no doubt

There cannot be any doubt – leaving all qualification aside – the “Me Too Movement” had been necessary and, while equally doubtless there had been flaws and negative effects, it produced many positive results. – As Lewis said

you can’t go back and change the beginning but you can start where you are and change the ending,

Thus I dare to ask if

Me Too

did not need another, complementing, movement or had been such double movement, one that said

Without Me

Unfortunately the Me-Too-Movement had been been necessary by the “detestable behaviour”, women had been confronted with and – at least for some time, surely for different reasons – “lived with without accepting it”. But hadn’t it been also – then – a movement of women who now said “I do not accept it anymore”? And had it possibly also before a lack of men who resisted peer-pressure, following peers and societal images that suggested such assaults being “normal”, at most trivial offences — part of the story reminds me a bit of the debate in Marxism, looking a the development of the class in itself (defined by the situation as such) to the class for itself (defined by the perception and the subsequent joining in with others and acting “solidaristically against the other” (the one class defined by the existence of the other; the raped, abused, disrespected … defined by the rapist, abuser, disrespectful …). And all this is in part a somewhat paradoxical constellation: acting “social” requiring gaining independence from the social settings and environments.

There is this ambiguity – on the one hand, MeToo had been

“a movement about the one in four girls and the one in six boys who are sexually abused every year, and who carry those wounds into adulthood,”

as Tarana Burke said – a much too high number though still a minority. On the other hand she also highligthed

We start by dismantling the building blocks of sexual violence: power and privilege. This starts by shifting our culture away from a focus on individual bad actors or depraved, isolated behaviour.

Without aiming on de-victimising anybody, without aiming on excusing anybody, without suggesting that “all problems are the same, of the same gravity” …. I am wondering if we should not be stronger in building up

Without Me Movements

not just rejecting and detesting What others do, by accusing “them”, but accusing ourselves as long as we bear the role of victims (yes, of course regards from Foucault). So, establishing such movements, in daily life has to be about

  • not allowing sexual abuse – and not giving in when peers suggest “it is nothing nit fun”,
  • not accepting precarious jobs and working conditions – though others may suggest that we are lazy, and tough real life suggests that a bird in the hand might be worth two in the bush
  • not allowing administrations taking the lead in universities, schools and political affairs though we risk rebukes

and not allowing others using the mobile phone, permanently interrupting the communication, not allowing the other to remain without answering and not allowing the mocking, suggesting that parents now, using their e-vehicle to bring the kids to the Friday rally asking for effective climate protection. Isn’t our acceptance to often a neglect easy ending up in rape of minds and praxis? Finally, all this is about self-determination as a fundamental right.

Annunci

Power … – also of words

One of the rare occasions that I use this space for simply reproducing from another site. Words have power … – if we use them to become ourselves powerful.

On 12 June 1942, Anne Frank received a notebook covered by a red-and-white plaid for her 13th birthday. She made it her diary, which went on to become one of the world’s most famous books. She would have turned 90 tomorrow.

From this day until 1 August 1944, she put down in words what it was like to live in a ‘Secret Annex’, the cluster of rooms with blacked out windows above Anne’s father’s office in Amsterdam where Anne, her sister Margot, her parents and four of their acquaintances hid from the Nazis.

She recorded her most intimate thoughts and feelings, describing the pressures of communal living mixed with spells of raw terror at moments of near discovery.

In addressing the journal directly as “Dear Kitty”, as though composing a letter, Anne takes the reader on a journey, a very personal one, yet paradoxically, one so many of us can somehow relate to. Because it speaks a language many of us can connect to. For instance:

“It’s difficult in times like these: ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to be crushed by grim reality. It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart”. 

Can we not somehow relate these words to the current political turmoil Europe is going through? Her words are powerful. And that power remains independent from age, social status, nationality. It is universal and her book rightly became iconic.

Anne Frank aspired to become a journalist, writing the following on Wednesday, 5 April 1944:

“I finally realised that I must do my schoolwork to keep from being ignorant, to get on in life, to become a journalist, because that’s what I want! I know I can write …, but it remains to be seen whether I really have talent …

And if I don’t have the talent to write books or newspaper articles, I can always write for myself. But I want to achieve more than that. I can’t imagine living like Mother, Mrs. van Daan and all the women who go about their work and are then forgotten. I need to have something besides a husband and children to devote myself to! …

I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death! And that’s why I’m so grateful to God for having given me this gift, which I can use to develop myself and to express all that’s inside me!

When I write, I can shake off all my cares. My sorrow disappears, my spirits are revived! But, and that’s a big question, will I ever be able to write something great, will I ever become a journalist or a writer?”

