The shooting … Of course, critique is critical in such a moment, and criticising too, if not even reprehensible.

“We must move forward. This is why the European Parliament keeps working.”
It all comes down to a battle of ideas, in which society needs to demonstrate that there is value in freedom, democratic institutions, the free and peaceful expression of ideas, fundamental rights. We need a resilient democracy. And we need a strong Europe.
The show, as they say, must go on.

These are the words from
The Brief – The show must go on by  Alexandra Brzozowski, posted on the 12th of Dezember, at 17:02
The morning of the 12th I had been given a public lecture, titled
Towards the end of the presentation I suggested an ABC of such jobs – or to be more precise, of an economy that boosts such jobs or tasks
managing not by but as doing – the ABC of BSJs:

ppointments, a packed calendar, provide glory

oosting the number of completed forms increases security and replaces proper management

apital is reinterpreted: being the thing in itself, it’s increase is the main thing, even if such increase results from the factual deception of increased amount of input of labour as operand – simply as figure
All show, all glimmer, all appearance, spectacle …
Doesn’t it make more sense to emphasise the need of a move to serious work, beyond the show:
  • beyond and different to sham activities?
  • beyond a bureaucratisation that is searching for justification by remaining self-reflective, not oriented on dealing with people’s and peoples’ life?
  • beyond the glamour of GDP-growth, aiming on sustainable production but also inclusive ways of determining what to produce and how to organize it?
I guess we all need LESS show and more genuine engagement and solid spheres to engage. May be it would be a kind of revolution against le roi, the new king.

call for applications and nominations Jörg-Huffschmid-Award 2019

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Jörg-Huffschmid-Preis 2019

In Gedenken an das wissenschaftliche Werk und das gesellschaftspolitische Engagement des kritischen Ökonomen Jörg Huffschmid wird 2019 zum fünften Mal der nach ihm benannte Preis für herausragende Arbeiten aus dem Feld der Politischen Ökonomie ausgeschrieben. Der Preis soll insbesondere junge Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler ermutigen, kritische Forschung im Sinne des Wirkens dieses herausragenden Wissenschaftlers betreiben.

Jörg Huffschmid, der im Dezember 2009 im Alter von 69 Jahren gestorben ist, verband in seinen Arbeiten scharfsinnige Analysen mit Kapitalismuskritik und politischer Vernunft. Als einer der Gründer der Arbeitsgruppe Alternative Wirtschaftspolitik und der EuroMemo Gruppe sowie in seinem Wirken im Wissenschaftlichen Beirat von Attac und der Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung war sein persönliches, politisches und wissenschaftliches Zieleine sozial gerechte Gesellschaft – gegen die vermeintliche Alternativlosigkeit des wirtschaftswissenschaftlichen Mainstreams. Diese vier Organisationen schreiben daher den Preis seit 2011 alle zwei Jahre gemeinsam aus.

Eingereicht werdenkönnenneben Dissertationen auch Magister-, Master- und Diplomarbeiten in der Kategorie Abschlussarbeiten. Für Dissertationen ist eine Auszeichnung über 1.500 Euro und für Studienabschlussarbeiten über 500 Euro vorgesehen. Die Arbeiten sollten dem Feld der Politischen Ökonomie entstammen, zum Beispiel:

  • Finanzmarkt-, Fiskal-, Handels- und Industriepolitik
  • Alternativen zu Austerität und Privatisierung
  • Militarisierung europäischer Außen-, Grenzsicherungs- und Rüstungspolitik
  • Herausforderungen im digitalen Zeitalter
  • Sozial-ökologischer Umbau
  • 10 Jahre nach dem Zusammenbruch von Lehman Brothers – Lehren aus der jüngsten globalen Finanz- und Wirtschaftskrise
  • 20 Jahre Euro – Kontroversen um die Europäische Währungsunion

Dabei ermutigen wir ausdrücklich zur Einreichung disziplinübergreifender Arbeiten, die ökonomische mit sozial- oder politikwissenschaftlichen Ansätzen kombinieren.

