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The Flexible Person: Critical Psychology and Fitness Training

Using athletic and medical metaphors, persons even in nursery school are urged to fitness training. Under globalization, societies and populations find themselves in positional competition. National chances are set against the global threat. The welfare state in Germany is dismantled partly be referring to this threat. Catastrophe- and threat scenarios replace debate over issues. Critical psychology could help us overcome the darkening future. From German
The Flexible Person

On the Psychological Creation of the Subject in Neoliberal Capitalism

The present system condemns persons to loneliness, fear, hopelessness and oppressive feelings

By Thomas Gerlach

[This article on critical psychology originally published in: Utopie kreativ, November 2000 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web,  http://www.linksnet.de/drucksicht.php?id=145.]

In conscious opposition to traditional psychological theory that usually explores the processes "in" persons severed from all social and historical relations, critical psychology (1) conceptualizes the person-world connection and grapples with the concrete conditions under which people live. This claim includes analysis of the varied efforts to monopolize persons through ruling authorities and the ideological campaigns for enforcing prevailing interests by influencing social and individual mentalities and conditions.

Eduardo Galeano writes about the psychological effects of current dominant relations. "This system condemns people to loneliness, fear, hopelessness and oppressive feelings. This system forces us to see others as enemies. It convinces us that life is a race-track on which there are few winners and many losers. It is a system that poisons the soul." (2) The genesis of this "system" is the result of the neoliberal restoration of "a capitalism liberated from all sharp inhibitions" (13) whose functioning requires a changed economy and persons with certain psychic qualities.

Neoliberalism can be understood as a political project of capitalist elites aiming at restoring the absolute unrestricted autonomy of owners of financial and productive assets. A coalition of transnational corporations, financial capital and the upper middle class with government assistance enforces a model of economic modernization oriented only in the profit expectations of "shareholders" and pursues privatization of public property and new tax gifts for corporations and the wealthy with wage cuts and reduced social benefits on one hand and large-scale redistribution of social wealth from the bottom to the top on the other hand.

As a result, enormous capital concentration processes occur on one side and an oppressive mass unemployment on the other side. According to prognoses of the World Bank and the OECD, eighteen million Europeans will be added in the next years to the fifteen million excluded from all paid work. Contrary to all official government lies about cutting unemployment in half", no readiness to improve this condition exists on the ruling side. On the contrary, so-called leading thinkers like former US presidential advisor Brzezinski like to proclaim cynical "visions" of the future "20-80 society" - 20 percent more or less earning a good salary should be enough to guarantee production and sales and 80 percent unemployed kept in a good mood with "tittytainment", a mixture of alms and primitive mass entertainment. (4) Besides the number of jobless, the working poor grows who with several "jobs" don't earn enough money for survival. Altogether 50 of 370 million Europeans are defined as poor including seven million in West Germany while - according to a UN report - 350 "global billionaires" own as much as the entire poorer half of humanity altogether. (5)

A massive dismantling of democratic and social rights leads to economic polarization. Institutions which - at least according to their nature - exercise political controls and represent organized interests like parliaments and unions are weakened and social alternatives - including welfare state compromises - discredited.

Why do the concerned join in all this, not reluctantly but seemingly compliantly and without resistance. (6) Critical psychology describes such processes of personal adjustment in bad conditions with the term restrictive capacity for action. A contradictory, self-damaging arrangement with present conditions of rule appears as the only possible lifestyle. The action alternative of political union with others in the same situation largely atrophies or fades. The knowledge of personal participation in the preservation of general and personal oppression and in oppression of others is repressed. (7)

At the beginning of the eighties, Klaus Holzkamp emphasized the basic idea of restrictive action capacity as a central category of critical psychological theory in analyzing "forms of human subjectivity in civil society". (8) This existed at that time in a reformed welfare state where improved general living conditions could be achieved. The capitalist mode of production was a relation of exploitation, rule and force. Submission of people under the exploitative interests of capital seemed to guarantee their own claims of life. Wage increases and social benefits secured the functionality of restrictive action capacity. Critics of conditions were reproached that "little people never had it so good .".

