In February, the Annual Dearing Higher Education Conference 2012 was held at the University of Nottingham entitled The Business and Growth Benefits of Higher Education. At the meeting, the Director-General of the CBI, John Cridland, demanded that business does not only co-operate with universities in the setting-up of spin-off companies but that it should also be more closely involved in the actual shaping of university curricula. But should the training of future workers for industry, the city, and the knowledge economy in Britain really be the main preoccupation of higher education? The workshop ‘For a Public University’, recently organised by the local UCU association and supported by the Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice (CSSGJ), the Centre for Research in Higher, Adult & Vocational Education (HAVE), and the International Political Economy Group (IPEG) was a crucial counterweight to the interests of business on our university campuses. Significantly, it too was held at the University of Nottingham, on June 15, and raised some pressing issues as to whether universities should be generating profits for business or prophets for society.
Friday, 29 June 2012
Sunday, 24 June 2012
The establishment of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) in November 2006, resulting from a merger of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) and the World Confederation of Labour (WCL), was greeted with enthusiasm by labour movements from around the world. A united, stronger international trade union promised greater input on global politics towards more equality. Since then, many trade unions especially in the Global South have become disillusioned with the ITUC. In this post, I will assess to what extent the ITUC is prepared for the key challenges of the global economy in the 21st century.
Friday, 22 June 2012
Further and higher education in the UK is under attack. Neoliberal restructuring has reached colleges and universities across the country. University tuition fees have been increased by up to £9,000 per year and education has increasingly become a commodity to be purchased on the market. Not everyone has, however, accepted this outcome. On June 15, 2012 lecturers from across the various disciplines and from locations throughout the UK met at the University of Nottingham in the workshop For a Public University, organised by the local UCU association and supported by the Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice (CSSGJ), the Centre for Research in Higher, Adult & Vocational Education (HAVE) and the International Political Economy Group (IPEG), to discuss how best to organise resistance and to debate alternatives.
Tuesday, 12 June 2012
I have just published the article 'The EU, Global Europe, and processes of uneven and combined development: the problem of transnational labour solidarity' in the Review of International Studies. In this article, I critically engage with the positions of European trade unions and labour movements of the Global South on the current EU free trade strategy. I explore the reasons for the underlying tensions between these labour movements as well as assess the possibilities for transnational solidarity.
Tuesday, 5 June 2012
Neo-liberal restructuring in Europe has come up against its internal contradictions. It has reached its limits. Germany’s export strategy, based on cuts in wages and working conditions, cannot be replicated by everybody else. If one country has such a drastic surplus in trade, others must absorb these products. Even more severely, the Eurozone crisis has highlighted the unevenness of the European political economy. Super-profits reaped in core countries such as Germany were re-invested in state bonds of peripheral countries only in order to purchase yet more goods from the core. This circle could not go on forever and there is no potential solution from within neo-liberalism able to cope with this crisis (see Europe and the limits of neo-liberalism).
In this post, I will assess several potential future developments including an extended period of muddling through based on increasingly authoritarian rule in the periphery, a right-wing xenophobic backlash as well as progressive responses moving us beyond neo-liberal restructuring.
Saturday, 2 June 2012
From the mid-1980s onwards, the European Union (EU) pursued a path of neo-liberal restructuring internally around the Internal Market programme and Economic and Monetary Union as well as externally in several enlargement rounds and its Global Europe free trade strategy (Bieler 2012). The Eurozone crisis, however, has shown the internal contradictions of this strategy. Neo-liberal restructuring in Europe has reached its limits.