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Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

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The Case for a Second EU Referendum is now compelling

Even if, following the departures of David Davis and Boris Johnson (and a minor slew of lesser Tories), Theresa May can impose a workable degree of collective responsibility on her new-look Cabinet….even if, as reported by BBC News (2018b), the 1922 Committee has yet to receive the full 48 letters from MPs required to trigger a ‘no confidence’ vote in her as leader of the Conservatives…even if there are no more big name resignations…the chances of May’s compromise fudge, supposedly accepted by all Cabinet members at Chequers last Friday (6 August), forming a viable starting point for negotiating the UK’s future relationship with the European Union are minimal. As Kirsty Hughes of the Scottish Centre for European Relations explained to The National’s Emer O’Toole: “This is the cherry picking that the EU has made clear will not be allowed to proceed…[the EU] will not go for such cherry-picking of the single market and the four freedoms.” The UK leaving the EU with no trade deal will indeed hurt companies in a number of member states. However, as been widely and consistently reported – eg: Paul Withers in the Daily Express – for Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel, the integrity of the single market and the… Read More

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How the Plutocrats are waging War on the Bureaucrats… #2

PART 2 Tax obligations and ‘offshoring’ Besides intensely disliking bodies like the European Union due to the laws and regulations they impose on issues like consumer rights, health & safety and worker’s rights, the Plutocracy and the Elite have another very real reason to want to see such bodies severely emasculated if not actually broken up: tax. ‘Offshoring’, in the words of John Urry (2013), “involves moving resources, practices, peoples and monies from one national territory to another but hiding them within  secrecy jurisdictions as they move  through routes wholly or partly hidden from view. Offshoring involves evading rules, laws, taxes, regulations or norms. It is all about rule-breaking, getting around rules in ways that are illegal, or go against the spirit of the law, or which use laws in one jurisdiction to undermine laws in another. Offshore worlds are full of secrets and lies.” Secrecy jurisdictions – or ‘treasure islands’ as Nicholas Shaxson (2011) terms them – are tax havens which provide varying degrees of secrecy – ie: freedom from disclosure. This is to attract foreign individuals who wish to hide assets or income to avoid or reduce taxes in the home tax jurisdiction. Relevant laws and approaches to the… Read More

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How the Plutocrats are waging War on the Bureaucrats…

11 July 2017 In seeking to explain the 2016 EU referendum result, the election of Donald Trump to the US presidency and the rise of white working class right-wing nationalistic populism in general across much of Europe, many commentators, such as Rob Ford (2016) in The Observer, have portrayed these things as consequences of the relentless growth of globalisation. As the transnational corporations have created a New International Division of Labour pitching their operational bases where labour is cheapest – eg; North Africa, South-East Asia – so the traditional white working classes in the West have become the ‘left-behind’. As explored in Underclass: the Excreta of Capitalism and So the Turkeys did vote for Christmas?!?, the resultant competition for the jobs there are left make them particularly susceptible to racism, xenophobia and anti-immigration sentiment. For the PURPLE vMEME, with its safety-in-belonging need threatened by those not-of-our-tribe, this is a not-unnatural reaction. See: Is Racism Natural..? There is a complexity in this scenario, though, that is not always acknowledged – particularly in the way the mainstream media often tell the story. At the time of writing, as widely reported – eg: Mehreen Khan in the Financial Times – the UK has its lowest unemployment rate… Read More

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Breaking-Up Britain needs a National MeshWORK

It’s to be seriously hoped that Theresa May doesn’t get the landslide victory on 8 June that was initially predicted – and which she clearly aimed for in calling a snap general election on 18 April. As discussed in 8 June: Time for a Change!, she clearly thought she would be able to crush a weak and ineffectual opposition. To her chagrin though, Jeremy Corbyn, a veteran speaker at  public rallies, has proved a robust and highly effective on-the-stump campaigner. Although greatly under-reported in the largely right-wing dominated mainstream media, he has consistently pulled crowds in their thousands to his campaign events. In spite of the under-reporting, there has been enough grassroots and social media activity to get at least some wider attention to them. In comparison Mays’ carefully stage-managed appearances before mere handfuls of Tory activists would have seemed pitiful if not for ‘doctoring’ of the photos to make the audience seem that much larger. (See the examples below.) Slowly but surely Labour have closed the gap on the Tories in the opinion polls. Whether they can close it enough by 8 June – assuming, of course, that the polls are reasonably accurate –  is a different matter. The third factor in all of this is… Read More

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Modernisation Theory vs Stratified Democracy #2

PART 2 Slavery and colonialism – the origins of Dependency As a Marxist, Frank has no hesitation in rooting dependency in the twin ‘evils’ of colonialism and Capitalism. Between 1650 and 1900 European powers, with Britain in the lead, used their superior naval and military technology to conquer and colonise many parts of the world. Paul Harrison (1990) argues that the principal result of the European empires was the creation of a global economy on European terms and the beginnings of the world capitalist system…. Colonies were primarily exploited for their cheap food, raw materials and labour – eg; Britain’s virtual monopoly over cotton benefited expansion of the Lancashire and Yorkshire textile industries. It’s worth noting that cheap labour also included slavery. From 1650 to 1850 some 9 million Africans (between the ages of 15 and 35) were shipped across the Atlantic to work as slaves on cotton, sugar and tobacco plantations in America and the West Indies, owned mainly by British settlers. The British slave-traders and the plantation owners made huge profits. The most fertile land was appropriated for growing ‘cash crops’ for export to the West. New markets in the colonies were created for manufactured goods from the industrial… Read More

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Putin, Trump and the Endgame for Syria

