Brexit, Europe and the Left

The blog titled Brexit, Europe and the Left and edited by the Rosa-Luxemburg Foundation Brussels and Trademark Belfast, published recently a short piece they asked me to write – on the German economy.

from the blog, Ivan Radic/Flickr

The teaser they added

Made in Germany or Made for Germany?

  • 25 October 2019

The once “strong tiger” of the German economy might be crumbling. For decades, the Made in Germany strategy pursued by successive governments suggested high quality goods worth paying for. Systemic faultlines, structural conservatism and policies of privatisation have created new lines of conflict domestically. Why this is bad also for the rest of Europe and the world explains Professor Peter Herrmann.

who will be the fools then?

though it is disputed if he really said so, the following words are attributed to Abraham Lincoln:

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.

Some fooling goes obviously on when to comes to support of children, In one of the advertisement “booklets”, distributed to every household in the area where I live at the moment, it is highlighted:

buying two products = supporting holiday outings “kids farms” in Berlin.

It is this chain shop, together with a multinational and the Deutsche Kinderhilfswerk, a charity of which is said

  • it supports materially deprived children and youth
  • engages in support of children’s/youth’ rights
  • and for which transparency is important, and equally the will off the donor

20 Cent are donated to this holiday action if one buys two items of a specified range of products – it reminded me first of those activities which I know from earlier years as support measures by the welfare associations – it had been called “liberal welfare”, charitable action which is now privatised in a very specific way: transferred to the so-called free market, thus part of the so-called neo-liberal project.

Well, in some respect there is nothing wrong with it – at least some kids will have an enjoyable time – in some respect as there is a lot wrong when it comes to the political economy of it, something I issue in the forthcoming book of which I am just doing the proofreading.

There is, however, also something that has to be asked when looking at transparency: is it transparent to accept without the complete and open calculation donations

  • that are gathered by “gently convincing” customers to buy (more of) something that actually do not want to buy, at least not with such an additional incentive?
  • that donate private customers’ money under the veil of a chain shops charitability and good-doing?
  • that deduct the 20 cent from an amount of which we do not learn the composition, i.e. of which it is not clear how much profit is (still) made)?
  • that is presumably used as means of gaining special tax relief on parts of the supermarket’s turnover?

Reason becomes a sham, Beneficence a worry

These words are taken from Goethe’s Faust; perhaps one can meaningfully allude to them, stating

The jester becomes the normal, the normal is the sham.

There is no such thing TINA said …

A short article, published in the magazine Sozialextra, is now i open access available, looking back at the history – the ideological change – behind what is again and again called neoliberalism and austerity policies:

TINA said, There is no such thing as society.

Eine kleine Gedenk-Schrift an die geistig moralische Wende der wilden 1980er

I suppose that it presents a view on the history of “social policy”, neoliberalism and austerity that is important to understand the deeper meaning of what is actually going on today – deeper meaning in terms of the underlying ideological shift, rooted in a development for which some (to least a matter of age, though not only) of us are responsible – nolens volens. And it deserves as such attention, not least when we discuss perspectives.. – I thought it is important enough to present at least a rough translation – deepl.com as aching transition tool, with some minor corrections; And als leaving the formatting, referencing a nit chaotic spread across the text. At least you will get the gist of it …

Peter Herrmanni

TINA said, There is no such thing as society[1]

A small commemorative writing on the spiritual-moral turn of wild-west in the 1980s

So there is no alternative, because there is no society – and anyone who knew Margaret Thatcher a little bit, also knows that what she said in 1987 in an interview with a women’s magazine was by no means an unfortunate statement.

Once upon a time …

Today we are complaining about exactly what she said already then. If today anything historical appears at all with the reference, it is a general regret: egoism (sic!) is getting worse and worse, ‘greed’ was even the cause of the crisis and then – yes, only then – neoliberalism has dismantled the remnants of society: The dismantling of the welfare state, austerity, capital-friendliness or even citizenship are then quickly at hand, and if a person has to travel a little, he or she quickly gets tired, because wherever one goes in Europe, for example, the situation is supposedly particularly bad: Oh, our state of careemergency – Il numero sempre crescente di disoccupupati – qu’est-ce que l’État fait pour s’occuper des enfants – Accommodation? Who can still go for that?…. – Buteveryone knows that it’s not so bad ‘everywhere there’, because it’s especiallydramatic only in one’s own country. Irony aside, the urge to bring things to the point of one place and one time, more precisely: the urge we feel to reduce issues on the here and now, is strong – and yet this is precisely also part of the policy that was already embarking on a social restructuring at the end of the 1970s: it was the point of methodological nationalism. And with the news of the ‘weare the poorest’ the foundation was laid for special diligence, but also for the special willingness to accept political changes. Basically, the policy of sticks and carrots advocated by ‘Chancellor Bismarck’ also works here. Itis, however, more than remarkable that the so-called Bismarckian social insurance was in the end decisively enforced by the efforts of the then Minister of Trade – it can even be sharpened: Bismarck held the whip in his hand and those interested in trade, distributed pieces of sugar.

