Homo Economicus and Dethronement of the Profit Principle by Ulrich Thielemann, 2007 and 2010
Max Frisch summarized economism in the formula: “what brings profit is rational.” Economism is a business ethics conception, namely a justification theory for profit maximization. Business ethics is declared superfluous where maximizing the capital value of the business eclipses everything else. Ultimately this is an ethics without morality. The profit principle replaces the moral principle. Instrumentalism amounts to an “ethic” of the right of the stronger.
Where profit maximization reigns illegitimately, we are governed by Humpty Dumpty, “words mean what I say they mean.” Offense is stylized as defense, justice is redefined as “rewarding achievers” and democracy and language become empty. George Orwell warned us of this – when war becomes a domestic necessity to divert us from economic contradiction.
Ulrich Thielemann, formerly professor of economic ethics at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, is director of an economic ethics think tank MeM in Berlin. To read his articles from 2007 and 2010, click on
Profit-Making is Different Than Profit-Maximizing by Ulrich Thielemann
Discussions of jobs and the economy are often marked by trivialization, distortion, unreality and wishful-thinking. The neoliberal model promotes profits, not investments and rationalization and digitalization lead to mass unemployment.
Most created jobs are temporary and precarious. People trust in the myths of the self-healing market, efficient financial markets, dishwashers becoming millionaires and pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. System analysis, market failure and state failure are usually glossed over. All personal achievement depends on state investment in roads, schools, hospitals, airwaves, food safety and water quality.
Ulrich Thielemann, formerly a professor of economic ethics at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, is now director of a think-tank for economic ethics MeM in Berlin. To read several of his recent articles, visit
more at www.kickitover.org, www.alternativetrademandate.org, www.onthecommons.org, www.therealnews.com and www.storyofstuff.com
The future of generalized security is bound up with rethinking economics and removing the cap on social security (now at $118K). If you earn $5 million, you only pay on the first $118K. When this anomaly is removed, social security will be solvent for 75 years and public spirit, trust between the generations, will return. Vancouver Canada with its 26 community centers is an example of public spirit that makes all the difference. The community centers serving as surrogate counseling and classroom possibilities have a cushioning and multiplying effect. Whether employed or unemployed, all people can feel at home in the community centers despite neoliberal ruthlessness and all-pervasive commodification.
The myths of the self-healing market, efficient financial markets, markets returning to equilibrium, speculation as harmless, money out of thin air, people lifting themselves up by their bootstraps and lazy Greeks and lazy unemployed must be abandoned. Lessons from the 2008 financial meltdown include shriveling the financial sector, establishing public banks (like North Dakota) and expanding the public sector. Without the social contract, we become wolves to one another with trust more distant than a star.
Cooperation and competition depend on each other. All personal achievement depends on state investment in roads, schools, hospitals, airwaves, food safety and water quality.
to read the articles by Werner Raza and Heribert Schmitz, click on
“The controversial investment-protection agreement establishes a parallel justice giving se4curity to all investors. The states would be liable for compensation for any lower profits…
States and local governments could not pass any laws or regulations that could have a negative impact on the profits of businesses. Our democracy could become a paper tiger..
Our planet can only survive when we do everything for a sustainable economy in all areas…”
Enjoy this 2013 video! Tax cuts for the rich and social cuts for the poor. Wealth isn’t trickling down; poverty gushes up. The US has been under-investing in housing and the infrastructure. We go to war for profit, wasteful wars that cost us trillions. $300 billion could be gained for real security and 2-4 million jobs created by cutting the military. The corporate share in federal revenue has declined 30\% while lobbying has increased 200\%.
more at www.submedia.tv, www.therealnews.com, www.onthecommons.org, www.foreffectivegov, www.nextnewdeal.net, www.alternativetrademandate.org, and www.worklessparty.org
The Rebirth of the One-Thousandth Society by Austrian economists Matthias Schnetzer and Markus Marterbauer
The richest thousandth (0.1%) increased their share in the total wealth very intensely since the 1980s. Their share – 22% – is as much as the bottom 90%. This is an extent of wealth inequality that the US has not seen since the 1930s. While the millionaires increased their wealth enormously, the mass of the population is exposed to the continuing economic crisis.
