Not only paradise lost …

That paradise is lost is well known and widely accepted. And we probably have to accept that finally politics is lost too.
Some speak at least still changing the imperial mode of lifepleading for vegetarianism and opposing the use of SUVs – of course especially the latter easily accepted by the unemployed …. [see in this context Peter Herrmann / Mehmet Okyayuz: What to do with the revolution – and what does the revolution do to us?]
Others rejecting political responsibility completely … – well, passing it on to incompetent night watch [wo]men.
[Von Julian Herzog, CC-BY 4.0,]
Some time ago, March 15th, 2018, the then designated Minister-president of Bavaria, stated in an interview
I will understand myself on the one hand as manager of Bavaria, but also as maker./Ich werde mich einerseits als Manager Bayerns verstehen, aber auch als Kümmerer.
His principle philosophy is Bavaria plus:
If the federal government decides something, ‘let’s put a scoop on it’./Wenn der Bund etwas beschließe, ‘legen wir noch eine Schippe drauf’. 

Schumpeter stated in his book on ‘Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy’

The conquest of the air may well be more important than the conquest of India was—we must not confuse geographical frontiers with economic ones.

At the moment it seems that exactly this applies to supposed
as for instance the GAFAs are selling us – HOT AIR, nothing more than extremely well paid gobbledygook, of course well displayed [BTW, habe a closer look at the logo on the mugs]
All this is even more remarkable when we consider that the top-CEOs are increasingly taking over politics as I elaborated in one of the recently submitted and accepted book-contributions, namely the one titled

The Comedy of Big Data – Or: Corporate Social Responsibility Today, while Corporations wither away?: in: Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Governance – a 21st Century Challenge; Mulej, Matjaž/O’Sullivan, Grażyna/Štrukelj, Tjaša (eds.): forthcoming

Some adjunct issues are also looked at in recent presentations of which the recordings can be found here.


CFP – 10 years into the crisis – What prospects for a popular political economy in Europe?


European Economists for an Alternative Economic Policy in Europe

Call for Papers and Participation

24th Annual Conference on Alternative Economic Policy in Europe

10 years into the crisis – What prospects for a popular political economy in Europe?

extended SUBMISSION-Date: 31.5.2018

Dear colleagues

This year’s EuroMemo Group conference will be jointly hosted with the University of Helsinki and will take place on 27-29 September 2018 (Thursday-Saturday) at the University of Helsinki.

Against the background of an increasingly alarming influence of right-wing nationalist and populist forces, the conference wants to facilitate discussion on progressive ideas, concepts and policies, on how to reconstruct a political integration project in Europe that is responsive to the economic and social needs of all groups and people affected by the severe economic crisis of the last ten years, and in particular of workers, the unemployed, the precariat, migrants and other vulnerable groups, also in a gender perspective.

The programme will be as follows:

Thursday, September 27th 201

15.00 – 19.00    Opening plenary on the state of the Union

20.00                Conference Dinner

Friday, September 28th 2018

10.00 – 13.30    Workshops on key themes of EU policy

14.30 – 16.00    Plenary on policy proposals from workshops

16.15 – 18.00    Special plenary on the conference topic ’10 years into the crisis – What prospects for a popular political economy in Europe?’

Saturday, September 29th 2018

09.00 – 12.00    Planning meeting: EuroMemorandum 2019 and other activities 

There will be a public event prior to the conference on September 27th 2018:

13.00 – 14.30    ‘The future of the EMU’ (organised by the University of Helsinki)

We would like to invite you to attend the conference and to submit proposals for contributions to the workshops.

All papers that present an original perspective on the conference theme ’10 years into the crisis – What prospects for a popular political economy in Europe?’ are welcome. In particular, we encourage submissions that relate to recent European developments and are specific to one of the following topics

–        Macroeconomic and financial policies

–        Politics of structural reforms: critique and alternatives

–        Economic and political divergences in the EU

–        Social policies in Europe

–        Migration policies and demographic change

–        Nordic welfare model: crisis, erosion, prospects

–        Crisis of the global political economy & world politics: the role of the EU (protectionism, trade wars)

–        Conceptual frameworks and aspects of popular political economy as well as policy proposals for instance with respect to productive transformation, industrial policy, the solidarity economy etc.

–        Socio-ecological transformation and a good life for all

–        New democratic challenges to the status quo: what can we learn from the left-alliance government in Portugal, the labour party under Jeremy Corbyn, the Podemos project in Spain and other similar cases?

