bit of work done

and finally even available – the recent “products” now out:

Recording of the Presentation in Łódź (29/11/2018)

Digitisation, AI and the need of another economy


Recording of the presentation in Ostrava (5/12/2018)

Bubble Economies Bullshit Jobs Shredding Paintings


Recording of the Deans Lecture in Łódź (5/12/2018)

Bullshit jobs – but the problem is the stable


Publication in the Journal “Economy of the Region”

an article titled

Two-Criterion Model of the Russian Society Stratification by Income and Housing Security, 

Authored by V. N. Bobkov, P. Herrmann, I. B. Kolmakov, E. V. Odintsova,

Another article with the mystery-title 😉

About You – Nur frage nicht, ob du überhaupt bist

in: Tarantel, 12/2018.

Zeitschrift der Ökologische Plattform bei DER LINKEN

Published with some delay, though not out of date the Social Law Report 6/2017 of the MAX PLANCK INSTITUTE FOR SOCIAL LAW AND SOCIAL POLICY

Entwicklungen der sozialen Sicherheit und des Sozialschutzes in Irland. Juli 2016 – Juli 2017

(These are regular reports and the 17/18 report is already waiting for being uploaded)

Now as recording – im German language:


Becoming Socially Acceptable ?

Public lectures are scheduled for the 5th and the 12th December.

After last week’s special lecture to a group of PhD-students, looking at
the upcoming lectures are linking to the recent book “Bullshit Jobs – A Theory”. [1] So is it finally socially acceptable to use such term as Bullshit in academic parlance?
It surely is a catchy phrase, and it also is surely a topic that allows to think abut all the Kafkaesk patterns and requirements …But as glad as I am to take up on the catchiness and as much as I appreciate that Graeber is interested in a very specific point, namely
to understand the psychological, social, and political effects of the fact that so many of us labor under the secret belief that our jobs lack social utility or social value
I am wondering if it is not also a danger of distracting from rather complex issues, linked to more or less fundamental shifts in economic structures.
The honour to give the reputable Deans Lecture at the Faculty of Economics and Sociology in Łódź on the 12th of December provides the opportunity to look at

Bullshit Jobs? suggesting that the Problem is the Stable

The aim is to show that – leaving some general aspects of squander, disrespect and ignorance aside – the underlying problem is an ongoing shift of capitalist accumulation that requires the increasing segregation and fragmentation: The fact that use value and exchange value are juxtaposed results necessarily in the fact that human relationships are systematically torn apart: to relate humans to each other they first have to – speaking systematically – separated by the process of commodification. On the market of commodities they are becoming equal and can – then, ex post – relate to each other. Not least it means that the increasing mediatisation – indeed Graeber points out that most of the relevant jobs occur in IT-related sectors – is necessary condition for making society economically possible. However, it also means that content doesn’t count – as much as capital SEEMINGLY generates capital as much is the sole presence of people considered to be a job, even if it is

a form of paid employment that is so completely pointless, unnecessary, or pernicious that even the employee cannot justify its existence even though, as part of the conditions of employment, the employee feels obliged to pretend that this is not the case.

– this is Graeber’s definition.

For the week before, on the 5th of December, the sociology department of the Ostravská univerzita in the Czech Republic organised a special lecture, the title of which is
In addition to the Graeber-book another reference is the more or less recent auto-shredding of Bansky’s Painting “Girl With Balloon” – the latter again giving the opportunity discuss the problems of hegemony and counter-hegemony – the link is given by reflecting on a statement by Hannah Arendt. She contends that
(n)ot cruelty is the attribute of tyranny, but the destruction of the public political realm, monopolised by the despot by claiming ‘wisdom’ … or based on thirst for power, i.e. insisting on citizens looking after their private concerns, leaving it to him, the ‘ruler, to take of the public matters’.[2]
Surely something marking a demarcation we face – be it in the shopping centres or academic institutions or political space.
[1] David Graeber, 2018: Bullshit Jobs – A Theory; New York et altera Simon&Schuster
[2] Arendt, Hannah, 1958: Vita Activa oder Vom Tätigen Leben; München/Zuerich: Piper, 1981, new edition: 215; translated from the German edition; with reference to Aristotle: Athenische Verfassung; XV, 5 – the available English edition did not contain the statement in this clarity.

