Russian foreign minister repeats assertion that armed men deployed in Ukraine's peninsula do not answer to Moscow.
div class=field field-summary div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pA new a href=http://www.climateoutreach.org.uk/portfolio-item/communicating-climate-change-around-recent-extreme-weather-events/report/a by COIN shows how rapidly media reporting of the recent UK storms degenerated into narratives of blame focusing on environmentalists./p /div /div /div pimg src=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/sKTVI84M21Jp9nejKGo_K27-UQ6FJfeg-ZS-Y5Lqe7U/mtime:1394016354/files/climate%20change%20pic.jpg alt= width=420 //ppempicture - Adam Ramsay/em/ppThe UK floods and storms of December 2013 and January 2014 were exceptional by any standards. In many parts of southern England January rainfall broke all monthly records and in some places beingnbsp;a href=http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/releases/archive/2014/Early-January-Stats target=_blankmore than double the average./a/ppOne would think it natural enough for the news media to make the most of a connection with an issue that scientists had been predicting for nearly 20 yearsnbsp;a href=https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/69257/pb13274-uk-climate-projections-090617.pdf target=_blankwould bring increased storms and far more winter rainfall./anbsp;They should have put climate change back at the centre of public discussion. But they did not. Until mid-February there was virtually no mention of climate change in the media.nbsp; A survey innbsp;a href=http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2014/02/analysis-how-climate-change-features-in-newspaper-coverage-of-the-uk’s-floods/ target=_blanklate January by the media analysis organisation Carbon Brief,nbsp;/afound that 92% of mainstream news articles made no mention of climate change.nbsp;This followed the same pattern of media silence found in the US aroundnbsp;a href=http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/10/30/1110721/television-news-coverage-ignores-climate-change-during-sandy-coverage-should-we-really-be-surprised/, target=_blankHurricane Sandynbsp;/aand thenbsp;span2012 heatwaves/span. /p pIt was, in many ways, another socially generated and policednbsp;a href=http://climatedenial.org/wp/wp-admin/www.climateoutreach.org.uk/portfolio-item/climate-silence-and-how-to-break-it target=_blankClimate Silence/a. When climate change was mentioned, coverage was tentative and almost embarrassed. BBC radio’s flagship Today Programme could not even bring itself to mention the words – the lead journalist, John Humphrys, brusquely demanding of a scientist that he say whether such extreme weather events might become more common in future “without going into all the debate about what might or might not be happening to the climate”.nbsp; /ppIn the placenbsp;of climate changenbsp;the media was - pardon the pun -nbsp;emawash/emnbsp;with stories of personal loss, everyday heroes, bravery and community solidarity. Such compelling narratives are common around disasters and suppress the more complex and challenging narratives of climate change.nbsp;a href=http://climatedenial.org/2012/11/06/reasons-why-climate-disasters-might-not-increase-concern-about-climate-change/ target=_blankAs I reported last year after interviewsnbsp;/awith victims of Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey and wildfires in Texas, climate change is often considered too inappropriate and divisive to mention at all./p pstrongThe hunt for enemies/strongnbsp; /ppHowever, what was especially noteworthy in the British coverage - and what, I fear, is a harbinger of how we may respond to climate change - was the rapid transition to angry narratives of enemies and blame./p pEmotionally charged extreme weather events always tend to generate strong blame narratives - especially around government negligence (as happened around Hurricane Katrina), individual perpetrators (the hunt for thenbsp;a href=http://www.firescientist.com/Documents/The%20Mythology%20of%20Arson%20Investigation.pdf target=_blankmythical arsonistsnbsp;/awho start wildfires) or, the failure of insurance companies to settle claims. The complex, multi-causal, unintentional issue of climate change feels incomplete without enemies and so,nbsp;a href=http://climatedenial.org/2013/11/07/the-story-of-how-greens-became-energy-enemy-number-one/ target=_blankas I have commented before,nbsp;/ait readily absorbs existing conflicts./p pSo it was no surprise, after a few weeks of stories about resilience and a ‘blitz spirit’, that the British media moved to angry language about blame expressed in moving stories about the struggle between individuals and bureaucracies./p pThe primary focus for that anger and abuse was thenbsp;a href=http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/aboutus/default.aspx target=_blankEnvironment Agency/a, a high profile public body tasked with the flood response. Week after week it was accused of greed, incompetence, indifference to suffering and corruption. The key hate figure became its director, Chris Smith. As the first senior British politician to be openly gay, the Daily Mail newspaper felt free to indulge in scarcely concealed homophobia with a fabricated story that he had squandered £639 ($1000) of taxpayer money on 'gay pride tea mugs'nbsp;a href=http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2560300/Why-did-floods-agency-spend-hundreds-equali-tea-gay-awareness-mugs-30-000-gay-pride-marches-As-Britain-counts-cost-shoddy-defences-reveal-bizarre-spending-quango-bosses.html#ixzz2uwH0faXy target=_blank- enough, it whined, to buy more than 250 sandbags to protect flood victims’ homes./a /ppBut there was, surely, something more going on here. The Environment Agency is not a disaster relief organisation, like FEMA in the US. As its name suggests, its mission isnbsp;to protect the environment, and to promote sustainable development and it is one of the lead agencies working on climate change. This includes running thenbsp;a href=http://www.ukcip.org.uk/ target=_blankUK Climate Impacts Programme/a, the scientific network that models the impacts of climate change on future extreme weather events. Nor is Chris Smith just any former politician - he is a former Shadow Environment Minister for the Labour Party and is,nbsp;a href=http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-London/2014/02/18/chris-smith-ignored-flood-warnings target=_blankaccording to one conservative blog,/anbsp;'climate change obsessed'./p pSomehow, then, climate specialists had moved from being ignored when they warned of the link between climate change and flooding to being held personally to blame for it. /p pAnti-environmental resentment then extended to the “ecological zealots” who had prevented the dredging of rivers - epitomised in a high profile article by Christopher Booker, headed: ‘a href=http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2547732/CHRISTOPHER-BOOKER-Its-deluded-greens-whove-left-Somerset-neighbours-10ft-water.html target=_blankIt's the deluded greens who've left my Somerset neighbours 10ft under water’./a/p pBooker is especially interesting in this regard.nbsp; Not only is he Britain's most outspoken and influential climate denier 'journalist' (I use the word with caveats), but he is also the author of 'Seven Basic Plots', an exhaustive study of the components of compelling narratives across the arts. Of all people, Booker entirely understands the construction of enemy narratives and uses them entirely knowingly./p pnbsp;Finally, the scientists speak /ppOn February 9th, the UK Meteorological Office launchednbsp;a href=http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/news/2014/uk-storms-and-floods target=_blanka major reportnbsp;/adetailing the relationship between global climate change and the winter weather. This was a major news ‘hook’ that should have opened up a wider and bolder discussion about climate change. /ppAlthough the news media duly reported it the following day, the report, with its cautious and dry scientific language, could not make itself heard above the more compelling and emotional narratives of blame. Whilst the scientists were required to frame their analysis in language about uncertainty and probability, these accusations were presented with an undue confidence as socially agreed facts. /ppThis is how the Met Office findings were reported in The Sunnbsp;on Mondaynbsp;10th February.nbsp; In yellow is the climate change report (noting in the text that there is still no definitive proof). It is smothered by stories and images of suffering and disaster (in red) and blame (in blue).nbsp; /ppThe Daily Mail, a consistently (though not exclusively) climate sceptic newspaper also reported the Met Office report and then, with remarkable dexterity, seamlessly merged it into the larger blame narrative by launching a petition to redirect foreign aid towards UK flood victims.nbsp; The primary focus of the campaign was the £2.9 billion pledged by Britain to alleviate severe climate change impacts abroad./p pSo, once again, the target for anger became the people who communicated climate change and sought to address it. Smears operate at a level of emotional metaphor that defies logic or proof. What is important is not the demand - which makes little sense - but the inference.nbsp; And that is clear: that, in some ill defined way, the people responsible for the suffering ofnbsp;flood victims were the self-interested do-gooders who had been warning about it all along.nbsp; /ppBlaming the messenger is a common psychological response to anxiety and trauma. My real point, though, is larger than this: that, as climate change manifests itself, our responses are entirely unpredictable. Greater concern about the underlying causes is one response. But conflict and scapegoating are just as likely. And what really concerns me is that we may well adopt entirely aberrant responses without even fully realising what we are doing./p pema href=http://www.climateoutreach.org.uk/flooding-wont-necessarily-help-people-get-climate-change-research-shows/ target=_blankAfter the floods: communicating climate change around extreme weather’/a‘, is a new 20 page guide on the challenges of communicating climate change around extreme weather events.nbsp;/em/ppbr /spanLiked this piece? Please donate to OurKingdom /spana href=http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/donatespanhere /span/aspanto help keep us producing independent journalism. Thank you./span/pdiv class=field field-country div class=field-label Country or region:nbsp;/div div class=field-items div class=field-item odd UK /div /div /div
div class=field field-summary div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pClimate policy should be a major consideration for voters heading for the polls in May’s European parliamentary elections.em/em/p /div /div /div pspan class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'a href=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/vlegQTwDrhkOQ4nZn5jYLRy7uIyzZ_fiA_nPmEeL5vo/mtime:1394013827/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/2033062.jpg rel=lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline] title=img src=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/mUTcgxT-SPZw4sNf9ZzJ-WKvH5yXIYrtiQsIrhhWNn8/mtime:1394013711/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/2033062.jpg alt= title= class=imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge style= width=460 //a span class='image_meta'span class='image_title'Climate change has formed an increasingly important part of the EU's foreign policy. Demotix/Gregorio B. Dantes Jr. Some rights/span/span/span/ppA a href=http://yougov.co.uk/news/2014/01/16/european-elections-ukip-closes-first-place/recent poll/a suggests that by Euro-election night in May, UKIP is likely to move from second to first place. That means that a party a href=http://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2013/mar/04/ukip-energy-climate-policiesled by self-declared climate change sceptics/a may well win a major UK election./p pUKIP’s energy spokesman Roger Helmer (an MEP who defected from the Conservatives) bases his party’s energy policy on the a href=http://www.ukipmeps.org/uploads/file/energy-policy-2014-f-20-09-2013.pdfidea/a that ‘there are increasing doubts about the theory of man-made climate change’ and that “climate change” (in inverted commas) is ‘so last century’. The climate is showing natural variability and anyway, the UK’s global contribution to global greenhouse emissions is negligible. UKIP’s recently sacked leader in Scotland Christopher Monckton is a stalwart climate sceptic who warned that the UN Copenhagen climate conference was a plan to create a a href=http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/constitution/item/7670-lord-monckton-says-un-copenhagen-treaty-will-create-communist-world-government‘communist world government’/a. /p pGiven this, why is EU climate policy not more of an issue for the up-coming Euro elections?