In the debate
The main concern in a commons economy is not to compete or think in terms of business models, but rather to make the best use of shared resources so that no one is left behind. In this interview, commons scholar Silke Helfrich discusses the connection between degrowth and the commons, and how these two concepts can help us build a sustainable economy.
To what extent were the outcomes of the recent plebiscites held in the UK determined by the formulation of the question and the method of counting votes? If these are significant factors, this points to some puzzling quirks in the country's voting system, as well as some far-reaching flaws in its democracy.
Unlike many other post-communist countries which experienced fragmentation and instability, Croatia’s party system has retained its basic stability for a long time. Yet a significant section of the electorate has sought an alternative – and as a result a succession of new political actors have emerged, with varying degrees of success. But how are they likely to fare at the country’s September parliamentary elections?
Mass migration is the 21st century’s revolution - leading, in turn, to a counter-revolution which threatens the core idea of the European Union. The refugee crisis has resulted in the reinforcement of stereotypes that Eastern and Western Europe already held about each other.
The case of the small village of Trun in Bulgaria - threatened by a new gold-mining project - is a stark illustration of how the interests of biodiversity, nature and ordinary people living in the area can simply be dismissed. A proliferation of such projects could have a serious impact on the ecology of the entire region, as well as contributing to a global impact on the climate.
Theoretically, there was a progressive case to be made for Britain exiting the European Union via the referendum held on June 23, 2016. But the campaign for Brexit - the infelicitous name given the political process - was, from the very first, fought on the grounds of xenophobia and racism. Moreover, what has transpired in Britain since the Leave campaign won has only shown how easily the veneer of civility and conviviality can be peeled back to reveal the virulence of racism and xenophobia seething under the skin of British social life.
Brexit has been a shock. It wasn't the European Union that smashed the trade unions, depleted Britain's social housing stock and then went on an orgy of privatisation, but Brexit has handed complete, unregulated control over to those who did, and the potential consequences reach far beyond Britain's borders.
It's difficult to point to a time in recent years when European integration was not under pressure. Yet presently, the problem-solving capacity of the European Union definitely seems to be exhausted, for two crises simultaneously challenge it: the Euro crisis and the Schengen crisis. But the calculation that two crises cause double trouble might be too simple if these two overlapping crises neutralise each other.
The book The Entrepreneurial State by Mariana Mazzucato takes an original approach towards the debate of how to create growth in Europe. By highlighting the role of innovation within a demand-related economy (Keynes), and through various concrete examples from within the corporate and industrial world, Mazzucato describes how State-directed institutions contribute to innovation and suggests how financial returns could be brought back to the State, thereby positing innovation as a key for creating societal growth.
In the wake of the attempted coup of July 15th, a crackdown on human rights has been taking place across Turkey, with arrests, sackings and infringements on the freedom of movement. The only way to ensure that rights are respected and that Turkey becomes a democracy governed by the rule of way is to re-engage with the EU accession process and to relaunch the stalled peace process in the Southeast of the country.
Even a democratically elected president of the European Commission, or the elimination of the circus that is a European Parliament based in two cities, will not make citizens fall in love with the Union. Maciej Kuziemski interviews Jan Zielonka, who says that what's required is a form of European integration able to meet the needs of societies put under pressure by current geopolitical tensions and the digital revolution.
Much of the coverage of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union has focused on the political and economic fallout of the vote, but what is the emotional impact of Brexit likely to be on those living in the UK? Drawing on the breakup of Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia illustrates how the emotions of individuals on both sides of the debate might develop over the coming years.
In June, the Green European Journal set out to explore a new book and its concepts ‘A Heart for Europe. The Case for Europatriotism’ by sociologist and freelance political writer Dick Pels. This discussion with future Member of European Parliament Florent Marcellesi, from the Green party Equo in Spain, examines the issues at stake when trying to rethink the emotional case for Europe.
In Austria, the anti-TTIP movement has a come a long way and turned public opinion against this vampire trade deal, one that cannot survive the daylight. Citizens’ movements have managed to reverse the balance of power against the interests of the multinational powerful interests. Although the reality is often forgotten behind the acronym, the four letters of TTIP represent a huge transatlantic free trade agreement. How can such a complex issue as a free trade agreement bring out the masses?
Fifteen years ago, in April 2001, an unexpected event took place in Canberra, Australia, that would change the scene of international political organisations. Without much noise or awakening of the interest of major press organisations, a significant number of environmentalists travelled to the Australian capital from the varied reaches of Africa, the Americas, Europe and Asia. They came with a single objective: to found a global Green movement that brings together all the Green parties and political movements of the Green world.