From the Constitutional State to the Security State
by Giorgio Agamben, April 2016 in Luxemburg 1/2016
The state of emergency is that arrangement by which totalitarian powers were established in Europe. Hitler’s first official act after his nomination (to Reich chancellor) was the proclamation of the state of emergency that was never retracted (during the NS rule). If one is amazed at the crimes committed with impunity in Germany by the Nazis, one forgets that these actions were absolutely “legal” because the land was subjected to a state of emergency and basic rights and freedom rights were suspended.
The security state is neither part of the constitutional state nor what Michel Foucault called the disciplinary society.. The security state is permanently grounded on fear and must keep fear alive at any cost because it has its essential function and legitimacy from it…
The three characteristics of the security state-maintaining a generalized state of anxiety, de-politization of citizens and renunciation on any legal certainty-should make us think. The security state to which we are moving does the opposite of what it promises. While security means the absence of worry (Latin sine cura – without worry – as the root for the French word securite), the security state foments permanent fear and terror. The security state is a police state that increases the police’s freedom of decision by suspending the power of the judiciary. The state of emergency that becomes daily routine and acts as the sovereign more and more becomes the normal case.
The security state breaks out of familiar politics to move to an indeterminate zone where public and private whose borders are hard to define become ever more blurred – through the increasing de-politization of citizens.
to read Jorg Althammer’s article, click on
In 2007 and 2008 the US housing market almost completely collapsed. The crisis was brought about by a combination of state- and market-failures that intensified each other. The failure of the capital markets was a result of extensive deregulation. The principle of liability was violated. Failure risks were passed on without making transparent the actual risk of a security for the buyer. The rating agencies did not assume any liability for faulty assessments.
The dramatic crisis on the international financial markets fundamentally upended trust in the market economy. Critics of free enterprise systems use the financial crisis and the continuing growth weaknesses of developed market economies as reasons for questioning the free enterprise system altogether.
All highly-developed free enterprise economies are showing a clearly slackening economic growth. This slowing down of the growth process is an economic necessity. No one can expect national economies with a high per-capita income to grow at the same rate as threshold countries or the Federal Republic of Germany in the phase of reconstruction. That this growth process occurs in cycles is a system-conditioned necessity. Knowing that these cycles are primarily exogenous, avoiding these cycles cannot be the goal of state economic policy. Rather the challenge of state economic- and social policy is to keep these fluctuations as low as possible and cushion the social consequences of the recession. This should happen through the automatic stabilizers of the system of social security. Massive crises like the present crisis on the financial markets are results of misguided political-economic framing conditions. Thinking back to the foundations of the social market economy, particularly to the principle of private liability, can help prevent dislocations of this magnitude in the future.
Marc Batko, “Alternative Economics: Reversing Stagnation,” 159 pages, Smashwords, April 2016, https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/627516
Bill Black on the Corrupt Culture of Wall Street, April 2016
The common good is abused. The struggle against tax havens is a struggle for the rule of law and democracy. Apple, Google, Amazon, Boeing, GE and scores of other corporations shift tens of billions of taxable profits to tax havens in the Cayman Islands, Switzerland and Lichtenstein. According to a 2013 article, one building in Wilmington, Delaware has 285,000 mailbox firms.
Public budgets suffer because of the missing revenue. Corporations seem to have rights without responsibilities. Trust and public spirit fall by the wayside when corporations pretend to be non-profits and obey another law and another logic.
Capitalism as a Religion by Franz Segbers
“Capital is the only god that the whole world knows, sees, touches, smells, tastes and excites all our senses. it is the only god that doesn’t encounter any atheists” (Paul Lafargue’s little known genial satire “Religion of Capital” from 1887).
Trust in the “invisible hand” is a trust in a religion that has a money god. Capital and its multiplication claim an all-determining authority. Only an enlightenment about the economy with the means of religion helps against a capitalism as religion.
Hope, one world where many worlds fit and where everyone has a place (Zapatistas), is the radical hope of system change and is not incremental or cosmetic change
Capitalism contains crisis as rain clouds contain rain (Jean Jaures in the 19th century). War and speculation are normalized in late stage financial capitalism. Contradictions like labor as only a cost and not also vital demand are faded away in a system where the richest 65 according to Oxfam have more wealth than 3 1/2 billion people.
Shareholder value capitalism worships profit and short-term constraints and makes long-term necessities and alternatives taboo. Labor becomes a cost factor, society moves into a modern feudal mode, communities are reduced to locations for capital, public education is seen as a prize of billions and respecting other civilizations is called pre-modern.
We squandered energy and assumed that nature was only a free good, external or sink instead of our partner and hope for future strength. Neoliberalism confused the goat with the gardener, ends and means, private and public, part and whole and real and imaginary. Those who make decisions and turn private risks into public risks must take responsibility and liability for their decisions.
Our thinking has to change and become more inclusive and post-material or we adopt the “Newspeak” of the ruling class.
