- 3 days ago
In many parts of the developing world, students face barriers to access academic materials. Libraries are often inadequate, and schools and universities are often unable to pay dues for expensive, specialized databases. For these students, the Internet is a vital tool and resource to access materials that are otherwise unavailable to them. Yet despite the opportunities enabled by the Internet, there are still major risks to accessing and sharing academic resources online.
A current situation in Colombia exemplifies this problem: a graduate student is facing four to eight years in prison for sharing an academic article on the Internet. He wasn’t making a personal profit from sharing the article—he simply intended for other scientists like him to be able to access and cite this scientific research.
Diego Gomez, 26, is a Master’s student who has been researching biodiversity and working on the conservation of reptiles and amphibians for several years in the South American region. Throughout his young career, the biggest obstacle he faced was in accessing academic resources that existed on global research databases. As a student at a small university in Armenia, the availability of research papers was so limited that he often had to save money to make trips to Bogotá to access biological collections, articles, and databases only available to him at natural history museums and libraries at the capital city. …
- 4 days ago
… Such an organization of industry can be accomplished only in a condition of freedom.
While government lasts commerce will continue to pillage and rob; to cause the young to look old; to furrow with care the brows of those who should be careless; and, while it fills the halls of some with splendor, it fills the cots of others with woe.
Away with the parent of monopoly — government — and all other monopolies will vanish like fog before the morning sun, and the re-organization of industries upon a sane and rational basis will proceed apace, and gaunt destitution be known no more in all the land.
- 1 week ago
"In terms of both basic economic and humanitarian considerations, completely free immigration and open borders are the soundest way forward for the United States and the whole world. Arbitrary, aggressive restrictions on people’s movement trample individual rights, divide families, and hurt the economy. It’s time to end the global apartheid of invented national boundaries and embrace the market anarchist solution of free movement, free exchange and free people."
- 2 weeks ago
Maybe they should be afraid of us.
Immigration, especially illegal immigration, leads to more crime, assert some anti-immigrant think tanks. A 2010 poll in Utah found that 62 percent of respondents “definitely” or “probably” agreed that illegal immigrants are responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime. A 2007 poll conducted on behalf of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice poll also reported that “62 percent of people polled believed illegal immigration is tied to rising crime.” The National Opinion Research Center’s 2000 General Social Survey asked whether “more immigrants cause higher crime rates.” Twenty-five percent of respondents said “very likely” and an additional 48 percent answered “somewhat likely.”
In fact, most research today finds that immigrants, including undocumented ones, are less prone to crime than are native-born Americans. A 2008 study by researchers at the Public Policy Institute of California found that “the foreign-born, who make up about 35 percent of the adult population in California, constitute only about 17 percent of the adult prison population.” They further noted, “U.S.-born adult men are incarcerated at a rate over two-and-a-half times greater than that of foreign-born men.” A 2010 report from the Berkeley Center for Criminal Justice observed that, between 1991 and 2008, when nearly 3.7 million foreign-born people, about a third of whom were “unauthorized” immigrants, moved to California, the state’s violent crime rate fell by 55 percent. The national violent crime rate also has fallen by more than 70 percent since its peak in 1993 even as the number of immigrants residing here swelled from 20 to 40 million over the past two decades. …
- 2 weeks ago
Copying is not theft. Monopoly is.
Real, tangible property rights result from natural scarcity and follow as a matter of course from the attempt to maintain occupancy of physical property that cannot be possessed by more than one person at a time. Intellectual property, on the other hand, creates artificial scarcity that does not naturally exist and can only be enforced by invading real, tangible property and preventing the owner from using it in ways that violate the supposed intellectual property rights of others …. Intellectual property also serves as a bulwark for planned obsolecence and high-overhead production.