Neoliberal Crisis Management: Consciousness Education, not Ownership Education

Optimistic perspectives are becoming rare in view of worsening chances of survival. An instrument for producing political loyalty loses its effectiveness and is put in question by the dominant view. How can loyalty be maintained when the material concessions in welfare state capitalism are largely withdrawn? To counteract a potential legitimation crisis, non-economic factors are necessary when the involvement of the population turns out as low as possible. "Neoliberalism depends on guaranteeing loyalty to its policy and to the system by endowing meaning and emphasizing identity and identification through energetic conscientization." (9)

An urgently necessary change of mentality, the establishment of certain mental laws, is constantly stressed in the discourse of the dominant elite. The best-known example is the "jerk theme" of former President of Germany Roman Herzog who argued explicitly psychologically. "What is wrong with our country? The loss of economic dynamic, the congealment of society and an incredible mental depression are the slogans of the crisis." (10) "We ourselves" appear as the problem here, not unemployment, environmental pollution and vast military armaments. We are too inflexible, too slow and are seized by an "incredible mental depression". We think wrongly and are too pessimistic. Motivational support and relations are inadequate. After proclaiming these "deficits", the desirable qualities are announced: "courage", "readiness for risks", "efficiency" and "flexibility".

Speeches of presidents alone do not change psychic dispositions. To accomplish this, their messages must be functional for the existential problems of people or at least give the appearance of such functionality. Neoliberal discourse joins its ideas to the "silent pressure of conditions". (11) The majority of its addressants are not unbiased persons presented with informal suggestions for organizing their living conditions. Rather people under existential pressure are put under more pressure and exposed to massive mass media manipulation. Existential fears reduce capacity for reflection and criticism and promote the desire for simple explanations for the threatening situation in which one exists. Neoliberal discourse provides such explanations.

Position against Position: "Global Threat" and "National Chance"

The recent history of neoliberal campaigns begins with the mantra about the threatened position. "The idea is infectiously simple. Capital is drawn to regions where exploitation conditions are most favorable... To keep capital here - and jobs and tax revenues -, the conditions for capital exploitation must be promoted." (12) This logic starts the race for the lowest wages and the worst protective regulations. In other words, to enforce asocial living- and working conditions, neoliberal discourse designs the threat scenario of an inevitable globalization fate. As a {positional diagnostic" proclaims incessantly, the European "position" is very hard because it is threatened by "Asian renunciation/ austerity societies" and "North American market reason". Consequently, saving Germany's position is impossible in its present state but necessitates radical changes since "national chances" counter the "global threat". In times of his candidacy, chancellor Schroder summoned Germans to decide whether they want to be "hammers or anvils in the process of globalization" and immediately follow the prescription of his "therapy".

Whoever wants to become a globalization hammer must realize "that innovation capacity begins in one's head". (13) In the future, all social areas like education and health should be viewed in the light of their "position advantage". Universities after their reorganization into "research regions near the economy" should provide "human capital" and not promote discovery processes any more. Hospitals competing against one another as "profit centers" sell doctors as "entrepreneurs" to their former patients who are then called customers receiving care in a commodity form.

The terms "diagnostics" and "therapy" are not applied incidentally. Neoliberal discourse is penetrated by pseudo-medical and pseudo-psychological terms. There are operations that "reduce health", temperature curves that represent the "sickness of unemployment" and persons laid low who depend "on the drop of social security". With assertions like "investors" would avoid Germany "like the plague", the impression of deadly threat is evoked and the absolute necessity of incisive measures suggested.

Spokespersons of the debate urge instilling neoliberal orthodoxy as a supposed "practical necessity" in the public consciousness. What happens in the names of position and globalization does not appear as the result of interest-laden action but as an inevitable effect of anonymous powers beyond criticism merely executing what is inevitable.

Besides the pseudo-medical metaphors, metaphors from sports are also possible. People must become "fit" for the "healthy competition" of the world market competition. Germany must pass a "fitness program" to play in the "world class" or "first league" while demands for social justice threaten to depend on the rank or position. Two different messages are mixed in this terminology. On one hand, the "healthy rigor" of the trained athlete is praised to whom "victory" beckons as a reward for effort, renunciation and discipline. On the other hand, plant closures and mass dismissals are trivialized as an entertaining social game.

