New Policy Paper: Beyond the crisis: Empowering the public!

New Policy Paper!For decades now privatisation has been a part of the everyday practice of economic and property policy. Its analysis and critique have become established and substantial, and they show that the promises of neoliberal privatisation policy in terms of de-bureaucratisation, increase in efficiency, cost savings or price reduction and decentralisation or even democratisation have not been fulfilled; instead there is a multitude of problematic consequences, such as de-democratisation or growing inequality. The world economic crisis of 2008/2009 makes clear this policy’s enormous potential for crisis. However, if alternatives are at issue, then the uncertainty is considerable.What concepts can be used to embrace these alternatives? For if we do not succeed in holding up a publicly effective counter-concept to the «private» and to «privatisation», and in so doing create a conceptual political contrasting point of identification to the rhetoric and politics of the private, opposition to the politics of privatisation will lack precision, vision and the power of political persuasion and mobilisation. It is especially necessary to develop a precise conception of howto shape reality, that is a conception which is able to introduce concrete political changes in the institutional and regulatory orders of the economy, which represent a real and differentiated alternative to the world of the private,which has arisen almost everywhere in the last three decades. Read more

Rick Wolff: Economic Crisis Hits States and Municipalities

How Bad Will It Get?Crises expose the system’s irrationalities and wasteful resource allocations. For example, Madoff and his many, smaller imitators reveal the tips of corruption icebergs. More important, the crisis-induced fiscal emergencies looming in most of the 50 states demonstrate several absurdities in our economic system. … For those who are willing to look beyond the usual economic blinders, here’s an old suggestion that only seems new because of the effective ban put on public discussion for so long. At the present time, the vast majority of US states and municipalities exempt intangible property from property taxes. That is, stocks and bonds are kinds of property not subject to the taxes on other kinds of property (land, houses, etc.). If we imposed a very low rate of property tax on intangible property, it would cover the present and anticipated fiscal shortfalls of US cities, towns, and states. Moreover, an intangible property tax would fall on those most able to pay, those who fared best since the 1970s as the gap between rich and poor widened sharply. If coordinated across all states and cities (perhaps levied and collected by Washington and then returned to states and municipalities), intangible property owners would have no incentive to move it from one place to another. Read more

Conference: Surviving in the »Creative Industries«

Creative IndustriesThe »Creative Industries« are considered key to the city development in the 21st Century. Cities such as Berlin put them at the center of image and location policy. The debates are mainly of benefit to the economy and capital development at the forefront – the changed living and working conditions of creative people are in contrast scarcely taken into view. They will be the topic of the congress. The digital revolution in production and distribution, the struggles for intellectual property and realization rights, more flexible corporate structures and labour relations, the project form of work and the privatization of cultural institutions have changed jobs and lifestyles as subjectivities. An unwieldy number of opportunities face enormous competition for jobs and contracts, increased chances of expression the pressure of conformity by the market, more self-determination the self-exploitation in informal and precarious employment relationships and with unfettered income at the same time. Read more