A New Concept of Growth

More and more economists demand that GDP should not be the sole parameter for the calculation of economic growth. The alternatives? Bhutan's "Gross Happiness Product" or the well-being index of the British government. But what do these alternatives offer - and how can they be measured?

The Measure of Things

We generally use per-capita income to measure prosperity. In Germany, per-capita income has increased by the factor twenty between 1950 and 2001, and it has increased fivefold if corrected for inflation. But has our wealth increased as well? This question touches two overlapping problems: The meanin

In Search of Happiness

On the 25 November 2010, UK Prime Minister David Cameron and National Statistician Jil Matheson launched a national debate about measuring well-being in Britain. New measures are being developed after increasing understanding that Gross Domestic Product (GDP), while an important indicator of economi

Kicked Out of Paradise

There is evidence in the archaeological record going back 6000 years that indicates societies geared towards hyper-consumption and overextension have a tendency to dominate and overwhelm more 'conservationist minded' neighbors. Deliberate overextension that leads to risk and war can be a practical

An Internet Revolution?

The idea of a twitter-revolution is catching on -in Tunisia and Egypt. Social media are changing the information flow and help to bypass monopolies of power. But change and freedom are still fought for in the streets.

A Network of Networks, Unfazed by Censorship

It is hard to turn on the news these days without hearing a discussion of the role of social media in the recent events in the Middle East. But what our research tells us, first and foremost, is that we won’t have a clear picture of this until the dust settles, and the data is collected and analyz

On Twitter, An Energized Public Sphere

Some Western pundits have disparaged the importance of social media as a vehicle for reform in the Middle East and North Africa. However, observers must be careful not to examine the socio-political conditions in the region through a Western prism. Studies of social media’s penetrability and impac

Blood, Sweat and Tear Gas

All too often, Western pundits talk about digital activism in developing countries as if it were some phenomenon bestowed upon poor young foreigners by the moguls of Silicon Valley or worse, the US government. To listen to the recent speech of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, you’d think they were

Trapped in the Net

It’s not surprising that a disaffected population under a repressive or corrupt regime would find an ally in Twitter, Facebook, or other social networks. These online applications are now an essential part of how the world communicates, particularly on Smart Phones, which are fast becoming the pla

Europe’s Far Right

Right-wing parties have expanded their voting base throughout Europe: Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, Jimmie Akesson in Sweden, the FPÖ in Austria. What unites them is the abandonment of classical nationalism and the exploitation of popular fears.

Farewell To A World Of Black and White

9/11 was yesterday. Since the 9/11-attacks the antagonism between „we“ and „they“ has classified the debate on Islam: We, the West. They, the Muslims. Democracy and liberty here, jihad and oppression there. That confrontation used to be the foundation on which critics and right-wing demagogu

Us Against Them

Roma in France; Sami in Sweden; Albanians in Italy. The far right mobilises support through fear of ‘the Other’. Who that Other is depends upon time, place and contingency. Historically, fascism identified Communists and Jews, amongst others, as the enemy within, with horrifying results. Whilst

The Search For Meaning

Right-wing populist parties have recently gained new political momentum in Europe by mobilizing against the perceived ‘Islamization of Europe’ and promoting themselves as defenders of ‘Western European cultural identity’ against a culture they consider inferior, inassimilable and therefore d

Arms Trade and Export Regulations

Every year, Western nations export small arms and large weapons systems to countries around the globe. Tight export regulations are designed to prevent misuse and ethically questionable deals. But how effective can they be? The Libyan example demonstrates the limits of regulations and oversight.

With Our Arms Wide Open

When the European Union released its XII Report on control of exports of military technology and equipment on 13 January it received no media attention. The suppression of peaceful protesters with weapons supplied by EU states exposed the reality behind the 400-pages of data. EU arms exports to the

Arms Exports, A Menace of International Aid-Giving

Whenever acute, heavy conflict arise in a region, arms embargoes are usually established reasonably quick. Generally, this decision is heralded. Yet what about the time before and after such measures? Unfortunately, hypocrisy, double standards and business deals dominate this subject matter in Europ

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Most People Are Rationally Ignorant

What decisions would we make if we deliberated carefully about public policy? Alexander Görlach sat down with Stanford's James Fishkin to discuss deliberative democracy, parliamentary discontent, and the future of the two-party system.

A Violent Tea Party?

For many Europeans the massacre in Arizona is another evidence that political violence is spreading in the United States but this unfortunate event was the deed of a mentally ill person, not a political activist. There is no evidence of an increasing political extremism tearing America apart. Using

Passage to India

The US and Russia don't agree on much - but they are both keen to develop a good relationship with India. How do we know? Look at the arms trade.

"Cities are making us more human"

More than 50 percent of the world's population now live in cities – and there is no end of urbanization in sight. Harvard economist Edward Glaeser believes urbanization to be a solution to many unanswered problems: pollution, depression and a lack of creativity. He spoke with Lars Mensel about the

No Glove, No Love

Contrary to the mantras repeated by the press, HIV infections are not increasing. We need to move away from activist scare tactics and towards complex risk management strategies.

Perfection Is Not A Useful Concept

Nick Bostrom directs the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University. He talked with Martin Eiermann about existential risks, genetic enhancements and the importance of ethical discourses about technological progress.

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