The disappearing virtual library Los Angeles, CA - Last week a website called "library.nu" disappeared. A coalition of international scholarly publishers accused the site of piracy and convinced a judge in Munich to shut it down. Library.nu (formerly Gigapedia) had offered, if the reports are to be believed, between 400,000 and a million digital books for free. And not just any books - not romance novels or the latest best-sellers - but scholarly books: textbooks, secondary treatises, obscure monographs, biographical analyses, technical manuals, collections of cutting-edge research in engineering, mathematics, biology, social science and humanities. The texts ranged from so-called "orphan works" (out-of-print, but still copyrighted) to recent issues; from poorly scanned to expertly ripped; from English to German to French to Spanish to Russian, with the occasional Japanese or Chinese text. They are students and scholars, from every corner of the planet. Pirating to learn So what does the shutdown of library.nu mean?
Oligarchy and Democracy - Jeffrey A. Winters It is a confounding moment in American political history. On the one hand, evidence of democratic possibilities is undeniable. In 2008, millions of Americans helped catapult a man of half-African descent into the White House long before observers thought the nation was “ready.” On the other hand, democracy appears chronically dysfunctional when it comes to policies that impinge on the rich. Everyone is by now aware of the staggering shift in fortunes upward favoring the wealthy. Such outcomes are inexplicable on standard, commonly understood democratic grounds. One increasingly popular answer is that America is an oligarchy rather than a democracy.1 The complex truth, however, is that the American political economy is both an oligarchy and a democracy; the challenge is to understand how these two political forms can coexist in a single system. Oligarchy within Democracy hen democracy combines with oligarchy, the result is a distinctive fusion of equality and inequality. Money and Power
'Big Government' Isn't the Problem, Big Money Is With the 2012 elections projected to be the priciest ever, we must rein in the billions of influence-peddling dollars flowing toward Washington. Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney responds to cheers from the crowd as he speaks at a campaign rally at West Hills Elementary School in Knoxville, Tenn., Sunday, March 4, 2012. About the Author Robert Reich Robert Reich, a former secretary of labor, is the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of... Also by the Author Surging inequality, not Wall Street banditry, is the underlying cause of the Great Recession. That view is understandable. Homeowners can’t use bankruptcy to reorganize their mortgage loans because the banks have engineered laws to prohibit this. Not a day goes by without Republicans decrying the budget deficit. The other big budget expense is defense. “Big government” isn’t the problem. Millionaires and billionaires aren’t donating to politicians out of generosity.
Violence Begets Defeat or Too Much Pacifism? by Michael Albert "But remember that if the struggle were to resort to violence, it will lose vision, beauty and imagination. Most dangerous of all, it will marginalize and eventually victimize women. And a political struggle that does not have women at the heart of it, above it, below it, and within it is no struggle at all." - Arundhati Roy Chris Hedges has written a very aggressive attack on what is called the black bloc element of the current occupy movements. Pacifism often comes from a religious or a philosophical stance and says violence, or even property damage, is a bad personal choice – no exceptions. When adherents of a political view assert that all other actors must agree or be irrelevant, it is often called sectarianism. Here's the hard part: When a pacifist says that everyone must be a pacifist because all other options are immoral, it is fundamentalism. With any tactic we can usefully ask: What are its effects on those who utilize it? Regrettably, though, this is not inevitable.
Why we need to stop SOPA and PIPA Cambridge, Mass - SOPA - the Stop Online Piracy Act - and a sister bill, PIPA - the Protect IP Act - seek to minimise the dissemination of copyrighted material online by targeting sites that promote and enable the sharing of copyright-protected material, like The Pirate Bay. While this goal may be laudable, entrepreneurs, legal scholars and free speech activists are worried about the consequences of these bills for the architecture of the internet. At the MIT Media Lab, we share those concerns, and we oppose SOPA and PIPA as threats to innovation on the internet. To limit access to rogue sites, SOPA and PIPA would: Major internet companies, including Google, Facebook, Twitter and others, oppose SOPA and PIPA because it changes the liability rules around copyright infringement. SOPA substantially alters this system, and internet companies worry that without protection from contributory infringement, user-generated content sites like YouTube and Twitter would not have come into existence.
