In the fight for workers’ rights, there’s power in numbers. Not just masses of union members, but also masses of data. At least that’s what Fredrik Söderqvist, a trade union researcher in Sweden, is banking on with a new algorithm he’s developing to mine patterns to improve bargaining outcomes.
Söderqvist says his algorithm could help organizers anticipate when a company is vulnerable to bargaining, or likely to lay off workers. It could make major waves in Swedish labor; the white-collar, private sector union he works for, Unionen, has nearly 650,000 members — approximately 10 percent of Sweden’s working-age population.
In the years leading up to the 2008 financial crash, an influential subsection of the American political class became convinced that a major economic crisis was on its way. Serious Washington players like Robert Rubin, who served as head of Bill Clinton’s National Economic Council from 1993 to 1995, Peter Orszag, another heavyweight Clintonite economist, and Larry Summers, who served as Treasury Secretary between 1999 and 2001, all raised the alarm.
The crisis would have two causes, they claimed: the federal government’s mounting budget shortfall (the Bush administration was pouring billions of tax dollars into the War on Terror at the time) and America’s trade imbalance with China, which had grown exponentially over the past decade or so.
This weekend, the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP) meets in Glasgow for its annual conference.
After more than a decade in power at Holyrood – Scotland’s devolved parliament in Edinburgh – the party continues to defy all the established rules of mainstream politics.
Gordon Brown is back. Again. Earlier this week, to mark the tenth anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the former prime minister treated us all to another nakedly self-serving political intervention.
In two separate puff piece interviews – one with the Guardian and one with the BBC – he issued a series of stark claims and denunciations.
Gordon Brown’s first act after he became Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1997 was to grant the Bank of England operational independence.
The move was meant to signal a newfound pragmatism in Labour’s approach to the economy – no more reckless spending, no more excessive borrowing, no more outlandish leftwing demands for full employment. Instead, in stark contrast to the behaviour of previous Labour governments, the Blair-Brown administration would be a responsible steward of Britain’s national finances.
When Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez beat Joe Crowley in a headline-blitzing New York primary race last month, the first thing the Democratic Party establishment tried to do was minimise the significance of her victory.
“They made a choice in one district,” the House minority leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters the following day. “It is not to be viewed as something that stands for anything else.”
In the summer of 2010, the UK embarked on a strange economic experiment.
Britain, then in the grip of a post-crash recession, had just elected a new government led by the Conservative party. In his first budget, the Tory finance minister, George Osborne, reeled-off a litany of cuts: public sector pay would be frozen, pensions reformed, disability and housing benefits slashed, and a raft of progressive tax credits abolished. In total, more than £30bn ($50bn CAD) would be stripped from state expenditure every year until 2015.