The purpose of this blog is to provide analytical commentary on formal and informal labour organisations and their attempts to resist ever more brutal forms of exploitation in today’s neo-liberal, global capitalism.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

When Markets Meet Central Planning.... Or How Russellton became Poppleton

Higher education in England is being subjected to sustained marketisation with undergraduate degrees in arts, humanities and social sciences now financed by student fees and the numbers cap set to be lifted after 2015 (likely to be followed by the fees cap). Just as the introduction of this market is centrally planned by Government, so University management is increasingly centralised and its decisions implemented via key performance indicators that purport to act as market proxies. In this guest post, John Holmwood discusses how at the University of Russelton - pre-1992 older sibling to the post-1992 University of Poppleton - this brave new world is currently being pursued via a central workload plan.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

The ‘wonderful freedom’ of neo-liberalism!

We are living in truly wonderful times. Finally, we can choose freely our personal lifestyles without having to fear being excluded from general society. Gender, different ethnic backgrounds, different identities no longer matter in our neo-liberal society. Everybody has the opportunity through the quality of his/her work to achieve their full potential and creative capacity. We can be homosexual or heterosexual, this does no longer matter in the public sphere. Same sex marriages are increasingly a standard possibility, same sex couples can have children together. Life is full of choices, which schools do we send our children to, state, religious or private, whatever choice we make, it is possible. In which hospital do I want to be treated? Everything is about consumer choice. Are we not living in truly wonderful times? And yet, while the possibility of these different lifestyles is clearly a positive step forward, at closer sight more sinister dynamics come to the fore.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Uneven development, unequal exchange and free trade: what implications for labour?

The notion of uneven and combined development has attracted increased academic and activist attention. The concept of unequal exchange, in turn, has been established for some time. What has not been analysed is how these sets of capitalist dynamics intersect. In a new article in the journal Globalizations, entitled ‘Uneven and combined development and unequal exchange: the second wind of neoliberal ‘free trade’?’, Adam David Morton and I analyse the way in which current neoliberal ‘free trade’ policies are related to these fundamental capitalist dynamics, deepening further processes of uneven and combined development as well as unequal exchange. We also highlight the implications for labour as a result of the widening uneven and combined development of neoliberalism.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Globalisation and Resistance: critical engagements with neo-liberalism.

The global economic crisis continues almost unabated and yet neo-liberalism still reigns supreme. In this blog post, I bring together a range of book reviews, which all challenge neo-liberal economics, point to its devastating effects on people’s lives as well as reflect on alternatives. Together, this set of reviews intends to provide a useful critical resource for discussions against the currently dominant economic thinking.