/p pThere are several reasons why it ought to be./p pFirstly, the balance of power in the European Parliament between the climate committed and climate sceptics may well shift after election night. a href=http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2013/12/03/the-2014-european-parliament-elections-will-see-populist-parties-make-gains-but-they-will-remain-a-battle-for-control-between-mainstream-parties/One study predicts/a that the populist parties such as UKIP will gain substantial numbers of seats while the more climate-friendly Green group, the centre-left and the centre-right groups are likely to lose their ability to form an absolute majority. The authors of that study warn that ‘the political game is extremely open at this stage, and this should prompt all the players concerned to engage in a vigorous defence and promotion of their alternative visions and proposals for the EU’. /p pSecondly, climate politics is big in the EU. If the UK really is too small to go it alone, the EU – the a href=http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/tgm/refreshTableAction.do;jsessionid=9ea7d07e30e86173e7fffa174034b4afc413d39685af.e34OaN8Pc3mMc40Lc3aMaNyTb3yOe0?tab=tableamp;plugin=1amp;pcode=tec00001amp;language=enlargest economy in the world/a and currently responsible for 11% of global emissions – has been seen by many as the place to do climate policy. The European Union is the only global power to have consistently a href=http://cac.sagepub.com/content/45/3/255.abstracttaken a lead on climate change/a in global negotiations. Unbeknown to many, the largest package of EU legislation is the a href=http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/package/index_en.htm2020 climate and energy package/a which set the 20/20/20 targets: 20% CO2 cuts in emissions and a target of 20% renewable energy by 2020. The 2011 Energy Efficiency plan and directive added further measures to these targets. /p pThirdly, the European Parliament has been particularly active when it comes to EU climate politics. The Commission (the EU’s ‘executive’) has just shown its hand for the next phase, proposing a target of 40% reduction in emissions by 2030 (in relation to 1990 levels) and 27% renewable energy share in energy supply. That may sound ambitious but has been roundly condemned by the directly elected parliamentarians. They a href=http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/feb/05/european-parliament-votes-renewables-targetsjust voted/a for more ambitious and binding targets for renewables, emissions and energy efficiency: 30% energy from renewables while also demanding 40% energy efficiency savings by 2030 (compared to 1990). The European Parliament’s vote is not in itself binding but it puts pressure on the Commission and on member states to strengthen climate policy further./p pJust last week the Parliament also a href=http://planetark.org/wen/71138voted/a to lower the required average carbon dioxide emissions (grams per kilometre: g/km) from new cars sold in the EU from 130 to 95 g/km. This was voted through with help from a broad coalition of centre-left to centre-right MEPs, but was opposed by Greens and nationalists. UKIP voted against because the party is sceptical of climate change and opposed to regulation, while the Greens pointed out that it represented a a href=http://www.greens-efa.eu/car-co2-emissions-11854.htmlstep backwards/a from an earlier, tougher proposal, which had been watered down by the German car industry (via the German government)./p pSo climate supporters should be focusing minds and voting intentions on climate change-convinced parties, while climate sceptics and deniers should be urging voters to vote for sceptical parties. /p pWhat options do voters actually have? /p pIn the UK, a vote for the Conservative Party or Ulster Unionists in May means a vote for the broadly anti-federalist a href=http://ecrgroup.eu/European Conservatives and Reformists/a group. a href=http://ecrgroup.eu/news/szymanski-european-left-is-repeating-old-errors-concerning-eu-climate-policy/Their position/a is that EU climate policies amount to ‘a loss of competitiveness, loss of investment, loss of industry and further loss of jobs in Europe‘ and want competitiveness to be given priority and future climate targets to be conditional on a global agreement being reached. This group also includes the Czech Republic’s Civic Democratic Party whose co-founder and former president Vaclav Klaus is a leading climate critic who regularly a href=http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/e9df7200-19c7-11dc-99c5-000b5df10621.html#axzz2utjWDb4Klikens environmentalism to communism/a. (Voting Tory in the Euros is thus probably slightly more ‘sceptical’ than doing so in a general election, the likes of Owen Paterson and Peter Lilly notwithstanding)./p pThe safest bet, however, for those convinced the climate is doing fine is probably to vote for a party affiliated with the a href=http://www.efdgroup.eu/Europe of Freedom and Democracy group/a, which includes UKIP. This group also includes representatives of the Danish People’s Party, the Polish Solidarna Polska and Italian right-wingers Liga Nord, none of which are known for known for their commitment to climate change mitigation. Polish MEP Jacek Kurski in 2012 a href=http://www.efdgroup.eu/medias/videos/item/jacek-kurski-european-citizens-initiative-suspension-of-the-eu-climate-energy-package.htmlcalled for the Climate and Energy Package to be suspended/a./p pAt the other end of the scale, the a href=http://campaign.europeangreens.eu/European Greens/a want to a href=http://campaign.europeangreens.eu/our-vision/energy-and-climatedrive the EU/a ‘away from oil and coal imports and dangerous nuclear energy, and are aiming for independent energy supply through 100% renewable resources by 2050, high energy efficiency, and an ambitious reduction of CO2 emissions’. They tend to stand for the hard-line negotiating position in favour of more ambitious targets and for a more unilateralist line in international negotiations. In terms of options they are against coal and nuclear as well as fracking for gas, and they want to combine job creation with vigorous energy efficiency campaigns and support for renewables. European Greens make up the fourth largest grouping with 46 members from 12 countries. The UK Green Party currently has two MEPs and narrowly missed out on a third in the Eastern Region in 2009. /p pIn between those poles is the a href=http://www.socialistsanddemocrats.eu/Socialists and Democrats Group/a (which includes the UK Labour Party), one of the groups who backed the Climate and Energy Package. Samp;D generally has an activist a href=http://www.socialistsanddemocrats.eu/policies/leading-fight-against-climate-change-0climate change profile/a. It advocates working for ‘a green recovery, promoting employment in environmental industries, new energies and energy efficiency’ through regulation (e.g. lowering car emissions), an improved cap-and-trade system as well as more renewables and efficiency. Similarly the Liberal and Democratic group (a href=http://www.alde.eu/ALDE/a), of which the UK Liberal Democrats are members, has a high climate-protection profile, and promotes the idea of an EU-wide (or global) carbon tax./p pThe a href=http://www.eppgroup.eu/European People’s Party/a (EPP) group is currently the largest European Parliamentary faction but has no UK members since the Tories left it in 2009. UK voters therefore cannot currently vote for it. But the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the current Commissioner for Climate Change Connie Hedegaard both belong to conservative parties affiliated with the EPP. The EPP a href=http://www.eppgroup.eu/our-priority/Economy-%26-Environmentcommits itself/a to sustainable development and a ‘modernised’ energy sector that can provide more energy independence, jobs and innovation while combating climate change. They also consider nuclear as an option.nbsp; /p pSo there are plenty of options – as there should be in a democratic vote. /pp Unfortunately the UK debate about ‘Europe’ seems to be about in-out, rather than a href=http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jun/03/2014-european-elections-shape-euother important questions/a of substance – including climate action versusnbsp;business as usual.nbsp;/pfieldset class=fieldgroup group-sideboxslegendSideboxes/legenddiv class=field field-related-stories div class=field-labelRelated stories:nbsp;/div div class=field-items div class=field-item odd a href=/david-held-charles-barclay-roger/climate-leadership-in-developing-worldClimate leadership in the developing world/a /div div class=field-item even a href=/krzysztof-bobinski/poland-and-climate-changePoland and climate change/a /div /div /div /fieldset div class=field field-country div class=field-label Country or region:nbsp;/div div class=field-items div class=field-item odd EU /div div class=field-item even UK /div /div /div div class=field field-topics div class=field-labelTopics:nbsp;/div div class=field-items div class=field-item odd Civil society /div div class=field-item even Democracy and government /div div class=field-item odd Economics /div div class=field-item even International politics /div div class=field-item odd Science /div /div /div
div class=field field-summary div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pMass surveillance does not follow the vertical logic of pure state surveillance as imagined by Orwell. Rather, it is diagonal – building on the information we voluntarily disclose to engage in our own surveillance of span class=a0x192FFCspan class=a0x192FFConline/span/span friends. This makes it much more perverse./p /div /div /div pspan class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'a href=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/Lj4egh_5_WRksepJBzxByLlobY-zqbw8xr2qQt_17EM/mtime:1394017519/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/546137/3898170.jpg rel=lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline] title=img src=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/xlZi3xZGzNo6cX78cVRjw0uVVfl0KgW8saJoT6kqX5o/mtime:1394017225/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/546137/3898170.jpg alt=A protester wearing a Guy Fawkes mask with placard during a demonstration to mark the global The Day We Fight Back protest title= width=460 height=306 class=imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge style= //a span class='image_meta'span class='image_title'Filipino protesters join global protest against mass surveillance, February 2014/Demotix/Ezra Acayan/All rights reserved /span/span/span/ppspanIn the wake of disclosures by Edward Snowden about the NSA practices concerning PRISM and other US surveillance programmes like Xkeyscore, Upstream, Quantuminsert, Bullrun, Dishfire, and the close involvement in these activities of services like the GCHQ (Tempora program), there is an urgent need for a systematic assessment of the scale, reach and character of contemporary surveillance practices, as well as of the justifications they attract and the controversies they provoke. /span/ppspanThe public needs to know whether these practices mark a significant reconfiguration of, say, relations between intelligence gathering and surveillance of the Internet and other systems of telecommunications, or mark sustained challenges to fundamental rights in the digital sphere. /span/ppspanThere is also a need to pay close attention to the longer-term implications of practices that have already raised serious questions about the widespread transgression of legal principles and democratic norms. And finally, to how transnational surveillance resonates with contemporary shifts in the locus and character of sovereign authority and political legitimacy./span/p pRevelations about practices of large scale surveillance that branch out into the surveillance of everyday activities and bulk intelligence gathering on big groups of people has rightly generated considerable controversy. Yet, there is a danger that both the popular and scholarly debates will be reduced to familiar narratives about technological developments reshaping relations between the watcher and the watched, or the fulfilment of predictions by Georges Orwell or Philip K. Dick, or the transformation of representative democracies into totalitarian regimes in the name of protection. /ppNo – what we see here is not a horizontal system of surveillance (a a href=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhizome_(philosophy)rhyzome/a), where surveillance is pervasive but not centralised, and in which we participate because we individually want to take advantage of surveillance (for example by seeing what our friends do on Facebook), or that we enact through voluntary disclosure of information to online friends. Nor does this system follow the vertical logic of pure state surveillance imagined by Orwell in his novel em1984/em (a total surveillance)./ph2The diagonal of the bishop: surveillance and intelligence in a transnational world/h2 pThe current situation could be best conceptualised as a tri-dimensional chess bishop, a diagonalised form of surveillance and intelligence. The meaning of the acronym PRISM is revealing in this regard: Planning Tool for Resource Integration, Synchronisation and Management. This long range, diagonalised form transforms the horizontal network of everyday surveillance (e.g. our individual and voluntary use of social media) into the vertical emergence of relevant information. /ppThis selection from bulk of what information is relevant and needs to be investigated is an automated process, regulated by complex algorithms and the use of specific keywords. There is thus a double movement, from the inside out and the outside in, where personal information is voluntarily shared but then secretly recaptured by intelligence agencies. The watched, therefore, participate in their own surveillance. /p pThe fact that these practices ignore national borders and treat information in bulk raises a series of questions. Of these, two are central. The first one concerns the conceptual disconnect between the idea of an interstate world in which each state has a clear vision of its own national security and the practices brought forward by global surveillance.nbsp;Current surveillance practices involve a network of different intelligence services (the so-called a href=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UKUSA_AgreementFive Eyes plus/a) sharing some information in the name of global antiterrorism while also acting against their partners in the pursuit of their own national security interests, thereby destabilising traditional understandings of alliances and state behaviour./ppThe second consequence concerns the strategies deployed by multiple actors to resist surveillance practices, through diplomatic or legal means, as well as adjustments in everyday online behaviour by Internet users. A crucial question is thereby posed: will these users continue to participate in their own surveillance through self-exposure, or will they develop new forms of subjectivity that give more thought to the consequences of their own actions?