Proposals for papers together with a short abstract (maximum 250 words) should be submitted by 15 May 2018to If possible, please indicate the topic which the proposal is intended for. If accepted, completed papers should be submitted by 06 September 2018

We strongly encourage participants to submit short papers (10-12 pages) and to explicitly address policy implications.

If you would like to submit an abstract and/ or participate in the conference, please copy the registration form below into an email and reply to Please note that there is no deadline for registering for participation only.

All submitted abstracts will be reviewed by the Steering Committee of the EuroMemo Group. Accepted papers will be published on the conference website and there is also the possibility to publish papers presented at the conference within the EuroMemo Group Discussion Paper Series.

Please note that there will be a conference fee collected at the venue to cover the cost of the conference (30 Euro regular fee / 10 Euro for students / 80 Euro for participants with institutional support).

An information sheet with practical information including details about hotel bookings and transport is attached. Early booking is strongly recommended.

We look forward to seeing you in Helsinki!

Best wishes,
from the EuroMemo Group

Marija Bartl, Joachim Becker, Marcella Corsi, Wlodzimierz Dymarski, Trevor Evans, Marica Frangakis, John Grahl, Peter Herrmann, Aimilia Koukouma, Jeremy Leaman, Jacques Mazier, Agustín Menéndez, Mahmood Messkoub, Ronen O’Brien, Werner Raza, Catherine Sifakis, Achim Truger, Frieder Otto Wolf

European Economists for an Alternative Economic Policy in Europe
EuroMemo Group 
E-Mail    >>
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Registration form for the 24th Workshop on Alternative Economic Policy in Europe

(please reply to


Yes, I intend to participate in the 24th Workshop on Alternative Economic Policy in Europe

(27-29 September 2018 in Helsinki)

First Name:

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Yes, I wish to contribute a paper

Title of the Paper:

Abstract (max. 250 words):

Tragicomedy of Capitalism Today

The recordings of three recent presentations are now online. They had been given in Maynooth, Ireland. The first two had been part of the teaching at the Maynooth University Department of Chinese, the third addressed the conference The (re)Birth of Marx(ism): haunting the future:
The presentations are part of a series of lectures titled

Tragicomedy of Capitalism Today

which will be continued.
The wider topic is to highlight some essential issues that emerge not least with digitisation, marking processes  that show the forces of socialisation that are immanent in what presents itself under the name of neoliberalism as apparent secular process of individualisation.

What is the Value of things

Peter Herrmann, currently guest researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy/Max-Planck-Institut für Sozialrecht und Sozialpolitik [section social law], Munich, Germany, will present later today his thoughts on
Value Theory –, asking if there is still any value in it?/Is it still worthwhile to talk about it?
to the conference


The theory of value is probably the most contested feature of Marx’ political economy. The reasons for this are the following two

* It stands at the centre of making out the political of political economy
* It is cross cutting with respect to the micro- and macro-level and especially the ‘personal/individual’ and the ‘societal/institutional’ aspects of economic thinking.
Today the questionable character comes even more to the fore as we witness an apparently fundamental change of the mode of production.
Notwithstanding the critique then and now, there are good reasons to emphasise the usefulness of the theory of value. These will be taken up by exploring explicitly the tensions mentioned, and discussing them against the background of the contemporary shift within the capitalist mode of production.
Marxism, in this light, is especially instrumental for the analysis of globalisation as it allows a clearer understanding not least of the emergence of poverty chains and the role of the capitalist state as institution that maintains centre-periphery patterns of inequality within the productive sphere. Furthermore, we can find from here at least clues for answers Marxism has when it comes to fighting for societal change.

One Belt – One Road – One World – Digitisation of Life as Chinese Lifestyle?

It is never an easy thing: dedication of some work – doesn’t it propose also agreement?
I do not know if and in which way Elmar would have agreed with what I presented – yesterday he passed away and we, critical thinkers with a genuine interest in progressive scientific work – progressive by way of contributing to progress of societal development so we will never know exactly. One thing we do know – the obituary of the scientific committee of attac [German] clearly states it:


It talks about him as an

Inspiring critique of the capitalist economy

This he truly was – as such he encourages me to dedicate the presentation to him: as quest to me and to the students to take up this challenge of critical thinking.

