Don’t blame me if …

Well, I am not entirely sure if I got something wrong, if it is already a new business idea or if I bring it up as potential business strategy? Recently I saw in Austria a poster, advertising for flights. Part of it:

Flights, from 59.99 €. + registration of luggage — including miles.

Now I am wondering if there is another booking option: Booking a seat on the aircraft, and then paying per mile? This is the way car transport works – be it if you take a taxi or if you go for ‘car sharing’.

We may get there – or may even be on the way to ‘Ubering your flight‘ – without Uber.

– See also

Dopo il car sharing, arriva il “flight sharing”. I piloti condividono aereo… e spese

Fancy sharing the cost of a flight on a private aircraft?

Airbus entwickelt selbstfliegendes Lufttaxi

Airbus, de l’avion au taxi volant


Questions of a customer who reads …

There is a poem, written by Brecht:
I recently wrote about academics who may also have some special questions.
Perhaps it could also be ‘re-writtten’, like this … as
Questions of a customer who reads …
What is it one can find in a shop, for instance in a small town like Confolens, FR:
The shop: it is Lidle, German company
a chain soaring across more and more countries
distributing Asian food
produced in Germany
sold in France
with English-language label
– where did they produce the package,
from where did they get the oil for the plastic
from where the truck to transport the stuff to the train
which railway company brought the stuff to …
and from where are the workers who uploaded and unloaded the trains and trucks ..?
Who looks after the kids of the workers – are there creches maintained by the enterprise, public facilities or what solution is there for them?
Where do the owners of the enterprises pay taxes
– if they pay taxes at all
And what do they do with the profits …?
Who prepares the meal for the workers if they have to work all day long?
And what do the boss and the worker talk about
if they meet on the soccer pitch …?
There would be so many more questions to be asked – though Lidle has a shop, not a school, and a school has not time to go to shops, there are too many models to be learned about, not leaving space for reality, the pace not allowing to think too much …

Precarity – The General Crisis of Capitalism

Sure, working conditions today cannot be compared with those of the 1800s, but it is surely worthwhile to have a closer look at the overall shift that is going on in our societies. This had been topic of my recent presentation

Precarity – An Issue of Changed Labour Market and Employment Patterns or of Changed Social Security Systems?

during the EuroMemo-meeting in London.

The problem is indeed that we are facing a crisis that is going much beyond the economic crisis. It is a systemic crisis in the true meaning – and as such it is also a crisis of and for the ruling class. Coming from here, the question is not primarily one that looks for the relevant actors today. nor is it primarily a matter of simple-to-provide policy recommendations – the latter easily looking at an exit of the crisis instead of being serious about overcoming of permanently reoccurring crises.

We should not forget that capitalism is fundamentally and permanently characterised by unemployment though this takes very different forms, of course. These are not least characterised by cyclical movements.

What is then new about precarity?

We may have a look at the very general pattern of societal development which is characterised by a movement towards inclusion. However, this secular process (inclusion as matter of increasing appropriation of the “external nature” by human being) is going hand in hand with avower-related division.

Moving away from the philosophical perspective and looking at the economic side of it we find an interesting development, now looking only at the development that characterises capitalism/industrialism: a first movement is best characterised as rationalisation: reducing the variable part of capital in favour of the constant part of capital, and namely the part of the fixed capital. With the further development of capitalist production – and that means as well: the further development of the means of production, we find a more or less fundamental change of the process of realisation: as much as financialisation means that part of the capital is realising itself outside (and seemingly independent) of the process of production we see that labour and work are somewhat merging – at least the borders are blurring. In other words: at this stage they are actually not pushed back within the process of realisation by rationalisation. Instead labour is pushed to an area that is outside of the process of realisation. It deserves empirical investigation if this is actually going hand in hand with another change of the structure of capital, namely a decrease of the fixed capital in favour of an increase of the circulating capital – looking at anecdotal evidence the movement is contradicting.

A surely dangerous development as long as the system of gaining and maintaining material resources is still based on the traditional patterns of life-long full-time employment. With relevant policy development s it may also be an opportunity in the course of moving beyond the fetters of the capitalist mode of production. A further question is then in the wider historical perspective if and in which way we can actually refer to a permanently extension of the process of realisation. Putting the question in a different way we reach with the changed mode of production the challenge to turn away from a pattern of exponential growth, moving at least towards considering different perspectives on the objectives of the economy of (global) society (see in this context also Herrmann, Peter, 2013: Methodological considerations for a Theory of Social Policy/Social Policy Research at the Interface of Political Economy and Politics of Social Order: 13f).
Obviously, policy challenges arise for the areas employment, taxation and income, social security and societal policies. And they have to be consider both, system-conform and also system-transcending options.

Related reflections can be found in the working paper here – an earlier version had been replaced.