Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

Introduction by Hatto Fischer

Right at the beginning when still developing the concept for the Fifth Seminar, Kris Rogiers, Adjunct-Cabinets chef of the 'Kabinet van de Minister-President van de Vlaamse Regering' spoke about the need for 'cultural actions' in conjunction with a 'culture driven economy'. Another term of reference for this would be an economy 'anchored' in culture. Here becomes evident an unease with past economic thinking which does not take into account specific, that is interests in culture.

Already at the Fourth Seminar held in Brugge under the auspices of the 'College of Europe', that interest was reflected in the evaluation of European integration efforts. Over and again many of the speakers emphasized that the 'cultural diversity' of Europe must not be lost in the process. A single market which would destroy cultural identities in its wake of unification was not considered to be desirable. Rather ways and means to enrich societies and to make the European economies competitive at a world level, stood in the forefront of interest. Thus, the theoretical question was how to gauge "the influence of the cultural dimension on the economy and the business world" (Leonce Bekemans, "Introduction", in Culture: Building Stone for Europe 2002, ed. Bekemans, Brussels, 1994, p. 17). This question follows directly the concern as to what actions the European Community may undertake since Maastricht, so as to encourage a working together, while ensuring that the cultural identities of Europe are respected and maintained (see here the paper given by Prof. Senelle at the Brugge seminar, op.cit., p. 55- 61). The Fourth Seminar ended with a note that "culture in its unity and diversity as an expression of experiences coloured by human values is a cross-border building stone for the Europe of the future" (op.cit., p.18).

In this context, Kris Rogiers advised to consult Prof. Matusza, who in turn recommended Dr. Klostermeier at the Staatsministerium Baden-Wuerttemberg, due to their contributions to the economic report called "Ausbruch aus der Krise" (Breaking out of the crisis) by the Zukunftskommission Wirtschaft 2000 (Address: Richard Wagner Str. 15 / 70 184 Stuttgart, Tel 0049 - 711 - 2153229, FAX 2153225). This report focuses on options available to a particular region like Baden Wuerttemberg (see here also the evaluation of that region by Phil Cooke, Workshop 2: Regional / Urban Planning and the Cultural Factor) and outlines possible paths of development into the future.

Similar studies have been made, or else discussions began in Germany around such concepts which can contribute towards defining the 'New Prosperity Model', including how to regain economic orientation through new educational measures. Some answers to that challenge are reflected already in workshop 4 of the Fifth Seminar. However, in this workshop 5 dealing with the linkage between economics and culture, the political reference must be made more explicit, in order to grasp the forms of argumentation as they have been developed in due course of these series of seminars having to do with the 'Europe of Cultures'. Even generally speaking, the diversification of workshops (10 rather than 3 as the case in Brugge) must be understood along those lines. It marks a conceptual response to the initiative by the Flemish government and extends the theoretical framework as outlined in Brugge towards 'cultural actions'.

The political reference is useful for examining the correlation between culturally defined regions and viable economic units. For sometimes regions, cultural entities and state units coincide in the perception of such desirable building stones by the Flemish government, as in the case of Greece; in other cases, such as Wales, Scotland, Catalonia, Bavaria, etc. an interplay between regional and cultural factors takes place outside clear or similar political (i.e. federal) structures. The latter regions make the question of the European integration into something to be anticipated as possible changes. For the existence of culturally defined, equally economical viable regions would mean moving away in some cases from nation states as members of the union and towards an internal restructuring along such regional lines. Politically speaking, the question of regionalization has become indeed a crucial test for how much diversity can be enhanced by the integration process without thereby coming itself to a halt.

At the Fourth Seminar in Brugge, 'cultural diversity' was referred to as a 'trump card' in terms of resources available for European regional economies. There was the workshop 'economy and culture' (see here evaluation report by Anna Arvanitaki, chairperson for workshop 2 "Regional/Urban Planning and Culture" at the Fifth Seminar) and which is continued partially in this workshop "culture driven economy". Gilbert Lenssen who had spoken in Brugge about the need to anticipate a future of 'uncertainty' and the importance of a new management style, in order to deal with the problems to be faced in the next twenty years or more, has been asked to chair this workshop. As former student of Prof. Baeck and now sales manager of BP oil in Hamburg and Brussels, he has been innovative in the training of BP managers, by including culture and the learning from artists. In his paper given at the Brugge seminar, he stated that "culture at its most fundamental level is about paradigms, basic assumptions about reality." A change affecting these paradigms will effectively change outlook and organisational logics. It can be considered to be either a revolution in value orientation or in its mildest form, at least a reconsideration.

According to Mr. William Adam, but also to other participants of this workshop, this is linked to the desire to find a unique brand of European management culture, independent of the American or Japanese schools of thoughts. It has to be kept in mind, that this wish for a new enterprise and management culture reflects itself a European emancipatory process from especially American influence. Modern business practices have come or else had to realize that traditional methods no longer suffice, especially in this field of high tech, sophisticated infrastructures for financing and communication, and economic challenges redefined constantly by new data and knowledge transfers unknown until now. In short, management itself has to enter more consciously the process of cultural adaptation if the answers to these ongoing changes, creating chances as much as instabilities, are to be adequate for future generations. That then links up to the discussion around 'sustainability', a term which has appeared in the context of ecological crisis and political emphasis being given to regions as desirable building stones for a Europe of the future. Mr. Lenssen has asked specifically for this reason Prof. Franz Moser from Graz, Austria to join this particular workshop and contribute with his knowledge about 'IOS' (Islands of Sustainability).

Both the effort to structure discussions and to plan 'cultural actions' in the economic sphere was done in consideration of what had been discussed already in Brugge and what needs to be made more concrete in Athens. In securing the linkage and the continuity of intellectual work done in these series of seminars, it was only natural that Prof. Bekemans was asked to join this workshop. Not only did he organize the Fourth Seminar, but also his valuable advice and willingness to support this ongoing effort has ensured that leading experts in specific fields were asked to participate in both the Fourth and the Fifth Seminar. In his introductory speech, the main focus was upon 'cultural paradigms' shaped and being shaped as a result of European integration efforts. That reflects specifically further-going interests in ascertaining valuable linkages between European economies and societies.

The overall theoretical structure needed to link the various workshops of the Fifth Seminar was not possible in such a short span of time between end of November 1993, when the Fourth Seminar took place, and the Fifth one held in Athens at the beginning of June. Still, all these efforts reflect among other things the broad consensus that the overall question of culture has to be made more applicable to the sphere of economic activities. Recommendations for 'cultural actions' can only be made in the form of policy advice to the European Commission once such concerns, but also policy possibilities, for instance, of the Government of the Flemish Community in Belgium have been taken into further consideration. The really interesting element is when intellectual thought turns out to be highly practical, provided 'cultural actions' are proposed within the cultural context of conscious understanding. In the opinion of Gilbert Lenssen, this is needed to avoid pure activism. It has equally to do with becoming aware of the complexity involved the moment 'cultural diversity' as a cultural factor in European life is approached justly and wisely, that is, by methods and forms of dialogues rather than just speeches, in order to take into consideration different approaches, perspectives, value premises and practical thoughts. This is why all ten workshops of the Fifth Seminar were kept at a small size involving usually not more than ten participants, while each participant was ideally tied in already structurally even before coming to Athens through interactions with both the chairperson of the workshop and Dr. Hatto Fischer as co-ordinator of the entire Fifth Seminar.

What was observed already at the Brugge seminar, namely the tendency to upgrade the cultural factor when it comes to dealing with economic problems, was extended in preliminary discussions to how to ensure the 'cultural identity' of a specific region. Kris Rogiers indicated his understanding of economic activities becoming 'cultural actions' when they are meant to incorporate identity and image making activities, i.e. Yacht racing with one boat bearing the Flemish symbol or products of Flanders acting as cultural ambassadors. In these discussions was also mentioned the creation of regional stock markets so as to encourage regional investment, in order to off-set or balance out possible influences of foreign investors, etc.. These strategic questions, especially on how to solicit sufficient investment, in order to fight off unemployment, while continuing economic growth, are all linked to the wish to retain the 'cultural identity' within the region. Given the state of affairs (see here the analysis by Prof. Baeck who also took part in this workshop), these are crucial questions which have to be faced by any government, if it is to survive the public test at the next election.

