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Archive for juliol, 2014

jul. 18 2014

La reforma laboral a Espanya

L’any 2012 es va aprovar una reforma laboral a Espanya. Es tracta de l’enèsima modificació de l’Estatut dels Treballadors de 1980, i com les precedents, ha modificat els tipus de contractes laborals. En aquesta ocasió, a més, el govern ha redefinit les regles de la negociació col·lectiva. Aquí en teniu la visió del govern, de la patronal CEOE (aquí) i d’un sindicat, les Joventuts de CCOO (aquí), així com aquesta avaluació de l’OCDE.

Us haureu de dividir en dos grups i participar en un debat a classe, l’un defensant la visió de la CEOE i l’alte la de CCOO. Alhora, haureu de participar en un fòrum exposant, a parer vostre, els punts forts i febles d’aquesta reforma.

Apunto un glossari de conceptes que hauríeu de conèixer. Busqueu-los als apunts, a l’informe de l’OCDE o pregunteu-los a classe:

– Flexibilització del treball.

– Drets socials.

– Polítiques actives d’ocupació: formació, intermediació, desenvolupament local.

– Negociació col·lectiva.

– Productivitat.

– Protecció de l’ocupació.


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jul. 18 2014

Thomas Piketty on Capital in the XXIst century

Have a look at this interview of the French economist Thomas Piketty in Foreign Affairs. Here you have a number of questions to focus on and discuss in the forum.

– Does the relationship between the rate of return of wealth and the rate of economic growth enact a causal mechanism of inequality? In this vein, what is the likely consequence of slow demographic growth?

– What share of wealth did the top 10% have in the ninenteenth century? Has this shared varied in the twentieth century? How?

– Why does Piketty think that national income taxes and a global wealth tax can tackle inequality? Do you think this proposal can counteract the causal mechanisms of inequality?

– In Piketty’s view, does the concentration of wealth affect democracy? How?

 

 


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jul. 18 2014

Public and private international political actors

The Brookings Institution has also produced a short video on the Millennium Development Goals (here). Brookings is a private non-profit organisation aimed at fostering debate on fact-based policy proposals. Since its inception in 1916 experts based there have been very influential in shaping US policies concerning budgeting, war and peace, presidential transitions, tax reductions security and others.

Experts in international relations either highlight the cooperation between public and private institutions (e.g. Robert Keohane) or the potential of conflict between them (e.g. Robert Cox). This literature opens some relevant questions about their role in managing the MDGs and designing strategic planning for human development after 2015. What is the role of public and private political actors in this debate? To what extent does their interaction promote global democratisation? Are they opening new conflicts?

 


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jul. 18 2014

The global civil society

The Global Campaign for Education (GCE) collaborates with international organisations such as the Global Partnership for Education in order to foster progress towards the Education for All goals. To be precise, the Campaing claims that the involvement of the civil society is crucial for achieving these goals, since civil society organisations can raise awareness, put pressure on governments, provide services and become sustainable by means of institutional learning. It has been in charge of the Civil Society Education Fund.

The GCE was created by a coalition of NGOs and teacher unions in order to monitor the real deployment of the EFA programme. To the extent that these members have regional and national branches in Africa, Asia and Latin America, it has become an international player with a pluriscalar organisation.

Current debates on the global civil society suggest some questions about the role of the GCE. Particularly, some views highlight the innovative features of its organisation and activities, while other are concerned with the potential subordination of political actors likle the GCE to governments and international organisations. Can these innovation and subordination effects be observed in the case of the GCE?


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jul. 18 2014

Dimensions of human development

Posted in Desigualtats |

SOCIAL CHANGE AND GLOBALISATION (Sociology & International Students)

The United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank, the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, the Education for All Monitoring Reports and the Global Partnership for Education agree that development consists of progress in an array of human capabilities. Instead of restricting the concept to income, these international organisations argue that education, public health, urban conditions and others have to be taken into account. Albeit with a different wording, the European Union is also aware to these varied dimensions.

Richard Wilkinson’s speech on inequality and public health highlights the connections between inequality and some of these dimensions. As you can see, this researcher draws on several social sciences to argue for a correlation between inequality and certain shortcomings in human development.

In order to frame this debate within issues of social change and development, it is crucial to discuss a couple of questions. Have a look and think about them:

– Do life expectancy and child wellbeing provide a relevant normative information? Does it tell us anything about social justice?

– In Wilkinson’s view, what mechanism accounts for the correlations between income inequality and life expectancy and child wellbeing accross countries?

SOCIETAT DE LA INFORMACIÓ (Empresa i Tecnologia & Gestió Aeronàutica)

El Programa de les Nacions Unides per al Desenvolupament, el Banc Mundial, els Objectius de Desenvolupament del Mil·lenni de les Nacions Unides, els Informes sobre l’Educació per Tothom i el Global Partnership for Education  creuen que el desenvolupament estreva en el progrés en un ventall de capacitats. En comptes de restringir el concepte a l’ingrés, aquestes organitzacions internacionals addueixen que l’educació, la salut pública, les condicions urbanes i altres factors han de ser tinguts en consideració. Tot i algunes diferències terminològiques, la Unió Europea també ha pres consciència d’aquesta varietat de les dimensions.