… and now it’s coming true. 

It may bea coincidence that the re-release of the film Invasion of the Body Snatchersintroduced exactly this time – according to the imdb database it is about the fact that

In San Francisco, a group of people discover the human race is being replaced one by one, with clones devoid of emotion. (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077745/; 23.02.19)

So the screen was free for a spectacular game, which followed – but then it followed not only on the screen, but on the massive stage called society, even if this allegedly did not exist at all.

Just a little something
relative stabilization of the post-68 period of success, although as an
unstable tension field (seehttps://www.buko.info/http/kongress/buko31/deutsch/groups/68_zeitstrahl.pdf; 23.02.19)

Opening the exit door

1979: Takeover of the government by Margaret Thatcher; takeover of thegovernment by Labour (Leonard James Callaghan).
Since 1980 in various speeches Kohl's demand for a 'spiritual-moral turn',

‘spiritual renewal’ …

September 1982: Landtag election in Hesse with the first Landtag mandates
for the Greens
October 1982: Vote of no confidence against the Schmidt government and
government declaration
March 1983: Bundestag elections, with considerable profits for the CDU/CSU and the first entry of the Greens.
First evacuation
1982 a first rejection of the EU's 'poverty reduction programmes
1995 Judgment of the European Court of Justice confirming that the EU in fact has no social policy competence
1997: EU treaty definition: Poverty reduction is labour market policy and anchored in the Amsterdam treaty.
Blocking the return path
2006 Directive 2006/123/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on services in the internal market[2]2
epilog

2012 – according to Wikipedia: “Helmut Schmidt, who had been overthrown,  said in 2012 in retrospect in an interview that there had been no change at all, but that the social-liberal policy had been continued and “only thepersonnel had been replaced”. (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geistig-moralische_Wende; 23.02.19)

It can’t be

A look at the mixture of those years of change must come as a little surprise, for the first impression was quite positive: just as the students had turned against the muff of thousand years, the new regulators resisted the dust that had been stirred up in less than half of a century. However, this wording should be corrected immediately: (i) It is probably more correct to speak of new founders of the old order, because at least some of the old founders had died or were expelled, such as Alt-Nazi Kiesinger. (ii) It was also about the fact that the dust whirled up was just the dust left behind by the fathers of the new founders – from Vietnam to Pinochet-Hayek’s Chile.[3]

The success and lasting effect of the ’68ers are not at issue here – but with all the necessary caution, one can probably speak of a relatively successful implementation of the welfare state concept: here, too, the whip played a role – in the form of a civil war on several fronts;[4]but the carrots seemed large enough to ensure at least a temporary peace. For Germany at least it has to be said: what presented itself as a social sector was not without problems – at least three moments should not be forgotten:

  1. The 2ndGerman ‘socio-economic miracle’ was above all the result of a rather aggressive export orientation – and thus it basically dug its own grave.
  2. Last but not least it was possible to outsource or hide large part of the problems – only later this should become really virulent: Poverty did not exist – it was officially “clere by definition”, classifying welfare payments as poverty being overcome.
  3. Germany – above all, together with Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK – also made its mark in the 1972 hesitant European policy of social order, which shows its true essence cum grano salis only in retrospect, and one must admit (at least to some of the ‘doers’) that none of them opened the exit door, but suddenly all of them were in a kind of social cold.

What lasts long won’t be good for long.

