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This week's editor

NSS, editor

Niki Seth-Smith is a freelance journalist and contributing editor to 50.50.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Biopolitics, territories and signs of crisis in multinational network companies

There is still a solid social cushion in France if we compare it to other European countries. But the pressure for work-hour productivity – one of the highest in the world – oppresses generations of digital cognitive workers. 

UK security firm G4S provides services to Israeli prisons, police and army

The world’s biggest security company, fast devouring UK public services — police, justice, health, asylum housing, is complicit in Israeli human rights abuses

Jobless reindustrialisation: down and out in Detroit and Turin

The consensus of the UK's three main political parties of the need to 'rebalance' the economy fails to acknowledge the paradoxes of modern systems of production. Aaron Peters examines how the global processes of mechanisation and outsourcing have together made impotent the possibility of recovery via 'reindustrialisation'. 

Goldman Sachs and hard work

Since trucking deregulation began under President Jimmy Carter, trucking rates are no longer set by the federal government, but by companies like SSA Marine, who can avoid paying benefits if their truckers are not classified as employees

Desertec video - solar power from the Sahara

A Scriberia animation describes the "Desertec" project - using solar power concentrators in North Africa and bringing power to Europe with High Voltage DC lines. Why not?

Murdoch and the Big Lie

The Murdoch affair is demonstrating not only that Rupert and James are not 'fit and proper' people to run a media empire in Britain, but that David Cameron and George Osborne are ill-suited to running a government.

Marlière across La Manche: a diary of the 2012 French presidential election

Charles de Gaulle once said that the French presidential election was “an encounter between the nation and a man” (sic). Big Charles may have been right in suggesting that this election is about personality politics. There is much more to it though. Through this election diary, I invite you to follow my journey into this historic European election: analysis of results, as well as personal thoughts on candidates, debates, the media, opinion polls and the “mood” of French voters.

Global Civil Society and the rise of the civil economy

The last thirty years has seen the re-emergence of a civil economic challenge, side by side with the advance of globalisation, as a distinct strand in the development of global civil society. Don’t underestimate its longterm significance in the glacial shifts now taking place in the world economy.  

The colours of disintegration: interpreting the 2012 elections in Greece

Economic depression is as ever a catalyst for change. This map of the terrain launches a series of analyses of the Greek elections and their European ripple effect, as the two parties that have dominated Greek politics since the downfall of the Junta face a “shellacking” and the far right waits in the wings

The deep structure of the European crisis

Instead of deepening integration, the famous Franco-German engine now represented by the Merkozy-Sarkel tandem has brought the EU to the fringe of disintegration. Where does the road lead from here? Will Europe combust, as some of its rivals and adversaries hope and suggest - or are there options and alternatives for reinventing itself?

Taking risks with the economy? It's time to throw caution to the wind

What do British banks and prisons have in common? They are both part of systems designed to manage risks and that are now part of the problem. We need to break the cycle by opening up policy-making to more experimental, less familiar forms of intervention and regulation. What is there to lose, that the financial status quo isn't already losing? There may be a lesson here for the rest of the West as well.

Reinstating trust in the Greek psyche

The Greek reality encourages an ‘every man for himself’ mentality in everyday life – which in turn opens the way to growing political extremism and further damages the social fabric of society. Only the people can counter this downward spiral, and some are doing so. 

Alex Salmond, Rupert Murdoch and the pitfalls of crony capitalism

Up until now, the SNP has been seen as as a decent government, less in thrall to the corporate classes than Cameron's Coalition. But the pact made between Scotland's First Minister and the Murdoch media empire punctures this moral high-ground. Can he reclaim it?

Solomon comes to Iceland

Guilty? Not guilty? The verdict handed down this week by an Icelandic court found former Prime Minister Geir H.Haarde to be both. The verdict seems balanced to some, but extremely unsatisfactory to many.  

The fall and future of Dutch neo-liberal nationalism

The collapse of budget negotiations and the upcoming elections in Holland provide opportunities for the emergence of better answers to the violence done by nationalist antagonisms, imposed through neo-liberal austerity programmes

The Third Industrial Revolution - a response to the Economist

The Third Revolution by nature of its high mechanisation and non-labour intensity means an ever larger proportion of the general public will be excluded from the production process or remunerated to ever lesser extents.

Murdoch and the UK culture secretary: we shouldn't be surprised, we should be angry

James Murdoch's appearance before the Leveson Inquiry has revealed the complicity between the government and the media empire in pushing for the takeover of satellite broadcaster BSkyB. Independence was thrown to the wind in the gleeful rush towards de-regulation.