Digitisation and Precarisation – Redefining Work and Redefining Society

Off it went – the script, as “final draft” – had been sent to Springer who agreed already to publish the work as part of the S.U.P.I.series – SUPI being the network researching issues of social uncertainty, precarity and Inequality.

The following presents the outline of the book. Below then part of the first contribitution as kind of teaser, followed at the end by the list of contributors.

Vyacheslav Bobkov/Peter Herrmann (Eds.)

Digitisation and Precarisation – Redefining Work and Redefining Society


Peter Herrmann/Vyacheslav Bobkov       6

Foreword: Digitisation and Precarisation – Redefining Work and Redefining Society     6

Abstract    6

General Remarks        6

Searching for a Framework         9

Bibliography      33

Peter Herrmann       38

Economy of Difference and Social Differentiation    38

Precarity – searching for a new interpretative paradigm          38

Introduction      38

Varieties of Capitalism or Variety Within the One Capitalism?        42

Capitalism in One Country?         46

Societal Development – Between Inclusion and Exclusion     51

Dis-Embeddedness – Searching the Reference     53

Evaluating Costs         59

Empirical Dimensions         63

References         65

Vyacheslav Bobkov  73

Society under Threat of Precarity of Employment   73

Theory and Methodology   73

Outline of ontological characteristics of societies with unstable (Precarious) employment       79

About the axiological characteristics of social structures of precarious employment        85

Social housing standards: minimum, medium and high housing standards.   89

Conclusion         93

References         95

Nataliya Loktyukhina        98

Precarious Employment: Definition of the Concept Given by Russian Researchers98

The Relevance of the Research   98

Variations in Defining the Concept of “Precarious Employment”   99

Russian Experts’ Appreciation of PE Definitions.  101

Compulsory character of relations in flexible (non-standard) employment as a criterion of precarity      103

Types of Employment with High Precarity Potential     105

Features of Precarity Recognized and Unrecognized by the Employee.  109

Complex of Probabilistic Criteria of Precarity.       110

Conclusion.         113

References.        114

I.V. Novikova    117

Digitalization: a New Form of Precarity or New Opportunities?       117

  1. Digitizing of Jobs 117
  2. Elimination of Territorial Boundaries of Jobs’ dislocation 120

III.  Generation Z Enters the Labour Market          122

  1. Development of Specialisation, Multitasking and Vertical Disintegration of Production. 124
  2. Differentiation of Income 125
  3. Non-conventional Workplaces 126

VII. Online-platforms127

Conclusions: Factors of Digitalization, Facilitating and Restraining Precarity of Employment    129

References         130

Olesya Veredyuk       136

Labour market performance and digitisation of work: brief overview    136

Abstract    136

Introductory Overview       136

Precarious employment: quantitative and qualitative measurements    138

Precarisation aspects of digitisation     141

Institutional nature of employment precarity       142

Conclusion         144


Veronica Sheen         146

Australia’s precarious workforce and the role of digitalisation      146

Introduction      146

Overview of Australian employment   147

Integration into employment      150

Fragmentation of employment    153

21stcentury hyper-flexibility and job insecurity  154

Precarious employment and social control   155

Conclusion         156

References         159

Nicole Horáková       163

The Czech Republic – a Case Study   163

Introduction      163

Economic Development and Labour Market: From Basement-Dweller to Top Performer?        165

Development of Employment and Unemployment in the Czech Republic      165

Changing Working Contracts?       166

Rising Debts of Czech Households  168

Challenges Presented for the Czech Republic by Industry 4.0 and Digitization       168

