmal gewesen sein wird.

Scales falling from the eyes

Of course, change is undeniable, everywhere and at any time. And the same can be said in regard of things not changing at all, being the same everywhere and at any time. – It seems to be true for the big and also for the small matters. And sometimes we are not really aware of any of these; and/or we are not aware of the details, the question of the real meaning. Sure, there cannot be any clear answer, as there is always the perspective as decisively intervening variable. At stake here are at least issues as form, substance and perception: looking at the rainbow fish we see the sparkling scales,

https://www. worldwidefishandpets.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/boesemansRainbow2-1-1-1.jpg

though we have to ask what happened to the fish after he gave them away. Is it the same fish or not, and what – if anything – changed.

It is the question also if we look at language: so often we take words dispassionately, just as they are so well known – as it happened the other day, or I should say night, walking along the Leopoldstrasse, seeing the bakery’s light, the word Strassenverkauf – Street Trading: of course: the window where they would sell during the opening hours bread, roles and cake to the passerby – of course also the coffee to go: wiki-food for wiki-lives in a wiki-world where everything is possible:

I am expected to see the social and, to a large extent, even the real environment as a contingent. Everything could be different – and almost nothing I can change.[1]

wikiwiki – an invitation to play — wikiwiki – kiwi kiwi – Kipukapuka

Few meters on I hesitated, returned, reading it again, in a different way now – getting the impression of scales falling from my eyes: Isn’t there really some more truth in a reading that suggests that shops like this are trading in streets, shaping very much spaces, public spaces?

Here space is about living in permanent transition – space where pace matters …, as faster as better …, as further as worthier …

“Everything could be different – and almost nothing I can change“ is also about the paradox of a new world, suggesting

To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism, as Evgeny Morozov titles in his critical review.[2]

The paradox is that everything becomes transitory – and in the knowledge of this we make things to be replaced. The earlier Phoebus cartel meant to shadow light bulbs

The Phoebus cartel had an ambitious agenda. First, it stabilized prices at a fairly high level. The demand for lightbulbs was inelastic—that is, it changed little with the price of the object. Because as a rule consumers spent far more on electricity to power bulbs than on bulbs themselves, the price of electricity was the chief factor determining the demand for lamps. European producers reasoned that higher prices on bulbs would not depress sales while boosting profit margins per unit sold. General Electric particularly liked this policy, which allowed it to keep prices in the United States lower than European ones and so discourage challengers from the continent. In addition, the cartel provided for licensing technology among members, a system that earned GE substantial royalties. Finally, Phoebus pursued a far-reaching program of technical standardization. European firms had been producing electric lamps with a dizzying variety of voltage, longevity, brightness, and socket size. The cartel sought to regularize bulbs, setting up a central laboratory in Switzerland to which all members had to submit their goods. Few objected to the policy, as standardization lowered production costs as well as confusion among consumers. Another initiative, however, did not earn such universal praise. Phoebus (and in the United States, GE) systematically changed bulbs to allow them to produce more light per unit of electricity. This also cut the average life span of bulbs by about 20 percent, forcing consumers to purchase more of them. The cartel did not advertise the change, but when called to account, managers pointed out that the new bulbs provided more light per unit of power and so benefited customers. It was not clear, however, why consumers could not have chosen for them- selves between the new, brighter bulbs and the old, longer-lasting ones.[3]

The new cartel is about more. It is about making us to live lives in transition  – instead of furthering enlightenment, shadowing the being itself.

Occupied – being busy is the new and ultimate way … tired is the new stoned.

****

The other day I went with two friends after lunch around the corner – who could have resisted the question ‘We’ll go for an ice-cream?’ – ’Sure, best gelateria in town’ I smirked. There had been a more or less long queue, people well ordered entering the small place, ordering, being asked which ‘top-up’ they wanted to test – just a spoon full, moving on to the cash register and then we stood more or less in the way, enjoying ice-cream and company under the little awning – indeed, there is room in even the smallest cabin.

This is the pleasant of being caught in a machinery of shops, eateries, service centres …As it is a pleasant way to go for a cuppa in the shop next to the Institute – where they have coffee to Gogh.

****

…all trading in streets, highly social in their orientation on shaping spaces in which we move, or in which we are caught, not feeling in a position to move. Sure, supposedly we are acting purely as individuals, like the Smithian butcher, brewer, or baker of whom we know he following:

Whoever offers to another a bargain of any kind, proposes to do this. Give me that which I want, and you shall have this which you want, is the meaning of every such offer; and it is in this manner that we obtain from one another the far greater part of those good offices which we stand in need of. It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages. Nobody but a beggar chuses to depend chiefly upon the benevolence of his fellow-citizens. Even a beggar does not depend upon it entirely. The charity of well-disposed people, indeed, supplies him with the whole fund of his subsistence.[4]

Even if we really behave like individual butchers, brewers and bakers, nolens volens we create spaces and publicness – being occupied by our occupations — and confronted with the challenge of occupying them – on this level the choice of ice cream in the small place around the corner and grabbing a sandwich at the window, ops Strassenverkauf – Street Trading.

****

Perception matters – perception of things, beings and being. And perception is not least about perceiving historical truth, truth of history, of change and stability and how it is seen. Martin Walser, being interviewed as one of the Zeuge des Jahrhunderts, states pointedly

As long as something is, it is not what it will have been at some time. – Solange etwas ist, ist es nicht, was es einmal gewesen sein wird.

And the same, cm grano salis, can be said when it comes to language:

As soon as we use words, we may use them in a way that is different to what they meant when they had been used originally. Yes, there is movement as well of language and its use and understanding.

