Social Justice and Systemic Change (1)

Social Protection Floors: The Case for going Beyond

End of April 2018 The Economist published a special report on universal health care and put the topic on its cover. We should welcome this ‘social turn’ but we should also reflect very seriously on what is happening and why.

Also in spring 2018, José Antonio Ocampo and Joseph Stiglitz, two famous economists, published a book on ‘Re-visiting the Welfare State’ with a purely economic perspective on social policies.

What this means and confirms is that for almost forty years now, right-wing and neoliberal forces have been dominating and shaping the discourse – and consequently the practice – on social policies. They do not talk about social justice, obviously, since justice is far away from their objectives, but they have been dominating and shaping the new thinking on poverty, social protection, health and education. Continue…

The movement of the commons: On the role of citizens in reclaiming public services

At the most recent World Economic Forum in Davos, its founder, Klaus Schwab, make a remarkable statement. The overall focus of the WEF this year was on the ‘fractured world’ we are living in. Schwab declared we need a new social contract, our societies have to rebuild their foundations, our world needs ‘qualitative easing’ and so we have to look beyond GDP in order to work at inclusive development… While such a statement might have come from the left, Schwab added something very WEF-like. This timed, he said, I think that business should take the lead to make the recovery efforts through the social crisis, and of course business can work with governments and civil society… Continue…

Fighting neoliberalism and the privatisation of public services: The struggle for social commons

  1. Our public services, education, health care, public transport … all belong to our systems of social protection, systems that we need and have to promote because they are essential for our individual and collective survival. Individuals are not self-sufficient, they are interdependent.

This is an easy statement,  but the question is how we try to achieve the existence of universal quality public services for all. We know that the current neoliberal philosophy wants governments to cut public spending, and, in general, social expenditures are severely limited. Continue…

Social Justice: the struggle for commons

It is so easy to talk about social justice, yet, so difficult to achieve it!

In fact, our world today is faced with two major challenges: ecological destruction and the social question. What I want to explain very briefly in this paper, is how the concept of commons and the practice of commoning, can help to find solutions. Both problems are closely linked to each other, and are closely linked to democracy, that is the way citizens can govern and shape their world and give direction to the policies that are needed to preserve our planet and sustain the livelihoods of people.

Now, what do we mean when we speak about commons?

It is becoming a buzzword, but it is very important to know exactly what we are speaking about, so that we can avoid misunderstandings. Continue…