Armin Medosch on Mon, 28 Sep 2015 13:37:55 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> FW: VW


   Â well said:

     What VW tells us (and why "motivation" is worth looking at) is that
     when push comes to shove we really really need some structures of
     accountability that are responsive to "our", the public's needs and
     not the shareholders and that multistakeholderism as a system of
     governance is basically giving away the keys to the kingdom.

   which leads me to a slightly different topic, this fascination for
   "civil society" that has become so endemic, especially also with regard
   to the current refugee crisis. While the states are failing to organize
   this migration with some dignity, the heroism of civil society becomes
   fetishized. Although I would not regard myself as a statist, there is
   something suspicious in this construction. This article from Rastko
   Mocnik provides some perspective on the notion of civil socitey from a
   post-Yugoslav position

   last not least a short report from a small, unimportant country in the
   center of Europe:yesterday the post-Haider Freedom Party won 30+
   percent of the votes in Upper Austria, an economically strong region
   whose capital is Linz which hosts Ars Electronica. Now guess what, the
   F-Party celebrated its victory in the rooftop bar of Ars Electronica

   Â Â

     -----Original Message-----
          From:    Â
     [] On Behalf Of t byfield
     Â  Â  Â Sent: September 27, 2015 12:08 PM
     Â  Â  Â To:
     Â  Â  Â Subject: Re: <nettime> VW
     Â  Â  Â On 25 Sep 2015, at 20:59, Michael Gurstein wrote:
     Â  Â  Â > Thanks Ted, very useful.
     Â  Â  Â >
     Â  Â  Â > I guess what I'm curious about is the motivations, individual and/or
     Â  Â  Â > corporate thought processes/incentives etc. that underlie the initial
     Â  Â  Â > decision to go down this path and then the multitude of decisions at
     Â  Â  Â > various levels up and down the organization to continue on this path.
     Â  Â  Â <...>
     Â  Â  Â Michael, your line of questions seems to be a high priority for the
     Â  Â  Â media: today's NYT top story is "As Volkswagen Pushed to Be
     No. 1,      Ambitions Fueled a Scandal." Personally, I don't
     think there's been much      innovation in the motivation dept
     since, say, Sophocles, so the      human-interest angle isn't
     very interesting, IMO. If anything, it's the      primary
     mechanism in diverting attention from the real problem, namely,  Â
     Â  how to address malfeasance on this scale. Corporations are
     treated as      'people' when it comes to privatizing profit, but
     when it comes to      liabilities they're become treated as
     amorphous, networky constructs,      and punishing them becomes
     an exercise in trying to catch smoke with      your hands.
     Imagine for a moment that by some improbable chain of events    Â
     VW ended up facing a 'corporate death penalty,' there remain all
     kinds      of questions about what restrictions would be imposed
     on the most      culpable officers, how its assets would be
     disposed of, and what would      happen to its intellect
      ual property. (It'd be funny if the the VW logo      was
     banned, eh? I'm not suggesting anything like that could actuallyÂ
     Â  Â  happen, of course.) The peculiar details of this scandal could
     spark a      systemic crisis of a different kind, one that makes
     evading guilt more      difficult. The 'too complex for mere
     mortals' line won't work in this
     Â  Â  Â case: VWs have come a long way since the Deutsche
     Arbeitsfront or R.
     Â  Â  Â Crumb-like illustrated manuals about _How to Keep your
     Volkswagen      Alive_, but not so far that people will blindly
     accept that they can't      understand them. Popular
     understanding of negative externalities in      environmentalism
     is decades ahead of its equivalent in finance. And it    Â
     doesn't hurt that Germany, which has done so much to bend the EU to
     its      will, looks like it'll be the lender of last resort.
     Â  Â  Â  <...>


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