International: Being paid for data

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 16/03/2018 - 9:00pm in


News, big data

Credit to: The Blue Diamond Gallery. Who does data belong to? Would it be possible for all of us to receive monetary compensation for what we put on the internet? These questions lead to additional questions regarding the latest tendencies in data mining and management related to Universal Basic Income (UBI). Eduardo Porter in the New York Times talked about

The post International: Being paid for data appeared first on BIEN.

RSA suggests stepping stone to UBI

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 16/03/2018 - 5:12am in

The UK-based Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) has released a report suggesting a Universal Basic Opportunity Fund (UBOF) as a stepping-stone to a full universal basic income (UBI). The suggested UBOF would consist of £5000 a year for two years, and would be made available to every person in the UK upon request. Although

The post RSA suggests stepping stone to UBI appeared first on BIEN.

New Brain Preservation

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 15/03/2018 - 2:09am in


News, Science

New Brain Preservation Technique Could Be a Path to Mind Uploading.
Sorry, guys. Too late. We no longer have any use for your research...
Physicist Stephen Hawking Has Died at the Age of 76.

ITV Programme Next Thursday on Martin Luther King

Next Thursday, 22nd March 2018, ITV are broadcasting at 9.00 pm a programme about Martin Luther King, presented by that British newsreading institution, Sir Trevor McDonald. The blurb for this in the Radio Times runs

On the 50th anniversary of the civil rights leader’s death, Trevor McDonald travels to the Deep South of America to get closer to the man who meant so much to him and so many others. As well as finding out about the horrors of lynching in 20th-century America, he asks Naomi Campbell, General Colin Powell and the Reverend Al Sharpton what Martin Luther King all means to them. Disturbingly, he also meets a former member of the Ku Klux Klan who admits that he would once have targeted him because of the colour of his skin. (p. 103).

There’s also a section three pages further back, on page 100, which adds a bit more. This says

It’s 55 years since Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream speech’ in Washington transfixed the world and became a rallying call for the American civil rights movement. Fifty years after King’s assassination, Trevor McDonald looks at a remarkable life that was cut short. he talks to friends of King’s, including singer Harry Belafonte.

It’s the small, if familiar, details that still move. Like hearing how the mighty gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, seeing King struggling with notes for his speech, prompted him loudly with “Tell them about the dream, Martin”. What followed was off the cuff and remains spine-tingling to this day.

MLK was also politically far more radical than he is often portrayed. A month or so ago there were a series of articles and videos by Counterpunch and the various American left-wing news programmes pointing out that the rather anodyne image of King as preaching simple racial reconciliation was carefully crafted to exclude his criticism of capitalism and American imperialism. King did believe in racial reconciliation between White and Black, but he also believed that capitalism and big business was keeping Whites and Blacks divided in order to weaken the working class, and allow ordinary folks of whatever colour to be exploited.

He was also an opponent of the Vietnam War, which he saw as more corporate imperialism to exploit and oppress the coloured people of that country, just as Blacks in America were being exploited.

This stance led him into conflict with the Democrat Party and the president, Lyndon Johnson. After MLK made a speech denouncing capitalism and the war at the Riverside Church, Johnson removed King’s bodyguards. It was an ominous measure that everyone knew would ultimately mean King’s death.

And King also didn’t mince his words when it came to describing the atrocities of the Vietnam War and American imperialism. You may remember the fuss the Republicans kicked up about the Reverend Jeremiah Cone, the pastor at Barack Obama’s church. Cone was also strongly anti-American because of what he viewed as the country’s intrinsic racial injustice, shouting out ‘God dam’ America!’ The Republicans claimed that he was anti-White, and that his hatred of Whites must also be shared by the Obama, then just campaigning for the presidency, because Obama had worshipped in the same church without objection for something like 20 years. I honestly don’t know if Cone was anti-White or not. It’s possible he was. But his comments on American imperialism were very much in line with what MLK, who certainly wasn’t racist, also said.

This is an issue I shall have to go back to, as it’s still very, very relevant today, when the racist right is once again trying to goose step back into power, and western imperialism is exploiting and plundering the countries of the world, all under the pretext of freeing them from terror.

Lecturers' strike: the rank and file have spoken, now we have to take the lead

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 14/03/2018 - 5:38am in

Feyzi Ismail reports from outside UCU headquarters as the union’s Higher Education Committee votes to reject the employers’ derisory offer

Interview with the Philosopher Running for Congress

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 14/03/2018 - 3:40am in

Too many of us have been denied economic security and equal opportunity. I have spent my life trying to address these societal problems. Now I want to take the fight to Congress.