In examining the truth content of the catastrophe diagnoses, considerable contradictions to the actual situation are manifest. Germany is still an export world master. Banks and corporations make enormous profits and were relieved to taxes again and again in the last twenty years. Nevertheless the position rhetoric presents a scenario of shortage and bankruptcy. Hardly anyone asks why child benefits and unemployment benefits are taxed and not profits. (14) A mentality is encouraged that reacts to relocation threats on the capital side with "voluntary" renunciation on personal claims, "The poor must be convinced they will benefit when they give something to the rich." (15)

Austerity debates in a Rich Country - "Sleekness", "Fitness" and Cynicism

To shatter all forms of the welfare state, structures of thought must be organized and emotional barriers overcome that oppose a massive insecurity of living conditions. An "austerity debate" pointing to supposed "empty treasuries" claims that the welfare state is a threat to Germany's position and "can no longer be financed". An "all-provision state" has developed that "we" can not afford any more. "Charity" is "nationalized" and as "social proliferation" must now be trimmed to a position-friendly scale. "Courage not fear", "personal initiative, not claimant orientation" and "benefits instead of social whining" are urged.

Individual deficits are also diagnosed here. Herzog's "jerk theme" implies bad emotional attitudes. "We" are not only "inflexible" and so forth but stricken by a "German sickness" called fear. Instead of speaking clearly about issues, we fall into fear scenarios and must expect the worst since "a society filled withy fears becomes incapable of reforms and organization of the future." (1^) The method consists in reproaching "us" for the fears that are entirely appropriate as reactions to the threat scenarios conjured nonstop by the ruling side. "We" are the cause of the problem and therefore must put on the penitential garb of complete simplicity and ask for forgiveness for "our" sins with work plus wage restraint.

A polemic hostile to democracy and the welfare state titled We Future Thieves (Wir Zukunftsdiebe) offers amazing examples of this argumentation logic. The author Heidi Schueller, a former Olympic speed runner, belonged to the shadow cabinet of the 1994 chancellor candidate Scharping. In her book, she pursues a nearly inquisitional search for "thieves of the youthful future" including "pensioners" who as "excessive burdens" caused "overstrain to those under 40". (17) Finally the question is raised what "responsible parents" must do "to shake the unsuspecting affluent children from their paradise welfare state dreams." (18)

If this alarm call fails, our destruction is imminent since the well-being of old voter majorities was long supported "rather than future security for the younger generation." (19) To gain the votes of "senior citizens and dependents", the seniors' part was built for tactical elector reasons, not the free Internet café for the kids." (20)

Democracy is combated with the austerity slogan, not only the welfare state,,, Instrumental reason opposes the future-destroying fire of "claim inflation". Opposition must disappear like an abandoned penny. "Whoever has not understood today that redistribution alone is not enough and that concrete renunciation on social benefits is necessary lives outside reality. What is crucial is a change in mentality and no longer only cost reduction and profit orientation, the exodus from a pathological lamentation society to a society ready for and rewarding performance and efficiency. This would be a Herculean act for our aging democracy." (23)

Schueller urges a universal work duty so everyone contributes, the helpless, seriously ill, children, elderly men and mothers in the nurturing phase. (24) Even the seriously ill are capable of work, declares the author who as a former doctor voluntarily left the medical practice.

The connection of welfare state criticism with the sleekness- and fitness rhetoric plays a leading role in the present brutalization of living conditions. The state is identified with degeneration and obesity. Measures reducing social benefits are represented as wholesome medicine. That people are unfortunately driven into poverty and homelessness is regarded as inevitable on account of "many practical necessities". To combat the "fat" of the welfare state, businesses, the state and the emotionality of people must be "trimmed". After their liberation from the moral burden, people's emotions should be reduced to deadwood, to channeled openness and enthusiasm for national interests and company "visions". (25)

The "sleekness rhetoric" belongs to the complex of neoliberal cynicism where people only occur under the aspect of their economic exploitation. A complete indifference toward the distress of others is propagated in the slogan: Whoever receives income support is "not poor". The question what it means to live from the pitifully low income support does not arise. The cynical part of the slogan is that income support benefits in the official understanding only cover the subsistence level. Poverty should not be confused with dying from starvation.

Other cynicisms appear as deceitful or simulated sympathy to mock disadvantaged persons. Former labor minister Blum assured those without a roof over their heads that "spending the night under bridges is not a disgrace" as though homelessness were a kind of adventure vacation. 26 Representing homelessness in the midst of the ostentatious wealthy of a minority as a normality to be unquestionably accepted is really a scandal.

