Soundings

Articles from No. 39, Summer

A Dead End for the EU? the Current EU Focus on Promoting Markets Rather Than Protecting Citizens Is Undermining Its Wider Legitimacy
Since the 1980s the main strategy adopted by the leaders of the European Union has been to pursue market-based economic integration to the increasing exclusion of other, political or social, initiatives. The hope has been that the emergence of a...
Africa and Globalisation
There is currently much optimism about economic development in Africa, and the ability of globalisation and western policy to promote growth on the continent. This optimism is misplaced, however, and it is self serving of G8 and other donor interests;...
Are We All Neoliberals Now? 'Responsibility' and Corporations
Is It time for the left to reassess its attitudes towards neoliberalism? For some twenty-five years it has been the left's main enemy, something it has differentiated itself from at almost every turn. In short measure neoliberalism is condemned...
China: Changing the Rules of the Game
China began to reform its state socialist political economy after the death of Mao Zedong in 1976. Deng Xiaoping's pragmatic programme of market reforms was formally legitimised at the Communist Party's landmark plenary session of 1978, to replace...
Exit Strategy: BP and the Fuelling of Heathrow: It Is Time for the Producers of Carbon Emissions - and Not Just Individual Consumers - to Take on the Burden of Climate Change
Somewhere in our hearts we know that the terror unleashed by Hurricane Katrina, or the anxiety produced by the collapse of another ice sheet, will not be addressed by changing our light bulbs, cutting car use, not taking flights, or reducing food...
Fraternity without Equality, and Other Conservative Ideals
In June 2005, when we had just begun the collective discussions leading up to the Compass publication The Good Society, an email circulated amongst our group containing a link to a speech by Oliver Letwin, who was then the Conservative Shadow Secretary...
Is the Personal No Longer Political?
A response to Charles Leadbeater, Jamie Bartlett and Niamh Gallagher's Making it Personal (Demos 2008). Personalised budgets are the latest idea for the delivery of services to people needing social care - older people who are ill, disabled or...
Living in Interesting Times
As Grahame Thompson argues in his article in this issue, neoliberalism is common sense now, in the way that social democracy was during the postwar era. Its assumptions are unnoticed and taken for granted. In this issue of Soundings contributors...
Melancholic Nation: The New Labour Prescription for Britain's Melancholia Does Not Understand Its Underlying Causes
A distinctive feature of much of the left in Britain, going right back to the early Fabians, is the way in which its view of good and bad has focused upon material goods and conditions rather than on social relations. For the socialist left this...
Mining the Wealth of Online Communities
One of the more misleading bits of pseudo-wisdom that circulate in discussions about online social-networking sites such as Facebook or MySpace is that they reveal a conflicted populace: though survey after survey reveals high levels of concern...
Ofcom, Regulation and Reform
How should converging media be regulated? That question, asked with increasing urgency through the 1990s, was answered by the 2003 Communications Act. This established the Office of Communications (Ofcom), which replaced separate regulators for...
Pakistan: An Uncertain Ally
The 'war on terrorism', the spread of nuclear weapons, and energy insecurity - three of the world's most pressing security preoccupations - intersect nowhere more consequentially than in Pakistan. This state, under military rule for much of its...
Paradoxical Progress: Responding to Sexual Violence: Changes in Attitudes to Sexual Violence over the Last Thirty Years Have Had Uneven Results in the Justice System
Judge Matthew Hale is famous for his view that rape is 'an accusation easily made and hard to be defended by the party accused'. That statement was made in the seventeenth century. This idea - that reporting rape is easy and convictions are probable...
Paths through Utopias: Stories from a Utopian Journey across Europe
5 August It's Saturday night, a dozen of us are pretending to celebrate a birthday party, and I'm staring into a plate of lukewarm spaghetti. Any appetite has been obliterated by anxiety. The table has been booked under the pseudonym Abbey Hoffman,...
Taking Desire for Reality
Hari Kunzru, My Revolutions, Hamish Hamilton [pounds sterling]16.99 Hanif Kureishi, Something to Tell You, Faber [pounds sterling]16.99 What does free love mean? What will life actually be like after the revolution? Is it possible to reject...
The Great British Binge Drinking Debate
Over the last few years hardly a week has gone by without the public being told that Britain is held in the thrall of a binge-drinking epidemic. The allure of the topic for the media is obvious. Excessive drinking is a public health issue rivalled...
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