Berücksichtigung finden Arbeiten, die seit dem April 2017 an einer europäischen Hochschule in deutscher oder englischer Sprache eingereicht und bewertet wurden. Arbeiten von Mitgliedern der ausschreibenden Arbeitsgruppen, Beiräte und den Beschäftigten der RLS können nicht berücksichtigt werden. Ihre Bewerbung richten Sie bitte vollständig und ausschließlich in elektronischer Form bis zum 1. April 2019 Ihrer Arbeit fügen Sie bitte bei:

  1. Anschreiben
  2. Zusammenfassung im Umfang von 800 Wörtern – in der der Bezug zum wissenschaftlichen Werk von Jörg Huffschmid dargestellt wird
  3. Lebenslauf
  4. die hochschulischen Gutachten zur Arbeit.

Die Jury des Jörg-Huffschmid-Preises besteht 2019 aus:

Gerstenberger,Heide,Wissenschaftlicher Beirat Attac, Universität Bremen;

Hafkemeyer,Jörg;Wissenschaftlicher Beirat der Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, Universität der Künste Berlin;

Herrmann, Peter, EuroMemo Gruppe, Corvinus University Budapest;

Huffschmid, Anne,FU-Berlin

Mahnkopf,Birgit,Wissenschaftlicher Beirat Attac, Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Recht Berlin

Ötsch, Silke, Wissenschaftlicher Beirat Attac

Sablowski, Thomas, Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung

Sauer, Thomas, Arbeitsgruppe Alternative Wirtschaftspolitik, Ernst-Abbe-Hochschule Jena;

Schrooten, Mechthild,Arbeitsgruppe Alternative Wirtschaftspolitik, Hochschule Bremen,

Beratend arbeitenBärbel RompeltienundRainer Rilling(Mitglied des Vorstands der Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung) in der Jury mit.

Die Preisverleihungist für den 18. Oktober 2019 in Berlin geplant.

Kontakt und weitere Informationen:

Peter Herrmann,

Dezember 2018


Jörg-Huffschmid-Award 2019

In memoriam of the scientific work and the political engagement of the critical economist Joerg Huffschmid the call for the award that is named after him is now announced for the 5thtime, 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 outstanding name giver of the prize stands.

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 reason. 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 suggested by mainstream economics. Therefore the four organisations publish since 2011 the call for this award.

We invite final degree-theseson 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, fiscal, trade and industrial policy
  • alternatives to austerity and privatisation
  • militarisation of European foreign-, border-security and armament policies
  • challenges arising from processes of digitalisation
  • socio-ecological remodelling
  • social and technological innovation and new economic systems
  • 10 years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers – consequences of the recent financial and economic crisis
  • 20 years Euro – controversies concerned with the European Monetary Union

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 2017at a European university/third-level institution, submitted in German or English language.Submissions by members of one of the four organisations and members of the respective scientific councils will not be considered. Applications are only accepted in electronic form, to be sent before or at the very latest on April 1st, 2019to 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:

Heide Gerstenberger, Wissenschaftlicher Beirat Attac, Universität Bremen; Jörg Hafkemeyer, Wissenschaftlicher Beirat der Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, Universität der Künste Berlin; Peter Herrmann, EuroMemo Gruppe, Corvinus University Budapest; Anne Hufschmid, FU Berlin; Birgit Mahnkopf, Wissenschaftlicher Beirat Attac, Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Recht Berlin; Silke Ötsch, Wissenschaftlicher Beirat Attac, Soziologin; Thomas Sablowski, Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, Thomas Sauer, Wissenschaftlicher Beirat Attac, Ernst- Abbe-Hochschule Jena; Mechthild Schrooten, Hochschule Bremen;consultative Bärbel Rompeltien and Rainer Rilling (Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung)

The awarding ceremonyis planned for October 18th2019 in Berlin.