The cynicism of the austerity debate results from the circumstance that those who are secure for life reproach those in constant fear of the future with the insidious prattle about the "full coverage mentality" of the deeply human need for security and reliability and urge "courage for risks" from people in the most insecure situations.

People as "Affluent Waste" - The Poor as Responsible in the Misery of the Rich

In the next step, the victims become projection figures. This begins in the debate around "social misuse" which argues that massive claims of social benefits by unentitled persons can no longer be "tolerated" on account of "empty treasuries". Cuts in benefits and sharp controls are enacted. The misuse debate transports the effect of position- and austerity slogans to the place of interpersonal relations. Mentalities and feelings are configured as social praxis to bring the desired results.

The misuse debate also uses cynical defamations where "social parasites" serves as a combative term. The jobless, social security recipients, chronically sick, pensioners, "pseudo-students" and single parents are named who supposedly want to lead a work-free life at the expense of the general public. What is involved here is the accusation of victims as in ex-chancellor Kohl's metaphor of the "collective leisure park" that distorts the forced vacation of the unemployed into a sweet Sunday treat and also forces shame and guilt feelings on them in addition to existential fear and loss of self-esteem.

The chairperson of the Nestle corporation Maucher made a very open confession to prosperity-chauvinism with his version of neoliberal economic ethics describing the unemployed, the sick and senior citizens as "affluent waste". He also emphasized "that we have enough money to support those who are really old, sick or jobless" and "must accept supporting a part of the population." (27) The slogan "alms not welfare state" is dangerously intensified.

Whoever degrades people to "waste" implies that the support of the "superfluous" depends on their own goodwill and could be ended at any time. What is involved is not only the threat of cancelled assistance. The presence of waste demands rolling up one's sleeves and sweeping away, not passivity and tolerance. Waste must be removed. The assertion that "waste" as the jobless, sick and senior citizens is supported by "us" means "We could do something else." "We" cannot only withdraw support from "them"; we can also get rid of them like rubbish. This conclusion remains intentionally unexpressed...

After the corporate leader Maucher made his declaration, the CDU prime minister of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Seite did not want to take second place. He told US economic representatives that "there is a social sediment of 20 percent in his state of weak persons unwilling to reform." (28) The criteria for the enemy declaration were expanded. If Maucher's "affluent waste" aims at the dehumanization of all who as "human capital" do not promise any maximum profits, Seite adds the question of system loyalty with "reform unwillingness". Whoever criticizes the status quo and opposes a policy of social eradication called reform is regarded as "sediment".

Other cynicisms appear. People not needed by capital any more are held as a "rationalization reserve" until they disturb the exploitation process and thenj are dismissed as "investment obstacles". In the "holding pattern" (meaning unemployment), they lead lives as "underprivileged", persons of the second or third class. The appalling talk about "purging administration" which - camouflaged as criticism of misguided bureaucracy - declares people to be "waste" intends something similar.

The slogan "social parasites" continues the pseudo-medical language of "position diagnostics" and raises it to a new level. The once "healthy body of the people" is not somehow "sick" but is attacked by concrete "parasites". Differentiated analyses are unnecessary; only the drastic cure helps. The vermin must be removed so the body can recover. The danger, it is suggested, does not only start from "practical necessities" and "misguided individual orientations" but from organized bands, "social criminals with homeless identity cards" traveling through the land and making a kind of sport out of exploiting the general public. "They are many, they are everywhere and they are dangerous" is the persistent message. "We" are surrounded and attacked by rapacious vermin. The sickness caused by the parasites becomes an epidemic. Epidemics require special measures. All means are allowed for their removal.

The state of emergency exists in times of epidemics. The "misuse debate" functionalizes the scandal of mass unemployment as a pretext for the increasing criminalization of the affected in the course of an undeclared state of emergency. Whoever opposes the neoliberal discourse and points to contradictions and dominant interests, whoever thematicizes the incomes of the rich and supper-rich is confronted with the polemical term "social envy". Normal life claims become unattainable for more and more people while the media of the "well-to-do" report about their "new joy in luxury". "Social envy" is the defensive strategy of those who preach renunciation to others while filling their own pockets.

