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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

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?

The future of journalism

In this paper, Angela Phillips paints a picture of a media sector transforming itself in innovative and exciting ways, held back by failing business models. Will the future of our journalism rely on us giving away our private data? Or will we embrace the alternative: a simple online system that would allow us to pay for the content we want?

There is no alternative? New principles for the economy

Hendrik Tiesinga sketches out the basic elements of a new political and economic operating system

Beyond tax-and-spend: revising social democracy for a new age

The director of Britain's leading progressive think-tank sets out his vision for a transformation of social democracy that could renew its credibility and appeal for a new generation.

The debate France urgently needs after the Toulouse attacks

In 'sensitive urban zones' where a third of residents live below the poverty line and unemployment among young people is over 40%, it is difficult to see how people like Mohammed Merah can become part of France’s social fabric. 

European alternatives: trajectories of mobilisation responding to Europe’s crisis

The political culture that supported global and European civil society activism in the 1999-2007 period - challenging neoliberal economic and financial power in the form of governments, EU and global institutions – has appeared irrelevant at the very moment when it could have emerged as a credible alternative to the crisis of European economies and politics. A brief chronology and typology of European resistance so far.

Internships: OurKingdom cross-examines itself

OurKingdom uses unpaid volunteers. Are we providing opportunities and training to those that want and need them? Or are we contributing to a media culture becoming ever more elitist, as those unable to work for little or nothing are cast aside? How, in the current climate, can we improve?

The 1% Strike Back

The richest 1 percent of Americans capture 93 percent of all income growth. The challenge now is not to reinflate the economy, but to build a new foundation for growth by enpowering workers and holding executives accountable for the corrosive effect on democracy of this concentration of wealth.

General strike in the kingdom of Spain: the political economy and basic income

A basic income could be of enormous importance as an integral part of a package of measures designed to guarantee the material existence of all people and their possibilities of living according to their own life plans. Universalising property - by providing the essential conditions for material, and hence social existence to everyone - would universalise the essential condition of truly effective citizenship.

Our Olympics: a case for reclaiming the London 2012 games

As the London 2012 Olympics approach, a campaign is born to give the voice to the majority of British people who stand to gain little from the games, funded by 11bn of taxpayers' money. Who are the real beneficiaries? How do the people occupy the Olympics?

Four Russias: rethinking the post-Soviet map

Russia has traditionally been conceptualised as a single entity, albeit divided into many regions, but is this approach appropriate given the country's stratified population? Natalia Zubarevich argues that for a better understanding of Russia and where it is going we need to think not geographically, but arithmetically.

'Violent shopping': the riots and consumer capitalism

The report on England's riots recommends protecting children from excessive marketing. Too little, too late. If we want to prevent future riots, we have to kick back against consumer culture in its totality.

Pakistan tribal areas: what matters

Within Pakistan and internationally, there is a growing recognition that well-off tribesman will not become the tools of terrorist organizations. But will it come soon enough?

What is Sarkozysm?

Sarkozy embodies a turning point in French right-wing history: not just the French version of the "New Right" but a new way of conducting politics, and a new strategy for gaining and staying in power.

Liberalism requires immigration controls

Immigration controls by rich governments employ arbitrary rules to inhumane effect – breaking up families, locking up children, deporting good people to uncertain futures in godforsaken countries. Although liberals need immigration controls for their cherished welfare state to work, they are quite comfortable blaming conservatives for this conduct. 

The voice of liberal democracy needs to be preserved in Hungary

When the Media Law of the authoritarian Hungarian government meets with strident criticism in the free press of the world, and from heads of established democracies, as a major attack on the freedom of speech, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his people ask for time, arguing against the avalanche of criticisms that no one should assume that the Media Council established in 2010 will abuse the unheard of powers with which it was endowed until it has shown an inclination to do so. Meanwhile they are eager to export their ideas.

Why aren’t we all part of credit unions?

Want the money you save reinvested in your local community? Want to get the benefits yourself, rather than shareholders creaming off the profits? Then why aren't you a member of a credit union? Louis Brooke of Move Your Money explores the growth of this localised initiative in the UK.

The African Regent Hotel: culture and corruption in Ghana and Nigeria

There are contentious circumstances surrounding the building of a luxury hotel. These circumstances raise questions about the relation of West African corruption to West African culture. There are several versions of the story.

What future for a Greece in crisis?

Will Greece see a process of painful rebuilding, be mired in stagnation and despair - or even face a social explosion?

The numbers do lie: why statistics won't save health care

A statistical approach to improving health care systems has recently become popular internationally.  This technocratic approach to health is flawed when we do not consider the underlying political and social realities that undergird different communities and nation states.

The seductions of violence in Iraq

Violence in Iraq is not a throw-back to some more ‘primitive’ past, driven by dark passions dredged up from history.  On the contrary, it has a logic and a constitutive power of its own fully in line with the contemporary experiences that Iraqis have undergone both before and after 2003. Moreover, it seems to be regarded by those in power as a good deal less troubling than public accountability.

EU voters may finally be given some real choices

The emerging split between the centre left and centre right in the EU over fundamental questions of economic policy including sustainable growth and social justice is without precedent.

New treaty or institutionalised hypocrisy?

Mrs Merkel and much of the German political establishment doggedly espouse the doctrine of ordoliberalism, despite growing opposition not only on the left but on the right, with economic liberals such as Mario Monti and Guy Verhofstadt arguing for growth-inducing measures. Where can we look for an explanation? 

Britain's budget 2012: an overview of the elephant traps

Today the Chancellor presented his third budget since the Coalition gained power and ushered in the era of austerity. Tax expert Richard Murphy decodes a "really rather nasty budget" and ponders its gifts to the opposition.

Reclaiming 'common sense': new pamphlet is a rallying cry to the 99%

"This year will either see us create a new, more plausible, basis for our shared life, or settle back into the old, dispiriting fictions." So says Dan Hind in a new e-pamphlet published by OurKingdom, invoking the spirit of Thom Paine and urging the 99% to reclaim the public realm. We interview the author.

Green Zone Nation: The South African government’s new growth path

Recent flirtations of the ANC with the Chinese model of economic development suggest that South African political elites fall for the erroneous fantasy that social tensions can be bought off with consumer goods

Britain is not just ‘undergoing privatisation’, this is a modern enclosure movement

Cameron is leaving no stone unturned in his 'revolution' of the public sector. This is not about the privatisation of individual services: a bigger game is being played, with profound importance for Britain and her people.

Will the private interests of peers swell the vote for England's health bill?

More than one in four Conservative peers - 62 out of the total of 216 - and many other members of the House of Lords have a direct financial interest in the radical re-shaping of the NHS that is perilously close to being enacted. These peers have been able to vote on the crucial divisions that will determine the immediate and long-term future of the NHS and the coalition’s Health and Social Care bill. 

Tackling inequality: a new role for the state

In the last thirty years, a rising share of the global economic pie has been colonised by the world’s rich. It is this concentration of income that is the real cause of the present crisis. It created the conditions for the 2008 Crash and is now driving us into an era of near-permanent slump.

University campuses in the Far East - money, power or democracy?

Yale should have proud independence from the lures of power and money in its bones. That does not mean shunning either, but treating both as servants of a better ideal. But the recent announcement of a campus in Singapore suggests that it has forgotten that stance. More generally, this sort of forgetting is a danger to the fabric of democracy

Tahrir not twitterati: the future of middle-class movements in India

If it has to actually challenge the powers that be, the anti-corruption movement must move to real grassroots work and not canvass on astroturf

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