The dream time for millionaires experienced a Renaissance at the beginning of the 21st century and was not limited to the year 1910. The disinformation campaigns of owners of capital against a sensible taxation of mammoth assets had the wide support of the media.
Work incomes should be relieved and counter-financed by taxes on mammoth wealth. Introduction of an inheritance- and gift tax is unconditionally necessary for more equal opportunities. A massive reduction of working hours would help in combating unemployment.
Films For Action
This fun animation provides a vision of what a post-consumer society could look like, with people working fewer hours and pursuing re-skilling, homesteading, and small-scale enterprises that can help reduce the overall size and impact of the consumer economy.
Narrated by economist and best-selling author Juliet Schor (http://www.julietschor.org/). Created by the Center for a New American Dream.
Unlike a chair, an idea can be shared by a whole people. Reducing working hours is the only way to full employment and averting the paper chase and resume heaven, the impossible status quo.
The planet gets time off too. Sharing could become social capital as an alternative to barter and sale.
This is a way to claim human scale, restore the public sector and reverse the exploding commodification and inequality.
All personal achievement would have been impossible without state investment in roads, schools, hospitals, airwaves, health and food safety. The Internet, the touch screen and smart phones would not exist without state funds. Steven Jobs and his people only combined several technologies and gave them a cool design. This state share is completely faded out in the conventional narrative of business history.
Government of the people, by the people and for the people is subverted when the state becomes the “errand boy for the banks” (Bill Moyers), when the people are demeaned for “dependence” and/or laziness. More workers paying more taxes, closing tax havens and restoring progressive taxation are the obvious solutions to declining state revenues.
to read the interview with Mariana Mazzucato, a professor in Sussex, Germany, visit
more www.foreffectivegov.org, www.nextnewdeal.net, www.progressive-economics.ca, www.onthecommons.org and www.therealnews.com
re: Public Funds Brought Smart Phones
Jan. 12, 2015 10:39 am
Why sweat the potholes when you can take your corporate jet?
Why worry about public schools when you are using private schools?
Why fret about the health care system when you belong to a concierge doctor system.
Why deal with rising sea levels when you can visit any vacation property you choose in the world?
As Mitt the Twit would probably put it, the middle class is for suckers and taxes are for losers!
– See more at: http://www.thomhartmann.com/forum/2015/01/public-funds-brought-smart-phones#sthash.gGKyFL4P.dpuf
to read the free 408 page Internet book by Kalle Lasn, Adbusters, click on
Manfred Max-Neef is at pp.88-93.
Kick It Over
CLIMATE CHAOS. ESCALATING INEQUALITY. FINANCIAL VOLATILITY.
Multiplying real-world disasters sprung from the fantasy world of neoclassical economics — a faith-based religion of perfect markets, enlightened consumers and infinite growth that shapes the fates of billions. To rescue humanity from the mainstream’s march of doom, we need to kick over the orthodox shibboleths and build up a radically pluralist economics for the 21st century.
Before economics can progress, it must abandon its suicidal formalism.
— Robert Heilbroner
Theory development is also a war over dominance – at the universities, in the media and in politics. The goals of Hayek’s war were expulsion of the Keynesians, liberalization of the financial markets, abandonment of full employment policy, dismantling the social state and weakening unions. His British rival John Maynard Keynes attacked the austerity policy and wage cuts.
Stephan Schulmeister urges a new navigation chart with guidelines oriented in Roosevelt’s New Deal and rejection of turbo speculation by introducing a general financial transactions tax. Economics is pluralist and not monolithic.
to read “How Economists Change the World” published on August 25, 2014, click on