Nieuws en achtergronden over globalisering, economie, politiek & actie

European Democracy And The Financial Coup D'etat

European Democracy And The Financial Coup D'etat By Ignacio Ramonet, PARIS, Dec (IPS) It is clear that the European Union cannot summon the political will to stand up to the markets and resolve the crisis. DIT STUK IS INMIDDELS VERTAALD EN GEPLAATST OP GLOBALINFO.NL

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Tomato Harvest in Nardo, Apulia – The First...

Tomato Harvest in Nardo, Apulia – The First Self-Organised Strike of the Day Labourers Devi Sacchetto, Mimmo Perrotta When, in the early dawn of the 30th of July 2011, a group of about 40 African migrants refused to continue harvesting tomatoes on the fields of Nardo (Lecce), nobody would have thought that this would be the beginning of the first self-organised strike of migrant day labourers for better working conditions in Italian agriculture. The group of day labourers refused the demand of the 'caporale'  (lees het hele artikel bij wildcat) Heb je zin om dit te vertalen, neem dan even contact op met Dit e-mailadres wordt beveiligd tegen spambots. JavaScript dient ingeschakeld te zijn om het te bekijken. document.getElementById('cloakc397b3d22528c8723ef9d5e82a3fe43e').innerHTML = ''; var prefix = 'ma' + 'il' + 'to'; var path = 'hr' + 'ef' + '='; var addyc397b3d22528c8723ef9d5e82a3fe43e = 'info' + '@'; addyc397b3d22528c8723ef9d5e82a3fe43e = addyc397b3d22528c8723ef9d5e82a3fe43e + 'globalinfo' + '.' + 'nl'; var addy_textc397b3d22528c8723ef9d5e82a3fe43e = 'info' + '@' + 'globalinfo' + '.' + 'nl';document.getElementById('cloakc397b3d22528c8723ef9d5e82a3fe43e').innerHTML += ''+addy_textc397b3d22528c8723ef9d5e82a3fe43e+'';

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OWS: Yes, we are anti-capitalist!

OWS: Yes, we are anti-capitalist! Submitted by Bill Weinberg on Sun, 11/06/2011 - 02:56. For the first time since the 1999 Seattle protests, a movement in the United States is in the vanguard of global resistance to capital. But this time, the stakes are much higher. Now, from Europe to the Arab world to South America to Manhattan and Oakland, the planet seems headed into a revolutionary situation. Occupy Wall Street, which has brought the struggle to the very nerve-center of world capitalism, has responsibilities on a world scale. There are some things that it is very important that we get right.

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The Great Shock

Brian Collins recenseert in the Los Angeles review of Books een aantal boeken over de economische crisis. Lees het hier: http://lareviewofbooks.org/post/11567586093/the-great-shock (en mocht je het willen vertalen voor globalinfo, neem dan even contact op via Dit e-mailadres wordt beveiligd tegen spambots. JavaScript dient ingeschakeld te zijn om het te bekijken. document.getElementById('cloak8d74b8536abfbb7899991c4d4da8caa4').innerHTML = ''; var prefix = 'ma' + 'il' + 'to'; var path = 'hr' + 'ef' + '='; var addy8d74b8536abfbb7899991c4d4da8caa4 = 'info' + '@'; addy8d74b8536abfbb7899991c4d4da8caa4 = addy8d74b8536abfbb7899991c4d4da8caa4 + 'globalinfo' + '.' + 'nl'; var addy_text8d74b8536abfbb7899991c4d4da8caa4 = 'info' + '@' + 'globalinfo' + '.' + 'nl';document.getElementById('cloak8d74b8536abfbb7899991c4d4da8caa4').innerHTML += ''+addy_text8d74b8536abfbb7899991c4d4da8caa4+''; )

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Herve Kempf: Como los Ricos Destryuen la Tierra

