Monthly Archives: January 2018

The Future Of Europe – A Space For The Social Policy Avant-Garde

The goals via this new course must be:

A well-balanced welfare-orientated economic policy geared to correcting the inequities of distribution, the eradication of (youth) unemployment and the creation of quality jobs, social and ecologically sustainable investments and protection of the welfare state. Its central element is boosting domestic demand through a productivity-driven wages policy as well as an adequate co-ordination of fiscal policy;
Introduction of a ‘golden rule of fiscal policy’ whereby member states win room for public investments for the future; coupled with an investment offensive (cf DGB-Marshall Plan for Europe) as well as the ETUC Investment Plan for Sustainable Growth and Quality Jobs);
Embedding a ‘protocol for social progress’ within EU primary law which prevents the deregulation of the fundamental freedoms in the area of labour and social law along with the principle “equal pay and equal working conditions for the same work at the same place of work”;
Expanding the social dialogue, extending co-determination, in particular, a directive on the protection of co-determination in cross-border headquarter relocations and the restoration, stablisation and strengthening of free collective bargaining.

via The Future Of Europe – A Space For The Social Policy Avant-Garde

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Retooling Social Europe Via Charters Of Rights

The power of accession

The EU could accede to the European Social Charter on the basis of Article 216 (1) TFEU. The idea of accession was also mentioned in 1984, when the European Parliament adopted the Draft Treaty Establishing the European Union, widely referred to as the “Spinelli Treaty”. Chapter 1 (Article 4. 2) refers to “economic social and cultural rights derived from the Constitutions of the Member States and from the European Social Charter”. Initiatives taken during the political run-up to embracing accession may play positively within European public opinion, as these would undoubtedly indicate that the EU is equally committed to the establishment of the internal market, and the creation of an area of freedom, security and justice, including social justice, where egalitarianism prevails in terms of civil, political, economic and social rights.
Window of opportunity

The incomplete project of constitutionalisation of social rights should come to a final conclusion. The European commitment to social rights is essentially rhetorical in nature, being through the years the Achilles heel of “Social Europe”. On that basis, the political and economic conditions may be propitious to reversing the downturn of the social rights. Given that the ultra-critical UK is no longer an “antagonist” of Social Europe owing to the recent Brexit vote, concrete measures via the ESPR could erode the economic and social divergences between Member States that have put Europe’s political cohesion at risk. Finally, this and the threat posed by the rise of extreme-right parties should motivate Europe to rethink its geopolitical role – and, indeed, its very nature.

via Retooling Social Europe Via Charters Of Rights

Governance Model – University of Amsterdam

This policy paper describes the governance model of the University of Amsterdam (UvA). For a well-functioning quality assurance cycle, it is essential that everyone in the University knows who is responsible at what level, and which duties and powers have been delegated throughout the organisation.

It is important not only to clearly describe these responsibilities, duties and powers, but also that all those involved act accordingly. Only then can managers be held accountable and will there be a true culture of quality. The UvA has chosen to describe this structure in its governance model. As well as a description of the allocation of responsibilities, duties and powers, the governance model includes a description of the governance of teaching and participation in decision-making.

via Governance Model – University of Amsterdam

DIW Berlin: Low interest rate environment amplifies negative effects of austerity policy

Conclusion: Ease austerity measures, boost investment

Now the issue arises as to which measures should be taken in the future to reduce sovereign debt as a means of enlarging governments’ financial room for maneuver and increasing economic growth. Since it does not look like the ECB will raise the prime rate in the near future despite the growing momentum in the euro area’s economic development, the only remaining option is to adjust the consolidation targets. To avoid the enormously contractive and counteractive effects of stringent austerity measures, we recommend making them less restrictive, while at the same time dismantling the tax system’s superfluous bureaucracy and other elements that hamper growth. Debt relief as a means of enlarging governments’ financial room for maneuver should be considered in a tangible manner. And investment that favors long-term potential growth should be systematically supported. This balanced policy mix contains powerful measures with medium-term effects instead of short-term ones. In an environment of low interest rates, debt deleveraging in the private sector, and loss of trust in the financial markets, it seems apt to avoid the high costs of restrictive austerity programs.

via DIW Berlin: Low interest rate environment amplifies negative effects of austerity policy

Amsterdam university chief quits over student protests – DutchNews.nl

The student protests at the University of Amsterdam have led to the resignation of management board chairwoman Louise Gunning.

Gunning, who was appointed in 2012, has been under fire for her handling of the dispute, particularly her decision to end the occupation of the university administration centre by sending in riot police.

