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.

free candies for all

Some stimulation can emerge from this article indeed. It wants to convince us that

European regulators are about to kill the digital media industry

While working on digitisation, and becoming increasingly aware of the fact that much it means that social property, namely data, are used for private gain, I am wondering if it is not time to think about free candies for all.


Much of the debate is apparently misled, suggesting that we are mainly concerned with the protection of private data – leaving aside that there are some issues around this, I suggest that the main issue is the use of social data, i.e. public property. To me it seems to be a much more important point in question.

At least it is time to think seriously about the dangers of privatisation of everything, not being funny at all – this German language docu on privatisation of airlines and training of pilots

under the title

Die Schattenseite des “Traumberufs”


is definitely frightening.


Ah well, of course
But how obvious is it?
  • We cannot change our core Roman, or were it Greek ? values, as we subdued them by European enlightenment,
  • Smith and Bentham triumphing over Kant and the French tricolore,
  • leveling the field for the yanks who returned with their reinterpretation to Europe and …
  • … and allow today Merkel’s Schäuble to squeeze the Greek like lemons
  • and “allow” Orban’s barbed wires to cut into the veins of migrants who leave war and starvation behind before they can enter Europe
The tricolore did not say that we share with everybody – it only said we have to share something with some — selected. Some – people and countries – have to pay, so said by the slogan of the time:
  • the inner and outer periphery on which the centre can establish its affluence …. –
  • reflecting these values of individual freedom = precarious jobs
  • and equality = not allowing anybody to sleep under the bridges of Paris … – don’t we remember:
La majestueuse égalité des lois, qui interdit au riche comme au pauvre de coucher sous les ponts, de mendier dans les rues et de voler du pain.
Le Lys Rouge [The Red Lily] (1894)
  • and fraternity = the soup kitchens that take the place of the rights that the universal declaration of human rights failed to guarantee ….; where fraternity means redefining sleeping rough by offering a “pillow” near to the churches, softening the hardship by the pretension of a better world, the other world – and for the time being through charity, still leaving space for the question: is there a link between the (name of) the train station Termini in Rome and “its offer of sleeping rough in its protection” – the termination of dignity?
Of course, it may be that these – few – examples also “tell of a political reality far removed from Mr Tao Zhang’s “Europe(an) Dream”, inspired by historical “visions” (let’s take Delors or let’s refer to the founding-FATHERS) and believing in claims that gain much of their positivity not from their inherent greatness but from the fact of a lack of today’s power holders that do not allow to even think outside the ideological and physical fortress of the single finance market.
And of course, all this is about the European Dream which people like Riffkin have, putting like Albert the “Rheinian Model” against the rest of the world – a world order that allows and evokes worries about possibilities to continue  selling the same number of Lamborghinis, Porsches and Mercs to the empire of the middle.
Sure, when it comes to education then, we may have to deal with the
difficulty Chinese students face, particularly in the arts and social sciences, is in adopting the critical thinking that the Quality Assurance Agency insists master’s level courses must inculcate
this does, of course, not exist for European students (and lecturers alike) – used to the censorship of peer-reviewed publications and ranking systems that, to a large extent controlled by quasi-monopolist publishing houses, are very much algorithm-ised like google: write what we know, quote what we and our peers stated for many times, contend what is publicly accepted … and redefine harsh principles by using softened and softening frameworks like social investment, knowledge management and the failure of implementation of strategies … – you may easily make a rocketing career as long as you do not question the strategies themselves.
There is a wider perspective, looking at the secular issues and developments – or a perspective that is very narrow: lookig the current debates – you may take it as you like:
It surely opens a field for debate when people call for
indirectly suggesting the possibility of a national democracy which in actual fact is one of the core breaking points: the contention of the principle of nationality and externalisation – this is how the core value of European democracy worked since the ancient city states until the Fortress EUrope.
And this is the core European and EUropean value that asks if
without considering that we will not have a legitimate parliament – national or EUropean – as long as we have an economic system that leads to the permanent
Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disiganno – the Triumph of Time and Truth
The critical attitude …. – sure, there is some space, though we should not forget that when Baudelaire first presented Les Fleurs du mal, he was condemned to put them aside, allowed to present them later in a revised version, leaving critique to the space of sympbolism, providing there the framework for talking about the Island of the Death (Boecklin) to where Europe seems to be moving, after facing L’angelo ferito (Hugo Simberg) – the disappointed carriers make look grimly but are not allowed to revive the hope they once have had … – not so much changed perhaps, today’s critics turning away from reality and hoping for the savour from Rome who rightly criticises that this economy kills, a critique that is turned down if and when it comes from others who ask for material changes that allow and enforce liberty, equality and fraternity.
.. stating all this does not mean not acknowledging some of the problems mentioned – it means, however, to say that they are much deeper and profound, not least reflecting the need of confronting issues that emerge from the
centre on China’s Confucian cultural tradition
with the issues that are emerging from a limited understanding of rationality that systematically crucifies its own claims and pretensions and sacrifices “Moral Sentiments” on the altar of the “Wealth of the Nations” …
No, we surely cannot change the values for anybody – not for the Chinese, not for anybody … they will pay anyway …
As long as any nation or region claims today that the specifically national or regional core values cannot be changed for those of anybody else we may easily end up as An Idiot Abroad – abroad being everywhere and anywhere, and we being everybody who is still believing in the old answers suitable for dealing with the new questions, questions that are not yet correctly formulated.

