Archive for October, 2011

The ‘Why’s’ and ‘What for’s’ of People taking to the Streets

by Zygmunt Bauman

“The Arab Spring triggers popular rebellions against autocrats across the Arab world. The Israeli Summer brings 250,000 Israelis into the streets, protesting the lack of affordable housing and the way their country is now dominated by an oligopoly of crony capitalists. From Athens to Barcelona, European town squares are being taken over by young people railing against unemployment and the injustice of yawning income gaps…” – so wrote Thomas L. Friedman of the New York Times on 12 August 2011.

People took to the streets. And public squares. First on Prague Vaclavske Namesti, well back in 1989, and right after in one after the other capital of Soviet bloc countries. Then, famously, on the main Kiev city square. In all those places and some others as well, new habits started to be tested: no longer a march, a demo, from a gathering point to the destination. Rather, a permanent occupation of sorts, or a siege lasting as long as the demands are not met.

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Reconstructing the Left

by Shayn McCallum

A striking dilemma facing the Left almost everywhere outside Latin America is that, despite a massive crisis of globalised capitalism and the nakedly ideological bloody-mindedness of neo-liberalism, the Left is largely failing to rise to the occasion.  How is it that, in a time of economic meltdown brought on by rampant, neo-liberal (il)logic concerning the desirability of untrammeled free-markets, there has not been a sharp turn to the Left and a call to reassert popular sovereignty once more over the market?  Why is the cry of “people before profits” limited to the activists of the street?

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Innovation for the Public Good: Financing Tools for Social Innovation

Three Financing Principles to Guide Social Innovation

by Kristina Costa

Strong leadership is essential to public-sector innovation. An agency leader who wants to develop more innovative solutions to social problems can expect resistance on many fronts, both political and logistical. But no obstacle looms larger than the problem of financing.

Public-sector innovators have to convince a risk-averse—and financially constrained—political system to take a chance on new ideas.

The financing hurdle can be overcome with a little creativity, however. Successful new and emerging social-innovation financing models are an encouraging sign for agency leaders, community advocates, and financiers alike.

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Why Believe In Keynesian Models?

by Paul Krugman

A correspondent asks a good question: what evidence makes me believe that Keynesian economics is broadly right, given the relative absence of experience with large fiscal stimulus programs?

I’d answer that question with several points.

First, we’re talking about a model, not just a prediction about the impact of spending increases. So you can ask about the ancillary predictions of that model as opposed to rival models. Anti-Keynesians assured us that budget deficits would send interest rates soaring; Keynesian analysis said they’d stay low as long as the economy remained far from full employment. Guess who was right?

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More Wrecking From Abbott

by Mark Dreyfus 

Of all the objectionable lies that Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has told, the latest load of nonsense about repealing the Clean Energy Future is the most damaging to Australia.

Business enterprise flourishes in an environment of certainty and predictability.The Gillard government has worked hard to provide business with the certainty to invest and innovate in a carbon constrained global economy.

The Clean Energy Future Package supports long-term investment because it uses the power of the market to achieve emissions cuts along a predictable trajectory. A trajectory that extends out to 2050, a necessary timeframe for business to invest in assets that may have a lifetime of 30 years or more.

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