New Years Thought

It is an old poem, written by Oliver Goldsmith, presenting The Deserted Village – and there may still be something in it that is worth to be thought about today – though …

Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates, and men decay:
Princes and lords may flourish, or may fade—
A breath can make them, as a breath has made:
But a bold peasantry, their country’s pride,
When once destroyed, can never be supplied.

– though the peasant of those times was still the “worker” and the princes were the “capitalists” — in danger to be overthrown by on the one hand the precarious industry 4.0 self-designer and on the other hand the finance oligarch …


Call for submissions: Joerg-Huffschmid Award 2017

*** sorry for crossposting – please distribute widely ***

Dear Colleagues, a special “New Years Wish” – please find attached the call for applications for the


Below as well the call in English language.

Where applicable, we encourage you to hand in your work and/or pass the call on to colleagues of whom you thing they may be interested.

The Special New Years Wish, going with it: I hope we can use this as one of the Platforms on which collaboration against the conservative and right movements can be developed further.

All the best ,



In memoriam of the scientific work and the political engagement of the critical economist Joerg Huffschmid the call for the Jörg-Huffschmid-Award is published for the 4th time, awarding outstanding works in the field of Political Economy. The aim is to encourage in particular young scholars to take up on the tradition of critical thinking for which the name Jörg Huffschmid is an outstanding mark.

Joerg Huffschmid, who passed away in December 2009, at the age of 69 years, combined in his work astute analyses with a critique of capitalism and political reasoning. As one of the founders of the Arbeitsgruppe Alternative Wirtschaftspolitik, the EuroMemo group and member of the scientific council of attac and the Rosa-Luxemburg Foundation he aimed in his personal, political and scientific life on a socially just society, engaged against the supposed lack of an alternative as it had been suggested by mainstream economics. Therefore the four organisations publish since 2011 the call for the Joerg-Huffschmidt Award.

We invite final degree-theses on level of PhD, Magister, Master and Diploma. The selected PhD-thesis will be awarded with 1500 Euro, the other collected degree thesis will be awarded with 500 Euro. The work should be related to the field of Political Economy, and look, for instance at the following:

  •     finance, trade and industrial policy
  • alternatives to austerity and privatisation
  • militarisation of European foreign-, border-security and armament policies
  • working environment in the era of digitalisation
  • socio-ecological remodelling – the role of digitalisation
  • social and technological innovation and new economic systems

Encouraged are especially theses that apply an approach that brings different disciplines together, integrating economics and approaches from social and political science.

We will consider submissions that had been accepted since April 2015 by a European university/third-level institution in German or English language.[1] Applications are only accepted in electronic form, to be sent before or at the very latest on the 31st of March 2017 to the following address:

Please, attach the following:

  • Cover letter
  • Summary of 800 words, showing the link to the scientific work of Joerg Hufschmid
  • CV
  • Academic references that had been provided as part of the graduation process

Members of the Jury:

Axel Troost, Wissenschaftlicher Beirat Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, Mitglied des deutschen Bundestages; Birgit Mahnkopf, Wissenschaftlicher Beirat Attac, Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Recht Berlin; Claudia von Braunmühl, Wissenschaftlicher Beirat Attac, Freie Universität Berlin; Gunter Quaißer, Arbeitsgruppe Alternative Wirtschaftspolitik, Duale Hochschule Baden- Württemberg; Heide Gerstenberger, Wissenschaftlicher Beirat Attac, Universität Bremen; Jörg Hafkemeyer, Wissenschaftlicher Beirat Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, Universität der Künste Berlin; Peter Herrmann, EuroMemo Gruppe, Corvinus University Budapest; Silke Ötsch, Wissenschaftlicher Beirat Attac, Soziologin; Thomas Sauer, Wissenschaftlicher Beirat Attac, Ernst- Abbe-Hochschule Jena; consultative Bärbel Rompeltien

The awarding ceremony is planned for October/November 2017

Contact and further information

Peter Herrmann,, and Rahel Wolff,, Koordination Wissenschaftlicher Beirat von Attac Deutschland

You will get a more or less immediate conformation of the submission, if you do not receive this after a week, please contact both coordinators.

[1]            Submissions by members of the four organisations and members of the respective scientific councils will not be considered.

