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Author: Social Europe Journal

“The Discourse We Need And The Role of Trade Unions” by Michael Higgins

Michael Higgins Your movement with over 700,000 members in over 40 affiliated unions, is Ireland’s largest civic society body. Your contribution to the evolution of politics, economic and society in every part of this island has been essential and it has been emancipatory in so many ways. I am also pleased to be speaking here in Belfast because I am conscious of the importance of this city, Belfast, to the wider Irish and UK labour movement. With Manchester, it emerged as one of the earliest industrial cities in which a trade union movement would emerge, face obstacles, and succeed...

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“Brexit In Reverse?” by George Soros

George Soros Economic reality is beginning to catch up with the false hopes of many Britons. One year ago, when a slim majority voted for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, they believed the promises of the popular press, and of the politicians who backed the Leave campaign, that Brexit would not reduce their living standards. Indeed, in the year since, they have managed to maintain those standards by running up household debt. This worked for a while, because the increase in household consumption stimulated the economy. But the moment of truth for the UK economy is fast...

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“Dispelling Creative Myths On Lower Employment Protection” by Agnieszka Piasna and Martin Myant

Agnieszka Piasna In the years since the 2008 crisis, 229 employment protection reforms have been imposed across EU member states (see here). There has been a strong bias in favour of decreasing employment protection, even to a remarkable extent in some countries. The main argument for these reforms has been that making dismissals easier would encourage employers to hire workers on permanent contracts, therefore reducing unemployment and labour market segmentation. However, there is no logical reason why this should be the case. Reduced employment protection could just as plausibly lead to more dismissals and a less secure labour force,...

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“Brexit Talks Should Be Postponed” by Stephany Griffith-Jones

Stephany Griffith-Jones The UK government has agreed with its EU partners to start Brexit negotiations today (June 19), with an all-day timetable starting at 0900 GMT and ending at around 1700; David Davis, Brexit secretary, will be across the table from Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator. But these negotiations should be postponed and the UK government should request such a postponement. After the elections, the current Government has no majority. It is still negotiating support from the Northern Irish conservative Democratic Unionist Party  to get support for its legislative program. As a result, the Queen’s speech, which announces...

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“Understanding The Digital Revolution And What It Means” by Henning Meyer

Henning Meyer The digital revolution, used here as shorthand for broader technological change, is one of today’s most hotly debated topics in politics, economics and business. It makes politicians wary about which preparatory policies to pursue, economists ponder productivity increases and trade unions think about the future of work. We are undoubtedly faced with large-scale disruptions in many areas that require adjustments. Most people, however, are struggling to get a firm grip on the subject. They ask: what does this all mean for me and the organisations I am part of? What does technological change mean for my job?...

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“Automation, Job Loss, And The Welfare State” by Susan Lund

With the capabilities of artificial intelligence quickly expanding and middle class jobs under threat of being automated, will the government need to step in to pick up the slack of a job market hollowed out by machines? Chaired by Susan Lund, experts explore the potential for mass job loss created by technological advances and, in turn, the possible need for a large welfare state to care for an increasingly underemployed...

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“The Human Economy: Creating Decent Livelihoods In Digital Capitalism” by Marc Saxer

Marc Saxer Ever since the Second Industrial Revolution petered out, global capitalism has faced a demand crisis. If you think that all we need now is to stop austerity and spend our way out of the crisis, think again. Over the past few decades, developed economies were kept alive through artificially created demand. The inflation of the 1970s, the public debt of the 1980s, the private debt of the 1990s and the quantitative easing of the 2000s were all strategies to inject future resources for present consumption. Even if the dystopian vision of a world without work does not...

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“Choosing An Ambitious Social Europe Via A Euro-dividend” by Francois Denuit

Francois Denuit One month ago, following a public consultation involving more than 16,500 participants drawn from civil society, the European Commission made public its reflection on the social dimension of the European Union (EU) and adopted a recommendation in favour of a “European pillar of social rights”. While we should applaud the willingness of the institution and its president, Jean-Claude Juncker, to re-engage with its right of initiative in social affairs, this proposal must be accompanied by other initiatives if the Commission hopes to meet its aim of a “social triple A” for the EU. A systematic support for...

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