Failing projects

This week, meeting the students here in Lodz for the second time, the work will get more serious. The topics


European Integration – A Failed Political and Social Union?

(from: Zeit Campus: September 2018/2019)

Though proposal had been made a while back – not focussing on issues GREXIT, BREXIT and the very recent “EU-developments” in Switzerland – one is wondering if these developments are seriously distracting the debates: Although they are highlighting the vulnerability, they are easily moving debates on solutions strategies – saving a torso – while neglecting the more fundamental issues that can be seen as fundamentally structural flaws, undermining the supposed plans and claims. In other words, the project had been from the beginning as half-hearted as the project of enlightenment. – In principle, already the lectures in Vienna (2017) had been dealing with these questions. However, in Poland the more philosophical may hopefully be more focussed upon.


The second course will look at

Development versus Growth. Perspectives for a Qualitative Dimension in Developmental Economics

Not an easy one, as there is the fundamental issue of determining value, or to be more precise : to determine what economics/the economy is about. Unfortunately, also in debates one alternative paradigms, easily accept the flawed definition of economy

The economy of humans emerges from two roots. They have to beeconomically active because the means are scarce in relation to the ends …; and they are in a position that allows them to be economically active as, though with some limitations, they can make decisions about the purchase and use of the goods regarding the kind, quality, quantity, use etc., thus influencing the use-impact that are achieved …

(Schoenfeld, Leo, 1924: Grenznutzen und Wirtschaftsrechnung [Marginal Rate and Business Mathematics]; Wien: Manz’sche Verlags- und Universitäts-Buchhandlung; unchanged reprint München/Wien: Philosophia Verlag: 1)

While in very general terms there is nothing wrong with what is said, there is everything wrong if we use this as real point of reference or economy and development. An alternative is Frederick Engels’ proposition:

According to the materialist conception, the determining factor in history is, in the last resort, the production and reproduction of immediate life. But this itself is again of a twofold character. On the one hand, the production of the means of subsistence, of food, clothing and shelter and the implements required for this; on the other, the production of human beings themselves, the propagation of the species. The social institutions under which men of a definite historical epoch and of a definite country live are determined by both kinds of production: by the stage of development of labour, on the one hand, and of the family, on the other. The less labour is developed and the more limited the volume of its products and, therefore, the wealth of society, the more predominantly the social order appears to be dominated by ties of kinship. However, within this structure of society based on ties of kinship, the productivity of labour develops more and more; with it, private property and exchange, differences in wealth, the possibility of utilising the labour power of others, and thereby the basis of class antagonisms: new social elements, which strive in the course of generations to adapt the old structure of society to the new conditions, until, finally, incompatibility of the two leads to a complete transformation. The old society, based on ties of kinship, bursts asunder with the collision of the newly developed social classes; in its place a new society appears, constituted in a state, the lower units of which are no longer groups based on ties of kinship but territorial groups, a society in which the family system is entirely dominated by the property system, and in which the class antagonisms and class struggle, which make up the content of all hitherto written history now freely unfold.

(Engels, Frederick, 1884: The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State. In the Light of the Researches by Lewis H. Morgan; in: Marx&Engels Collected Works. Volume 26: Engels 1882-89; Lawrence & Wishart, 2010 [Electric Book]: 129-276, here: 131 f.)

A lengthy quote, a position that should also allow thinking what “the old society, based on ties of kinship, bursts asunder with the collision of the newly developed social classes” means today.
In a forthcoming publication – titled

About You – Nur frage nicht ob Du ueberhaupt bist

part of the topic, dealing with modes of life, will be looked at. After publication in the Tarantel, published by the Ökologische Platform bei Der Linken it will be announced here.


The Most Dangerous Game

This is the title of an exhibition, showing the

Situational International en route for May ’68.

