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Austerity, ecological crisis and the hollowing out of democracy

The book analyzes capitalism’s growing destructiveness and the cost–benefit contradiction it generates. Its new conception of the surplus, which recognizes not just capitalist businesses but also households and the public sector as sites of surplus production, links capitalism’s destructiveness to that system’s use of the surplus. Capital’s use of the surplus turns scientific knowledge and technique into forces of destruction, and the book illustrates this dynamic by making reference to the growth of a consumerist culture, to massive military spending, and to other technologies that fuel a deepening ecological crisis. This crisis, along with economic and public health crises as well as a crisis of political democracy, are also analyzed as being intimately linked to capitalism’s use of the surplus. It is capitalism’s undemocratic control of the surplus by capitalist elites, moreover, that ultimately leads to the cost–benefit contradiction of contemporary societies: the futility of our consumerist culture no longer translates productive development into correspondingly growing human well-being, while the simultaneous growth of capitalism’s forces of destruction increasingly endangers human beings and the planet. Thus, this contradiction creates the potential for an opposition to capitalism and its exploitative and destructive nature by a wide range of social movements, both “old” (such as the labor and socialist movements) and “new” (for example, the feminist, anti-racist, ecological, and peace movements). To address capitalism’s contradiction, a democratic classless society is required, but the book also analyzes how capitalism’s operation obstructs the formation of an anti-capitalist coalition fighting for such an alternative.

Editors’ Introduction
Tanja R. Müller and Gemma Sou

-thinking humanitarian action more broadly ( Heerten, 2017 ). In addition, seemingly altruistic technological interventions in humanitarian contexts often go alongside the expansion of state or military power and new mechanisms of surveillance and control ( Jacobsen, 2015 ). More generally, as long as major technological innovations are largely driven or developed by the Global North, they are bound to perpetuate existing global inequalities, as evident, for example, in the field of digital

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
A Response to the Journal of Humanitarian Affairs Special Issue on Innovation in Humanitarian Action (JHA, 1:3)
Anna Skeels

around enabling more local innovation. It is the case, including in relation to our own innovation portfolio, that humanitarian innovation has been subject to a ‘Northern bias’, with mainly the large international NGOs, private sector or academic actors in the ‘Global North’ receiving most of the funding and support. For Müller and Sou (Innovation Issue), citing Roth and Luczak-Roesch, while ‘major technological innovations are largely driven or developed by the Global North, they are bound to perpetuate existing global inequalities’. In 2017, Elrha formed a

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Governing Precarity through Adaptive Design
Mark Duffield

adversely affect the aid experience. Consequently, these biases also need to be considered in project design. Typical of many policy pronouncements following the 2008 global financial crisis, however, the World Bank finds it necessary to reject the need for significant political change or social redistribution ( World Bank, 2015 : 80). This is at a time when global inequality is at record levels and new forms of post-social servitude and abjection are appearing ( Lebaron and Ayers, 2013 ). As a practical illustration of the ontopolitics of

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
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Citizenship and the racist world order
Luke de Noronha

global poor are governed through citizenship, which fixes them in space and 199 DBB.indb 199 17/07/2020 14:07:14 Deporting Black Britons in law. This fixing in space and law reaffirms global inequalities formed through colonialism, and in this way citizenship reproduces colonial-racial hierarchies in the present. Put another way, citizenship might appear to be a neutral and eminently sensible system for dividing up the global population, but it does so along grooves and map lines formed through colonialism. As a result, citizenship works as a system of colonial

in Deporting Black Britons
Rawls on equality
Chris Armstrong

of political conflict, the neglect of inequalities organised around race and sex, the impoverished account of structural inequalities, a pervasive ambiguity on questions of economic justice, and a failure to adequately address global inequalities) has considerable bite when directed at Rawls. This much is to be demonstrated in any case. The job of this first chapter, then, is to present the main ideas of egalitarian citizenship as set out by Rawls, highlighting some of the controversies along the way. Section 1 outlines Rawls’s account in brief. Sections 2 examines

in Rethinking Equality
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Songs, jokes, movies and other diversions
Kirsten Forkert, Federico Oliveri, Gargi Bhattacharyya, and Janna Graham

revealing the absurdity of global geopolitics and an immigration system which makes it so easy for some to cross borders and so difficult for others. Revealing the absurdity of border regimes opens up questions about global inequalities, racial hierarchies and the ignorance resulting from colonial legacies. To use the example of the Trevor Noah sketches, why is it seen as so inconceivable for South Africans to travel to the UK for comedy shows, or for dictators to hold power in wealthy Western countries? As Simon Critchley points out in On Humour, ‘by laughing at power

in How media and conflicts make migrants
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Writing wounds
Sara Wasson

imaginatively. 9 This book is concerned with extended durations of heterogeneous suffering. Yet fantastical fiction and film are also inevitably complicit in capital’s processes too, and indeed, some critics have suggested that science fiction has functioned as ‘ideological cyclosporine’ by normalising organ transplant in ways that facilitate global inequalities in tissue transfer. 10 These polyvalent texts are also complicit in forgetting. Writing can also wound. Literary criticism cannot emulate the specificity of ethnography, but I hope that this book can be seen as

in Transplantation Gothic
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How it feels to be made a migrant: restrictions, frustration and longing
Kirsten Forkert, Federico Oliveri, Gargi Bhattacharyya, and Janna Graham

experiences so that these stories would not be interpreted as isolated individual anecdotes, but would instead draw out broader structural conditions and wider global inequalities. This process foregrounds the imaginative aspects of memory (Keightley and Pickering 2012) in which individuals reframe and map their experiences in relation to others. As part of the group discussions, we took the individuals through visualisation exercises and asked them to think of images and metaphors which they felt captured the discussion. Based on the visualisations, we created

in How media and conflicts make migrants
Open Access (free)
Inheriting the Task of Creative Democracy
John Narayan

go by, we are a part, a social life that is changing with extreme rapidity from year to year. (LW13: 299) The creative task facing us today very much resembles Dewey’s time, in that we need to reformulate democracy in order to cope with the contours of a globalized world. Yes, some of the details may be different. However, when turning to modern issues that demand global democracy, such as climate change and global inequality, it becomes clear that the creative task facing us today is very much the same task that faced Dewey: the eradication of capital’s hegemonic

in John Dewey