Insider knowledge

While the literal meaning of utopia is ‘no place’, an OU-topia could be almost any place. Even when physically isolated, an Open University student, engaged in studying, could be part of a ‘public’, involved in learning through dialogue. 

An appreciation of Ailsa McKay, 1963 – 2014

Scottish feminist economist Ailsa McKay died last week after a battle with cancer and a lifetime inspiring a better kind of economics in Scotland and across the world.

‘monstrous flattery of the ego of the “common man”’; the BBC & the ‘popular’

Things need to change – there’s no disagreement about that; but the efficacy of starting with the closure of BBC 3 can be disputed. Whatever else is in play, the choice of a less than highbrow channel to chop speaks to a long BBC unease with the ‘popular’.

Turning the tanker

Good-bye BBC 3! For David Elstein this signals not the end of civilisation but the inevitable consequences of cuts and changes – and speaks to how the new D-G is dealing with his Trustees.

The case for treating migrants well is about much more than the economy

The government has been hiding evidence that immigration costs jobs. It doesn't, but those who want to defend migrants shouldn't be distracted by such arguments - the case for allowing people to move is about much more than economics.

The lumpen commentariat

We may have acquired the right to speak freely, but what good does it do if nobody’s listening?

Modern slavery: keeping it hidden

Why the British government's new Bill tackling slavery will not work.

Fail and prosper: how privatisation really works

Want to make £10 million and more? Become an accountant. Learn how to make austerity pay. 

Our rightward drift goes beyond politics

Thatcher and Blair have seeped into our social and cultural lives as well.

Just Money, introduction

In this exclusive extract from Just Money: How Society Can Break the Despotic Power of Finance Ann Pettifor describes how orthodox economics and finance have promoted a profoundly inadequate account of money. Change is necessary and possible. But it will come only through a revolution in the general public’s understanding.

Scotland should be talking about real alternatives

The phoney currency debate in Scotland relies on misunderstanding and is helping to marginalise the real alternative.

The thin blue line between security, policing and the arms trade

On March 12-14 the quiet English town of Farnborough will play host to the Security & Policing conference and exhibition. This event will bring together some of the world's largest arms companies with some of the worst human rights abusers.

Flooding won't necessarily help people 'get' climate change

A new report by COIN shows how rapidly media reporting of the recent UK storms degenerated into narratives of blame focusing on environmentalists.

Voting for the climate?

Climate policy should be a major consideration for voters heading for the polls in May’s European parliamentary elections.

Academic writing - why bother?

The opening up of academic material beyond select and expensive journals should be grasped as an opportunity to re-examine the way academics communicate their ideas with the public.

Which republicanism are we talking about?

Too narrow an interpretation of republicanism can rob us off many of the tools and insights we should now be employing. This is no time for elite paternalism.

The IMF – our sleeping beauty?

Finance has cast a spell on the framework for international economic co-operation established after the Second World War. The 2007-8 crisis and its aftermath highlight the need to rouse the IMF and the World Bank from their slumbers.

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Why I was right to make 'Hitler spoof' video about botched NHS IT project

The creator of the now-infamous 'Downfall' parody of the medical records project - on why parody addresses power imbalances.

Lower aspirations for higher education

The British university system was until recently seen as one of the best in the world. Now students pay dearly for the privilege of supporting big business, says Barbara Gunnell 

Why the precariat is not a “bogus concept”

The precariat, a class-in-the-making, is the first mass class in history that has systematically been losing rights built up for citizens. So, why is it the new dangerous class and how is it differentiated from other class groups in the evolving global labour process?

The modern return of Vagrancy Law

The crime of 'being suspicious' seems to be making a return as the state seems ever more keen to police the poor and vulnerable. The recent case of 'stolen food' from Iceland is a perfect example.

How co-operatives can help Generation Y take control over their future

Co-operatives can give a generation of graduates the chance to reclaim their future.

Reuniting the monetary union: a proposal to counter the eurozone’s imbalances

Persistent trade imbalances are threatening to derail the European economy. Luca Fantacci calls for a European Clearing Union to promote a sustainable pattern of production and consumption across the Eurozone.

Can anyone patch up, or is it too late?

Every government reassurance about just brings more questions. The bottom line - in whose interests is the government acting when handling England's medical records - just won't go away.

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