Prof. Dr. habil Peter Herrmann

EURISPES – Istituto di Studi Politici, Economici e Sociali
Via Cagliari 14
00198 Roma


University of Eastern Finland (UEF)
Department of Social Sciences
PL 1627
70211 Kuopio


Corvinus University
Institute of World Economy
Faculty of Social Sciences and International Relations
Fővám tér 8
1093 Budapest

Bangor College CSUFT
Address: 498 Shaoshan Rd(S),Tianxin District, Changsha, Hunan, 410004, China
skype: peteresosc
QQ: 2738027550
mobile: +86.1856 9511474


time …

Time to take some time …

The Queen propped her up against a tree, and said kindly, `You may rest a little now.’

Alice looked round her in great surprise. `Why, I do believe we’ve been under this tree the whole time! Everything’s just as it was!’

`Of course it is,’ said the Queen, `what would you have it?’

`Well, in our country,’ said Alice, still panting a little, `you’d generally get to somewhere else — if you ran very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.’

`A slow sort of country!’ said the Queen. `Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!’

From: Lewis Carroll: Through the Looking Glass: Chapter 2 – The Garden of Live Flowers

year after year after year …

…  it is also the time for essential questions .., and they are asked, advertisements guided us and academics, the good boys and girls of the profession at least, ask the correct questions — concise, limited on what is answerable, guided by a clear method and ethics: publish or perish … . and of course the essential questions of our economy (and social quality, of course), can be put in simple ways – it is all about
Artificial Christmas trees have gained an increasing market share, causing concern to natural Christmas tree producers. Primary data was used to test a hypothesized sequential probit model of buyer characteristics. The model predicted the probability of using or displaying a Christmas tree, then if a use decision was made, the probability of displaying a natural tree. The people who are likely to display trees are Christian, practice other secular Christmas rituals, have children, and spend Christmas at home. Those who use natural trees are younger, white, have a higher income, and live in a single-family dwelling.
One is wondering if some people or an entire profession or even academia may miss the point …
… but then again, one can see, there is good reason for in-depth research, helping us to enjoy our meal … – so before you are off for the Christmas dinner, here is the way to make even more out of it.

The Windfall of Security …

It had been a quick trip, probably a 3/3 trip: 2 days going there, 2 days working, 2 days return trip. While travelling, I am marking student’s essays and still preparing a tomorrows 8 hours lecturing – don’t say “hard working”, it is not least about gaining time to have the day of return free from work, just doing something nice. Returning early, it means there will be a long day of pleasure-leisure-time ahead.

Approximately 5 a.m. the aircraft is touching Chinese ground, Beijing – the state aircraft returning to the state. Admittedly I am a bit tired, after the usual long-haul flight sleep deprivation. There is not much time to catch the connection flight due to some delay, and due to the fact that I do not have a boarding pass yet. Waiting in the endless “one queue for all”, expecting the visa control is not my favourite activity anyway; under these conditions and standing next to a Yank who is permanently mocking does not lift my mood. Being through, I have to run: trough customs, leaving into departures … – thinking about the good old times when on such occasions the European then state-airlines offered some special support, bringing me occasionally the fast-track to the aircraft. Yes, it sill happens today on some occasions – on some …

I asked the board assistant and she said there is sufficient time, and I also asked at the boarder control, admittedly keen to jump the queue: “No no, there is plenty of time.” But while running, while leaving through the departure gate, looking helplessly around I am not entirely convinced. A small light of hope, I remember the words of the board assistant who said that, if there would be a problem, the ground staff would help …, and so there is a kind of natural relief when next to the gate a friendly person asks me if I have to transfer … – all goes so fast, he pushes the staff only sign aside, helps me with the suitcase and I feel safe … until he says “It is hundred dollars.” We pass a security/help desk, next to the exit to the parking desk, I grab the suitcase, turn to the uniformed security girl. Her kind help … does not really help due to the language barrier. But at least she points into the direction, where to go fro transfer, just he opposite direction … – and I GO, I RUSH, the guy is still behind me for a while. So I am eingekesselt xyz now: in the back the service robber, in front of me the time pressure. “No wait, wait …”, sorry, my dear, I won’t – just forget your 100 dollar. Another desk to ask, for the right desk to check in. “No, here is still the wrong terminal …” – well, a bit of exercise is good in the morning – so … I arrive at the terminal, and … yes, help is at hand. Unerring I am brought to the check-in desk, jumping with his help the queue, I hold the boarding pass in my hand, off to the security check …, it seems to be hopeless, but … my helper goes to the staff only sign, just while he is reaching out asking for money, “service charge” … I am wondering about free decisions on free markets and the agreement between two parties, the voluntary agreement based on in advance complete information … – The good thing: I really get the flight, without the last service robber I surely would not have managed. It is “privatisation the cold way” I suppose, through the backdoor: reduce service, make “state service” competitive – externalise the cost by allowing a windfall profit, now called service charge.