The ‘free, not success-bound’ orientation as a regular task (see Scherr in this issue) found a symbolic supplement through the programme and project policy, which indeed offered partly exciting openings5– but the sadly exciting aspect was exactly the wrong reluctance6– subsidiarity was seen by professional representatives as a possibility of securing the existence of new areas of experience and also used to open up new ones, but at the same time there was no strength, who used this as a basis for a relevant policy at the EU level and finally demanded EU responsibility – for the projects there was no scope for influence, the profession was busy with day-to-day work, colleagues from the academic world usually lacked access, as there were hardly any relevant project calls and the exceptions demanded bureaucratic effort and the courage to speak a foreign language – the welfare associations were overburdened, because the EU’s day-to-day business demanded a lot and moreover, it had been caught in nitty-gritty such as the treatment of stamps with a welfare surcharge under European tax law. Government representatives interpreted these activities more as an excuse for abstinence, because after all there was no EU competence. Border-wise we can say that it was a hike in terra nullius: the land that does not belong to anyone, which thus became the land ofthe dispossessed as well. An internal land seizure then took place, bit by bit, linking further activities more and more to the ‘core tasks of the EU’. In plain language: where most of the social affairs was already outside, the border trees were lowered: Competition was now the magic word – by no means presented as an exclusion of the social. Everything should be even better, and now, at last, truly EU-Romanian, for example through the free movement of services. That cannot be7seen as denying the social sector, can it? Rather, ironically the full recognition of the social has been achieved: social service providers as equal economic partners, for example alongside Deutsche Bank and Hoch&Tief or Flixbus.

  • see for example Herrmann, Peter, 2000: Social work and European integration – dangers of confusing the left with the right shoe; in: New practice. Zeitschrift für Sozialarbeit, Sozialpädagogik und

Sozialpolitik; Neuwied: Luchterhand, Issue 6: 601 – 607; Herrmann, Peter, 2009: Die Europäischen

Union als Programmgesellschaft. The European Social Model, Social Policy and the Third Sector

  • Herrmann, Peter, 1995: Subsidiarity and the wrong restraint or: On the meaning of European poverty

programmes; in: Intelligence Service of the German Association for Public and Private Welfare, Frankfurt/M., Issue 2: 79 – 86

  • Herrmann, Peter, 2011: The End of Social Services? Economisation and Managerialism; Bremen:

European University Publishing House

Who once looks into the metal bowl …

So it was visionary exactly in the way it happened: Kohl and Thatcher spread with their slogans the main ingredients for an ‘alchemistic circle soup’, which systematically redefined the social space as we knew it and actually let parts of the profession run in circles. Basically, we have a constellation again where trade policy and general social order policy have to come together. The EU’s fortress policy of global trade follows the usual cross-paths of a fortress wall that is only closed from one side. Moreover, it is currently also a question of far-reaching structural shifts – keywords are digitization, service capitalism, trade capitalism and financial capitalism, at least in the Western centers, and at the same time so-called Brazilianization. The crucial thing is that in this way a ‘climate’ is created which is much more radical than what is repeatedly called neoliberalism. The abandonment of the social space was more skilfully promoted than any policy of cutbacks, savings and restructuring could have achieved: It is a kind of ‘inner emigration’ – almost exactly we are writing the fortieth year of this counterrevolution: it was against the demonized socialists, clarifying in advance

Our aim is not just to remove our uniquely incompetentGovernment from office—it is to destroy the socialist fallacies— indeed the whole fallacy of socialism—that the Labour Party exists to spread.8

That was easily visibly translated as the actual combat task, far beyond serving the short-term interests of the economic bosses. In fact, the view of the economy was seen much more fundamentally – Kohl, for example, turned out to be a kind of Gramscian and stated in the government statement

The ultimate fate of the market economy is decided – beyond supplyand demand.9

(Excerpt:

https://www.1000dokumente.de/pdf/dok_0144_koh_en.pdf)

Here, too, it wasn’t simply about the real problems,10but also about the problems that had been made or, more precisely, those that allegedly didn’t exist.

“The new poverty is an invention of the socialist jet-set.”

STERN, July 24, 1986

It is significant that they are often negative statements; critiques which, as it were, also describe negatively what the conservatives did not want to be, was the main programmatic point: socially and responsibly – as early as 194911– Thatcher pleaded for the Swabian housewife who later became known through Angela Merkel. According to this, national budgets also have the primary goal of not incurring debts.

Above all, however, they did not want to be socialists – remarkable when one considers that the predecessor of this a-social era, Schmidt, said that there had been no turning point anyway (see box); and equally remarkable that then the ‘third way’, which was later allegedly longed for with Tony Blair in the UK (1997) and Gerhard Schroeder in the Federal Republic (1998) – shortly before the election – in an article in the Financial Times (international edition; passim), with the tenor that a change was necessary to secure the continuation of the conservative way. Basically, the “masterpiece” was done: the social space was abandoned, a sign was hung on the door:

Careful, don’t look back! Poisonous deposits!