The response to this need to secure 'cultural identity' at regional level has been perceived by the European Union. Carlos Costas, Head of the Cabinet of M. Pinheiro, the latter until the end of 1994 Commissioner for Cultural Affairs in the European Commission, spoke at the Brugge seminar about the possibility of retaining one's cultural identity by maintaining regional ownership. He suggested that cultural methods must be sought to off-set foreign ownership having a negative impact upon the 'cultural identity' of that region. Two problems are related to that, if the region is not independent enough nor competitive enough to survive at the world market level. First, how to gain such an independence while remaining in touch with reality, that is avoid becoming a 'closed shop'. And the second question relates to the unclarity as to what kind of ownership guarantees 'cultural identity'. In Greece, the sale of its largest cement factory to Italian owners or the plans of privatisation of the state owned telephone company OTE sparks off massive labour and union protest, while there seems to be no way out for any kind of government, but of going ahead with plans of privatisation in order to gain the capital needed for innovation and competitiveness. The same issue prevails with regards to national carriers; lately the European Union has granted an extra time span to either improve their financial situations free from state subsidies or else fade out, i.e. Olympic, Air France, Sabena, Iberia etc.. That is to say opening up to the world market means giving up some or many traditional carriers of national identity, while it is not sure what regional ones can bring about compensatory forms for that apparent loss of identity in a larger, that is European unity? The crucial question is here whether or not that leads again to the reproduction of the same old inefficiencies as experienced with state supported enterprises. Naturally, there is nowadays a movement towards mixed forms of ownership, private and public funds but one aspect (see here the example of new financial basis for hospitals doing research in the introduction to workshop 9).

Thus, as a first conclusion, it can be said that while in a transition to full convergence, the European Union has become a compromise between retaining such national symbols as airlines and responding to pressures of modernisation. Out of that compromise emerges as of yet no clear picture of the economic state of affairs. Delors personally gave a high priority to combating the high rise in unemployment; the general scope of the European programmes speak, however, quite another language, since they are heavily biased towards technocratic rather than cultural aims (see here the criticism made by Alecos Alavanos). There appears a need to return to square one, as the saying goes, namely how to balance social considerations with the economic need to remain competitive, that is a Europe with firms working in terms of full exposure to world prices without state protection. Open borders change the economic base which states in the past had based their cultural identities upon. This is why the regional answer is given as a more feasible alternative to the old national economies and hence the natural assumption that not only culture, but more precisely culturally defined regions 'ought' to become instead of nation states the true building stones of the Europe of the future. Along with that goes the claim and the right to apply the 'subsidiarity' principle by regions feeling threatened by the increasing size of Europe. That claim has to be re-evaluated in terms of what serves also the purpose of European integration, i.e. what contributes or not to the overall 'social cohesion'.

The above mentioned issue can be iterated according to the agony about conditions of a freely functioning economy. From a theoretical standpoint, that has always been a question with foregone conclusions, i.e. what if not such mechanisms prevail so as to ensure that the free market exist, does this not lead to monopoly conditions and an inefficiency which will impede any economic development? Yet on the other hand, the basic philosophy of European integration has been to promote between the member states all kinds of networking, forms of working together, while trying to figure out ways into the future. It includes working out the conditions for a single currency. The institutional prerequisites for that are already being installed, i.e. creation of the European bank in Frankfurt a. M., Germany. Indeed, the situation is not at all static. Much energy is being created alone by breaking out of habitual and traditional forms of economising. Furthermore, there are many projects, such as the construction of the Athens Metro, which would be inconceivable without EU funds (see here workshop 3). The innovative character of the EU in many cases has been already a change in terms of references, especially when it comes to planning at local or regional level (see workshop 2).

Thus, it is the task of these kinds of seminars and workshops to trace more concretely what this means in terms of European economies pushing towards a new kind of cultural self-understanding. That has to be seen dialectically, for the self-understanding created culturally speaking, influences in return economic decision making. As it was the case in the past when hunting societies made a transition to agricultural oriented ones, the implications of change are far reaching and nearly everywhere manifest themselves sooner or later in daily life. At the same time, this raises the question of 'cultural identity' even more so, since the realignment with economic structures being shaped by new factors can be both creative and painful at one and the same time. It does not only depend upon the level of operation, for there are often no literary explanations for what is going on, but on a much more resistant and competitive level, successful outcomes have so far been guided by an appreciation of the substantial ideas of European integration. It is a positive challenge and thus in need of deeper thought about all the economic implications.

This workshop has indeed a difficult task, namely to secure crucial positions in the debate about economic progress and to provide all other workshops with a kind of platform from which feasible cultural actions can be started from. For culture without money seems impossible, an argument used by Kris Rogiers, while this dependency does not mean in practice cultural investments go according to economic rules. Culture is much more related to the question, how to attain and retain personal freedom at a human, conscious and creative level. In the best of all alternatives, culture reflects the endorsement in life given by people living and experiencing the conditions imposed upon them.

Especially a workshop dealing with economic matters must confront this imposition or else face lack of freedom which comes automatically when quite other decision making processes determine life. To emphasize the need for cultural identity in such a context underlines the fact that many people do not feel that they are really shaping their own destiny. The real nature of that basic conflict needs to be understood since after the failure of Marxism and the strong reaction of the Islamic world to Westernization any kind of criticism of 'capitalism' has to undergo itself changes in terms of political philosophy, human values, contents of work and understanding how money works. The latter implies a need to comprehend the relationships people can enter, in order to be part of organisational structures leading on to different forms of securing income. This is done more and more independently from the work in need to be done. There are no longer the terms capital/labour which make the economic situation understandable, but rather aggregate steering mechanisms, organisational link-ups (i.e. 'invisible networks' as referred to by Andrι Loeckx in his main speech of the Second Plenary session of the Fifth Seminar) and a multiplicity of interacting factors. Aside from a 'culture of ambivalence', there is equally a concern that modern needs of survival have led to a 'culture of aggressiveness' in the wake of which loss of human values have reduced the arts and culture in general to the mercy of commercial enterprises, while cultural institutes or even the European cultural programme KALEIDOSCOPE remain underfunded, leaving little or no space in-between society and economy. Foremostly that is expressed in a loss of liveable conditions within and lately, even outside of European cities.

What is required in such a situation is foremostly the ability to reformulate thoughts at a conceptual level, in order to understand fully the process of change and to bring about a change in attitudes. Since the Club of Rome manifest, one major shift has been away from a mere emphasis upon economic growth. Thus, it will be of interest to see whether or not the workshop picks up the new themes emerging especially after the collapse of the Berlin Wall and with it the end of Cold War ideologies in their reference to different economic models and real socio-political systems competing with one another. At the same time, this means also the relationship between the arts and economic systems has changed, the result of which has to be reflected by management. For this reason, Prof. Guillet de Monthoux has been asked by Gilbert Lenssen to join the workshop, in particular due to his literary and political philosophical approach to the question of organisation. In a time that networking between even cities is starting to interest the European Union, organisational strategies become of utmost importance. They touch upon linkages to be created and require in turn reflection as to their inherent qualities, that is, value premises. That in turn can mean reviving interest in already made experiences in past projects, including those of the syndicalistic traditions and attempts to socialize the entire economic system.

If anything to go by, the importance of the Fifth Seminar reflects itself in the fact that cultural manifestations made in the past failed due to a lack of a practical linkage to the economic basis of all human actions; if the Fifth Seminar is to act as corrective to such mistaken ideological manifestations of the past, then it is of utmost importance to become practical in the sense of far reaching consequences for the future. Kris Rogiers said correctly at the outset, it is a crucial question whether or not courage can be found to undertake the necessary 'cultural actions'. That means also stepping into the open and then having to wait until others respond. The current economic crisis underlines the political impatience to be felt when discussing these possibilities with people like Kris Rogiers speaking out of interest of their respective governments. The sense of urgency has to do with how they judge themselves developments within Europe going for or against the interest of their respective governments. It seems inevitable that such voiced opinions go hand in hand with changes in political dispositions throughout Europe as the integration process proceeds within a radical different world context circumscribed by the former president of the United States G. Bush as the 'new world order' and reflected upon by the Israeli ambassador D. Sasson in the final plenary session of the Fifth Seminar.