Earlier this week, well, actually already the week before, before I went to the EuroMemo conference in Helsinki last week, I was reminded of today’s understanding of occupying the streets and the meaning of the spectacle – though entirely different from the S.I.’s understanding
Germany’s “largest Festival of the Year”
showing its vedettes: So many roads closed, even part of the park between the Victory-Column and the Brandenburg Gate, the intangible power
provoking the question: what do they mean stating that this festival is
only together with you
There can, in some way, only be one answer: it is about the continuation and replication of how the former East had been and still is treated, prolonging the tradition of the East when that part served as corn-chamber of the West. That is what had been established also in 1989, though it isn’t about corn anymore; the new debates on the floors where the CEOs of the large national and international corporations meet in their offices and meeting rooms had been concerned with the division of work and influence and living conditions within Gemany and between Germany, the other “old Europeans” and the “newcomers”. Those years I travelled a bit across countries as Poland, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Moldova …, clearly witnessing the “occupation of the streets”, clearly witnessing a strict pattern of the positioning of the different enterprises in a well-ordered fashion, clearly showing that competition can well be about the friendly distribution of market power.
I suppose it had been around those years that I wrote on page 232 in the
– ‘We are the people’, this phrase still sounds in my ears – and I see the crumbling of ‘the wall’, socialism had been building – rightly or wrongly – to protect itself against… ‘We are the people’ they say now – and the walls of Tesco, Aldi, Mango, Springfield, Dell, MAC, BMW and all the others make it difficult to hear the real voices of many who are just following their own way, now whispering for instance in the thermal bath of Hajdubösösmerny.
Well, there are these two worlds, within Germany, within EUrope and Europe and globally: the one attend “happenings” and their spectacles are about spectacular money; others see
The first of October … – it took me much longer to go to the House of the Cultures of the World then it took me “those years” to cross at Bahnhof Friedrich Strasse – the German State needs much protection, a huge contingent of police and private security when switching to circenses while limiting panem …  
The third of October … will it ever be a day of celebrating globalism, cosmopolitan spirit and life instead of supporting strengthened nationalism?
These days in October, very often, my experience with the police, when passing the security points to enter the gated areas “outside office hours”, may be mentionable – one example: I referred to the “Nur mit Euch” (only with you) on the poster depicted above, stating something like “it is an interesting concept: ‘Only with you’, and we are all screwed …” – Comment by the officer, though surely not an official one: “I do not have a clue what they meant by this.”

Digitisation – Employment – and What?

The recording of the keynote presentation on Digitisation, Employment, and What? is already online. It is an attempt to socio-locate the challenge of today’s productivity puzzle and had been given on occasion of the symposium in Helsinki, organised by the Pellervo Society and the European Academy of Science and Arts, today on the 18th of September 2018.

Usual beginning is about “I do not know where to start” – all is so terribly confusing, a multitude of extremely different things.

There seems an obvious reply in the present case,

  • at least for digitisation – the apparent omnipresence of issues that are in one or another way about digital stuff – from the CD-player to the computer on four wheels
  • also for AI – the fact that it is not entirely clear is part of AI itself: there seems to be something that we, humankind, came up with and that is now “beyond our capacities” – the Frankenstein of Intellect if you want
  • and what seems to be equally clear: precarity in the vein of decreasing employment – another time we hear in different rhythm the old melody: there is not enough work anymore. But if we listen around we hear also something else – something we also heard for many times throughout history: There will never be an end, though there will be many changes.

Having said earlier that presentations are often started with something like “I do not know where to begin”, waiting for an Ariadne who may help. At present, my point is a different one, namely “I do not where it will end”. It is the famous Alice-in-Wonderland-situation, leading elsewhere to the conclusion “but I would not start from here”.

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.

values and interests – one or two or more?

values and interests – last week the Polish Vice suggested in Krynica being them as one, being backed by his high-level Hungarian colleague, who suggested that these values are Christian values.