Challenges for the Industry         170

How Digitalized is the Czech Population?         172

Industry 4.0 and Digitization: New Forms of Employment on the Czech Labour Market?       173

Education as a key activity175

Conclusion: Is the Czech Society Prepared?176

Bibliography      177

Judit Csoba       181

„Predictable uncertainty” – Social Land Programme in Hungary      181

Abstract    181

Introduction      181

The Social Land Program between 1993 and 2004      182

“Village enterprise” – The new character of the Social Land Program: cooperatives instead of households       186

Social Land Program without land       188

Main dilemmas of the Social Land Programme     191

Summary  193

Bibliography      195

Mehmet Okyayuz      199

Affirmative and Alternative Discourses and Practices of Knowledge Production and Distribution in Turkey199

  1. The Metapolitics of Digitization: The Political-Ideological Discourse of Producing and Distributing Knowledge200
  2. Digitization as an Affirmative Practice in the Global System208

Ray Griffin/Tom Boland/Aisling Tuite / Aoife Hennessy         218

Electric dreams of welfare in the 4thindustrial revolution: An actor-network investigation and genealogy of an Algorithm.218

Abstract    218

Introduction: The Algorithm of life in the 4thIndustrial revolution         220

Socio-Technical Control of Welfare      222

Digital dole – PEX       224

PEX and the Irish Welfare System       227

The implications of the use of an algorithm in context  231

The social life of the PEX algorithm     232

Technotopia, Theology and Redemption      235

Enter faith, then God237

In sum       239

Bibliography      241

Vadim Kvachev         247

Bringing Precarity to the Political Agenda        247

Contributors    260



The editors want to thank all contributors for the work and the patience which allowed taking the time for the work on the book. We also are grateful for the editors of the series, namely David Kregel, Rolf Hepp and Robert Riesinger – equally patient and supportive. Not least special thanks go to Veronica Sheen who helped with some language editing.

The work on the individual contributions benefited from different sources which are – where applicable – mentioned by the authors.

Peter Herrmann wants to extend his expression of gratitude to the Max-Planck- Institute for Social Law and Social Policy, Munich and the Faculty of Economics and Sociology, University of  Łódź – without their generous support the editorial work would not have been possible.

(just some teaser .. – though many contributions are highly empirical …)

Peter Herrmann/Vyacheslav Bobkov

Foreword: Digitisation and Precarisation – Redefining Work and Redefining Society


Currently it is fashionable to talk about digitisation, robotisation, industry 4.0, but also about the gig economy, the Millenials, precarisation and the like. However, too often the relevant issues are taken in isolation, very much caught in traditional terms. The present collection aims on providing some thoughts that allow going further, on the one hand by qualifying some of the aspects, and on the other hand by taking a view that approaches the topic from distinct perspectives in order to arrive at an assessment of emerging societal changes.

General Remarks

The present collection is an attempt to define the field of precarity more systematically than it is usually undertaken. Doing so, there had been at least theoretically different options. The two most obvious approaches are the following: leaving it to the contributors to find their own definition and applying it to national frameworks, later gathering the different approaches in an attempt to find a minimum common denominator. The other, not fundamentally different, endeavour would be to start from a “standard definition”, e.g. one used by major statistical proponents as EUROSTAT, the ILO or OECD, asking the contributors to evaluate and assess the situation in specific fields and countries, then leaving it to the editors again to come up with a minimum common denominator. The problem in both of the cases is that the object of investigation is both, complex and multifaceted as well as relational. Another, pragmatic, challenge is in both cases the need to gather a research team that is able to work along such a given line, in turn committing themselves to such task, which simply requires available resources that allow retreating from other ongoing work.

