Morals and Standards

Another time we see the meaning of the words we find in the first volume of The Capital, chapter 31, dealing with the Genesis of the Industrial Capitalist

“Capital is said by a Quarterly Reviewer to fly turbulence and strife, and to be timid, which is very true; but this is very incompletely stating the question. Capital eschews no profit, or very small profit, just as Nature was formerly said to abhor a vacuum. With adequate profit, capital is very bold. A certain 10 per cent. will ensure its employment anywhere; 20 per cent. certain will produce eagerness; 50 per cent., positive audacity; 100 per cent. will make it ready to trample on all human laws; 300 per cent., and there is not a crime at which it will scruple, nor a risk it will not run, even to the chance of its owner being hanged. If turbulence and strife will bring a profit, it will freely encourage both. Smuggling and the slave-trade have amply proved all that is here stated.” (T. J. Dunning, l. c., pp. 35, 36.)

It is not about the genesis though, it also and even more so about maintaining the role of capital in general, paradoxically pushing you to produce and tighten the rope that may one day be seen hanging down the gibbet, when walking up the last stairs. Or is there another way to interpret the following

Saudis Use European Arms for ‘Human Rights Violations’

Is it too cynical to demand that the profits should be at least used to accommodate the refugees?

It is just appalling  to see that, what we sometimes hope to be exaggerations, is brute reality.


Two presentations coming up on the 19th of February 2016, another attempt to contribute to understanding a world (‘s development) that is apparently increasingly difficult to be comprehended – but perhaps it is easier than we think.

The one is on:

Space – A Category between Physical Extension, Economic, Re-Production and Understanding the Self

the other looks at

Precarity as Socio-Economic Transformation – New Perspectives on Social Policy

The video of the presentations will be published later.


Ah well, of course
But how obvious is it?
  • We cannot change our core Roman, or were it Greek ? values, as we subdued them by European enlightenment,
  • Smith and Bentham triumphing over Kant and the French tricolore,
  • leveling the field for the yanks who returned with their reinterpretation to Europe and …
  • … and allow today Merkel’s Schäuble to squeeze the Greek like lemons
  • and “allow” Orban’s barbed wires to cut into the veins of migrants who leave war and starvation behind before they can enter Europe
The tricolore did not say that we share with everybody – it only said we have to share something with some — selected. Some – people and countries – have to pay, so said by the slogan of the time:
  • the inner and outer periphery on which the centre can establish its affluence …. –
  • reflecting these values of individual freedom = precarious jobs
  • and equality = not allowing anybody to sleep under the bridges of Paris … – don’t we remember:
La majestueuse égalité des lois, qui interdit au riche comme au pauvre de coucher sous les ponts, de mendier dans les rues et de voler du pain.
Le Lys Rouge [The Red Lily] (1894)
  • and fraternity = the soup kitchens that take the place of the rights that the universal declaration of human rights failed to guarantee ….; where fraternity means redefining sleeping rough by offering a “pillow” near to the churches, softening the hardship by the pretension of a better world, the other world – and for the time being through charity, still leaving space for the question: is there a link between the (name of) the train station Termini in Rome and “its offer of sleeping rough in its protection” – the termination of dignity?
Of course, it may be that these – few – examples also “tell of a political reality far removed from Mr Tao Zhang’s “Europe(an) Dream”, inspired by historical “visions” (let’s take Delors or let’s refer to the founding-FATHERS) and believing in claims that gain much of their positivity not from their inherent greatness but from the fact of a lack of today’s power holders that do not allow to even think outside the ideological and physical fortress of the single finance market.
And of course, all this is about the European Dream which people like Riffkin have, putting like Albert the “Rheinian Model” against the rest of the world – a world order that allows and evokes worries about possibilities to continue  selling the same number of Lamborghinis, Porsches and Mercs to the empire of the middle.
Sure, when it comes to education then, we may have to deal with the
difficulty Chinese students face, particularly in the arts and social sciences, is in adopting the critical thinking that the Quality Assurance Agency insists master’s level courses must inculcate
this does, of course, not exist for European students (and lecturers alike) – used to the censorship of peer-reviewed publications and ranking systems that, to a large extent controlled by quasi-monopolist publishing houses, are very much algorithm-ised like google: write what we know, quote what we and our peers stated for many times, contend what is publicly accepted … and redefine harsh principles by using softened and softening frameworks like social investment, knowledge management and the failure of implementation of strategies … – you may easily make a rocketing career as long as you do not question the strategies themselves.
There is a wider perspective, looking at the secular issues and developments – or a perspective that is very narrow: lookig the current debates – you may take it as you like:
It surely opens a field for debate when people call for
indirectly suggesting the possibility of a national democracy which in actual fact is one of the core breaking points: the contention of the principle of nationality and externalisation – this is how the core value of European democracy worked since the ancient city states until the Fortress EUrope.
And this is the core European and EUropean value that asks if
without considering that we will not have a legitimate parliament – national or EUropean – as long as we have an economic system that leads to the permanent
Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disiganno – the Triumph of Time and Truth
The critical attitude …. – sure, there is some space, though we should not forget that when Baudelaire first presented Les Fleurs du mal, he was condemned to put them aside, allowed to present them later in a revised version, leaving critique to the space of sympbolism, providing there the framework for talking about the Island of the Death (Boecklin) to where Europe seems to be moving, after facing L’angelo ferito (Hugo Simberg) – the disappointed carriers make look grimly but are not allowed to revive the hope they once have had … – not so much changed perhaps, today’s critics turning away from reality and hoping for the savour from Rome who rightly criticises that this economy kills, a critique that is turned down if and when it comes from others who ask for material changes that allow and enforce liberty, equality and fraternity.
.. stating all this does not mean not acknowledging some of the problems mentioned – it means, however, to say that they are much deeper and profound, not least reflecting the need of confronting issues that emerge from the
centre on China’s Confucian cultural tradition
with the issues that are emerging from a limited understanding of rationality that systematically crucifies its own claims and pretensions and sacrifices “Moral Sentiments” on the altar of the “Wealth of the Nations” …
No, we surely cannot change the values for anybody – not for the Chinese, not for anybody … they will pay anyway …
As long as any nation or region claims today that the specifically national or regional core values cannot be changed for those of anybody else we may easily end up as An Idiot Abroad – abroad being everywhere and anywhere, and we being everybody who is still believing in the old answers suitable for dealing with the new questions, questions that are not yet correctly formulated.

