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April 15 2011


Economic Democracy: An Idea Whose Time Has Come, Again? | Social Europe 2011-04-14


Two familiar and intersecting contradictions of union action were evident across Europe. One was the dilemma of short-term imperatives versus long-term objectives. Was the aim to negotiate with those wielding political and economic power for damage limitation, and perhaps a tighter regulatory architecture for financialised capitalism; or to lead an oppositional movement for an alternative socio-economic order?

According to one Belgian socialist union leader, “The situation really is not simple for trade union organisations. The analysis of the crisis is not complicated: neoliberalism cannot deliver. The difficulty is that today, discourse is not enough. It is easy to say: we need to change the balance of forces. But that does not tell us how to proceed…. Our members expect us to look after their immediate interests.”

The second contradiction was between a global economic crisis and trade union action which is essentially national or indeed sub-national in character. The international trade union organisations produced powerful analyses and progressive demands, but their impact on day-to-day trade union practice on the ground was non-existent. Indeed the dominant response has been to defend and enhance competitiveness, meaning a struggle of country against country, workplace against workplace, intensifying the downwards pressure on wages and conditions.

To these two contradictions must be added the loss of a vision of an alternative socio-economic order. Actually, ‘existing socialism’ had discredited the idea of communism long before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Social democracy likewise abandoned the struggle for a new social order in the face of economic adversity, engaging in concession bargaining with multinational capital and the international financial institutions. Centre-left trade unionists came to object to the ‘new, overmighty capitalism’ of hedge funds, asset-stripping, financial speculation and astronomical bonuses. The solution, it appeared, was to seek to restore the old capitalism: the trade union movement should ‘become a champion of good business practices, of decent relations with decent employers while ruthlessly fighting the speculators’.[2]

So has the crisis indeed been wasted? Perhaps one means of connecting short-term (and probably ineffectual) defence to a struggle for another world of work could be renewed attention to the idea of economic democracy. In the past two years, there has been much discussion of the deficiencies in existing systems of corporate governance, particularly as the liberalisation of global financial transactions has made ‘shareholder value’ the overriding corporate goal even in ‘coordinated’ market economies.[3] The solution, however, cannot simply be a technocratic regulatory fix; what is required is democratic control of capital. With the shock of crisis, some union policymakers have come to recognise that the overriding challenge is to build a movement for greater democratisation of the economy and to create new links between different levels of regulation and different issues on the regulatory agenda.


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"Economic Democracy: An Idea Whose Time Has Come, Again?" by Richard Hyman

‘There can be no return to business as usual’: this was the unanimous trade union response to the global crisis. For a time in early 2009, the legitimacy of capitalism was itself questioned in...
Reposted from02myEcon-01 02myEcon-01

April 10 2011

March 08 2011


Les Livres de Philosophie: L'empire de la compassion



Février 2011 - Encre Marine – 23 €

La compassion est devenue, peu à peu, dans notre aire culturelle mondialisée, le signe de l'«humanité» en nous. À présent, sa domination non seulement sur la morale mais sur la représentation que les hommes se font d'eux-mêmes comme de leurs rapports sociaux et politiques, est si indiscutable qu'une idéologie récente comme celle du « Care » (soin, sollicitude, souci de l'autre, aide apportée à l'autre) s'y enracine entièrement. Pourquoi un tel empire ?
Pour le comprendre, ne faut-il pas se demander quand et comment l'identification de la vertu d'humanité à la compassion s'est produite ?
C'est là l'un des objectifs du présent essai qui prend son départ dans l'articulation du problème philosophique suivant : la compassion relève-t-elle de l'amour ou de la justice ?
Il m'a semblé qu'une fois définie la compassion et retracées les grandes étapes de son histoire conceptuelle (d'Aristote à Levinas), une importance toute particulière devait être accordée à la position de Nietzsche, pour qui le respect du malheur que nous nous imposons au nom de la morale représente le pire des malheurs qui puisse frapper l'humanité considérée dans sa globalité. (P.A.)

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March 07 2011


Berkman Center: Wiki - Digital Library of America Project



The Berkman Center will convene a large and diverse group of stakeholders to define the scope, architecture, costs, and administration for a proposed Digital Public Library of America. This initiative was launched in December 2010 with generous support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Planning activities will be guided by a Steering Committee of library and foundation leaders, which promises to announce a full slate of activities in early 2011. The Committee plans to bring together representatives from the educational community, public and research libraries, cultural organizations, state and local government, publishers, authors, and private industry in a series of meetings and workshops to examine strategies for improving public access to comprehensive online resources.

The initiative stems from an October 2010 meeting held at the Radcliffe Institute to discuss the possibility of creating a Digital Public Library of America. That meeting, attended by leaders from research libraries, foundations, and a variety of cultural institutions, resulted in a statement that will serve as a jumping-off point for the initiative.

Contributing to the Wiki

The evolution and success of this initiative rely on inputs from a diverse range of stakeholders and community members; we very much hope that this wiki will be the embodiment of a consensus-based and peer-produced approach.

This is just a starting point, which we hope will grow with your input and suggestions. Please help us to develop these resources and conversations by creating an account and contributing links and resources directly to the wiki, or by e-mailing Rebekah Heacock at the Berkman Center with your contributions.

Not sure where to start? Check out the most active pages or the pages with the fewest contributions so far.

