The well-being of Europe’s citizens depends less on individual consumption and more on their social consumption of essential goods and services – from water and retail banking to schools and care homes – in what we call the foundational economy. Individual consumption depends on market income, while foundational consumption depends on social infrastructure and delivery systems of networks and branches, which are neither created nor renewed automatically, even as incomes increase. This historically created foundational economy has been wrecked in the last generation by privatisation, outsourcing, franchising and the widespread penetration of opportunistic and predatory business models. The distinctive, primary role of public policy should therefore be to secure the supply of basic services for all citizens (not a quantum of economic growth and jobs). Reconstructing the foundational has to start with a vision of citizenship that identifies foundational entitlements as the conditions for dignified human development, and likewise has to depend on treating the business enterprises central to the foundational economy as juridical persons with claims to entitlements but also with responsibilities and duties. If the aim is citizen well-being and flourishing for the many not the few, then European politics at regional, national and EU level needs to be refocused on foundational consumption and securing universal minimum access and quality. If/when government is unresponsive, the impetus for change has to come from engaging citizens locally and regionally in actions which break with the top down politics of ‘vote for us and we will do this for you’.
Given the problems outlined so far, how can passengers hold the railways to account? Partly in tacit recognition of huge passenger dissatisfaction, the rail industry has introduced a range of compensation schemes for delays. However, train operating companies pocket the difference between the compensation provided to them by Network Rail and the huge amount of compensation unclaimed by passengers, and this provides little incentive for improvement. Compensation culture also encourages passengers to see the broken railways as a personal, consumer rights problem, rather than a structural problem with collective impacts. Compensation does not fix the railways. For that, collective political organisation by passengers is required. Passenger campaigns have enjoyed some success over the years, most notably in making rail line closures politically toxic. However, the more traditional campaigns tend to be characterised by voluntarism and conservatism. They bring undoubted improvements to the railways, especially in the upkeep of smaller stations, but are ineffective in forcing more fundamental change. Recently, a range of smaller movements have achieved victories, some of which have cost the rail establishment dearly. These point to strategies and approaches – such as fare strikes and integrating campaigning across public transport modes – which, on a grander scale, could start to force the rail system to be fixed.
social, that people require? One based on the twin pillars of monetary and fiscal policy, on which so much weight has been placed over recent years? Or one that augments these levers with structural policies to support provision of the social goods and services essential to everyone? The contours of this policy debate have already changed over recent years. Internationally, there is greater recognition than there has been for a generation on the importance of structural policy intervention to support provision of essential services, from transport to education to
single-currency area. This was an indirect recognition that the Greek crisis had now peaked. Notes 1 Financial Times, ft.com, 16 May 2012. 2 The exchange rate of €1 was $1.25. Its usual exchange rate throughout 2011 was between $1.40 and $1.30. 3 See www. Finfacts.ie/irish_financenews/European/article 1024698. For recent develop ments in unemployment at a European and a member state level see epp.eurostat.ec. europa.eu/statistics unemployment, 31 December 2013. 4 See Le Monde, 27–28 December 2012, p. 13. 5 See Le Monde, 1 June 2012, p. 6. 6 G
followed the mantra that highlighting the problems alone was sufficient and then, once aware of the shortcomings, the government in Athens would quickly be able to redress them. While there was limited recognition of the ‘lack of know-how’ in Greece, the challenge of political and social change was never given the attention or focus it required.5 The other report came from the IMF and was published in December 2011.6 It was the fifth report from the Fund regarding the progress made by Greece in the efforts at reform. According to this report: the economic situation in
report reveal that the IMF had misjudged the economic situation in Greece. Yet its authors maintained that under the circumstances in which the programme was designed, the IMF’s policy was the only available option. The following extracts are revealing: Q ‘Should the larger economic downturn have been expected?’ A ‘There were a number of reasons why the actual decline in GDP was so much greater than anticipated: … The program initially assumed a multiplier of only 0.5 despite staff’s recognition that Greece’s relatively closed economy and lack of an exchange rate
words?). Both in the media and in everyday conversations, statements that would have been common place 30–40 years ago are now condemned and can rightly cause those making them to lose their jobs, or to be dropped from a social circle. Language has taken on a significance it didn't previously have; it is recognised as something that shapes our world, and as something that can be as harmful as a physical weapon. Going further back, we can see that hand in hand with this recognition of the power of language has been a movement towards exposing the
boundaries of any market depends on Introduction 9 agreement as to the particular definition of the items being sold therein. This focuses attention on what he calls the ‘the process of materialization’. Not a new process at all, this involves a recognition of the process whereby a particular item, including an event, comes to be recognised as one thing rather than another. It requires examination of ‘the social processes by which things come to be treated as things in the social world’ (p. 96). This normally requires recognition in terms of both functional and symbolic
permanent bond consists in the reference to the well-being of its members as a whole. It has been the social recognition grounded on that reference that has rendered certain of his powers rights. If upon new conditions arising, or upon elements of social good being taken account of which had been overlooked before, or upon persons being taken into the reckoning as capable of participating in the social well-being who had previously been treated merely as means to its attainment, – if in any of these ways or otherwise the reference to social wellbeing suggests the
land inventory which do not generate current cash flow but have substantial value and are often overlooked in evaluating its worth … in recognition of the change in real estate valuation metrics, we have taken a significant markdown on the position. Our equity exposure in Archstone is currently carried at 75 for a value of less that $1.8bn. 1 Lehman claimed that the valuations were fair, but that was on the basis of their own valuations with the assistance of their real estate adviser