Hugh McDermott for Prospect


Pages tagged "globalisation"

On Glocalization coming of Age

by Zygmunt Bauman

One is tempted to say: social inventions or re-inventions (as the newly invented/discovered possibility of restoring to the city square the ancient role of the agora on which rules and rulers were made and unmade) tend to spread “as forest fire”. One would say that, if not for the fact that globalization has finally invalidated that time-honoured metaphor. Forest fires proceed byspreading. Today’s social inventions progress by leaping.

In order to explain what I have in mind, let me recall one of the less hyped aspects of the recent, though already half-forgotten experience of the “Arab Spring”…

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The Australian and the Prime Minister

by John Passant

The News Ltd paper The Australian has been on a vendetta against Labor and Julia Gillard for some time now. There is nothing surprising in this.

Rupert Murdoch uses his newspapers to try and influence the outcome of government decisions and election results and, he hopes, to suit his business interests. He has done so since time immemorial.

He also is an astute capitalist who knows his major market-  the US – is built on the bones of conquered and subjugated peoples around the globe.

Hence Murdoch is an avid supporter of American imperialism even when it may not appear his direct material interests are involved. So it was that 174 of his 175 media outlets supported the invasion of Iraq.

But sometimes the hubris of unelected power overreaches the mark

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Manufacturing: What to Do

by Bob Carr

In the mid 70s we used to apply a tariff of 57 percent to every vehicle entering the country. When the imports still came, because people preferred better cars from overseas, the government introduced quantitative restrictions. Just banned further imports. The result was an old, rusting and environmentally-inefficient car fleet and a disproportionate share of a family’s income sunk into purchasing the vehicle they needed.

All to prop up a few jobs in decrepit factories at Pagewood (GMH) and Alexandria (Leyland). I’m writing about Sydney. Making cars that Australians preferred not to buy.

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Shock Doctrine in Practice: The Connection Between Nighttime Robbery In the Streets and Daytime Robbery By Elites

by Naomi Klein

When you rob people of what little they have, in order to protect the interests of those who have more than anyone deserves, you should expect resistance.

I keep hearing comparisons between the London riots and riots in other European cities—window smashing in Athens or car bonfires in Paris. And there are parallels, to be sure: a spark set by police violence, a generation that feels forgotten.

But those events were marked by mass destruction; the looting was minor. There have, however, been other mass lootings in recent years, and perhaps we should talk about them too. There was Baghdad in the aftermath of the US invasion—a frenzy of arson and looting that emptied libraries and museums. The factories got hit too. In 2004 I visited one that used to make refrigerators. Its workers had stripped it of everything valuable, then torched it so thoroughly that the warehouse was a sculpture of buckled sheet metal.

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Where is Progressive Political Leadership?

By George Irvin

London is burning. The major western economies are now like a shipwreck waiting to happen. Although financial markets are inherently volatile and the real economy may not hit the rocks this week (or even next), we know that the financial system in Europe—which includes the UK—and America is increasingly fragile.[1] We desperately need to restore the confidence that leads to jobs and growth, but we have run out of economic tools to fix the economy. The limits of monetary policy have nearly been reached while the real answer—a co-ordinated fiscal stimulus—is ruled out by bone-headed right-wing politicians in Europe and the United States.[2]

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Economics for Dangerous Times

by Paul Collier

These are dangerous economic times. The Keynesian framework within which the policy response to the Great Recession was forged in 2009 is no longer adequate. The OECD may have reached the limits of crude fiscal stimulus and monetary expansion.

Fiscal credibility has eroded:  the financial brink on which Spain and Italy now teeter has seen the borrowing costs of their governments rise to exceed those of the government of Sri Lanka, while unprecedentedly US government debt has lost its triple-A rating. Even where monetary expansion is still feasible, as in the USA and the UK, interest rates are so low that it is hard to see how this would produce much of a stimulus. Yet over recent months the risk of a double-dip recession in the absence of further stimulus has evidently increased.

In the UK the incipient recovery of 2010 has stalled – the past nine months have seen virtually zero growth at a time when the economy should have been bouncing back from the deep recession of 2009, and hence growing faster than usual. The UK started from a genuinely difficult policy dilemma. Meanwhile, and less excusably, the USA and the Euro-Zone have each conjured up considerable risks of a return to recession through distinct yet persistent policy dysfunctions.

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Legal challenge to the Malaysian solution

by Jo Coghlan

The Malaysian Solution is not a solution for anyone: especially children. High Court Justice Kenneth Hayne has granted a temporary injunction against the Gillard governments from processing recently arrive asylum seekers to Malaysia under the agreement referred to as the ‘Malaysian solution’.

The Malaysian Solution is an agreement between the governments of Australia and Malaysia that expels from Australia to Malaysia 800 asylum seekers who have arrived in Australia by boat in return for 4000 refugees from Malaysia over the next four years. The arrangement is part of the Regional Cooperation Framework established at the Bali Process Ministerial Conference in 2011. The Gillard government’s rational is that the arrangement: “demonstrates the resolve of Australia and Malaysia to break the people smugglers’ business model, stop them profiting from human misery, and stop people risking their lives at sea.” The cost, to be paid by Australia, is estimated at $216 million plus $76 million to fly the asylum seekers to Malaysia.

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Turn Left for Growth

by Joseph Stiglitz

Both the left and the right say they stand for economic growth. So should voters trying to decide between the two simply look at it as a matter of choosing alternative management teams?

If only matters were so easy! Part of the problem concerns the role of luck. America’s economy was blessed in the 1990s with low energy prices, a high pace of innovation, and a China increasingly offering high-quality goods at decreasing prices, all of which combined to produce low inflation and rapid growth.

President Clinton and then-Chairman of the US Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan deserve little credit for this – though, to be sure, bad policies could have messed things up. By contrast, the problems faced today – high energy and food prices and a crumbling financial system – have, to a large extent, been brought about by bad policies.

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A Financial System Adrift and Imperiled

by Lex Rieffel
"None of the mature democracies in the world have come close to a sovereign default in the Bretton Woods era." —From Restructuring Sovereign Debt: The Case for Ad Hoc Machinery (Brookings Institution Press, 2003)
What was true then is not true now, and the world is worse off because of it. 

In the primer on sovereign debt restructuring that I wrote eight years ago, I gave three reasons for why mature democracies had become immune to default: they had deep domestic capital markets (allowing them to sell bonds denominated in their own currency to foreigners); they had political systems that facilitate smooth transitions from one government to another; and they had an abiding nation-wide commitment to macroeconomic stability.

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Global Environmental Quality: Recommendations for Rio+20 and Beyond

by William Brown

In June 1972, the United Nations convened the UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm. The conference led to the establishment of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and produced a declaration whose first principle states:

"Man has the fundamental right to freedom, equality and adequate conditions of life, in an environment of a quality that permits a life of dignity and well-being, and he bears a solemn responsibility to protect and improve the environment for present and future generations."

Each decade since Stockholm and its lofty principles, the UN has held a conference to review the past 10 years and make plans for the future: 1982 in Nairobi, 1992 in Rio de Janeiro (the "Earth Summit"), and 2002 in Johannesburg. If there has been a trend over the past 40 years, it is greater emphasis on development and social issues and less on simply protecting the environment where humans live. But this trend is not black and white. The Stockholm declaration, for example, states that in developing countries "most of the environmental problems are caused by under-development." The principal commonality of these four UN conferences is that they have expressed big ideas and big plans, with not so much to show for them in the aftermath.

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