The student unrest began mid-February when a group of students occupied part of the humanities faculty in the city centre in protest at the lack of democracy at the university and spending cuts.

via Amsterdam university chief quits over student protests – DutchNews.nl

University protests around the world: a fight against commercialisation | Higher Education Network | The Guardian

Students at University of the Arts, London, took over their university’s reception area last Thursday to protest against proposed cuts to some of its course programmes. This makes UAL one of the latest institutions around the world to be hit by occupations and strikes by staff and students. The causes of such protests vary: some are concerned about working conditions facing graduate students, others point to a lack of transparency about how universities are run. A key issue is the commercialisation of higher education, which many feel has led university leaders to prioritise financial goals over the needs of staff and students.

We speak to academics and students in Canada, the Netherlands and the UK to find out why they’re taking a stand.

via University protests around the world: a fight against commercialisation | Higher Education Network | The Guardian

Bungehuis and Maagdenhuis occupations – Wikipedia

The group’s demands included:[9]

Democratic election of the university board
Change of the allocation model: finance based on input, not on efficiency
Cancellation of the current Profiel 2016
Referendums per institute and programme about collaboration between the UvA and the VU at the FNWI (Department of the Sciences)
Fixed contracts instead of flexible staff appointments
An open debate about housing costs in relation to budget cuts of research and education and a cessation of real estate speculation (including a halt to the proposed sale of the Bungehuis building)

via Bungehuis and Maagdenhuis occupations – Wikipedia

What is the relationship between universities and democracy? From the purposes to the uses of university (and back) – Jana Bacevic

Shifting the focus from purposes to uses is not the case, as Latour may have put it, of betraying matters of concern in order to boast about matters of fact. It is, however, to draw attention to the fact that the relationship between universities and democracy is, to borrow another expression from Latour, a factish: both real and fabricated, that is, a social construct but with very real consequences – neither a fact nor a fetish, but an always not-fully-reconciled amalgam of the two. Keeping this in mind, I think, can allow us to think about different roles of universities without losing sight neither of their reality, nor of their constructed nature.

via What is the relationship between universities and democracy? From the purposes to the uses of university (and back) – Jana Bacevic

The University as Public Sphere | Ambrozas | Canadian Journal of Communication

There is a certain parallel between arguments about the decline of the public sphere and the decline of the university today. Both institutions are said to be increasingly fragmented and politicized. In this paper, I mobilize Nancy Fraser’s alternative account of the public in order to defend contemporary political changes in the university, such as affirmative action or women’s studies programs. Such changes are necessary to transform an elite institution into a more democratic one and, in addition, they broaden the scope of our knowledge.

via The University as Public Sphere | Ambrozas | Canadian Journal of Communication

Universities as Sites of Citizenship and Civic Responsibility | International Consortium

Universities as Sites of Citizenship and Civic Responsibility
Project Description and History

The University of Pennsylvania is the organizational center for the Universities as Sites of Citizenship and Civic Responsibility Project, a research project that explores the actual activities of institutions of higher education that support democratic values and practices; assesses their dispositions and capabilities to promote democracy; and examines how the use of university resources can improve the contributions of higher education to democracy on the campus, and in the local community and wider society.

Universities as Sites of Citizenship and Civic Responsibility is a global research project of the International Consortium on Higher Education, Civic Responsibility and Democracy. The general academic contributions of this empirical study include:

via Universities as Sites of Citizenship and Civic Responsibility | International Consortium

Community-University Engagement: A Process for Building Democratic … – Tami L. Moore – Google Books

Community-University Engagement: A Process for Building Democratic communities … BOOK By Tami L. Moore

via Community-University Engagement: A Process for Building Democratic … – Tami L. Moore – Google Books

The university, democracy, and the challenge to meritocracy | SpringerLink

Universities can undergird democracy in two ways. First, they can promote and defend truth, which is antithetical to despotism and a natural progenitor of democracy, but they do so only as the university itself is meritocratic and courageous in its adherence to canons of intellectual rigour and academic integrity. Second, universities are, or can be, engines of opportunity and of the ascendence of achievement over ascription—and thus of democratization. However, absent efforts to the contrary, the natural tendency of universities is to perpetuate or even to widen the effects of ascription: for example, social class, race, or gender. A truly democratic university, then, must find ways to select among students and to distribute its benefits in ways that are still meritocratic, but that weaken rather than accelerate the transmission of the status and wealth into which one is born.

via The university, democracy, and the challenge to meritocracy | SpringerLink

Democratic Leadership: Definitions, Examples & Quotes

The democratic leadership style is based on mutual respect. It is often combined with participatory leadership because it requires collaboration between leaders and the people they guide.