For instance, that means perceiving also that the social welfare system as known in Germany is undergoing dramatic changes especially in terms of limiting unemployment insurance benefits, while altering dramatically recognition forms of qualifications. Politically, these changes in Germany go hand in hand with modifications of the model called 'Mitbestimming' or 'co-determination' by unions and management, etc., in order to secure at least a breathing chance in this all crucial race towards survival at world level. Similar developments were already initiated in England under Thatcher; it has deeply affected there the health care system and thus the level of social security by those with no stable income source, if at all available. The old saying by Marx, as to who commands the flows of commodities, if not those with income, has to be put into a modern frame of references, in order to reach some conclusions as to what all decision making processes add up to in the final end.

Certainly Prof. Bekemans' critical remark about Europe in need not to succumb to a "culture of consumption" is a fair statement of the limit to which all economic processes should go. That has not been really understood in its entirety, since it seems favourable to all that people spend money, that is consume, in order to create daily the illusion that all is still well with the current economic system. For the forefront of all economic interests appears to be that not only the shops are full with goods, but that people can also afford to buy them. That this is a mere illusion or rather in philosophical terms an 'appearance', necessitates itself a different way of going about in perceiving reality. The discussion about the limits of economics as a science will be, therefore, a first step of the participants of this workshop, in order to reassess the role economics can play in future. Upon the recommendation of Prof. Baeck, Prof. Anastassios Karayiannis has been asked to join this group, in order to discuss exactly the value issue within economics, that is, as to where the humanistic perspective and thus the cultural dimension can re-enter the hardcore analysis. For a failure to take especially human factors into account, can mean in the end the failure of economic reforms and thus cause a harmful erosion of the 'moral base' (see here, in particular, the background paper of Prof. Baeck on "The Revival of the Moral Base in the Soviet Union" as made available in the appendix to this workshop).

The first critical reportages about poverty in Eastern Europe always began with people standing in front of empty shops and waiting for some truck to arrive. Identification of economic plight seemed to be rather easy, as much as the German economic miracle after Second World War was explained by people having clear goals, namely to take the bricks into their hands, in order to rebuild their houses. This immediacy in both a negative and a positive sense seems to have gone astray in an increasing sophisticated and equally diffused society no longer sure how to control all economic forces wishing to prevail. As an urban planner would express it, the danger presently is that specific system components such as the car industry begin to drive the overall system and hence leave human behaviour to be anything but 'rational'. The destruction of the environment figures here fore mostly in critical minds, but remains uncorrected due to particular interests driving the entire system further and further towards self-destruction. There seems little institutional ability both within private and public enterprise, institutes and governments to undertake this needed self-correction before things are too late. It was a point that Gilbert Lenssen touched upon already in his paper given at the Brugge seminar.

Thus, clear aims can only be articulated by identifying the options to be faced by organisational strategies. There is a definite need to become much more specific in analysis of the political economy. However, it seems that rather than becoming more differentiated and concrete, the abundance of goods in Western Europe makes economic judgement that much more difficult. There appears to prevail great difficulties in reaching a consensus in values about economic priorities. For the categories to be used for such a process of clarification are not readily nor easily available; the same applies to the kind of communication pattern people set up daily, to reassure themselves of their own identity. Hence it is an entirely complex process which indicates that economy and culture are not so easily joined, as may be the wish of specific policies or political interest groups. Definitely the pressure is upon everyone to behave within the pre-set scope of possibilities everybody is supposed to accept and to follow, but conformistic or mass behaviour is not a culturally shaped action. It is still another matter, whether or not limitations imposed are recognised and followed, mediated or openly rather than subversively opposed. Along with the loss in human values and hence increase in violence, the political cultures and especially the values of democracy are more and more ignored. Instead egotistical behaviours and full exploitations of others, even a "war between cultures" makes life between people at times so difficult, to say the least. Contradictions between general opinions being negative about the political state of affairs, i.e. corruption of politicians, and positive attempts to break out of situations having become static by creating more flexible, smaller and modern structures for work and living processes are usually the socio-political results reflected in a change of voting patterns.

As such no real investments are made in cultural endeavours and hence really in the future. The fast pace leaves out of consideration how long even a child takes before it can learn to read and to write. Pressing simply buttons does not help off-setting deteriorations in language and cultural skills. Humanities and philosophy, even though needed for the identification process of conflict situations around human values, are neglected, as much as even prestigious cultural institutions run out of money even before they can have become effective as carriers of values of Western Civilisation (see workshop 6). The implications of direct or indirect financing of cultural activities after Maastricht was discussed very much in the opening plenary session of the Fifth Seminar. The voice expressing the desire that culture should not be used merely as a means for economic benefits was a lonely, but an important one in terms of objecting to prevailing misuses of culture for all sorts of, but not cultural, purposes. Here then is the place for such a workshop, namely to discuss what kinds of interrelationships between culture and economy can be achieved, so as to guarantee that the needed cultural activities can continue to exist in European societies. It appears that this is a more complex issue, for it deals with the inherent human potentialities and thus goes beyond the stated interests in the Brugge declaration, namely that of wishing to unfold such economic activities, as they are compatible at one and the same time with world market and equally cultural identity conditions (i.e. as a slogan that was expressed best by 'think globally, act locally'). If European integration means taking a lead in this matter, as the Flemish government is trying to do, then much is to be gained by everyone provided the cultural side of economics is truly considered. For there is a reality which must not be forgotten: the political consequences of economic developments ignoring human needs. Prof. Baeck identifies them as political, cultural and religious ones, and goes on to say that if suppressed or ignored, they will explode or else overturn previous phases of development, i.e. Khomeiny's upsurge to power in Iran.

The entire European Union faces the need of adaptation to the international rules of competition (see Gatt agreements) thus that question cannot be postponed indefinitely. Nevertheless, the theoretical differentiation of economic deployments of resources has lagged behind the usual political rhetoric about free markets. Thus the analysis of the political economy in Western Europe has remained abstract, as if certain conditions can be assumed as remaining stable over time, i.e. values of democracy and the 'moral base' of society. Compared to studies of the Soviet Union, this lack of political economic analysis results in disorientation and really not anticipated developments, i.e. Fascists entering government in Italy, while the overall political strategy with regards to the economy remains unclear to many outsiders. Furthermore, monopolization of even the media leads to alterations in political power, that is, participation in decision making processes. There is in Italy as elsewhere no longer any clear cut distinction between private and public interest. The latter was taken to be an objective measure of societal needs leading into the future, a kind of consciousness preventing partial interests or egotistical ones from having the exclusive say in how the economy is to be run.

This particular problem has never been tackled fully. In Germany that has only recently become a controversial issue, namely the role of Banks as members of boards for enterprises and thus their role in not only financial, but also economic and political matters. The controversy has been fuelled by revelations of dishonest business practises by banks withholding interest rates from customers or else overcharging them for services offered. It seems that even a government like that of Germany can become arbitrary when the financing of the German unification process is done via potentialities by the government to seek and to find credit on the financial markets, rather than basing the real value of the DM upon productivity and hence purchasing power increases. This alteration took place 1990 and was the reason for the president of the national bank, Mr. Poehl, to resign one day after chancellor Kohl had won his elections. The result is a huge increase in public debt and a structural inability to cope with permanent open and even more so hidden forms of unemployment. All along much remains unspoken about or facts are carefully filtered before the public can hear them, if at all, in a very watered down version.

The same applies for the election victory of Berlusconi for only after he had won the Italian election did an international newspaper like the Herald Tribune publish a record of his deficit spending path to power. The manner in which the public at large is informed, depends on the degree to which things seem to be preferred to be handled. Most of the time, financial decisions are made behind closed doors and the public has no notion whatsoever as to what is going on. That leaves too many without any opinion and hence knowledge as to what is going on. This mechanism of bypassing the public exists throughout Europe and should not be attributed to the European integration process alone when it comes to speak about loss of 'cultural identity' at a local level, for the size and volume of such transactions indicates that clearly money flows are steered from even outside of Europe, i.e. the Salomon Brothers concern playing a decisive role behind tenders to the Greek government for the construction of the new airport in Spata for Athens or in what future course Quebec, for that matter, can and shall undertake, given the outlook for being able to finance a particular political path. Sometimes in the past the strategy has been to make a possible break-out so costly, that no one would think it to be likely that such political adventureship will be risked by anyone. Yet in Belgium the government of the Flemish community probes almost daily that possibility of no return; that is, the leaving behind a federal structure in an effort to seek complete political autonomy. In order for someone from the outside to understand this initiative, the specific cultural features along with regionalisation tendencies throughout Europe must be reconsidered. As in the case of Czechoslovakia splitting finally, in order to go separate paths, a lot seems to be connected with the crisis a state undergoes, as pointed out by Liana Sakelliou-Schultz in her excellent speech during the Second Plenary Session of the Fifth Seminar, once culture can no longer be used single-handed by the state to attain identity.