Moving – Heraclitian movement is also about moving oneself, not (primarily) as self-movement for the sake of oneself, instead as actively moving oneself in order to move society in order to build a society that allows to move …

… indeed it is about the butcher, the brewer, or the baker.

Sure, so far

[w]e address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages.

But is it entirely true? Aren’t we also at times go to a craftsperson who is clearly distinctive from the replaceable machine, tool or vending machine – who ‘is what s/he works and works what s/he is’? Isn’t s/he like most of us hoping to be able and encouraged (today one would say empowered) to live in a society

where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic.

A passage that is still appreciated, even if Marx wrote these words in the German Ideology already in1845.

***************************************************************************************************

[1]       (Mir wird zugemutet, die soziale und weithin sogar die dingliche Umwelt als kontingent zu begreifen. Alles könnte anders sein – und fast nichts kann ich ändern.)

(Luhmann_Politische Planung-Aufsätze zur Soziologie von Politik und Verwaltung_1971_VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.pdf: 44)

[2]       (public affairs, 2013)

[3]       Wells, Wyatt, 2002: Antitrust and the Formation of the Postwar World; New York et alt.: Columbia University Press: 21

[4]       Smith, Adam, 1776: An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations [The Wealth of Nations]

 

Utilitarianism against Utility

 

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Obviously there is no answer to the question which Lessing once put to the utilitarian philosophers of his time: “And what is the use of use?” The perplexity of utilitarianism is that it gets caught in the unending chain of means and ends without ever arriving at some principle which could justify the category of means and end, that is, of utility itself.[1]

[1]            Arendt, Hannah, 1958: The Human Condition. Introduction by Margaret Canovan; Chicago/London: The University of Chicago Press, 1998: 154

“political crap – well Cook-ed”

Scandals and no end … – still, there are some that deserve special attention. The Apple-tax avoidance policy is one of peculiar interest – for different reasons:
Think about the following:
I.
I pleaded on different occasions –  not least in connection with the data abuse by Facebook – for their socialisation: there seems to be little point in regulating monopolies – while at first glance tempering – it is a  no-go policy to break up monopolies that actually depend in their very functioning on being monopolies. Socialisation, e.g. state control, does not solve the problem but at least it puts it into a different regulatory perspective:
regulating private entities that are too big or securing democratic control over relevant political bodies, that is the question.
II.
Public control, then, is of course an issue that deserves …, not just special attention but a conceptualisation of the public itself that is serious about …, well , its public character. On this topic we read for instance:
public (adj.)
late 14c., “open to general observation,” from Old French public (c. 1300) and directly from Latin publicus “of the people; of the state; done for the state,” also “common, general, public; ordinary, vulgar,” and as a noun, “a commonwealth; public property,” altered (probably by influence of Latin pubes “adult population, adult”) from Old Latin poplicus “pertaining to the people,” from populus “people” (see people (n.)).
In any case, this is quite different from what we learn about the tax system in Europe and Ireland, reading in the mentioned article (my translation);
Instead, first Lienemeyer has to investigate and understand the Irish tax model as it is applied by Apple, that means first and foremost detective work.
Thus, adding value or or piracy-policies, that is another crucial question.
III.
There is the common saying about milking the cow to limits and it is commonly said that the pitcher goes often to the well, but is broken at last.
There is, in economics, so much talk about value chains – suggesting that the enterprise and country in which the enterprise is located gets a “fair share” – said in another way: as many products today – computers, phones, cars, fridges etc. – are produced in various places, with parts from different countries, the overall value of the product will be distributed between the countries, the contribution of each “valued proportionally”. One point to be considered here is that these value chains are, as Benjamin Selwyn points out, in actual fact poverty chains, the Apple-case clearly gives another good reason to question such concept.
Two passages from the said article in the SZ clearly show the contradiction:
At the time, Ireland replied in a letter to Brussels that Apple’s advanced technology, design and the intellectual property are exclusively rooted, developed and managed in the USA, thus making it impossible to attribute it to the Irish enterprises [enterprises  set up by Apple as mediators, solely dealing with sales]
However, a little later we read the following:
In the view of the head of the department at the EU-Commission it is fact that the Irish Apple-branches run their offices solely in Ireland, have their employees only there and are, thus, ordinary Irish companies. “Then the question is: who is generating the profit? A virtual headquarter or an industrial premise with real people working?” says Lienemeyer. As Apple maintains offices in the city of Cork. this is his conclusion, Apples global business is Irish. Consequently all profit has to be taxed in Ireland.
Ireland and Apple react by being shocked. In their understanding the global Apple-tree with its mature fruits always had its roots in California.
Both, Ireland and Apple see this a affront. At the end, the question is here:
eating the apples and rejecting the tree – is that a feasible option?
To be or not to be, that question needs urgently to be replaced: Who is allowed to define what being is – and who is allowed to determine the conditions of existence of others, of majorities?
Cook, Apple’s CEO, once spoke of ‘political crap’ coming from Brussels. Actually he may be not entirely wrong after all. Leaving the tax scandal aside, there are two fundamental issues that remain without consideration:
First, regulating sick and decaying systems, that are not only undermining like cancer the entire body but already replaced completely the entire body, is hardly enough as cure against the body snatchers.
Second, this requires not least to fundamentally overcome methodological nationalism: as long as we still think in competition between regions and nation states, global capitalism will unfold exponentially – paradoxically in niches of arrogant and sexist plutocracies.