Today’s China Daily, Page 3 – one headline reads

Modern life presents new security challenges.

And the article says

While changes brought by the internet and the free flow of people have made life more convenient, they also pose new challenges in maintaining public security, according to the 2017 Blue Book of China’s Society, released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences on Wednesday.

It is Thursday, December 22ndMerry Christmas ….

Of course, also here in China and everywhere

Ho ho ho, market’s right here!

It is reflecting that

Rationality (is) essential for new startups

The recipe of which we know since two days

many young people started their businesses out of an interest, instead of a market need, which increases the risk of failure.

It is something others know – and they get well away with it, maintaining their power.

Merry Go Around

Yes, it is the time of the year again … – the time to get easily mixed up, or mixing up things and times when Mary goes around, making us thinking

Maybe my mind is playing tricks on me but I could’ve sworn

Merry Christmas I meant …, it is the time of joy and happiness … and of giving. Where we do not give to the “loved ones”, we make donations to … to those who are not loved, not by anybody, at least not by us, taking the liberty of buying our peace of mind … – ploing, ploing … the cents drop into the charity’s tin, one piece for “them” and piece for “us”, for our peace of mind.

Marry Christmas, join in … walking around the one morning, a few days only left to the holy day my mind could be in peace, I was “safe” so to say – it was too early for the collectors of the good, the good collectors and could be wondering, while my thoughts wondered around: SALES, SALES, SALES … clearly telling us to join …, now even for the special price: reductions … reductions of prices here, reductions of the income and worming conditions of those who produced the commodities … somewhere on the globe … . It is that part for the party who truly is homo oeconomicus, buying without warm thoughts of the loved ones but with the true thoughts of the times: look for the best offer, be rational actor on the market.

Merry Christmas … –

It is about entering the new temples:

The archetype of that particular race in which every member of a consumer society is running (everything in a consumer society is a matter of choice, except the compulsion to choose – the compulsion which grows into addiction and so is no longer perceived as compulsion) is the activity of shopping. We stay in the race as long as we shop around, and it is not just the shops or supermarkets or department stores or George Ritzer’s ‘Temples of Consumption’ where we do our shopping.[1]

Merry Christmas … – I see, while walking these early hours of the day, those who are waiting for the charities collections being opened for them …, those sleeping rough in so many entrances of those shops that will later open their doors for the pre-Christmas sales …, yes, many of those shops have something for everybody …, even if it is only the sheltered areas that offer some comfort for the night.

– I feel a bit like ridiculing myself or the matter, but still “I have to do it”, the wee bit I can: and I carry the bag, instead of allowing the noise, coming from the comfortable “4×4-suitcase”, disturbing them even more – or is it about hiding myself, hiding the comfort, the comfort of having slept in a hotel-bed …?

Merry Christmas for those who are protected from all this for instance in London’s noble corners:

for the price of a house in Heritage Park you will buy your entry to a community. ‘Community’ is these days the last relic of the old-time utopias of the good society; it stands for whatever has been left of the dreams of a better life shared with better neighbours all following better rules of cohabitation. For the utopia of harmony slimmed down, realistically, to the size of the immediate neighbourhood. No wonder ‘community’ is a good selling point. No wonder either that in the prospectus distributed by George Hazeldon, the land developer, community has been brought into focus as an indispensable, yet elsewhere missing, supplement to the good restaurants and picturesque jogging courses that other towns also offer.[2]

– all this

entrusted to hidden TV cameras and dozens of hired gun-carrying guards checking passes at the security gates and discreetly (or ostentatiously, if need be) patrolling the streets.[3]

Dear Mary, my little Christmas celebration that morning: a coffee and a Simit: the latter from a small shop, its smell lifting my spirit which was admittedly a bit drowsy after the nearly 20 hours flight and the 3 hours sleep that I got before heading on. It was a real Simit – it reminding me of the campus-restaurant I visited every morning when I worked many years ago at ODTU-university in Ankara: so nice to get them immediately from the oven, “baked with love” and brought to me with tenderness. And yes, I enjoy the espresso – the “Italian coffee” that can be bought every where now – machine-made, admittedly that is what it was also in the bar, around the corner of my Roman domicile …, and I don’t know exactly the difference between here and there – perhaps it is simply in the mind, defined as mindset by the way we stand here and there in the queue … – the shop here a kind of corridor, inviting to move faster; the counter in the bar inviting to slow down, to take a breath in the small group standing, mixing, chatting … – the difference between express-o and espresso …

And while enjoying both, I return with one thought to Salzburg: the very local shops in the Getreideasse now pushed aside, away even by the global retailers that unit the colours … – does this thought come to my mind because I see one “speciality bakery”, with the one stall …, now having a second stall … and perhaps …

A bit later I have time, sitting in the train for the last leg of the journey … Merry Christmas …, no high-speed train but a local train, inviting to adapt to its speed: slow down … it is direction to Leipzig – and I remember the delicious roles we got every morning when I studied there, in a country that does not exist anymore, not anymore “as such” … .

