Why and How of this Website
Authors wish to reach an audience, the larger the better. I am no exception.
I think and write about political and economic subjects, about history and social institutions, with the aim of discovering unexpected connections. But because a large amount of what I have written was in books and articles aimed at a Japanese audience (having lived for most of my life in East Asia), this remained hidden from most of you.
From the turn of the century onward I have written a lot about what was happening in the world’s most powerful country and what that might mean for the rest of us. But much of that remained hidden as well through vagaries of the publishing trade.There are things I have thought about that may interest you. I hope that you will find some of my hobby-horses worth your time as well.
I am intrigued by the phenomenon of power and how that is exercised and experienced in different political cultures. I am interested in what actively limits our gaining knowledge on important matters, on the widespread phenomenon of studied ignorance, and particularly on the ways that all this shapes our political environment. I will try to comment regularly on political and economic -they should always be seen as parts of the same thing – events as they evolve and connect those with earlier writing of myself and the writing of others. A lot of the time I will just be thinking out loud.
I will, in a rather wandering way, follow the unfolding of events in areas that interest me, with jottings under the customary dateline, and link subjects that come up with relevant bits and pieces in earlier writing with which I will gradually fill up the reservoir. There are a number of themes that I intend to come back to again and again, when I think they are relevant to the questions and dilemmas of twentyfirst century existence. My focus is on American developments and what these mean for the world. And on the vicissitudes of European integration, especially in the context of how a Europe with a voice could play a beneficent role in the world. I am very interested in the institution of the citizen, and in which manner citizenship remains possible on the supranational level of the European Union.
The subjects will of course grow in number, and can be found in a list of their own. When opened they will also link to those segments of writing I consider relevant, or to articles on the internet that I think deserve attention.
A further intention is to carry writings of friends and willing strangers whose ideas I think are worth the broadest audience they can get.
Of course I want people everywhere to read me, and hope that likeminded will discover this site. But I want specifically to address a European public. It is a curious thing that I can write for a Japanese public and be published, I can do the same for a Dutch public and for an American one. But not specifically for the public that exists in the European Union. There is no public sphere in Europe. Although novels written by authors from European countries do get translated and are traded at the Frankfurt and London book fairs, non-fiction books of the kind I write almost invariably must take an Anglo-American route.
But eventually a European public sphere is bound to emerge. That hope is shaped by the entirely reasonable expectation that at some time in the not too distant future, a threesome of European publishers – in France, Germany and Britain – will see that there is money to be made with potential best-sellers describing the world and Europe in it to Europeans. I very much want to contribute to this effort, and perhaps this website will contribute to such contribution.