Contact and further information

Peter Herrmann,

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

never blame students for what lecturers and politicians do to them

A widely known problem is that students today have – supposedly – problems to read: are unwilling, only printed on exams and subsequently the reeding they need for proceeding. My personal experience suggest something different: if students have space: literally by way of sufficient “quality location”, time and mental space, not being pestered by problem-solving urgency, allowed to foster critical thinking (as Robert Cox outlines it in the piece from 1981: Social Forces, States and World Orders: Beyond International Relations Theory; in: Millennium – Journal of International Studies 1981; 10; 126-155 DOI: 10.1177/03058298810100020501) most of them would love reading more, more widely, critically working with texts.

However, if politicians educate teachers who then educate students and then these students become politicians, educating teachers who then educate students who then become politicians … … … – it is quite natural that after going a couple of times around, policy documents and texts books look very much alike, nit even reaching the intellectual level of A Little Bit of Everything for Dummies.
Though already from 2011, a document issued by the Irish government can be taken as example for such dummies=stultification-strategy, showing on page 7 the following:
It reminds me that at some stage “Communications“, issued by the European Commission had not been allowed to be longer than 20 pages – politicians are not reading longer documents …  the paradox then and there: instead of producing one document with 30 pages, two documents with twenty pages each had been produced … , and so forth and so forth … at least the printing press being extensively used. The crux of “maths”: making two documents out of one 30-page document dos not mean having two 15-pages docs. because additional space is needed for the cross-references and the like. though we end up with something like 30 divided by 2 = 20+20 = 60, or in short: 30 divided by 2 equals 40. There is a German term “Milchmaedchen-Rechnung”, literally “calculation made by a dairymaid”, meaning fallacy, naive. Perhaps it should be changed, the new term being Commissioner- or Politician-Calculation.
May be it is still better then producing one document that is so much simplification of everything that it requires a guideline to show the reader the way through (though to sweet) nothingness.
In any case, please, never blame students for what lecturers and politicians do to them.
Some voluntarily, some lazily, some being forced .., and some still resisting.

future — is there one?

During the assembly of TRANSFORM! Europe, I dared to raise some issues that I consider being relevant for a transformation, looking a bit deeper, orienting towards the future


– of course not anything more than some hopefully stimulating contemplations about the future. Keywords are the European narrative, the occupation of spaces, charitabilisation, generational change, the spreading of nationalism. A general question is of course, if the left can or should “offer anything” or if it can only exist as part of the societal movement, thereof aiming on being avant-garde. Here the recording.

“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 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.
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.
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.



It is somewhat remarkable, reading in an OECD-report a sentence that is so deeply informed by psychology, governance and some of the anthropological teaching:

For example, most of the banking functions can be performed by information and communication technologies (ICT), but many people still prefer to negotiate a loan with a human instead of a computer program.[1]

Thinking then about ministers and what they have in their mind about human behavior is revealing – and I am wondering who is actually programming humans? And who is responsible if they are programmed n the wrong way, giving out loans in highly irresponsible ways?



[1] OECD (2016) New Market and New Jobs. Ministerial meeting on the digital economy background report. OECD Digital Economy Papers № 255. Ministerial Meeting on the Digital Economy, 21-23 June 2016, Cancún (Mexico).

Source for the picture: https:// www.

Six Degree of Separation


from Augustine’s Contra Faustum Manichaeum

The story of six degree of separation, as dealt with here and here, seems to be in some way itself a speculation … — at least empirically it is not in the strict sense viable. Be that as it may, fact is that the world is a small place and fact is that it is still of utmost important what kind of links do exist.

The silly example when we look at xenophobia etc.: It is not the Turk, Syrian, Jew, Chinese, gay around the corner I fear … — but in general, when it comes to Turks, Syrians, Jews, Chinese and gay people they are just [I could provide a list of stereotypes and ask you to tick the box you consider as being relevant …] and there is good reason for being at least alert. So the often heard saying, the often seen praxis – and one may wonder if the fascination by a supposed exotic character of the Turk, Syrian, Jew, Chinese, gay friend is not some kind of the same thing in reverse … In any case, we may add to the various classifications of humans as social beings, economic and rational beings and nevertheless also a homo ludens the classification of humans being ‘concretist’, lacking the ability to accept generalisations of a certain kind and also depending on the ‘concrete counterpart’ as co-player.