Aquesta conferència de Richard Wilkinson sobre la desigualtat i la salut pública remarca les connexions entre la desigualtat i algunes d’aquestes dimensions. Tal com podeu veure, aquest investigador fa servir diverses ciències socials per tal de mostrar una correlació entre les desigualtats i certes mancances en el desenvolupament humà.

Per tal d’emmarcar aquesta tesi en els debats sobre la societat de la informació caldria que penséssiu sobre aquestes preguntes:

– De quina manera les desigualtats de Wilkinson afecten el mercat de treball?

– De quina manera afecten l’economia del coneixement?

– Com es podrien neutralitzar aquests efectes?


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jul. 16 2014

Competitiveness according to the World Economic Forum

SOCIAL CHANGE AND GLOBALISATION (Sociology & International students)

The World Economic Forum has advanced a definition and a measure of competitiveness that attributes economic prosperity to complex networks of societal interconnections. On these grounds the WEF elaborates a worldwide ranking of countries that you can browse in the same website.

A number of questions arise:

– How can we account for the specific effect of the twelve factors included in the index? Are all the possible hypotheses logically coherent?

– Can international strategic plans for development enact these interconnections? Europe 2020 strategy and UNDP Capability Development program posit two very relevant case studies.

Michael Porter’s theory  reverberates with this concept of competitiveness. Do modernisation and institutionalist accounts of social change inspire this theory?

SOCIETAT DE LA INFORMACIÓ (Empresa i Tecnologia & Gestió Aeronàutica)

El Fòrum Econòmic Mundial ha avançat una definició i una mesura de la competitivitat  que atribueix la prosperitat econòmica a unes complexes xarxes d’interelacions que afecten el conjunt de les societats. Sobre aquesta base el FEM elabora un rànquing mundial de països que podeu consultar al seu mateix web.

Tot plegat suggereix un seguit de preguntes:

– Com podem observar l’efecte dels dotze factors inclosos a l’índex? És clara la coherència lògica de totes les possibles hipòtesis?

– Poden els plans estratègics internacionals per al desenvolupament activar aquestes interconnexions? L’estratèia Europa 2020 i el programa Capability Development del PNUD ens ofereixen dos casos d’estudi força significatius.

– El disseny de la tecnologia contribueix a engegar aquestes interconnexions? Els sistemes de transport hi poden contribuir també d’alguna manera?


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jul. 11 2014

Global transformations: classical and contemporary analyses

In the mid twentieth century two world wars devastated large areas, killed many people and caused havoc to the European ideology on global governance. While international powers had formerly relied on agreements, concerts and treaties between them, a new system based on international organisations was constructed to cope with the risk of massive war on new grounds. Simultaneously, intellectuals reacted to that shock by disseminating an ideological confidence on the continous progress of countries towards collective welfare. That expectation initially appeared to be confirmed by sound post-war economic growth. In this context, USA President Harry Truman labelled it as ‘development’ in his 1949 Inaugural Address (minute 9:35) and economists elaborated WW Rosstow’s Model. This model attempted to make sense of the international distribution of GDP per capita by hypothesising a sequence of societal stages from stagnant traditional societies, through an economic take-off up to the affluent mass society. However, current analyses of global development have challenged two assumptions that those politicians and experts shared, namely: their faith in continuous progress and their use of ‘national societies’ as units. While classical and mid-twentieth centuries had both relied on progress, recent analyses have actually retrieved the global perspective of classical sociologists that most of their post-war followers had overlooked.

To start with, in oder to spell out the laws of history, early sociologists (e.g. Comte, Spener) drew on the philosophers who found out the meaning of history in continuous improvement (Condorcet, Hegel, Marx). Thus they rejected alternative accounts of human diversity and the the cycles of history (Vico, Herder,Maistre). However, between the world wars some philosophers became extremely sceptic on the potential of progress, and highlighted the banality of evil to the extent that ordinary men often used technology for mass murder (Benjamin, Arendt). Afterwards, post-modern, post-structuralist, post-colonial and post-development writers have dismissed the Euro-centric narrative of modernity as a linear advancement (Foucault, Said, Escobar).

Moreover, in the mid twentieth century social scientists were not aware that classical sociology had not considered ‘national states’ to be a relevant unit of analysis. Marx thought that the emergence of capitalism responded to a distinct European process of original accumulation of capital in which international trade had place a very relevant role. Durkheim portrayed a social division of labour that cut accross national borders. Weber did not choose states but religions as his main units of comparison, and saw national legitimation as the consequence of a wider, international phenomenon such as the emergence of  legal-rational domination.

Recent analyses draw on methodological rather than speculative philoshophy of history so as to account for the two waves of globalisation in the late nineteenth (the first one) and twentieth (the second one) centuries. This methodology requires to look at contingent but regular structures of causes (mechanisms) that provoke social changes (Popper, Elser, Archer, Hedstrom), as well as to unveil either the social configurations and networks (N. Elias, S. Sassen) or the systems of strategic interaction (R. Boudon, P. Hall) that generate global transformations. Thus, globalisation is a social transformation featured by multi-layered geographies, the social construction of knowledge economies, complex international relations revolving around many political issues, and eventually individualisation and the making of new identities. In this vein, each of these social changes has to be accounted in terms of causal mechanisms and social interaction.

 

 


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