Ernst Bloch

As in the previous chapters we have no intention to relate the life of Bloch. Who is interested in this kind of information can find them, obviously, at wikipedia: Ernst Bloch.

(Although the article is a little bit weak. There is very little about the actual philosophical system and a lot of clichés, for instance the assignation of Bloch to "western marxism". We will see that Bloch is the exact opposite of marxism, at least concerning the philosophical aspects. Concerning marxism as an economic system, he didn't care.)

In a certain sense Ernst Bloch belongs to the Frankfurt School, but the focus is different. If we simplify a lot, for a more detailed discussion see Adorno, we can say that the Frankfurt School turns around the non identical, the thinking of Ernst Bloch about the utopian surplus. The terms are not really opposed, but the perspective is different.

The term non identical is difficult to grasp and has different facets. Some people may induced to believe that the non indentical is a synomym for spontaneity, authenticity, for "what people really feel". However authenticity itself is part of the administered world, spontaneity is the result of the ensemble of the social relationships. The non identical has more to do with work, the opposite of spontaneity, than with spontaneous understanding. If an artist puts a lot of work, or in other words if by his special subjectivity he had a special perspective on society, in his art, work is needed to "decipher" this work. To grasp the non identical is a dynamic process.

The utopian surplus is similar, but not equal, or in other words, the focus is different. There is a lot of utopian surplus in many different areas, music, novels, philosophical systems, interrupted social tendencies, architecture, techonological advances etc.., but the administered world obscures the utopian surplus. People stick to the status quo, but not to what can be. 'The Principle of Hope' is an encyclopedia of utopian surplus. There is no guarantee for achievement, but there is enough utopian surplus to prove that total failure is only on option, despite the fact that human history, at least until the end of world war II, suggests that total failure is more probable than achievement.

This may seem trivial or vague, but it is not. US americans, and many other peoples, for instance 'trust in God'. Why they don't trust in human beings? The catholic church believes that human dignity can only be deduced in relationship to God. This author would say, that for human beings any enrichement of their lives derives from human beings. Perhaps not from the disturbing neighbour, but from culture created by human beings.

Furthermore it is generally assumed that human beings are determined by their individual or collective experiences of the past. This author would say, that from a purely practical point of view, individuals and peoples are determined by their vision of the future. They are, what they want to be, and not what they have been.

The construction of the European Union is in part a lesson of the past, but most of all it is a new IDEA. This new IDEA led to very concrete consequences, for instance to the introduction of the Euro in 2002. Europe is what Europe WANTS to be, not what it has been. To give an example.

Public debate after world war II was dominated by two lines of thinking. At the one hand people like Adorno, Bloch, Horkheimer, Markuse, Lukács, etc.. that are considered 'leftist', whatever this term means. None of these people where economists. Their approach is more sociological, philosophical, psychological.

At the other hand we have lines of thinking like the Austrian School, Neoliberalism, critical rationalism, ordoliberalism, social market economy. These lines of thinking, as far as economic issues in the narrow sense of the term are concerned, are based on the concepts of the classic / neoclassical economic thinking. Concerning economics it is all about efficiency and it is believed that market economies are the most efficient economic order. This is questioned by Keynes, see Keynes, but that is not the point, we are interested here. We have already discussed that. In this chapter we are interested in the philosophical and sociological approach.

The 'utopian surplus' of all this lines of thinking is freedom. The market economy is not only the most efficient economic system, but will protects us as well against totalitarism, collectivism and any other kind of governmental interference in our freedom of choice. Not only in the economic area, but in the private area as well.

There is no, apart from the positivism debate, direct debate between these two lines of thinking. They silently ignored each other. If they met each other casualy, they complained about the style of writing.

