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Friday, October 11, 2013

Compensation for Slavery: For Real, Maybe

At long last, a group of 14 Caribbean states have recently filed a law suit demanding compensation for slavery. This brings up a truly fascinating set of questions regarding the possibility of accounting for the crimes against humanity, and the damages--economic, political, cultural and social--caused by the brutality inflicted upon peoples of the Global South by European imperial powers as part of colonialism and after the end of the colonial era. This is a truly significant issue, and one that goes directly to the possibility of a just, fair and equitable world.

As I argued it in a paper a few years ago, I am actually quite convinced that a global redistributive system is possible, and the only reason we don't have one is that humankind has not had the fight that needs to happen in order for it to be established. That is the truly Polányian challenge for the world today.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Hawk No More

According to a brief article on the online version of the Hungarian weekly hvg, Sólyom Airways, a venture designed to privatize the flight rights of the now-defunct Malév Hungarian Airlines via "Middle Eastern" investment, stopped paying its bills, including the second month's salaries of its employees. The reason: investor disinterest.

The venture was shrouded in secrecy, and the numerous, confident announcements on part of its management about its projected, spectacular growth were met with widespread skepticism. Its CEOs included a former official in the air traffic regulation branch of the government and several businessmen who were facing a series of charges for various economic crimes. The "airline" had some basic operating license for small craft traffic, and never managed to obtain the necessary permits for passenger flights from the Hungarian authorities. Management accuse the authorities of dragging their feet.

According to the daily Népszabadság, management knew that the planned investment deal fell through as early as August, 2013, (i.e., at the time when they hired the employees whom they are unable to pay now--that is, a month later).

cover page of the book

cover page of the book
image used for the cover design by Anannya Dasgupta