And new strangleholds were trained purposefully (see Bohnenberger in this issue) – they were supposed to prepare themselves for private services, competition, division, and stress for ‘social customers’ and ‘providers’, dressed up as zeal, among other things, and finally to accept the good wishes of TINA.

These ‘socialists’ have overlooked many things, including the fact that they have paved the way for an alternative of false demagogues (see Butterwegge in this issue).

  1. Admittedly, Kohl mentions some of the core problems in the government declaration with a certain systematic approach, including those of a kind that not only concern obvious facts but also those of amore techno-political nature (monetary and budgetary policy, etc.).

11Speech at her adoption meeting as Conservative candidate for Dartford (28 February 1949);https://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/100821; 24.02.19Prof. Dr. phil., Sozialphilosoph, News. Thoughts. Provocations www.esosc.euPart of the literature is freely accessible via https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Peter_Herrmann


[1]              Thatcher, Margaret, interviewed by Douglas Keay (1987, September 23). Interview for Woman’s Own; Thatcher Archive (THCR 5/2/262): COI transcript; https://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/106689; 17/06/18

[2]       OJ L 376, 27.12.2006, p. 36-68; http://data.europa.eu/eli/dir/2006/123/oj; 24.02.19

[3]           Zu dem letzten Punkt: Farrant, Andrew, et al. “Preventing the ‘Abuses’ of Democracy: Hayek, the ‘Military Usurper’ and Transitional Dictatorship in Chile?” American Journal of Economics and Sociology, vol. 71, no. 3, 2012, pp. 513–538., http://www.jstor.org/stable/23245188.)

[4]           Strike depositions, anti-trade union activities, legal violations, bans on employment, war with/against the RAF

Moving or Staying – is that the question?


Peter Herrmann Right to Stay – Right to Move ISBN/EAN: 9783990610169, first 1; 2019; http://www.wienerverlag.at http://www.viennaacademicpress.com

This work contains Peter Herrmann’s reflections, an admirable result in terms of time and cultural productivity  of his research stay and material support at the University of Łódź, Poland (2018/2019) and the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy, Germany (2017/2018) as he mentions in the following pages. Munich is perhaps the place, that might be considered as a possible common point where international and national experts in Social Law and Social Policy intertwine their destinies in this „labyrinth of lines“.

 Among the main contributions of this work is the sharpness in the use of the author’s knowledge in different disciplines particularly in Economics, Sociology, Social Policy and Law. As well as his academic audacity in resorting to a great ample baggage of sources both of current political conjuncture citing digital media as well as of return to the classics of Economy and Law, pleasant historical narratives and even of literary novels. As well as the use of recent publications identifying clear and provocative ideas of a path dependency and the “development of underdevelopment” for those who are willing to understand the connection between social space and social time of the global village. 

In the first part, with greater emphasis on economics but always keeping faithful to what is known in Germany as Grundlagenforschung. He follows in many respects the thought and academic legacy of Hans F. Zacher whom the author has personally known and who unites in his human warmth, sensitivity an attempt to understand that there is a “black hole” and to find interdisciplinary research questions regarding the relationship between inequality in the Global and the poverty chains. Peter Herrmann has the comparative advantage of being a global researcher – he does not seek to benefit from his competitive or cooperative advantage of coming from the scientific community of the North – trying to paraphrase his lucid explanations in these concepts, Peter Herrmann knows and is able to adapt to the viscitudes that many scientists of the global South must face day by day and in his words that are also taking place in Europe.

The work deals with one of the most relevant and current topics: Migration and Mobility.

In the second part dedicated to human rights, the reading demands a level of abstraction that can reveal that a naked reader in his capacity of magination of certain realities or on the contrary as Löwenstein would compare in his constitutions and forms of government policies that there are different „Kleidungsstücke“ or suits to understand certain realities and the scope of interpretation will depend on each reader.

The classification of human rights into three generations is a discussion that the author takes up again by proposing a fourth generation. A fourth generation of human rights has to acknowledge the responsibility for socio-economic development not in terms of distributive policies but as matter of (re-)productive responsibility. Interestingly, he also proposes to reflect on: “new dimensions of power but also the fundamental structural change which we may classify as ‘socialisation by privatisation of public power’. One of the greatest current challenges in public international law.