/p pIntelligence work begins as analysts use the data collected through large scale surveillance with the goal of identifying unknown persons related to a targeted individual or group, within a href=http://www.theguardian.com/world/interactive/2013/oct/28/nsa-files-decoded-hopsthree degrees of separation/a (hops). For example, if a suspected individual has 100 Facebook friends, the person in charge of the surveillance at the NSA or one of its private subcontractors can without warrant follow the communications of friends of friends of friends, for up to three hops – about 2,669,556 people./p pFaced by the magnitude of data accumulated, the strategy used by the analysts is not to read all the content of these communications, but to visualise the graph of interpersonal relations (meta-data) hoping to disconnect specific connection nodes. This is far from a full reading of everything the data contains, but also equally far from a scientific method that would give a required level of certainty and any semblance of truth to the results. /ppThis method is essentially suspicion elevated to the rank of art. Itnbsp;depends on the analyst's intuition and interpretation, and the results may be contradictory from one analyst to the other. The fear of an omniscient big brother is mostly irrelevant in this scenario, as the claim of any truth coming from this visualisation must be a false one, based as it is upon the pretence that predictions can be elaborated regarding specific human actions at some point in the future, when even general forecasts about trends are difficult. Technology is used as if it could provide scientific certainty about the future, but this belief in the power of 'big data' has more to do with blind faith than with any kind of certainty./ppspan class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'a href=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/A_mgmbLbMu-QHwzHVh_IeWeGH2-28Aln4mR93cST18E/mtime:1394017519/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/546137/2234900_0.jpg rel=lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline] title=img src=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/z0Q62sL4oWFfqkuCBsMjxXYNZ1Wkt687IuY-U9KR2vc/mtime:1394017478/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/546137/2234900_0.jpg alt=Political painter Kaya Mar with his new painting of US President Barack Obama eavesdropping on a blindfolded nation. title= width=460 height=345 class=imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge style= //a span class='image_meta'span class='image_title' Artist Kaya Mar portrays Barack Obama spying on a blindfolded USA, July 2013/Demotix/Pete Riches/All rights reserved./span/span/span/p h2National security and the digitisation of the emraison d'/ememetat/em/h2 pThese ways to gather and share information have paradoxical effects on national security requirements. Namely, national security is not national any more: different national security imperatives may clash between allies and trust is eroded. The digitisation of national security creates big data gathered at a transnational scale, blurring the lines of what is national as well as the boundaries between law enforcement and intelligence. /ppThese methods encourage a move from the judicial framework of criminal police to preventive, pre-emptive, predictive approaches, and from a high degree of certainty about a small amount of data to a high degree of uncertainty about a large amount of data. The hybridisation of public agencies and private contractors destabilises the process of socialisation via national state interests and thus secrecy, opening up the potential for major leaks by persons holding incompatible values (as in Snowden's case)./ppTo say this more theoretically, the change and uncertainty surrounding the categories of “foreign” and “domestic” is dispersing them through the webs of multiple interconnections. This transforms the line that clearly separated the foreign and the domestic into a Möbius strip. By projecting national security inside out, via a transnational, public-private alliance of national security and sensitive data professionals, an unexpected outside comes into effect whereby every Internet user is targeted. These “data subjects” must react in turn, if they do not accept a situation where nearly all internet users are treated as potential suspects and on principle,nbsp;not innocent./p h2Multiple sites of resistance/h2 pIn this regard, the Snowden revelations set off a snowball effect of distrust among the actors who initially thought that they were gaining from exchanging data with the NSA. The recent partners of the Five Eyes plus (Sweden, Germany, France) felt betrayed when the NSA and GCHQ publicly defended their actions by asking something along the lines of, You knew that we were spying on you all and your heads of state. Were you so naïve as not to have imagined what we were doing ?. /p pThe same argument has been used to confront the broader public and internet actors, some of whom (such as Google, Yahoo or Facebook) denied all knowledge of the extent of these surveillance practices. The NSA and GCHQ argued that their practices were not the problem, but rather our collective naivety in trusting them, when obviously we did not have to. /ppThis trick may save them from juridical claims by forcing courts to consider that internet users did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy when they sent their emails. Yet, by indirectly acknowledging that they are not to be trusted, they have destabilised their own system of legitimisation. For example, the Snowden revelations have pushed private telecom providers such as the French company Orange into inspecting their technical infrastructures (notably the a href=http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/30/us-usa-security-orange-idUSBRE9BT0MN20131230submarine cables/a that link Europe to North Africa or Asia), in order to discover that the NSA had abused their initial, more legitimately motivated collaboration (fighting against terrorism and organised crime) by secretly installing backdoors to intercept communications going through the main nodes in France, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and possibly Brazil. /p pThe politicians of the Five Eyes plus countries are now caught between their official support for fighting terrorism by all means, Americanophilia, the arguments for a common alliance, and the aggressive behaviour of the Five Eyes network. If most of them consider that they have succeeded in silencing resentment from within the state apparatus (investigative magistrates or prosecutors for example, who are theoretically the 'end users' of gathered intelligence), they have not so far managed to do the same with the private providers and even less with civil society. /ppHundreds of judicial claims coming from very different groups – internet actors, telecom providers, NGOs, political parties and citizen movements - have been launched with very different motives in each case, and it will be impossible to accommodate them without engaging in profound reform. The NSA - a Gulliver who wanted to know everything about everyone - has just managed to mobilise all the Lilliputians and might soon be paralysed by their minuscule but solid nets./p pemThis short intervention is part of a longer collective article co-written by Zygmunt Bauman, Didier Bigo, Paulo Esteves, Elspeth Guild, Vivienne Jabri, David Lyon, Rob Walker./em/p hr size=1 / pa href=#_ednref1/a Barack Obama, following one of the 45 recommendations of the review group on intelligence and communication technology delivered on 12 Dec 2013, a href=http://www.theguardian.com/world/interactive/2013/nov/01/snowden-nsa-files-surveillance-%20revelations-decoded#section/1.seems ready/a to restrict the search without warrant to two hops (i.e. 16,340 people), while keeping the principle alive./pfieldset class=fieldgroup group-sideboxslegendSideboxes/legenddiv class=field field-related-stories div class=field-labelRelated stories:nbsp;/div div class=field-items div class=field-item odd a href=/ourkingdom/dom-shaw/prevention-of-journalismThe prevention of journalism/a /div div class=field-item even a href=/opensecurity/martin-eiermann/surveillance-finding-culpritSurveillance: finding the culprit/a /div div class=field-item odd a href=/opensecurity/maria-xynou/big-democracy-big-surveillance-indias-surveillance-stateBig democracy, big surveillance: India#039;s surveillance state/a /div div class=field-item even a href=/ourkingdom/anthony-barnett/dont-spy-on-us-day-we-fight-backDon#039;t Spy On Us - The day we fight back/a /div div class=field-item odd a href=/g%C3%BCne%C5%9F-tavmen/turkey%E2%80%99s-nightmarish-adventures-in-censorship-and-surveillance-on-internetTurkey’s nightmarish adventures in censorship and surveillance on the internet/a /div div class=field-item even a href=/pratap-chatterjee-tom-engelhardt/wild-west-of-surveillanceThe wild west of surveillance/a /div /div /div /fieldset
div class=field field-summary div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pCan the sharing economy movement address the root causes of the world’s converging crises? Not unless sharing is promoted in relation to human rights, democracy and social justice. This is the sixth article in our series on the role of money in the transformation of society. nbsp;/p /div /div /div pimg src=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/8BWlmzpiFRYuc8v6qEa_k0J7T01huVFf98KM8BL5v78/mtime:1393975012/files/sharingcropped.jpg alt= width=460 //pp class=image-captionCredit: Friends of the Earth International/flickr creative commons. Some rights reserved./p pIn recent years, the concept and practice of sharing resources is fast becoming a mainstream phenomenon across North America, Western Europe and other world regions. The internet is awash with articles and websites that celebrate the vast potential of sharing human and physical assets, in everything from cars and bicycles to housing, workplaces, food, household items, and even time or expertise. /p pAccording to most general definitions that are widely available online, the sharing economy leverages information technology to empower individuals or organisations to distribute, share and re-use excess capacity in goods and services. The business icons of the new sharing economy include the likes of Airbnb, Zipcar, Lyft, Taskrabbit and Poshmark, although a href=https://piper2.bluematrix.com/docs/pdf/35ef1fcc-a07b-48cf-ab80-04d80e5665c4.pdfhundreds of other/a for-profit as well as non-profit organisations are associated with this burgeoning movement that is predicated, in one way or another, on the age-old principle of sharing./p pAs the sharing economy receives increasing attention from the media, a debate is beginning to emerge around its overall importance and future direction. There is no doubt that the emergent paradigm of sharing resources is set to expand and further flourish in coming years, especially in the face of continuing economic recession, government austerity and environmental concerns. As a result of the concerted advocacy work and mobilisation of sharing groups in the US, fifteen city mayors have now signed the a href=http://www.collaborativeconsumption.com/2013/06/26/shareable-cities-resolution-passed/Shareable Cities Resolution/a in which they officially recognise the importance of economic sharing for both the public and private sectors. /p pSeoul in South Korea has also adopted a city-funded project called a href=http://www.postcarbon.org/blog-post/1949822-who-knew-that-seoul-was-aSharing City/a in which it plans to expand its ‘sharing infrastructure’, promote existing sharing enterprises and incubate sharing economy start-ups as a partial solution to problems in housing, transportation, job creation and community cohesion. Furthermore, Medellin in Colombia is embracing transport-sharing schemes and reimagining the use of its shared public spaces, while Ecuador is the first country in the world to commit itself to becoming a ‘shared knowledge’-based society, under an a href=http://bollier.org/blog/bauwens-joins-ecuador-planning-commons-based-peer-production-economyofficial strategy/a named ‘buen saber’./p pMany proponents of the sharing economy therefore have a href=http://www.thesolutionsjournal.org/node/24124great hopes/a for a future based on sharing as the new emmodus operandi/em. Almost everyone recognises that drastic change is needed in the wake of a collapsed economy and an overstretched planet, and the old idea of the American dream – in which a culture that promotes excessive consumerism and commercialisation leads us to see the 'good life' as the 'goods life', as described by the a href=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGab38pKscwpsychologist Tim Kasser/a - is no longer tenable in a world of rising affluence among possibly 9.6 billion people by 2050. /p pHence more and more people are rejecting the materialistic attitudes that defined recent decades, and are gradually shifting towards a different way of living that is based on connectedness and sharing rather than ownership and conspicuous consumption. ‘Sharing more and owning less’ is the ethic that underlies a discernible change in attitudes among affluent society that is being led by today’s young, tech-savvy generation known as Generation Y or the Millennials./p pHowever, many entrepreneurial sharing pioneers also profess a big picture vision of what sharing can achieve in relation to the world’s most pressing issues, such as population growth, environmental degradation and a href=http://www.sharing.org/information-centre/blogs/can-sharing-economy-solve-global-hunger-it-all-dependsfood security/a. As a href=http://www.shareable.net/blog/from-consumers-to-citizens-welcome-to-the-sharing-cities-networkRyan Gourley of A2Share/a posits, for example, a network of cities that embrace the sharing economy could mount up into a Sharing Regions Network, then Sharing Nations, and finally a Sharing World: “A globally networked sharing economy would be a whole new paradigm, a game-changer for humanity and the planet”. /p pNeal Gorenflo, the co-founder and publisher of Shareable, also argues that peer-to-peer collaboration can form the basis of a new social contract, with an extensive sharing movement acting as the a href=http://www.shareable.net/blog/whats-next-for-the-sharing-movementcatalyst for systemic changes/a that can address the root causes of both poverty and climate change. Or to quote the words of Benita Matofska, founder of The People Who Share, we are going to have to a href=https://www.foe.co.uk/news/thepeoplewhoshare_38689share to survive/a if we want to face up to a sustainable future. In such a light, it behoves us all to investigate the potential of sharing to effect a social and economic transformation that is sufficient to meet the grave challenges of the 21st century./p pstrongTwo sides of a debate on sharing /strong/p pThere is no doubt that sharing resources can contribute to the greater good in a number of ways, from economic as well as environmental and social perspectives. A number of studies show the environmental benefits that are common to many sharing schemes, such as the resource efficiency and potential energy savings that could result from a href=http://www.uctc.net/access/38/access38_carsharing_ownership.pdfcar sharing/a and a href=http://www.nlc.org/Documents/Find%20City%20Solutions/Research%20Innovation/Sustainability/integrating-bike-share-programs-into-sustainable-transportation-system-cpb-feb11.pdfbike sharing/a in cities. /p pAlmost all forms of localised sharing are economical, and can lead to a href=http://www.collaborativeconsumption.com/2013/03/18/study-the-new-sharing-economy-latitude/significant cost savings or earnings/a for individuals and enterprises. In terms of subjective well-being and social impacts, common experience demonstrates how sharing can also help us to feel connected to neighbours or co-workers, and even build community