Saturday, October 31, 2020
Why has the United States has reacted with such ferocity in ramping up sanctions and bans on Chinese companies? Whilst China’s economy has grown and it has developed its political, economic and military power globally, it is still nowhere near being able to challenge the US’s superpower status. But what it is doing very effectively is developing world-leading digital companies like Huawei and Ant. As well as China’s cutting-edge companies, its success with state intervention in the economy is a direct challenge to free market neo-liberalism.
Friday, October 30, 2020
In the negotiations with the EU the Tories have come under fire for their confrontational approach on state aid rules, taking back powers from devolved governments and the threat of breaking international law. However the left needs to be principled in its critique of the Tories and not allow them to seize the ideological ground as defenders of sovereignty. Meanwhile their disastrous handling of the coronavirus pandemic continues as they aim to implement a herd immunity strategy which they wanted from the start.
Thursday, October 29, 2020
Though defeated in a referendum in 2011, proportional representation (PR) is again being mooted as a way of engaging voters and making the electoral system more democratic. In fact PR would actually produce less of what the electorate wants with more horse-trading of policies. Most importantly it would dilute a clear class divide making radical change harder.
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
We are now only too used to a world of war, including in Europe in the Balkans and the continuing conflict in Ukraine. The cold war is portrayed as a time of great world tensions, yet there was far less armed conflict and more attempts to achieve peaceful relations between states. The Helsinki Accords were an attempt to create a binding framework for security and cooperation in Europe, but did not fulfill their potential due to the West's lack of commitment.
Tuesday, October 27, 2020
How should we understand our subjective sense of nationality? Is patriotism a useful concept?
Monday, October 26, 2020
The West demonises Russia and Putin to stir up hostile sentiment to a rival. Putin has stood up to this, which has provided an important counter-balance to Western power. However, that does not make his regime a positive one for the people of Russia. The West has its favoured opposition leaders like Alexei Navalny, but there are other forces on the ground.
Sunday, October 25, 2020
The West has a strategy of trying to encircle Russia with friendly states. Since Belarus hasn't voluntarily gone down this route it was set up for another 'colour revolution', following a familiar pattern from the likes of Ukraine. However, its President Alexander Lukashenko didn't give in to that either and has resisted the attempt to oust him from power.
Tuesday, August 18, 2020
Its advocates idealistically hope that Universal Basic Income (UBI) will change the world, undermining the logic of capitalism. But there are flaws in how possible schemes would operate. Most do not propose to pay an amount of money that people could actually live on with inevitable negative consequences. Some groups would lose out, it would tend to subsidise low-wage employers as people would still have to work and there would be tax increases on low and medium earners along with cuts to welfare spending to finance it. Nor is UBI only an idea of the left. Neo-liberals have proposed it as a way of further cutting and privatising services. To fulfill its utopian ideals UBI would need to be set at the level of a decent wage. To pay this to everyone would be mindbogglingly expensive especially when a progressive government would have many other priorities.