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What would society look like with universal basic income?

What would you do if somebody gave you a few hundred pounds each month to spend on whatever you wanted? Would you quit your job? Retrain and look for a better one? Spend more time with your kids? Get those vital repairs done on your house? Eat better food?

I’m not trying to taunt you. Asking anyone who has to work for a living to contemplate a society in which they have proper economic choices feels like asking a friend on a doctor-enforced diet to describe their favourite dessert. But it’s the question being raised by a growing chorus of thinkers and campaigners, from Silicon Valley businessmen to conservative philosophers, who believe that the answer to a snarled web of economic problems – wage inequality, automation and the gender pay gap, among others – is to institute an “unconditional basic income”.

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/economy/2016/04/what-would-society-look-universal-basic-income

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2016 in Economy, Reportages, Revolution

 

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Ticket to Lesbos

Gotta book a ticket to Lesbos, my bureau chief says it can’t wait any longer. It’s April 2015 and a ship carrying 400 migrants from the island of Lesbos had docked the previous day at the port of Piraeus. Something is happening in Lesbos and I have to check it out immediately.

https://correspondent.afp.com/ticket-lesbos

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2016 in European Union, Reportages

 

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Il muro al Brennero è il simbolo di una sconfitta europea

Una recinzione metallica non è molto diversa da un muro, anzi, a dire il vero non lo è affatto. Quindi quei lavori al Brennero, in quella stretta valle di confine tra il sud e il nord del continente, tra il Tirolo italiano e quello austriaco, tra due paesi storici dell’Unione europea, sono di una tristezza notevole.

La barriera sarà lunga 370 metri e alta quattro. I pali sono già stati piantati, bisogna solo montare la rete. Sono gli austriaci a installarla, sul loro territorio, appena più in là del confine che da quasi vent’anni, grazie a Schengen, non esiste più. L’Italia assiste all’impresa con un misto di indignazione e turbamento. Matteo Renzi ha commentato: l’ipotesi dell’Austria di chiudere il Brennero “è sfacciatamente contro le regole europee, oltre che contro la storia, contro la logica e contro il futuro”.

Ancora lo sbarramento non c’è.

http://www.internazionale.it/opinione/oliver-meiler/2016/04/29/brennero-muro-migranti

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2016 in European Union

 

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Jour d’enfer à Alep

Je crois que la guerre en Syrie ne se terminera jamais. Voilà trois ans que je photographie le conflit à Alep, ma ville. Mon but, c’est de montrer au monde extérieur toutes les souffrances qu’endurent les Syriens. Et ce jeudi 28 avril est une des journées les plus infernales que nous ayons connues ici.

https://making-of.afp.com/jour-denfer-alep

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2016 in Middle East

 

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Saudi Arabia is about to attempt its own version of Mao’s Great Leap Forward by trying to end its dependence on oil – and it’s not going to work

Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the son of the ailing King Salman and de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, has launched a highly ambitious plan under which he says his country will speedily “end its addiction to oil.” In terms of its revolutionary ambition, lack of realism and potential for disruption, the plan has parallels with Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward in 1958 which aimed to change China rapidly from an agricultural to an industrial economy, but produced only disaster.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/saudi-arabia-is-about-to-attempt-its-own-version-of-maos-great-leap-forward-by-trying-to-end-its-a7007441.html

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2016 in Middle East

 

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America Hasn’t Gone Crazy. It’s Just More Like Europe.

For most Europeans these days, traveling to America is like landing on Mars. Even the most sophisticated political analysts can’t make head or tail of what is happening in the country. They are offended by the rise of Donald J. Trump, puzzled by Bernie Sanders’s democratic socialist appeal to young American voters, and confused by President Obama’s unsentimental, risk-averse foreign policy that decided against punishing President Bashar al-Assad of Syria for crossing Mr. Obama’s own red line on chemical weapons.

I stand in marked contrast to my fellow Europeans’ mystification. As I witness the anger of the middle class, the arrogance of the unloved elites, the shared disbelief in the effectiveness of military power and the pervasive fear of the future — perhaps for the first time, I feel I understand exactly what is going on in America.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/15/opinion/america-hasnt-gone-crazy-its-just-more-like-europe.html?_r=2

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2016 in North America

 

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Indonesia’s Feared Anti-terrorism Squad Under Fire in Hunt for ISIS

Siyono’s wife Suratmi probably did the best thing she could when she asked for help from Muhammadiyah, Indonesia’s second largest Islamic organization, to figure out why her husband died in the custody of the Indonesian police’s feared counter-terrorism squad Densus 88 last month.

Along with her effort to seek for the truth through Muhammadiyah, she also handed over a folded brown paper bag which she said was given by Densus 88 after her husband’ death. Muhammadiyah in a press conference said the paper bag was loaded with Rp100 million (US$7,606) as a “token of sorry” to Siyono’s family.

The 34-year-old Siyono, who like many Indonesians has one name, was a resident of Dukuh village in Klaten, Central Java. He was arrested on allegations of involvement in terrorism on March 8 and died in custody on March 10. He was buried on March 13.

http://www.asiasentinel.com/society/indonesia-densus88-hunt-isis/

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2016 in Asia

 

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Envisioning a New Kind of Economy

There are many visions of what a new economy might look like: more local than global, more sharing than exploitative, more respectful of the earth than of profit. What’s missing in most of these visions, however, is the system architecture needed to guide the economy in those directions, and keep it headed there for the indefinite future.

A good new economy architecture must do two things our present architecture doesn’t do: protect vital ecosystems and spread the fruits of our economy broadly. The first is essential to preserving our planet, the second to assuring that all individuals and communities have the resources to become more secure and self-reliant.

https://www.guernicamag.com/daily/peter-barnes-envisioning-a-new-kind-of-economy/

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2016 in Economy, Revolution

 

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New Study Shows Mass Surveillance Breeds Meekness, Fear and Self-Censorship

A newly published study from Oxford’s Jon Penney provides empirical evidence for a key argument long made by privacy advocates: that the mere existence of a surveillance state breeds fear and conformity and stifles free expression. Reporting on the study, the Washington Post this morning described this phenomenon: “If we think that authorities are watching our online actions, we might stop visiting certain websites or not say certain things just to avoid seeming suspicious.”

https://theintercept.com/2016/04/28/new-study-shows-mass-surveillance-breeds-meekness-fear-and-self-censorship/

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2016 in North America

 

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Saudi efforts to ‘modernise’ its economy away from oil are just PR tactics – and the West is lapping them up

Just like his adventure in Yemen, Saudi Arabia’s young Deputy Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman got it all wrong this week. It’s not Saudi Arabia which suffers from “oil addiction”, it’s we who are addicted. The unique Saudi drug – a cocktail of wealth, arrogance and infantile Puritanism – is far more dangerous, since it depends on the arithmetic (or myth) of its 716 billion barrels of oil reserves.

If this statistic is as ill-conceived as the Sunni Saudi war on Yemen’s Shiite Houthis, along with its massive civilian casualties, then Prince Mohamed’s ‘reforms’ – oiled (if that’s the right word) by a $2 trillion public investment fund which would take over ownership of the state oil company Aramco – will have to kick in long before the deadline of his ‘Vision 2030’.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/saudi-efforts-to-modernise-their-economy-away-from-oil-are-just-pr-tactics-and-the-west-is-lapping-a7004691.html

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2016 in Middle East

 

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