The myth of Greek profligacy must be broken, according the Costas Lapavitsas, in order to confront the problems in the Eurozone. Rather, the current crisis in Europe must be traced back to a global crisis which has been "deflected through the institutions of the monetary union". It is the divergent competitiveness of the periphery states that has led to the current account imbalances, the structural surpluses and deficits. An unbalanced monetary union has led to debt accumulation, not a bloated public sector.
As youth unemployment raises to well over 1 million, with little sign of a crest to that wave of misery, Tesco offer a chink of light. A dream job: a permanent placement (no pension) working nights (no sick pay) with training (30 hours per week). The wage? Nothing. But, if you don't take it, you're liable to have your benefits and job seekers allowance removed for up to 6 months.
Effectively, working 30 hours a week for your JSA will give you an hourly wage of £2.25 (or £1.78 p/h if you're one of the 1.04 million unemployed youth). Welcome to Workfare Britain.
From May to November last year over 24,000 jobseekers were forced to engage in Mandatory Work Activity (MWA), for 30 hours per week, providing participating corporations with hundreds of thousands of hours of free labour each week, according to the Guardian. There was also a high variance in ethnic minorities forced into unpaid labour, with 24% of those involved coming from ethnic minorities, as opposed to 13% on voluntary "work experience" schemes. Under MWA any recipient of Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) faces having their JSA stripped for 3 months for refusing the take part in the scheme, with a 6 month sanction for a second offence. Plans are currently underway to introduce a sanction for a third offence, meaning those who refuse to offer their labour for free will face being banned from claiming JSA for three years. There are plans afoot to implement a similar system for the long-term sick and disabled.
Appearing on BBC Question Time last night, Owen Jones attacked the government's Health Reform Bill, stating that the "Tories have absolutely no mandate for what they're doing to our NHS", as well as slamming New Labour for "laying the foundations" for the privatisation of the health service.
In his recent address to LSE, available now as a video and podcast, Paul Mason delves into the complex behavioural mechanics and social and economic phenoma that, for him, suggest the uprisings that began in 2011 may be something very unusual: not a normal business cycle, or a "50-year Kondratiev Wave", but an epoch-changing convergence of economic collapse, technological revolution and new networked subjectivities.
First outlining the collapse of North African regimes throughout the Arab Spring through the analogy of a Shakespearean history plays, Mason goes on to look at the shifting change in peoples' relationship with power structures, and how the development of new communication technologies have opened up public discourse about those power structures.
Unable to maintain a narrative of dignity and respect, the old authoritarians who maintained social order at the price of justice saw their ideological foundations slip away in the face of public derision. Like those very Shakespeare plays, Mason says, "the innkeepers and gravediggers sound like philosophers", whilst the strong-men and their courtiers look increasingly like fools, holding on to the certainties of old dogmas that are being washed away.
A keen writer on music and an extraordinarily sharp theorist, Theodor Adorno once wrote "The task of art today is to bring chaos into order."
His own selection of essays and journalism on music, Quasi Una Fantasia, reverberates with his deep conviction in the human properties of music as a form capable of resisting barbarity. We're not sure, therefore, how he'd feel about Minima Moralia EP.