Capitalism - renewal or decline? Laurie Taylor explores the future of our market driven economy. He’s joined by David Harvey, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Geography at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and Colin Crouch, Professor Emeritus in Sociology at the University of Warwick. Professor Harvey examines the contradictions at the heart of capitalism arguing that it’s far from being the permanent or only way of organising human life. Professor Crouch, conversely, suggests that only Capitalism can provide us with an efficient and innovative economy but it should be re-shaped to better fit a social democratic society.

Meanings of a building both in landscape and memory-scape can be changed ‘not only by its exterior features or interior functions but also by its way of uniting with the earth’ (Chung 1994: 49). In other words, placing a building as well as designing one is a key element in creating meanings in architectural forms. The intimacy of place and meaning is, in part, derived from the place’s primary role as a ‘container of experience’ and, therefore, its ‘intrinsic memorability’ (Casey 1987: 186). Memory, it is pointed out, ‘does not thrive on the indifferently dispersed’ (Casey 1987: 187). In this sense, the former Japanese Government-General Building (GGB), erected in front of a key palace of the last native royal dynasty, more than any other building evoked for Koreans painful and shameful memories of Japanese colonial rule.

Completed in 1926, the GGB bore witness both to the colonial and postcolonial periods of modern Korean history. In fact, its overall lifespan was more postcolonial than colonial. The colonial administration began the construction of the GGB in 1916 and completed it in 1926. For nearly two decades, until 1945, the building housed offices of the colonial government. However, the building survived for a further five decades of Korea’s turbulent post-liberation history, housing the US military government offices until 1948; providing a home to the government of the Republic of Korea in 1948; and briefly serving as the general headquarters of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea during the Korean War. Following the cessation of hostilities, the building served again as the main government building for the Republic of Korea from 1962 to 1982. It subsequently housed the National Museum of Korea until 1995.

As part of national celebrations of the 50th anniversary of Liberation Day from Japanese colonial rule, the GGB was demolished. This article analyses the reasons why the building survived for half a century after the end of Japanese rule, and the debate during the early 1990s leading to the decision to demolish the building. How was the demolition of the GGB received by the various groups of people in South Korean society? Finally, what does the post-liberation history of the GGB reveal about public images and attitudes towards Japan in South Korea? In exploring these questions, I will first briefly summarize the history of the GGB. I will then analyse the political context for the official decision to demolish the GGB in the early 1990s, reflected in the media, at two levels: reaction from ‘specialists’ of various kinds (architects, city planners, and so forth), and the general public. In the process, I survey and attempt to explain changing attitudes and memories in contemporary Korean society with respect to Japan and the colonial past.


More than a dozen Western guests initially took shelter in the quarters of the U.S. consul general. But in the early hours of the morning while returning to her room, Nygaard saw what looked like sandbags piled in the courtyard. As she wondered what they would be used for, she spotted a flicker of movement and realized with a chill of horror that the sandbags were actually people lying face-down on the ground, their hands secured behind their backs.

"I remember so well, because I was thinking, ‘Oh my God, they’re breaking their arms when they’re doing that,’ " she told me.

Eventually, two trucks pulled up. Nygaard remembers that moment vividly: “They piled bodies into the truck, and we were, like, ‘There’s no way you could survive that.’ Certainly the people on the bottom would have suffocated. They picked them up like sandbags, and they threw them into the back of the truck. They threw them like garbage.”

Five separate witnesses described the same scene, which was also mentioned in a U.S. diplomatic cable. The witnesses estimated they had seen 30 to 100 bodies thrown into the trucks.



Hannah Arendt’s notions of a “banality of evil” and a “blurring” of responsibility between Nazi torturers and victims had become truisms. The phrase “triumph of the human spirit” had become a tagline. Theodor Adorno’s exhaustively quoted 1949 statement “To write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric” had been thoroughly decontextualized and reduced to an edict that a parent might deliver to a child. The Holocaust had been officially commemorated many times over, but the promise to “never forget” was enunciated not in a dialogue but in a grand monologue that was listened to politely, respectfully, and even attentively, but was a monologue nonetheless. The majority of the civilized world had systematically absolved itself of responsibility for its own disaster, “a huge fact lying overturned,” in the words of the writer and historian Todd Gitlin, “square in the middle of the through route to progress.” In short, the Holocaust was something that had mysteriously happened to someone else.


WHAT THEN, would Rochau have made of all this? Going back to his original definition, it appears that much of what masquerades as modern realpolitik has strayed quite far from the original essence of the term.

The first thing to note is that he was an enemy of lazy thinking. He would have been unimpressed with those versions of realism that resemble a knee-jerk reaction that responds to idealism with a roll of the eyes and retreats to its own set of tropes and doctrines.