As a bridge between the two parts of this work, he uses the very illustrative scheme to understand the order in which States can be classified in the process of globalization: Accumulation Regime/Mode of Regulation/Life Regime/Mode of Living. With a very precise and brilliant explanation of the term “threshold countries” as an idea(l) of modernization, declaring mass consumption as highest stage of socio-human existence – with this he obviously criticises Rostow and the mainstream approach to “development”. In his view, obviously two major issues remain without being problematised: the crucial meaning of the differentiation between public and private is not considered; also, there is no thought directed towards sustainability. The threshold, thus, means capitalist industrialisation, in reality possibly directly moving to the ‘advanced’ stage of finance capitalism.”

The book ends with a very critical quote from internet access as a human right that reminds us of Cristobal Columbus’ initial quote when he used the knowledge of the eclipse to colonize what would be called the Indians in the author’s words “undermining sooner or later the productive foundation, the indigenous mode of production”.

Dr. Lorena Ossio, LLM

Koordinatorin der Forschungsgruppe “Das Soziale im globalen Süden”

Coordinator of the Research Group “Understanding Southern Welfare”

Zentrum für interdisziplinäre Forschung der Universität Bielefeld

Center for Interdisciplinary Research at Bielefeld University

Methoden 1, 33615 Bielefeld, Germany

Happy New Year

Or New Years Eve, celebrated those days when it had been linked to the vernal equinox. Some uproar in the BaseCamp because of some mates celebrating NEWRUZ … not worthwhile elaborating on this quarrel in detail (though there is much to learn about this holiday, now also internationally recognised). But I was chatting with Loay about it, and expressed my conviction that we have in general so much nationalism in our thinking, not the extreme but just the apparent need to classify everything and everybody, not least making reference to nationality: “We” (people of the country 1 or 2 or country 148 …) are so different, special, compared with the others … . It may well be about being especially good, but also about especially neglecting, neglected, poor untidy … And “they” are … and yes, so often it is about negative things: “their music”, “their meals and eating habits”, “their law”, “their attitude to work” … and one may even add: though often there is some truth in it, there are too often ridiculous prejudices, stereotypes and unjustified generalisations.

Still, I am wondering why we are so often sticking together – I still remember my time in Brussels:

Les Français avec les Français, Język polski z polskim, Na Gaeilge leis na Gaeilge, Gli italiani con gli italiani, Die Deutschen mit den Deutschen – occasionally one felt alone, not being French, Polish, Irish, German or anything … until one decides for this and other reasons it is Time to Say Good-Bye, moving forward, leaving so many behind

A lot has to do with lack of knowledge, missing opportunity to engage in deep learning. Why are we talking about deep learning for computers and any IT-“self”-driving cars, while we are forgetting over all this the need to have deep learning as part of school and university curricular?

Soon to be published, interesting in this context:

Peter Herrmann: Right to Stay_Right to Move, With a preface by Lorena Ossio
Vienna:
Vienna Academic Press.

five years ago

“It’s indisputable that there’s a real pay gap. People can argue about how big, but that’s almost besides the point, The point is that every woman, every girl deserves to get paid what they’re worth.”

These are words by Sheryl Sandberg, taken from the Huffington Post, looking only on the year, not day, it had been five years ago. I am wondering if this is about a modern form of slavery and trafficking? Is payment about worth, even value of people in monetarised form? The difference is today’s deference of women: in old slave societies “owners”, the previous slave owner had been paid; Sandberg proposes to pay the slaves themselves. Hummmm, enslave yourself as alternative to wage work? Or is it just the same?

Surely an interesting question, most appropriate for the 8th of March, the International Women’s day.

A different point – as matter of a different chapter in the same book. In a brief note, titled

Was Studenten im Job wollen (What students are expecting in their job)

(even) the IWD (Institute of the German Economy) contends that inequality is going far beyond the gender pay gap, engraved in the entity and the expectations:

Although an attractive basic salary is at the top of the employers’ wish lists for both sexes, women in the various disciplines have on average significantly lower expectations than men in this respect.

www. assignmentpoint.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/labor-theory-of-value1.jpg

While my perspective on some of these questions concerned with the

Value Theory – is there still any value in it? – is it still worthwhile to talk about it? 

is still waiting for final publication (just looking at the proofs), Amit Bhaduri’s

On the Significance of Recent Controversies on Capital Theory: A Marxian View

may be of interest.

Ranking, awarding …

…reviewed from a very different corner

A spectre is haunting academia: the specter of competition – having politicians, who want to instrumentalise science, as their mouthpiece – for instance recently the Hungarian government came up with a strangulating funding scheme

and surely many other countries may be added.

