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September 16 2010

September 15 2010


open-education - The University of Utopia

Opening Education Beyond the Property Relation: From Commons to Communism.

Paper accepted for the Open Education Conference 2010

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Open Education, and specifically the OER movement, seeks to provide universal access to knowledge, undermining the historical enclosure and the increasing privatisation of the public education system. In this paper we examine this aspiration by submitting the implicit theoretical assumptions of Open Education to the test of critical political economy. We acknowledge the Open Education movement's revolutionary potential but outline the inherent limitations of its current focus on the commons (property relations) rather than the social relations of capitalist production (wage work, the company) and because of this, argue that it will only achieve limited, rather than revolutionary, impact.


The opening of education beyond the property relation is distinguished by two terms that are often used interchangeably, yet retain subtle differences: Open Education and Open Educational Resources.

Open Education refers to recent efforts by individuals and organisations across the world to use the Internet to share knowledge, ideas, teaching practices, infrastructure, tools and resources, inside and outside formal educational settings. Through collaboration and experimentation, new pedagogies and curricula are emerging. Although the term Open Education has been used since the 1960s, the current dominant use of the term refers to co-ordinated efforts during the past decade to exploit the growing availability of personal computers and increasingly ubiquitous high speed networks.

Open Educational Resources (OER) refers to both the worldwide community effort to create an educational commons and the actual “educational materials and resources offered freely and openly for anyone to use and under some licenses to re-mix, improve and redistribute” (Wikipedia). Typically, those resources are made available under a Creative Commons license and include both learning resources and tools by which those resources are created, managed and disseminated. As both a means of protecting and liberating research, teaching and learning materials, OER relies heavily on the use of open licenses, all of which are in one way or another derived from the General Public License (GPL) and Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) licenses first created in 1989. Since the 1990s, software has been created and distributed using such licenses and it is widely acknowledged that Creative Commons was inspired by, and drew experience from, the use of open licenses in the world of software.


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Die Tea Party übernimmt gerade die Republikanische ...

Die Tea Party übernimmt gerade die Republikanische Partei in den USA.

Ich glaube ja, in Deutschland steht das auch kurz bevor, dass sich die CDU aufspaltet. Und das wird kein erfreuliches Bild für die Union, weil die extremistischen Hassprediger in Umfragen gerade so auf die 20% kommen, die CDU insgesamt aber nur auf 30%, d.h. wenn die sich abspalten, dann bleiben nur 10% in der anderen Hälfte, der mit den korrupten, inkompetenten Opportunisten. Das ist zwar noch nicht so wenig wie bei der FDP, aber doch knapp unterhalb der Werte Linkspartei.

Die Befürchtung ist natürlich, dass wir als großes Land einfach mit so vielen radikalen Hasspredigern leben müssen und auch können. 20% ist bezeichnenderweise mehr als Le Pen in Frankreich und mehr als Wilders in Holland. Je nach dem, wie man Berlusconi einschätzt, wäre Deutschland dann mal wieder ganz vorne im Rechtsaußen-Politikschema mit dabei. Die Achse Deutschland-Italien hat ja auch Tradition.

Reposted fromfefe fefe

Right Livelihood Award Celebrates 30th Anniversary with Gathering of Laureates in Bonn


We broadcast from Bonn, Germany, where the thirtieth anniversary of the Right Livelihood Awards is being held. The Right Livelihood Award was established in 1980 to honor and support those "offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today." It has become widely known as the "Alternative Nobel Prize," and there are now 137 laureates from fifty-eight countries. We speak with Jakob von Uexkull, the founder of the Right Livelihood Award. [includes rush transcript]

Right Livelihood Award Celebrates 30th Anniversary with Gathering of Laureates in Bonn

The Empire strikes back

Avinash Persaud, 14 September 2010

The role of financial institutions in the global crisis has led to a consensus that financial regulation must change. This column argues that the banking lobby, far from depleted, has struck back with a vengeance. It has managed to postpone the much needed regulation for a time when the need for it will be forgotten.

Full Article: The Empire strikes back
Reposted from02myEcon-01 02myEcon-01

EU stress tests and sovereign debt exposures

Adrian Blundell-Wignall, Patrick Slovik, 14 September 2010

Despite the encouraging results from the stress tests of the EU’s banking sector, market confidence in the financial system remains subdued. This column argues that while most of the sovereign debt held by EU banks is on their banking books, the EU stress test only considered their smaller trading book exposures. Market participants do not have the luxury of being so selective.

