Vermeers “Woman in Blue” and the challenge to counter global hegemony of “stakeholder-democracy”

Of course, this “Davos of the East” as it is sometimes called,, and which I mentioned previously, is a special challenge as it is about an invitation to accept the rules of the hegemon, while it is for me the obligation to maintain the role of the anti-hegemeon while knowing that there is always the one option: being seen as fig-leaf or, and this is the serious problem, being absorbed: the anti-hegemonic position being reinterpreted and smoothly welded into the existing interpretation of things. – Dialectic of change one may say; there is no way to succeed but one has to try nevertheless and endlessly like Sisifo.

Part of the dialectic is of course to be in one way or another part of a group that is in line with widespread claims of a

representation of a post-nation state governance system

referring to Katerina Gladkova who is analysing Two years into the SDGs, asking if it is about neoliberalised development? What she says with respect of the SDG-strategy, finds its valid application in many of these “new institutions” – they are another

window-dressing exercise in democracy. The multistakeholder model dilutes boundaries of accountability and is not representative of the needs of the many; on the contrary, it serves the interests of the privileged minority advocating for the neoliberal world order.

******

I became aware of the task in an entirely unexpected context, namely when looking – together with Angela Maria Opel, as part of the guided tour “Love letters in the Painting of The Netherlands” – at Vermeer’s Women in Blue Reading a Letter, currently hosted in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich. A seemingly harm-, possibly meaningless painting of which the value is at first glance its beauty – and as well all know beauty is always contestable. And equally any interpretation of one painting is questionable because painters are children of their time and a single painting is only a piece of the jigsaw, composed by painter and time. The contemporary trinity of Dutch paintings can be seen in map, letter and necklace, frequently appearing not only in Vanmeer’s work. It is the trinity of the young and independent republic, the temptation by the glamorous jewellery, representing the ancient regime – and the dispute over it, now, as the weapons had been laid down. As such , reading the letter may have been not least a matter of political commitment, a question of resisting the temptations of short-sighted glamour and persisting in moving forward towards the new republic which represented at the very same time a new economic formation. Seen in this light, the review of the painting can also be seen as reflection of the close connection between the political and the personal: the urgency of reading, pushing aside the obvious temptation by vanity, the longing for true love standing against the superficial glamour, and this means also the possibility of rejection, the dispute about love going beyond the visible glamour – indeed, the rejection of such letter as depicted by Gerard ter Borch; indeed, not every gallant soldier had been a welcomed soldier.

On the other hand, the light, so typical for Vermeer, can be in some way as competent for the glamour of the pearls: the glamour of the outreaching trade of the new republic … – sending the loved one away for the explorations or receiving the news from abroad? – it had been the tension also of Gabriël Metsu, positioning the Man Writing a Letter and the Woman Reading a Letter side by side, all at a time when Claude Lorrain was painting the variations of the seaport (yes, I had been teaching on tis, in Budapest [economic thinking in six paintings])

An interesting detail may be that Vermeer actually used “real blue”, extracted from lapis lazuli – something for instance van Rijn could not afford /// …. . In other words, Vanmeer represented very much the upper class, most likely the new hegemons. This thought may be extended – the blue of the woman’s garment finds its continuation ih the cooer of the wall in front of her, where it still continues as shadow. As such it continues as well from the map – on may suggest that it is marking the seafarers nation, and it finds finally its strange settlement in the chair, covered with a material with of darker blue, kept tight with golden nubs. – Thus we would have the perfect tension: while the weapons are silent, the soldiers trying their fate in a peaceful “mission with their gallantries”, representing the old regime as much as the regime’s attempt to convince by jewelry and words, the new economic power provides a firm and guided resting point. The old and the new hegemons standing against each other, courting her, The Netherlands.

Sure, such interpretation is not least a matter of speculation, or turned positively: a matter of inspiration and reflection – the reflex of time and times, space and spaces.

******

– With this we return to the beginning, though we are not talking about any new republic, we surely talk about some far reaching changes. Understanding them, and understanding them in their deeper meaning we have to go beyond the reflection of extended stocktaking. Robert Cox actually outlined the challenge, writing about two different kinds of theory:

Beginning with its problematic, theory can serve two distinct purposes. One is a simple, direct response: to be a guide to help solve the problems posed within the terms of the particular perspective which was the point of departure. The other is more reflective upon the process of theorising itself: to become clearly aware of the perspective which gives rise to theorising, and its relation to other perspectives (to achieve a perspective on perspectives); and to open up the possibility of choosing a different valid perspective from which the problematic becomes one of creating an alternative world. Each of these purposes gives rise to a different kind of theory.

The first purpose gives rise to problem-solving theory. It takes the world as it finds it, with the prevailing social and power relationships and the institutions into which they are organised, as the given framework for action. …

The second purpose leads to critical theory. It is critical in the sense that it stands apart from the prevailing order of the world and asks how that order came about. Critical theory, unlike problem-solving theory, does not take institutions and social and power relations for granted but calls them into question by concerning itself with their origins and how and whether they might be in the process of changing.[1]

Indeed, then contributing to the debate on new technologies, unemployment and precarity, will be not least a matter of refraining from using those terms. It is more a matter of looking at the underlying overall goals and the framing contexts, the why behind the what. It is, in other words, about rejecting the mainstream principle, by Richard and Daniel Susskind[2]seen in the fact that professionals

are inclined to ask themselves what it is that they do today … and how they might make that service a bit quicker, cheaper, or better. Not often enough do professionals ask themselves the more fundamental question …” (37 f.)

which they understand as matter of defining the overall purpose of any undertaking we investigate. May be, being asked to talk about growth and security of employment, I should make socks statements that the need for growth is the real Sisyphos’ pain and security of employment a promised glamour of an ancient regime, similar to the jewelry that had been positioned as decoy against the new republic which may finally become at some stage a res publica, not worrying about privacy of data but about wrongly claimed publicness of GAFA.