Retrospectively the misuse debate appears in another light. Indifference about the source of their income is imputed to "persons whom one doesn't even know". This idea is actually much better suited to speculators and old age pensioners whose dividends sometimes result from weapons. Projection as a psychological principle occurs in the misuse debate. The qualities ascribed to the jobless originate from the economistic worldview and anthropology of the neoliberal economic theory itself. The glorified asociality of boundless private3 enrichment is detached from its protagonists and transferred to others. (30)

De-Politization is Decreed - Away with "Cranky Egalitarian Ideas"

Where the grandiose neoliberal salvation plan still stirs some doubt, its inventors have devised another trick, the so-called TINA strategy. The abbreviation stands for the slogan "there is no alternative" and transfigures everything that happens in the dominant interest as the only possible and the only rational way. Application possibilities seem practically unlimited. If an offensive war is waged, one declares on account of human rights - there is "no alternative". To make the poor even poorer with ever new "austerity packages", one calls this "consolidation" and declares "there is no alternative". If laws are suspended for high-profit destruction of conservation areas, "no alternative" exists to industrial settlement of these areas.

Some even proclaim "there is no alternative to removing wavering social policy." (31) "Generation contract prattling, union prose and welfare state murmuring don't help any more." (32) That protests may "prevent" the necessary reforms is feared (33) although "many obstruse qualities of our social system are not familiar to most protesters. Critics run behind the sensationalist slogans and are not even aware that only incisive corrections can improve their personal situation in the long run." (34)

Besides the impudent demand that people help in the destruction of their social achievements, the author simply denies the competence of all who champion social interests. Making fools of the opposition should give the touch of the absurd to political engagement and generalize this view in public consciousness into an anti-emancipatory and democracy-hostile mentality.

The formation of casual, short-sleeved honest citizens who react by shaking their heads and gestures of dismissal to the mere sight of a protest march, who "know" that the dominant condition is "right" and criticism is "nonsense" is the goal. "Representation of interests is childish and dumb", the message declares.

This is also true for the desire for better living conditions against which children must be immunized. Schueller pleads here for more performance-orientation in the nursery school. Unfortunately "they (the children) are hopelessly under-demanded with our pedagogy, with superficial knowledge from sociology and psychology and with healed world fantasies and cranky egalitarian ideas." (35)

The "fitness training" of the little ones for the fight for survival is harsh but without alternative. Doing their utmost in creating conditions for a good life for all people can only occur to naïve social romantics who corrupt the rising generation with such "weirdness". Whoever wants the good for his or her child realizes there is no alternative to pre-school training to be an egomaniac able to "assert" himself against all rivals. Thus Schueller gives this counsel to her impressionable offspring: "Don't be weighed down with old-fashioned nonsense of ideological fossils. Your future demands realism and pragmatism. Anyone who tells you anything different makes you unfit for life. The dream of prosperity for all... only exists in the heads of dreamers and you pay the bill." (36) Even reflecting about "anything different" is proscribed.

At the end, Schueller reveals the wonder cure against Germany's destruction to her readers. We must rely on the "youngsters". "Youngsters act simply, sometimes without knowing what they do. Often enough this doesn't turn out good. They conjure new products and branches, frequently nonsense products but with high profit. Their colleagues from advertising design new needs. All this is crazy but is better than stagnation and paralyzing whining." (37)

Thus senseless products are the "true alternatives". "The greatest profit can be realized today with products put on the market with a touch of imagination, with the vision of gaining time, with luxury body cult products and emotionalia promising a heavenly existence up to biblical old age, with everything that serves feelings of inadequacy in security, fantasy and beauty. Brutal businesses with soft gentle feelings - this is the trick of success at the turn of the millennium. This modern `economic romanticism' is somewhat irrational but successful." (38)

A commodity should no longer be produced, only the illusion of a commodity: "visions", "promises" and "cult products" which typically have "the highest profit". On one side is mass unemployment and on the other more and more rich persons who thirst for "emotionalia" - since they already possess everything else. This is clearly not a solution. Schueller rightly calls her own proposals "nonsense". What are central are not ways out but chaining the thoughts of people to the supposed hopelessness.

