Tag Archives: Super regions

Failure of ideas and not failure of political Establishment

By Harilla Goga – It is well known that the free individual with his thoughts and his actions, certainly in the frame of the legal system being in his service, is in the center of the democratic system. But, this individual, in fact, looks like “a consumer” of the democratic system goods. As such, he can keep his position as receiver, rejecter or protester depending on the “quality and quantity” of these goods.

Furthermore, this attitude is manifested towards elites/political establishment of the country concerned, but he generally cares a little or not at all about theories/ideas that politics are based on.

In economic terms, this lack of new ideas and theories is the “consumer’s” most sensitive subject, for example: The current economic and financial system is set based on very old theories which stress the maximum profit for business through tight competition and bankruptcy; The trade and free movement of capital system, that have unified markets and removed barriers, bringing benefits, common developments and new technologies throughout the world, but causing economic and social damages and environmental challenges in all regions of the world. States, governments and International organizations are addressing these challenges, but their programs and politics (leftists and rightists, or independents/new movements), are still fed by theories and ideas over than 100 or 200 years earlier. more>

Do civilizations collapse?

BOOK REVIEW

Understanding Collapse: Ancient History and Modern Myths, Author: Guy D Middleton.

By Guy D Middleton – In After Collapse (2006), Glenn Schwartz compiled a useful list of circumstances in which archaeologists might identify collapse: ‘the fragmentation of states into smaller political entities; the partial abandonment or complete desertion of urban centers, along with the loss or depletion of their centralizing functions; the breakdown of regional economic systems; and the failure of civilizational ideologies’.

We also need to think about what we apply the term ‘collapse’ to – what exactly was it that collapsed? Very often, it’s suggested that civilizations collapse, but this isn’t quite right. It is more accurate to say that states collapse. States are tangible, identifiable ‘units’ whereas civilization is a more slippery term referring broadly to sets of traditions.

Looking around us, we can see the trouble we are in, we can see the threats to our overpopulated world, to our overly complex and thus increasingly vulnerable society and way of life.

We do not need to make other peoples’ histories into lessons for ourselves. When the evidence for environmentally driven collapses in the past is so weak, and the evidence for contact-era atrocities so strong, it is a wonder that the former is the focus and the lesson, rather than the latter. Perhaps we should be asking ourselves what exactly we should be learning from history. more>

The Dos And Don’ts Of Building A Smart City

By Steve Olenski – It’s important to put context around the purpose and benefit of building a smart city. The bigger picture is the creation of the digital economy in which smart cities will operate and contribute. A digital economy essentially needs smart cities to truly thrive and fulfill its potential.

The Smart Cities Council says that a smart city “uses information and communications technology (ICT) to enhance its livability, workability, and sustainability” by “collecting, communicating, and crunching” data from all sources. Because the digital economy operates on data, it could benefit from having city functions move to that platform. more>

How Technology Is Driving Us Toward Peak Globalization

By Banning Garrett – New technologies are moving us toward “production-at-the-point-of-consumption” of energy, food, and products with reduced reliance on a global supply chain.

The trade of physical stuff has been central to globalization as we’ve known it. So, this declining movement of stuff may signal we are approaching “peak globalization.”

To be clear, even as the movement of stuff may slow, if not decline, the movement of people, information, data, and ideas around the world is growing exponentially and is likely to continue doing so for the foreseeable future.

Peak globalization may provide a pathway to preserving the best of globalization and global interconnectedness, enhancing economic and environmental sustainability, and empowering individuals and communities to strengthen democracy. more>

These Days, ‘We Aren’t Innovating in Isolated Business Parks’


By Michael Grass – Much has been written about what Amazon is looking for and the extent some cities and regions have gone to make their bids attractive to the company, including offering tax incentives and land to build on.

“It’s not about throwing tax incentives at people,” Bruce Katz said of economic development in today’s innovation- and tech-focused economy.

He pointed to Pittsburgh as a place that has successfully leveraged its local assets, including its academic institutions, to make “smart, long-term bets” to become the “poster child for post-industrial renewal.”

Katz touted the clustering of brainpower in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood, home to the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Carnegie Mellon University. There are other examples of this type of clustering elsewhere in the United States, something that’s supported vibrant economic activity not just in the immediate vicinity, but across the city and metropolitan area.

“In the end, the city has to think like a system [and] connect the dots,” to foster the type of innovation that’s driving economic revitalization in cities. That doesn’t mean simply physical connections, but also cross-sector collaborative efforts where municipal governments work with other local stakeholders, including universities, the business community, non-profit organizations and philanthropies to pursue a common vision that leads to ongoing revitalization and economic growth. more>

The Many Faces Of Self-Employment In Europe


By Mathijn Wilkens – Despite the growing debates, self-employment in the EU has in fact not increased in decades, remaining stable at around 15% of the EU labor force. This is largely the result of the shrinking agricultural sector – which traditionally has a high proportion of self-employed – counterbalancing the rise in services.

In terms of their working conditions, the self-employed can be roughly divided into five distinct groups.

On one side of the spectrum we find the types of self-employed that the Europe 2020 strategy seeks to promote – entrepreneurial independent self-employed, often enjoying higher earnings and more autonomy which is reflected in healthier, happier and longer working lives. Two of the five clusters – labelled ‘employers’ and ‘stable own-account workers’ – represent about half of the self-employed. The ‘employers’ are a group of self-employed with employees, while the ‘stable own-account workers’ do not employ any employees. Both groups are more likely to be self-employed out of choice.