Während des Philosophenkongresses in Wien (1968) wurde ich zu zwei Fernsehdiskussionen unter Philosophen eingeladen, und bei einer fand ich zu meiner Überraschung auch Bloch vor. Es kam zu einigen unbedeutenden Zusammenstößen. (Ich sagte, wahrheitsgemäß, daß ich zu dumm bin, um seine Ausdrucksweise zu verstehen.) Am Schluß der Diskussion bat uns der Gesprächsleiter, Dr. Wolf gang Kraus: „Bitte sagen Sie in einem Satz, was Ihrer Meinung nach am meisten not tut.“ Ich war der einzige, der kurz antwortete. Meine Antwort war: „Etwas mehr intellektuelle Bescheidenheit.“

Ich bin ein Antimarxist und ein Liberaler. Aber ich gebe zu, daß Marx und auch Lenin einfach und direkt schrieben. Was die zum Schwulst der Neodialektiker gesagt hätten? Sie hätten härtere Worte als „Schwulst“ gefunden.

Meine These, daß wir nichts wissen, ist ernst gemeint. Es ist wichtig, unsere Unwissenheit nie zu vergessen. Wir dürfen daher nie vorgeben, zu wissen, und wir dürfen nie große Worte gebrauchen.

Was ich die Sünde gegen den heiligen Geist genannt habe – die Anmaßung des dreiviertel Gebildeten –, das ist das Phrasendreschen, das Vorgeben einer Weisheit, die wir nicht besitzen. Das Kochrezept ist: Tautologien und Trivialitäten gewürzt mit paradoxem Unsinn. Ein anderes Kochrezept ist: Schreibe schwer verständlichen Schwulst und füge von Zeit zu Zeit Trivialitäten hinzu. Das schmeckt dem Leser, der geschmeichelt ist, in einem so „tiefen“ Buch Gedanken zu finden, die er schon selbst einmal gedacht hat.

Ein Plädoyer für intellektuelle Redlichkeit, von Karl R. Popper

During a congress about philosophy in Vienna (1968) I was invited to two discussions on tv and in one one of them participated as well to my surprise Bloch. There were some irrelevant collisions. (I said, in general sense, that I am too stupid to understand his way to express himself.) At the end of the discussion the moderator Dr. Wolfgang Kraus asked us to summarize in one sentence what should be done. I was the only one who answered in one sentence. My answer was: "More intellectuel modesty is needed."

I am antimarxist and liberal, but I admit that Marx and Lenin wrote in a direct and straigthforward way. What would they had say concerning the floridity of the neodialectics? They would had used stronger words than "floridity".

My thesis that we know nothing is meant seriously. It is crucial to never forget our ignorance. We should therefore never pretend to know something and use pathetic words.

What I called the sin against the holy spirit - the conceit of the three-quarter educated - are the platitudes, the pretension of a wisdom that we don't possess. The cooking receipt is: Tautologies and trivialities spiced with paradoxical nonesense. Another cooking receipt is: Write difficult to understand floridity and add sometimes some trivialities. That what the reader likes and it flatters him to find in such a book thoughts he had already had himself.

First of all, this author doubts that Marx had a direct and straightforward style of writing. The style of writing of Karl Marx it the worst style this author had ever read and most of all full of weird described trivialities and in case that it is not trivial it is nonsense, see Karl Marx.

We can deduce from this statement that Popper had never read Bloch, because Bloch agrees completely with the basic positions of Popper, although implicetly and not explicetely.

One issue Popper is fond of is historicism. He refutes completely all the theories that assumes that the historical process is driven forward by laws, being the origin of these laws 'spiritual' (Hegel), economic (Marx), cultural (for instance Oswald Spengler) or whatever. If he only had read Ernst Bloch. The refutation of historicism is even more severe in the philosophy of Ernst Bloch.

The NO of Ernst Bloch, see The Principle of Hope, is a total refutation of historicism and especially of Hegel, for Popper an example of blustering philosophers. We will see later on that the philosophical system of Ernst Bloch is a complete refutation of the hegelian System. He agrees concerning this point completely with Popper.

He agrees equally concerning Karl Marx. For Karl Marx it is the 'capital' that drives history and the accumulation of capital is kind of 'law', similar to a natural law. Decision of human beings don't have any influence on the course of history. In the philosophy of Ernst Bloch the course of history is determined by human decision making and the affects that lead to certain decisions. Concerning this point as well there is little difference between Bloch and Popper.

