Archive for May, 2011

“A Layman’s Guide to the Left’s Economic Debate”

By George Irvin

In the UK, a loose knit collection of left-wing academics, NGO heads, journalists and others is currently discussing a left alternative to Osborne’s increasingly disastrous Plan A. While all are agreed that Osborne has got it terribly wrong, there is less agreement about the nature of a truly different Plan B. Should one argue for slowing the pace of fiscal contraction, but at a pace which will not frighten the financial markets – a sort of Darling-lite budget – or should one press ahead full-steam for growth, arguing that this alone will restore budgetary health?

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Blairite wing of the UK Labour Party launch “Purple Book” of modernising ideas to put pressure on Ed Miliband

By Mark Ferguson@markfergusonuk

There’s a great scoop by Rachel Sylvester in The Times (£) today, about plans for Progress and others associated with New Labour to publish a “Purple Book” of modernising ideas, similar to the Lib Dem “Orange Book” once published by those around Nick Clegg. But whatever you do, don’t call these people “Blairites” – this seems to be an attempt not only to rebrand New Labour ideas without Blair attached to them, but also to reframe New Labour for the 21st century.

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“Economic Democracy: An Idea Whose Time Has Come, Again?”

By Richard Hyman

‘There can be no return to business as usual’: this was the unanimous trade union response to the global crisis. For a time in early 2009, the legitimacy of capitalism was itself questioned in unexpected quarters. In May 2009 the German union confederation, the Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund, organised a ‘Capitalism Congress’ – using language which for decades would have been taboo – and its president warned of unrest on the streets unless jobs were more effectively safeguarded. One of its leaders, Claus Matecki, insisted that it was important to talk of capitalism rather than using the conventional but bland term soziale Marktwirtschaft (social market economy), since only thus could trade unionists make clear that the existing economic order was historically contingent and founded on a fundamental inequality between workers and employers.[1] Yet there was no follow-up.

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"On Dsyfunctionality of the Global Elites"

By Zygmunt Bauman

Sergei Magaril, teaching at the Moscow University of Humanities, published (in the 9th February issue of theNezavisimaya Gazeta) an article under the title “In Search of Social Quality”, which starts from a quotation from Ivan Pavlov, the first Russian Nobel laureate: “The fate of nations is determined by the minds of their intelligentsia”. In full agreement with that opinion, Magaril proceeds to charging Russian/Soviet/Russian intellectual elites with having caused, by design or by default, the catastrophes that led to the collapse of two successive Russian state regimes, and preparing now the collapse of the third.

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"Spain’s Socialists Prepare For Life After Zapatero"

By Ignacio Urquizu

Frontrunners from different political generations compete to win the party leadership as Zapatero prepares his legacy.

On April 2, Rodríguez Zapatero, Spanish prime minister and leader of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE), announced his decision not to stand for re-election in 2012. This was a decision informed by both personal and political factors. For him, eight years as prime minister is enough time to advance a political vision for Spain, and, as he acknowledged, the job does not come with-out personal sacrifices.

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