In other words, why does it appear so desirable to gain regional autonomy in economic terms when at the very same time efforts are under way to overcome restrictive borders and to join Europe at a larger scale than what was the conclave of interest as defined by nationalistic and other short-term interests of the past? Surely, the question can be put in another form, once the political need to remain in control of one's own destiny is answered by such political initiatives, that is, by trying to still shape the economic flow of things along recognisable lines, culturally speaking. Kris Rogiers speaks in this sense about the need to safeguard future development chances from potentially explosive situations, i.e. by ensuring that foreign ownership does not exceed the regional controllability of the economy. For that reason the design of the Fourth Seminar followed the need to work out a strategy which can link economic, institutional and cultural factors in a cohesive action programme ready to be implemented under the auspices of the European Union, that is, in heavy reliance upon the subsidiarity principle. Whether or not that is a real possibility, remains to be seen. Certainly, the initiative of the Flemish government means exactly this: to create energy for such European policies adapting to regional needs, defined foremostly culturally, but permeated by economic, that is substantial interest, to the degree that the reshaping of Europe goes hand in hand with reconsiderations of regional interests. That then is a policy matter or a question of the 'force fields' allowing for only certain interactions, while other interests will be neglected or left out completely due to the decision making processes under way so far in Europe.

Until 1989 and the fall of the Berlin wall, the big challenges to be faced by Europe were the conversion of the steel, coal and shipping industries into new 'industrial districts', the regulation of the agricultural sector and the confrontation with rising unemployment despite of increased efficiency in the technical and service industry (i.e. car production, electrical and communication industry, projects like the 'air bus' as joint ventures to compete with Boeing and other aircraft producing companies in the United States). The unemployment problem has arisen out of more than just specific economic facts. Conversions of industrial sections, along with a change in social values, have led increasingly to a questioning of the welfare state and along with it of an employment system regulated by means of qualification and legal demands upon the labour market. The latter had been designed as a replacement of radical union movements and workers' demands. The pacification of that side of the economy has had consequences throughout Europe, Thatcher's fight against the coal miners in England but a prime example of a different kind of radicalisation known already in the seventies as the Friedman model: the release of the economy from all social restraints. The argument in favour of such economic radicalisations, whether now Thatcher or Reagan or in Chile after 1973 has always been ideologically overt, i.e. central planning does not work, social considerations restrain investments from developing the full potential of the economy and life long incomes are more important in determining consumption patterns than anything else. In reality, it meant neglecting investments in infrastructures, social institutions, culture etc., while exploiting human and natural resources even more so for private rather than social or public reasons.

In other words, economists looked to other means by which the market regulation forces of supply and demand could be stabilized or even manipulated into changing terms in favour of the economy at large. This would mean giving up attempts to do any kind of social corrective of the economic flow of things, while stability or the regulation by government was reduced to control over the money supply, the interest rates for capital gains and the diffusion of money so as to create any illusion that the New Deal efforts were no longer warranted, that is, public works as stimulus for economic growth. It is important to consider step by step the specific context of this debate about the economies in Western Europe before trying to evaluate whether or not the emphasis upon 'cultural diversity' and economies specifically anchored in culturally defined regions makes any sense. Since the question remains not only how are profits created, at what costs, but also how are they distributed, the political issue stems for that matter from what is an incentive rather than an impediment to re-invest money made in new economic activities.

There seems but little scope for intellectual thought about this matter, and yet it is worthwhile to reflect upon possibilities to comprehend really that: what is going on in the fields of business, stock markets, capital and knowledge transfers of companies, realignments of markets and world competitors such as the Japanese or other Asian actors, i.e. South Koreans. For as many countries alter their position in terms of competitiveness, new economic constellations seem to prevail. The recent Free Trade Agreement between the United States and Mexico, a follow-up of a similar one with Canada, is but an indication that the unification of Western Europe has provoked many and specific reactions. Instead of a globalization of the market in economic terms, one can speak more accurately about new community terms helping to redesign alliances and economic allegiances within more or less more natural territorial areas, i.e. Pacific group, Middle East region, Baltic countries, etc.. This regionalisation at a world scale has also taken place within Europe itself. Regions act in that sense as guidelines for differentiation between potential partners and competitors.

It is as if the market tries to ensure a set of co-ordinates by which things appear to handled and responded to in a 'rational', that is predictable manner. As Kenneth Galbraith put it in his book "The New Industrial Age", since Ford the technical co-efficients in production have necessitated firms to stabilize the demands for their products four to six years ahead in time; once military orders fall away and the state becomes unable to act as a stable consumer of many products at a large order, the Keynes-Friedman kind of controversy in economics makes no longer any sense. Instead, lack of predictability and 'rational behaviour' has to be compensated for by aggressive advertisement campaigns, while the horizontal and vertical structures of industrial branches change over night into huge monopoly enterprises co-ordinating the various activities within rather than outside production segments, i.e. Mercedes Benz in Germany.

The rules of the game remain apparently the same, but who dictates the market terms, that has changed, as have the insights or policy tools by which economic matters can be dealt with in a different manner. The Maastricht Treaty speaks explicitly of 'actions' the European Union must or may undertake. It is this rise of monopoly-like structures as the Mercedes-Benz concern exemplifies, which must be a prime concern for the European Union, even though there are very few firms, as Prof. Baeck notes, which could qualify as European companies rather than as a mere national or just as a regional anchored one. The changes in scale can still have in the end the same impact, namely one sided developments and partial interests dominating over the whole. That in itself gives reason to ask many more questions about the real economic nature of European integration, i.e. what kind of financial distribution the chances of becoming a single market has prompted so far, in response to the kind of political constraints articulated by particular interests, including regional ones.

Coming back to the main question, namely how to preserve one's 'cultural identity', then the strive towards 'regionally' bounded economies must be understood more thoroughly. For there is again the danger, that the 'cultural identity' held to be a value shared by everyone within that specific region, will mean really the creation of a market which becomes either subservient to one, that is a closed company or else face in the competitive situation a wide open race for markets without regards for cultural factors. This either/or, which the German philosopher Habermas has rightly called 'false alternatives', leads to the extreme, i.e. while politicians claim to be preserving the cultural landscapes, they give building permissions for huge summer hotels along the coast, thereby destroying the natural features of that region. This was the specific case of the Junta of Greece, but the contradiction can be followed up right up to the present, when governments permit huge temples of consumption, i.e. super markets, to be build in culturally sensitive areas. Already in the early seventies, the German psychoanalyst Mitscherlich spoke about the 'unreality of our European cities', emphasising that in the interplay between gigantic projects and claims to uphold 'cultural identity', all matters of relevance to culture can easily be lost. For such projects go completely against 'identity' as the result of cultural interaction and reinforce the negative trend towards things being determined only by economic forces.

Perhaps it is not so bad anymore as in the past when people are judged by what hat they wear. European societies have become more heterogeneous and pluralistic, the multi-cultural base for modern states. However, this remains an unresolved issue as indicated by racial tensions and hatreds being expressed against foreigners. As described by Andrι Loeckx, this is due to the fact that the normal functioning of societies is nowadays much more a clash about different types of economic sustainability, hence also degrees and kinds of cultural assertiveness, i.e. expressed not only in the styles of clothes worn, the kind of music played, the pattern of cultural adaptation followed, etc., but in the kind of networking going on in streets and city areas where those with good incomes have either moved out or never moved in, leaving the aged facing a dynamic force created by people from the Third World moving in, "turning on again the lights in the streets", while demonstrating a different survival strategy. Since this reduplicates all the more the kind of networks created in the economy, no wonder then that those left out feel threatened in their immediate areas. The language of decay and glamour, indifference and high nosed aloofness is stronger than that of a human community open to all. That is especially noticeable in neighbourhoods where the informal and formal economy no longer match and social control being replaced by territorial claims of conflicting neighbourhood assertiveness. That in itself indicates that the economy no longer unifies, but rather separates and segregates people. Other ties than open, human relationships play increasingly an important role in this jungle fight for survival. The demand for a unified 'cultural identity' at the regional level is thus but one of the more politically conscious reactions to this 'fight of survival'. It can be understood as a political attempt to retain some coherence in all social relationships. That can easily lead to giving up a pluralistic notion of the state as prerequisite for democracy and to embracing an ethical definition; the dangers of that has been amply demonstrated by the Yugoslavian war, the core of which is based upon ethnic cleansing. 'The war of cultures' (see here the essay by Martin Jay in the appendix to workshop 7: "Education for Cultural Diversity") was not resolved in that specific case in time, leaving Yugoslavia still today in a gruesome and violent situation fuelled by blind hatred and ever so aggressive strategies turned against everyone, even at the cost of economic survival.

