Economics

Declaration of cyberspace

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace

BY JOHN PERRY BARLOW

Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.

We have no elected government, nor are we likely to have one, so I address you with no greater authority than that with which liberty itself always speaks. I declare the global social space we are building to be naturally independent of the tyrannies you seek to impose on us. You have no moral right to rule us nor do you possess any methods of enforcement we have true reason to fear.

Economic Commons Sense

Danfox Davies's picture

2007 Todmorden Boundary Walk

This picture is by me, from 2007 Todmorden Boundary Walk. (Sun, 06 May 2007  11:46:51). The Boundary Walk is held annually as a symbolic reminder of those who trampled the enclosures - and theoretically for the purpose of doing so again, should the need arise, though the commons' boundaries have remained fairly stable for some time now. This particular image shows the tiny figure of a hiker by the Stoodley Pike Monument (built in the time of the 1800s' disputes about commons enclosure) on Langfield Common, from the vantage point of a road forming the boundary on the other side of the valley. The marked difference between the medieval fields, the larger later enclosures with their straight edges on the hillsides and the remnant, one-time acid rain damaged common peat & millstone-grit moorland above, is striking.

 

A Pirate reads Piketty, part 4: Transparency

George Walkden's picture

Transparency and its sister, the flip side of the coin, privacy, are at the heart of Pirate politics. The first of the seven principles on which the PPUK constitution is founded states that society is built on the sharing of knowledge (and we've already seen how important that is in reducing inequality, according to Piketty). The third principle makes this more explicit with respect to the role of government: "Everyone should have a say in the structure and processes of governance and the right to know what is done on their behalf".

A Pirate reads Piketty, part 3: The Rich Shall Inherit The Earth

George Walkden's picture

One of the refreshing things about Piketty’s book - at least for a humanities academic like me - is that he uses literary sources, particularly the novels of Austen and Balzac, as evidence of attitudes to wealth in the nineteenth century. His favourite episode is from Balzac’s Père Goriot, in which the young protagonist Rastignac is faced with a dilemma: marry Victorine and inherit a vast fortune, or work his way to the top? The cynical Vautrin comes to the rescue with a timely lesson, explaining to young Rastignac that even at the height of a career in law - for which he would have to fight hard and sacrifice much - he would still earn far less than he could simply by marrying into a wealthy family.

A depressing thought for anyone with the slightest attachment to meritocracy. But that sort of society is dead and gone. Isn’t it?

A Pirate reads Piketty, part 2: The Caprices of Technology

George Walkden's picture

Part 2 of Piketty's book deals with the relationship between capital and income over time. There are fluctuations, there are differences between countries, and some forms of capital have changed in importance: agricultural land, for instance, has shrunk to a tiny proportion of the overall capital of the countries investigated. Still, the overall trajectory is pretty clear: capital is on the rise. Piketty cautions that "there is no natural force that inevitably reduces the importance of capital ... over the course of history" (p234).

One contention that should resonate with Pirates is that "technology, like the market, has neither limits nor morality". Piketty clarifies this by arguing that "Progress toward economic and technological rationality need not imply progress toward democratic and meritocratic rationality", and hence that "If one truly wishes to found a more just and rational social order based on common utility, it is not enough to count on the caprices of technology".

A Pirate reads Piketty, part 1: Knowledge and Equality

George Walkden's picture

Back in 2014, Thomas Piketty's book Capital in the Twenty-First Century came as close to being a popular sensation as a 700-page economic tome can get, winning acclaim from a variety of sectors and propelling Piketty into the company of well-known "public economists" such as Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman. A little late to the game, I decided to take a look for myself. I felt motivated to write this series of posts because it turns out that core Pirate principles and Piketty's main messages are more closely entwined than one might imagine.

Wendy Cockcroft : Opinion: 'Middle-Out' A Pirate Solution For The Economy?

 

I'm basically a moderate conservative who sees the need for a well-funded welfare state governed by and for the people via a decentralised, distributed democratic process. My personal motto is,

"The individual must be free to act and the will of the people must be respected."

If this principle is not at the core of every policy those policies will fail. The needs and desires of BOTH the many and the one must be kept in balance, with neither gaining the advantage over the other if we want a fairer world. It's the reason I don't vote for the major parties; each of their philosophies tends towards nanny-knows-best authoritarianism and I don't like being told what to do by people who don't care about me.

At the moment, we're caught between the Left/Right dichotomy with either Socialism or Free Market Supply-side ideologies being touted as the solution despite neither of them ever having been proven to work in practice. Middle-out is a departure from both and would create a more inclusive society by providing incentives for production, rewarding labour, and funding a robust welfare state. Let's take a closer look at it.

Andy Halsall : EU-US free trade deal must not diminish European standards

The free trade agreement between Europe and America raises the possibility that consumer, employee and environmental protections will be seen as inconveniences that can be reduced rather than levelled between the two partners.

The wave of announcements on both sides of the Atlantic on the proposed negotiations between the European Union and the United States on the 'world's biggest ever' free trade deal came with a surge of positive predictions of such an agreement's impact and not without good reason. After all, the EU and US enjoy one of the closest economic partnerships in the world and certainly the largest.

If you look at the relationship in terms of bilateral trade, the picture is pretty clear with more than €2bn a day passing between the two in 2012. According to the Office of the US Trade Representative, transatlantic investment is directly responsible for around 6.8 million jobs. It is a relationship that has a broad impact. Not only does it help to produce economic prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic but also in dozens of other trading partners around the world.

It is hard to argue that any measures that might make this partnership more efficient, or remove barriers to competition would not be a good thing. Of course, as with any relationship in which both sides are competing, the positive aspects come with a few negatives. Disagreements and tariffs may be minor but they do pose a barrier to access for both EU and US businesses. Current subsidies and state support ensure that in some areas competition is less than ideal, or even impossible.

TTIP - Trading away our rights

The Issue.

The US/EU Free Trade agreement (which is also known as The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)) will be the biggest free trade agreement ever, if it is signed.

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