If this is attained, normative ideas proliferate on how people should be after the change in mentality. Models are presented which demonstrate that the situation is "hopeless" but nevertheless can be "great fun" if one is only unrestrictedly adaptable. "However few really creative young persons live like butterflies on a leash. Their uncompromising optimism is contagious even if occasionally out of touch with reality. They act with verve and refuse to let the programmed problems spoil the day. A welfare state that cannot be financed, empty pension treasuries and the currency criteria of Maastricht don't worry them. They don't take to the streets, to parties or even unions." (39)

At last they reach the goal. They should be "rescuers of the future": uninformed, apolitical, indifferent toward all "programmed problems" but "highly motivated" in designing advertising campaigns to pass on "emotionalia" instead of reasonable products. Resistance against war, social exclusion, neonazism? Why?! Democracy? Throw it overboard! Unions? The snow of yesterday! If "butterfly creativity" is free from its leash, those backward orientations are obsolete. The "verve" of "uncompromising optimists" (even if somewhat "out of touch with reality") doesn't agree with fault-finding problematicizing. "Contagious" delight in affirmation is sought. Hatred is fomented against people in public service and hatred toward intellectuals. The actual intention is destroying secure working conditions (employees and civil services), destroying social services (because poor senior citizens should do social work for their pittance), destroying the social sciences and brainwashing people so no one notices the fraud. According to Schueller, the "nonsense products" of "crackpots and tinkerers" are more important for a "success society" than "discount universities". (41) Everything runs "crazy" and "somewhat irrationally".

The Person as "Entrepreneur of his/her Labor Power"

Propagation of the "change in mentality" is synonymous with formulation of psychological imperatives urging adoption of certain ways of thinking, feelings and relations. Thus Heide Schueller criticizes "our society's hostility to children" (42), not because children are also persons entitled to dignified treatment but because sub-optimal child care possibilities hinder parents in constantly changing their residence. Changing residence should be part of "modern" life and "flexible" persons as "obviously" as ruptures in relations. (43)

Wage vagabonds without commitments set up their tents wherever changing short-term commercialization interests offer them the "chance" of temporary "employment". Heide Schueller summarizes the demands to "human capital". "Youths as university graduates, modest in their salary expectations... are the racers with the personnel managers of large corporations." (44)

Social-psychological model theories celebrate these developments as "progress". "individualization pushes" make possible "path-work identities... "

Whoever needs money has to prostitute himself, become pliable to the masters of the world and sell himself in body and soul... Since very poorly paid activities are involved with the grandiose neoliberal projects, three presuppositions must be fulfilled so the "enormous employment potentials" can be exploited. The general living standard must continue to fall. The incomes of the upper middle class must rise so they can keep the domestic servants. The unemployed must be brought to consider a "career" as baggage carriers or cheap cleaning women as acceptable. The fully flexible service person is desired who must use her whole energy to reach the subsistence level while understanding this as "entrepreneurship", not as humiliation.

The development of normative biographies runs from proletarians and unemployed to domestic workers and results in the re-feudalization of social relations. This includes destruction of social security systems and shifting the contradiction between capital and labor "to" the subjects. People should be occupied from morning till night with their own commercialization. They should be ready for unlimited changes of their lives. The neoliberal normativity is at once a programmatic of the most extreme estrangement.

How far the political left will assert the claim of a solidarian society against the organized asociality of neoliberalism cannot be foreseen. The first task is the decisive criticism of conditions in which a growing number of people must pay for the luxury of capitalist elites with degrading existence in poverty. Progressive dismantling of democracy together with resentment against certain sectors of the population prescribed by the mass media and the commodification of people to economic units promoted by the ruling side provokes the danger of an authoritarian formation of state and society.