– I am listening to Rousseau, the audiobook of his Confessions, the text reading in book 1:

I never thought money so desirable as it is usually imagined; if you would enjoy, you must transform it; and this transformation is frequently attended with inconvenience: you must bargain, purchase, pay dear, be badly served, and often duped. I buy an egg, am assured it is new-laid- I find it stale; fruit in its utmost perfection’tis absolutely green; a girl, and she is tainted. I love good wine, but where shall I get it? Not at my wine merchant’s — he will certainly poison me. I wish to be universally respected; how shall I compass my design? I must make friends, send messages, come, go, wait, and be frequently deceived. Money is the perpetual source of uneasiness; I fear it more than I love good wine.

Christ, what a mess … – Merry Christmas, Marry Christmas, Mary Christmas …

Merry-go Round


[1]            Bauman, Liquid Modernity: 73

[2]            Bauman, Liquid Modernity: 92

[3]            Bauman, Liquid Modernity: 93

living and being lived …

Without doubt, a great piece

Turandot, Prinzessin von China Friedrich Schiller
Ein tragikomisches Maerchen nach Gozzi
– though personally I found the presentation too stagy. The core remans unchanged and valid


Prinz, noch ist’s Zeit. Gebt das verwegene

Beginnen auf! Gebt’s auf! Weicht aus dem Divan!
Der Himmel weiss, dass jene Zungen luegen,
Die mich der Haerte zeihn und Grausamkeit.
– Ich bin nicht grausam. Frei nur will ich leben;
Bloss keines Andern will ich sein; dies Recht,
Das auch dem allerniedrigsten der Menschen

Im Leib der Mutter anerschaffen ist,

Will ich behaupten, eines Kaisers Tochter.
Ich sehe durch ganz Asien das Weib
Erniedrigt und zum Sklavenjoch verdammt,
Und raechen will ich mein beleidigtes Geschlecht
An diesem stolzen Maennervolke, dem
Kein andrer Vorzug vor dem zaertern Weibe
Als rohe Staerke ward. Zur Waffe gab
Natur mir den erfindenden Verstand
Und Scharfsinn, meine Freiheit zu beschützen.
-Ich will nun einmal von dem Mann nichts wissen,
Ich hass’ ihn, ich verachte seinen Stolz
Und Uebermuth-Nach allem Köstlichen
Streckt er begehrlich seine Haende aus;
Was seinem Sinn gefaellt, will er besitzen.
Hat die Natur mit Reizen mich geschmückt,
Mit Geist begabt-warum ist’s denn das Loos
Des Edeln in der Welt, dass es allein
Des Jaegers wilde Jagd nur reizt, wenn das Gemeine
In seinem Unwerth ruhig sich verbirgt?
Muss denn die Schoenheit eine Beute sein
Fuer Einen? Sie ist frei, so wie die Sonne,
Die allbeglueckend herrliche, am Himmel,
Der Quell des Lichts, die Freude aller Augen,
Doch Keines Sklavin und Leibeigenthum.
And even the English version still offers a glimpse:
Young prince, I clearly recognise your worth.
Be wise in time. Relinquish your attempt.
Too arduous is the trial. Do not tempt
The Fates. I am not cruel, as they say,
But shun the yoke of Man’s despotic sway.
In virgin freedom would I live and die;
The meanest hind may claim this boon,–shall I,
The daughter of an emperor, not have
That birthright which belongs to all? Be slave
To brutish force, that makes your sex our lord?
Why does my hand such tempting bait afford?
The gods have made me beauteous, rich, and wise,
Presumptuous man considers me his prize.
If nature dowered me with bounteous treasure
You tyrants think ‘twas all to serve your pleasure.
Why should my person, throne, and wealth be booty
To one harsh, jealous master? No, all beauty
Is heaven’s gift, and like the sun, should shine
To glad earth’s children, and their souls refine.
I hate proud man, and like to make him feel
He may not crush free woman ‘neath his heel.