and a href=http://www.uk.coop/document/great-sharing-economymake us feel happier/a./p pFew could disagree on these beneficial aspects of sharing resources within communities or across municipalities, but some controversy surrounds the broader vision of how the sharing economy movement can contribute to a fair and sustainable world. For many advocates of the burgeoning trend towards economic sharing in modern cities, it is about much more than couch-surfing, car sharing or tool libraries, and holds the potential to disrupt the individualist and materialistic assumptions of neoliberal capitalism. /p pFor example, Juliet Schor in her book a href=http://www.amazon.co.uk/Plenitude-The-Economics-True-Wealth/dp/1400167337/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8amp;qid=1390301781amp;sr=8-2amp;keywords=plenitudePlenitude/a perceives that a new economics based on sharing could be an antidote to the hyper-individualised, hyper-consumer culture of today, and could help rebuild the social ties that have been lost through market culture. Annie Leonard of the Story of Stuff project, in her a href=http://storyofstuff.org/movies/the-story-of-solutions/latest short video/a on how to move society in an environmentally sustainable and just direction, also considers sharing as a key ‘game changing’ solution that could help to transform the basic goals of the economy. Many a href=http://www.resilience.org/stories/2013-09-11/policies-for-shareable-cities-a-sharing-economy-policy-primer-for-urban-leadersother proponents/a see the sharing economy as a path towards achieving widespread prosperity within the earth’s natural limits, and an essential first step on the road to more localised economies and egalitarian societies. /p pBut not everyone agrees that participating in the sharing economy, at least in its existing form and praxis, is a ‘political act’ that can realistically challenge consumption-driven economics and the culture of individualism – a question that is raised (although not yet comprehensively answered) in a a href=http://www.foe.co.uk/bigideas/think_piece_cities_sharing_41208.htmlvaluable think piece/a from Friends of the Earth. Various commentators argue that the proliferation of new business ventures under the umbrella of sharing are nothing more than “supply and demand continuing its perpetual adjustment to new technologies and fresh opportunities”, and that the concept of the sharing economy is being a href=http://www.shareable.net/blog/sharing-for-profit-im-not-buying-it-anymoreco-opted by purely commercial interests/a – a debate that was given impetus when the car sharing pioneers, Zipcar, were bought up by the established rental firm Avis./p pRecently, a href=http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2013/12/26/myth_of_the_sharing_economy_there_s_no_such_thing.htmlSlate magazine’s/a business and economics correspondent controversially reiterated the observation that making money from new modes of consumption is not really ‘sharing’ emper se/em, asserting that the sharing economy is therefore a “dumb term” that “deserves to die”. Other journalists have criticised the superficial treatment that the sharing economy typically receives from financial pundits and tech reporters, especially the claims that small business start-ups based on monetised forms of sharing are a a href=http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/07/sharing-economy-not-solution-to-jobs-crisissolution to the jobs crisis/a – regardless of drastic cutbacks in welfare and public services, unprecedented rates of income inequality, and the a href=http://www.policy-network.net/pno_detail.aspx?ID=4004amp;title=+The+Precariat+%E2%80%93+The+new+dangerous+classdangerous rise of the precariat/a. /p pThe author Evgeny Morozov, writing an a href=http://evgenymorozov.tumblr.com/post/64038831400/the-sharing-economy-undermines-workers-rights-myop-ed in the Financial Times/a, has gone so far as to say that the sharing economy is having a pernicious effect on equality and basic working conditions, in that it is fully compliant with market logic, is far from valuing human relationships over profit, and is even amplifying the worst excesses of the dominant economic model. In the context of the erosion of full-time employment, the assault on trade unions and the disappearance of healthcare and insurance benefits, he argues that the sharing economy is accelerating the transformation of workers into “always-on self-employed entrepreneurs who must think like brands”, leading him to dub it “neoliberalism on steroids”./p pstrongProblems of definition /strong/p pAlthough it is impossible to reconcile these polarised views, part of the problem in assessing the true potential of economic sharing is one of vagueness in definition and wide differences in understanding. The conventional interpretation of the sharing economy is at present focused on its financial and commercial aspects, with continuous news reports proclaiming its a href=http://opinium.co.uk/sites/default/files/Opinium_Marke2ing_Sharing_economy_Report.pdfrapidly growing market size/a and potential as a “co-commerce revolution”. /p pRachel Botsman, a leading entrepreneurial thinker on the potential of collaboration and sharing through digital technologies to change our lives, has attempted to clarify what the sharing economy actually is in order to prevent further confusion over the different terms in general use. /p pIn her a href=http://www.fastcoexist.com/3022028/the-sharing-economy-lacks-a-shared-definition#6latest typology/a, she notes how the term ‘sharing economy’ is often muddled with other new ideas and is in fact a subset of 'collaborative consumption' within the entire 'collaborative economy' movement, and has a rather restricted meaning in terms of sharing underutilized assets from spaces to skills to stuff for monetary or non-monetary benefits [see a href=http://www.slideshare.net/CollabLab/shared-def-pptf?ref=http://www.fastcoexist.com/3022028/the-sharing-economy-lacks-a-shared-definitionslide 9/a of her presentation]. This interpretation of changing consumer behaviours and lifestyles revolves around the “maximum utilization of assets through efficient models of redistribution and shared access”, which isn’t necessarily predicated on an ethic of ‘sharing’ by any strict definition./p pOther interpretations of the sharing economy are far broader and less constrained by capitalistic assumptions, as demonstrated in the Friends of the Earth briefing paper on a href=http://www.foe.co.uk/sites/default/files/downloads/agyeman_sharing_cities.pdfSharing Cities/a written by Professor Julian Agyeman and her colleagues. In their estimation, what’s missing from most of these current definitions and categorisations of economic sharing is a consideration of “the communal, collective production that characterises the collective commons”. /p pA broadened ‘sharing spectrum’ that they propose therefore not only focuses on goods and services within the mainstream economy (which is almost always considered in relation to affluent, middle-class lifestyles), but also includes the non-material or intangible aspects of sharing such as well-being and capability [see a href=http://www.foe.co.uk/sites/default/files/downloads/agyeman_sharing_cities.pdfpage 6/a of the brief]. From this wider perspective, they assert that the cutting edge of the sharing economy is often emnot/em commercial and includes informal behaviours like the unpaid care, support and nurturing that we provide for one another, as well as the shared use of infrastructure and shared public services./p pThis observation sheds new light on governments as the “a href=http://www.rsablogs.org.uk/2013/social-economy/profiting-sharing/ultimate level of sharing/a”, and suggests that the history of the welfare state in Europe and other forms of social protection is, in fact, also integral to the evolution of shared resources in cities and within different countries. Yet an understanding of sharing from this more holistic viewpoint doesn’t have to be limited to the state provision of healthcare, education, and other public services. As Agyeman and her colleagues elucidate, cooperatives of all kinds (from worker to housing to retailer and consumer co-ops) also offer alternative models for shared service provision and a different perspective on economic sharing, one in which equity and collective ownership is prioritised. /p pAccess to natural common resources such as air and water can also be understood in terms of sharing, which may then prioritise the common good of all people over commercial or private interests and market mechanisms. This would include controversial issues of land ownership and land use, raising questions over how best to share land and urban space more equitably – such as through community land trusts, or through new policies and incentives such as land value taxation./p pstrongThe politics of sharing /strong/p pFurthermore, Agyeman argues that an understanding of sharing in relation to the collective commons gives rise to explicitly political questions concerning the shared public realm and participatory democracy. This is central to the many countercultural movements of recent years such as Occupy and the Middle East protests since 2011, and the Taksim Gezi Park protests in 2013. All of these movements have reclaimed public space to challenge unjust power dynamics and the increasing trend toward privatisation that are central to neoliberal hegemony. /p pSharing is also directly related to the functioning of a healthy democracy, in that a vibrant sharing economy can counter the political apathy that characterises modern consumer society. By reinforcing values of community and collaboration over the individualism and consumerism that defines our present-day cultures and identities, participation in sharing could ultimately be reflected in the political domain. /p pA shared public realm is essential for the expression of participatory democracy and the development of a good society, not least as this provides a necessary venue for popular debate and public reasoning that can influence political decisions. Indeed the “emerging shareability paradigm” can be said to reflect the basic tenets of the a href=http://tint.org/2011/10/world-charter-for-the-right-to-the-city/Right to the City/a (RTTC) - an international urban movement that fights for democracy, justice and sustainability in cities and mobilises against the privatisation of common goods and public spaces./p pMy intention in outlining some of these differing interpretations of sharing is to demonstrate how considerations of politics, justice, ethics and sustainability are slowly being allied to the sharing economy concept. A paramount example is a Friends of the Earth briefing paper which was written as part of FOEI’s a href=http://www.foe.co.uk/bigideas/big_ideas_cities_40237.htmlBig Ideas to Change the World/a series on cities. This series promoted sharing as “a political force to be reckoned with” and a “a href=http://www.shareable.net/blog/the-power-of-sharing-a-call-to-action-for-environmentalists?utm_content=adam%40stwr.orgamp;utm_source=VerticalResponseamp;utm_medium=Emailamp;utm_term=Sharing%3A%20A%20Call%20to%20Action%20for%20Environmentalistsamp;utm_campaign=Shareable%3A%20Global%20Sharing%20Ramps%20Up%20During%20Shutdowncontentcall to action for environmentalists/a”. /p pOther examples include the New Economics Foundation’s ‘a href=http://www.thenewmaterialism.org/pamphletManifesto for the New Materialism/a,’ which promotes the old-fashioned ethic of sharing as part of a new way of living to replace the collapsed model of debt-fuelled overconsumption. There are also signs that many influential proponents of the sharing economy – in terms of new economic models driven by peer-to-peer technology that enable access to, rather than ownership of, resources - are beginning to query the commercial direction that the movement is taking. Instead, they want to promote more politicised forms of social change that are not merely based on micro-enterprise or the monetisation and branding of high-tech innovations./p pJanelle Orsi, a California-based ‘sharing lawyer’ and author of a href=http://sharingsolution.com/authors/The Sharing Solution/a, is particularly inspirational in this regard; for her, the sharing economy encompasses such a broad range of activities that it is hard to define, although she suggests that all its activities are tied together in how they harness the existing resources of a community and grow its wealth. This is in contradistinction to the mainstream economy that generates wealth for people outside of people’s communities, extreme inequalities and ecological destruction – which Orsi contends that the sharing economy can help reverse. /p pThe problem she recognises is that the so-called sharing economy we usually hear about in the media is built on a business-as-usual foundation, which is privately owned and often funded by venture capital (as is the case with Airbnb, Lyft, Zipcar, Taskrabbit and others) As a result, the same business structures that created the economic problems of today are buying up new sharing economy companies and turning them into ever larger, more centralised enterprises that are not concerned about people’s well-being, community cohesion, local economic diversity, and sustainable job creation (not to mention the risk of re-creating stock valuation bubbles that overshadowed the earlier generation of dot.com enterprises). /p pThe only way to ensure that new sharing economy companies fulfil their potential to create economic empowerment for users and their communities, Orsi argues, is through cooperative conversion – and she makes a a href=http://www.shareable.net/blog/the-sharing-economy-just-got-realcompelling case/a for the democratic, non-exploitative, redistributive and truly ‘sharing’ potential of worker and consumer cooperatives in all their guises./p pstrongSharing as a path to systemic change/strong/p pThere are important reasons to query the direction in which this emerging movement will evolve in the years ahead. As prominent supporters of the sharing economy recognise, like Janelle Orsi and Juliet Schor, it offers both opportunities and reasons for optimism as well as pitfalls and some serious concerns. On the one hand, it reflects a growing shift in values and social identities as citizens rather than consumers, and it is helping us to rethink notions of ownership and prosperity in a world of finite resources, scandalous waste and massive wealth disparities. /p pPerhaps its proponents are right, and the sharing economy represents the first step towards transitioning away from the over-consumptive, materially-intense and hoarding lifestyles of North American, Western