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Introducing Uneconomics: February 6 to 12 on openDemocracy

The west’s financial crisis has exposed great failures of economic thinking as well as policy. This week, we launched “Uneconomics”. It challenges the dominance of orthodox economists. They have taken over the thinking and language of both policy-making and media coverage of business and finance. Their wretched narrowness has reinforced the crisis. A quite different approach is needed, that is anthropological and social. The editor, and author of the opening blast, is Will Davies. If he is right, you won’t read a debate like this anywhere else.
20 February 2012

In Russia, the economic fractures intensify the political pressures on Vladimir Putin - these are explored in oDRussia by Vladimir Pastukhov, by Fyodor Lukyanov who defends a BBC series on the Putin years from its critics, as well as by Andrei Konchalovsky, who invokes history to advise Russia’s protesters to be cautious.

The protests in England against the government’s controversial health-service changes have reached a political pitch. But Our Kingdom’s stethoscope too is on England’s deep governance, with Gavin Barker emphasising the net’s potential to reinvigorate local democracy, the 70-something Trevor Smith looking at the consequences of the role of prime minister being a “mid-career” job, and James Butler thinking the new network politics through the prism of Paul Mason’s arguments.

The relaunched openSecurity features Ahmed E Souaiaia on the chances of region-fuelled civil war in Syria, while Vicken Cheterian assesses the balance of forces in a crucial period for Tunisia andVolker Perthes presents an overview of year two of the Arab revolution. Giuliano Battiston writes on the Afghan war’s legacy, which is also explored in Paul Rogers’s column; and Vidhya Ramalingam on the rise of Europe’s radical right is also reflected in contrasting views of Hungary from György Schöpflin and Anton Pelinka.

In 50:50, Nazek Ramadan challenges anti-immigrant prejudice via a new newspaper written by migrants: Migrant Voice. From Africa’s east and west, stories of displacement: Kathambi Kinoti in 50:50 on the African Union’s silence on the continent’s “land grabs” and their damage to women’s livelihoods, and Morten Bøås on the roots and reinvention of the Nigerian Islamist movement Boko Haram. In Colombia too, local insecurities are at the heart of continued turbulence, as Adam Isacson shows.

Our authors examine elections past (Taiwan) and future (France), the case against campaigning Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón, the linguistic trap of China’s elite, and a new Hollywood film on Bosnia’s horrors. They find lessons too in a report on the killing of a Pakistani journalist, media coverage of Japan’s tsunami, and the tortured history of Israel and the political left. And Rebecca Willis asks a 21st-century question: what is energy for?

You won’t want to miss:

openDemocracy’s week in 400 words is emailed to Members and Friends to help pay for our great content. Please forward this to any contact you think might be interested and want to join; they should see here or email[email protected].

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals


To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.


By adding my name to this campaign, I authorise openDemocracy and Foxglove to keep me updated about their important work.

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