never forget: death penalty

The most severe punishment for capital is when the money it represents is used for private consumption.

Even making generous donations is more acceptable as via taxation etc., the money is not declared being private asset. Thus, there is little surprise in the mushrooming of philantrocapitalism as new form of systemic parasite-ism (see e.g. Planck, Kerstin, 2017: Philanthrocapitalism and the Hidden Power of Big U.S. Foundations; in: Momentum Quarterly; Innsbruck )

ALLOW A MAN TO FISH THE WAY HE IS BEST TO DO IT

Of course, talking about Human Rights does not allow making jokes, mocking or any kind of not taking the issue serious. And of course, as with so many things, the first impression is not necessarily the correct one when hearing about a region demanding to be recognised by its central government – and the EU – as the first time- free-zone, overcoming the requirement to apply standard rules of time keeping for instance when it comes to schooling, shop-opening hours and the like. The reason for such a request is simple: a long time during which there is, so to say, only daytime. What had been issued as complex issue, dealing with individual well-being and socio-economic sovereignty apparently had been very much a business-hype, an attempt to attract tourists. Be it as it is, it should not be underestimated that there is a human rights dimension to it, exactly the issue of the right do sovereign decisions concerning the way in which people (in the double sense) are sovereign.Of course, Human Rights are to be understood as universal. Important is also that we are nolens volens talking about international HR – when I had been asked to make this part of my portfolio if accepting the call for a professorship at a law school I had been initially somewhat surprised, perhaps because it seems to be so obvious. However, obvious are in some way the breaches of such international HR-law – although subtle issues arise. A short story may highlight what is at stake – and in which way we are confronted with a contradictory issue, possibly even a minefield.                             

… He told me all about aid negotiations with EU representatives and the conditions that apply to the various schemes, and how the conditions now include human development indicators. If you want to obtain aid you have to improve your indicator. These development indicators – a fine invention – include school attendance rates. So what happens? He told me that children who used to work with their fathers tending livestock, for instance, traditionally – and this is not exploitation, this is traditional work – an activity that was an ideal way to learn about other things as well, the constellations, botany, family history, etc., are told that they have to go to school instead. There is no money, so they build sheds where they put 200 kids with a teacher who can’t cope, and they say they are attending school. The indicator goes up and they get their aid. The children’s level of education collapses because the only thing they learn is that they went to school and are no longer fit to do the work their parents do.

(The Declaration of Philadelphia Today; lecture by Alain Supiot (Institute for The Declaration of Philadelphia Today; lecture by Alain Supiot (Institute for Advanced Studies, Nantes, 24 March 2010; lecture, part of the ILO century project; 

Isn’t the decision on the own way of using time, the right to define time use as matter of appropriateness and im refection of the natural conditions exactly a decision of the same kind: allowing the children to go to school, obtaining advanced education in conflict with decision to obtain the knowledge needed in daily life.

Or using the widely suggested formulation that to

Give a Man a Fish, You Feed Him for a Day. Teach a Man how TTo Fish, and You Feed Him for a lifetime.

And from here it may be even more important to allow doing it in the way that is appropriate by way of reflecting the given conditions, instead of adapting to the global forces.

It is in some way the right to have rights Arendt puts on the agenda, but now the right of nation states to have rights to remain outside of the global capitalist system – which may still be a better place thanking part of its periphery.

throw-away-paradoxes

Environment, sustainability, protection of resources …, a short contribution may widen the view that is usually taken.

One of the paradoxes of the societies we live in, characterised by the present pope as throw-away-culture, is the waste of those resources that are actually valued and seen in one or the other way as productive, constituting the wealth of the times we live in. We speak, importantly, without doubt, about the environment. We sure should not forget taking other aspects into account under this heading.

The Economist published on the 8th of May an article titled


Riding alone in a car is an increasingly unaffordable luxury.

We read:

The right to use scarce road space is valuable. When it is given away, drivers overuse available roads, and clog them. The waste is colossal. An estimate by INRIX, a consulting firm, suggests that the value of time lost to traffic in 2018 in America alone reached $87bn.

In an article titled

The Cost of Reading Privacy Policies

and published it the Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society, Aleecia M. McDonald and Lorrie Faith Cranor inform the reader:

We estimate that if all American Internet users were to annually read the online privacy policies word-for-word each time they visited a new site, the nation would spend about 54 billion hours reading privacy policies.

