“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.



GAFA and BAT – is that all Big Data has to offer?

Big scandals – Big lies, abusing terms as sharing and gig – Big communities, allowing access, participation and common action – Big portals, opening new ways of empowerment  of citizens who move and customers who control

— Debates around BIG DATA have to span between these four poles. It would be presumptuous to discuss this field without acknowledging the diverse tensions, trying to limit the debate by focusing on one corner only. Any of those debates is prone to get caught by self-limitation, continuing the way we seemingly always walked; or dreaming of visions that overlook the limits of the realm of the seemingly borderless space of imagination.
The presentation, made on the 20th of June at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy, Munich, focuses on property and competition as core issues, emphasising that both have to be used in a substantiated way that starts from a perspective of praxis. This means to least that notions “corporate social responsibility” are critically rebuked, insisting on cooperative social responsibility as pathway that needs to be developed. it surely is an illusion to think about ways to regulate and reform matters that actually do not exist (anymore).
The recording should be listened to in connection with a document providing some definitions and references:

Corporate irresponsibility ?

Tomorrow, in the framework of the ‘hour of contemporary issues’, organised at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy, Munich, Amalienstrasse 33, Peter Herrmann will give a presentation titled

The Comedy of Big Data, Or: Corporate Social Responsibility Today, While Corporations wither away?

The following gives some idea what the presentation is about.

Understanding Corporate Social Responsibility requires at least a bit of historical clarification: it would be surely misleading to attribute any kind of entrepreneurial ‘social activity’ to the array of Corporate Social Responsibility. However, such review will be only briefly introduced in order to classify certain activities as related to what may be called social responsibility, the emphasis on the corporation as actor. What, however, if we come to the conclusion that certain shifts in the economy lead – in some digitization industries – to forms of the classical corporation withering away, being successively replaced by a new formation of which we cannot see clear, elusive contours. Are we moving towards revived arbitrary systems of socio-charitable controls, Lidle financing professorships, Aldi and Lidl presenting themselves as supporters of social housing and Facebook controlling elections?  Or can we foster a model which leans towards inherent publicness?

Globalistics and Globalization Studies: Global Evolution, Historical Globalistics and Globalization Studies

Out now

The 2017 issue of the

Globalistics and Globalization Studies

is now available. Detailed reference is as follows:

Globalistics and Globalization Studies: Global Evolution, Historical Globalistics and Globalization Studies / Edited by Leonid E. Grinin, Ilya V. Ilyin, Peter Herrmann, and Andrey V. Korotayev. – Volgograd: ‘Uchitel’ Publishing House, 2017. – 400 pp.


The following will give some insight:

The scope of human thought along with its ability to proceed from reconstruction of the most ancient periods to anticipation of the distant future, from small objects to galaxies and the Universe as well as, to embrace different trends and dimensions of reality never ceases to amaze us. You are reading a new issue of the Yearbook which contains some ‘grains’ of the description of the billion years’ path. This Yearbook presents the global studies which cover different fields of research. The present volume is the sixth in the series of yearbooks with the title Globalistics and Globalization Studies.

The subtitle of the volume is ‘Global Evolution, Historical Globalistics and Globalization Studies’ which reflects the contents. The present issue brings together a variety of contributions devoted to mega- and global evolution (Part I); historical globalistics (Part II); globalization and glocalization (Parts III–IV). Besides, Part IV comprises some issues on the view in the future. We become more and more accustomed to think globally and to see global processes.

The yearbook will be interesting to a wide range of researchers, teachers, students and all those who are concerned about global issues.

While the volume is in its heterogeneity an interesting read, I may draw the present readers’ special attention to the following contributions:

Introduction. From the First Galaxies to the 2040s

(by Leonid Grinin, Ilya Ilyin, Peter Herrmann, and Andrey Korotayev) ……………………………………………………………5

Peter Herrmann. Potentials for Taking a Strategic Role for Sustainable Sociability ………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 349 ff.

Enjoy ordering and reading.



Never sure …. if I understand correctly you can follow one of the links ‘some free copies as long as they last’ ad download a free copy of the full article … – until a certain limit is reached. And after the limit is reached, it should automatically be blocked, perhaps with a note from

Have fun reading

Book Reviews

Ambiguities – hardly coming to an end …

… be it as topic of love stories, of national identities, recognition of interpretation and believes or as matter of understanding of and acting within this world. It is the huge topic of Howard Zinn’s play
[Howard Zinn:
Three Plays: The Political Theater of Howard Zinn: Emma, Marx in Soho, Daughter of Venus]
It is truly coming across in this wonderful, poiggnant performance by Brian Jones
Well, I watched it, and read it before going to Maynooth early May – for some short lectures at my Department of Chiense at the University, one on
the other looking at
then attending the conference The (re)Birth of Marx(ism): haunting the future, there looking at the question
Value theory: is there any value in it? Is it still worthwhile to talk about it?
I remember one passage – showing the ambiguities, and also giving some tiny insight in the major role Jenny played.