At the same time, one notices that things become increasingly abstract not only in regionally based economies, but also at city or local levels due to technocratic features. What is then possible, economically speaking, to maintain a specific 'cultural identity', if modernisation prescribes its own terms of success connected with faster trains, bigger aeroplanes, more expensive cars, etc.. Economies driven by such technocratic, over modernistic values have become one sided in the kinds of solutions they seek and offer. There seems to be no other alternative but to build a completely new airport which in the end is more the expression of a technical insanity rather than something still within the content and context of the regional identity? The latter can be observed, for example, at the new airport of Munich. Judging from its design, the intention was clear: it should not be folklorist in character, i.e. just a reduplication of Baverian identity. Yet that airport goes so far out of context, including normal distances for travel before reaching the desired destination, that cost factors have increased in all directions and really no substantial satisfaction can be reached either in terms of access to the airport or in what life can unfold at that 'sterile' airport. The mistake made in this case is to overextend the attempt to upgrade an area through a specific service, i.e. modernised airport, since it exceeds all limitations that regionally bounded identity had accepted so far and by doing so goes completely against any 'common sense'. Rather such a project becomes the counter model in a technical sense to any identity founded by human activities, culturally speaking. Such considerations are important when speaking about dynamic economies. Too quickly are forgotten in the wake of such rhetorics the social and human factors without which any project will remain, however, a failure. Whether or not the concept of 'sustainability' is an answer to this apparently coercive need by the techno-money economy to go for ever larger projects such as an airport, the Euro-tunnel or fast train tracks, remains to be seen. As long as stress is put upon only a new type of economizing natural resources, sustainability discussions will fall short of the need to take into account the kinds of value mediations still possible by cultures based on human proportions and human values. Again Andrι Loeckx formulated the dilemma in his analysis of European cities as 'cultures of ambivalence' very much to the point, when he stated that there will always be these huge capitalistic interventions and there is only a small chance to succeed in culturally controlled efforts to retain human dimensions in European cities having become not only fragmented, that is without any true historical core, but also 'Edge Cities', that is full of situations defined by some human potentiality beside awful, equally empty solutions. Perhaps only the linking up of the various analysis made in the different workshops, that is, after evaluating the outcome of the Fifth Seminar, can the term 'culture driven economy' be reformulated according to clearer stated aims, i.e. economic and social efforts to develop the potential of the 'Edge Cities', in order to regain viable economic networks embedded in the social fabric of those areas.

A first resume

The first consideration: The initiative of the Government of the Flemish Community in Belgium

The focus of reflection in this workshop goes along with an evaluation of the Brugge declaration by Minister President van de Brande of the government of the Flemish community in Belgium. In particular, the political and cultural parameters mentioned by van de Brande are points of references when it comes to assess how the European Union has chosen to deal with new economic problems. Prior to implementing any policy, critical evaluation is needed, specifically in this case even more so, since it is the declared intention of a particular region within Europe, that European integration should be undertaken under specific terms. This is a direct reference to culturally defined regions as being the 'true' building stones of Europe 2002.

In other words, this claim by the Flemish government has to be shown as being capable of handling better than other policy options the prevailing economic conditions, including the contradictions mentioned above. For too readily a jump is made from economic to cultural matters, hence also political and ideological terms are confused. Naturally, the initiative by the Flemish government is a response to what Prof. Baeck called already at the Brugge seminar the cultural need for identity in an economy which has by tradition neglected this need. The force shaping that 'need', he called "a revival of ethno-cultural assertivity and a keen sense of ethical awareness" (Louis Baeck, "The Cultural Impact on the Economy and On Management" in Culture: Building Stone for Europe 2002, ed. Bekemans, Brussels, 1994, p. 39). He adds to this the philosophical dimension as a turning towards living one's own subjectivity. It has deep and far reaching economic implications, some of which cannot be detected so easily right away, as they touch upon the 'moral base' or value system of an economy. He sees a new form of Humanism approaching these assertive questions. The Western dominated thinking, especially under the influence of the 'Atlantic tradition' initiated first by England and Holland when they started their colonisation, but later continued and really perfected by the United States of America, has neglected until now the need for the economy to realign itself with culture. That then is a basic trust in this initiative by the Flemish government, namely to work out not only economic, but also cultural differences within a scope allowing for human subjectivity to unfold while facing the modern challenges of a world economy.

A second consideration: the impact of convergence plans by the European Union upon economies

A further crucial question at the Brugge seminar was, how the economic structure of the European Union and of its member states, has changed since convergence plans were drawn up and implemented. For the Fifth Seminar, this means, is there a need to reformulate the theoretical framework which started to become visible at the Brugge seminar for the purpose of evaluating the European integration process? While it is readily forgotten that some member states practices have already a regional policy implementation, i.e. Germany as a federal state, it becomes crucial to find out, what has to be ascertained, in order to establish new priorities in Regional Economic Policy? Here the concern becomes a critical evaluation of what are the weaknesses and strengths of European integration up to now? What is the experience of Belgium in this regard? Every time the term 'multi cultural society' (Habermas) appears, more attention is given to how Quebec in Canada tries to resolve its economic and cultural aspirations, than what may be considered a model of experience in Belgium with the Flemish community trying to assert its own identity? One aim of this assertivity is to gain a more direct access to the highest level of political decision making processes of the European Union, that is, 'Council of Ministers'. The Maastricht Treaty has opted for the creation of a 'Committee of Regions', but the levels of competence are quite mixed within such a body, so that the Flemish government is not satisfied with the results of these institutional changes. Again, in order to return to the overall concern, the question has to be asked, does the creation of new quality oriented structures in the economy enhance equally democratic developments, including that of a greater equality between regions in a 'Europe of Cultures'?

The third consideration: Is it enough to speak about 'cultural diversity' as an added value, in order to link culture and economy?

Is Europe heading towards one market or is there an economic need mediated through 'culture' to perceive Europe as being comprised of very differentiated markets ('cultural diversity'), so that 'tastes' become aesthetical reflections while the rule 'one product - one market' no longer applies. Obviously the extent to which companies both from within but also from outside of Europe have taken this into consideration when shaping their marketing strategies, has not as of yet been fully evaluated. Certainly quite a different approach to distribution of products has to be kept up, the moment 'cultural diversity' is taken critically into account. For instance, IBM has caught on already to this new trend; when flying into Dublin, Ireland large billboards suggest that IBM is up to 90% Irish. Naturally the colour of the message is only green. That leads to two interesting questions: one, do the marketing possibilities of the products depend on how they are known (i.e. what kind of advertisement) in terms of what identification criterion?; and two, how does this cultural need of a 'Europe of Cultures' relate to the overall global conditions of the World Economy? Obviously, IBM is not Irish, but the advertisement strategy reflects a need for cultural identification, or at least this is suggested when it comes not only to defending the pride of the Irish football team at the World Cup, but also to using the Gaelic language instead of English in daily communication processes.

Somehow, the realities of the business world, the dominance of the English language in cybernetics and modern communication processes (see here Workshop 1) seem not to coincide easily to regional or local identity quests. The latter can only be successful, if they fulfil equally aspirations that this quest leads also to a quest for values by which it will be possible to live by. To put it another way, advertisement of a cultural identity by folklorist dances at a world event is not the answer to the cultural need for identity by everyone at individual level. Between this and levels of mass participation, cultural identities succumb all too quickly to symbolical identification processes. They hardly differ from national flag ceremonies invoked in an attempt to re-invoke memories of a collective fate. That this has become more difficult to sustain, is not only the result of prosperity or general wealth, but also due to the influence of the media and quite different financial forms having become active as a result of vast sums of money circulating aside from commodities, making the interchange between local-regional and Europe-World economy that much more fluent, but also more complex. It seems that there is a danger to respond to that challenge with over simple solutions.