Corporations rely on increasingly authoritarian legislation to capture value from propriety information…. Privileged, state-connected economic interests are becoming increasingly dependent on such controls. But unfortunately for them, such controls are becoming increasingly unenforceable thanks to Bittorrent, strong encryption, and proxy servers…. This has profoundly weakened corporate hierarchies in the information and entertainment industries. In this environment, the only thing standing between the old information and media dinosaurs and their total collapse is their so-called intellectual property rights.… Without intellectual property, in any industry where the basic production equipment is widely affordable, and bottom-up networking renders management obsolete, it is likely that self-managed, cooperative production will replace the old managerial hierarchies.
- 2 weeks ago
There’s no reason whatever for libertarians to surrender the concept of social justice to the statist left.
…So if Ehrenreich’s solutions are the wrong ones, what are the right ones? Here I would name two.
First: eliminate state intervention, which predictably works to benefit the politically-connected, not the poor. As I like to say, libertarianism is the proletarian revolution. Without all the taxes, fees, licenses, and regulations that disproportionately burden the poor, it would be much easier for them to start their own businesses rather than working for others. As for those who do still work for others, in the dynamically expanding economy that a rollback of state violence would bring, employers would have to compete much more vigorously for workers, thus making it much harder for employers to treat workers like crap. Economic growth would also make much higher wages possible, while competition would make those higher wages necessary. There would be other benefits as well; for example, Ehrenreich complains about the transportation costs borne by the working poor as a result of suburbanisation and economic segregation, but she never wonders whether zoning laws, highway subsidies, and other such government policies have anything to do with those problems.
Second: build worker solidarity. On the one hand, this means formal organisation, including unionisation – but I’m not talking about the prevailing model of “business unions,” conspiring to exclude lower-wage workers and jockeying for partnership with the corporate/government elite, but realunions, the old-fashioned kind, committed to the working class and not just union members, and interested in worker autonomy, not government patronage. (See Paul Buhle’s Taking Care of Business for a history of how pseudo-unions crowded out real ones, with government help.) On the other hand, it means helping to build a broader culture of workers standing up for one another and refusing to submit to humiliating treatment.
These two solutions are of course complementary; an expanded economy, greater competition among employers, and fewer legal restrictions on workers makes building solidarity easier, while at the same time increased solidarity can and should be part of a political movement fighting the state.
That’s the left-libertarian movement I’d like to see. And people keep telling me it doesn’t exist. Good lord! I know it doesn’t exist; why else would I be urging that it be brought into existence? …
- 2 weeks ago
"The “takers,” in short, are the people Romney spoke to at $1000/plate fundraisers, who pay Hillary Clinton several hundred grand for a speech reassuring them Wall Street’s not to blame. The entire Fortune 500, the entire billionaire plutocracy, depends on largesse from us makers — and they can only do it with government help."
- 2 weeks ago
"If this is not obvious to most Americans, it may be because the illegal status forces people without government papers to work in the shadows. That status also leaves them vulnerable to horrible exploitation by people who can threaten to call the immigration authorities if their commands are not obeyed. That appalling condition is reason enough to legalize the so-called illegals."
- 2 weeks ago
Among these various schools, nearly everyone agrees on the putative facts of American history; disagreements arise over frameworks of interpretation and over evaluation.
… Those schools of historiography that are responsible for refuting the popular myths, for revising the historical record in accordance with new evidence, are thus called revisionist in nature. In this preface, it is my intention to sketch briefly what I consider to be the nature and status of history as a field of investigation. I want especially to focus on the crucially important, yet neglected, relationship of philosophy to history. In the nineteenth century, practically every great philosopher made extensive use of history, particularly in fields such as social philosophy; and, every great historian was usually well acquainted with philosophy. Yet today historians and philosophers often seem to be completely cut off from one another. This is unfortunate, for history is vitally important to the philosopher, at the very least in illustrating his theories, in filling in the outlines of an abstract theory with concrete units and events. Similarly, philosophy is critically important to history in at least two interrelated ways: philosophy necessarily serves as a critic, and a guide, on two important levels – methodology, and evaluation. No one who deals with questions of responsibility, causality, or even the problem of “knowing” concrete events to which the human mind no longer has direct access through immediate awareness (as opposed to inference), can escape the importance of philosophy. …