See more at www.kickitover.org and www.onthecommons.org
Energy for tomorrow, 15 pp
Energy for tomorrow
Perspectives of the transition to a post-fossil economy
This article has been published in the series “Church and Society”, as no. 387,
edited by the Catholic Centre of Social Sciences at Mönchengladbach (North-
Translated from German by Mrs. A. Elmendorff-Pfeifer, Düsseldorf
New 159-page ebook anthology “Alternative Economics: Reversing Stagnation” by Marc Batko, $2.99 from Barnes & Noble Nook ebooks:
The time is right for alternative economics, reducing working hours, redefining state and market and re-envisioning work, security, health and strength. More and more work is done by fewer and fewer people. In Germany, the GDP rose 300% in 50 years with 20% fewer workers.
Mainstream neoliberal economics has no answer to exploding inequality and destruction of nature.
This anthology “Alternative Economics: Reversing Stagnation” includes 3 translator’s introductions, 3 poems from the translator, 12 articles by Tomas Konicz, and articles by Ulrike Herrmann, Helmut Martens, Franz Garnreiter, Sven Giegold, Karl Georg Zinn, Mohssen Massarat, Joachim Bischoff, Andreas Kolbe and Attac. New priorities, assumptions and policies are vital.
The financial sector should be shriveled and the public sector expanded. The myths of self-healing markets, efficient financial markets, nature as a free good, external and sink, infinite growth in a finite world, quantitative growth and the exact sciences eclipsing qualitative growth and the human sciences (history, literature, play, language, sociology, political science, philosophy) and private opulence next to public squalor (cf. John Kenneth Galbraith) must call us to rethinking – individually and collectively.
Alternative Austrian, Swiss, Polish and German economists can alert us to the bankruptcy of austerity policy and fiscal policy aiding capital at the expense of workers and the environment. The future economic policy must be regional and decentralized. A post-materialist economy is possible as we transition from excess to access and more to enough. Work, health, strength, security and happiness can be redefined. The rights of nature can be respected in a future of moderation, equality and freedom.
More and more is produced with fewer and fewer workers. Work and income have uncoupled as people cannot survive on their earnings from work and depend on credits and loans. Michael Schwendinger explains that reducing working hours can be a socio-economic investment giving workers more time sovereignty and better long-term health. Reducing working hours is a response to increased productivity and is the only way to assure everyone of the right to meaningful work
Why are the Lambs Silent? by Rainer Mausfeld, Jan 18, 2016
Techniques – fragmentation and propaganda – make serious violations of moral norms by the ruling elites morally and cognitively invisible to the population. With many examples, professor Mausfeld gives insight in the actual management of our democracy and how people are kept in apathy and in the illusion of being informed.
“You already know enough. So do I. We don’t lack knowledge. What is missing is the courage to understand what we know and draw conclusions.”
Sven Lindquist (1992). Exterminate All the Brutes.
For Paul Lazarsfeld, the mass media is the “most respectable and efficient of social narcotics.” When citizens feel informed by the mass media, they are so overpowered by their feeling of being informed that “the addict is kept from recognizing his own malady,” Lazarsfeld diagnoses.
Controlling opinions is more important than purely emotional control because opinions are usually more stable than emotions. Therefore a special importance comes to techniques that can control opinions. No special knowledge of psychology is needed for these simple techniques. They are the standard methods of the mass media:
1. Declare facts to be opinions. Dealing with facts as though they are mere opinions is one of the most frightening aspects of totalitarian thought systems, Hannah Arendt explained.
2. Fragment the presentation of connected facts so the context is lost.
3. De-contextualize facts so they are removed from their real contexts and seem as isolated cases.
4. Re-contextualize facts, embed them in a new context with “positive” accompaniments so they lose their original context and the possible potential of moral indignation…
New Ebook Anthology “Alternative Economics: Reversing Stagnation,” 140 pp, translated by Marc Batko, Feb 28, 2016
by Rainer Mausfeld, January 2016
Neoliberalism tells the poor and weak that they are responsible for their misery. The true extent of social poverty barely reaches the public. A re-feudalization bomb rages and investors seek privatizing the public education system. People are atomized and obscured by psycho-techniques that make resistance against this inhuman system impossible.
Neoliberalism – after European colonialism – is the greatest redistribution project of history. Considerable indoctrination and disciplining efforts are necessary to accept and even join in this battle song against their actual experiences and against their own interests. In a democracy, it is important to conceal and make invisible the real goal of redistribution from bottom to top.
Neoliberalism causes one disaster after another worldwide and aims at producing consumers who only find a social identity as consumers in a socially atomized society.
to read the articles by Sonja Fercher and Georg Feigt, click on
This crisis is only another warning shot of the current economic system and could offer a unique window of opportunity to leave behind the neoliberal path of development taken since the end of the 1970s. The measures taken after the 2008 crisis have a symbolic nature and aren’t effective regulations of the financial markets. The root of the problem must be treated and this root is the economic model based on growth and exploitation of nature.