Berfrois

Rise of the Robots

Rise of the Robots

In the next two decades, 47 per cent of employment is ‘in the high-risk category’, meaning it is ‘potentially automatable’.

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‘The euro has survived’

‘The euro has survived’

Photograph by Julian Herzog From London Review of Books: All quiet on the euro front? Seen from Berlin, it looks as though the continent is now under control at last, after the macro-financial warfare of the last three years. A new authority, the Troika, is policing the countries that...

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Germany is not poor, but many Germans are…

Germany is not poor, but many Germans are…

Europa regina, Sebastian Munster, 1570 by Paul De Grauwe and Yuemei Ji A recent ECB household-wealth survey was interpreted by the media as evidence that poor Germans shouldn’t have to pay for southern Europe. This column takes a look at the numbers. Whilst it’s true that median German households...

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Why did the capitalist counter-revolution of the late 20th century prove to be so successful?

Why did the capitalist counter-revolution of the late 20th century prove to be so successful?

While there are a number of plausible labels that might be attached to the 20th century, in terms of social history it was clearly the age of the working class. For the first time, working people who lacked property became a major and sustained political force.

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A Recipe for Oppression

A Recipe for Oppression

The Simpsons, Fox Broadcasting Company by Richard Murphy I said I would make no predictions for 2013. A few hours in and the weight of evidence makes me change my mind. In 2013 we will see political prevarication in defence of the status quo come to the fore, and government become gridlocked...

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Austerity policies pursued by EU countries over the recent past have had perverse and damaging effects…

Austerity policies pursued by EU countries over the recent past have had perverse and damaging effects…

On the Pauper’s Bench, Francois Bonvin, 1864 by Dawn Holland and Jonathan Portes EU governments have individually embraced severe austerity programmes in an effort to avoid becoming the next Portugal. This column presents results from the National Institute Global Econometric Model suggesting that these individually rational polices are leading...

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‘Adam Smith occasionally attacks the capitalists’

‘Adam Smith occasionally attacks the capitalists’

Portrait of Pierre Joseph Proudhon, Gustave Courbet, 1865 by Karl Marx Just as the first critical moves in every science are necessarily entangled in the assumptions of the science which they are intending to combat, so Proudhon’s work Qu’est ce que la propriété? is a criticism of political economy...

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Email Trail of a Crisis

Email Trail of a Crisis

New York Stock Exchange. Photograph by Mario Tama/Getty Images by Jesse Eisinger and Jake Bernstein As ProPublica has been detailing for two years, Wall Street banks and the hedge fund Magnetar worked together to build mortgage-backed deals that the hedge fund also bet against. The more than $40 billion of...

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Exactly Backwards

Exactly Backwards

Small White Pebble Circles, Richard Long, 1987 by Jeffrey Frankel The world is seized by a debate between fiscal austerity and fiscal stimulus. Opponents of austerity worry about contractionary effects on the economy. Opponents of stimulus worry about indebtedness and moral hazard (see Corsetti 2012). Is austerity good or...

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‘The Eurozone has arrived at a historic crossroads’

‘The Eurozone has arrived at a historic crossroads’

From New Left Review: Why has the Eurozone emerged as the new epicentre of the global financial crisis, when its origins—the famous subprime mortgages—were American? And why, within Europe, has Greece proved to be the weak link? The starting point for any adequate answer is the recognition that what...

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Free Market Power Put on Ice

Free Market Power Put on Ice

by Gregory Jusdanis I got a new lesson on the force of narrative during the blackout that affected much of the mid-west and east coast in early July. It was the third time our own neighborhood had experienced an extended power outage in four years. This time, however, the...

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Capitalism may yet weather climate change…

Capitalism may yet weather climate change…

Can capitalism effectively respond to climate change? This is the timely and critically important question posed by Peter Newell and Matthew Paterson at the beginning of their book, Climate Capitalism. It is the same question that motivated me to focus my own research on the topic of business and...

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‘Hirelings wandering round Europe’

‘Hirelings wandering round Europe’

Wladimir Klitschko and Jean-Marc Mormeck in the WBA-IBF Heavyweight titles, Düsseldorf, March 2012 by Àngel Ferrero In the amorality of capitalism, the alternatives for an emigrant are virtually reduced to cynicism or melancholy. Cigarette smoke snuck into clothes and wreathed tables, chairs, and walls of the bar in Neukölln,...

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‘Money never gets tired’

‘Money never gets tired’

Barney Dodd and Chris Frank From Rolling Stone: The giant reform bill turned out to be like the fish reeled in by Hemingway’s Old Man – no sooner caught than set upon by sharks that strip it to nothing long before it ever reaches the shore. In a furious...

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‘What is needed is a theory of distribution’

‘What is needed is a theory of distribution’

Liberty Plaza, November 2011. Photograph by Sasha Kimel From Monthly Review: In the early 1980s, I began telling my students that growing inequality of income and wealth would become the dominant political issue of the future. I did not think that the future meant thirty years, but better late...

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Financial repression measures seen thus far are but the tip of a very large iceberg…

Financial repression measures seen thus far are but the tip of a very large iceberg…

As coined by Ronald McKinnon (1973), the term “financial repression” describes various policies that allow governments to “capture” and “under-pay” domestic savers. Such policies include forced lending to governments by pension funds and other domestic financial institutions, interest-rate caps, capital controls, and many more.

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Jerry Moore: Feverish Rivers

I learned that Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff had been a Nazi when I was in a Santa Marta supermarket. I had just stepped into the Exito...

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Lauren Berlant
Lauren Berlant flies

Most of the writing we do is actually a performance of stuckness. It is a record of where we got stuck on a question...

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Robyn Ferrell on Balthus

The pitfalls of identification, hero-worship, envy and malice can beset the most patient writer in the throes of five hundred-plus pages of attention to...

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Michael Munro on Spinoza

Immanence is not philosophy, nor philosophy immanence. But there is in the passage from one to the other a modification of sense that is...

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David Beer
David Beer: Broadcastwerk

Writing at sometime around 1930 or 1931, Walter Benjamin suggested that the voice on the radio is a like a visitor in the home,...

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Rose Barnsley: Young, Gifted and Žižekian

At nineteen, it is easy to think that all you're missing is the right movement. But there is something about the young left wing...

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Rama’s And

While local journalists were once again busy regurgitating worn-down, coma inducing positions about yet another spectral appearance of Enver Hoxha at the celebration of...

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Playing the Percentages: Berfrois Interviews Danny Dorling

The portrait of the 1% in your book is one of sociopathic, power-hungry narcissists with a striking lack of empathy. This may seem antagonistic,...

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Joseph Spece
Joseph Spece: When Gamers Attack

Like many ugly controversies, the beginnings of #gamergate are linked to the end of love — well, the end of a relationship, at least....

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Lauren Berlant performs by clicking

Today I introduced Facebook to someone older than me and had a long conversation about what the point of networking amongst “friends” is. The...

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Tinder Times by Bibi Deitz

I am in bed with a man. He has to go home. He is not staying the night. So he pulls out his iPhone...

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Jenny Diski keeps up

Some things are best met with silence. If I were to proceed with this month’s column in an honest way, it would be a...

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From Fashion by Tracy O’Neill

The man who brought us a disembodied protagonist alluringly voiced by Scarlett Johansson has now issued a drama — starring apparel. Recently, Opening Ceremony...

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Philippe Theophanidis on Jean-Luc Godard

At one point near the end of his unfinished novel Jean Santeuil, Marcel Proust describes a painting by Claude Monet from 1897, titled “Bras...

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