European and other rich societies. Perhaps sharing really is fast becoming a counter-cultural movement that can help us to value relationships more than things, and offer us the possibility of re-imagining politics and constructing a more participative democracy, which could ultimately pose a challenge to the global capitalist/consumerist model of development that is built on private interests and debt at the cost of shared interests and true wealth./p pOn the other hand, the movement’s critics are right to point out that the sharing economy in its present form is hardly a threat to existing power structures or a movement that represents the kind of radical changes we need to make the world a better place. Far from reorienting the economy towards greater equity and a better quality of life, as proposed by writers such as Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, Tim Jackson, Herman Daly and John Cobb, it is arguable that most forms of sharing via peer-to-peer networks are at risk of being subverted by conventional business practices. /p pThere is a perverse irony in trying to imagine the logical conclusion of these trends: new models of collaborative consumption and co-production that are co-opted by private interests and venture capitalists, increasingly geared towards affluent middle-class types or so-called bourgeois bohemians (the ‘bobos’), and excluding of those on low incomes. The same is true of new sharing technology platforms that enable governments and corporations to collaborate in pursuing more intrusive controls and greater surveillance over citizens; or of new social relationships based on sharing in the context of increasingly privatised and enclosed public spaces such as gated communities, within which private facilities and resources are shared./p pThis is by no means an inevitable outcome, but what is clear from this brief analysis is that the commercialisation and depoliticisation of economic sharing poses risks and contradictions that call into question its potential to transform society for the benefit of everyone. /p pUnless the sharing of resources is promoted in relation to human rights and concerns for equity, democracy, social justice and sound environmental stewardship, then the claim that sharing is a new paradigm that can address the world’s interrelated crises is empty rhetoric or utopian thinking./p pSharing our skills through Hackerspaces, our unused stuff through GoodShuffle or a community potluck through mealshare is, in and of itself, a positive phenomenon that deserves to be enjoyed, but let’s not pretend that car shares, clothes swaps, co-housing, shared vacation homes and so on are going to address economic and climate chaos, unjust power dynamics, or the inequitable distribution of wealth./p pstrongSharing from the local to the global/strong/p pHowever, if we look at sharing through the lens of a href=http://julianagyeman.com/2012/09/just-sustainabilities/#hidejust sustainability/a, as civil society organisations and others are now beginning to do, then the true possibilities of sharing become clear: to enhance equity, rebuild community, improve well-being, democratise national and global governance, defend and promote the global commons, and even point the way towards a a href=http://www.kosmosjournal.org/articles/people-sharing-resources-toward-a-new-multilateralism-of-the-global-commonsmore cooperative international framework/a to replace the present stage of competitive neoliberal globalisation. /p pWe are not there yet, of course, and the popular understanding of economic sharing is clearly focused on more personal forms of giving and exchange among individuals or through online business ventures, which are mainly for the benefit of high-income groups in the world’s most economically advanced nations. But the fact that this conversation is now being broadened to include the role of governments in sharing public infrastructure, political power and economic resources is a hopeful indication that the emerging sharing movement is slowly moving in the right direction./p pAlready, questions are being raised about what sharing means for the poorest people in the world, and how a revival of sharing in the richest countries can be spread globally as a solution to converging crises. It may not be long until the idea of a href=http://www.sharing.org/why-nations-need-to-shareeconomic sharing on a planetary scale/a - driven by an awareness of impending ecological catastrophe, life-threatening extremes of inequality, and escalating conflict over natural resources - is the subject of every kitchen table conversation./p pstrongFor a list of references cited in this article, and suggested further reading on the sharing economy and its future, a href=http://www.opendemocracy.net/transformation/adam-parsons/reading-list-on-sharing-economyclick here./a/strong/p p class=image-captionThis article first appeared on a href=http://www.sharing.org/information-centre/articles/sharing-economy-short-introduction-its-political-evolutionShare the World’s Resources/a, and is republished here with thanks./pfieldset class=fieldgroup group-sideboxslegendSideboxes/legenddiv class=field field-related-stories div class=field-labelRelated stories:nbsp;/div div class=field-items div class=field-item odd a href=/transformation/michael-edwards/money-in-terms-of-social-change-it%E2%80%99s-both-%E2%80%98beauty-and-beast%E2%80%99Money: in terms of social change, it’s both ‘beauty and the beast’/a /div div class=field-item even a href=/transformation/steve-consilvio/buy-low-sell-low-secret-to-healthier-economyBuy low, sell low: the secret to a healthier economy/a /div div class=field-item odd a href=/transformation/thomas-h-greco-jr/money-debt-and-end-of-growth-imperativeMoney, debt and the end of the growth imperative/a /div div class=field-item even a href=/transformation/jennifer-buffett-and-peter-buffett/can-philanthropy-support-transformation-of-societyCan philanthropy support the transformation of society?/a /div div class=field-item odd a href=/transformation/laura-gottesdiener/is-laughter-best-medicine-for-monopoly-capitalismIs laughter the best medicine for monopoly capitalism?/a /div /div /div /fieldset div class=field field-topics div class=field-labelTopics:nbsp;/div div class=field-items div class=field-item odd Economics /div div class=field-item even Ideas /div /div /div div class=field field-rights div class=field-labelRights:nbsp;/div div class=field-items div class=field-item odd Creative Commons /div /div /div
div class=field field-summary div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pWant more details on the sharing economy and where it might be heading in the future? Check out this comprehensive list of resources, complete with web links./p /div /div /div pAgyeman, Julian, Duncan McLaren and Adrianne Schaefer-Borrego, a href=http://www.foe.co.uk/sites/default/files/downloads/agyeman_sharing_cities.pdfSharing Cities/a, Friends of the Earth briefing paper, September 2013./p pAgyeman, Julian, a href=http://julianagyeman.com/2012/09/just-sustainabilities/#hideJust sustainabilities/a, julianagyeman.com, 21st September 2012.nbsp;/p pBollier, David, a href=http://bollier.org/blog/bauwens-joins-ecuador-planning-commons-based-peer-production-economyBauwens Joins Ecuador in Planning a Commons-based, Peer Production Economy/a, 20th September 2013, bollier.org/p pBotsman, Rachel, a href=http://www.fastcoexist.com/3022028/the-sharing-economy-lacks-a-shared-definition#6The Sharing Economy Lacks A Shared Definition/a, fastcoexist.com, 21st November 2013./p pBotsman, Rachel, a href=http://www.slideshare.net/CollabLab/shared-def-pptf?ref=http://www.fastcoexist.com/3022028/the-sharing-economy-lacks-a-shared-definitionThe Sharing Economy Lacks a Shared Definition: Giving Meaning to the Terms/a, Collaborative Lab on Slideshare.net, 19th November 2013./p pChilds, Mike, a href=http://www.shareable.net/blog/the-power-of-sharing-a-call-to-action-for-environmentalists?utm_content=adam%40stwr.orgamp;utm_source=VerticalResponseamp;utm_medium=Emailamp;utm_term=Sharing%3A%20A%20Call%20to%20Action%20for%20Environmentalistsamp;utm_campaign=Shareable%3A%20Global%20Sharing%20Ramps%20Up%20During%20ShutdowncontentThe Power of Sharing: A Call to Action for Environmentalists/a, Shareable.net, 5th November 2013./p pCollaborativeconsumption.com, a href=http://www.collaborativeconsumption.com/2013/06/26/shareable-cities-resolution-passed/Shareable Cities Resolution: Passed/a, 26th June 2013./p pDaly, Herman and John Cobb, emFor the Common Good: Redirecting the Economy toward Community, the Environment, and a Sustainable Future/em, Beacon Press, 1991./p pEberlein, Sven, a href=http://www.shareable.net/blog/sharing-for-profit-im-not-buying-it-anymoreSharing for Profit - I'm Not Buying it Anymore/a, Shareable.net, 20th February 2013./p pEnright, Michael in interview with Benita Matofska and Aidan Enns, a href=http://www.cbc.ca/thesundayedition/shows/2012/12/16/sharing-not-buying-gifts-at-christmas/Sharing, Not Buying at Christmas (Hr. 1)/a, CBC Radio, 16th December 2012./p pFriends of the Earth, a href=http://www.foe.co.uk/bigideas/think_piece_cities_sharing_41208.htmlBig Idea 2: Sharing - a political force to be reckoned with?/a, 26th September 2013./p pGaskins, Kim, a href=http://latd.com/2010/06/01/shareable-latitude-42-the-new-sharing-economy/The New Sharing Economy/a, Latitude, 1st June 2010./p pGorenflo, Neal, a href=http://www.shareable.net/blog/whats-next-for-the-sharing-movementWhat's Next for the Sharing Movement?/a, Shareable.net, 31st July 2013./p pGrahl, Jodi (trans.), a href=http://tint.org/2011/10/world-charter-for-the-right-to-the-city/World Charter for the Right to the City/a, International Alliance of Inhabitants et al, May 2005.nbsp;/p pGriffiths, Rachel, a href=http://www.uk.coop/document/great-sharing-economyThe Great Sharing Economy/a, Co-operatives UK, London UK, 2011./p pGrigg, Kat, a href=http://www.thesolutionsjournal.org/node/24124Sharing As Part of the New Economy: An Interview with Lauren Anderson/a, The Solutions Journal, 20th September 2013./p pHeinberg, Richard, a href=http://www.postcarbon.org/blog-post/1949822-who-knew-that-seoul-was-aWho knew that Seoul was a leader in the sharing economy?/a, Post Carbon Institute, 12th November 2013./p pHerbst, Moira, a href=http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/07/sharing-economy-not-solution-to-jobs-crisisLet's get real: the 'sharing economy' won't solve our jobs crisis/a, The Guardian, 7th January 2014./p pJackson, Tim, emProsperity without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet/em, Routeledge, 2011./p pJohnson, Cat, a href=http://www.shareable.net/blog/from-consumers-to-citizens-welcome-to-the-sharing-cities-networkFrom Consumers to Citizens: Welcome to the Sharing Cities Network/a, Shareable.net, 9th January 2014./p pKasser, Tim, emThe High Price of Materialism/em, MIT Press, 2003./p pKisner, Corinne, a href=http://www.nlc.org/Documents/Find%20City%20Solutions/Research%20Innovation/Sustainability/integrating-bike-share-programs-into-sustainable-transportation-system-cpb-feb11.pdfIntegrating Bike Share Programs into a Sustainable Transportation System/a, National League of Cities, City Practice Brief, Washington D.C., 2011./p pLeonard, Annie, a href=http://storyofstuff.org/movies/the-story-of-solutions/The Story of Solutions/a, The Story of Stuff Project, October 2013, storyofstuff.org/p pMartin, Elliot and Susan Shaheen, a href=http://www.uctc.net/access/38/access38_carsharing_ownership.pdfThe Impact of Carsharing on Household Vehicle Ownership/a, Access (UCTC magazine), No. 38 Spring 2011./p pMatofska, Benita, a href=https://www.foe.co.uk/news/thepeoplewhoshare_38689Facing the future: share to survive/a, Friends of the Earth blog, 4th January 2013./p pMorozov, Evgeny, a href=http://evgenymorozov.tumblr.com/post/64038831400/the-sharing-economy-undermines-workers-rights-myThe ‘sharing economy’ undermines workers’ rights/a, Financial Times, 14th October 2013./p pOlson. Michael J. and Andrew D. Connor, a href=https://piper2.bluematrix.com/docs/pdf/35ef1fcc-a07b-48cf-ab80-04d80e5665c4.pdfThe Disruption of Sharing: An Overview of the New Peer-to-Peer ‘Sharing Economy’ and The Impact on Established Internet Companies/a, Piper Jaffray, November 2013./p pOpinium Research and Marke2ing, a href=http://opinium.co.uk/sites/default/files/Opinium_Marke2ing_Sharing_economy_Report.pdfThe Sharing Economy An overview with special focus on Peer-to-Peer Lending/a, 14th November 2012./p pOrsi, Janelle and Doskow, Emily, emThe Sharing Solution: How to Save Money, Simplify Your Life and Build Community/em, Nolo, May 2009./p pOrsi, Janelle et al, a href=http://www.resilience.org/stories/2013-09-11/policies-for-shareable-cities-a-sharing-economy-policy-primer-for-urban-leadersPolicies for Shareable Cities: A Sharing Economy Policy Primer for Urban Leaders/a, Shareable / The sustainable Economics Law Centre, September 2013./p pOrsi, Janelle, a href=http://www.shareable.net/blog/the-sharing-economy-just-got-realThe Sharing Economy Just Got Real/a, Shareable.net, 16th September 2013./p pQuilligan, James B., a href=http://www.kosmosjournal.org/articles/people-sharing-resources-toward-a-new-multilateralism-of-the-global-commonsPeople Sharing Resources: Toward a New Multilateralism of the Global Commons/a, Kosmos Journal, Fall/Winter 2009./p pSchifferes, Jonathan, a href=http://www.rsablogs.org.uk/2013/social-economy/sharing-prosperity/Sharing our way to prosperity (Part 1)/a, rsablogs.org.uk, 6th August 2013.nbsp;/p pSchifferes, Jonathan, a href=http://www.rsablogs.org.uk/2013/social-economy/profiting-sharing/Profiting from sharing (Part 2)/a, rsablogs.org.uk, 6th August 2013.nbsp;/p pSchor, Juliet, emPlenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth/em, Tantor Media, 2010./p pJuliet Schor, a href=http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/15/opinion/after-the-jobs-disappear.html?pagewanted=1amp;_r=2amp;ref=internationalamp;After the Jobs Disappear/a, New York Times, 14th October 2013.nbsp;/p pSimms, Andrew and Ruth Potts, a href=http://www.thenewmaterialism.org/pamphletThe New Materialism: How our relationship with the material world can change for the better/a, New Economics Foundation, November 2012./p pStanding, Guy, emThe Precariat: The New Dangerous Class/em, Bloomsbury Academic, 2011./p pTennant, Ian, a href=https://www.foe.co.uk/blog/what-s-it-me-do-you-dare-shareWhat’s in it for me? Do you dare to share?/a, Friends of the Earth blog, 8th January 2014./p pWiesmann, Thorsten, a href=http://ouishare.net/2013/06/raphael-fellmer-sharing-food-waste/Living by the Principle of Sharing – an interview with Raphael Fellmer/a, Oiushare.net, February 2013./p pWilkinson, Richard and Kate Pickett, emThe Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone/em, Penguin, 2010./p pYglesias, Matthew, a href=http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2013/12/26/myth_of_the_sharing_economy_there_s_no_such_thing.htmlThere Is No Sharing Economy/a, Slate.com, 26th December 2013./p pnbsp;/ppspanFor more references and suggestions visit /spana href=http://www.sharing.org/information-centre/articles/sharing-economy-short-introduction-its-political-evolution#sthash.q6PuGj0r.dpufthis link/aspan.nbsp;/span/pfieldset class=fieldgroup group-sideboxslegendSideboxes/legenddiv class=field field-related-stories div class=field-labelRelated stories:nbsp;/div div class=field-items div class=field-item odd a href=/transformation/adam-parsons/sharing-economy-short-introduction-to-its-political-evolutionThe sharing economy: a short introduction to its political evolution/a /div div class=field-item even a href=/transformation/michael-edwards/money-in-terms-of-social-change-it%E2%80%99s-both-%E2%80%98beauty-and-beast%E2%80%99Money: in terms of social change, it’s both ‘beauty and the beast’/a /div div class=field-item odd a href=/transformation/steve-consilvio/buy-low-sell-low-secret-to-healthier-economyBuy low, sell low: the secret to a healthier economy/a /div div class=field-item even a href=/transformation/thomas-h-greco-jr/money-debt-and-end-of-growth-imperativeMoney, debt and the end of the growth imperative/a /div div class=field-item odd a href=/transformation/jennifer-buffett-and-peter-buffett/can-philanthropy-support-transformation-of-societyCan philanthropy support the transformation of society?/a /div /div /div /fieldset div class=field field-topics div class=field-labelTopics:nbsp;/div div class=field-items div class=field-item odd Economics /div /div /div div class=field field-rights div class=field-labelRights:nbsp;/div div class=field-items div class=field-item odd Creative Commons /div /div /div