A  couple of years back I stopped writing about Syria. It wasn’t a deliberate decision. It just seemed to happen. The routine nature of the horrific atrocities committed with relative abandon by both sides, with advantage seeming to swing first one way and then the other and then the other and then the other yet again seemed endless and wearisome. Everything that could be said seemed to have been said…and yet still it went on. Meanwhile, the Crimea, the Ukraine, the Scottish independence referendum, the Peshawar Massacre, Charlie Hebdo and other UnIsamic State atrocities, Jeremy Corbyn, the Brexit referendum, Jeremy Corbyn (again!), Donald Trump…. So many other things have happened in those 2-3 years and so many of them ‘closer to home’…and, as the apocryphal ‘McClurg’s Law’ postulates: the more something is closer to you (racially, nationalistically, culturally), the more newsworthy it is (Stephen Moore, Steve Chapman & Dave Aiken, 2009). Thus, it is understandable (in some senses, at least) that Syria went ‘off the radar’ at times not only for myself but for many other ‘thinkers’ and much of the Western media. Now, though, as what seems to be the final, heartbreaking agonies of Aleppo are so grim and apparently so decisive, they actually break through the news barrier and Syria becomes… Read More

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What is Globalisation? #2

PART 2 New International Division of Labour The so-called ‘old international division of labour’ reflected the colonial and immediate post-colonial realities that the industrialised societies of the West produced manufactured goods while the rest of the world tended to produce one or 2 primary products per country. However, the Neo-Marxists Folker Fröbel, Jürgen Heinrichs & Otto Kreye (1980) state that, from the 1970s onwards, there have been substantial movements of industrial capital from the ‘advanced’ industrialised world to the developing world. This movement has been driven by rising labour costs and high levels of industrial conflict in the West which reduced the profitability of transnational corporations.  With globalisation, the tendency is for the Western industrial societies to export capital and expertise while poor countries provide cheap labour for manufacturing. According to Dawlabani, this destruction of homeland jobs in the West is justified by economists and financial  leaders via Joseph Schumpeter’s (1942) theory of Creative Destruction. In this paradigm, in a free market entrepreneurs will always introduce innovation which is disruptive to the current economic model but which improves productivity and, thus, economic growth. The cost to those impacted by the ‘destruction’ is not important. Thus, manufacturing is outsourced to low wage countries in… Read More

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Modernisation Theory vs Stratified Democracy

Updated: 10 January 2017 It’s rather astounding that, nearly 60 years after Walt Rostow (1960) published ‘The Stages of Economic Growth: a Non-Communist Manifesto’, how much Rostow’s ideas – Modernisation Theory – still shape Western foreign policy – and the United States’ attitudes in particular. In those nearly 60 years that have seen, first, the end of the European empires and, then, the demise of Communism as a political and economic alternative to Capitalism, Rostow’s ideas have almost universally failed to deliver the wealth and prosperity to the developing nations that they promised. Large parts of the world in which Rostow’s ideas have been applied – ‘Black Africa’, in particular – are mired in poverty and debt…and all too often internecine warfare – with the attempts to implement Modernisation Theory a major causal factor. Not only that but, astonishingly, Rostow’s ideas underpin the Americans’ lack of understanding and application of inappropriate intervention strategies in Iraq and Afghanistan and their wholly-misguided approach to the ‘Arab Spring’ revolutions, with all the bloody consequences that have entailed during the early years of the 21st Century. Rostow’s ideas have been heavily criticised from Marxist perspectives, most notably Andre Gunder Frank’s Dependency Theory (1971) and Immanuel Wallerstein’s World Systems Theory… Read More

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What is Globalisation?

Relaunched: 13 December 2016 “Despite huge differences in distance, upbringing and social context, many of us now listen to the same music, read the same books and watch the same films and television. Youth in Soweto listen to LA rap; viewers in southern China’s Guandong province watch pirated tapes of Jackie Chan; Sri Lankan refugee kids in Toronto come home from school to settle down in front of Tamil movies rented from the local grocery store. Teenagers and their young siblings in almost every place on earth know Bart and Lisa Simpson. I can sit at my home computer downloading the latest comminqués from Mexico’s indigenous Zapatista rebels and out of the corner of my eye watch the World Cup live from Korea on the TV in the next room.” Peter Steven (2004, p16-17) is describing the communication aspect of globalisation. Alan Cochrane & Kathy Pain (2000) describe other aspects:- “Drugs, crime, sex, disease, people, ideas, images, news, information, entertainment, pollution, goods and money now all travel the globe. They are crossing national boundaries and connecting the world on an unprecedented scale and with previously unimaginable speed. The lives of ordinary people everywhere in the world seem increasingly to be shaped by events,… Read More

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Is Collectivism being overtaken by Individualism?

Updated: 9 November 2016 It’s been a given in cross-cultural research in the behavioural sciences that Individualism has increasingly dominated in the West since at least the end of World War II while the rest of the world has tended to be collectivistic. In the context of the early 21st Century, this dichotomy provokes 2 key questions:- Was it ever as simple as: West, individualistic; rest of the world, collectivistic – and, if so, how did it get to be so? Is Collectivism being overtaken by Individualism – and, if so, what are the driving factors? Geert Hofstede, Gert Jan Hofstede & Michael Minkov (2010) define Individualism as “the degree to which individuals are integrated into groups”. In individualistic societies, the stress is put on personal achievements and individual rights. People are expected to stand up for themselves and their immediate family, and to choose their own affiliations. By contrast, in collectivistic societies, individuals are seen to act predominantly as members of a lifelong and cohesive group or organisation. People have large extended families which provide safety in exchange for unquestioning loyalty. Individualism, according to Ellen Meiksins Wood (1973), is the moral stance, political philosophy, ideology or social outlook that emphasises the… Read More

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