Sure, one of the challenges our economies face today, is the lack of employment, unemployment being another waste of …, well, actually of lives as those who are unemployed are far from enjoying leisure time as “main occupation” – the main occupation is worrying about how to get bread and butter on the table, maintaining social contacts, and remaining motivated to take up what is “on offer” (often visits to museums are free), but what does not make sense as “stand alone activity” in stand-alone existences …., meaningless as certain jobs of which the only meaning is that they do exist – as Bullshit Jobs, as David Graeber calls them.Indeed, all these examples underlining what I emphasized: “It is the stable”.


shortlisted

what does it actually mean? why is it usually seen as positive if something, somebody is shortlisted?
Originating apparently in business and in particular in HR, it is now a term increasingly used in general to highlight people, books, competitors for the longest word

who is the winner and how are the losers?

whatsoevercomestoyourmindasworthwilebeingawardedwithsomethingtoattributeaspecialmeaningofwhateverkindforwhateverpurposeandaimseemstobenoteworthytobeawardedorbroughttotheattentionofothers

(whatsoever comes to your mind as worthwile being awarded with something to attribute a special meaning of whatever kind for whatever purpose and aim seems to be noteworthy to be awarded or brought to the attention of others)

what does shortlisted actually mean when we look at a list compiled by a disabled person?

  • the list of disabling items and matters is so long that already one page, neatly compiled, is actually really short if related to other things that are listed
  • the issue at stake is so relevant and important (e.g. the non-accessibility of a toilet for wheelchair-users due to a hindering step – yes, using the “duck” in the non-subdivided passenger compartment of the train is not impossible but still not the most fancy thing to do) that other issues are becoming nearly meaningless (the missing shelve that allows a disabled person to put some cosmetics, deodorant, a hairbrush and comb … into an appropriate location, having it handy for his/her beautification – yes, also wheely-users may think about it)
  • is it about the small print? we manage to print so small that nearly nobody can read anything and actually everybody is being disabled
  • is it about security? the observation of security issues (firealarm-procedures causing so much inconvenience that the gained security is paid for by serious disturbances and dangerous activities to be safe
  • or is it the unintrusive friendliness and support of some that allows to feel just .. part of everything as everybody else who is walking on two legs instead of creeping like the Kantian worm through the mud …

Which list will be shortlisted as the longest? which as the shortest?

the red of the black

Black Friday, another bad import from ‘big brother’

– the following doesn’t even look at the small print let alone at what seems to be so small that it is not even printed: such day we are bombarded with goods — all those ‘special offers’ the sale of which, I am sure, still allowed to make a profit good profit: whatever the historical background is, that special day was not made a tradition of making loss. Besides this probably everybody reading these lines had been bombarded with e-mails, many unwanted SPAM-mails

By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44458281

, aiming on convincing us to buy buy buy …

Leaving aside the wasted time – deleting all the unwanted mails and getting upset …- there is another, actually real cost: According to the Guardian

The sending, sorting and filtering of spam email alone accounts for 33bn units of electricity each year

According to another source – PhysOrg

Sending even a short email is estimated to add about four grammes (0.14 ounces) of CO2 equivalent (gCO2e) to the atmosphere.

To put this into perspective, the carbon output of hitting “send” on 65 mails is on par with driving an average-sized car a kilometre (0.6 of a mile).

And furthermore they calculated

The global carbon footprint from spam annually is equivalent to the greenhouse gases pumped out by 3.1 million passenger cars using 7.6 billion litres (two billion gallons) of gasoline in a year.

Of course, it is difficult to draw a line and perhaps such blogs as this should not exist. But leaving this aside, Black Friday was surely a red day, a warning lamp switching on such day when looking at the environmental question: a huge cost for the environment …, rarely considered or calculated; a huge “contribution to the GDB”, proving that in capitalism production of waste is considered to be valuable.

World Teachers’ Day

The 5th of October, since 1994, the World Teachers’ Day commemorates the anniversary of the signing of the 1966 UNESCO/ILO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers. The 1966 Recommendation provides the main reference when it comes to teachers’ rights and responsibilities on a global scale.

 

Worthwhile to remember what Alfred Marshall said in 1890.

The schoolmaster must learn that his main duty is not to impart knowledge, for a few shillings will buy more printed knowledge than a man’s brain can hold. It is to educate character, faculties and activities; so that the children even of those parents who are not thoughtful themselves, may have a better chance of being trained up to become thoughtful parents of the next generation. To this end public money must flow freely. And it must flow freely to provide fresh air and space for wholesome play for the children in all working class quarters. (Marshall, Alfred, 1890: Principles of Economics; MacMillan and Co., London, 1930: 718)

It seems that with the “refeudalisation of society” we face the situation that the positions of the revolutionaries of the olden times, whose authors had been yesterday’s conservatives, are becoming joining on the side of the revolutionaries again. In this light there is also something about the illustration, ensuring to sin – surely not catholic-literally but to accept that pupils and students are partners.