Realpolitik does “not entail the renunciation of individual judgement and it requires least of all an uncritical kind of submission,” he wrote. It was more “appropriate to think of it as a mere measuring and weighing and calculating of facts that need to be processed politically.” Above all, it was not a strategy itself, but a way of thinking: an “enemy of … self-delusion” and “the misguided pride which characterises the human mind.”

What Rochau was attempting to articulate was not a philosophical position but a new way of understanding politics and the distribution of power. “Experience has shown that treating it along abstract-scientific lines, or on the basis of principles is hardly useful,” he wrote. One had to contend “with the historical product, accepting it as it is, with an eye for its strengths and weaknesses, and to remain otherwise unconcerned with its origins and the reasons for its particular characteristics.”


Scientific management, also called Taylorism, was a theory of management that analyzed and synthesized workflows. Its main objective was improving economic efficiency, especially labor productivity. It was one of the earliest attempts to apply science to the engineering of processes and to management.

Its development began with Frederick Winslow Taylor in the 1880s and 1890s within the manufacturing industries. Its peak of influence came in the 1910s; by the 1920s, it was still influential but had begun an era of competition and syncretism with opposing or complementary ideas.

Although scientific management as a distinct theory or school of thought was obsolete by the 1930s, most of its themes are still important parts of industrial engineering and management today. These include analysis; synthesis; logic; rationality; empiricism; work ethic; efficiency and elimination of waste; standardization of best practices; disdain for tradition preserved merely for its own sake or to protect the social status of particular workers with particular skill sets; the transformation of craft production into mass production; and knowledge transfer between workers and from workers into tools, processes, and documentation.

Scientific management’s application was contingent on a high level of managerial control over employee work practices. This necessitated a higher ratio of managerial workers to laborers than previous management methods. The great difficulty in accurately differentiating any such intelligent, detail-oriented management from mere misguided micromanagement also caused interpersonal friction between workers and managers.


Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the eye. Humans have been attempting to understand the workings and significance of the organ for at least 2500 years. Some ancient philosophers believed that the eye enabled creatures to see by emitting its own light. The function and structures of the eye became an area of particular interest to doctors in the Islamic Golden Age. In Renaissance Europe the work of thinkers including Kepler and Descartes revolutionised thinking about how the organ worked, but it took several hundred years for the eye to be thoroughly understood. Eyes have long attracted more than purely scientific interest, known even today as the ‘windows on the soul’.

Japan will re-examine a landmark apology it made two decades ago to women forced to work in Japanese wartime military brothels, a government spokesman said Friday, in a move that could further outrage South Korea, where many of the women came from.

The spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, the chief cabinet secretary, said a team of scholars would be formed to examine what historical evidence had been used in compiling the apology, known as the Kono Statement. The statement, issued in 1993 by the chief cabinet secretary at the time, Yohei Kono, admitted for the first time that the Imperial military had been at least indirectly involved in coercing women, known euphemistically as comfort women, to provide sex to Japanese soldiers during World War II.

Mr. Suga did not say whether the inquiry could lead to a possible scrapping of the statement, something that would most likely draw an explosive reaction from South Korea, where the women are seen as an emotionally potent symbol of their nation’s brutal early 20th-century colonization by Japan.


From a Marxist perspective, understanding the link between them, or between knowledge and politics, requires a theory of social abstraction. More precisely, the Marxist account of ‘real abstraction’ would provide the key required for the strategic articulation of cognitive abstraction with social abstraction. But if, as Alfred Sohn-Rethel maintained, the latter asymmetrically determines the former then the reassertion of their symmetry will be summarily dismissed as idealist delusion. By the same token, the varieties of representational modeling that, on Srnicek and Williams’ account, are supposed to yield cognitive traction on the abstract dynamics of capital will be disqualified in advance by the claim that such representation is congenitally blind to its own social determination. This demotion of representation follows from the bald claim that capital’s real subsumption of intellectual labour reduces all scientific representation to calculation, aping the abstractions of the value-form. But this in turn invites perplexity as to what exactly distinguishes ‘good’, i.e. cognitively virtuous and politically emancipatory abstraction, from ‘bad’, i.e. cognitively deficient and politically reactionary abstraction. How do the abstract categories of the Marxist dialectic – capital, labour, value-form, commodity, circulation, production, etc. – succeed or fail to map contemporary social reality when deployed in competing (and often politically antagonistic) explanations? What theory is fit to recognise ‘the real movement abolishing the present state of things’ in conditions of real subsumption?