In any case, in particular the relational character of the subject issue advises to avoid from the outset an approach that requires a firm foundation which is then used to assess the problem by scaling, i.e. suggesting different degrees to which we may speak of precarity. Such approach would suggest at least the following

  • a once and forever given normality, thus neglecting the fact that full and permanent employment – usually counterposed to precarity – is a socio-economic construct that is hugely presupposition-rich. In actual fact it can be said that it is based on a systematic reversal of reality – as concluded in the contribution by Herrmann the means of (re-)production – and with this employment as specific form of work – are fictitious part of human existence, not more and not anything else than means to maintain physical existence. In other words, what is supposedly normal appears now as socio-historical exception
  • furthermore, it is easily overlooked that such “supposed norm” usually depends on derivations: the two most obvious instances are (i) the need for non- or not completely commodified spheres that secure employment as dominant (e.g. housework, social benefits in cases of unemployment, sickness …) and (ii) the local and regional segregation and “division of work” that secures the execution of societally necessary tasks despite extremely dispersed conditions of profitability (e.g. the rural-urban-divide)
  • relevant is also that we are witnessing the multifaceted character by way such normality being itself in some way a patchwork: if we take as more or less arbitrary example, permanent 40 years full-time (forty-hours/week) employment as norm, it will most likely take for every individual a different shape: times of education may under certain conditions be acknowledged as acceptable derivations; DIY or temporary private saving from some kind of “windfall income” may work out as individual solution as some form of “unviable saving” (e.g. substandard accommodation …) may offer temporary substitution for failing to reach the norm
  • moreover – without claiming that this is an exhaustive compilation – in particular socio-economic changes that are part of socio-technical and socio-spatial shifts may well change the overall setting of soci(et)al embedding, disembedding and communication – bonds and margins, solidarities and hostilities are redefined, opening new forms of material support but also new mechanisms of exclusion.

One of the core problems is that there is no – even roughly defined – clear line allowing a demarcation between different facets – insecurity of employment, but only if it is lasting, and only if it is connected with serious material cutbacks, and/or only if it seriously influences social embeddedness and causes psychological distress? Another approach could look for more societal dimensions, asking if we should speak of precarity only if “classical patterns of unemployment” do not apply, as we see it today, where some definitions refer simply to insecure employment moving into the centre of society – a title like InfoproletárIos. Degradação real do trabalho virtual, speaking of degradation in connection with virtual work (Antunes/Braga, 2009) is surely telling as it implies a downward-turn from a given status. On the other hand we witness empirically different patterns: the down-grading of existing jobs, the emergence of new jobs that are from the outset defined by precarious conditions, and a variety of “entries” into a segment which Ricardo Antunes classifies in a broader sense, starting by looking at the character of work; for him “(t)he future of work for the world’s laboring masses appears to be one of flexible employment, with no pre-established working days, no clearly defined working spaces, no fixed wages, no pre-determined activities, no rights, and no protection or representation by trade unions. The system of “goals” itself is flexible: tomorrow’s goals are always changing, and must always be superior to those of the previous day.” (Antunes, 2018). Different approaches can be taken and looking at the literature shows that the most common reference is that we are dealing with some kind of “patchwork”. Different criteria, different combinations, usually centring on employment patterns, reaching from there out to all spheres of life.

In concrete terms this means that this volumes compiles contributions that aim on making a distinct input to the debate by looking at different aspects instead of presenting a strictly comparative perspective. The contributors followed some generally accepted “fundamentals”, highlighting in an interpretative way their meaning regarding the chosen functions and dysfunctions of socio-economic integration. In addition, and this is actually part of the comparative perspective, it is also about the interpretation in the specific national perspectives.



