The Celtic tiger revived – now taking shape of paper tiger

Sure, there  had been some danger Mr Murphy could have been hit by the brick he dropped – but he stumbled briefly, and the attempt to regain balance nearly increased his speed though unfortunately not changing the direction. And now it seems that he lined up to revive the Celtic tiger and smart economies surely require smart societies and smart universities and only smart people will be able to move Ireland towards a big society – finally big brothers are not only there to watch but they are also there to be followed.
So, a recent mail to all staff in the ivory tower of the academic savour reminded that

The first half of 2013 will mark Ireland’s Presidency of the European Union.

and stated

This is an opportunity for UCC to enhance its international recognition.

The following content then said:

I will be grateful if each of you would consult with your local management teams on themes for conferences or symposia that might be organised here during the first half of 2013.  You might then send a one pager to me by the end of January and thereafter we will prioritise those projects that are likely to have maximum impact, likely to acquire support and enthusiasm from the relevant Minister, government department, state agency etc.  An indication of pragmatic budget requirement will also help.

Yes, it is admittedly difficult to outline in such a letter to so many different department, schools, disciplines – and people – the substantial side of it. However, the entire mail doesn’t even mention really even the honest question if we, UCC, departments and schools thereof have anything to say that is “outstanding”. It is not to say that we don’t have anything to say. But there is another point which makes me thinking.
I just finished reviewing “tons of abstracts” for a world congress later this year – something with social science, social development, social policy – doesn’t play a role here to say more. There had been many submissions. My general comment, sent to the organisers:

I just completed the review. Somewhere in the foregoing process the reviewers had been asked to be generous, not least in the light as not all submitters would have an academic background. My point would be more that some of the contributors are so much caught in very tight academic frameworks of a “technicist minimalism” they they fail seeing new, real questions. They are very much basic standard presentations, probably by young academics. Though I accepted them, I think the most important contributions are actually coming from those who are open and bring new perspectives into the debate – academic or not. I look very much forward to taking part in the debates

And another point coming to my mind: two days before I submitted a paper for publication – some time back I had been asked to write it. And it took longer than expected. AndI sent the document also to some close colleagues, writing in an accompanying mail:

…. , some reading – the draft of a chapter I just submitted – and some short remarks: the topic and approach is rather unconventional and in particular this approach is somewhat unusual as it contradicts to a more or less large extent the traditional “regime analysis”, aiming on linking into the traditional social policy debate, however, also adding a different dimension to it by looking for the link of social and welfare politics into a wider framework of the mode of production. This allows making the economic perspective much clearer than especially Esping-Andersen does without falling into the trap of seeing social policy and the link to the economic system only by way of ‘productive social policy’. As such it is not meant to give an alternative view by way of an exclusionary perspective. But it may well be useful as adding to other perspectives of the debate. And it may also serve as contribution to a debate on the future of the ‘welfare state’ – not a revolutionary perspective but nevertheless a perspective that is reflecting the current stage of development of capitalism and a scenario that can be developed (as one option) from there.

Please, note that this text is not for further distribution.
….

Not well advertised, and it will not be part of mainstream-publishing and going beyond “smart solutions” it will be most likely not easily recognised by such “high-level” enterprises as the EU and the respective presidencies. But I admit I feel touched by the expression of interest by some colleagues – from different continents, showing interest. And I am actually somewhat touched (if this is the right term), reading in one of the mails:

I have two main comments.  The first relates to your use of Marx in your analysis.  While you write in English you do not write for Americans. Reading your Marxist analysis would bring about two responses from an American audience.  The first is that they have no idea what you are talking about.   Second, it is the enemy and if not that, irrelevant. My position to your writing is that to be useful it needs to be debated and in our world today and that needs to be done on both sides of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Thank you – and thank the others for these nice encouragements. And thank you, my Hungarian friend, writing today, in a completely different context:

things are worse than turmoil, I am very sceptic to see the reactions to all the errors of the past years

We see, there is surely more needed than inviting people to take up an

opportunity for UCC to enhance its international recognition

Though it is an old joke it is still true:

….. but I would not start from here ….

It is not about saying something; it is still about what to say.

Sure, some postmodernists claim that we are in principle all experts for everything. Though I am not denying the actual problematique of post-modernism, I see a simplified understanding of such statement simply as problematic. The many Mr. Murphys, well trained medical experts, getting the unbelievable high income of medical consultants, should work in that field where there specific qualification is required.
Would he trust me if stand in front of him, the scalpel in the hand …?

SMARTSilly Move Against Reason – Tautology

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