The fourth consideration: Cultural paradigms for economic processes

All these questions can be taken as a stimulus to think not only about economic matters, but equally what changes are going on presently. For this reason, the theoretical discussion of Brugge leads naturally on to reconsidering value premises underlying sofar economic processes. One approach might be the confrontation with the newly emerging paradigms, as suggested by Prof. Bekemans in his opening paper to this Fifth Seminar; another might be the formulation of questions at such a conscious level, within a very specific context, that the building elements of a cultural understanding of economics becomes possible. That leads immediately to the question, whether in fact firms consider, if at all, cultural factors to be of importance, when entering crucial decision making processes? That question can be extended, to what extent do firms feel a need to respond to initiatives like that of the Flemish government, that is, when decisions become a matter of regional economy? While in the first case, it is a matter of also practical wisdom entering a decision process, and Prof. Baeck would claim that even "management styles and organisational structures are products of cultures and are rooted in their value systems" (op.cit. Brugge Fourth Seminar, p. 38), the second aspect is more crucial to the world of politics. For if a particular government undertakes a certain initiative, what is the core of its policy and what can be said about its likelihood of success as opposed to failure.

In that sense, the general notion of Brugge centred around 'cultural diversity' as having an extra value, economically speaking, must be reflected upon as a form of argumentation in favour of a certain economic policy seeking to share its implicit or underlying values with other decision making circles such as European managers, but also of the European Commission itself. That after all makes the endeavour foremostly substantial, namely to have a powerful scientific base from which the politically decided upon policy can be supported by dissimation of information and by finding convincing arguments in favour of such a policy.

The partiality or independence of economists in such a case becomes crucial to the quality of argumentation when beset by both aspects, that of European integration and the wish to retain regionally defined cultural entities. That there is a risk of circular argumentations, this does not need to be pointed out. However, the real fruitful purpose of such an undertaking are these series of seminars. They bring about a more realistic reflection at all levels, in order to ascertain what is really needed to exist in Europe. For the younger generation that is especially a concern as to their own integration into society as shaped by economic forces little known to them.

A fifth consideration: a short description of reality

The strains and the needs for adjustments put upon, for instance, regional economies has been tremendous, i.e. former coal mining districts phasing out, thus leaving pools of unemployed without a real chance of re-entering the labour market under conditions of retaining their own cultural identity in the process. The terms stipulate quite a different reality. There is the wish for labour mobility throughout Europe, in order to enhance the sense of open markets to everyone. At the same time, that wish confronts exactly the dilemma, namely that regionally defined cultural identities makes it harder for people to move from place to place. They need languages and other cultural skills, in order to assimilate themselves with their new cultural surroundings, even though adaptation to these 'positive' constraints have at times the beneficial character of being a part of 'intercultural learning'. Yet things can go easily wrong and artificial linkages prevail, precisely because the working relationships are fictitious in a world having gone completely cynical. The set-up of football or basketball teams is but an indication of the kind transfer of talents having become nowadays something like capital flows. Added value is gained by a player through experiences on other international teams, while the stakes remain high to keep up the fiction of some national pride. Football represents perhaps the best example of deviations from 'talents' having gone astray; the way to judge these developments depends naturally upon a certitude in remaining in contact with the potentialities of future society. Not every child training weekly will go to the Olympics and be a success story in terms of the media; that fictitious story is fed by countless unknown subjects fulfilling the requirement that the recruitment of top athletes does not dry out, but rather that the pool or reservoir of such capacities increases as times allow for readjustment in training methods and developments of competitive skills. It is really amazing on how the transition of a football game in the back lane to a world soccer star in front of millions of people can raise expectations as to the known, when dealing with harsh, that is economic reality. Someone coming from poverty does not need the proofs. It is rather a matter of sustaining some inherent conviction in the 'self', itself a philosophical attestment to belief structured according to concepts like self-belief, before the inherent qualities can be recognised by others and thus be a part of a vicious system of selection when it comes to distribute awards or punishments. That means certain key models of entertaining thoughts will characterise reality in its fictitious, that is, vindictive quality. For to repudiate this fiction means but not accepting the forms of punishment. The instability of the system currently impounding millions of dollars or other currencies in the upkeep of roads, airports, housing estates, infrastructures, etc. is really tremendous. An individual seems not to have any role to play in the manner in which the world is being constantly redesigned, in order to exclude just that: the human factor.

The sixth consideration: How to overcome the 'culture of consumption'

However, the problem does not stop there, for the hollowness of cultural life itself is an outcome of the modern economy based upon consumption, not active participation in shaping life. That after all makes the reconsideration of economic principles along cultural ideas more difficult, for how to reconcile economic with cultural needs. The separation of work and pleasure, ever since Odysseus managed to slip past the Sirens, an organisational principle of work throughout Europe and the Western Civilisation, and a critical aspect that Adorno and Horkheimer talk about in their 'Dialectic of Enlightenment', makes it appear as if the survival question does not play so much a role, as unsatisfied needs. In the past, these were for Europeans under the influence of the Hollywood films the car and the big refrigerator filled with all sorts of good foods, but now they seem to be more culturally defined. However, there is a truism in the saying, that the more talk about culture, the less culture is existing. James Joyce and others knew the difference between these two very different worlds.

The loss of any mediation between the two is really culture, or at least, it is reflected upon partially in literature, the arts and in poetry. Thus, the discrepancy could not be greater between the tendencies of the arts to redefine art since Duchamp as a need to make people think about their definition of the arts and culture in general, and those acting still with the illusion of aesthetical norms that can be applied according to them as vindictive principles, in order to keep order. The latter can be considered as a special kind of insanity: an irrational attempt to bridge differences by means of the 'imagination', rather than through the form of dialogue and acceptance of difference. That is important, for values are also set by what is being done.

The seventh consideration: Promises of change and a new management amidst cultures

In the overall approach to the economy, in order to ascertain linkages to culture, the discussion since Brugge has turned more and more towards the need to change 'enterprise' cultures, that is, management styles. An easy approach to this subject matter is to develop further the question, how does management deal with the new 'cultural' demands, if at all?

For instance, German business people in Greece tend to negate the cultural factor, by stating cynically, "Greeks are not even interested in their own heritage; all they want is new cars, bigger homes and something good to eat". The material satisfaction of apparent needs is really a misreading of material needs. Greece can be explained by its long poverty and endurance of foreign rulership, so that the need for material goods seems to suggest a cynical longing for something going beyond present misery.

However, if managers become more responsible, then such critical reflections must also be embedded in the culture they wish to move in. Economic decisions have to be made that resist also cheap consumer longings in favour of long term cultural satisfactions. That is not always easy, for the day by day life is determined after all by shopping, especially that of food, and other commodities belonging to the reproductive side of society. It is something else if there is a Metro to be build or even a new airport. Then quite different levels are involved. These are high capital risk taking investment decisions with long term impacts upon the region, including its cultural identity and diversity. Thus, it should be said, that the nature of economic decisions must be reconsidered by emphasising not only terms like 'cultural diversity', but by becoming clear in the cultural aim of starting specific economic activities. For instance, do these economic decisions help to stop further going mutilations of social surroundings, or are they far flung elements of projects meant really to continue downgrading man, that is, to abuse the human being. The latter would be the case even in high consumptive areas like Rodea Drive, where not only commodities are purchased at absurd prices, but also money itself is being consumed, in order to show off 'richness': the belonging to a world that does not really exist.

An eight consideration: Differences between bad habits and matters of life

The real issue here seems to be not only what philosophical methods managers use, but whether or not they can avoid bad habits, such as using clever tricks, in order to play pseudo-political games at factory level. Such games are not substantial enough to elongate life. They feed only on pseudo suggestions of reality, i.e. everyone wants money. The boredom spread generally by the media shows that life is not always just an entertaining thought; rather, it must be treated seriously enough, in order to become engaged in life supportive projects. The latter is made up of local factors with unique elements enriching the type and kind of survival made possible by a demand for specific changes. Constructive constants have so far in history turned out to be real creative impulses. Nevertheless, the economic changes going on in Europe are still in need to be understood.