Bobkov, YyacheslavDoctor of Economics, Professor, Head of the Laboratory of Problems of Life Quality and Living Standards of the Institute of Socio – Economic Problems of Population of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia

Boland, Tomis a lecturer in sociology in the school of humanities and co-founder of WUERC (Waterford Unemployment Experiences Research Collaborative)

Csoba, JuditProf. Dr. habil. Department of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Debrecen. Research focus: Sociology of Work, Social Policy, Employment Policy, Social Economy

Griffin, Raylecturer in strategy in the school of business, he is co-PI of the PEX project and co-founder of WUERC (Waterford Unemployment Experiences Research Collaborative)

Hennessy, Aoifelecturer in mathematics in the school of science and computing and is co-PI of the PEX Project.

Herrmann, Petersocial philosopher, having worked globally in research and teaching positions in particular on social policy and economics.

Horáková, NicoleDepartment of Sociology, Faculty of Arts, University of Ostrava

Kvachev, Vadim PhD in Sociology, Assistant Professor, Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, Moscow

Loktyukhina, NataliaDoctor of Economics, Professor, Academy of Labour and Social Relations

Novikova, IrinaPh.D. in Economics, Associate Professor, the Laboratory of Problems of Living Standards and Quality of Life of the Institute of Socio-Economic Problems of Population; Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow

Mehmet OkyayuzDepartment of Political Science and Public Administration at Middle East Technical University in Ankara/Turkey. Some of his areas of research and education are labor migration along with Political Theory/Thought, Social Policy and Ideology Research

Sheen, VeronicaAustralian social researcher, specializing in the growth and effects of precarious employment which was the subject of her doctoral research at Monash University. She is a widely published commentator on the future of work

Tuite, Aislingis a post-doctoral researcher on the PEX Project

Veredyuk, OlesjaPhD, Associate Professor, Saint Petersburg University, Russia

Ten years on … – no wisdom gained?