Popper refuses any kind of concrete utopia, see 'The open society and its ennemies'. The idea is simple. If someone has a concrete idea about the perfect economic and social order, he feel no need to abide his concepts by a democratic election. May be that Popper was induced to believe that Bloch has a concrete concept about an ideal order, some titles, for instance "The spirit of utopia" suggest that, but actually there is no concrete utopia in the philosophy of Bloch. Bloch only says, that there is enough utopian surplus, that can push the world forward.

The Popper statement that we always have to be aware of our ignorance is not very helpful, because it means that people have no vision at all about the future and people without any idea what happyness can possibly be, can be manipulated more easily than people who has a clear idea of happiness. People who has nothing to lose but their miserable life are easy to manipulate.

To put it in more abstract way. The horizon of the Popper open society is empty or inexistent. The open society of Popper is a closed society. That is actually the difference between Popper and Bloch. Concerning the rest they agree completely.

Concerning the other prominent economists after world war II, Hayek, Eucken, Friedman etc. and the lines of thinking that can be assigned to the Frankfurt School reigns a complete mutual ignorance. One could have the impression that they lived in different times on different planets.

It is indeed true that compared to Hayek, Friedman and Popper the texts of Bloch or Adorno are difficult, however Popper didn't got the message, if he qualifies them as floridity. The point is that the first ones use a lot of terms that are actually meaningless, deprived from any personal experience and their limited training, doesn't allow him to give them any meaning.

Hayek for instance uses almost on any second page the term 'collectivism', without really defining it. (If he just means socialism or national-socialism, there is no need for this term.) The term collectivism can only have a meaning in comparison to the opposite, individualism. However this opposite doesn't exist. Everybody is determinded by its circumstances and changes this circumstances. Collectivism and individualism constitutes themselves in a dynamic process. People who are very well acquainted with the respective literature, people like Adorno or Bloch, don't use these terms, they avoid to confirm stereotypes and are therefore more difficult to understand.

Another term very often used by Hayek and company is the term freedom and this terms remains equally undefined and the term is questioned by the Frankfurt School, at least in a broader sense, beyond economic freedom.

Freedom means that there is an utopian surplus. People has to be aware that there are ways of life that they are better suited for them. The Frankfurt School and all the authores that are assigned to this lines of thinking assumes that market economies tend to restrict the utopian surplus, see The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception, Bloch assumes, that this utopian surplus must be learned.

Hayek assumes that people are free, but he doesn't explain us what people can concretly do with this freedom. (We will not discuss the problem here from an economic point of view. If the distribution of income is very unequal, there is no freedom. Workers are not free in a world like it is depicted by David Ricardo. We have already discussed the problem from this perspective, see Hayek.)

Actually a market economy is not free and it is not the idea of a market economy to guarentee freedom. Market economies are about efficiency, in other words to produce as efficient as possible and to adapt oneself to the needs of the market. The only existing freedom is to produce something inefficiently or to refuse to adapt oneself to the requirements of the market and disappear from the market.

This can even be considered as the positive aspect of a market economy. Public employees have more freedom. They are not controlled by the very strict market mechanisms and have therefore the right to follow their own interests at the charge of the public.

In the neoclassical theory, and Hayek and similar lines of thinking are based on the neoclassical theory, this is even kind of a law. 'Capital' and 'labour' adapt themselve automatically to the signals of the prices. There is no freedom in the neoclassical theory, if we understand by freedom a conscious decision making.

Hayek and Friedman mixes in a strange way things that have nothing to do with each other. We can't say at the one hand that market economies have disciplining effect and at the same time that it is guarantor of freedom. There is no doubt that people are more free if they have to work only 8 hours, or even less, to make a living instead of working 16 hours as at the beginning of last century or the beginning of the industrial revolution, but that is not due to the market economy, but to the fact that the market economy is more efficient.

Efficiency leads to freedom, not the market economy itself.

If in a socialist country people had to work only 4 hours, they would be more free. Unfortunately that is not the case. Socialism leads to heavy, big and inefficient bureaucracies. In those country people spend a lot of time doing useless things.