The abstract of the presentation which is recorded here
may give some insight into what you can expect from the lecture — and hopefully you still will be surprised and inspired.
Living in China means as well getting used to a highly advanced level of internet-penetration in large parts of daily life. Often this is perceived as contradicting prevailing traditional ‘life styles’ and attitudes. At first glance this has not much to do with the future of social policy, or does it? – Social policy faces the difficult task of bringing an institutional system and ‘life worlds’ together. With globalisation and digitisation there is an additional challenge: the reference to the nation state and standard forms of labour are increasingly loosing or changing their role, or at least changing it. Is there any common ground for small island nations like Ireland and unimaginable countries like China?

the market and … power versus respect and dignity

Musings from earlier this year – and in a way probably a foretaste of the future. From a mail I sent to a former student [well, I say former while my Chinese students don’t stop seeing me as their 老师:

Thanks for the mail, 刘嘉颖,
yesterday I submitted the reference. I think there is a general problem with these submissions, only very few universities showing respect. It is all set up to suit the universities, not the applicants. If they send a mail to he BU-mail they get an auto reply, asking them to resend the mail the esosc-mail which they do not do. I perceive this as disrespecting your interest of taking really care of your application. There are other things: the mail was marked as SPAM because an oeverload of graphs, depersonalisation of addressing the message, silly questionnaires and forms which, if submitted by a student as ’sample for how to design a questionnaire’, would result in ‘failed’ … – Well, all this is a simple economic issue

Image ref: Alex Slobodkin Getty Images/iStockphoto; from:

* if accepted you will pay fees

* if you do not succeed for instance because a reference is missing they still have enough ‘paying customers’ = students who play fees

* they ask academics to help THEM, the university, with the assessment, and we do it for free – it seems as we would do it for you, the student – and in some way it is true; but economically we work free for those universities – imagine one alternative: they would employ external assessors? Would they work for free?

May be even they would – there are ways to make such jobs ‘attractive’ – one could beat them with a note in the CV: External Assessor of …university.

That these procedures of universities upset me more then it probably should has exactly this reason: universities of this kind, money making machines that live on the back of others, without respecting even basic rules of market relations are just one example of an endless number of today’s mal-practice businesses, though they babble about dignity, social responsibility etc. It is the same irresponsible behavior as the behaviour of an airline that ‘allows’ people with a licence as pilot to join as co-pilot, without paying them – as those pilots do not have any proper alternative, they accept it because they need a certain number of hours per year to maintain the license. Many other things could and should be mentioned, in academia the tenured positions are becoming further reduced, people like myself working on ‘occassional jobs’, doing so without social insurance etc.. And it also undermines the ability and capacity of universities to offer proper education as in some universities even for teaching obligatory courses there are only ‘casual lecturers employed. [I am not sure anymore, I think at the university of Vienna ca 40 percent of teaching staff is not-permanent]  – You may see many issues I was talking about in the economics classes: about the invalidity of the law of supply and demand, the laws of the market being laws of power and not of free choice, contracts not realy about what they formally suggest to be, and also the externalisation of cost and even the production functions, here in terms of a change of the function due to the wrong basis for the calculation: part of the work is not included into the calculation. And it goes on as at the end it is of utmost relevance on the micro- and the macro level. Just think briefly about issues of taxation. …

So, end of the lecture 😉 ….

 And possibly the end of a string of posts on this topic, which could be drawn together under the heading
 Not sure, if this is the complete list of related posts, at least some:
 It remains to be added that some universities that I contacted directly with complains, came back to me, asking for apologies, and exact information to consider changes of the procedures, also opening them for a more personal way of assessment. Though all this is often and seems to be a waste of energy … – perhaps it worth to move on, of course in the best case it is not just a matter of private initiative but a collective move and protest against the fall of higher education.

Digitisation – Morals, Politics and Responsibilty

Two more Isar-Kanal Lectures, given by Peter Herrmann, currently visiting Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy [section social law] are now available. The second lecture looks under the title

Digitisation – Morals, Politics and Responsibility

Digitisation, highlighting that Responsibility has to be seen in a new light, namely and again the light of real publicness.

The reference to Popper and falsificatioism in simple terms


There is no point in waiting for black swans, it is necessary to bread them!

The third of this short series of Isar-Kanal Lectures, titled

Digitisation – Meta-Methodological Reflections

highlights that much of the supposedly new issues are very much old questions around socialisation, pushing towards a new stage and thus looking at

  • the greatest good for the greatest number
  • the volonteeé générale
  • the volonté de tous
  • all dealing with the issue of publicness as control of production, the means of production and even more so the publicness of control of societal value.

Thus, all moral boils down to the question of the mode of production.