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This week's editor

Constitutional conventions: best practice

"Currency war" rhetoric obscures the real need for realignment

Global economy remains so imbalanced that significant currency shifts are needed, not only to help pull the West out of its slump but to ensure a stable and viable world for us all.

Freedom to follow orders: the democracy Bush and Blair wanted for Iraq

It is worth asking whether the last ten years would have been such a disaster under the consensual, independent, and Iraqi-led transition that the British and Americans were so keen to avoid.

Iraq after 10 years

It is the marriage of the intimate knowledge of the particular - the only knowledge the particular is susceptible to, by definition - with a moral compass, that should have guided policy towards Iraq. openDemocracy's debates were my re-schooling.

Folkhemmet

In this excerpt from ‘Sweden: the reluctant nation’, published as part of Counterpoint’s ‘Europe’s Reluctant Radicals’ project, Göran Rosenberg explores the history of the Swedish political ideal of ‘folkhemmet’ [the people’s home].

Yemen: where is the transition heading?

The humanitarian situation remains grave. Why doesn’t it receive the attention given to similar situations elsewhere?  With over 10 million people hungry, 13 million without access to water and sanitation, 1 million children malnourished, and about 700,000 IDPs and refugees, there is no doubt that there is a need for urgent humanitarian action.

Egypt: from uprising to revolution?

The two and a half weeks between January 25 and February 11, 2011 proved that in Egypt there is a strong demand for social, political and economic justice, and that the established political elites – religious or secular – are badly out of step with those aspirations.

A toxic dependency: Algeria’s love-hate relationship with its oil

This year's 41st anniversary, celebrated two weeks ago, has been marked in particularly gloomy fashion. Reports have recently emerged floating the prospect of oil reserves drying up and arguing that new discoveries are failing to keep pace with production. This might well turn out to be the best news of all.

This week's window on the Middle East - March 11, 2013

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week, Sidon’s Salafist Sheikh: the roar of the Sunni lion

What was the real purpose of David Cameron's visit to India?

With little mention from the British media, Cameron is negotiating trade agreements that will open the UK jobs market to considerable inflows of Indian labour.

Chávez to eternity

This indeed is the authentic measure of the late president’s achievements: there is now no simple switch in Venezuelan public ideology – no going back. The turn in the post-colonial history of the region is unequivocal.

Hoping for an Italian Spring?

More widely, what the M5S’ success represents is a challenge to the approach to economic reform which has too often rewarded the rich responsible for the problems, while making the working classes pay for Europe’s economic mess.

Outsourcing and employee ownership - growth versus equity?

Previous contributions to this debate have identified worker coops and mutuals as one route to a citizens' economy. But does the strike by cleaning staff at John Lewis point to some problems and limitations of co-operative models?'

From bust to boom: Chavez's economic legacy

Chavez leaves behind an inconsistent report card on 'pro-poor' policies that will only fuel a polarizing legacy as Venezuelans look to address future economic challenges.

This week's window on the Middle East - March 4, 2013

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week, Syrian colours: the greys

Fair Trade and 'The Economist's Critique'

As Fairtrade Fortnight commences it is important to demystify the economic arguments surrounding fair trade.  Is it the case that promoting social justice in the supply chain can serve to undermine the long term prospects of poor southern producers?

Defending the 99%: still a 'slogan' for our times

Many have accused Occupy's 1 / 99 narrative of brushing aside the realities of actual wealth distribution in Britain. Most recently, Craig Berry of the TUC has presented a case that it is time to drop the 'slogan'. Activist Kerry-Anne Mendoza hits back, arguing that it is vital as a global group identity.

The Front of the Ordinary Man

In the wake of the Italian elections, this excerpt from ‘Stagioni del populismo italiano’ examines populism in Italy’s political past and present. How did Guglielmo Giannini’s Qualunquismo movement influence the most recent forms of populism: those of the former Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, and comedian-turned-politician, Beppe Grillo?

Haiti, cholera and the UN: the case for isolation vs infection

One of the most powerful international organisations is pitted against vulnerable people in the poorest country in the Americas. The accusation: that the UN is responsible for Haiti's cholera epidemic. What measures should now be taken? Who, if anyone, is to blame?

Where is the UK's growth coming from?

A Public and Commercial Services Union report on wages and growth in the UK highlights a problem the Coalition have studiously avoided: with job losses and wage cuts, how exactly is the economy to grow? Public sector income is private sector demand.

This week's window on the Middle East - February 25, 2013

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week, an update after Libya's three-day anniversary celebrations: 'Good news' doesn't sell

Under the regime of precarity: bring your own device

At one and the same time technocracy and financial oligarchies find here an ideal medium to extend their influence and their control of individuals in space and time. This explains the fierce struggle going on among key market players.

Unpacking ‘the 99 per cent’

Occupy has spotlighted the super-elite, but the ‘average Brit’ that is pitted against this class does not exist. For the struggle to empower all citizens to succeed in Britain, mapping actual wealth distribution is critical. 

Policy commission on UK wealth distribution: get involved

Birmingham University began a policy commission on the distribution of wealth in Britain late last year. One of the lead academics sets out its findings thus far and appeals for input into its second stage and public meetings to be held this Spring.

No going back

Only recently, we were the world’s worst failed state. Look at us today.

Qatar moving closer to Algeria?

The intensification of economic cooperation - which is very advantageous to both – might be a way to achieve a deepening of political relations, in the context of a possible evolution of regional diplomacy on the part of the two countries.

Kenya’s elections: a make or break moment?

Critically, international election observers (including around 70 observers from the EU) must maintain a strong local presence throughout the election period. The international community must not be caught unprepared again. 

This week's window on the Middle East - February 18, 2013

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week: The maddening betrayal of potato-seller, Omar Salah

Obama and the Middle East: the lessons of Iraq?

Why has the Obama administration been reluctant to intervene directly in the raging Syrian conflict, or even to arm the rebels? Why did the US president refuse to take ownership of the NATO mission in Libya, failing to engage in Tunisia and Egypt? What makes sense of Obama’s strategy towards the greater Middle East?   

Turkey, Syria and the dynamics of ‘cold war redux’

Syria’s neighbours, including Turkey, have the most to lose from an intensifying Syrian conflict, as they directly bear the brunt of it. Thus it is imperative that there is some sort of dialogue across the geopolitical divide. The EU is conspicuous in its absence.

Tibet and its neighbours: China’s stakes and India’s concerns

Tibet’s two giant neighbours, China and India, have a lot at stake in a meaningful settlement of the future of Tibet, and joint efforts need to be made for arriving at a mutually acceptable solution.

We need to talk about the 'Middle'

Addressing the problem of middle Britain today will prove key to the future of the country and its politics. The Labour party has begun to recognise this, but what path will it take?

Obama's liberal vision

At question is the basic American dream: the assumption that a decent life can be earned by hard work.

Divided we fall: intolerance in Europe puts rights at risk

The truth is discomforting: hatred and intolerance are moving into the mainstream in Europe. 

After Bretton Woods: from civic solidarity to political action

From Greece's Golden Dawn to America's Alex Jones, the populist right is utilising the global crisis as the ‘pragmatic’ smokescreen for a variety of backward-looking nationalisms. For the left, it is time to go beyond the civic victories of Occupy and focus on constructing a political alternative to the Bretton Woods institutions.

This week's window on the Middle East - February 11, 2013

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week: How to be different together: Algerian lessons for the Tunisian crisis

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