For instance, six years ago it was hardly possible to find pet shops in Athens, Greece, but now it has become a business venture. This reflects itself a change in attitude and hence values by Greeks towards domestic animals. In the past, dogs were despised, but by now a middle class has grown accustomed to new needs, including the wish for lively animals within their remote world of technical constraints. It can be even put in terms of those dealing with computers and high tech, namely that they have a need for low touch or for basic elements of life. This is why a sort of wild consumption takes place more in historical parts of the city than in modern shopping facilities. For the modern consumer wishing to escape the abstract reality of his or her world of work, it is not only important what is bought, but where. This relates then after all to cultural identity, for the consumption oriented society has lost this notion of specific customers with a long background of knowing how to avoid sterile or neutral forms of satisfaction, i.e. MacDonalds serving apparently to everyone's needs, even though without any aesthetics worthy to speak about. In the past that used to be the kind of self-pride an individual takes upon him- or herself, in order to rely upon a definite manifestation of values. That is no longer certain nowadays. Rather the neutral handling of everyone leads to a kind of indifference, while MacDonalds and other fast food joints touch upon an apparent lack of cultural differentiation, so that people remain still victims of their need to consume something linking everyday habits to modern life, or illusions thereof.

The ninth consideration: Political power as a matter of 'taste' and modern transmission belts sustaining a 'lack of freedom'

The truth of the matter is that taste has become cheap, while the food more expensive and the resources required to run the place even more consumptive than an old restaurant. The nostalgia for the new may be a real cultural sacrifice. It is interesting that MacDonalds are located at the heart of almost every city, that is in places of traditional identification possibilities with the overall cultural identity upheld by a specific state of things. That makes the question of 'cultural identity' in terms of economic possibilities equally more and less interesting, since both things can happen: cynicism and true aspirations combined in 'calculated' shows of the potentialities of life, i.e. car exhibitions in Paris or Berlin. They are wonderful illusions and prove to themselves what keeps the system going.

Yet the question remains, does this include the need to consider the linguistic and cultural diversity of Europe over and beyond these mere consumptive strategies.

There is the term 'sustainable tourism', that is, places like Heidelberg or Rhodes which have hollowed out of any local life for the sake of catering just to tourists, hence there are nothing but English restaurants suggesting what is the dominant taste. It has nothing to do with the place, but rather with its 'myth' having been transformed into a resource readily to be exploited. That attitude adopted has nothing any more to do with the need to face those seeking to find something familiar in a strange place.

It leaves open the question what is 'intercultural learning' in such a world (see workshop 4 on this topic) and what are the new qualification strategies, with implications for personal policies in such world wide undertakings which claim that they do not take cultural borders into consideration. Rather their economic success seems to be based upon ignoring cultural differences, for everyone wants to eat a Hamburger out of a paper bag whether in Washington, Paris, Athens or Moscow. The sameness stressed by MacDonalds in historical places by all the differences is what seems to really disturb the European perception of things. There is in Europe a real lack of answer to that, or economic imitations of that have led to similar, that is hollow results.

The plight of the arts in relationship to companies making some things financially possible

What concrete proposals can be made then to improve the relationship between economy and culture? Is it merely a matter of financing the arts, and if so, not through sponsorship but by other means, then how?

Other, more specific questions must follow: what experiences have had artists working for companies? Money is needed, as always, but when does this begin to influence the artistic conception and in the end leave only 'commercial' art surviving? At the same time, 'cultural actions' such as the possibility of obtaining funds for a sculpture installation in a Metro station can bring artistic considerations closer to business and engineering thinking, thereby making technical projects more adaptable to the cultural needs of the region where the system is being installed (see here discussion in workshop 3: traffic and transportation culture). There are bound to be made mistakes in this effort to bring artists and managers together, as it will not be easy to make the interrelationship between culture and economy an active one. Wrong expectations and lack of sensitivity, as much as costly time factors can be stumbling blocs, or else just lack of authentic efforts can lead to wrong conclusions.

These questions and structural approach to a very unique opportunity, namely to even bring managers and artists together, that can be taken as a theme for this workshop. It has been suggested as a new relationship by the manager Gilbert Lenssen who has been asked to chair this particular workshop. Already in Brugge, he stressed the need of learning to live with uncertainty, something artists have always lived through, but not people with a secure income until now. The need for collaboration with artists goes along those lines: how to cope with uncertainty, while learning how to gather and organise materials in an interesting manner.

The present crisis underlines the need for a concrete feed-back to management from the artistic ways of working - including Beuys' slogan 'everyone can be an artist, that is, be creative'. In other words, productivity increases are nowadays inconceivable if not accompanied by such creative elements. The stimulus is really the secret of the system. That it has to do with knowledge, social relationships, values and philosophical outlook is given. But what makes a person become creative, equally innovative, that is another matter. Although difficult to reach within all kinds of organisations from universities to business enterprises, allowing for creative personalities to develop may be the only way out of the crisis. That is crucial to know and to realise, for it touches upon the core and substance of work when linked with the human being, namely its 'unconditional' quality.

Conditions of work are not to be explained only by the manner of doing things, of going about it, but has much more to do with the kind of limitations felt to be inherent in the way society has succumbed to present circumstances and thus there is a need to find a way out of such sterile, repetitive, senseless forms of work, pleasure and consumption. Innovations occurred until now almost only to improve forms of consumption, such as high class dinner tables beside centre court of some Grand Prix Tennis tournament. The ability to enjoy is always stressed, because it has become a real stress. The way some manage to organise around that need an illusionary solution, in order to fill their places with people and hence with a temporary success is but a confirmation of a society and work situation without any real pleasure. More and more people are driven on daily by time consuming circumstances, for they face alienating cities, dull, equally high pressurised work situations and little to go by, for the mediation between their own wisdom and that of the inherent requirements of the system elongate problems of adaptability.

In short, the first step towards quality in work, and eventually in linking culture and economy, is the realisation that not everything is possible. Artists make things become possible, because they have internalised 'positive' constraints. This has been virtually ignored by business and even more so states that do not even hesitate to make weapon exports their major income source of foreign currency. For 'positive' constraints are not just adherence to material forms, for the 'soul' of a person exists also only when it takes on form (James Joyce), that is when the activity undertaken does not go against life itself. The moment this 'unconditional condition' is attained, and it really means not making any compromise in this crucial matter, the artistically brought together energy is released 'unconditionally': the secret of art as much as of love. Things have then souls and people human faces. Culture exists then in such an economy having become alive through the people working with 'friendly' attitudes within these constraints: inherent qualities of an economy in support of life, that is not 'exploitation of human resources', but culture at its best.

The tenth consideration: What about cultural adaptability e.g. EU programmes 1994 and their demands upon cultures?

To make things possible, that is also giving rather than taking away paid jobs from people. Unfortunately, the current situation is marked by quite different, even deeply cynical situations. As Sloterdijk pointed out in his book 'Cynical Reasoning', nowadays the highest paid person is the one in the organisation making sure that the others do not work. Work does not mean fulfilling only certain tasks; if filled with pleasure, it means also commitment to life and knowledge gained out of experiences. The plight of the artists in an economy ignoring culture is as great as those of unemployed people having no social integration possibility. The latter is not given by any kind of work; only the 'unconditional' one linking the person's true knowledge to meaningful work, in the sense that it has a self-fulfilling component, makes any sense in an otherwise senseless or futile landscape. That is why artists prefer to work with 'uncertainty': the negative alternative to work under negative conditions. In other words, they do so not because they want that, but given the choice between loosing oneself in work and working in the full knowledge of the self towards that unconditional acceptance of what one is doing, even if not paid, that cultural preference intensifies the chances of adaptability becoming possible in the future.

At least in the EU programme ARTICULATE (dealing with the evaluation question), it has become apparent that even the adaptation of new technology in hospitals has been impeded by the cultural reluctance of doctors to share information about patients. The result is that new equipment is hardly used, or if so, then only in a random or strange manner. That means in Europe there is generally a cultural need to adapt to the new possibilities of which not all economies nor societies have taken advantage of so far. Nevertheless, at the beginning and end of cultural reflections stands this criteria of human fulfilment, of not resenting what one has done up to now, or in knowing that other opportunities exist, still to prefer the solution one has opted for. The ability to live without resentment is already an indication of a high quality of life feeling existing within that person. It is understandable that this suggests not only a kind of empirical approach to the need to evaluate cultural and hence human satisfaction within Europe, but also whether or not the questions of making possible life are dealt with adequately or not by managers and organizers of work.

