Adam Tooze – An experts’s review of ten years of global economic crisis

Recently (on 14 August) I had the good fortune to follow an interview with the British historian Adam Tooze on Austrian Radio. I was so impressed that I immediately took to reading his book “Crashed. How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World” (Allen Lane 2018) ) – and so an important work finally reached me with a two-year delay. These are my comments:

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The snow of yesterday is today’s Deluge – Remarks on an amazing book by Daniela Dahn

There are books – and, alas, they make up the vast majority – that one skims over because they offer nothing more than facts that we barely take note of. There are others where each sentence acquires importance because it expresses an attitude, a person’s relationship to the world, and therefore urges the reader to take a stand. I was recently allowed to read one such book, its author is Daniela Dahn. She writes about the injustice that Germany’s Western half has done to the citizens of the East, calling on the West to reflect on its failures. What so much pleases me about this book – even though its theses are anything but pleasant – is its honesty. In times of generalized dishonesty, where arguments mostly serve as weapons in the struggle of parties, this is a refreshing book. Let us listen to the author’s own words.

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Logical refutation of Noam Chomsky’s famous trees – the essence of his theory of language

The fascination of Chomsky’s theory of language is due to the fact that it seems to derive linguistic diversity and complexity from a simple starting point. After Chomsky, a whole generation of linguists was busy with drawing all these elusive inverted trees. Let us stick to a simple example:

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Vivat America! (Nevertheless)

The call may sound rather strange. America? Isn’t that the country where a populist president divides his own countrymen like no one before him sowing the seeds of mistrust even in up to then friendly and allied nations? Continue reading Vivat America! (Nevertheless)

Hitler, Arendt, Hoffer: Or: The Genius as Proletarian

He could have been a typical representative of the proletariat, for in his life he never got beyond casual work as a harvest worker and longshoreman and, in his youth, had not even been able to attend school. Continue reading Hitler, Arendt, Hoffer: Or: The Genius as Proletarian

Sarrazin reloaded

The best known example of a shitstorm of recent origin is, of course, the “case Sarrazin”. In his book “Deutschland schafft sich ab” (Germany is about to abolish itself), 95% of his evidence had been drawn from relevant scientific publications, while the last 5% (particularly his comments on the relative importance of the environment versus genetic predisposition) were a matter of legitimate scientific controversy. The professional publications he used had, however, only reached the tiny audience of researchers with similar interests, that is why they had practically escaped all public attention. Continue reading Sarrazin reloaded

Ishiguro – Kehlmann – Houellebecq, a European triad of literary fame

Writers are said to represent the conscience of their time, the finest seismographs for the tectonic shifts of the soul. The three writers mentioned above are among the greatest in their respective linguistic areas, the English, the German and the French. What conclusions can be drawn from their works with regard to the state of mind prevalent among Europeans? Continue reading Ishiguro – Kehlmann – Houellebecq, a European triad of literary fame

Huxley’s Brave New World revisited

Even during the writing of his masterpiece, Huxley seemed to have been in doubt as to how it was to be understood. Should one take it as a satire, a prophecy or a guide to political action? Continue reading Huxley’s Brave New World revisited