Work councils could be the future of Australian industrial democracy in an ABCC world

Analyses
    Eugene Schofield-Georgeson, University of Technology Sydney Work councils are one model of industrial relations that could potentially fill the enormous gap in Australian industrial democracy left by precarious employment and the decline of the union movement. Canberra was once again the scene of further blows against construction workers and their union when the federal government this week passed legislation to hasten the onset of laws linked to the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC). In something of a one-two combination for the Australian union movement, the ABCC’s return accompanies reports that national union coverage has dwindled to its lowest ebb. Union membership now stands at around 15%. In Australia, the growth of casual jobs outstrips the creation of permanent jobs by nearly two to one. Such precarious employment…
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Pursuing happiness: it’s mostly a matter of surviving well together

Pursuing happiness: it’s mostly a matter of surviving well together

Analyses, Jenny Cameron, Katherine Gibson, Stephen Healy
Katherine Gibson, Western Sydney University; Jenny Cameron, University of Newcastle, and Stephen Healy, Western Sydney University This article is part of a series, On Happiness, examining what it means and how it might be achieved in the 21st century. Understandings of happiness are shifting. More and more research is finding that we cannot spend our way to happiness. Increasing incomes do not necessarily lead to increasing happiness. Even in a country such as China, average incomes have increased fourfold since the 1990s while life satisfaction has decreased over the same period. Research is also finding that happiness is less an individual matter and more a collective endeavour. The quality of our relationships with others is pivotal. These others include those closest to us (our immediate family and friends) as well…
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Five cities that could change the future of Antarctica

Five cities that could change the future of Antarctica

Analyses, Paul James
Juan Francisco Salazar, Western Sydney University; Elizabeth Leane, University of Tasmania; Liam Magee, Western Sydney University, and Paul James, Western Sydney University Antarctica is at a crossroads. This frozen continent at the bottom of our planet has the potential to either become one of the most fiercely contested zones in the world, or the most collaborative. Antarctica is one of four internationally recognised global commons along with the atmosphere, the high seas and outer space. These are all areas that have historically been guided by the principle of the common heritage of humankind. The continent is governed by the Antarctic Treaty System, a complex set of arrangements developed to regulate relations between states with interests and territorial claims in the region. As of today, 29 states are “consultative parties” to…
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After capitalism, what comes next? For a start, ethics

After capitalism, what comes next? For a start, ethics

Analyses, Capital, Jenny Cameron, Katherine Gibson, Stephen Healy
Jenny Cameron, University of Newcastle; Katherine Gibson, Western Sydney University, and Stephen Healy, Western Sydney University If the comments generated by the recent publication of excerpts from Paul Mason’s forthcoming book, Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future, are anything to go by, its release at the end of the month should kick up a storm. Mason’s book is about a seismic economic shift already underway, one that is as profound as the transformation from feudalism to capitalism. In the excerpts, Mason observes that: … whole swaths of economic life are beginning to move to a different rhythm. The shift is evidenced by developments such as collaborative production and the sharing economy. Mason attributes this economic transformation to advances in information technology, particularly the global networks of people and ideas that…
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Capital and Its Alternatives

Capital and Its Alternatives

Analyses, S A Hamed Hosseini
Why capital in 21st century needs a better definition? By S A Hamed Hosseini David Harvey in his short criticism of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in 21 Century, rightfully questions Piketty’s definition of ‘capital’ as one of his central difficulties: “Capital is a process not a thing. It is a process of circulation in which money is used to make more money often, but not exclusively through the exploitation of labor power. Piketty defines capital as the stock of all assets held by private individuals, corporations and governments that can be traded in the market no matter whether these assets are being used or not. This includes land, real estate and intellectual property rights as well as my art and jewelry collection. How to determine the value of all of these…
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