1. Critical psychology arose in the course of social emancipation movements at the end of the sixties at the Free University of Berlin. Critical psychology turns against the social function of traditional psychology as a discipline of adaptation and rule and works out a fundamental reformulation of psychology... Although it represents an important beginning, critical psychology since its origin sees itself exposed to massive attacks of the academic establishment and the ministerial bureaucracy. Critical psychology is largely marginalized after gaining significance in the seventies and eighties.
2. Eduardo Galeano: I Refuse to be a Commodity, in: Neues Deutschland, July 18, 1997.
3. Oskar Negt, New Approaches to Marxist Thought, in: Z. Zeitschrift Marxistische Erneuerung 30 (1997).
4. Cf. Hans-Peter Martin/ Harald Schumann, The Globalization Trap, 1997.
5. Cf. Zygmunt Bauman, Globalization and Localization, in: Das Argument, Nr. 217 (1996).
6. A "resignation process pervading society" is manifest... How incredible that radical neoliberalism manages to anchor its principles in souls so that many of its victims are still feverish for an economic growth when its profits to their detriment only flow to an affluent class... The disadvantaged feel jointly responsible to veil the collapse of society produced from above. The disadvantaged in a self-estranging identification with the powerful accept the increasing corporate profits and the exploding dividends which don't fall to them." This quotation comes from the writer Gabriele Wohmann, in: Neues Deutschland, May 30, 1998.
7. Cf. Klaus Holzkamp, Foundations of Psychology, 1983.
8. Ibid.
9. Herbert Schui: Neoliberalism - The Modern Project of the Counter-Enlightenment - Demand restriction: The Inhibition of Developed Capitalism, in: Z. Zeitschrift Marxistische Erneuerung, 1997.
10. Roman Herzog, Toward the 21st Century, Berlin address, April 26, 1997 in: Manfred Bissinger (ed): Stimmen gegen den Stillstand, 1997.
11. Karl Marx, Das Kapital, 1st volume in: MEW, vol.23.
12. Hans-Jurgen Podszuweit: On the Logic of Positional Policy, in: Z. Zeitschrift Marxistische Erneuerung, 1996.
13. Gerhard Schroder: Against the Luxury of Idleness, in: Manfred Bissinger (ed) Stimmen gegen den Stillstand, 1997.
14. Clemens Knobloch, Positional Rhetoric,  http://www.bdwi.org/bibliothek/knobloch.htm.
15. Ibid.
16. Roman Herzog, To the 21st Century, op.cit.
17. Heidi Schueller, We Future Thieves, (Wir Zukunftsdiebe), 1997.
18. Ibid.
19. Ibid.
20. Ibid.
21. Ibid.
22. Ibid.
23. Ibid.
24. Ibid.
25. The inventors of this "sleek line" from the Toyota corporation declared at the end of the seventies: "Respect for human dignity, as Toyota understands it, means eliminating worthless, parasitic persons from its personnel... A continuous standardization is necessary to root out parasitism and redundant work. When work is monotonous and simple, identifying the existence of parasitic and unnecessary persons is easy. In this way, Toyota creates an atmosphere making possible involvement of all the staff in the elimination of parasitic elements. The striving for rationalization is connected with respecting human dignity." T. Shimizu: Economic and Human Aspects of a System of Production Control in the Japanese Auto Industry, in: Rolf Wunderer (ed) Humane Personnel and Organizational Development, 1979.
26. Cf. Wolfgang Naeser: Documentation on the Austerity Package and Social Cuts in Germany;
27. Stern Nr.47, November 14, 1996
28. Neues Deutschland, February 14, 1998.
29. Hans Georg Zilian, Johannes Moser: The Rational Parasite, in: Prokla 77, 1989.
30. "The indignation of the righteous becomes a moral panic just as the witch mania was rooted in the blocked insight in one's own sinfulness. The scapegoat is agreeable to the tribe by representing a mentality found among others without being admitted... Public opinion focuses on the little social parasites. The deviance of the great frauds is interpreted as a product of that entrepreneurial intelligence that supposedly keeps the official economy going. Thus the type of deviant conduct as white-collar criminality becomes a class privilege that must with defended with teeth and claws."
31. Heidi Schueller, We Future Thieves (Wir Zukunftsdiebe).
32. Ibid.
33. Ibid.
34. Ibid.
35. Ibid.
36. Ibid.
37. Ibid.
38. Ibid.
39. Ibid.
40. Ibid.
41. Ibid.
42. Ibid.
43. Shifting persons here and there is a favorite idea of neoliberal `positional races'. Thus the free democrat Mollemann as a former education minister declared in a remarkable 1998 Bundestag address: "Our problem today... is that a deficient mobility that is actually not understandable prevents many possibilities for improving the labor market situation... "
44. Heidi Schueller, We Future Thieves (Wir Zukunftsdiebe).
45. Ibid.
46. Elmar Altvater, Birgit Mahnkopf, Limits of Globalization, 1997.
47. Werner Seppmann, The "Post-Modern" as Reality and Ideology, in: Z. Zeitschrift Marxistische Erneuerung, 1997.
48. Commission for Future Questions, quoted according to Heinz Kallabis, The Person as Entrepreneur of his Labor Power, in: junge Welt, February 6, 1996.
49. Ibid.
50. Ibid.
51. Ibid.

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