Those are the words of Richard Dien Winfield, Distinguished Research Professor of Philosophy at the University of Georgia and Congressional candidate, running to represent Georgia’s 10th District in the House of Representatives. A prolific philosopher who has written on Hegel, political philosophy, ethics, aesthetics, metaphysics, and other topics, Dr. Winfield has taken leave of his professorial position, moving from teaching and writing about political matters to campaigning on them.

Professor Winfield recently took time from his busy campaigning schedule to answer several questions I sent him about his run for Congress. Feel free to ask follow-ups in the comments. I cannot promise he will answer them, but he may.

JW: Has being a philosopher or a professor prepared you to become a politician? If so, how?

Winfield: My philosophical investigations have established the theoretical basis of my campaign.  My campaign consists in fighting for a bold social bill of rights, anchored in guaranteed jobs at fair wages with employee empowerment.  These rights are not included in the impoverished conception of freedom that underlies our constitution and the classical liberal political philosophy (as well as its Rawlsian reformulation) that inspired its founders. I have laid out an alternative philosophical theory, establishing the exclusive normativity of self-determination and delineating the concrete structure of self-determination, which underlies my campaign. You should look at some of the books which, alas, have been largely ignored by the academy, in which I lay out a detailed ethics (some of the key titles are Reason and Justice, The Just Economy, The Just Family, Law in Civil Society, The Just State, and Rethinking Capital). Although my program must deal with the historical reality of our nation, which only empirical investigation can explore, it remains informed by the philosophical principles of the different spheres of freedom and how these spheres are intrinsically connected. My life as a professor has helped in that four decades of lecturing has prepared me to speak extemporaneously to people of different backgrounds and intellectual preparation on the issues of my campaign.

JW: Has being a philosopher or a professor been an obstacle to gaining support from certain populations, and if so, which ones?

Winfield: The only part of the electorate that so far seems bothered by my academic and philosophical identity are those who think that to win against the Republican incumbent, Jody Hice, who is a retrograde former Evangelical radio minister, a candidate must pander to the lowest common denominator. Everyone else I meet seems to respect professors and to be impressed that a philosopher has chosen to run for office.

JW: You’ve worked a lot on Hegel. Is there a way in which your policies or your approach to political thinking is Hegelian?

Winfield: My whole campaign for a bold social rights agenda anchored on guaranteed jobs is inspired by Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, which, when duly corrected (such as many of my 21 books have attempted to do), provides a more systematic account of the institutions of self-determination than the truncated version advanced by classical liberal political theory and its contemporary analogues.

JW: Over the past couple of years, it seems as if respect for expertise is diminishing. (Consider, for example, some of the people lacking in training, experience, and credentials appointed by President Trump to some high-level positions government positions.) It would seem that being an effective politician involves certain kinds of expertise. By starting your political career at the Federal level, are you, too, failing to adequately respect expertise?

Winfield: Neither philosophy nor politics is a craft, governed by technical parameters, where a given end is realized using skill to impose it upon given material. True philosophy and politics are fundamentally self-determined and freedom is not a craft. Max Weber, Lenin, and Trump all regard politics as a matter of technical manipulation, where experts are called in to administer society to achieve given ends. I am starting my descent into the cave by seeking electoral office because the big problems can only be addressed at the national level. Municipal and state government are highly restricted in what they can accomplish and our democracy is in a genuine crisis that calls for bold encompassing remedies.

JW: Do you have policy experts working with you?

Winfield: I do not have campaign expert advisors, but I do read the work of economists and law professors who have advocated a Federal Job Guarantee (such as William Darity, Darrick Hamilton, and Philip Harvey).  I recently participated in a Ford Foundation convening in NYC on a Federal Job Guarantee, which brought together many academics and activists concerned with this measure and I certainly benefited from the exchange.

JW: One of your policy proposals is guaranteed employment at a minimum of $20/hour. Do economists and policy experts support this proposal?

Winfield: Some of the current economists who favor a Federal Job Guarantee are William Darity, Darrick Hamilton, Pavlina Tcherneva, L. Randall Wray, and Stephanie Kelton.  They do not themselves advocate a $20/hr fair minimum wage, but I do think they all support it and the fundamental principle that wages should rise with productivity increases.