There is another point here — most likely closely linked to what had been mentioned before — and of course I leave gathering the existing studies and any ultimate empirical validation to others. The question is concerned with those mechanisms of six degrees of segregation. I mean the small network that protects each member of the network, supports them blindly and cuts off all ‘blind and dormant links’. They surely continue to exist and may be relevant in some respect — ‘when needed’. But at the same time there are the tight rules that make overstepping them fatal.

Imagine a person taking up a well paid position in another country — and well paid means a very influential position. Imagine that this person needs, of course, accommodation befitting one’s rank, and ‘befitting one’s rank’ is interpreted by saying: the ‘institutionalised rank’ — be it a guild, party or an employing university — has to pay for the refurbishment, i.e. the employer – in case of private employers there will be some negotiations, in the case of public employers it may be …, the establishment of a private network.

Then somebody turns up, gets known and slightly scratches the links of the lock that protects the small insider network.

In the one case an investigation may be started, in the other the black sheep is expelled. And in mixed cases, the investigation is turned into a feud against the supposed intruder …

Looking at the educational system, it is interesting to hear that — for instance — the real advantage of studying at Yale or any of these ‘ranking universities’ is not about more knowledge from better profs. It is all about better contacts to more influential academics. And this is why people fluff contacts up, do excessive namedropping, and even pretend to have studied and worked at certain institutions …

And this, again, is not least possible because of indifference of those within and those who try to enter. Thus, indifference is one of the most dangerous murderers of sociality. As Antonio Gramsci, in his Odio Gli differenti [11 febbraio 1917], contends

Odio gli indifferenti. Credo che vivere voglia dire essere partigiani. Chi vive veramente non può non essere cittadino e partigiano. L’indifferenza è abulia, è parassitismo, è vigliaccheria, non è vita. Perciò odio gli indifferenti.

L’indifferenza è il peso morto della storia. L’indifferenza opera potentemente nella storia. Opera passivamente, ma opera. È la fatalità; è ciò su cui non si può contare; è ciò che sconvolge i programmi, che rovescia i piani meglio costruiti; è la materia bruta che strozza l’intelligenza. Ciò che succede, il male che si abbatte su tutti, avviene perché la massa degli uomini abdica alla sua volontà, lascia promulgare le leggi che solo la rivolta potrà abrogare, lascia salire al potere uomini che poi solo un ammutinamento potrà rovesciare.

And this indifference is also one of the most dangerous murderers of peace.

The problem is not really some form of closure or the establishment of inner circles — we may consider this as natural. Maintaining close contact with all people one ever meets, or at least to all one finds nice, and supporting them wherever they need support, is surely stressful, not feasible. The problem is, however, the other extreme: it is not about shutting off the rest of the world, encapsulating oneself int a cocoon. the real problem is that segregation and closure commonly, in particular [though not only] in higher echelons of society, is about the complete utilisation of contacts: the other only exists as functional element of the world, is instrumentalised in favour of individualist perspectives — often enough appearing as extremely social and interacting — it is about people who never work, but permanently network.

All this is extremely dangerous in two respects: the one is that any real cut-off means the loss of valuable human and humane ‘resources’; the other is that it shows complete stupidity and lack of self respect – or some form of conscious wrong doing that needs to be hidden. Sure, we all make mistakes — the real mistakes, however, are those that prove that we are ‘mistaken personalities’, not able to critically face what we did, not accepting that somebody else my disagree with what we did, and simply continue living in separation without segregating.

The black sheep has to learn … — and we all have to learn being able to clearly define black and white ….

– Conoscere se stessi, conoscere gli altri — Knowing yourself, knowing others

— this is according to Liang Shiqui what makes the art of insult a noble art.

Surely this is all about living in the academic world too often not compatible with working academically

it is about saying inconvenient truth and the freedom of speech

and it is, of course, about the question a student asked some time ago:

Why can’t we do what we like to do?

And though all this may not look explicitly political … , and actual fact it is here where we are dealing with some fundamental of the development of rightwing politics and fascism — as we discussed earlier in November.