I want to broach this question by contrasting accelerationism’s attempt at tracking the ‘real movement’ with that of Jacques Camatte, whose text The Wandering of Humanity is not only contemporaneous with those of classical accelerationism but shares their central premise – labour’s complete integration into capital – while drawing a radically different conclusion. Capital’s ‘domestication’ of humanity is to be countered not through the Nietzschean overcoming of the ‘all too human’ (the unleashing of desiring-production, etc.) but through the human community’s complete exit from the ‘community of capital’ enforced under real subsumption. Camatte’s analyses in many ways prefigure those of contemporary proponents of communisation. The group Endnotes define communisation as ‘the direct destruction of the self-reproducing relation in which workers as workers – and capital as self-valorising value – are and come to be.’ But as we shall see, Endnotes reject Camatte’s account of the logic of subsumption as well as his claim that human communities can withdraw from capital’s self-reproducing relation. They argue (rightly, in my view) that there can be no exit from the capital relation because it constitutes us: ‘What we are is, at the deepest level, constituted by this relation, and it is a rupture with the reproduction of what we are that will necessarily form the horizon of our struggles.’ Thus there can be no secession from the capital relation, only its abolition. Communisation is the name for this abolition-in-process. This is a lucid and compelling thesis. But it is the exact sense in which we are constituted by the capital relation, as well as the link between the cognitive and practical conditions for its abolition, that I would like to examine below. The rationale for doing so is the following: although radically antagonistic, communisation and accelerationism can be usefully contrasted in such a way that each illuminates the other’s blindspot in the articulation of cognitive and social abstraction.


Anne Frank’s Diary vandalised in Japan libraries - BBC News
More than 100 copies of Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl have been vandalised in public libraries in Japan’s capital Tokyo, officials say.
Pages have been ripped from at least 265 copies of the diary and other related books, they added.
[…]
For many Japanese the book forms the basis of their knowledge about the Jewish holocaust, the BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes in Tokyo reports.
But what might have motivated the attacks remains a mystery. Japan has no history of Jewish settlement and no real history of anti-Semitism, our correspondent adds.
Toshihiro Obayashi, a library official in West Tokyo’s Suginsami area, said: “Each and every book which comes up under the index of Anne Frank has been damaged at our library.”
Anne Frank’s Diary vandalised in Japan libraries - BBC News

More than 100 copies of Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl have been vandalised in public libraries in Japan’s capital Tokyo, officials say.

Pages have been ripped from at least 265 copies of the diary and other related books, they added.

[…]

For many Japanese the book forms the basis of their knowledge about the Jewish holocaust, the BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes in Tokyo reports.

But what might have motivated the attacks remains a mystery. Japan has no history of Jewish settlement and no real history of anti-Semitism, our correspondent adds.

Toshihiro Obayashi, a library official in West Tokyo’s Suginsami area, said: “Each and every book which comes up under the index of Anne Frank has been damaged at our library.”


The name for the movement itself, Euromaidan , is a neologism fusing the prefix euro, a nod to the opposition’s desire to move closer to the EU and away from Russia, with the Ukrainian (and originally Persian and Arabic ) word maidan, or public square. And the term is about more than situating the demonstrations in Kiev’s Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnosti). Ukraine may be located in Europe geographically, but many of the protesters also see Europe as an idea , one that “implies genuine democracy, trustworthy police and sincere respect for human rights.” “Mubarak understood that a true midan is a physical manifestation of democracy.”

The name speaks to an increasingly universal phenomenon as well: the public square as an epicenter of democratic expression and protest, and the lack of one—or the deliberate manipulation of such a space—as a way for autocrats to squash dissent through urban design.

Not all revolutions have been centered in public squares, but many recent ones have, including several in former Soviet states. Georgia’s Rose Revolution in 2003 toppled President Eduard Shevardnadze from Tbilisi’s Freedom Square. Kyrgyz protesters seized Ala-Too Square from police in 2005, then promptly stormed the nearby presidential palace and ousted long-time President Askar Akayev. Ukraine’s Orange Revolution in 2004 took place in the same Independence Square where protesters have now engaged in bloody clashes with government forces, wringing promises from President Viktor Yanukovych for early elections and a return to the 2004 constitution.


On a recent day, Ms. Nez and several other residents stood on a bluff near a cluster of small homes and traditional Navajo hogan dwellings as the wind whipped across a valley that once bustled with mining activity.

The group talked of their grandparents — medicine men who were alive when the mines first opened — and wondered what they would think about Red Water Pond Road today.

“They would say ‘How did this happen? They ruined our land,’ ” Ms. Nez said. “ ‘How come you haven’t prayed to have this all fixed up?’ ”