JW: Your platform on racial justice consists of policies to alleviate poverty. Yet some issues of racial injustice, such as those raised by the Black Lives Matter movement, are not directly problems of poverty. Do you have measures in your platform that address those issues?

Winfield: If you look at the Movement for Black Lives Platform you will see that my platform includes virtually all the measures they advocate, including in their section on Reparations. I am for fundamental reforms in our legal system to prevent wealth from determining our legal status (ending bail, legal care for all), as well as advocating ending any deprivation of voting rights ever (for incarceration), decriminalizing all personal drug use, fixing our schools (on the basis of poverty eradication and work and family balancing) with equal financing per student for all school districts, increasing pay and qualifications for public school teachers, and enhancing the curriculum (including two years of philosophy in high school). I am also for stringent gun control, de-militarizing police, having independent investigations of all instances of police use of violence on civilians. The main difference between my platform and that of the Black Lives Matter movement is that what they advocate for African Americans I extend to everyone, with the understanding that the general extension of rights has a special benefit in combatting intergenerational racial disadvantage. As Nietzsche observed in portraying Democracy, Socialism, and Christianity as slave moralities, when rights are extended, the universal opportunities they involve benefit disproportionately those who have suffered disproportionate oppression.

JW: You don’t come right out and say it but you seem to imply that you are for the legalization of various drugs. Could you clarify your policy stance on that?

Winfield: I am for legalizing personal use of all drugs and for providing those drugs to addicts under medical supervision (free of charge as part of a single payer health care system covering all physical, mental, and dental care with no copays or deductibles or drug charges). This will deal a huge blow to the drug cartels, reduce much of our mass incarceration (particularly of people of color), and enhance the general health of our society.

JW: You argue for a progressive income tax in which funding for government programs is shifted to “those most able to pay for it “. The current head of household tax rate on income over $235,351 is 39.6%.Would you propose to raise that rate? Or do you favor other tax reform measures to increase revenue collection from the wealthy, and if so, which measures?

Winfield: I favor raising the income tax solely on the top 10% and imposing a highly graduated wealth tax on the top 10% to cover all new expenses of my social rights agenda. Those at the top 1% of wealth, who have as much wealth as the bottom 90%, should be the biggest contributors.The wealth and income graduated tax rates should be calculated by the IRS once the spending needs are determined. It need not be specified in tax legislation itself.

JW: Do you think that it would be good if more philosophers occupied public office (rather than other academics, such as economists or political scientists)?

Winfield: It would be good if more philosophers occupied public office, but our current academy contains more gravediggers of philosophy (who preach the impotence of reason and attempt to cure us of philosophical investigation) than genuine philosophers.

You can learn more about Richard Dien Winfield’s campaign here, and see some of his videos here.

The post Interview with the Philosopher Running for Congress appeared first on Daily Nous.

Capitalism Secures Poverty for All

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 14/03/2018 - 2:37am in



It’s the turn of UK Universities

Universities UK (UUK), the employers’ association, is acting like a capitalist firm, doing everything it can to unload the burden of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) and instead load it onto the workers, lecturers and support staff in the older Universities (note the newer Universities operate a different pension scheme). They propose to do this by transforming the USS into an individual private investment fund where the whole risk and the responsibility will be carried by the worker. The immediate impact of the changes for many would be a reduction in pension of around £10,000 per year.

These policies are aligned with the strategy of complete dismantlement and privatisation of pension schemes that is ongoing in most capitalist countries. In a way, it resembles the “zero deficit clause” that the EU demands from all pension funds to follow.

There is no debate that the proposed changes will make the workers in Universities worse off. Instead of discussing the expansion of workers’ rights and the rise of living standards that would be in line with the rise of the social productive forces, workers are constantly faced with the axe of the executioner, held by the employers and the bourgeois state. Although the UK government has limited the right to strike with the 2016 Trade Union Act, anticipating exactly such action from the workers, what is significant is the mass mobilization of trade union members and support from students. It is these mass strikes that are forcing the employers to the negotiating table as we write this statement. But the anger goes deeper. Austerity and neoliberal policies have led to intense anger over wage cuts, casualization, job insecurity and rising inequality in pay with the University bosses. It is well known for example that the University Vice Chancellors are ‘paying themselves’ hugely inflated salaries increasing the pay gap within the University sector.