Migration: overestimation and underestimation …

I personally think that the German “good will” is occasionally much overestimated, for instance also in a blog post by Yanis Varoufakis. There is also in that country a huge pressure and one can hear Maximum Capacity to Take in Refugees Reached, Germany Says. In general one can easily get the impression that governments are much harsher than a greatly appreciative population, though it has to be acknowledged that for instance the president of the Italian Parliament, rebuked harshly and not only morally any hostility – she mentions this as question of rights and a matter of taken them seriously.

Even more so it is dangerous to underestimate to which extent we see a Hungarian dictatorship emerging under Orban, neglecting even basic principles of law. A EURACTIV report today is simply shocking:

EXCLUSIVE/ A Hungarian journalist has revealed government plans to create an airtight system designed to prevent asylum seekers from entering the country. The measures will be introduced on Tuesday (15 September).

Writing for Index, Kata Janecskó, disclosed shocking details of the Hungarian plan. Refugee Crisis in Hungary offers a crowdsourced translation. …


It is a disgrace and  one can only hope that the EU-institutions and other member states are seriously stopping this destruction of anything that may left from the idea of Europe as social and even progressive and peace oriented force.

Though I frequently made clear that one should not expect too much from the claimed European Social Model (see also the book, going back to the antimilitarist conference last year in Berlin), Orban is simply a immediate and great danger for any kind of peace and democracy.

So Slow ….

A recent press release from the Irish Minister for Justice states
Dáil to debate Bill to provide free access to health services for Magdalen survivors
• Government is committed to full implementation of the Quirke Report
• Bill provides for an enhanced medical card for Magdalen survivors
• To date a decision has been made in 87% of cases. 495 applicants have received payments totalling €18 million.

22nd January, 2015 Frances Fitzgerald, T.D., Minister for Justice and Equality, today stated that the Dáil is scheduled next week to commence consideration of the Bill (the Redress for Women Resident in Certain Institutions Bill 2014) to provide free access to health services for Magdalen survivors. …

Nothing wrong with such a law. Still, there is something about speed.
Sure, the one side is
Fai di fretta e male – act fast, without thinking and do not worry about bad results.
– this seems to be too often the rule under which we live, the rat race in which we are caught. But there is another side, where the lack of speed is a bit worrying:
The Catholic Church needed until 1992 to fully acknowledge that they had been wrong in the case of Galileo Galilei – though even in 1990 the then still Cardinal Ratzinger actually condemned him when speaking at La Sapienza, the university in Rome.
And it took a long time for the Irish government not only to rebuke morally what happened but to provide a committed answer — even worse: to think about it with the debate on the bill.
And there is still a further dimension to it:
The Irish government — and all other governments — should finally acknowledge that free and qualitatively appropriate health care is a fundamental human right. This is what we may call the required rule of the day, instead of continued austerity policies in Europe and elsewhere.
And there is surely urgency in this!!!
I just finalized two papers,
  • Developing a Social Quality Perspective in relation to the Debates on Ethical Economy and De-Growth (elaborated in connection with a recent event in collaboration with the Angelicum, EURISPES and the European Academy of Science and Arts
  • Employment Crisis or Crisis of Employment, notes in preparation of a conference next month in Moscow.

Both documents can be obtained on request.