HERVÉ KEMPF: CÓMO LOS RICOS DESTRUYEN LA TIERRAEntrevista de Soledad Barruti (Radar) (lees het hele interview in het Spaans hieronder, en laat weten als je het zou willen vertalen (bij Dit e-mailadres wordt beveiligd tegen spambots. JavaScript dient ingeschakeld te zijn om het te bekijken. document.getElementById('cloakbed8f410cc124c67f6f2270828281e24').innerHTML = ''; var prefix = 'ma' + 'il' + 'to'; var path = 'hr' + 'ef' + '='; var addybed8f410cc124c67f6f2270828281e24 = 'info' + '@'; addybed8f410cc124c67f6f2270828281e24 = addybed8f410cc124c67f6f2270828281e24 + 'globalinfo' + '.' + 'nl'; var addy_textbed8f410cc124c67f6f2270828281e24 = 'info' + '@' + 'globalinfo' + '.' + 'nl';document.getElementById('cloakbed8f410cc124c67f6f2270828281e24').innerHTML += ''+addy_textbed8f410cc124c67f6f2270828281e24+''; ) (Aan vertaling wordt gewerkt)

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The Myth of Libyan Liberation

Refuting Juan ColeThe Myth of Libyan Liberationby CONN HALLINANhttp://www.counterpunch.org/2011/08/26/the-myth-of-libyan-liberation/In his essay, “Top Ten Myths about the Libyan War,” Juan Cole arguesthat U.S. interests in the conflict consisted of stopping “massacres ofpeople,” a “lawful world order,” “the NATO alliance,” and oddly, “thefate of Egypt.” It is worth taking a moment to look at each of thesearguments, as well as his dismissal of the idea that the U.S./NATOintervention had anything to do with oil as “daft.”

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De groei van het ‘precariaat’