Hayek and Friedman emphasizes on the term freedom because they want to distract from the problems of a market economy, but their argumentation question, in contrary to their intentions, the core of a market economy. In their point of view the market economy would even be the preferable economic order, if it were less efficient, provided that freedom is guaranteed.

By emphasizing on freedom they divert from the economic problems of the market economy. In the case of Hayek we can assume that this is due to his problems with Keynes. No need to enter in a more detailed economic discussion, if Keynes is kind of a 'socialist', a road to serfdom. In this case keynesiamism would be bad even if correct from an economic point of view, because it restricts freedom.

However that is not our problem right now, we have discussed these topics already in the previous chapter. In the context of discussion about Bloch the main problem is another one. The term 'freedom' is meaningless, until it is not specified.

The definition of Hayek / Friedman, that freedom means freedom from coercion, means nothing. The market economy exerts coercion. That is the positive aspect of a market economy, because it leads to higher efficiency. There is no 'free cooperation' in a market economy as Milton Friedman assumes. Cooperation exists, if the market mechanisms impose this cooperation.

Freedom depends on the amount of subjectivly and objectivly existing alternatives. That means that people can imagine that things can be different, but it can be questioned if this ability really exists just like that. There are a lot of beliefs, way of lifes, moral values etc. which we consider completely absurd nowadays, but had been stable during centuries. We can therefore assume that "dreaming" of a better or different world is not the strength of human beings.

That is the intention of the philosophy of Bloch. To strengthen the utopian thinking. That shouldn't be confused with a concrete utopia, that's the error of Karl Popper. In other words, what is only hypostasised in the work of Popper, the open society, or in the work of Hayek and Friedman, if we consider 'freedom' as kind of an utopian surplus, is concretised in the work of Ernst Bloch.

The term freedom implicitely refers to an utopian surplus. Freedom is only a meaningful term, if there is something people wanted to do. Thats obvious. However Hayek and Friedman don't explain us, what this utopian surplus is about.

That explains why Hayek defines freedom as free from arbitrary coercion, in other words if its freedom is only restricted by general valid laws. He explicitely makes a distinction between interior freedom, subjective awarenes of alternatives, and his definition of freedom.

Following the definition of Hayek a polar bear in the Antarctic is therefore free. No coercion nowhere. Afterwards he tells us, that we need liberty in order to find out what we possibly need and want, but that doesn't change the fact, that freedom is defined only negatively as the opposite to coercion.

An utopian surplus has to be defined positively, must have a content or at least a direction. The term freedom is empty in the work of Hayek. Free of coercion is a necessary condition for freedom, but not a sufficient condition.

It is true that Popper, Hayek, Friedman etc. are easier to understand than Adorno, Bloch etc. as long as the reader doesn't think about what the terms they use can possibly mean. If he tries to figure out the meaning, he will realise that Popper, Hayek and Friedman are actually incomprehensible, because the terms used are meaningless.

'The Principle of Hope' is most of all an encyclopedia of utopian surplus, the anticipation of a better world. That doesn't mean that a total failure or the NOTHING as Bloch calls it, is not possible, see The Principle of Hope. It only means that all kind of religions, philosophical systems, attitudes, 'feelings', economic lines of thinking that considers the world as a big vale of tears are no proof that it is impossible.

Hope is a principle, because human beings are damned to hope and there is enough utopian surplus to make total achievement, what Bloch calls ALL, possible.

Popper refuted historicism because we can't know what we will know tomorrow. In other words, something that can seem an unresolvable problem today, can be resolvable tomorrow and assumed incompatible goals, can be compatible tomorrow. It is for instance assumed, that a more equal distribution of income and fortune has a negative impact on economic growth. That's the classic theory. In the keynesian theory a more equal distribution of income leads to an increase of economic growth, at least in some economic situations.

This position is completely shared by Bloch as well, although he explained it in a different way. There is already an utopian surplus in the world, in daydreams, art, technical progress, social mouvements, philosophical systems, religions, etc. etc.. but once realised, they will change the conditions, subjectively and objectively, and therefore create new utopian surplus. That is what Bloch calls the NOT YET, see The principle of hope.

