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Ueberpreneurs need a lot of Ueberidiots

Different opinions and discussion are the basis of democracy (referring here to Mouffes' agonistic pluralism, where it is not a consensus we search for, but rather to provide arenas where differences can be confronted) but Mr. Andrews' lecture at QUT on 2014 [1] was not impartial. He used it to further his book-selling agenda, presenting facts selectively to encourage a particular synthesis and using emotional rather than rational content with the information presented. Prof. Peter Andrews’ lecture was thus propaganda.

Let me remind the framework of these lectures:“Several grand challenges confront humanity in the 21st century, from feeding the world's booming population to managing scarce natural resources and reducing our carbon footprint. The Grand Challenge Lecture Series explores these and other challenges and the possible solutions to them.” [2]

The last lecture of Friday the 4th of April 2014 at QUT, by Prof. Peter Andrews, went under the title: “What Does it Take to Change the World?” His answer to this question is to have more of the so called ‘überpreneurs’ (“An individual with an epic ambition to change the world, who sees and seizes opportunities for change, senses the way forward, attracts the necessary resources, and pursues the dream regardless of the odds”, [2] Does this not match the traits of a dictator? (I would encourage you to read the above once more with that thought in mind). Yes, that was exactly the question I posed to Prof. Andrews. The usage of the German prefixüber, probably unconscious, but amusingly ironic, cries out for resemblance to the term “Übermensch” so often used by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime to describe the idea of a biologically superior "Aryan" or Germanic master race. The thirty-six überpreneurs who populate his book and the lecture, are all transforming our world, Prof. Andrews claims. Indeed they are, but in what way? In the same ruthless fashion as did Mao, Stalin and the like? The link I present here has been done before by Ayn Rand who saw the same Übermensch as entrepreneurs, a trend also seen in the policies of Ronald Reagan and Allan Greenspan of the 1980's.

To return to the Prof. Andrew’s presentation, I also note that he presented facts selectively to encourage a particular synthesis. It is not difficult to find documentation about almost all of these 36 people, showing that they have pending court cases on tax-evasion or similar Flecken (to follow the trendy German usage of vocabulary). To present a Überenterpreneur is the same as to call him a Üebermensch, a person who has litle or no flaws. At one point in the lecture, Prof. Andrews leaked out an unfortunate remark about Elon Musk: “He signed in for a PhD but after two days he realized that would lead him nowhere”. The glorification of the school dropouts such as Bill Gates or Mark Zuckenberg is, as I hope we all know, profoundly misleading and worst, unscientific. For every single successful Überentrepeneur there are millions who failed. Further, those of us who have worked as employees know well who does all the work and makes wonders, while having to put up with the fascist-like behaviour of an Überenterpreneur. Are these then Untermenschen? Where are the scientific proofs that these people are what we need? No comparative analyses on horizontal workplaces (such as Mondragon) with hierarchical ones, or health levels of workers, wealth distribution levels... Absolutely nothing.

This talk belongs at a motivational business conference, not within the academy. We need discussion and critical thinking. The danger of absolute truths reminds me of another German, Martin Heidegger, who wrote back in 1933, in a pro-Hitler declaration, that "truth is the revelation of that which makes a people certain, clear, and strong in its action and knowledge". To both Heidegger and Prof. Andrews, I disagree.

[1] “The Grand Challenge Public Lecture Series” lectured by Prof. Peter Andrews [2]

[3] retrieved from

Note: I sent an email both to Mr Sanders and Mr Coaldrake of the QUT about this:

"I recently attended “The Grand Challenge Public Lecture Series” lectured by Prof. Peter Andrews and feel the need to expose my indignation about it. I am a new PhD Researcher at QUT, on architectural democracy:

QUT is responsible for the quality of the events it organizes such as of “The Grand Challenge Public Lecture Series”. The importance of such is plain obvious and it should be put into constant critical analyzes." Mr. Sanders replied and we met in a most agreeable discussion. Mr. Andrews never commented.

Pedro Aibeo 15.04.2014

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