De groei van het ‘precariaat’ 22-08-2011 om 18:00 door SocProf   This is another installment in a series of posts (here and here) I intend to write as I work my way through Guy Standing‘s The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class. In this section, the main topic will be the causes of the growth of the precariat. Standing identifies several causes. Global Commodification “A central aspect of globalisation can be summed up in one intimidating work, ‘commodification‘. This involves treating everything as a commodity, to be bought and sold, subject to market forces, with prices set by demand and supply, without effective ‘agency’ (a capacity to resist). Commodification has been extended to every aspect of life – the family, education system, firm, labour institutions, socia protection policy, unemployment, disability, occupational communities and politics.” In the drive for market efficiency, barriers to commodification were dismantled. A neo-liberal principle was that regulations were required to prevent collective interests from acting as barriers to competition. The globalisation era was not one of de-regulation but of re-regulation, in which more regulations were introduced than in any comparable period of history.” (26) This sounds a lot like Jurgen Habermas’s idea of colonization of the lifeworld by the system. According to Standing, firms and companies themselves have been commodified through accelerating and multiplying mergers and acquisitions. This means an end to Ronald Coase’s conception of firms as reducing costs and risks of doing business while increasing trust and long-term relationships. In investing frenzies, there is no incentive to building up long-term relationships based on trust and deep knowledge. This, of course, makes life more insecure for employees as overnight mergers and acquisitions can completely disrupt organizations and individual careers through offshoring (within firms) and outsourcing (to other firms). The relationship between employer and employee is then also one of limited trust and short-term in outlook and careers and skill acquisition become individualized projects: “The disruption feeds into the way skills are developed. The incentive to invest in skills is determined by the cost of acquiring them, the opportunity cost of doing so and the prospective additional income. If the risk increases of not having the opportunity to practise skills, investment in them will decline, as will the psychological commitment to the company. In short,  if firms become more fluid, workers will be discouraged from trying to build careers inside them. This puts them close to being in the precariat. (…) For a growing number of workers in the twenty-first century, it would be folly to regard a firm as a place for building a career and gaining income security. There would be nothing wrong with that, if social policy were adapted so that all those working for companies are able to have basic security. At present, this is far from the case.” (30-1) Flexibility: Commodification of Labor Anyone who has paid attention to what neo-liberal globalists have been saying for the past thirty years knows that flexibilization of labor has been their mantra. The idea is that labor, especially in the Global North, was too rigid and regulated and protected to be truly efficient. Remove these cumbersome regulations and the firms’ power to compete on the global stage would be unleashed. Flexibility of labor relations is a necessary condition for Western countries to be able to compete with emerging countries. Needless to say, much flexibility has already been accomplished but flexibilization is a work-in-progress, a never-ending project as there are always pockets of labor that have not been completely subjected to the neo-liberal regime (in the US, for instance, the time has come for public workers). Obviously, this has been a major cause of growth of the precariat. For Standing, flexibility is the commodification of labor, or rather re-commodification of labor – that is, the progressive dismantlement of labor protections that had been fought for over the past hundred and fifty years or so. This flexibility of labor relations is multi-faceted. It involves numerical flexibility through what used to be called non-traditional forms of labor that are now becoming the norm such as temporary labor, underemployment, offshoring and outsourcing, unpaid furloughs, “zero-hour contracts” and the expansion of internships (something discussed here). In the well-known division between primary and secondary labor market and there is no doubt that the secondary labor market is growing with the loss of training opportunities, benefits and pensions. Walmart is the future of work but it is a global trend. “In the 1960s,  a typical worker entering the labour market of an industrialised country could have anticipated having four employers by the time he retired. In those circumstances, it made sense to identify with the firm in which he was employed. Today, a worker would be foolish to do so. Now, a typical worker – more likely to be a woman – can anticipate having nine employers before reaching the age of 30. That is the extent of the change represented by numerical flexibility.” (36) Another form of labor flexibility is functional flexibility, that is, a change in the division of labor and shifting workers between positions. Functional flexibility creates job insecurity (as opposed to numerical flexibility which generates employment insecurity) through contractual individualization (or contractualization, as opposed to collective bargaining) and the general casualization of work. This also involves what Standing calls tertiarisation: “Tertiarisation summarises a combination of forms of flexibility, in which divisions of labour are fluid, workplaces blend into home and public places, hours of labour fluctuate and people can combine several work statuses and have several contracts concurrently. (…) The flexibility involves more work-for-labour; a blurring of workplaces, home places and public places; and a shift from direct control to diverse forms of indirect control, in which increasingly sophisticated technological mechanisms are deployed.” (38) Another source of the growth of precariat is wage flexibility. The precariat is especially reliant in wage income in the whole social income typology, so any shift in income – from fixed to flexible or through different schemes such as variable pay or merit pay. For instance, “As workers in China agitated for higher wages and better conditions, multinationals grandly conceded large money wage increases but took enterprise benefits. Foxconn’s penned workers in Shenzhen had received subsidised food, clothing and dormitory accommodations. In June 2010, on the day he announced a second big rise in wages, the head of Foxconn said, ‘today we are going to return these functions to the government’. The company was shifting to money wages, giving the impression that workers were gaining a lot (a 96 per cent wage increase), but changing the form of remuneration and character of labour relationship. The global model was coming to China.” (43) And this, of course, means greater insecurity at a time where globalization also shatters community ties that also constituted part of social income. Unemployment is also re-construed through neo-liberal filters, and individualized as personal characteristics: “In the neo-liberal framework, unemployment became a matter of individual responsibility, making it almost ‘voluntary’. People came to be regarded as more or less ‘employable’ and the answer was to make them more employable, upgrading their ‘skills’ or reforming their ‘habits’ and ‘attitudes’. This made it easy to go to the next stage of blaming and demonising the unemployed as lazy and scroungers.” (45) And the logical next step is a call for a reduction of unemployment benefits which leads to a vicious circle: a insecure and part-time employment rose especially for the low-en of the labor market, then unemployment benefits represented a higher percentage of income replacement. The conclusion should be that work does not pay enough, but no, media commentators would harp that benefits were too high and should be cut further and that the unemployed should be forced to take lower-paying jobs. But as Standing puts it, “the rich world’s job-generating machine is running down” (46) and this predates the 2008 recession. If anything, the recession has accelerated this trend by creating more zones of precariat: “The unemployed also experience a form of tertiarisation. They have multiple ‘workplaces’ – employment exchanges, benefit offices, job-search training offices – and have to indulge in a lot of work-for-labour – filling in forms, queuing, commuting to employment exchanges, commuting in search of jobs, commuting to job training and so on. It can be a full-time job being unemployed, and it involves flexibility, since people must be on call all the time. What politicians call idleness may be no more than being on the end of the phone, chewing nails nervously hoping for a call.” (48) The Precarity Trap To live in precarious conditions means to have a lot of expenses that will keep one there, or what Standing call high transaction costs (time spent applying for benefits, temporary job loss and search for new ones, time and cost of learning on the new job and adjustment of all the other activities – such as child care – around that new job) that may very well gobble up a greater share of income. This is the precarity trap. And that is not counting the fact that living in the precariat means experiencing the full force of the risk society individually. The Subsidy State The global economy is a heavily subsidized economy (so much for free market) and again, that is without counting the bailouts triggered by the recession. These subsidies can take the form of tax holidays, various forms of tax relief or tax credits. For instance, schemes such as the Earned Income Tax Credit were subsidies offsetting low wages (gotta keep people consuming, even and especially at the bottom of the social ladder). “Labour subsidies, including earned-income tax credits and marginal employment subsidies, are also in reality subsidies to capital, enabling companies to gain more profits and pay lower wages. They have no economic or social equity justification. The rationale for the main labour subsidy, tax credits, is that as the poor and less educated in countries face the stiffest competition from low-cost labour in developing countries, governments need to subsidise low wages to provide adeequate incomes. But while intended to offset wage inequality, these subsidies encourage the growth or maintenance of low-wage precariat jobs. By topping up wages to something like subsistence, tax credits take pressure off employers, giving them an incentive to continue to pay low wages.” (55) Along with easy credit, and additional household income through women work, one can file subsidies are “ways in which we can keep people consuming and demand high with declining wages” which has come crashing down in 2008. That is also part of the may ways in which the state is VERY involved in sustaining the economy. Under these conditions, of course, the precariat has an ultimate recourse: the shadow economy, no matter how dangerous or exploitative. Or there can be riots. Geïnteresseerd? Bestel hier http://www.bol.com/nl/p/engelse-boeken/the-precariat/1001004010685331/index.html.   (via sargasso)