Of course, there are many contestable issues concerned with the “ten years on” – leaving the question of timing aside, one point may well be concerned with the word “on”, considering that it should be replaced by “into” or even “digging the grave deeper”. The success-stories so far are, if they exist, stories about de-synchronisation: the fact that some countries succeeded again in a more pronounced way to live on the back of others, temporary victories, and often victories for the countries, not for the people (for instance good overall “economic performance” often means increasing inequality)  …
Preparing the class for coming Monday, but also working on finalising the book
Changing the Socio-Economic Formation – Revisiting Value and Valuation in a Globalising Digital World
I looked up a Briefing Note, presented in 2008, in preparation of the OECD Global Forum on International Investment, titled
It is not looking at the crisis – if the collapse of Lehmann Brothers is taken as reference, it would be even a pre-crisis work, presented on a pre-crisis conference. What makes it interesting (surely – not only – for my classes “Development versus Growth”) is the fact of presenting in a masterful way the shortcoming of an understanding of economics and political economy that can well be seen as structural weakness leading to a crisis like the one we are still suffering from (sure, not everybody).
A quote right from the beginning of the briefing note:
The service sector makes an important contribution to GDP in most countries, providing jobs, inputs and public services for the economy. Trade in services can improve economic performance and provide a range of traditional and new export opportunities. However, services liberalisation also carries risks, and appropriate regulation and other complementary policies help to ensure that liberalisation delivers the expected benefits. We have reviewed the literature on these issues for 6 service sectors (tourism, financial services, energy services, information and communications technology, and Mode IV), … .
And it goes on and goes on and goes on in this spirit, not talking about the essentials of what should be at stake of any analysis. Engels, in 1884, wrote:
According to the materialistic conception, the determining factor in history is, in the last resort, the production and reproduction of the immediate life. But this itself is again of a twofold character. On the one side, the production of the means of subsistence, of food and 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 particular 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.
(Engels, Frederick, 1884: Origins of the Family, Private Property, and the State. Preface [to the First Edition]; in: Karl Marx Frederick Engels. Collected Works. Volume 26. Frederick Engels. 1882-89; London: Lawrence&Wishart, 1990: 131-133)
The OECD-experts go exactly the other way round, starting from the end – and actually defining the end as ultimate point of departure and ultimate goal: growth, though remaining undefined, only specified by the reference to the GDP.
Indeed, there is something interesting about GDP and Development.
In fact, the up for some may mean the move back for others
Commonly the “concept” of GDP is attributed to Simon Kuznet – detailed in 1934 in
, it is time to acknowledge that already then the author spelled out – more or less at the outset:
The welfare of a nation can, therefore, scarcely be inferred from a measurement of national income as defined above. (page 7)
And he continues:
The abuses of national income estimates arise largely from a failure to take into account the precise definition of income and the methods of its evaluation which the estimator assumes in arriving at his final figures. Notions of productivity or welfare as understood by the user of the estimates are often read by him into the income measurement, regardless of the assumptions made by the income estimator in arriving at the figures. As a result we find all too commonly such inferences that a decline of 30 percent in the national income (in terms of “constant” dollars) means a 30 percent decline in the total productivity of the nation, and a corresponding decline in its welfare. Or that a nation whose total income is twice the size of the national income of another country is twice “as well off”, can sustain payments abroad twice as large or can carry a debt burden double in size. Such statements can obviously be true only when gualified by a host of “ifs.”
A detail, mentioned at the end of the report, is surely of special interest:
The individual industries included here are photography, undertaking, mausoleum and cemetery operation, social service agencies, athletic, yacht, and country clubs, Y.M.C.A.’s, Y.W.C.A/s, and other services not accounted for elsewhere. Most of these services are of a type not easily curtailed or dispensed with, while social and welfare agencies have had a special reason for increasing since 1929. The number of employees was about a quarter of a million in 1929 and probably increased, or at least did not decline greatly, during the 3 following years (see table 200). The estimated average compensation of employees is probably fairly near the actual situation for 1929 but the trend shown since that year, except that there was probably very little per capita decline, is open to question as far as the country as a whole is concerned. (page 140)
Well, perhaps this is what the briefing says???: “Think of your people and your countries economy and accept: poverty is good for you.” In plain language – and this is very much the underlying gist of IMF and World Bank politics – be nationalist and socially unjust.
I am sure, those who write those reports, will not face what poverty or lack of wellbeing etc. mean.
Of course, this is only the visible, more or less tangible part of the underlying misinterpretation of economics: While calculations may well be correct, fact is – as John Maynard Keynes convincingly wrote in 1936:

Too large a proportion of recent ‘mathematical’ economics are mere concoctions, as imprecise as the initial assumptions they rest on, which allow the author to lose sight of the complexities and interdependencies of the real world in a maze of pretentious and unhelpful symbols.

(Keynes 1936)

Still, if we look at the title of the quoted opus magnum presented by Keynes reads

The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money

and we still may remain without considering the entire depth of reference. Of course, not every book can start with all the life stories …- but at least it should commence by focusing on the real life situation and the supply conditions and the relationality that is part of it. – Think about employment conditions that allow flexibility and reduction of working time without lowering wage and without stress caused by any fear, thus possibly causing the GDP to drop, but enabling employees to care for relatives, to be politically active, to follow their “intellectual needs” … As much as items expressed by GDP are mere means to an end, the same is true for employment, the ends not being products and services, the end not being income but “production and reproduction of the immediate life”.

Even Alfred Marshall, rightly criticised for his contribution to the mathematisation of economics, knew better than many who still highlight the centrality of employment today, (and here; and many could be added) knew better. As we can read in the Memorials of Alfred Marshall (edited 1925 by Arthur Cecil Pigou), Pigou states in his own contribution to the book (page 84):

Though a skilled mathematician, he used mathematics sparingly. He saw that excessive reliance on this instrument might lead us astray in pursuit of intellectual toys, imaginary problems not conforming to the conditions of real life: and further, might distort our sense of proportion by causing us to neglect factors that could not easily be worked up in the mathematical machine.

