An Interview with Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal

King’s College Provost Michael Proctor in conversation with Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal, on subjects as varied as the past and future of cosmology, our knowledge of the the Big Bang, and the possibility of extraterrestrial life.

Who Will Educate the Educators? An Interview with Gayatri Spivak

“When Du Bois wrote about the recently emancipated slaves, he said they certainly need food, clothing and shelter, but at the same time, to learn to communicate with the stars. Now that fourth item is not something about which you can just say, “oh well, that will be easily taught, because after all, they’ve suffered, and so they’re pure of soul”. All these mantras of “feminism is the secret”, or “the indigenous know the answer”, that one can just do anything with any group and they will just retain their purity. That is a very idealistic denial of history.”

How the North can learn from the South in building a welfare state

A recent UC Berkeley #GlobalPOV video with professor Ananya Roy demonstrates that the issue of welfare dependency is just as bad among the middle classes and corporations as it is among the poor. KR editor Johannes Lenhard extends the case to Britain and links it up with recent ideas on the Universal Basic Income and the development of new welfare states in Asia and South America in this small blog-post.

An interview with Alan Rusbridger

On Wednesday March 26th, the day before US President Obama formally announced his intention to end the NSA’s bulk collection of data, Josh Booth spoke to the Guardian’s editor Alan Rusbridger about press freedom, spies, and how not to hide journalism behind a paywall.

Related: read Nicholas Mulder’s piece on democracy and the national security state

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.