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The crisis of the global economy. Was it a planned...

The crisis of the global economy. Was it a planned disintegration? (nb: dit stuk is inmiddels vertaald en staat hier op globalinfo.nl) “The biggest propaganda story this decade is the fiction of the Japanese and now Chinese workers are thrifty folks who want to desperately save money and they want this so badly, they will happily toil away in order to hand over this loot to the American consumer who will then spend it for them! And everyone lives happily after living off the blood and sweat of those foolish Asian workers who don't know how to have fun, hahaha." So penned Elaine Meinel Supkis in her 2007 article exploring the reasons for the existence of the global money glut. [1]

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Why the Euro Is Not Worth Saving

(Dit artikel is inmiddels vertaald en hier verschenen, en ook in Trouw gepubliceerd, helaas allemaal copyrighted dus niet op globalinfo.nl geplaatst)   Tuesday 12 July 2011 by: Mark Weisbrot, The Center for Economic and Policy Research   The Euro is crashing today to record lows against the Swiss Franc, and interest rates on Italian and Spanish bonds have hit record highs. This latest episode in the Eurozone crisis is a result of fears that the contagion is now hitting Italy. With a two-trillion dollar economy and $2.45 trillion in debt, Italy is too big to fail and the European authorities are worried. ('...)   It appears that much of the European left does not understand the right-wing nature of the institutions, authorities, and especially macroeconomic policies that they are facing in the Eurozone. This is part of a more general problem with the public misunderstanding of macroeconomic policy worldwide, which has allowed right-wing central banks to implement destructive policies, sometimes even under left governments. These misunderstandings, along with the lack of democratic input, might help explain the paradox that Europe currently has more right-wing macroeconomic policies than the United States, despite having much stronger labor unions and other institutional bases for more progressive economic policy.   (Hele stuk te lezen  in the Guardian)

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