As a journalist, I take pride in sharing these words with you. This way, you and I contribute to keeping the memory of Anne Frank alive. It is also a way to recognise what a great writer she already was.

shortlisted

what does it actually mean? why is it usually seen as positive if something, somebody is shortlisted?
Originating apparently in business and in particular in HR, it is now a term increasingly used in general to highlight people, books, competitors for the longest word

who is the winner and how are the losers?

whatsoevercomestoyourmindasworthwilebeingawardedwithsomethingtoattributeaspecialmeaningofwhateverkindforwhateverpurposeandaimseemstobenoteworthytobeawardedorbroughttotheattentionofothers

(whatsoever comes to your mind as worthwile being awarded with something to attribute a special meaning of whatever kind for whatever purpose and aim seems to be noteworthy to be awarded or brought to the attention of others)

what does shortlisted actually mean when we look at a list compiled by a disabled person?

  • the list of disabling items and matters is so long that already one page, neatly compiled, is actually really short if related to other things that are listed
  • the issue at stake is so relevant and important (e.g. the non-accessibility of a toilet for wheelchair-users due to a hindering step – yes, using the “duck” in the non-subdivided passenger compartment of the train is not impossible but still not the most fancy thing to do) that other issues are becoming nearly meaningless (the missing shelve that allows a disabled person to put some cosmetics, deodorant, a hairbrush and comb … into an appropriate location, having it handy for his/her beautification – yes, also wheely-users may think about it)
  • is it about the small print? we manage to print so small that nearly nobody can read anything and actually everybody is being disabled
  • is it about security? the observation of security issues (firealarm-procedures causing so much inconvenience that the gained security is paid for by serious disturbances and dangerous activities to be safe
  • or is it the unintrusive friendliness and support of some that allows to feel just .. part of everything as everybody else who is walking on two legs instead of creeping like the Kantian worm through the mud …

Which list will be shortlisted as the longest? which as the shortest?

3,000,000 and 5,000,000,000

It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, is of a different opinion, it is because they only know their own side of the question. The other party to the comparison knows both sides. 

so far Mr. Mill, in his book Utilitarismus, published in 1863- Now, as morals and ethics are frequently employed – especially by those who feel a bit like Socrates himself – I am wondering if Socrates would possibly ask:

Konrnbluth,C.M., 1951, The Marching Morons; in:Anderson, Poul: Inside Earth, Vol.2/1: 128 ff, here:145)
https://ia600205.us.archive.org/34/items/Galaxy_v02n01_1951-04/Galaxy_v02n01_1951-04.pdf

What is if the satisfied human actually is becoming aware of the fact that s/he is a “pig”, in the metaphorical sense? A being that established this satisfaction on deception, wrong-doing, bribery or simply not sufficiently questioning the facts … just a moron …?

… to be continued on the 11th, under the title

Utilitarianism – the core of it

differences

John, we met on occasion of a couple of conferences, frequently said:

I always see you sitting with you work in the hotel lounge or in the reception area.

And indeed, for many parts of my work I like an inspiring atmosphere as I can find it in hotel lounges or …

…, yes in some cases it is a privilege, being able to sit in a spot like this
It had been a year ago, near Amsterdam, children playing nearby did not really disturb me – more the other way round: I found it even motivating as it is a bit like having the “dedication of my work” directly as motivation and appeal around:
this work is dedicated to the future generations, aiming on contributing to a society that is worth living in
Such privilege can easily reverse – an adult abruptly dragging one of the kids at the arm, shouting at him
Just leave here, don’t play while we are sitting here.
 – I felt paralyzed, I had to leave soon after this “incidence”. Because of this old fellow’s misbehavior towards the children, but also as I felt disturbed by the permanently incoming beep-sound of incoming messages and swoosh-sound of outgoing messages on his phone.
Two days later, I went there again – I urgently needed a place that provides quietness and inspiration. I was a bit …, no, I was not really surprised that nobody calls the group of adults to order: about fifteen to twenty people, sitting in one of the corners, chatting and laughing loudly, cheering at each other with the beer and wine glasses, and walking around – each of them wanted to take a photo – about about fifteen to twenty people wanted to have more or less the same photo.
I left, feeling guilty that I did not make the point there, both days – the point of difference and sameness. And I left with the confirmation of the position of a lecturer and researcher: there is no such thing as value freedom, the place, any lecturer and researcher has to look for, is the place of the future, not a future ’that happens’ but a future that we have to develop. – Well, the value-judgement dispute should never be reduced on an abstract issue of academics disputing in an ivory tower.

“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.

 

Social Networks and Network Effect

Today these are keywords, snatch mechanisms and catch tools – firmly anchored in many lives, seemingly providing a second skin, solidified to an extent that the idea they could disappear one day, even attempts to a controlled use as outlined in the Cor Orans occurs as weird, absurd.
But what harm one may say – looking at the wikipedia-List of social networking websites is somewhat instructive: Many of the early ones had been about people ‘just meeting’ or joining for a specific purpose as ADVOGATO, defining itself as ‘the free software developer’s advocate’. – May then be that we should not worry about these networks, instead look at their use? But then again, isn’t another great hit ‘social capital’, community building, self-orgainsation and solidarity? Sure, terms could and should be twisted and turned, social networking – its structures and use – needs to be controlled. Finally all this is not least about social responsibility – the term nowadays so often discussed with the little extension ‘corporate’- Actually not at all a new topic. Milton Friedman – writing under the title