The Arab uprisings

It is a long road from an initial uprising to something that can be called a successful revolution. So far in the Arab region, only Tunisia has met even the minimum criteria of revolutionary success. And although there is increasing talk of a ‘Turkish’ or ‘Indonesian’ model combining a pious society with a democratic state, the region as a whole is stuck in a phase of fragile pacts and illiberal renewal

The end of the Murdoch Archipelago

This week, the media mogul once unquestioningly known as 'the kingmaker' appears before the UK state inquiry into the British press - a day after his son and would-be heir. To mark this moment, we publish the new introduction to the defining account of the 113-year-old Murdoch dynasty, asking the question: how did we come to this?

"Food sovereignty" as a transformative model of economic power

The argument is being made that “food sovereignty” is an organising principle so demonstrably strong that it has the potential to transform economic power. Can we really invest in it as the ecological principle to take us into the 21st century? Jenny Allsopp reports from the AWID Forum 2012

YPF in the world

The sudden expropriation of Argentina’s YPF’s oil firm has stirred alarm across Spain, the EU and international business. But the galloping radicalization of economic policy led by a group of young officials in Buenos Aires is grounded in lessons drawn from the global crisis and the errors of European austerity. The results are uncertain, but the reasons are resounding.

The (mis)rule of the econocrats: how to re-politicise economics

The financial crisis demonstrated extraordinary failures on the part of policy elites and economic experts. And yet we remain governed by technocrats. We need to re-politicise economic policy-making, or else repeat the mistakes of the past.

European publics, desperately seeking European politics

The scope and seriousness of communication about Europe, and concurrent growing demands for European democracy from civil society might even legitimize an argument about an emerging European public sphere like never before. Yet the euro crisis debate also reveals the weaknesses of Europe as a political entity.

Britain's disabled are being abandoned by the state

The UK government is radically cutting support for the disabled. What does that mean for people living with disability?

Greece and the new pan-European value - profit

The fact that the Union’s upper echelons do not want to dig deeper for Greece in the name of accountability, name names and sever all ties with those that are personally politically responsible should make a lot of people suspicious about the Union’s motives.

What does transforming economic power mean?

Today's targeting of women in processes of realigning economic controls is perhaps quite unique. In order to unpack and understand economic power, we must revisit the different realms in which power operates, and the various forms that it takes - visible, hidden and invisible.

The Eurozone’s politics according to the Financial Times

In the last two years newspapers have been promising more or less the same thing to Eurozone citizens: collapse, soon. But the Eurozone has proved surprisingly resilient and shown evidence of a commonality of superior interests and a capacity to coordinate against the fringes.

Partnership or PR? Chevron in Bangladesh

Chevron are investing in communities and promoting human rights in Bangladesh, claiming that partnership with communities is not just good business practice, but crucial for social progress. But are these real partnerships - publishing what they pay, supporting anti-corruption measures and being accountable?

Bangladesh: journey of fear towards an uncertain future

The two large parties in Bangladesh have already turned to the worst sort of dynastic politics. At the same time, Islamist influences and left wing groups are becoming ever more involved with the dominant political forces. Alongside this, parliament has become totally ineffective

Reclaiming care as a fundamental end in itself

In the global context of economic insecurity and emerging 'care crises', there is a real risk that the development industry becomes complicit in compounding women’s burden of unpaid care and entrenching traditional gender roles -  something we must guard against, argues Emily Esplen

"Positive thinking" for the unemployed - my adventures at A4e

How to get Britain's unemployed back to work? Re-invigorate the job market? Skill them up? Or co-erce them into taking courses in 'motivation' and 'self-belief?' Tick 1,2 or 3... but just remember, you won't get the right answer if you don't have the right mental attitude!

Revolutionizing the Canadian social justice sector

Environmental groups seem to have attracted particular government ire. In other cases, officials have labelled civic groups unpatriotic… The Conservatives may have done Canadians a favour. Deprived of federal funding, independent activists will now have to learn new ways of ethically raising money from individuals, communities, and businesses.

The price of independence: Scotland and Britain according to the Economist

The magazine 'The Economist' has declared its position on Scottish independence. Their warning to the Scots: 'it'll cost you'. Their stand-point typifies a market fundamentalist view of Britain that denies the vast potential of a Scotland free of the Union.

SCRAP-GDAMS: realising global disarmament

Governments and the military industrial complex continue to do business as usual and such business is fostering conflict and war around the world. The year 2011 was particularly conflictive and 2012 is reaching new alarming levels, particularly in the Middle East. Sino-American relations remain tense and the situation in North-East Asia is also fluctuating. SCRAP fights back…

Draining the hourglass: Iraqi refugees in Jordan

In Jordan, Iraqi refugees are commonly referred to as ‘brothers’ yet at the same time also suffer a variety of social stigmas. But do Ali and his family have a better chance, having worked for the coalition forces?

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