09.12.11 | My cousin told me about this remarkable story.  It illustrates perfectly the arguments of "The Leaderless Revolution": a tragic and difficult problem which an appeal to conventional insitutions could not solve; instead this brave and resourceful couple took matters, peacefully, into their own hands and addressed the problem, with great compassion, directly...   From shipwreck to solidarity   By Rafael Estefania BBC News, Hansala,... more
09.12.11 | I was very privileged to be invited to give a lecture about my newly-published book at the London School of Economics.  It was a great audience, and a very interesting discussion.  You can view a video of the talk here and can hear a podcast of the talk here (the talk lasts about 35 minutes, the Q & A about the same again). more
08.09.11 | In the US and Europe, disillusion with politics is feeding the far right. We need a radical response that returns power to people The recent debacle in Washington, where wrangling over the debt limit has triggered a downgrading of American debt, has underlined the deep incompetence of the US political system. Thanks to needless brinkmanship, particularly by the Republicans, confidence in US debt has been undermined, thereby likely increasing the cost of borrowing – a price that will eventually... more
08.03.11 | One of the arguments of my forthcoming book is that one sign of the failure of government to agree necessary legislation is the seemingly arcane but vital issue of capital requirements for banks.  I discuss this issue in this recent column for The Guardian.  Such requirements arguably would have prevented the recent financial crisis.  Even though the crunch was now two or so years ago, governments worldwide have yet to impose new requirements in most cases, and the so-called... more
07.28.11 |   Somalia: victim of war, famine and a pestilence of policy Facing starvation and instability, Somalia needs the international community to stop propping up a failed status quo and rethink     The news from Somalia is grim. Last week, the UN declared a famine in two southern areas, calling the food crisis Africa's worst since 1991-92 (which was also in Somalia). The UN estimates that a staggering 3.2 million people need urgent assistance. The immediate cause of the crisis was the... more
07.08.11 | The internet's private enterprise How far can we trust the corporations that profit by the personal data millions of us disclose online via social networks Google+ creators claim it has features that trumps Facebook, Twitter and Skype, and makes social networking less rigid. Photograph: Ho/Reuters On the internet, as elsewhere, information is money, and information is power. So why have we given it away so lightly? Something extraordinary has taken place over the last few years.... more
06.28.11 |     Greece's crisis, Europe's nemesis The very idea of European union, always a top-down project without popular assent, faces serious questions of legitimacy Banners set up by protesters in front of the Greek parliament in Athens compare European leaders to Nazis. Photograph: Simela Pantzartzi/EPA With its language of budget cuts and bailouts, the sovereign debt crisis that is now engulfing Europe's economies appears to be a financial crisis. But it is also, and... more
06.13.11 | How might outsiders help fight dictators? As protesters fight dictators across the Middle East, people outside are asking what they can do to help. Traditionally, we tend to look to our own governments to act. As Gaddafi's repression of pro-democracy rebels mounted in Libya, campaigners demanded sanctions and, as the attacks intensified, military intervention. But both forms of government pressure have serious drawbacks and, too often, come very late in reaction to gross repression. In... more
06.06.11 | My latest column in The Guardian, in the series "Power and Nations":    Basel III: business as usual for bankers Successful lobbying – or blackmailing – by banks means that financial regulation to prevent another crash is too weak to work guardian.co.uk, Monday 6 June 2011 19.00 BST The Volcker rule, named for its leading proponent, former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, is intended to limit big banks’ speculative trading in proprietary derivatives and stocks. But... more
06.01.11 | This is my latest weekly column in "The Guardian" online, in the series "Power and Nations".   Whenever an international problem starts being called a "process", one should immediately become suspicious that the problem itself will not be solved. Indeed, the naming of a problem as a "process" is a way to obscure lack of progress with endless anaesthetising conferences, meetings and statesmanlike speeches. The climate change "process" demonstrates this dismal rule: after years of... more