This work contains Peter Herrmann’s reflections, an admirable result in terms of time and cultural productivity of his research stay and material support at the University of Łódź, Poland (2018/2019) and the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy, Germany (2017/2018) as he mentions in the following pages. Munich is perhaps the place, that might be considered as a possible common point where international and national experts in Social Law and Social Policy intertwine their destinies in this „labyrinth of lines“.
Among the main contributions of this work is the sharpness in the use of the author’s knowledge in different disciplines particularly in Economics, Sociology, Social Policy and Law. As well as his academic audacity in resorting to a great ample baggage of sources both of current political conjuncture citing digital media as well as of return to the classics of Economy and Law, pleasant historical narratives and even of literary novels. As well as the use of recent publications identifying clear and provocative ideas of a path dependency and the “development of underdevelopment” for those who are willing to understand the connection between social space and social time of the global village.
In the first part, with greater emphasis on economics but always keeping faithful to what is known in Germany as Grundlagenforschung. He follows in many respects the thought and academic legacy of Hans F. Zacher whom the author has personally known and who unites in his human warmth, sensitivity an attempt to understand that there is a “black hole” and to find interdisciplinary research questions regarding the relationship between inequality in the Global and the poverty chains. Peter Herrmann has the comparative advantage of being a global researcher – he does not seek to benefit from his competitive or cooperative advantage of coming from the scientific community of the North – trying to paraphrase his lucid explanations in these concepts, Peter Herrmann knows and is able to adapt to the viscitudes that many scientists of the global South must face day by day and in his words that are also taking place in Europe.
The work deals with one of the most relevant and current topics: Migration and Mobility.
In the second part dedicated to human rights, the reading demands a level of abstraction that can reveal that a naked reader in his capacity of magination of certain realities or on the contrary as Löwenstein would compare in his constitutions and forms of government policies that there are different „Kleidungsstücke“ or suits to understand certain realities and the scope of interpretation will depend on each reader.
The classification of human rights into three generations is a discussion that the author takes up again by proposing a fourth generation. A fourth generation of human rights has to acknowledge the responsibility for socio-economic development not in terms of distributive policies but as matter of (re-)productive responsibility. Interestingly, he also proposes to reflect on: “new dimensions of power but also the fundamental structural change which we may classify as ‘socialisation by privatisation of public power’. One of the greatest current challenges in public international law.
As a bridge between the two parts of this work, he uses the very illustrative scheme to understand the order in which States can be classified in the process of globalization: Accumulation Regime/Mode of Regulation/Life Regime/Mode of Living. With a very precise and brilliant explanation of the term “threshold countries” as an idea(l) of modernization, declaring mass consumption as highest stage of socio-human existence – with this he obviously criticises Rostow and the mainstream approach to “development”. In his view, obviously two major issues remain without being problematised: the crucial meaning of the differentiation between public and private is not considered; also, there is no thought directed towards sustainability. The threshold, thus, means capitalist industrialisation, in reality possibly directly moving to the ‘advanced’ stage of finance capitalism.”
The book ends with a very critical quote from internet access as a human right that reminds us of Cristobal Columbus’ initial quote when he used the knowledge of the eclipse to colonize what would be called the Indians in the author’s words “undermining sooner or later the productive foundation, the indigenous mode of production”.
Dr. Lorena Ossio, LLM
Koordinatorin der Forschungsgruppe “Das Soziale im globalen Süden”
Coordinator of the Research Group “Understanding Southern Welfare”
Zentrum für interdisziplinäre Forschung der Universität Bielefeld
Center for Interdisciplinary Research at Bielefeld University
Methoden 1, 33615 Bielefeld, Germany