Denken nach Illich
Letzte Aktualisierung: 26 Oktober, 2006 (c) Bremen, Deutschland  
Zum Tod von Ivan Illich
@ Nachrufe
@ Symposien

@ Altes Neues
@ E-Mail Nachricht bei Änderungen auf diesen Seiten?

Wer sind wir?
@ Beteiligte
@ Kontakt

Weitere Links

Hilfe zu pdf-Dateien
@ Rechtliche Hinweise
Sajay Samuel


Sajay Samuel (b.1964) was raised between two worlds. The cemented streets and rude apartment blocks of Bombay City stood in stark contrast to the paddy fields and foot-trodden paths of a small village in Southern India. Both fluent and illiterate in his mother's tongue, he became familiar with traditional manners that strictly limit the domain of economic exchange. The transfers of money and food between households were not payments for services but rather rooted deeply in bonds of obligation that tied landlord and peasant to one another. From Ivan Illich, his teacher for the past ten years, he came to understand how standardized economic measurements and abstractions of applied social sciences falsify and slowly dissolve such social bonds of a people.

Samuel went to the United States for graduate studies in Business Administration and Economics, completing his doctoral thesis at the Pennsylvania State University in 1995. His dissertation dealt with the early history of the U.S. Federal Budget (1880-1920) - of its symbolic rather than its technical effects. It is well known that in 1870, when Augustus DeMorgan wrote his Budget of Paradoxes, the term "budget" still meant a bag of almost anything.

Samuel argues that, within one decade, the same term could be used only in the sense of a financial plan that cleansed administration of politics and replaced the moral with the factual. Even more importantly, within fifty years, it became reasonable to think of budgeting one's time, work, and even pleasures, which reflected the widespread belief that anything could be planned. Samuel suggested that such a planning mentality removes people from the present, which is transformed into an artifact of a planned future. He further argued that the practice of budgeting, in requiring people to think of what they do as resources to be optimally allocated, hooks them to the ideology of scarcity.

Samuel is now working on a history of the notion of 'intellectual capital'. The most recent fallout from the explosion in the idea of capital, this notion presupposes the separation of a person from her thoughts. Politicians, corporate bosses, educators and the agents of self-help are now encouraging people to think of what goes on their heads as a strategic resource to be grown, managed, and economically exploited. Samuel argues not only that intellectual capital requires people to think of themselves as a variant of some artificial intelligence, but also that it threatens to dry up the ground on which people can cultivate a sense for each other.



  • Samuel, Sajay; Robert, Jean (7/2004): Car-free or not: the danger of designed spaces. [Talk given at "Towards Car-Free Cities, IV" (Berlin, July 21, 2004).]
  • Samuel, Sajay (2003): "De-Linking Peace and Globalization." Speech delivered at the meeting for the inauguration of the Ivan Illich Center for Intercultural Documentation, at Lucca, Italy: June, 13th-15th 2003.
  • Samuel, Sajay (6/2002): Consoling Thoughts about Tyranny
    at the end of the Age of Experts.
    [Presented at the Workshop "Guiding Societies: Experts and public choices in the 19th and 20th century," (European University Institute, June 1st, 2002)]
  • ^nach oben^