That's why Bloch rejects Hegel, in total agreement with Popper. The difference between Bloch and Popper is the perspective. Popper is more interested in the question whether a theory can be tested against reality and how it should be tested against reality. He is more interested in epistemology. Bloch is more interested in the question whether or not an utopian surplus can become reality. Concerning 'hunger' in the broadest possible meaning of the word, see The principle of hope, it is irrelevant whether it can be tested against reality or not. The question is whether or not it will satisfy 'the hunger'. There is very little to test against reality, if there is no utopian surplus. Popper puts the question the wrong way. The question whether something can be tested against reality or is formulated in a falsifiable way is irrelevant if there is nothing that can be tested against reality.

To put the problem in a more concrete way and illustrating it with a similar problem: It is useless to discuss about the optimal marketing strategy, although we have thousand of books about marketing, if there is no concrete product.

It is actually true that all the authors that are related more or less to the Frankfurt School uses the hegelian terminology, although the hegelian system is completely rejected. (For different reasons.) This makes comprehension difficult.

A short interpretation of the following paragraph in simple words: Hegel assumes that all expressions of the 'spirit of the world' already existed at the beginning of history. (Kind of a baby, whose individuality is going to developp during his lifetime.) However these "qualities", the ensemble of possible expressions, are unaware of themselves at the beginning. (Like a baby, who doesn't know at the beginning who he is.) In the course of history these 'qualities' will materialise in a concrete historic situation and are therefore 'true'. (That's what Popper blamed, in the philosophy of Hegel everything is true, because it is an expression of the spirit of world.) Once expressed the 'spirit of the world' will recognize himself and we reach a state of suspension in the three different meaning of the word.

[Actually here is a serious translation problem. 'Aufheben' in german has three different meanings and Hegel means all three at the same time. 'Aufheben' can mean to abolish something. In this concrete context, preventing it from happening again. 'Aufheben' can mean as well to store. In this concrete context to store an expression of the 'spirit of the world'. And last not least it can mean to sublimate. In this context to consider it as an expression of 'spirit of the world'. This author has no clue how the term is translated to english, perhaps 'to suspend' goes in the right direction. If that means nothing to someone, one should consider that we only understand the world, if we are aware what humanity has been in the course of history and that there is a need to experience that in a contemplative way, for instance in a theater. If there were no need, people wouldn't go there.]

In the hegelian philosophy there is therefore only one difference between the beginning and the end of history. At the beginning of history the 'spirit of the world' is not aware of his 'qualities' and at the end he is aware of 'his qualities', but there is nothing new. The philosophy of Bloch is diametrically opposed to that. What can be is a process, on the subjective level and on the objective level. This is a complete refutation of any kind of historicism.

The hegelian philosophy sounds a little bit crazy and esoteric and most of all we have no dialectic in the sense that the subject changes the object. The dialectic process only happens inside the 'spirit of the world'. Human beings are just an instrument allowing the 'spirit of the world' to express itself. However if we want to be a little bit sardonic, we have the same problem in the neoclassical economic theory. 'Capital' moves alone to its most profitable use, we have no entrepreneur in this line of thinking. In any textbook about microeconomics the productive factors move alone driven by prices to their most profitable use. Human beings are just instruments. Prices are the effect of an utopian surplus, someonen want to improve something, but unfortunately nobody tells us, where this utopian surplus comes from. If we talk therefore about 'disregarding of human beings', as Popper does in his writing about Hegel, we need a broader discussion, see also methodological approach.

Economics is about efficiency, whatever is the goal. However to realise the wrong goals efficiently is much more inefficient than realising the right goals unefficiently. Rationality would suggest that first we have to think about the utopian surplus and than about the most efficient way to make dreams come true.

Be that as it may, we have weird paragraphs in The principle of Hope.