The democratic/participative leadership style places significant responsibility on leaders and their staff. This is true for all organizations — from private enterprises and government agencies to educational institutions and nonprofit entities.

Read on to discover more about democratic/participative leadership:

via Democratic Leadership: Definitions, Examples & Quotes

Democratic university a proposal for university governance for the common weal – The British Library

I

t is currently argued that universities are too complex to be governed by anything other than a professional class of managers. The implication is that the governance of universities must be modelled on that of the corporate sector. In response this paper argues that universities are large national civic institutions with a primary responsibility to their own community of academics and learners. The vast majority of university business is domestic, not international. And since universities must be seen to be ‘owned’ by their wider community, a governance model which is based on internal
managerial control does not appear appropriate.

This paper therefore proposes that the long-term strategic role of universities should be protected from radical-change-without-consent by democratising the governance structure. University courts should become bodies wholly elected by the wider university community (staff and students) and the role of the university principal and the senior management team should be to advise that body and to enact its will.

via Democratic university a proposal for university governance for the common weal – The British Library

Dutch student protests ignite movement against management of universities | Higher Education Network | The Guardian

The students’ demands for a “new university” included greater democratisation of university governance, greater transparency of the university’s finances, halting plans to restructure and cut a number of departments, a referendum on plans for departmental mergers with other universities, better conditions and protections for temporary staff, and an end to risky financial and property speculation with university funds.

via Dutch student protests ignite movement against management of universities | Higher Education Network | The Guardian

Growth Is Back! So What?

So what should we actually be concerned about? Instead of growth, well-being (human flourishing), resilience (resisting shocks) and sustainability (caring about the future) should become the collective horizons of social cooperation, of which economics is only a facet. Because these three horizons have been overlooked by mainstream economic thinking in the last three decades, our social world has been mismanaged and our prosperity is now threatened by inequality and ecological crises. At its best, economics measures what counts and provides societies with the means to make it count, among the most powerful of which are robust and relevant social and ecological indicators. Building, disseminating, and using them is thus a practical way to reclaim essential values and advance important issues and policies. Done properly, measuring produces positive collective meaning. Understanding how what matters to humans can be properly accounted for is the first step to valuing and taking care of what really counts.

via Growth Is Back! So What?

Η «μαύρη αλήθεια» πίσω από ένα «άριστο» εκπαιδευτικό σύστημα

«Ο καθένας μπορεί να φτάσει σε ένα πανεπιστήμιο στην Ιαπωνία αυτή τη στιγμή», δηλώνει στο εκτενές ρεπορτάζ του Atlantic, ο Greg Poole, καθηγητής κοινωνικής ανθρωπολογίας στο Ινστιτούτο Φιλελεύθερων Τεχνών του Πανεπιστημίου Doshisha στο Κιότο. Αλλά σε μια εξαιρετικά διαστρωμένη χώρα όπως η Ιαπωνία, μόνο τα κορυφαία δημόσια και ιδιωτικά πανεπιστήμια της χώρας μπορούν να εγγυηθούν στους νέους ενήλικες μια ελπιδοφόρα προοπτική.

Oι φοιτητές που δεν μπαίνουν σε ένα πολυπόθητο δημόσιο πανεπιστήμιο θα περιμένουν ένα χρόνο για να επαναλάβουν τη δοκιμασία, κατά τη διάρκεια του οποίου, αυτοί οι νέοι ενήλικες, γνωστοί ως Ρονίν, πηγαίνουν φροντιστήριο. Τα φροντιστήρια είναι πολύ διαδεδομένα (λέγονται Juku ή Yobikou). Ειδικεύονται στις τεχνικές λύσης προβλημάτων για τις παραπάνω εξετάσεις. Σε αυτά πηγαίνουν είτε μαθητές παράλληλα με το Λύκειο είτε απόφοιτοι Λυκείου που χρειάζονται έξτρα προετοιμασία για να μπουν στο πανεπιστήμιο. Οι δεύτεροι πηγαίνουν την ημέρα (δίδακτρα $5-7000 το χρόνο). Οι πρώτοι: $100-200 ανά τάξη και ανά μήνα.

via Η «μαύρη αλήθεια» πίσω από ένα «άριστο» εκπαιδευτικό σύστημα

Σουλτς: Ο Σόιμπλε ευθύνεται για την περικοπή συντάξεων

Στο πλαίσιο της προεκλογικής του εκστρατείας ο ηγέτης των Σοσιαλδημοκρατών εξαπέλυσε πυρά κατά του Β. Σόιμπλε, τονίζοντας πως ευθύνεται για την περικοπή συντάξεων στην Ελλάδα και αδιαφορεί για τους χιλιάδες ανθρώπους που βυθίζονται στη φτώχεια.