Another instrument of the specter is the use of various schemes of ranking, awarding and the like …There are different dimensions of policies that are tightly strangulating what may be called “freedom of academia”

(may be called so, as this terminology had been abused by conservative and reactionary politicians in Germany against the student movement end of the 1960s (see Hans-Abrecht Koch: Professorale Selbstbehauptung in turbulenter Zeit; see also 
Review of Nikolai Wehrs, Protest der Professoren. Der «Bund Freiheit der Wissenschaft» in den 1970er Jahren
Alessandro Stoppoloni (in Italian); also: 
Martina Steber: Die Hüter der Begriffe. Politische Sprachen des Konservativen in Großbritannien und der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, 1945-1980 – available via liegen.io)

One aspect came to my mind when reading an article titled
CAN AN ALGORITHM WRITE A BETTER NEWS STORY THAN A HUMAN REPORTER?, written by Steven Levy. Two passages caught my special attention: 

Hammond was recently asked for his reaction to a prediction that a computer would win a Pulitzer Prize within 20 years. He disagreed. It would happen, he said, in five.


The other passage:

Last year at a small conference of journalists and technologists, I asked Hammond [Narrative Science’s CTO and cofounder, Kristian Hammond] to predict what percentage of news would be written by computers in 15 years. At first he tried to duck the question, but with some prodding he sighed and gave in: “More than 90 percent.

What actually is frightening of the following little story? Sure, for many the outlook of loosing their employment but we may consider that today’s standards – such as the Pulitzer Prize and many others – aren’t as noble as so many ranking-fed moneybags propose. Again, many things to be said and discussed, though for the moment only one, quoting Felix Stalder:

“iUsers are only able to evaluate search results pragmatically; that is, in light of whether or not they are helpful in solving a concrete problem. In this regard, it is not paramount that they find the best solution or the correct answer but rather one that is available and sufficient.”

Estratto di: Stalder, Felix. “The Digital Condition.” Polity Press, 2018

Indeed, everybody gets the Prize he or she deserves – it also means that at some stage the winning material will be self-assessed by an algorithm (a step further than the currently already ‘automated review’) by – finally that would be the ‘peer’ for the review. Anything new? May be, but may be not so much. Rancière, writing about post-democracy, states that it

is the government practice and conceptual legitimization of a democracy after the demos, a democracy that has eliminated the appearance, miscount and dispute of the people.


Just in time – and one could say: time does actually not matter. One of “my” universities sent a newsletter today – via e-mail, may be that this is the reason for calling it ‘connection’. It is arriving from one of the Chinese universities I worked at, ne of the headlines reading (in the section Education)

Nobel Prize Inspiration Initiative kicks off at … with Michael Young

right away followed by an article titled

… establishes International Business School

Now I dare to wonder to which extent revolutions, also and perhaps especially in science are initiated by a spark, a genius – often not (easily) understood, daring to make a step further – nit fearing being possibly wrong … – of course, this is a slippery field. We in China and we protestants in Europe know, for different reasons:
it is all about working hard
– in the east to serve society, in the west to build a house, plant a tree and have a sun (so the sayings go, standards set for male). And it is – nolens volens – working in society, being, existing , living in society and (as Marx stated) even individualising in society. And still there is this moment of genius – not only needed to be awarded any of these high ranking symbols but being awarded by some form and degree of independence. One does not have to agree with Kant in all the facets, one can laugh about his habits – but one has to accept the challenge he out in front of each of us: consciously living, accepting responsibility, only with this being able to go beyond the Kantian individualism, and doing what we do: making our own history, even if we have to accept that we do not do it entirely according to our own ‘simple individual will’.

Such awards make only sense if this is acknowledged and academic work does not degenerate to mere International Business …

The latter is exactly what we see with the entire reviewing, and new attitudes to awarding – at least as danger of the massification of ranked publishing: mass, numbers, formal perfection counts – quality control as engaged dispute amongst peers is replaced by checking the reflection of formal coherence – relativity in terms of E = M2cannot be seen, and Schroedinger’s cat will be known as dead or alive, no option for the beast to be … really Schroedinger’s cat.

Another issue with reviews – algorithmised or not, or another expression: Finally any reviewer – human or not – can only review what is familiar.

The divine day in-day out

Or it is about resistance

and getting engaged in debates …we, each of us, has to decide