******************

[1]           Cox, Robert W., 1981: Social Forces, States and World Orders: Beyond International Relations Theory; in: Millennium – Journal of International Studies; 10/2; 126-155; here: 128; DOI: 10.1177/03058298810100020501

[2]           Susskind, Richard and Daniel, 2015: The Future of the Professions. How technology will transform the work of human experts; Oxford University Press

Annunci

relational processuality and processual relationality

Next then

Elastyczne zatrudnienie: globalny chaos czy nowa równowaga rynku pracy?/

/Flexible employment: a way to a global chaos or to a new model of labour market stability

It is a panel of the 28th Economic Forum, scheduled for the 4th to 6th of September in Krynica.

Looking at the announcement of the participants in the panel I see that

Guests from Russia, Germany, Hungary, Kazakhstan and Poland 

are announced. And that makes me wondering if they forgot me or in which box I am put. Well, I know that I am officially there in my Munich position at the Max Planck Institut for Social Law and Social Policy. Still, I am also “Hungarian”, due to the link with Corvinus University, and “Fin”, being pat of the University of Eastern Finland and …

… and am I joking?

http: //next.myworshiptimes31.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/55/2013/12/safety-net-copy.jpg

In some respect of course, which means that we are facing the reality and thinking remaining captured by four methodological flaws (see the contribution on Value Theory – is there still any value in it? – is it still worthwhile to talk about it?; in:Changing the Socio-Economic Formation: New Labour Relations, New Forms of Accumulation, New understanding of  Intelligence [working title; forthcoming]):

  • methodological individualism
  • methodological nationalism
  • methodological solutionismus as strategy of technicism, going hand in hand with permanent strategies of externalisation and relative downgrading of living standards
  • methodological presentism not least due to the urgency of matters that need to be addressed in the light of the previous point, i.e. methodological solutionism. Paradoxically, this implies that future is suggested to be present. While it enlarges the space for action, it reduces its substance as the latter can only be grasped in the light of the presence. Rüdiger Safranski contends

the enormous depth of interference of techno-social action strengthens its repercussions which are getting manifest only in the future. The manmade share in the future is increasing. Yet the openness of future still exists because the risk event may occur – but it may also not do so. No risk insurance can disperse the worries; worries can even increase indirectly via the increased want for security. … Security drives towards more security simply due to the fact that, getting used to security, one is hypersensitive when it comes to something menacing.

(Safranski, Rüdiger, 2017: Zeit. Was sie mit uns macht und was wir aus ihr machen; Franfurt/M.: Fischer 2017: 79)

However, as much future is integrated into the presence, it limits itself to presentism as factually only the real presence exists as point of reference. This results in linearly defined thinking.

While widely seen as separate issues, they can only be understood as entity of societal realities and their analysis, making us understanding agency, space, matter and time in specific ways and, as practice is also based on the way we are understanding realities, these pillars are also shaping these realities.

Finalising the work on the book “Digitisation and Precarisation – Redefining Work and Redefining Society”, edited together with Vyacheslav Bobkov, I am getting another time aware of the actual tension of problems “running in circles”: debates on globalisation and precarity are very much caught in such vicious circle as long as they cannot overcome those methodological limitations: there is no relational processuality, and equally no processual relationality that commences in one area: one industry, one issue (like globalisation, digitisation, precarisation …) or one locality unless we want to limit ourselves to spotuality: an unchanging world, given once for ever, not able and not destined to move. Indeed, as quoted recently

As long as something is, it is not what it will have been at some time. – Solange etwas ist, ist es nicht, was es einmal gewesen sein wird.

“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.
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.
II.
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.
III.
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.

 

Dead Clowns

meaning, relevance, sense – questions people who live are too often compelled to leave them to philosophers …. – like issues of production as reproduction of real life are, on the other hand left to people while economists read in tea-leaves of heroic, even quasi-divine formulas that are distant from peoples’ and people’s life — just remaining meaningless and non-sensual.
Some time ago already – after I gave a presentation at the Symposium organised by the European Academy of Sciece and Arts – looking at
a later presenter was carried way by
Several month later, by accident, I was getting nicely aware of the misleading question of humanoid robots replacing humans, spotting by accident a clip showing
Baseline? There is no real danger of human beings becoming replaced – the danger is that some Kurzweil’ig ‘systems’ are brought forward by those sigularitarian minds in their Plutocratic caves [see Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else]. The danger is that some powerful forces succeed in reducing us to mindless clowns, caught in Platonian caves – the circle of virtuality emerging as vicious circle, its life depending on he fact that no needle will be used, by nobody.
Mind, all this is not really about  Humanoid toys – it is about comedians and actors like Beppe Grillo in Italian politics, natioal citizens attacking fellow citizens from other countries, narcissistic tyrants rethinking the liberty statue and overlookin the old rebukes
Skerbischs „Lichtschwert“ vor dem Opernhaus Graz
Von Marion Schneider & Christoph Aistleitner – Eigenes Werk, Gemeinfrei, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5016791
And yes, it is also about administer-infantilisation.
Overcoming humankind, if it then happens, won’t be much else then the
(EN)

« My makeup is dry and it clags on my chin
I’m drowning my sorrows in whisky and gin
The lion tamer’s whip doesn’t crack anymore
The lions they won’t fight and the tigers won’t roar »

(IT)

« Il mio trucco si è asciugato e cola sul mio mento
Sto affogando i miei dispiaceri nel whisky e nel gin
Il domatore di leoni non da più colpi di frusta
I leoni non si azzufferanno più tra loro e le tigri non ruggiranno »

 

 

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.