There is the immediate practical need of earning one's money, but also the need to relate to one's dreams and wishes, for the elongation of life by means of cultural topics becomes travel, even ventures into living in different places. There is this need to reconcile the living concretely at one place with the possibility of existing at another place. All too often that desire has been silenced by other voices and forces like fear of the unknown. The wish to maintain the illusion of having some 'identity', rather than being as a human being universal, has all too often transformed culture into an artefact used to keep out the unknown and freedom of choice into a compulsion to keep up that identity at the place called 'home'. Its ideological component has been revived and discussed extensively throughout Europe, even academies and all sorts of projects have been created to keep up this momentum in favour of 'local identity' (see the paper by Bart Verschaffel, in the introduction to the Third Plenary session of the Fifth Seminar). Yet what has never been discussed is the critical question if not such identity building processes impede rather than encourage 'cultural adaptability' whose first and inherent quality has to be openness to the 'unknown'? If the same negative constraints apply to an identity at regional level, the least that can be expected is a conflict of interest in that society wishing to maintain English as working language and Gaelic as 'cultural heritage' of Ireland, to name just one example. How to handle such potential conflicts of interest structurally, that is before the absurd situation arises that a very good artist is not promoted because he is not Irish nor does he speak Gaelic, but does live in Dublin, touches upon the sensitive question, how are cultural policies implemented. There has been heard reports about a string quartet in Flanders not receiving any money from the department of culture, until it changed its name to include 'Flanders' and thus a cultural carrier of this so desired 'regional identity'. In short, the real sensitive points are those where agreements have to be reached, but not in a coercive manner nor cultural actions as fulfilments of political demands. In both cases, the willingness to do things 'unconditionally' would be lost and with it the authentic art any culture needs if it is to retain its abilities to adapt.

Cultural adaptation is not about fulfilling needs here and now. It has to do with a much more complex process of learning even to see new possibilities which may come about by looking at a painting. What used to be called 'sublimation', was in Ancient Greece also the ability to engage in dialogues used to find out what was worthy of its name in that new idea. Openness is equally a horizon without which people cannot be creative (Anna Seghers). It is above all the answer to man's need to know about other people living elsewhere at the same time, in space and history, in order to compare and to live accordingly to his or her own wisdom, that is certain in the knowledge of being secure and confident in what one is doing. Here enters then the question of what truth is about in as much organising business as doing something like writing a poem in the hope that this will contribute to mankind. Artists know that this is a foolish hope, but a hope nevertheless. While this epoch is being shaped by forces either trying to ignore these cultural realities or else relating to them by misusing them, there is a discussion going around this cultural paradigm of simple truths as the grammar of life. There seems to be no sure answer as to what is best: the economic expansion based on a sheer incomprehensible complexity or the more culturally sensitized one to simple truths. Before answering that, or at least giving this workshop the task of trying to do so, there is a need to remind as a first impression, that challenges presently faced by the economy and hence also by managers are generally translated into a challenge to education or the manner of working out ideas (see here results of both workshop 1 on "Cross-Cultural Identities" and workshop 4 "Vocational Training as interregional programmes to combat Unemployment").

An eleventh consideration: Working within networks and cultural evaluation

There seems to be a need to work together in a qualitative different manner. The response in Europe to this has been networking, the working together in teams comprised of members from different countries with quite different cultures (from qualifications to treating materials in a certain manner). That means networking includes always other people, their cultural background. Thus different languages and cultural values have to be recognised and related to immediately. That makes up the cultural diversity in a practical sense. Within this sphere of tolerance, tensions created by differences become audible and even interesting impulses for the way of looking at things. They are no longer mere disturbances. Truth is no longer an absolute, self-defined world view. That has to be said, in order to understand the alterations of requirements for working with programmes financed by the EU.

That is compatible for needs of the business world, even though the cultural adaptation has been slow especially in those European countries which still have the illusion of being a majority, rather than also but a minority (Prof. Picht with regards to Germany - see workshop 7: Education for Cultural Diversity). Other member states who feel even that their language is threatened, face quite a different situation within an enlarging European Union. In either case, however, the need for new efforts at the workplace - team work, multicultural background of the team, networking, etc. has led already to two new approaches: firms as learning organisations (workshop 4) and firms as being 'evaluation' oriented (Jessie Marsh, workshop 1).

Both aspects can be reflected in the practical case of AEG, when it comes to satisfying customers which wish that a technical system (i.e. metro unit) is not just a neutral one, but rather sensitive to the local and regional cultural needs, quests for values and identities. In most cases, customer oriented methods within firms are not culturally sensitized, so that products or technical systems lack those inherent qualities which could encourage on the basis of 'cultural adaptability' the 'cultural acceptance' of the product, i.e. new trains would not be damaged by wild vandalism, but be seen as part of the inherent value system.


While firms are still struggling to overcome their own bureaucratic battles and sluggishness, the societal response to the need of having work as means of not only mere, but 'meaningful' survival has to be looked at. The plight of economics as a science in this regard is apparent. Economic challenges, in relation to the human and cultural dimension, require new methods, approaches and even 'unconventional' wisdoms to be attained by being both intuitive in the formulation of questions and analytical in the treatment of the subject matter. That is said because not every method or philosophical approach is suitable to make 'values' become discussible, that is, not just merely pre-set premises or assumptions. Some of the other workshops will deal with the same question, but in a different manner, as to this crucial aspect of 'cultural identity'. For instance, workshop 6 'Roots of Western Civilisation' will approach identity as a belief system, while workshop 8 will have poets, writers and translators look more closely at the cultural components of identities. The sensitive point of how artists, art projects are financed, that will be evaluated in turn more specifically in workshop 10. That leads to the question, how will these different results be brought together, if not only through an imaginary element connecting them, then namely through another, more substantial question understood by all participants finally as a consensus or reference point, in order to continue these seminars trying to link culture and economy.

In the first case of looking into the possibility of having a "culture driven economy", it can be said that this basic question of culture has almost been forgotten. Here Prof. Baeck will have a lot to say. On the other hand, linking culture and economy will not be easy, given the state of affairs in Europe. Yet there are possibilities, for there are people with a distinct feeling for reality and who can do things, move about, without just entertaining the thought 'what if, then what'. Rather in the moment of hesitation, they gather interest for something not seen before. Often the side products are anyhow for artists more interesting, because they contain possibilities not yet fully developed, but are more authentic because they were expressed without any intention. The poet Jose L. Reina Palazon expressed this very well when he said during the "Myth and Poetry" Symposium (a part of the XVI European Poetry Festival) that a true artistic act must not seek power, not even the power over oneself, because that leads only to destruction and self-destruction. The same had been expressed by Adorno and Horkheimer in their 'Dialectics of Enlightenment': a tradition of thought with inherent qualities, but one which failed. Much reference to that tradition was made at the Fourth Seminar in Brugge and it is expected to be picked up as a theme by the participants of this workshop.

To come back to hesitation or moments of doubt, in reality pauses of doing nothing, the question is today does the economy make still allowance for that? When the German writer Guenter Grass was director of the Academy of Arts, he chided the cultural policy of the Berlin Senate for the fact that they have one festival after another chase the next one, but that is no longer cultural policy, but "bed filling politics". Guenter Grass meant the arts and culture need periods of doing nothing, in order to regain energy; it must not become subservient to the needs of hotels to have 'sustainable tourist flows because of on going activities'. It is not only a matter of conflict of interests, but a real difference of needs. A dentist cannot afford such hesitations, an artist must. There is a difference in the approach to things. There has to be found reconciliation between the artistic and business world. The quality of solutions is a mark of political culture. As Roger Servais, painter in Berlin, formulated it: "the confrontation with reality must also be a deeply democratic one". In short, not every confrontation is both productive and creative. In order to be able to avoid 'ugly' conflicts, a deeply philosophical approach must make possible the quest for values as a practical engagement within the cultural fields. This requires true information about what is going on in reality. And it demands a deep compassion in democracy, if the truth of the matter is to be found out in a peaceful manner, that is, as something capable to be a functioning basis of values for working out things. Here then relates reliance upon natural outcomes, culturally speaking, to the utmost effort needed to be undertaken, in order to take things into one's own hands.

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