«O Σόιμπλε ευθύνεται σε μεγάλο βαθμό για την επιβολή της 13ης περικοπής συντάξεων. Και ενώ χιλιάδες οικογένειες βυθίζονται ακόμα πιο βαθιά στη φτώχεια, ο Σόιμπλε καταγράφει ταυτόχρονα χοντρά κέρδη από τους τόκους».

Υπενθυμίζεται ότι στις αρχές Ιουλίου ο Σόιμπλε είχε υποστηρίξει πως είναι παραπλανητικό για τους Έλληνες να λέγεται πως ο ίδιος ζητά τη μείωση συντάξεων.

via Σουλτς: Ο Σόιμπλε ευθύνεται για την περικοπή συντάξεων – ThePressProject

Γιατί οι κροίσοι της Silicon Valley θέλουν εναγωνίως μια «θέση» στο Διάστημα

Ο Simon «Pete» Worden, πρώην διευθυντής του ερευνητικού κέντρου Ames της NASA, είναι γνωστός στην αγορά ως «ο διαστημικός τύπος» της Silicon Valley. Ο άνθρωπος αυτός έχει κάνει πολλές και εκτενείς συζητήσεις τόσο με τον Μόσκ όσο και με την υπόλοιπη ελίτ. Όπως λέει, όλοι έχουν το ίδιο πάθος, αλλά τα κίνητρά και οι στόχοι του καθενός είναι ελαφρώς διαφορετικά.

«Για τον Έλον, είναι πραγματικά αυτό που ήθελε να κάνει με τη ζωή του. Το πάθος του είναι να φτάσει στον Άρη. Ο Γιούρι έχει σημείο εκκίνησης τις ερωτήσεις για τη ζωή στο σύμπαν: Είμαστε μόνοι; Υπάρχει ζωή αλλού; Ο Μπέζος ενδιαφέρεται για την απεριόριστη οικονομία του μέλλοντος. Και ο Μπράνσον έχει στο βλέμμα του τα αστέρια. Του αρέσει η ιδέα να ταξιδεύουν οι άνθρωποι στο Διάστημα. Δεν νομίζω ότι ασχολείται με τη Virgin Galactic για να γίνει ακόμη πιο πλούσιος».

via Γιατί οι κροίσοι της Silicon Valley θέλουν εναγωνίως μια «θέση» στο Διάστημα

Οι χρυσές μπίζνες των επιστημονικών δημοσιεύσεων

Οι επιστήμονες γνωρίζουν -πολύ καλά- ότι πρόκειται για μια κακή συμφωνία. Η επιχείρηση των δημοσιεύσεων είναι «διεστραμμένη και περιττή», έγραφε ο βιολόγος του Berkeley, Michael Eisen σε άρθρο του 2003 για τον Guardian, δηλώνοντας ότι «πρόκειται για σκάνδαλο».

Ο Adrian Sutton, φυσικός στο Imperial College, δήλωσε ότι οι επιστήμονες «είναι όλοι δούλοι στους εκδότες. Ποια άλλη βιομηχανία λαμβάνει τις πρώτες ύλες της από τους πελάτες της, παίρνει τους ίδιους αυτούς πελάτες για να κάνουν τον ποιοτικό έλεγχο των υλικών και στη συνέχεια πωλεί τα ίδια υλικά πίσω στους πελάτες σε μια υπερβολικά διογκωμένη τιμή;» (Εκπρόσωπος του RELX Group, όπως είναι η επίσημη ονομασία του Elsevier από το 2015, είχε δηλώσει στον Guardian ότι τόσο η δική του εταιρεία, όσο και άλλες «εξυπηρετούν την επιστημονική κοινότητα κάνοντας πράγματα που χρειάζονται οι ερευνητές και τα οποία είτε δεν μπορούν, είτε δεν κάνουν μόνοι τους, χρεώνοντας μία δίκαιη τιμή για την υπηρεσία αυτή».)

via Οι χρυσές μπίζνες των επιστημονικών δημοσιεύσεων