The Perils of Financial Warfare

The history of sanctions during the last century shows that those sanctions that are forceful enough to change the course of political history for the better are also destructive enough to change the course of economic history for the worse. Given this mixed record, and the strong integration of Russia into the world economy, American and European leaders should be extremely cautious in the use of sanctions.

The palaver about Channel4’s Benefits Street and the significance of a Universal Basic Income

How could a version of the Universal Basic Income as debated in Switzerland potentially fuel a debate about the problems in the British benefits system? Commenting on Tobias Haeusermann’s recent article in the KR, Johannes Lenhard illustrates the case with his own research among homeless people in London and the current controversies about Channel4’s program Benefits Street.

The Politics of Hidden Images: Display and the Gurlitt collection

The recent discovery of 1,406 artworks confiscated in Nazi Germany, thought lost forever, is the beginning of both an art historical fantasy and a legal quagmire. The facts are astonishing in themselves: border police stopped Cornelius Gurlitt on a train from Switzerland, found him suspicious and began a tax evasion investigation, only to discover his apartment harboured paintings, drawings and prints acquired mostly under dubious circumstances by his father, Hildebrand […]

A Salary for Living

The recent proposal to institute a Universal Basic Income (UBI) in Switzerland may turn out to be a short-lived experiment, but it raises important questions about human needs, social justice and how to attend to them.

An interview with Michael Herzfeld: Cryptocolonialism, the responsibility of the social sciences and Europe

Last week Raffaella Taylor-Seymour and KR editor Johannes Lenhard had the chance to interview Professor Michael Herzfeld, Ernest E. Monrad Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University. The three talked about what Herzfeld describes as ‘cryptocolonialism’, the public responsibility of the social sciences, economists as the Azande diviners of our times, and neoliberalism in Europe.

Journey to justice: American dreams and nightmares after Rosa Parks

Fifty-eight years ago this month, Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama for ‘civil disobedience’.  She sat where she wanted on a bus.  On 1st December, the day of the anniversary, Barack Obama sent out a tweet with a picture of him sitting on the Rosa Parks bus, now housed at the Henry Ford Museum, Detroit.  For this social media intervention, Obama was accused in various quarters of crass narcissism, […]

Boris Johnson: Philosophe?

Boris Johnson’s recent remarks about inequality at the Centre for Policy Studies are more than just another provocation. In fact, the idea that inequality was part and parcel of economically advanced societies harks back to Mandeville, Kant and Smith. Johnson shows that the controversial theoretical postulates of the eighteenth century have become the political commonsense of the twenty-first.

Oh So Social

A series of previously unpublished intelligence reports casts a new light on the role of the Frankfurt School and its involvement in global power politics during World War II. What role did the critical theorists and political thinkers Herbert Marcuse, Franz Neumann and Otto Kirchheimer play in the birth of the American national security state?

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