The IIPPE Poverty WG stands in solidarity with the fight of working people in the Universities. We are fully aware that poverty is becoming a reality or a threat for more and more people and this is exactly the raison d’être of this Working Group. The aim of the Poverty WG is to provide a political economy analysis of the causes of poverty and in particular the relationship between austerity and poverty. The WG with its limited forces will objectively inform and help labor unions and similar organizations in their fight for the wage and salary, pension, unemployment compensation, based on objective economic and social criteria.

We call for a multifaceted support of the strike as the days pass and as the attacks on workers intensify, as they surely will.

International Initiative for Promoting Political Economy

Poverty Working Group

The post Capitalism Secures Poverty for All appeared first on IIPPE.

Student Occupations Live #OccupyUUK

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 12/03/2018 - 9:24pm in

Live updates of students occupying university buildings in solidarity with striking lecturers. #UCUstrike #StrikeForUSS

Trouble at the Top: Is Britain’s Leadership Still Fit for Purpose?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 10/03/2018 - 2:27am in


event, News

Speakers: Aeron Davis, Polly Toynbee, Joe Earle and Bev Skeggs

When: 6.30-8, 19th March

Where: Sheikh Zayed Theatre, LSE

Please join Aeron Davis, Polly Toynbee, Joe Earle and Bev Skeggs for a discussion on Britain’s dysfunctional leadership. Aeron Davis will cast the evening off by arguing that the Brexit vote and 2017 election result are more than temporary setbacks for the Establishment. Instead, there is a deeper crisis of leadership that has been developing over decades. The great transformations of the 1980s onwards have not only upended societies, they have reshaped elite rule itself. The UK is producing a new generation of leaders who, although richer, have lost coherence, vision, influence and power. Their failings are not only damaging the wider public, economy and society, they are undermining the very foundations of the Establishment itself. Joining Aeron to offer their take on Britain’s top tier will be Polly Toynbee, the Guardian’s award-winning political affairs columnist, and Joe Earle, author and campaigner for economic reform. The event will be chaired by the LSE’s Bev Skeggs.

The event will also launch Aeron Davis’s new book Reckless Opportunists: Elites at the End of the Establishment (MUP, 2018). The book, based on 350 interviews with elite figures across business, politics and finance, asks: how did we end up producing the leaders that got us here and what can we do about it?

Aeron Davis is Professor of Political Communication and Co-Director of the Political Economy Research Centre at Goldsmiths, University of London. For over two decades he has researched and interviewed UK leaders operating in the City, large corporations, Whitehall, Westminster and in the national media. He is the author of four books, two edited collections, and some fifty other publications.

Polly Toynbee is an award winning political and social affairs journalist. She has worked at the BBC, the Independent and, for almost two decades, as a columnist for the Guardian. She has also published a number of books, most recently (with David Walker) Dismembered: How the Conservative Attack on the State Harms Us All (Faber, 2017), and Cameron’s Coup: How the Tories Took Britain to the Brink (Faber, 2015).

Joe Earle is a campaigner and writer. He co-founded the Post-Crash Economics Society at Manchester University and is a trustee of Rethinking Economics. With Cahal Moran and Zach Ward-Perkins he is author of The Econocracy: The Perils of Leaving Economics to the Experts (MUP, 2016).

Bev Skeggs is the Academic Director of the Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity Programme at the LSE. She is one of the leading feminist sociologists in the world and author or editor of over a dozen books and edited collections.

‘Aeron Davis pulls back the curtain on the wizards of Oz who rule us. And having studied them for decades he tells their story brilliantly. They were never as good as we were led to believe.’ Danny Dorling Professor of Geography, University of Oxford


More Details

The post Trouble at the Top: Is Britain’s Leadership Still Fit for Purpose? appeared first on Political Economy Research Centre.

Alan Cumming to appear in Series Eleven

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 09/03/2018 - 11:29am in



Radio Times has reported that Alan Cumming will appear in Series 11 of Doctor Who. Cumming is to play King James I.  The actor confirmed this on Will Young and Chris Sweeney’s podcast Homo Sapiens. Cumming is an actor, singer, writer, producer and director. He has been in countless television, movie and theatre productions, including Goldeneye, X2, Spy Kids, Tin Man and many more. Cumming has been quoted as saying: “I’m James I. So I’m kind of like, you know, a kind of dandy, foppy, coward who kind of comes alright in the end. And they said he might come back.” … Continue reading