The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits

in The New York Times Magazine, September 13, 1970 contends:

When I hear businessmen speak eloquently about the “social responsibilities of business in a free-enterprise system,” I am reminded of the wonderful line about the Frenchman who discovered at the age of 70 that he had been speaking prose all his life. The businessmen believe that they are defending free en­terprise when they declaim that business is not concerned “merely” with profit but also with promoting desirable “social” ends; that business has a “social conscience” and takes seriously its responsibilities for providing em­ployment, eliminating discrimination, avoid­ing pollution and whatever else may be the catchwords of the contemporary crop of re­formers. In fact they are–or would be if they or anyone else took them seriously–preach­ing pure and unadulterated socialism. Busi­nessmen who talk this way are unwitting pup­pets of the intellectual forces that have been undermining the basis of a free society these past decades.

A bit later this is followed by the statement

In a free-enterprise, private-property sys­tem, a corporate executive is an employee of the owners of the business. He has direct re­sponsibility to his employers. That responsi­bility is to conduct the business in accordance with their desires, which generally will be to make as much money as possible while con­forming to the basic rules of the society, both those embodied in law and those embodied in ethical custom.

Makes sense, doesn’t it? Isn’t it correct that

in his capacity as a corporate executive, the manager is the agent of the individuals who own the corporation or establish the eleemosynary institution, and his primary responsibility is to them.

Indeed, this had been already issued much earlier – namely by Thortstein Veblen who wrote in 1904

The motive of business is pecuniary gain, the method is essentially purchase and sale. The aim and usual outcome is an accumulation of wealth.[.] Men whose aim is not increase of possessions do not go into business, particularly not on an independent footing (Veblen, Thorstein, 1904: Theory of business Enterprise: New York: Charles Scribers: 20)

There is another general point to it: Economics is since David Ricardo obsessed by the idea of comparative advantage – though originally not focusing on individuals, it is of course still based in methodological individualism: individuals act as individuals, do what they are good at, and the aggregate is a ‘supposed social’.

A recent article in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung brought back to my mind that we also have to make sure that we do not forget any of these issues, and any of these Social Networks. The article, published on May, the 20th 2018, 09:51hrs, is titled
Aufsichtsräte. Deutschlands Netz der Macht/Board of Directors. Germany’s Net of Power.
And there are so many scandalous things mentioned … – these directorates: the chairs of the 30 DAX-enterprises get in average 408,000 Euro which seems to be a nice little top-up, commonly adding to incomes that are extremely high anyway. Just Bilderberg – like … ops: Bilderbuch [picture-book]-like incomes – yes ops, yes, there is this Bilderberg-conference, there is a World Economic Forum, there is the Club of Madrid, there is the  Mont Pèlerin Society … – well, in the case of these gatherings we may not have to talk about additional income …, perhaps … – the payment for giving a presentation …, peanuts … when it comes to money we are here talking about dimensions that are negligible – at some some stage, beyond a specific threshold, it is simply getting ridiculous and we should talk about the need of psychological control – of people and societies. Here it is surely about additional power.

Il denaro regola il mondo

Money governs the world

Pecuniam regit mundi

Geld reguleert de wereld

L’argent gouverne le monde

돈이 세상을 지배하다

At stake is, however, … a kind of oxymoron or paradox. There is the simple network effect: they know each other, communicate with each other … – it is a ‘manageable circle’, the borders so tight that even leaks aren’t able to emerge. The problem is of course not that they meet for probably extensively expensive dinners – instead it is about … – ‘corporate social responsibility’, the fact that these are interlaced social networks with a clear goal and strategy:
In fact it is this network effect that secures success, make it even possible. The point here is, however, there contradictory effect. Social networks are getting more powerful as more people are part of it – the simple example is the little joy to have the only telephone in the universe – you have the item but you cannot use it. If at least one other person has a phone, you can talk – getting a bit of joy out of it. If everybody has one, communication may become universal – and in some way communication is power: you are empowered to reach out, to speak, to develop things together with others … – or, of course, also to influence others. However, the networks that are looked at here, depend on their exclusivity: the smaller the group that executes the control over a huge pool of resources, as larger the power, the influence. We may speak of an inverse network effect. — Anything new?
Well, surely one thing: The ’new’ aspect is that we are now not least dealing with ‘controllers’ and ‘directors’ who are not immediately owning the means of production. At the same time, many of the owners – or better to say: the primitive accumulators, are actually in some way disappearing, for instance Gates as well as Soros showing up on the stage of humanitarian help and supposed world liberation respectively.
May we say in this light that, taking the perspective of national origin – possibly the most ’successful’, and equally most dangerous, are Ireland and Italy  – in the first case it is explicitly a U2-showman, claiming the role of a global politician, in the second case an even further step is made: a M5S-comedian, switching on five startling stars to enlighten a country that feels in many respects happy by maintaining the status of a sleeping beauty of a special kind.
— Again though: anything new?
As we know from Matthew 13: 11ff.

He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. This is why I speak to them in parables:

“Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’

Well, political and enforced self-control obviously included.