div class=field field-summary div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pLast week, Matteo Renzi’s government obtained the backing of the Italian Parliament, aiming to revolutionise the country's old politics. But can his political style and smart tweeting be enough?/p /div /div /div pspan class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none_left caption-xlarge'a href=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/x6Id5wzpQbiVX9hlmE675tmJD8eui9sI8v7qlireI0k/mtime:1393987051/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/545816/4070952.jpg rel=lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline] title=Demotix/Donatella Giagnori. All rights reserved.img src=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/jOfZBC7GIkKSCjEIoZkJeomNdVJ4OpTd6g6py0b_qQc/mtime:1393987024/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/545816/4070952.jpg alt= title=Demotix/Donatella Giagnori. All rights reserved. width=460 height=307 class=imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge style= //a span class='image_meta'span class='image_title'Demotix/Donatella Giagnori. All rights reserved./span/span/span/ppLast week, Matteo Renzi’s government obtained the backing of the Italian Parliament. In just a few months, Renzi has registered an impressive series of personal successes, moving from mayor of Florence, to secretary of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), to new premier. Now, the man who has proclaimed himself as the “emrottamatore/em”, the demolisher of an old and corrupt political class, behaves like he is ready to carry out his revolution.nbsp;/p pSome differences with the past are remarkable indeed. True,nbsp;polemics have erupted over the judicial troubles of some recently appointed, low-rank officials, showing that establishing a new course is easier said than done. But the executive chosen by Renzi is the youngest in Italy’s Republican history, and has the highest number of female ministers.nbsp;/p pThe real revolution, anyway, seems to lie in Renzi's style and communication. His public image is fresh and lively as no other centre-left leader's in the past twenty years. The contrast with previous premier Enrico Letta couldn't be more striking. To use a school metaphor, Letta would be the over-cautious pupil who always does his homework, Renzi the Fonzie-like guy who breaks hearts with his charm and boldness.nbsp;/p pWith his casual wear and his headline-catching statements, the new PM seems to have mesmerised the nation. The media shows an obsessive interest in anything he does or says, and Renzi skilfully exploits this attention to his own political advantage. Thus, while everybody talks about his blunt a href=https://twitter.com/matteorenzitweets/a, his Smart car and his playful facial expressions, much less energy is expended on discussing the feasibility of his (usually vague) promises./p pBut if Renzi’s style is revolutionary, especially by leftist standards, other more substantial aspects of his political adventure are not. In particular, his takeover of Letta's job has been carried out throughnbsp;another, humiliating self-defeat of the Democratic Party - which has recently become quite used to such political suicides. Matteo Renzi withdrew his support to the fellow Democrat and took his place while keeping the same, broad coalition that includes forces of the centre-right. The previous executive was facing a stalemate on many fronts, but Renzi, in spite of hisnbsp;emrottamazionenbsp;/emrhetoric, has had a hard time explaining how things are going to be any different now. His move has thus been perceived by many as yet another example of the endless conflicts of power that consume the Democratic Party, very little of it having to do with political programmes or ideology./p pAlthough his latest actions have backfired on Renzi in the polls, in the medium-long term this negative impact will probably be compensated for by the new PM's unrivalled potential for employing his communication talents, from the country's most visible vantage point. But in the meantime, the PD's credibility has suffered another heavy blow. Sacrificing the party on the altar of his own political career, Renzi has officially enrolled the PD into the club of highly-personalised parties, which count little more than as stages and springboards for their leaders. This is another reason why Renzi’s revolution, at closer scrutiny, does not seem so revolutionary after all./p pIn the past years, Italians have repeatedly thrown themselves into the clutches of charismatic leaders. Silvio Berlusconi's two-decade domination over the country’s politics is the most obvious example. But even after the tycoon’s popularity started to wane, many voters have shown similar attitudes towards other political figures, such as former comedian Beppe Grillo. From this perspective, Renzi may be just another comet in the Italian political sky, whose brightness may dim quickly enough once he fails to rise to the high expectations he has created./p pIt is often said that Italians always need a strong leader to follow blindly, but after a while they get tired of him and hang him upside down - nbsp;a reference to the end of Mussolini's regime. For now, Renzi is still enjoying the enthusiasm of a big part of the Italian electorate. But he will have to do more than smart tweeting if he wants to keep the fire burning./pfieldset class=fieldgroup group-sideboxslegendSideboxes/legenddiv class=field field-related-stories div class=field-labelRelated stories:nbsp;/div div class=field-items div class=field-item odd a href=/can-europe-make-it/giuseppe-allegri-roberto-ciccarelli/what-is-fifth-estateWhat is the fifth estate?/a /div div class=field-item even a href=/can-europe-make-it/isotta-rossoni/football-italian-synecdocheFootball: an Italian synecdoche?/a /div div class=field-item odd a href=/can-europe-make-it/euro-elections-you-tell-us/jacopo-barbati/italy-is-quickly-turning-from-one-of-most-pro-eu-countries-to-one-Italy turns from one of the most pro-EU countries, to the most eurosceptic/a /div div class=field-item even a href=/can-europe-make-it/piero-tortola/chaos-theory-of-italian-politicsThe chaos theory of Italian politics/a /div div class=field-item odd a href=/can-europe-make-it/michele-barbero/italys-unhappy-marriage-with-europeItaly#039;s unhappy marriage with Europe/a /div /div /div /fieldset div class=field field-country div class=field-label Country or region:nbsp;/div div class=field-items div class=field-item odd Italy /div /div /div
div class="taxonomy-images"a href="/podcasts/shows/f-word" class="taxonomy-image-links"img src="http://rabble.ca/sites/rabble/files/imagecache/thumbnail/category_pictures/TheFWord_short%20100x100.jpg" alt="The F Word" title="The F Word" width="100" height="100" class="taxonomy-image-term-4841 taxonomy-image-vid-10"//a/divdiv class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-for-node" div class="field-items" div class="field-item odd" img src="http://rabble.ca/sites/rabble/files/imagecache/120-width-scaled/imagefield_default_images/rpn.png" alt="" title="" width="120" height="120" class="imagecache imagecache-120-width-scaled imagecache-default imagecache-120-width-scaled_default"/ /div /div /div pThe F Word airs Ariana Barer's conversation with Darla Goodwin, traditional Aboriginal woman and feminist, about Aboriginal feminism(s). Goodwin addresses the hesitation of Aboriginal women to ascribe to a feminist label and her own choice to identify as feminist. They discuss matriarchal leadership, respect across genders, histories of oppression, and advice for allies.nbsp;/pfieldset class="fieldgroup group-mp3-upload"div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-mp3" div class="field-items" div class="field-item odd" div class="filefield-file"img class="filefield-icon field-icon-audio-mpeg" alt="audio/mpeg icon" src="http://rabble.ca/sites/all/modules/contrib/filefield/icons/audio-x-generic.png" /a href="http://rabble.ca/sites/rabble/files/audio/download/27012/aboriginal_feminisms.mp3" type="audio/mpeg; length=39580251" title="aboriginal_feminisms.mp3"The F Word airs Ariana Barer#039;s conversation with Darla Goodwin, traditional Aboriginal woman and feminist, about Aboriginal Femi/a/div /div /div /div /fieldset pa href="http://rabble.ca/podcasts/shows/f-word/2014/03/aboriginal-feminisms" target="_blank"read more/a/pdiv class="feedflare" a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=MXKfwCcZiGg:uHU8LHz8jCg:yIl2AUoC8zA"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=MXKfwCcZiGg:uHU8LHz8jCg:qj6IDK7rITs"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=MXKfwCcZiGg:uHU8LHz8jCg:dnMXMwOfBR0"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?d=dnMXMwOfBR0" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=MXKfwCcZiGg:uHU8LHz8jCg:F7zBnMyn0Lo"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?i=MXKfwCcZiGg:uHU8LHz8jCg:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=MXKfwCcZiGg:uHU8LHz8jCg:V_sGLiPBpWU"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?i=MXKfwCcZiGg:uHU8LHz8jCg:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"/img/a /divimg src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/rabble-news/~4/MXKfwCcZiGg" height="1" width="1"/
US says Russian military moves are illegal and pretext for wider invasion, as Russia says it is defending its interests.
div class="taxonomy-images"a href="/podcasts/shows/f-word" class="taxonomy-image-links"img src="http://rabble.ca/sites/rabble/files/imagecache/thumbnail/category_pictures/TheFWord_short%20100x100.jpg" alt="The F Word" title="The F Word" width="100" height="100" class="taxonomy-image-term-4841 taxonomy-image-vid-10"//a/divdiv class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-for-node" div class="field-items" div class="field-item odd" img src="http://rabble.ca/sites/rabble/files/imagecache/120-width-scaled/imagefield_default_images/rpn.png" alt="" title="" width="120" height="120" class="imagecache imagecache-120-width-scaled imagecache-default imagecache-120-width-scaled_default"/ /div /div /div pAriana Barer and Carissa Ropponen feature two women speaking about reclaiming feminism and how they, their communitites, and their generations are defining the word and the movement. We aired a TEDx Euston talk by award-winning Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie called "We Should All Be Feminists" followed by Courtney Martin's TED Women talk entitled "This Isn't Her Mother's Feminism."/p pThe F Word seeks to facilitate feminist dialogue and use media as a foundation for positive social change. For more information on The F Word, please visit our website at:nbsp;a href="http://www.feminisms.org/" title="www.feminisms.org" rel="nofollow"/aa href="http://www.feminisms.org/" rel="nofollow"a href="http://www.feminisms.org"www.feminisms.org/a/anbsp;or email:nbsp;a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" rel="nofollow"email@example.com/a/pfieldset class="fieldgroup group-mp3-upload"div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-mp3" div class="field-items" div class="field-item odd" div class="filefield-file"img class="filefield-icon field-icon-audio-mpeg" alt="audio/mpeg icon" src="http://rabble.ca/sites/all/modules/contrib/filefield/icons/audio-x-generic.png" /a href="http://rabble.ca/sites/rabble/files/audio/download/27012/reclaiming_feminism_0.mp3" type="audio/mpeg; length=52006699" title="reclaiming_feminism.mp3"Ariana Barer and Carissa Ropponen air two talks about reclaiming feminism by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Americ/a/div /div /div /div /fieldsetdiv class="feedflare" a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=ZR25qlAkJGo:ow02vYC_eH0:yIl2AUoC8zA"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=ZR25qlAkJGo:ow02vYC_eH0:qj6IDK7rITs"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=ZR25qlAkJGo:ow02vYC_eH0:dnMXMwOfBR0"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?d=dnMXMwOfBR0" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=ZR25qlAkJGo:ow02vYC_eH0:F7zBnMyn0Lo"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?i=ZR25qlAkJGo:ow02vYC_eH0:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=ZR25qlAkJGo:ow02vYC_eH0:V_sGLiPBpWU"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?i=ZR25qlAkJGo:ow02vYC_eH0:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"/img/a /divimg src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/rabble-news/~4/ZR25qlAkJGo" height="1" width="1"/
Government unconvinced by airline's bailout proposal, deciding instead to lift foreign ownership restrictions.
Benjamin Netanyahu says Palestinian leaders must also "abandon the fantasy of flooding Israel with refugees".
Students maintain barricades in some cities and activists hold new rallies while government plans to honour late leader.
