February 2009

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What Would Make You Start a Revolution?

What would make you start a revolution - living under a dictatorship, having your freedom of expression threatened, slavery, hunger, corporate hegemony? This clip provides some interesting viewpoints making the case for and against revolutions. "The possibility that it might succeed," is Canadian novelist, Margaret Attwood’s whimsical response to the question. "Revolutions betray themselves and eat their own children,” says Oxford Professor, Stein Ringen in his...

Budget 2009: Great Transformation or Illusion Leading to Delusion

Picture: Fazila Farouk Ebrahim-Khalil Hassen - Minister Trevor Manuel referred to debates on the size of deficits as an illusionary delusion, asking South Africans to focus on the effectiveness and quality of spending. Underlying this perspective is an important assumption that tough choices in economic policy have placed us in a better position. Today, we have more money, and are able to responsibly increase the deficit, because of these choices, argues Minister Manuel. Assessing the record of government in this manner is however, an...

Iceland's Saucepan Revolution: Can a Hedge-Fund Island Lose Its Shirt and Gain Its Soul?

Picture: pallih Rebecca Solnit - In December, reports surfaced that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson pushed his Wall Street bailout package by suggesting that, without it, civil unrest in the United States might grow so dangerous that martial law would have to be declared. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), warned of the same risk of riots, wherever the global economy was hurting. What really worried them wasn't, I suspect, the possibility of a lot of people thronging the...

Finding Our Way Towards a Sustainable Energy Future: What Will the Transition Look Like?

Picture: J Fabra Saliem Fakir - The impact of the power revolution is most felt in the way in which the new steam and electrical technologies transformed human life in general – forever, so to speak. One thing fed another, producing a cacophony of innovation and redefining the very nature of abundance. What industrialisation and the power revolution have unleashed for the west has become the dream of not only of one power, but many powers who feel they have been excluded from its magic and capacity to bring seemingly...

Global Financial Crisis Fuels Worldwide Protests

The Real News Network (TRNN) reports that protests are on the increase as a result of economic hardship emanating from the global financial meltdown. TRNN reports that there is a growing consensus that global elites are not qualified to handle the world's problems, leading to massive demonstrations against elites. On 1 February 2009, government representatives and corporate executives returned from the  World Economic Forum in Davos. The Associated Press reported "The world's...

Why Do Food Prices Remain So High?

Picture: ralphbijker Glenn Ashton - Major retailers like Pick n Pay have asked suppliers for explanations as to why the food costs have remained high, while transport and input costs have fallen. This is indicative of fundamental problems in the food marketplace. The cynical world view of many, that food producers are all too quick to raise prices when margins are threatened but loath to reduce them when increased profits are locked in, appears valid. There is usually a lag for input costs to affect prices of grocery items;...