I wish you could know Jenny. What she did for me cannot be calculated. And she accepted the fact that I could not simply get a job like other men. Yes, I did try once. I wrote a letter of inquiry to the railway for a position as clerk. They responded as follows: “Dr. Marx, we are honored with your request for a position here. We have never had a doctor of philosophy working for us as a clerk. But the position requires a legible handwriting, so we must regretfully decline your offer.” (He shrugs.)

[https:// hauntingthefuture.files.wordpress.com
Jenny believed in my ideas. But she was impatient with what she considered the pretensions of high-level scholarship. “Come down to earth, Herr Doktor,” she would say.
She wanted me to describe the theory of surplus value so ordinary workers could understand it. I told her, “No one can understand it without first understanding the labor theory of value, and how labor power is a special commodity whose value is determined by the cost of the means of subsistence and yet gives value to all other commodities, a value which always exceeds the value of labor power.” She would shake her head: “No, that won’t do. All you have to say is this: your employer gives you the barest amount in wages, just enough for you to survive and work; but out of your labor he makes far more than what he pays you. And so he gets richer and richer, while you stay poor.” All right, let us say only a hundred people in world history have ever understood my theory of surplus value. (Gets heated) But it is still true! Just last week, I was reading the reports of the United States Department of Labor. There you have it. Your workers are producing more and more goods and getting less and less in wages. What is the result? Just as I predicted. Now the richest one percent of the American population owns forty percent of the nation’s wealth. And this in the great model of world capitalism, the nation that has not only robbed its own people, but sucked in the wealth of the rest of the world . . . Jenny was always trying to simplify ideas that were, by their nature, complex. She accused me of being a scholar first and a revolutionary second. She said: “Forget your intellectual readers. Address the workers.” She called me arrogant and intolerant. “Why do you attack other revolutionaries more vehemently than you attack the bourgeoisie?” she asked. Proudhon, for instance. The man did not understand that we must applaud capitalism for its development of giant industries, and then take them over. Proudhon thought we must retreat into a more simple society. When he wrote his book The Philosophy of Poverty, I replied with my own book, The Poverty of Philosophy. I thought this was clever. Jenny thought it was insulting. (Sighs) I suppose Jenny was a far better human being than I could ever be.

Tragicomedy of Capitalism Today

A new video is uploaded, referring to short clips from a BBC-biography cast presenting Bill Gates . The presentation here is titled

Tragicomedy of Capitalism Today – A bit of Gates-Peeling

and looks with the reference to short excerpts from the film at some of the socio-cultural dimension of the tragicomedy.

— Tiny aspects – still, if it is true that we are witnessing a fundamental and deep-far reaching change of the ways we produce ad live together, it may be worthwhile to reflect as well a bit on the generational shift and on who this self-appointed avant-garde is.

The five sections are musing around the following items:

  • Predatory and Tributary Aspects of Capitalism Today
  • Alligator Capitalism
  • Cultural/historical heritage without inheritance tax
  • Sense of public service or missionary capitalism?
  • On horses, cars and Microsoft computers

It is a bit of ‘slow reading’ of the sign of apparently turbulent times.


photo in present text: https: //tr3.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/r/2017/12/13/7fa674ee-c595-4a22-867a-c5f27b5faaa6/resize/770x/dcc1b021beb10d381e6eed9ab560bd9f/istock-501221160.jpg

The Bill Gates Story: https://youtu.be/fu1fBJ9b0mQ

Garrett Hardin: The Tragedy of the Commons; i: Science, December 1968

Carol M. Rose, 1986: The Comedy of the Commons: Commerce, Custom, and Inherently Public Property; Faculty Scholarship Series. Paper 1828; http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/fss_papers/1828

Wassily Leontief, 1983: National Perspective: The Definition of Problems and Opportunities; in: National Academy of Engineering: The Long-Term Impact of Technology on Employment and Unemployment; Washington: National Academy Press

Peter D. Norton, 2008: Fighting Traffic. The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City; Cambridge, Massachusetts London, England: The MIT Press