div class="story-teaser story-teaser-blog" div class="body" pemOTTAWA/em/p pWhat goes up must come down, we used to say, and that adage appears to include both Alberta Premier Alison Redford's in-flight fancies aboard the government's aircraft and the first-class compartments of commercial airliners, as well as her entire political career./p pWho would have thought it would be airplane rides that brought this arrogant and erratic premier to earth?/p pBut then, it's always the little things that catch the eye and offend the principles of ordinary voters -- arguments over the constitutionality of a bad law, not so much perhaps, but a too-expensive glass of orange juice or an airplane fare that seems over the top can be just the ticket./p div class="read-more"/div /div /div pa href="http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/djclimenhaga/2014/03/flights-fancy-11-days-to-ides-march-and-knives-are-already-out-a" target="_blank"read more/a/pdiv class="feedflare" a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=gA7uPCJWWcc:hBgFJgrypcQ:yIl2AUoC8zA"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=gA7uPCJWWcc:hBgFJgrypcQ:qj6IDK7rITs"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=gA7uPCJWWcc:hBgFJgrypcQ:dnMXMwOfBR0"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?d=dnMXMwOfBR0" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=gA7uPCJWWcc:hBgFJgrypcQ:F7zBnMyn0Lo"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?i=gA7uPCJWWcc:hBgFJgrypcQ:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=gA7uPCJWWcc:hBgFJgrypcQ:V_sGLiPBpWU"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?i=gA7uPCJWWcc:hBgFJgrypcQ:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"/img/a /divimg src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/rabble-news/~4/gA7uPCJWWcc" height="1" width="1"/
div class="story-teaser story-teaser-blog" div class="body" pThe CRTC, the body that makes the rules for the media and telecom industry, is asking Canadians about the future of digital services in Canada. As part of their "TalkTV" initiative, they've launched an interactive questionnaire called "Choicebook" about government rules that have the potential to either help fix our dysfunctional telecom market or give big conglomerates who dominate almost 90 per cent of the market even more power to raise prices and control services./p div class="read-more"/div /div /div pa href="http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/openmediaca/2014/03/why-we-had-to-create-users-guide-crtcs-flawed-online-consultation" target="_blank"read more/a/pdiv class="feedflare" a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=LooFr8mdYQs:dB822zQbTUs:yIl2AUoC8zA"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=LooFr8mdYQs:dB822zQbTUs:qj6IDK7rITs"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=LooFr8mdYQs:dB822zQbTUs:dnMXMwOfBR0"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?d=dnMXMwOfBR0" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=LooFr8mdYQs:dB822zQbTUs:F7zBnMyn0Lo"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?i=LooFr8mdYQs:dB822zQbTUs:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=LooFr8mdYQs:dB822zQbTUs:V_sGLiPBpWU"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?i=LooFr8mdYQs:dB822zQbTUs:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"/img/a /divimg src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/rabble-news/~4/LooFr8mdYQs" height="1" width="1"/
div class="story-teaser story-teaser-blog" div class="body" pOne night not long ago I was about to take in my daily dose of the emDaily Show/em with Jon Stewart after work, when I was forced to deal with a new popup window on the CTV website -- CTV and other Bell Media websites are the only legal websites you can use to watch this and many other shows./p pI felt this popup and question was invasive and unnecessary but I tried answering the truth -- "I do not have a TV service provider" -- and I also tried selecting several other options./p pEach time I received the following popup message and continued to be blocked from watching the emDaily Show/em./p div class="read-more"/div /div /div pa href="http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/openmediaca/2014/03/why-bell-blocking-canadians-watching-daily-show-online" target="_blank"read more/a/pdiv class="feedflare" a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=k9bWQGvM7o0:R8_qtkLtEEI:yIl2AUoC8zA"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=k9bWQGvM7o0:R8_qtkLtEEI:qj6IDK7rITs"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=k9bWQGvM7o0:R8_qtkLtEEI:dnMXMwOfBR0"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?d=dnMXMwOfBR0" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=k9bWQGvM7o0:R8_qtkLtEEI:F7zBnMyn0Lo"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?i=k9bWQGvM7o0:R8_qtkLtEEI:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=k9bWQGvM7o0:R8_qtkLtEEI:V_sGLiPBpWU"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?i=k9bWQGvM7o0:R8_qtkLtEEI:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"/img/a /divimg src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/rabble-news/~4/k9bWQGvM7o0" height="1" width="1"/
div class="story-teaser story-teaser-blog" div class="body" pMy mother's village in western Ukraine: Geese being herded by old babas, ox carts driven by farmers. In the fields, people tilling the soil until nightfall with shovels and hoes, no farm equipment in sight. No paved roads to be seen, let alone public transit, well-equipped schools, recreational facilities, jobs, futures. /p No, not the 19th century. The 21st./p div class="read-more"/div /div /div pa href="http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/marusya-bociurkiw/2014/03/my-ukraine-soldiers-streets-geese-fields" target="_blank"read more/a/pdiv class="feedflare" a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=sWbXeUditIo:lg7ObILssGU:yIl2AUoC8zA"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=sWbXeUditIo:lg7ObILssGU:qj6IDK7rITs"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=sWbXeUditIo:lg7ObILssGU:dnMXMwOfBR0"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?d=dnMXMwOfBR0" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=sWbXeUditIo:lg7ObILssGU:F7zBnMyn0Lo"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?i=sWbXeUditIo:lg7ObILssGU:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"/img/a a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?a=sWbXeUditIo:lg7ObILssGU:V_sGLiPBpWU"img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/rabble-news?i=sWbXeUditIo:lg7ObILssGU:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"/img/a /divimg src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/rabble-news/~4/sWbXeUditIo" height="1" width="1"/
div class=field field-summary div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pThe opening up of academic material beyond select and expensive journals should be grasped as an opportunity to re-examine the way academics communicate their ideas with the public./p /div /div /div pspan class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'a href=http://opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/535628/ivory.jpg rel=lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline] title=img src=http://opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/535628/ivory.jpg alt= title= width=400 height=400 class=imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large style= //a span class='image_meta'span class='image_title'Flickr/David Schumaker/span/span/span/ppAcademics once wrote only for academics.nbsp; Now they must write for others too.nbsp; With the enforced rise of a href=http://www.theguardian.com/science/2012/jun/19/open-access-academic-publishing-finch-reportopen access publishing/a, publicly funded research will become freely available thereby avoiding the exorbitant fee of a journal subscription.nbsp; Old habits die hard, of course.nbsp; Academics tend to greet this new requirement with a sense of trepidation.nbsp; /p pOptimists among them hope that this enforced exposure will force academics to write in more accessible, interesting and engaging ways.nbsp; Academics will become mindful of their wider public.nbsp; /p pNaturally, optimists always presume too much.nbsp; In this case the academic optimist is already too enchanted by the civilizing mission of the profession.nbsp; Those academics who seek primarily to ‘excite’ their public, will also happily dupe this same public into believing that the university is indispensible to it.nbsp; Those who wish to ‘inspire’ their public, seem to conjure up the vision of a uniformly smiling society, one that eagerly awaits the inspirational ideas they claim to have on offer.nbsp; This uniformly deferential, peaceable citizenry is the kind of vision that hides behind much university ‘public engagement’.nbsp; /p pIt is unfortunate for these optimists then that the university often greets its public like a damp squib, swiftly losing sparkle amid widespread indifference.nbsp; In response, it grasps on to pockets of enthusiasm in said populace, which it misreads as a general affirmation of its kindly mission.nbsp; Surely if nothing else the university is a public good, or so they must believe; we would be destitute without it./p pDespite all such efforts to ‘reach out’, academic writing, the stuff that will soon be open access, generally still perpetuates the tedious rituals of the craft.nbsp; Once described by Alasdair MacIntyre as the ‘most eccentric latecomer of all philosophical forms’, the academic paper is nevertheless here to stay.nbsp; That academic thought has willingly confined itself to 6,000 word slabs of writing, with all the structural, stylistic, topical and hence intellectual constraints this involves, is one of the most remarkable and noteworthy of all the uncontested assumptions that make up academic discourse today./p pAcademics are not unaware of other styles of writing, and often feel the constraints of their discipline all-too-painfully when work is rejected for publication.nbsp; Many learn to give their writing an academic disguise, deliberately conforming to the specific mores of the journal that they have in their sights so that this particular piece of writing they happen to submit may be judged acceptable.nbsp; In this climate, the most important thing is to get the damn thing published./p pBut is it?nbsp; Here are three reasons for writing differently:nbsp; /p pstrongI./strong/p pOne reading of the playwright and revolutionary theorist, Bertolt Brecht, implies that academics might develop a kind of brutal honesty about themselves, one that reminds its public of the constraints that lie behind and inform all academic production.nbsp; For Brecht, enchanted publics are passive audiences.nbsp; They are invited to disappear as an audience and reappear within the play by identifying fully with its narrative.nbsp; By contrast, Brecht sought to always remind the audience of its material presence, of the distance between the audience and the play.nbsp; /p pBy extension, when the university reaches out it should constantly remind the public it engages with that it ordinarily emexcludes them/em.nbsp; Rather than invite the public to engage with the university and be at one with it in spirit, the public that is addressed should be encouraged to critically distance itself from the university it confronts.nbsp; Such effects can also be generated through a kind of academic writing that does emnot/em condescend to its readers by inviting its audience with gentle encouragement into the ‘deep knowledge’ of the text.nbsp; Rather, academic writing should encourage a degree of ironic detachment and suspicion. /p pstrongII./strong/p pAnyone who is attracted to the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche is at times also repulsed.nbsp; Nietzsche liked to make mischief with what he called ‘the habits of our senses’.nbsp; The aphoristic style he adopted – with its short pointed assertions designed to confront the reader with untimely meditations – sought quite openly to invert conventional understanding.nbsp; /p pNietzsche’s aphorisms are impersonal and give the reader little comfort. Designed to wake us from our complacency, and encourage us to experiment with other forms of understanding and ways of being, this kind of writing is destined to shock.nbsp; Forced to connect the dots between maxims that sometimes appear to share no overall order, the reader must actively engage with the text in order to make sense of it.nbsp; In effect, the reader must not become familiar with the tone, conventions and style of the text, for such a reader is at risk of becoming overly comfortable with it. If academic writing were brave enough to shirk its conventions – where these conventions are underwritten by a powerful ethic of scholarly restraint – perhaps academic writing could become similarly disruptive, and seek to distress or stretch apart, rather than consolidate opinion./p pstrongIII./strong/p pMichel Foucault is nowadays greeted with a yawn.nbsp; And yet, there are many aspects of his writing that have emnot/em been overused to the point of tedium.nbsp; His statement: ‘I have never written anything but fictions’ is rarely addressed, and even more rarely implemented, by his many followers.nbsp; This statement should not be misunderstood. Foucault was not claiming to have perpetuated falsehoods in his work. Rather, he subscribed to the view that writing could adopt fictive devices to generate a sense of the world around us that we will never fully grasp.nbsp; A little rhetoric can go a long way in helping us to see how we have been formed by a society that usually manages to keep its formative devices well concealed.nbsp; /p pFoucault’s work is predicated on a logic of engagement that links speculation to political action.nbsp; It begins with a refusal to translate speculation into the terms of conventional political debate, which, as a form of discourse, leaves so much untouched. In attempting to break away from the systems of power that have constructed us, and constrained us to think and act in certain ways, Foucault understood that it would be impossible to fully describe those systems, and once and for all lay them bare. He nevertheless believed that a certain kind of writing can disrupt power by delivering an experience that emunsettles/em the reader and brings the reader to question the inevitability of things. Ultimately, the effectiveness of this kind of writing is to be judged by the degree to which it disrupts reality, by the level of its catastrophic effects. /p pThe great catastrophe awaiting open access publishing is that unless academics experiment with new modes of address, their writing will not be nearly catastrophic enough. /ppstrongembr //em/strong/ppstrongema href=https://www.shef.ac.uk/education/staff/academic/allenaAnsgar Allen/a is a Lecturer in Education at the University of Sheffield.nbsp; He is the author of a href=http://www.palgrave.com/products/title.aspx?pid=633938Benign Violence: Education in and beyond the Age of Reason/a published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2014./em/strong/pdiv class=field field-country div class=field-label Country or region:nbsp;/div div class=field-items div class=field-item odd UK /div /div /div
div class=field field-summary div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pimg src=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/sUACPv4Sq0pQf3BdsNx_V63RN0qQw-YLxKkI0oc452M/mtime:1389706217/files/DW%20logo%20small.png alt= width=140 //ppToo narrow an interpretation of republicanism can rob us off many of the tools and insights we should now be employing. This is no time for elite paternalism./p /div /div /div pAs an intellectual tradition, republicanism is a broad church. J. G. A. Pocock’s seminal charting of a particular part of that tradition, his genealogy of republicanism's role in Britain’s 13 North American colonies’ struggle for and consolidation of their independence in emThe Machiavellian Moment/em, takes in figures as different as Niccolò Machiavelli and Alexander Hamilton. /p pOne of these was a Florentine humanist for whom the Roman republic’s class-driven political strife was central to its success while the other, a soldier married into the pre-Independence colonial elite, could not think of “the rapid succession of revolutions” in such “petty” republics without “horror and disgust”, and so was glad that the “science of politics” had received the “great improvement” which enabled it to go beyond the tools available in antiquity. /p pYet Pocock hardly covers the whole republican tradition, even in the countries he deals with. Alex Gourevitch has ably shown the ways in which labour and other struggles well after the era Pocock is concerned with drew on republican tropes, for example. Nor is that to say anything of the Francophone or German republican traditions through the eighteenth and nineteenth century, in which theorists as different as Fichte and Tocqueville can be located, or of the forms (anti-) colonial republicanism took outside the eastern seaboard of North America. /p pAny attempt to draw on the republican tradition for contemporary political insight needs to be aware, then, of the variety of thinkers who fall within it and the specificity of the problems they were trying to solve. Often their differences are considerably greater than their similarities, and in failing to appreciate those differences, much of the sophistication and plausibility of the lessons we might learn from the tradition can be lost./p pstrongPettit’s republicanism/strong/p pMuch contemporary republicanism seems to me to fail to see this. Its standard bearer, Philip Pettit, undeniably leans on the authority provided by the republican tradition extensively, describing himself as trying to revive an “ideal” that, despite having “shaped many of the most important institutions… we associate with democracy”, “has not been given enough attention in contemporary debates”. The ideal he tries to revive, however, is one that is supposed to be shared by both Machiavelli and Madison, co-author of emThe Federalist Papers /emwith Hamilton, as well as Locke, Harrington, and many in between. More than that, the ideal is rather specific. Pettit claims that valuing freedom as non-domination requires what he calls ‘contestatory democracy’, which, in addition to being democratic in the sense of having governments selected through some kind of formally egalitarian political process, should satisfy a further three conditions. The first two, that the rule of law should be observed and that there should be some separation of powers, are relatively uncontroversial, but the third, that law should be “resistant to majority will”, is I hope not. /p pPettit not only believes that the republican case for “counter-majoritarian protection” is “straightforward”, but that the means of providing that protection should be through something like the elaborate system of checks and balances we see in the United States. His republican ideal consequently amounts to something very similar to that of Publius and emThe/em emFederalist Papers/em. However, the counter-majoritarianism of emThe/em emFederalist Papers/em is paternalistic and elitist, concerned to defend the people “against their own temporary errors