Tuesday, 11 March 2014
Saturday, 8 March 2014
On 8 February 2009, almost 60 percent of Swiss voters supported the extension of the bilateral EU-Switzerland agreement on the free movement of workers to workers from Romania and Bulgaria. In this guest post, Roland Erne argues that this clear endorsement of the free movement of Romanian and Bulgarian workers in the Swiss labour market is noteworthy because the Swiss People Party (SVP) at the time conducted an overtly xenophobic campaign against it, depicting Romanian and Bulgarian workers as black ravens that were pecking on a map of Switzerland. Whereas xenophobic inclinations may be a recurrent feature of humanity, xenophobia can hardly explain the sudden shift of Swiss voters against the free movement of all EU workers in the referendum of 9 February 2014; notably after a referendum campaign in which the SVP – for once – avoided the use of xenophobic stereotypes on its major campaign poster.
Wednesday, 5 March 2014
With the repercussions of the economic crisis still reverberating through the global system, what are the possibilities of labour movements to form relationships of transnational solidarity in resistance to the exploitative and destructive dynamics of global capitalism? This question was at the heart of the two-day international workshop Labour and transnational action in times of crisis: from case studies to theory, organised by the Transnational Labour project in Oslo on 27 and 28 February 2014. In this post, I will discuss some of the key themes, which emerged from the various presentations and debates.
Wednesday, 26 February 2014
Higher education in England is being subjected to sustained marketisation with undergraduate degrees in arts, humanities and social sciences now financed by student fees and the numbers cap set to be lifted after 2015 (likely to be followed by the fees cap). Just as the introduction of this market is centrally planned by Government, so University management is increasingly centralised and its decisions implemented via key performance indicators that purport to act as market proxies. In this guest post, John Holmwood discusses how at the University of Russelton - pre-1992 older sibling to the post-1992 University of Poppleton - this brave new world is currently being pursued via a central workload plan.
Sunday, 23 February 2014
We are living in truly wonderful times. Finally, we can choose freely our personal lifestyles without having to fear being excluded from general society. Gender, different ethnic backgrounds, different identities no longer matter in our neo-liberal society. Everybody has the opportunity through the quality of his/her work to achieve their full potential and creative capacity. We can be homosexual or heterosexual, this does no longer matter in the public sphere. Same sex marriages are increasingly a standard possibility, same sex couples can have children together. Life is full of choices, which schools do we send our children to, state, religious or private, whatever choice we make, it is possible. In which hospital do I want to be treated? Everything is about consumer choice. Are we not living in truly wonderful times? And yet, while the possibility of these different lifestyles is clearly a positive step forward, at closer sight more sinister dynamics come to the fore.
Monday, 10 February 2014
The notion of uneven and combined development has attracted increased academic and activist attention. The concept of unequal exchange, in turn, has been established for some time. What has not been analysed is how these sets of capitalist dynamics intersect. In a new article in the journal Globalizations, entitled ‘Uneven and combined development and unequal exchange: the second wind of neoliberal ‘free trade’?’, Adam David Morton and I analyse the way in which current neoliberal ‘free trade’ policies are related to these fundamental capitalist dynamics, deepening further processes of uneven and combined development as well as unequal exchange. We also highlight the implications for labour as a result of the widening uneven and combined development of neoliberalism.
Monday, 3 February 2014
The global economic crisis continues almost unabated and yet neo-liberalism still reigns supreme. In this blog post, I bring together a range of book reviews, which all challenge neo-liberal economics, point to its devastating effects on people’s lives as well as reflect on alternatives. Together, this set of reviews intends to provide a useful critical resource for discussions against the currently dominant economic thinking.