Seems people like me are in danger again, even and especially if and when we show readiness to move towards common goals of humankind and humanity. It had been this remark that contributed to writing to Simone, back in Munich at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy:

Perhaps I should offer a contribution for next Wednesday’s talk on contemporary issues.

Indeed, later I concretised this proposal, suggesting as title:

Social injustice and social (de)legalisation – A hegemony-theoretical perspective on social and human rights

It is remarkable, as I think, to see how explicit some people suggest that THEIR ONE interest has too be the interest of all: the claimed universality of human rights fading away behind the claim of unquestionable hegemonic claims. Though it is remarkable, it is in actual fact nothing new behind such supposed enlightened claim. Didn’t Marx discuss this already in a footnote in the first volume of Capital:


Proudhon begins by taking his ideal of justice, 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”?

If we really want to talk about values, it may be time to acknowledge not only that there is a variety of interests, clashing against each other and values MAY be referred to as attempt to take them – but not anything else no anything more. Something to be thought about on Wednesday – and also on Tuesday next week in Helsinki, talking about

Digitisation – Employment – and What? An Attempt to Socio-Locate the Challenge of Today’s Productivity Puzzle

as part of the symposium Digitisation, Artificial Intelligence and Stultification, September 18th, 2108, organised by the European Academy of Science and Arts and the Pellervo Society (The recording will be made available here from the 18th of September onwards.

employment – precarity – or what

Precarity of Employment – Precarity of Capital Accumulation – Helplessness of Social Science

Thoughts from the Panel during the 28thEconomic Forum, Krynica-Zdroj, Polonia:
Flexible Employment: A way to a global chaos or to a new model of labour market stability?

a brief note, while already on the way back to Munich …

And the changed title is:

Panem et circenses – but who bakes the bread?

There is no reason to carry owls to Athens – they are there, and at least also one is in Krynica, in the park

– repeating what is well known, e.g. speaking about growth and employment and looking for ways for its enhancement. Opposing is often naively just about rejecting it without thinking about viable alternatives. The core of my contribution in Krynica can be summarised in the following table and a short para, trying to get a bit closer to the ground of things:

(Click to enlarge)

and in the one paragraph:

Precarity can only be meaningfully looked at, if understood as one of two sides of the accumulation regime: there we are dealing with employment issues, around generating value; and we are dealing with accumulation as realising value by combining factors of production and by recombining in different ways use value and exchange value. The one is a matter of production, the other of distribution and exchange. The problematique emanates from the fact of what we may call a “realisation paradox”: Though the market is needed to make surplus real, it is only the productive sphere that makes it possible. The outcome is the “destruction of time“ in the sphere of production, in order to be artificially extended in the sphere of consumption. It should not surprise if one feels reminded of the process of production which consumes raw material, i.e. destroys nature in order to establish artificial consumables.

– I would not suggest that capital/capital accumulation is in a more precarious situation than employment/the employment regime and social securitisation; however, there is good reason to look at (parts of) this under the heading “sex, drugs and crime”.

On the new title: such an event has something of exactly the Panem et Circenses, trying to make us forget that somebody has to bake the bread ….
Follow the link for the recording of some schort remarks.

Once upon a time …

… is today ….

Actually it is a more or less long time ago that this project commenced, making the first steps and growing, without a path that would be determined, trying to live in exactly that way that was also the birth name: Phanresia, bringing phantasy and reality together, trying to do it at least, playing the cross-cross conflation. And accepting that the reality could be something different than the original plan, imagined in the stories that had been made up, told to a little girl …

And then …?

… and then the little stories that had been told and imagined together, allowing the old to become young and the young to become …, well, wise and had been published as book …

…and then is now, commencing the youtube version of the book of Phanresia, telling stories from being different and stories about contradictions …. .

Yesterday, the 19th of August, the first part had been launched on youtube; and also the second part; the third part and the fourth. there will be more published subsequently while I enjoy writing the fourth volume, for a little boy… – step by step …, because once upon a time is now and will always be … if we allow reality of phantasy to be!