The opposite is the case for one in four self-employed labelled ‘vulnerable’ and ‘concealed’ –representing together roughly the size of Austria’s population. more>

How ‘Hindutva’ recast multi-faith India as the Hindu homeland

By Ariel Sophia Bardi – The term ‘Hindutva’, which Vinayak Damodar Savarkar coined by adding the Sanskrit suffix ‘-tva’ (equivalent to the English ‘-ness’) to the adjective ‘Hindu’, rebranded Hinduism – ‘Hindu-ness’ – as a nationalist ideology, a political groundswell formulated along ethnic lines. Savarkar wrote: ‘The Hindus are not merely the citizens of the Indian state because they are united not only by the bonds of the love they bear to a common motherland but also by the bonds of a common blood. They are not only a Nation but also a race (jati).’ ‘Hindutva’ recast multi-faith India as the Hindu homeland, giving Hindus a unique claim to the country.

‘The book is today a Bible for Hindu nationalists,’ wrote the journalist Uday Mahurkar of Savarkar’s tract in 2015. The politics of India’s current administration are still greatly informed by the young law student’s vision of a Hindu nation. ‘Savarkar has become more relevant today,’ said Amit Shah, president of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (the Right-wing BJP) earlier this year.

Just two years after the release of Essentials of Hindutva, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) was founded as a volunteer paramilitary organisation dedicated to advancing Savarkar’s platform of Hindu unity and promoting Hindu causes. It is often called the BJP’s ‘ideological parent’.

In 2014, the self-styled populist Narendra Modi, an RSS member, won India’s general elections. Modi ran on a platform of neoliberal development schemes wedded to a Right-wing Hindu nationalist agenda. His ascent to prime minister marked a shocking victory, which foreshadowed Donald Trump’s rise to power. more> https://goo.gl/2Vh4qL

Five reasons why “downtown universities” matter for economic growth

By Scott Andes – The value of the nation’s higher education system is usually expressed as just that—education. But while the educational mission of America’s colleges and universities is critical, often missed or neglected by local and national policymakers is the value of these institutions to economic growth. This is particularly true for those universities located near major employment neighborhoods of large cities.

Here are five reasons these universities matter for economic growth:

  1. Research universities are essential for innovation, and innovation is essential for economic growth.
  2. Universities located in urban areas produce more patents, corporate partnerships, and startups.
  3. Universities located within innovation districts build on existing urban assets.
  4. Downtown universities specialize in research.
  5. Downtown universities still have a lot of room to improve their outcomes.

As the country searches for new sources of innovation, jobs, and growth, policy makers should consider how some of its oldest institutions—research universities—are best positioned for the new economy. more> https://goo.gl/nXEPk4

When Wall Street Owns Main Street — Literally

BOOK REVIEW

Makers & Takers: How Wall Street Destroyed Main Street, Author: Rana Foroohar.

By Rana Foroohar – Made up primarily of San Bernardino and Riverside counties, the Inland Empire was at the heart of the subprime mortgage crisis and has yet to fully recover.

In the early 2000s, predatory lenders flocked to the area, offering dicey deals to the largely minority and lower-middle-class white populations who, unable to afford housing on the coast, still craved the American Dream of homeownership. It ended, as it did in so many neighborhoods and cities across America, in tears and massive foreclosures, turning entire cities into ghost towns of derelict properties.

Private equity funds like Blackstone are giant financial institutions that operate largely outside the scrutiny of governmental regulation, since they are officially designated “nonbanks” or “shadow banks”—never mind that many of them are bigger than the better-known institutions that are subject to regulation.

Most people rightly associate private equity with offshore bank accounts (remember Mitt Romney and Bain Capital?), big corporate buyouts in which formerly healthy firms are loaded up with debt and stripped of their assets, mass layoffs, and an utter lack of transparency in their financial dealings.

But these days, the big news about private equity is that it is at the heart of the country’s housing rebound.

Private equity investors have become the single largest group of buyers in the residential housing market, purchasing $20 billion worth of steeply discounted properties between 2012 and 2014 alone and reaping huge rewards as housing prices have slowly risen from their troughs. more> https://goo.gl/P6fcNA

5 Mindsets to Bring Positive Change Across Society

By Raya Bidshahri – To contribute to human progress, it is not enough to be intelligent, resourceful, or well-connected. Those are all factors that play a significant role but aren’t the true driving forces of disruptive innovation. Stimulating positive change at civilization level also requires certain mindsets and ways of thinking.

Here are five mindsets that will allow us to leave a positive mark on humanity.

  1. Curiosity and Critical Thinking
    One of the tragedies of our education system is that it fails to nurture the childlike sense of wonder that we are all born with.
  2. Intelligent Optimism
    Nothing productive will come from blind optimism and ignorance of some of the brutal realities of our world.
  3. Risk-taking
    Paving a new way forward for humanity comes at a cost. More often than not, executing a radically disruptive idea is a risk.
  4. Moonshot Thinking
    Instead of looking to make a 10 percent gain or improvement in a current product or idea, moonshot thinking involves aiming for a 10x improvement of the status quo.
  5. Cosmic Perspective
    We’ve all heard of “thinking big” or ‘big-picture thinking.” Moving beyond that involves having a cosmic perspective.

It’s about asking the right questions, being intelligently optimistic about the future, taking a risk with a moonshot, and maintaining a cosmic perspective. more> https://goo.gl/V2bVjb