and delusions” by dispersing and checking power. nbsp;In insulating representatives from the popular will, they aim to “suspend the blow meditated by the people against themselves, until reason, justice, and truth can regain their authority” – or at least reason, justice, and truth as decided by the members of the colonial elite selected as representatives. nbsp;Thus, Pettit’s reconstruction of the republican tradition does at least two unfortunate things. First, it adopts the recommendations of a clique of eighteenth century oligarchs as a set of guidelines for contemporary institutional design, and second, it casts this as the content of republicanism as such./p pYet it is not clear either that the ideal that Pettit claims characterises the republican tradition is in fact what unifies it or unequivocally supports the institutional arrangements he favours. This should hardly be surprising, given the breadth and depth of the republican tradition, but it is disappointing, given Pettit’s public role as, for example, an assessor of the republican credentials of Zapatero’s government in Spain. The lack of attention to the diversity and particularity of thinkers in the republican tradition impoverishes it and so makes it less useful and attractive to us as a source from which we can draw contemporary political inspiration. /p pThe ideal Pettit claims characterises the republican tradition is that of freedom as non-domination, an understanding eclipsed by Bentham’s Hobbes-inspired polemics against the rebellious North American colonists. Pettit is certainly able to show that some figures like Harrington, opponent of Hobbes’ attack on the ‘democratical gentlemen’ who opposed government by prerogative, have something like Pettit’s account of freedom as resting in being free from subjection “to the potentially capricious will or the potentially idiosyncratic judgement of another”. That some figures in the tradition talk in these terms though does not show that this is an appropriate way to characterise the tradition as a whole. It may not be their central idea, and it may not be any part of what other members of the tradition claim. In emThe Federalist Papers/em, for example, a republic is simply not a despotism, that is, a state which respects civil liberties and grants its citizens a role in law-making. This is not a quite specific claim about freedom consisting in not being exposed to the arbitrary will of another and only not being exposed to such a will. Equally, Rousseau’s discussion of living under laws you yourself have willed in emThe Social Contract /emseems motivated by a worry about the entitlement to authority of laws made any other way, not by a claim about what freedom as such is. A republican tradition without either emThe Federalist Papers /emor emThe Social Contract/em, texts which are clearly central to the two great republican revolutions of the late eighteenth century in France and North America, would be rather poor though./p pstrongRepublicanism against democracy?/strong/p pFurther, even if we were to grant that Pettit is right to characterise the republican tradition as united by freedom as non-domination, the case for his preferred counter-majoritarian institutions would remain weak. Pettit seems to believe that if a democratic majority is prevented from imposing its will, then non-domination is secured, that non-arbitrary rule is ensured by counter-majoritarian measures of the sort he favours. Yet the record of those checks and balances is at best ambiguous. For example, for more than 150 years, the US Supreme Court acquiesced in, if not perpetuated, first slavery and then Jim Crow, leaving it to Congress to pass the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts and remedy the blatant injustice of the treatment meted out to African Americans. Given the centrality of slavery as the definitional opposite of freedom in Pettit’s account of republicanism, his preference for a kind of institutional arrangement that has shown itself capable of repeatedly holding, at times against democratic majorities, that the state-mandated oppression of minorities is perfectly acceptable is odd. Indeed, the relatively untrammelled central authority in the United Kingdom was able to abolish slavery significantly earlier, partly as a result of the kind of mass political campaign the political system of the United States was deliberately designed to resist./p pThis is not only an empirical question about what policies a political system full of actors able to slow or veto policies favoured by democratic majorities is likely to favour, or whether such a system will in fact make slavery less likely or more. There is also a more conceptual issue. When a democratic majority is thwarted, who rules? Whose will makes the law if it is not a democratic majority’s? Why are we not concerned about the domination of the democratic majority by those who prevent them making law, who after all must be less numerous than the majority they are opposing? How can non-domination require that, simply because they disagree with it, a minority must be offered the opportunity systematically to obstruct and frustrate the decided will of a democratic majority? Pettit suggests in his most recent book that institutions designed to check the majority’s will make decisions “likely to be the ones that the people… would make or approve if they had all the relevant information or expertise”. This paternalistic defence of counter-majoritarian institutions turns not living under the will of another into being told that you do not know your own mind, and that experts with whom you disagree should interpret your interests for you, as you are not to be trusted to protect or promote them yourself. The people are being rescued from their ‘temporary errors and delusions’ again./p pstrongLearning from other republicanisms: Rousseau, Machiavelli/strong/p pInsofar as figures in the republican tradition have shared something like Pettit’s ideal, they have been aware that political disagreement means that coercion is inevitable, and the question is who does it to whom. Pettit is consistently hostile to Rousseau, but in admitting that living under law involves forcing people to be free, Rousseau gave himself the conceptual apparatus to acknowledge the losses of liberty involved in law-making and so confront the problem of ensuring that loss of liberty is not dominating. His problem in emThe Social Contract /emis, after all “[t]o find a form of association that will defend and protect the person and goods of each associate with the full common force, and by means of which each, uniting with all, nevertheless obey only himself and remain as free as before”. Being ruled by the general will answers this demand because it matches the laws its members are required to obey to their own wills by aiming at the protection of interests they share. Where wills do not align, either because of divergent or misunderstood interests, the general will ceases to exist and a just society becomes impossible. Rousseau’s answer to the problem of dissatisfied minorities Pettit worries about is to deny that a republic is possible once the problem exists and instead direct his attention to trying to find ways of preventing their emergence, to ensuring that citizens share enough interests to genuinely sustain a general will. Rousseau’s views about how a general will can be sustained may be unpalatable and we may need to re-think some of his assumptions and reject some of his claims to arrive at more satisfactory ones, but at least they are the confrontation of the right problem. Ironically, through their influence on Kant, they are one of the ancestors of Rawls’ idea of the overlapping consensus, which, to mix Rawls’ and Rousseau’s terms, allows for people to be forced to be free from within their own comprehensive doctrines, and so of the liberalism Pettit insistently claims cannot make proper sense of the relation between law and freedom./p pOther figures in the republican tradition could be used to show the strangeness of Pettit’s view too. John P. McCormick has argued that the Cambridge School interpretation of Machiavelli that Pettit admits to relying on fails to see the extent to which Machiavelli is a theorist who relies on the class struggle of the empopolo/em against the ambition of the emgrandi/em, the notables, to sustain a republic and is primarily concerned to find ways of empowering the mass against the elites. If this can be sustained, and Machiavelli does insist time and time again that the people and nobles have different interests, and that the people’s are less destructive of republican liberty, then it would also cut against Pettit’s counter-majoritarian instincts. Rather than entrusting the protection of liberty to unaccountable institutions like supreme courts and central banks, Machiavelli can be seen as stressing the importance of creating ways for democratic majorities to prevent elites capturing the machinery of the state and directing it towards their ends, much as the distribution of the proceeds of growth suggests has happened over the past thirty or so years in the UK and USA./p pIn order to provide the full range of insights available from this tradition, contemporary republicans need to look more deeply into a wider range of thinkers and the diversity of their views. We need to understand, for example, why Rousseau claimed that Corsica was the only European society capable of being just in emThe Social Contract/em, and what relation contemporary republican proposals stand in to his apparent utopianism, both as a critical perspective and as a kind of lament. Without doing that, we may struggle to understand how difficult achieving republican ideals could be, and so what their real appeal might be. /p pnbsp;/ppstrongemThis piece is part of the a href=http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/collections/democratic-wealth-building-citizens-economyDemocratic Wealth series/a, hosted by OurKingdom in partnership with a href=http://politicsinspires.org/category/democratic-wealth//Politics in Spires/a.br //em/strong/ppimg src=http://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/JjLJyrOQCfoemQNUbKar9Fv73_u9-utuiwctq3_VRV0/mtime:1389711752/files/DWlogoedpartnership_1.png alt= height=80 width=300 //p pstrongNotes/strong/p p emThe Federalist Papers/em, 9, paras. 1 and 3./p p emRepublicanism/em, pp. viii, 4./p p emRepublicanism/em, pg. 173./p p emRepublicanism/em, pg. 181/p p emThe Federalist Papers/em, 63, para. 6./p p emThe Federalist Papers/em, 63, para. 6./p p emRepublicanism/em, pg. 5./p p In the People’s Name, p. 237./p p emSocial Contract/em, 1.6.4./pdiv class=field field-country div class=field-label Country or region:nbsp;/div div class=field-items div class=field-item odd UK /div /div /div
div class=field field-summary div class=field-items div class=field-item odd pFinance has cast a spell on the framework for international economic co-operation established after the Second World War. The 2007-8 crisis and its aftermath highlight the need to rouse the IMF and the World Bank from their slumbers./p /div /div /div pspan class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'a href=http://opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/535628/lagarde.jpg rel=lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline] title=img src=http://opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/535628/lagarde.jpg alt= title= width=400 height=247 class=imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large style= //a span class='image_meta'span class='image_title'Christine Lagarde. Flickr/IMF/span/span/span/ppIn Christine Lagarde’s Richard Dimbleby lecture (3 February 2014), ‘A New Multilateralism for the 21st Century’, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund set out a bold vision of multinational cooperation and an agenda for monetary reform. Closing, she argued that the financial system should “serve rather than rule the real economy”. This is presumably a deliberate echo of one of America’s greatest monetary reformers, Abraham Lincoln: “Money will cease to be the master and will then become the servant of humanity”. Lincoln’s words have been an inspiration to all progressive political forces, most recently in Britain, the Labour Government of 1945-1951./p pMoreover Lagarde celebrated the multilateralism at the end of the second world war, and in particular the role of the British economist J. M. Keynes, the multilateralism that set the way to the instigation of the IMF itself and other multinational institutions, and to the detailed practical arrangements that permitted the prosperity of the post-war age./p pWhile Lagarde’s ambitions are far-reaching and greatly encouraging, it is vital to understand the relations between these two ideals: of monetary reform and of internationalism, and their relevance today. /p pThe Bretton Woods conference originated in President Roosevelt’s call for “a bold, forthright, and comprehensive discussion looking forward to the construction of… a ‘free, fertile economic policy for the post-war world’ excluding nothing in advance” (XXIII, p. 228). /p pKeynes grasped the opportunity to consign the terrible economic policy mistakes of the inter-war period permanently to history. From his rejection of the gold standard exchange system, he had come to understand that any arrangements to facilitate international trade should be compatible with countries having autonomy to set their own monetary and fiscal policies. These domestic policies should then be used to foster a high level of aggregate demand, achieved fundamentally by the aiming of monetary and debt management policy at cheap money, that is, at permanently low interest rates. /p pCentral to the final Bretton Woods agreement was enabling a world of capital control: /p p“Freedom of capital movements is an essential part of the old emlaissez-faire/em system and assumes that it is right and desirable to have an equalisation of interest rates in all parts of the world. It assumes, that is to say, that if the rate of interest which promotes full employment in Great Britain is lower than the appropriate rate in Australia, there is no reason why this should not be allowed to lead to a situation in which the whole of British savings are invested in Australia, subject only to different estimations of risk, until the equilibrium rate in Australia has been brought down to the British rate. In my view the whole management of the domestic economy depends upon being free to have the appropriate rate of interest without reference to the rates prevailing elsewhere in the world. Capital control is a corollary to this. (XXV, p. 149)”/p pIn terms of exchange policy, the agreement fell short of the ideal in Keynes’ own ‘Clearing Union’ scheme, but still led to an era of relative exchange stability. /p pFollowing his immense contribution to the Bretton Woods conference, Keynes then devoted his energies to persuading the British policymakers, politicians and public alike--all deeply sceptical of US motives--to accept these reforms. In this he was successful, but even only a few months later he was much more cautious. /p pKeynes greatness extended far beyond economics and statesmanship. He had been important to a revival of London ballet, and was expected to escort the King and Queen to the Royal box for Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty, chosen for the post-war opening of Covent Garden (in fact he was only able to join them for the third act). When in March 1946 he spoke as the British delegate to the inaugural meeting of the governors of the IMF and World Bank in Savannah, he had this performance in mind:nbsp;/p pI am hoping that Mr Kelchner [the convenor] has not made any mistake and that there is no malicious fairy, no Carabosse, whom he has overlooked and forgotten to ask to the party. For if so the curses which that bad fairy will pronounce will, I feel sure, run as follows: ’You two brats shall grow up politicians; your every thought and act should have an emarrière-pensée/em; everything you determine shall not be for its own sake or on its own merits but because of something else.’ /p pIf this should happen, then the best that could befall--and that is how it might turn out--would be for the children to fall into an eternal slumber, never to waken or be heard of again in the courts and markets of Mankind. (XXVI, pp.216-17)/p pUltimately he feared that the institutions would be in thrall to the bad fairy of US politics, and, as a result, vested interests. Only a little over a month later, Keynes was dead./p pHis internationalism was for a scheme that permitted a world of individual nations, but connected through trade and economic cooperation. No matter how imperfect the outcome of these conferences, we can now see that it took some time for Keynes’ fears to be realised. His post-war settlement established the conditions for the prosperity, near full employment, relative stability, narrowed income distribution and social advance that is now know as the golden age. /p pBut this world was dismantled, most obviously with the abandoning of the Bretton Woods exchange regime in 1971, then with the removal of capital controls at the end of that decade and the consequent abrupt and sustained rise in global interest rates.nbsp; The IMF and other Bretton Woods organisations became champions of a globalization of finance and industrial capital that they were originally established to keep at bay, a globalization that would consequently reverse all the hard fought economic and social gains of the post war age. /p pWe might wishfully consider Lagarde’s speech as amounting to recognition on the part of global policymakers of this grave failure./p pBut these are not new problems. They are old problems; they are the problems that Keynes and his contemporaries identified and overcame. She is right that “the international monetary system has travelled light years since the original Bretton Woods system”. But this journey was backwards, not forwards. The financial system she seeks, “that serves the productive economy rather than its own purposes”, is that Bretton Woods system. It is time to rouse the sleeping beauty that lies in her own institution. /p pnbsp;/p pemstrongThis article is part of the OurKingdom series, a href=http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/collections/just-money#1Just Money/a, examining some of the themes in Ann Pettifor's new ebook /strong/emstrongJust Money: How Society Can Break the Despotic Power of Finance,/strongemstrong published by Commonwealth. It is available on a href=http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00HTAI3YY/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8amp;camp=1634amp;creative=19450amp;creativeASIN=B00HTAI3YYamp;linkCode=as2amp;tag=opendemocra0e-21Kindle/a and direct from the a href=http://www.primeeconomics.org/Prime Economics/a website. You can donate to OurKingdom’s work a href=http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/donatehere/a./strong/em/p pstrongNotes/strong/p p Quotations are taken from the Collected Writings of John Maynard Keynes, Volumes XXIII, XXV and XXVI, concerned with the external financing arrangements for the British war effort and the debates on post-war international architecture./p pnbsp;/p