When talking about the internet, we like to assume it is a powerful utility that enhances democracy. But instead of improving our understanding and informing our political choices, social networks and social media actually narrows the debate and closes down free speech. Electorates across the world are being manipulated by tech monopolies that are collating our data and using it to appeal to our prejudices. In short, digital is killing democracy. We went to the Netherlands to meet André Krouwel, a political scientist who thinks differently about the power and influence of social media.
Universal Basic Income (UBI) is one of those ideas that has divided public opinion into two opposing camps: Those who think it would result in disaster, as humans cannot be trusted. The other camp feels that a UBI would be liberating, allowing people to concentrate on the important things in life, not just earning a living. Rutger Bregman is a writer, widely acclaimed for his book, Utopia for Realists. In it, he champions Universal Basic Income and a 15 hour work week. So, we went to the Netherlands to ask him if the time for these ideas has arrived.
As we turn towards our faiths this Christmas and Hanukkah in an attempt to make sense of the year that was, economist Professor Michael Hudson says we have been interpreting the bible incorrectly. And he has written an entire book about it. Rather than sex and sin, both Christianity and Judaism is preoccupied with debt. As it turns out, Jesus was a socialist activist who paid the ultimate price, fighting for the reinstatement of regular debt jubilees. In fact, the rulers of classical antiquity who cancelled their subjects’ debts were overthrown with disturbing frequency and tended not to live that long…
This week on Renegade Inc we talk to Jay Assad, Syrian refugee and founder of Startup Kitchen and The Refugee Company. Like many refugees, Assad is an entrepreneur who started a company and began employing people as soon as he arrived in Europe. He joins us to discuss the moment he made the decision to leave his homeland and family, making the crossing to begin a new life and business in the Netherlands, and what form refugee programs should take going forward to prevent a Europe that is divided against itself.
From the colonial-imperial wars of the early 19th century through to the 1950s in Syria and the early 1980s in Afghanistan and beyond, the objectives of the Western powers has always been the same – the drive for profits. In which we critique the role both the Right and the Left in Britain have, and are, playing in the propaganda process. Has there ever been an ethical dimension in relation to UK foreign policy in Syria and elsewhere?