Research Tracks in Support of Workstreams

The DPLA Steering Committee has formally established 5 workstreams: Content and Scope; Financial/Business Models; Governance; Legal Issues; and Technical Aspects for our initial planning phase. Community members have added two further research tracks: Audience and Interactivity. Please feel free to contribute to any of these research tracks and propose new ones. The Steering Committee will consider adding new workstreams for the next planning phases based on suggestions here on the wiki. (A note on what follows: on behalf of the Steering Committee, I've added "Big Issues" under each track based on conversations, in person on 3/1/11 in Cambridge, MA. As ever, consider them editable all the same. - John Palfrey)




I came out of it invigorated and depressed at the same time. Invigorated: An amazing set of people, very significant national institutions ready to pitch in, an alignment on the value of access to the works of knowledge and culture. Depressed: The !@#$%-ing copyright laws are so draconian and, well, stupid, that it is hard to see how to take advantage of the new ways of connecting to ideas and to one another. As one well-known Internet archivist said, we know how to make works of the 19th and 21st centuries accessible, but the 20th century is pretty much lost: Anything created after 1923 will be in copyright about as long as there’s a Sun to read by, and the gigantic mass of works that are out of print, but the authors are dead or otherwise unreachable, is locked away as firmly as an employee restroom at a Disney theme park.

So, here are some of the issues we discussed yesterday that I found came home with me. Fortunately, most are not intractable, but all are difficult to resolve and, some, to implement:

Should the DPLA aggregate content or be a directory? Much of the discussion yesterday focused on the DPLA as an aggregation of e-works. Maybe. But maybe it should be more of a directory. That’s the approach taken by the European online library, Europeana. But being a directory is not as glamorous or useful. And it doesn’t use the combined heft of the participating institutions to drive more favorable licensing terms or legislative changes since it itself is not doing any licensing.


Joho the Blog » Questions from and for the Digital Public Library of America workshop - 20110302 - David Weinberger

March 01 2011

February 22 2011

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Eszter Hargittai & Aaron Shaw on The Internet, Young Adults and Political Participation-| Berkman Center at Harvard University

November 29 2010


Repräsentation: Die Basis ist das Problem | Der Freitag 20101128

Stuttgart 21 beweist die Krise der Parteien. Ortsvereine und Apparatschiks blockieren Partizipation, während sie mit der Gesellschaft Schritt halten sollten

Im Wahlkampf 2009 vermerkte ich die Mitarbeiterbesprechungen des Willy Brandt-Hauses mit dem Kürzel „ZK“ – wie für „Zentralkomitee“ – in meinem Kalender. Wahlkampfleiter Kajo Wasserhövel malte den Mitarbeitern des SPD-Parteivorstandes bei diesen Terminen stets die historische Zwangsläufigkeit eines Wahlsieges aus. Er beschwor die „guten Perspektiven“ der SPD, schimpfte über „Pressekampagnen“ gegen die „gemeinwohlorientierte Politik“ der Sozialdemokratie. Franz Münteferings Propagandabeauftragter schien von der tatsächlichen Lage der SPD völlig unberührt. Die Mitarbeiter, fanatisiert, abgestumpft oder verängstigt, reagierten auf diesen Irrsinn mit Schweigen und rhythmischem Applaus am Ende der Veranstaltung. Kritische Nachfragen gab es nicht. Wie im ZK der SED eben.


Professionalität? Im Gegenteil

Das verstörende Ergebnis: In den deutschen Parteien prägen nicht die Mitglieder Struktur und Parteikultur. Das Gegenteil ist der Fall. Die Mitglieder haben sich einem quasi-hegemonialen Regelwerk zu beugen. Aus diesem Grund sind Parteien nicht nur wenig anziehend für Außenstehende, sondern auch weitgehend veränderungsunfähig. Diese Fehlentwicklung ist nicht mit Professionalisierung zu verwechseln. Die Verkrustung führt zum genauen Gegenteil professioneller Arbeit.

Der Mehrteil der Parteifunktionäre sieht sich durch den Versuch, diese Strukturen zu verändern, unmittelbar bedroht. Mit Recht: Es geht um die Abschaffung der Regelwerke, denen sie ihren Aufstieg verdanken. Der klassische Funktionär kennt diese Regeln als unabänderlich. Konkurrenten und Nachfolger sollen ebenso viele Ortsvereinssitzungen ertragen müssen wir er, um auf seine Position gelangen zu können. Nach anderen Regeln spielen kann und will er nicht. Erst Recht nicht dann, wenn es darum geht, die Partei zu öffnen. Denn der Funktionär weiß, dass ein Mehr an qualifizierten, aktiven Mitgliedern beinahe automatisch sein Aus bedeuten würde.#


Reposted bykrekk krekk

April 16 2010

Kein Geld für E-Government!

Bei und dem Private Democracy Forum erforscht Micah Sifry, wie Technologie Politik beeinflusst und politische Partizipation gefördert werden kann. Staatlich finanzierte Mitmachseiten, sagt er, sind Geldverschwendung.

February 23 2009

Das deutsche Problem: Nichts sehen. Nichts hören. Ja nicht drüber reden - Debatten - Feuilleton - FAZ.NET - 2008-12-27

.... Investigative Kritik als aussterbendes Handwerk - .... Schleichwerbeskandale im öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunk oder Stasi-Verstrickungen, all das wird hierzulande nach der gleichen Methode abgefertigt: Mittleres juristisches Scharmützel und währenddessen und danach: Klappe halten ... Aufklärung ist kein Wert an sich mehr und investigative Kritik ein aussterbendes Handwerk, dem nur noch das Freiluftmuseum fehlt. Nie erfolgt auf einen Skandal oder eine Krise eine Reaktion von einiger Anmut oder gar Originalität. Nie wird mehr zugestanden, als bekannt ist, nie wird das eigene Handeln in eine Geschichte gekleidet und der Öffentlichkeit dargestellt. - Sich bedeckt zu halten, sichert offensichtlich mehr Vorteile als die offene Auseinandersetzung oder gar das umfassende Geständnis. ...."
Reposted byfilme filme
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