Full Article: EU stress tests and sovereign debt exposures
Reposted from02myEcon-01 02myEcon-01

The IMF Calls for Job Creation

As Paul Krugman noted, the OECD has "climbed down" from its recommendation that advanced nations begin cutting spending and raising interest rates right away. The IMF seems to be tempering its message as well:

I.M.F. Calls for Countries to Focus on Creating Jobs, by Liz Alderman, NY Times: Rising long-term unemployment, especially among young people, poses the next big threat to the global economic recovery, the International Monetary Fund warned on Monday. ... Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the managing director of the I.M.F., said the financial crisis “won’t be over until unemployment significantly decreases.”
Mr. Strauss-Kahn urged governments to start factoring back-to-work policies into their overall equation for stoking growth. He added ... that a failure to halt persistent high joblessness could fan social tensions in several countries and restrain growth over time. ...
While governments hit by the financial crisis have had to tighten their belts, in part to address investor concern about rising debt, countries that need to rebuild credibility should first reallocate spending to get the long-term unemployed and young people back into the labor market, said Olivier J. Blanchard, the I.M.F.’s chief economist. ...
Countries that have so far avoided the harsh judgment of financial markets could afford a small increase in debt to ward off persistent joblessness, Mr. Blanchard said. He added that such a move could pay for itself in the form of increased economic activity. ...
Policy makers at the conference referred to the prospect of rising long-term unemployment as a crisis... Mr. Blanchard ... said the United States, too, should consider subsidies to help the long-term unemployed...
Reposted from02myEcon-01 02myEcon-01

Slovakia: No Money for Greece

By Tibor Blazko

In 2006, after eight years of various reforms, lowering the state debt and government deficit in order to meet the Maastricht criteria, the Slovak voters decided it was time to take a break. But the new PM, Robert Fico, under pressure from businesses, changed his pre-election stance, kept the deficit under 3% of the GDP, and in January 2009 Slovakia entered the Eurozone.

But from that moment, in fact like many other euro-countries at that time and before, Fico stopped being afraid of increasing government spending without increasing its income, which resulted in 8% deficit in 2009. One can understand that in the case of a small economy, especially the one tied with the German economy, this was the result of an overall situation in the world. Still, Fico's opponents like to recall his 2008 words: “Slovakia will be not taught by the crisis.”

Then the news of the Greek problems with their high external debt, largely owned by the German and French banks, began to appear. Popular was an interview with Stefanos Manos, published in a Czech newspaper, in which he described the alarming situation in the Greek state sector: high wages, combined with lifetime job guarantees, pensions nearly at the level of wage base, over-employment in state-owned companies. Later also came the reports of Greece's continuous military spending.

The unflattering portrayal of Greece in the Slovak media did not stop Maximos Dragounis, a Slovakia-based ethnic Greek blogger, from describing Greece's debt history in these terms: “[Konstantinos Karamanlis] … started the process of running Greece into debt … Factories and companies that Greece did not need were being built.”

By the time of the 2010 Slovak elections, it was very popular to compare Fico's policies to the Greek ones (e.g., promises of the “13th pension”). The opposition, as expected, was calling the government to act responsibly, but a significant deficit had been created even before the elections.

After the European meeting, the PM came up with a plan to help Greece financially, by increasing the Slovak deficit by another 1.4% of the GDP. The opposition was critical of this so-called solidarity with Greece, arguing that it was an irresponsible step. So, before the parliamentary elections, when the PM's bloc had the majority of seats, it did not find the courage to approve such an unpopular measure. In fact, Fico's party did not vote for it also after the elections. The newly created government kept its original line from the opposition times and promised to lower the deficit under 3% of the GDP in a few years - and did not approve a loan for Greece.

Slovakia came under pressure from the European Central Bank (ECB) because of its refusal “to participate in the Greek bailout.” According to Reuters, ECB's president Jean-Claude Trichet said that ECB would not support “future euro zone applicants if there is a risk they will do something similar.”

A recent comment in a Slovak newspaper alleged that under Trichet's leadership, ECB was buying Greek bonds to help the French banks that had been involved in financing the “Peloponnese adventure”. Also, the German chancellor Angela Merkel allegedly changed her negative opinion on a loan for Greece for the same reason. And ECB's annual 2008 report, published in April 2009, contains no alarming indications of the impending Greek collapse.

