Feeding the reptile or promoting the human in us: why political communication is not morally neutral, and how to improve it (2/2)

(Figure: Media Respect Cube, displaying the level of respect of the receiver, per technical feature of the communication medium. The higher the score, the higher the respect. Author: Sergio Arbarviro, under licence Creative Commons)

(Follows the previous post)

Regarding now the technical medium, I would have the following considerations:

Continue reading “Feeding the reptile or promoting the human in us: why political communication is not morally neutral, and how to improve it (2/2)”

Feeding the reptile or promoting the human in us: why political communication is not morally neutral, and how to improve it (1/2)

Social medium Facebook and “big data” firm Cambridge Analytica have broken the news in March 2018 when their methods of political manipulation in the electoral campaign of Donald Trump in 2016 were made public. Why is it that the revelations on the Facebook – Cambridge Analytica affair appear morally so unacceptable?

I would like here to suggest a method, based on the well-established layer-based model of the human brain, to trace a moral distinction between tools used in political communication.

Continue reading “Feeding the reptile or promoting the human in us: why political communication is not morally neutral, and how to improve it (1/2)”

The shareholders aren’t any more the most legitimate to govern companies

Source of data in the image: World Bank, stocks traded, turnover ratio of traded shares.

When asked about who should govern companies, the most obvious answer seems to be: the shareholders. And the reason: because they are the owners. Period. Debate closed. Recent discussions about the increased role of other stakeholders, be they the workers, representatives of external interests such as those of the environment or of suppliers, are seen like nice add-ons, little more than an inflexion to a generally valid rule.

I disagree, and believe that the role of the shareholders in the governance of companies should be radically reconsidered.

Continue reading “The shareholders aren’t any more the most legitimate to govern companies”

State of Union speech: time for trans-national democracy, at last?

In his “State of the Union” speech of 13 September 2017, President of the Commission Jean-Claude Juncker expressed his “sympathy” for the idea of trans-national lists in the elections to the European Parliament. This is a courageous move, knowing the reluctance – to say the least – of many nationally-elected politicians towards a proposal that would make them obsolete overnight.

I consider Jean-Claude Juncker to be fundamentally right. The only alternative to populism is trans-national democracy, not the global ploutocracy that we currently are heading towards.

Continue reading “State of Union speech: time for trans-national democracy, at last?”

Why we need more regulation, not less

Everybody complains about regulation. Regulation is criticised as a restriction of one’s freedom, of one’s capacity to innovate and exploit new opportunities. This discourse is frequent among ordinary citizens. It is a leitmotiv of businesses of all sizes. The last avatar of this regulation-bashing trend is the REFIT programme of the European Union, based on the work of the “High Level Group on Administrative Burdens” chaired by former conservative (CSU) Bavarian Minister-President Edmund Stoiber (final report “Cutting red tape in Europe”, July 2014, available here).

Continue reading “Why we need more regulation, not less”

A cause of “populism”: the mismatch between the scale of political action and that of underlying phenomena

Let’s take “populists” seriously. Let’s listen to them. They want to “take control back”. They feel that democratic institutions at national scale have lost the capacity to act on the collective future of the population.  My argument is: they are right in this statement – but wrong in their solutions.

What are the important political decisions? Those addressing large-scale, long-term issues, such as global warming, international trade, or the taxation of multi-national corporations. Where are they taken? In the secrecy and unaccountability of inter-governmental negotiations, in the United Nations, bi-lateral negotiations of free trade agreements, in the G20 or in the Council of the European Union.

Continue reading “A cause of “populism”: the mismatch between the scale of political action and that of underlying phenomena”