Gewiß, Hegel sah in dem Fürsichsein der Idee, das sein Ultimatum ist und worin der Prozeß wie in einem Amen aushallt, das Primum des Ansichseins der Idee nicht nur reproduziert, sondern erfüllt: die "vermittelte Unmittelbarkeit" ist im Fürsichsein erreicht, statt der unvermittelten im Anfang des bloßen Ansichseins. Aber dieses Resultat blieb, wie in jeder einzelnen Gestaltepoche des Weltprozesses, so auch in seiner Gesamtheit, hier dennoch ein zyklisches; es ist der vom Novum gänzlich freie Kreislauf der Restitution in integrum [Bloch zitiert Hegel]: "Jeder der Teile der Philosophie ist ein philosophisches Ganzes, ein in sich selbst schließender Kreis,... das Ganze stellt sich als ein Kreis von Kreisen dar."

Ernst Bloch, Das Prinzip Hoffnung, Band I, page 234
Certainly Hegel considered the 'being for itself' of the idea as the 'ultimate' where the process expires in an amen. 'Being in itself', the beginning, is therefore the reproduction and achievement of the beginning 'being for itself'. The 'mediated unmediated' is achieved in the being for itself and not in the unmediated of the beginning being in itself. But this result at any state of the process of world as well as in its totality is only cyclical. It is cylce entirely deprived of any kind of novum, a restitution in integrum: [Now Bloch quotes Hegel.] "Every part of philosophy is a philosophical total on its own, .. the total is a cyrcle of cyrcles."

Beside the positivism debate there is no debate between the authors that belonged in a broader sense to the Frankfurt School and the authors that belonged to Mont Pélerin Society. They ignored each other silently.

Concerning the austrians like Hayek there was really no discussion possible. A discussion between an intellectual like Adorno with a deep knowledge in a lot of fields and a more simple minded person like Hayek is actually not possible. There is no discussion as well, although the opposite is affirmed in a lot of youtube videos, for instance Fear the Boom and Bust a Hayek vs. Keynes Rap Anthem, between a figure like Keynes, a prominent intellectual, and people like Hayek about economic issues.

Popper expressed himself some very few times about the Frankfurt School. He reproached it and the authors that belonged to this school their style of writing. We can say that this style hampered him to understand them, because in most issues, apart from epistemology, there is no difference. The Frankfurt School and the authors that in a narrow or broader sense belonged to this school are against historicism, focus on the individuum, are antiauthoritarian and in favour of an 'open society', because the utopian surplus only exists in an open society.

Both of them were not really interested in economic issues. The last ones, because they assumed that in highly industrialised country efficiency is not the main problem, although it is the main issue in economics. Any textbook about economics starts by telling that economics is about the rational use of resources and thinks like that. Some people would say that if the expenditure used for the military, more than 1400 billions each year, would be used to resolve the problems of the world, all the problems that lead to military conflicts could be resolved between breakfast and dinner. It can be doubted is efficiency is really the main problem of humanity, although economics deals with nothing but that.

We can therefore see that sometimes communication is impossible, because the personal background and the "style" is different, although the statements are more or less the same.

[Beside the fact hat Popper suffers from the same problem as his colleagues from the Mont Pélerin Society. He uses terms, collectivism, totalitarism, liberty etc. he never really defines precisely. He blamed Bloch and other authors for their imprecise style, although he should blame first himself.]

We assume that Popper don't like the 'enthusiastic' style of Bloch. However without enthousiasm nothing happens. An entrepreneur must not have necessarily a good knowledge of accounting, but if he has no enthousiasm for what he is doing, it is better for him to work as an employee. To illustrate the problem with an example taken from the very real business world.

Popper distrusts the utopian surplus. That's what the book 'The open society and its enemies' is about. His problem is not a lack of visions, but a too much of visions. That is actually the big question. Is there to much of anti-utopian mentality in the world or too much of utopian mentality. Popper takes three examples, Platon, Hegel and Marx and tries to convince us that there is too much of utopian mentality. We have already explained that this is a problematic approach, see 'The open society and its enemies'.

Beside the problems already described, there are other problems with this theory. We can as well say that it is the anti-utopian thinking that leads to catastrophy. A thinking that assumes that some conflicts between 'races', nations, etnical groups, religions, classes etc. leads inevitably to a crises and that this crises can only be resolved with military means and oppression; this kind of thinking considers anything else naive and unrealistic.