The world is flat – or: can thinking flatten the world?

The world is flat … – and there is some flavor of naiveté in such theses …

Finally, the fall of the wall did not just open the way for more people to tap into one another’s knowledge pools. It also paved the way for the adoption of common standards—standards on how economies should be run, on how accounting should be done, on how banking should be conducted, on how PCs should be made, and on how economics papers should be written. I discuss this more later, but suffice it to say here that common standards create a flatter, more level playing field. To put it another way, the fall of the wall enhanced the free movement of best practices. When an economic or technological standard emerged and proved itself on the world stage, it was much more quickly adopted after the wall was out of the way. In Europe alone, the fall of the wall opened the way for the formation of the European Union and its expansion from fifteen to twenty-five countries. That, in combination with the advent of the euro as a common currency, has created a single economic zone out of a region once divided by an Iron Curtain.

Page 54 of Friedman’s book “The World is flat” (2005, 2007)

Many one hope that the thinking in the rest of the book is less flat: celebrating the formation of the EU, by dating it to 1989, and celebrating the advent of the euro as common currency at a time when some of us already predicted a harsh crisis which indeed manifested itself in 2007/2008 seems a bit …, well let us say … – lacking thoughtfulness …

It reminds me of another thing I read recently, somebody from the NorthAmericas complaining about Europe, celebrating the USA and highlighting the difference between the USA and Europe. One of the differences was telling: the Americans drive on the right side, whereas the Europeans drive on the left … – well, a sharp and clear distinction. But true in some way perhaps? The Europeans are increasingly following the flattened understanding of the world by the Yanks …, that may then be the reason for driving in foresight since years on the … – have to check next time when walking across the streets. My be the Brits are the only real Europeans ….? And they may leave the EU ? …. So many questions …