A Slovak version of the Reuters report has generated over 1,400 comments, mostly of this kind:


I have a great idea. Let's increase Slovak wages, pensions, benefits, simply everything … borrow from the French and German banks and then say that we don't have the funds to repay the debt. And everyone will help us, and our life quality standard will grow by at least about 200%.


So now it is only Slovakia that is responsible for the problems, while such countries as Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy are in fact innocent victims?

Ľubomír Pastorek:

… and I'd like to know whether Mr. Trichet would accept a country like Greece?


It would be better if he [Trichet] looked into the mirror. What was he doing for ten years that he was not able to find how the Greeks were manipulating the accounting? And what sanctions would be imposed on countries (nearly all in the Eurozone) when their deficits exceed 3 percent? People like him had to be fired from the ECB a long time ago.


Trichet should better worry about his own chair.


I have a suggestion for Mr. Trichet: let him live off 600-700 Euro per month, and the rest of his income he could give to the Greeks.


So if I want to stay in the Eurozone, I would have to move to Greece because Slovakia has destroyed it.

Fero s dlhym…. menom…:

I do not understand… why didn't he speak [as harshly] about Greece?


He does not understand that we will not rescue the German investments in Greece. […]


By no means is it about the German banks - in Greece they only have 30 billion. It is about Italy, Spain, Ireland and other countries, which would be bankrupted by the fall of Greece and the subsequent fall of the Euro.

The most popular opinion under the Czech version:

Roman Mrózek, Bohumín:

A poor country must run into debt to help a richer country?

Finally, a blog post by Lukáš Buček, titled “Slovakia, get out of the Eurozone”:

Yesterday we were entertained or outraged by Jean-Claude Trichet, chief of the European Central Bank. He said that if ECB had known that we would act this way, they wouldn't have accepted us to the Eurozone.

Let's have a closer look. Euro stays on three pillars:

1. Adherence to the [Stability and Growth Pact]
2. ECB is not buying state bonds of Eurozone members
3. No bailout clause, which means prohibition of saving member-countries by interstate loan.

We are criticized by France and Germany. Both countries have already violated the Stability and Growth Pact, which they were not able to adhere to; specifically, they had problems with the 3% public deficit. Greece officially fulfilled the criteria for entering the Eurozone on June 19, 2000, but today we already know that this hadn't happened actually.

We are criticized by Jean-Claude Trichet. He, as the chief of ECB, is responsible for the fact that ECB has violated the second pillar by buying Greek bonds.

We are criticized by the rest of the Eurozone, but we are the only member-state that hasn't violated the “no bailout” clause. Is it normal that they criticize us for not breaking the rules?

And what do we have to pay for? The Greeks have had absurd arms expenditures in peace time, the 2009 budget of the Greek Ministry of Defense was 6.582 billion Euro, for this year they have lowered it to 5.73 billion. [OECD] countries spend the average of 7.2% of GDP pensions, Greeks spend 11.5%. We are giving to it 6.2% of GDP only.

What's interesting is that I can't find anywhere any acknowledgment by the EU, Eurozone or ECB of their regrets for having accepted Greece…

Democracy Now! 2010-09-15 Wednesday

Democracy Now! 2010-09-15 Wednesday

  • Headlines for September 15, 2010
  • Final Primaries Held Before November Midterms, Tea Party Gains Ground in GOP
  • Right Livelihood Award Celebrates 30th Anniversary with Gathering of Laureates in Bonn
  • Another 9/11 Anniversary: September 11, 1973, When US-Backed Pinochet Forces Took Power in Chile
  • From "Little Tibet" to Kenya, Right Livelihood Laureates Fight for Peace and Social Justice
  • France Comes Under Mounting Pressure over Mass Deportation of Roma

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Mapuches, les Chiliens dont on ne parle pas

Ils sont chiliens. Ils sont une trentaine. Ils sont privés de liberté et en danger de mort, mais ce ne sont pas les mineurs bloqués dans une mine du nord du Chili dont les médias relatent le calvaire. Ce sont les « PPM » – les « prisonniers politiques mapuches », tels qu'ils se définissent eux-mêmes –, (...) / Chili, Droits humains, Amérindiens, Minorité nationale, Mouvement de contestation, Répression - La valise diplomatique
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