We have no intention to discuss again about totalitarism. We have done that in previous chapters, see for intance a variation of a totalitarism theory. The content of an ideology can't explain the emergence of totalitarian regimes and from a historical point of view totalitarian regimes are nothing new. We always had in history regimes that tried to control any spheres of social and economic life.

However it is hard to see why Popper assumes that totalitarian regimes suffers from an utopian surplus and that the utopian surplus is the problem. This author would say that they suffer from a complete lack of utopian surplus. These kind of regimes assume that some things are stable, that a certain 'race', ethnical group, class, nations etc. have certain characteristics and that these characteristics lead invevitably to a conflict (or allows the oppression of this groups). The belief in stable characteristics or in stable economic / technical relationships that can't be modified and won't change is anti-utopian by definition. An utopia assumes always that a change is possible, that's obvious.

Therefore this author would say that anti-utopian thinking is much more typical and a much greater risk than the utopian surplus.

The assumption of stable relationships leads to a reduction of possible alternatives and therefore to a narrowing of the horizon. This is obvious as well. History the way it is taught nowadays is not effective. It is assumed, that we can 'learn' something from history and that a stable relation in history is going to be stable in the future as well and that the future is therefore predictible. We should learn, that nothing is stable. History shows us, that nothing is stable.

As long as subjective affects are involved, 'hunger' in the broadest sense of word, people have an utopian surplus, nobody can live without that. Everybody believes that he can improve his personal situation, but less people believe that the general circumstances can change.

Bloch wrote an encyclopedia of utopian surplus. That can give us an idea what can be achieved. If someone has time, he can write as well an encyclopedia about anti-utopian thinking. He will get a book much thicker than 'The Principle of Hope'. We have anti-utopian thinking everywhere. There is no need to warn us against utopian thinking as Popper does. But hope is something that must be learned.

Perhaps an encyclopedia about anti-utopian thinking would be more useful than an encyclopedia about utopian surplus. People stick to cientific proofs and it is easier to prove that assumed stabilities has turned out to be complete nonsense, than to prove that the utopian surplus works. If people learn how much nonsense was taken for sure in history, they will be more inclined that the rest of assumed stable relationships are very unstable as well.

We don't know why people so often are lured by rat - catchers, it can be assumed that there is no unique explication that can explain national, religious, racist etc. mouvements, but it is sure that the option offered by these mouvements seems more attractive to these people than any alternative they can imagine. The problem is therefore that these people can't imagine themselves alternatives.

Popper assumes that totalitarian systems like socialism or national-socialism are the result of an utopian thinking. However these ideologies requires that the individum relinquish personal happiness in favour of the collective. From an individual point of view these lines of thinking are radically anti-utopian, the exact opposite of an utopia. It can be assumed that the more people have no concrete vision how they can become happy themselves, the more they are induced to 'die for people and fatherland' or strange things like that. Kind of a suicide triggered by desesperation.

Bloch is not about abstract utopias. Bloch is about 'hunger'. Any utopia starts with the subject and his concrete 'hunger' in the broadest meaning of the word. It is much more difficult to manipulate happy people than unhappy people. Unhappy people are satisfied with almost anything. To happy people one must offer something better.

Popper mixed up two things that has nothing to do with each other. His first topic is central planning. This is a purely economic issue and we have already discussed this topic very often in the previous chapters, see for instance homo oeconomicus. In order to be efficient, the central planning commission has to have the same amount of information as the single individual entities. This is impossible.

However Popper mixed the problem of central planning with utopian surplus and assumes that utopia always leads to central planning. Some utopias perhaps would lead to central planning, but the utopias he mentioned, are more anti-utopias.

If Popper had only said that decentral information processing is better than central planning, his thesis would have been as trivial as well known. We find that already in Wealth of Nations of Adam Smith, see for instance natural price / market price.

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The principle of hope

In opposite to what is generally believed and said, Bloch is not a 'marxist' philosopher. Fundamental marxist assumptions are refuted.

- no historicism
- no concrete utopia
- focusing on the subject   and not on the collective
- the marxist assumptions   about the economy are   disregarded

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