Oligarchie der Finanz: Der Krieg der Banken gegen das Volk - Feuilleton © dpa Warum sollte die Kreditvergabe Privileg der Privatbanken bleiben? Protestlager der Occupy-Bewegung vor der europäischen Zentralbank Am einfachsten ist die europäische Finanzkrise zu verstehen, wenn man die Lösungsvorschläge betrachtet. Das ist der Traum eines jeden Bankers: ein Sack voller Geschenke, die bei einem demokratischen Referendum kaum Zustimmung finden würden. Bankstrategen haben gelernt, über ihre Pläne nicht demokratisch abstimmen zu lassen, nachdem die Isländer 2010 und 2011 es zweimal abgelehnt haben, der Kapitulation ihrer Regierung vor Großbritannien und den Niederlanden nach den massiven Verlusten isländischer Banken zuzustimmen. Das Problem ist, dass Griechenland seine Schulden nicht zurückzahlen kann. Ein demokratisches Fiskalregime würde progressive Steuern auf Einkommen und Grundbesitz erheben und Steuerflucht ahnden. 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8Nächste Seite | Artikel auf einer Seite Was sind Top-Argumente? Schließen Sortieren Folgen Diese Lesermeinung melden!
Demokratie oder Rating-Regierung? | Telepolis (Print) Demokratie oder Rating-Regierung? Peter Mühlbauer 02.12.2011 Der ehemalige Verfassungsrichter Siegfried Broß über Folgen der Privatisierung - Teil 2 In Teil 2 des Interviews spricht Siegfried Broß darüber, wie sich die Privatisierung zu einer Gefahr für die Demokratie entwickeln konnte und über ein von ihm entwickeltes Fondsmodell, das die Netze der Öffentlichen Hand belässt. Im Januar 2007 meinten Sie auf einem Vortrag in Stuttgart, dass man "Staatswirtschaft" nicht nur negativ sehen dürfe und sie "in den Infrastrukturbereichen der Daseinsvorsorge [...] unumgänglich" sei, "damit der Staat selbst unabhängig bleibt und nicht erpressbar wird". Viele Bereiche der Daseinsvorsorge sind schon privatisiert. Siegfried Broß: Vielleicht nicht gerade erpressbar, aber sie sind ausgeliefert. Mit der Privatisierung großer Infrastrukturbereiche setzte auch die Diskussion um Mindestlöhne und Minijobs ein. Wo waren die Wirtschaftsweisen? Siegfried Broß: Ich fühle mich natürlich bestätigt. Anhang Links
The Great Putsch: welcome to post-democratic Europe Having pushed through “technocratic” regime change in Greece and Italy, the EU is paving the way for the diktak of an unaccountable clique of bankers. We are living through crazy, crazy times. As the Financial Times wrote this weekend, “the euro emergency has wreaked a deeper shock than ever.” Last week, “world leaders and financial markets went on to red alert, and by the end of the week two democratically elected leaders — Greece’s George Papandreou and Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi – found themselves being eased out of office at Europe’s behest and replaced by unelected technocrats.” If there ever was a confirmation of Žižek’s haunting thesis that the marriage between capitalism and democracy is over, this is it. While no one will shed a tear for Berlusconi or Papandreou, the process by which they were overthrown is a sign of even darker times to come. The most shocking thing, perhaps, is that our leaders are not even trying to hide it anymore. The Birth of the Frankfurt Group
Noreena Hertz - Why we must stay silent no longer | Politics | The Observer In the hullaballoo following the American presidential election, with hanging and pregnant chads, and ballot forms that needed a PhD to decipher, it was easy to forget something that was in many ways even more alarming than confusion over who won. More than 90 million Americans had not bothered to vote - that is, more than the combined population of England, Ireland and Scandinavia. Low turnout is not just a US phenomenon. In the UK, the landslide victory for Labour in the election of 1997 was achieved on a turnout of 69 per cent - the lowest since the war. During the European elections in 1999, less than half of the electorate voted, and less than a quarter came out in the UK. In the Leeds Central by-election last year only 19 per cent of those eligible to vote did so. People have lost faith in politics, because they no longer know what governments are good for. Unregulated or under-regulated by governments, corporations set the terms of engagement themselves.