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Worthwhile a note on the world and China: on September the 10th I received a mail from 张伟, a former student of mine – well, she would say “a student of mine”, skipping the word “former”. She sent her congrats and best wishes for the teachers day. First I was puzzled – did she mix up the date? 2018, the Chinese teachers’ day is on the 10th of September, the world teachers’ day on October 5th, a simple explanation. I checked later on the web and found something that is … – well, I leave it up to you to think about it:

10 September is an official holiday in China. This day the whole country fetes educators and teachers. This holiday, in its different interpretations, has been existed in China as early as the Middle Ages. Teachers and coaches have always been honored and respected in China. Very often teachers acted as mentors throughout the whole life; especially it is true for the traditional Chinese martial arts.

It also says something on the reason of making it a public holiday: the official acknowledgment of teachers – as intellectuals – and their important role in boosting the development of the country. Also

Since the school system in China is based on the Western model, many old traditions in honor of teachers have not been preserved today.

One may have different opinions on this, the political background …, well. But at least it seems to be worthwhile to mention that there is a deed in the one part of the world, and that there are just words, probably widely unspoken, unwritten, unheard, unread … in another part of the world.

****

Worthwhile a personal note:
Only recently, visiting with a friend the Kunsthalle in Munich, I remembered one point of all this, when standing with her in front of one of Emmanuel Maignan’s works, the “Anamorfosi San Francesco di Paola”. A pleasure to experience the amazement of both of us. Though it had not been about a visit with a student, it is very similar anyway: Something of learning together and admitting that it is about the experience of being caught by what one sees – in this case actually being caught by what one does not see: the praying person only visible from two specified angles, the sides. It reminded me of having used Holbein’s equally magnificent  work “Gli Ambasciatori” for showing the same effect: the hiding of something, the fact of leaving something invisible for those who lack the enlightenment – an enlightenment that is emerging from the standpoint, the perspective. Never having seen the original of Holbein’s work, seeing something similar entailed still the experience of being amazed. – What foolish teacher would say s/he knows the one and only perspective. Doesn’t such perspective emerge only from putting together experiences, that may at some stage get stuck, paralyse the experienced if it goes together with closing the eyes, blocking off, not allowing new experiences to be made; and even more: not allowing looking at something “known” through new spectacles and of course forcing looking at the new through the old glasses.

Teachers’ Day – an opportunity to congratulate students, and to thank my students for allowing me to learning together with them.

Human Rights – shifting borders to new limits?

Human Rights – and one may say jurisprudence in general – is dealing with the fundamental tension of setting limits in order to reach universality. This means in particular being aware of the trap entailed in this constellation. Usually it is seen as “mission impossible”, left outside of the debate of the lege feranda; here it is suggested to take up Marx’ remark in a footnote in The Capital, volume I, saying:
“Proudhon begins by taking his ideal ofjustice, of “justice éternelle”, from the juridical relations that correspond to the production of commodities: thereby, it may be noted, he proves, to the consolation of all good citizens, that the production of commodities is a form of production as everlasting as justice. Then he turns round and seeks to reform the actual production of commodities, and the actual legal system corresponding thereto, in accordance with this ideal. What opinion should we have of a chemist, who, instead of studying the actual laws of the molecular changes in the composition and decomposition of matter, and on that foundation solving definite problems, claimed to regulate the composition and decomposition of matter by means of the “eternal ideas”, of “naturalité” and “affinité”? Do we really know any more about “usury”, when we say it contradicts “justice éternelle”, “équité éternelle”, “mutualité éternelle”, and other “vérités éternelles” than the fathers of the church did when they said it was incompatible with “grâce éternelle”, “foi éternelle”, and “la volonté éternelle de Dieu”?”
Still, there is the claim of some universality needed when it comes to (human) rights – finally it is the function of law to construct a hegemonic framework which than is broken down into smaller units, guided by the principle of binarisation.
With this reference in mind it should be possible to elaborate a more historicised take on HR, demanding to refer consciously to a “progressive economy”, i.e. the potentiality of a formation oriented on the interwoven matters of
  • Producing goods, but more importantly producing people, relationships and available time
  • Producing inclusion as condition of integrity – different to ancient societies, where slaves had been doing the work that allowed non-slaves to develop themselves in commune.
Human Rights – universally meaningful, though founded in a well understood partisanship, cum ira et studio: Hegemonies … – they follow the rule which Ovid is looking at:
In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas/corpora — I intend to speak of forms changed into new entities.
Here you can find the recoding of a short presentation around these questions, given on the 12th of September 2018 at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.