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En Liang Khong

En Liang Khong is openDemocracy’s assistant editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Refugee or economic migrant? Join the dots Theresa May

The compartmentalisation of individuals into the categories of economic migrants or refugees obscures the fundamental ways in which these two groups are intimately related through remittance economies. 

This time, it’s different

Paul Mason’s Postcapitalism is a book for our times—and the decades ahead.

Rana Plaza: the bottom-up route to workers’ safety

The wellbeing of outsourced workers in emerging countries is often linked to western ethical consumption but the aftermath of Rana Plaza has shown that union power at source is key.

Assessing Bahrain’s fiscal stance

The key to fiscal policy reform lies in ending the political stalemate through democratisation and public participation in policy making.

The 'equality economy': tackling labour-market insecurity in Europe

While since '9/11' a militarised conception of security has dominated the world, the global economic crisis has seen insecurity in the labour market mushroom. Marking international workers' day, could Europe lead the way to a more secure 'equality economy'?

Rana Plaza: the struggle continues

A year after the huge loss of mainly-female Bangladeshi garment workers’ lives at Rana Plaza, unions are still fighting for compensation for the victims, safety at work and a living wage

The Cyprus 'bail-in' blunder: a template for Europe?

The justification for the ‘rescue’ plan for Cyprus appears reasonable: taxpayers should not have to pay for the costly mistakes of bankers and ‘tax havens’ should be eliminated. But the ‘bail-in’ plan does not achieve these objectives.

An investment wonderland? Reality checks

Since the collapse of the USSR investors have flocked to Russia, tempted by the high rates of return and the Alice in Wonderland atmosphere in Moscow, where everything seems possible. But the Russian business community has rather less faith in the future promised them by their government, says Pavel Usanov

Russian consumerism: market boom chaos

The collapse of the USSR replaced the perennial shortages of goods and services with the problem of low incomes and rising prices. Today management is grossly inefficient, but rampant corruption blocks any moves to improve the situation. People complain, but they still vote as they’re told at elections, says Vladimir Gryaznyevich

Russia: an Oprichnik economy

Owning a business in Russia today is a hazardous affair: each year thousands of companies close after their owners are accused of ‘economic crimes’ and face either prison or protection payments to government officials. Andrey Zaostrovtsev describes a system reminiscent of an equally lawless period in Russia’s past (photo: RIA Novosti Agency).

Whatever happened to Russia’s economic miracle?

The first eight years of the last decade were incredibly successful for Russia’s economy, but the crisis of 2008 hit hard and growth remains decidedly sluggish. Dmitry Travin wonders whether the country’s economy will ever be able to regain the Midas touch.

India Burning

When the rice harvest season finishes in a few weeks, fields in India will turn black as farmers burn thousands of acres. This practice shows one of the failures of the Green Revolution, with devastating regional and global consequences. A food-security-obsessed India cannot ignore these issues for much longer.

If voting could change anything: the 2012 Catalan Elections

A vote next week will probably enable the controversial referendum on independence in Catalonia. Madrid continues to try to thwart the move, while demonstrations – and statistics – tell a different story

Migration and development: a question of barriers

Immigration policy should balance both the needs of the British economy and the developmental impact the policy will have on countries of origin. Overcoming popular and political resistance to this will not be easy, but it is a conversation that needs to start now.

Bolivian highway: omen of an emerging new regional and world order

A highway to be built through a national park and indigenous lands has sparked protests in Bolivia. The author contends that far more than just an issue in Bolivian politics, this dispute is played out in the region with a more aggressive Brazil shaping Latin relations and internationally, between a newly assertive China and a waning United States. 

Don’t bank on gender equality from the UK high street

Women are facing a double-bind, bearing the brunt of banks' practices both in the build up to, and in the wake of, the economic crisis. In a feminised recession, with women bearing the brunt of job losses and austerity measures, do we now need to add another grim example – women being undermined by their banks?

Is Russia’s protest movement a flash in the pan?

Putin is back in power and the numbers of Russians actively protesting against the regime have dwindled. Six months on, what has the protest movement achieved and does it have a future? Dmitry Travin points to huge differences of opinion in different areas of the country and among different strata of society, and concludes it all depends on the economy.

Supply Side and Plan A - the straightest path to human tragedy

The Coalition's economic 'Plan A' ultimately has a strategy of wage repression at its heart. This will undermine the conditions needed for economic revival but, above all, will impose incalculable human costs on the mass of British people 

Why the gender pay gap matters

With so many families in Britain struggling in the face of the Coalition's austerity measures, wage inequalities between men and women seem low down on almost everyone's agenda. But as increasing numbers of households depend on women’s wages, equal pay for equal work is a more pertinent demand than ever, says Ray Filar

Threat to opportunity: the new logic of climate policy

In the clutches of recession, the Ryanair chief executive may now breathe a sigh of relief as binding emission reductions seem further off than ever before. Now, the only thinkable solutions to climate change are those which also provide an immediate, tangible boost to economic growth. But can market logic provide the solution to this ever-escalating crisis?

Taxation: Bahrain's alternative path to political reform

Bahrain's uprising was curtailed by a brutal crackdown. Could the rising sectarianism and tense Sunni-Shia divide be reversed through taxation?

The Russian banking system: between the market and the state

For the last 20 years Russian attitudes to banks have been ambivalent. From no trust at all to feverish delight at the interest rates delivered by the oil boom and back to severe doubts during the recent crisis period. Competition needs to develop and the banks need to come out of the hands of the state, says Pavel Usanov

The German left’s defence of Europe

While Angela Merkel opts for a narrow definition of the German interest, the opposition champions a return to European collectivism based on leftist values

Are higher tuition fees justified?

Are higher tuition fees justified by the cost of providing undergraduate education? Chris Goodall breaks down the cost of one sought-after degree course, and comes to some controversial conclusions.

Kickstarting the Kyrgyz economy

On 8 April 2010 Kyrgyzstan experienced its second revolution in five years. The corrupt regime of President Bakiev fell as citizens rebelled after government troops opened fire on protesters, killing more than 80 people and wounding 1500. The new interim government is now preparing elections.

Remembering Gaidar, man of many talents

Unfairly savaged by Russian populists, Russia’s radical reformer was a brilliant technocrat, a rigorous academic, and a good man. Marek Dabrowski remembers his friend Yegor Gaidar.

In search of honest money

Making money work for society will require splitting out its three roles

Recovery requires redistribution

As governments everywhere struggle with cutting deficits without hammering the recovery from the financial crisis, a new book argues that Keynes has had the solution for a long time.

Not poverty, but lack of freedom

International economic indicators suggest that Russia’s problems are not those of the developing world. Relatively speaking, its people are not poor. But its economy is just not free

Killing aid

Dambisa Moyo's anti-aid thesis is poorly argued, ignores the facts and is unrealistic in its recommendations. That is not to say all is right with the aid system argues the blogger on the Zambian Economist

What can be learnt from piracy

Daniele Archibugi comments on Leeson's view of the economic rationality of pirates.

Interview with James Galbraith

James Galbraith talks about Paul Krugman's NYT article, "How Did Economists Get It So Wrong?",  the academic discipline after the crash, the forgotten traditions in economics, the economics and law of fraud and much else over breakfast at the Goodenough Club

Cash flow in the Gaza Strip

The military offensive against Gaza was the latest stage in a calculated assault on the feasibility of a Palestinian state, and in particular a viable Palestinian economy

How should the economy be regulated?

The US system of Public Utility Commissions provides a model for democratically accountable large-scale investment making.
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