Acknowledging this, there would not have been any need to write to the Queen …

From here to where ? Living in academia …

On youtube a new playlist is launched, asking to where we move in academia. Occasionally it may a bit about ….

…, well lets call it a strong wish to move forward.

From personal experience, occasionally videos will be posted there, having different backgrounds, being recordings of presentations but also reflections “on occasion of” – for instance reflecting after public lecture or in connection with teaching or in the context of politics, policies, and polities – sometimes being asked for advise, sometimes not being asked though I should have been asked 😉
One of the aims is to ventilate issues that are too often left out of consideration, leaving us with complains about how bad the world is, instead of thinking about what we – in academia – really complain, analysing the reasons being developments, often also going back to our performance in academia itself and not least taking out the way forward.

In any case, it is a potpourri, a kaleidoscope and a huge variety of topics will be dealt with.

Public-Private .. a hoax?

When a company opens its databases to users, as Amazon, Google, and eBay have done with their Web services, it is encouraging participation at new levels. The corporation’s data becomes part of the commons and an invitation to participate. People who take advantage of these capabilities are no longer customers; they’re the company’s developers, vendors, skunk works, and fan base.
Kelly, Kevin, 08.01.05: We Are the Web; in: Wired
Which is, of course, embellishment. However, there is more to it as an article in The Economist, titled
made recently clear. It raised the question if social media, shutting down websites, that they see as channel for hate speech, are in breach of the law by undermining “free speech”. Of course, it is easy to say that they have the right doing so and even the obligation. However, at second glance it is not as simple as that. In actual fact it turns out to be extremely tricky:
The meaning of the so-called rule of law is primarily protecting citizens against arbitrary action of the state. However, it is obligation of the state as democratic instance to guarantee freedom of speech, but also to agree in this very same function of being a democratic state on the limits of freedom of speech. It is about the limit given in the case of one individual or group infringing the rights of (an)other individual(s) or groups – the latter is the second dimension of the rule of law, namely the protection of individuals against each other. In other words, we are a bit in trouble, not least if we take as point of reference T.H.Marshall’s view on citizenship with the three dimensions: civil, political and socio-economic rights: the state, against which citizens have to be protected by the rule of law in case of unjustified state action has to apply the same rule of law in case of citizens that are in conflict with each other. The problem is that these citizens would, then, have the right to use the rule of law if they feel threatened or wrongly treated by the state. It seems to be an endless circle of recursive applications.

36721749 – wooden gavel on book with golden scale on table

The solution seems – at least in theory – that citizens are actually not simply individuals but already as such “social instances”. Thus, the rule of law can only be meaningful if it is intrinsically conjoined with the rule of democracy – obviously a non-juridically defined matter, to be valued in the same realm of praxis.
This, then, is also the problem when it comes to decisions concerning social media and the (not existing) obligation to publish information that is submitted by third parties: such “institutions” as facebook etc. are entirely private agencies. Thus we are confronted with some far-reaching contradiction: while they are in some way public (namely they are publicly traded), they are equally private and self-referential, defined by the one and sole motive of making business. Legally it simply means:
  • In the business-cases we are dealing with terms of use with reference of an exchange relationship, in principle focused on a mutual interest, namely the conclusion of a contract
  • However, in the case of publicness we are dealing with terms of mutual responsibility with reference of common interest which needs to be negotiated – which includes also the conflict of interest, the result of which is conclude by a treaty.
The kernel is, consequently, to look at the congruence and divergence of private and public. This emerges from business leaving the private realm, becoming public (and suggesting, like facebook’s Zuckerberg in the Washington hering, to be

an idealistic and optimistic company. For most of our existence, we focused on all of the good that connecting people can do. And, as Facebook has grown, people everywhere have gotten a powerful new tool for staying connected to the people they love, for making their voices heard and for building communities and businesses.

And it emerges if publicness claims to fulfill its “mission” by accepting the rules of private business (as we find it in so-called public-private partnerships).

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.