Archive for October, 2016

The Rise of Sharing Economies and it’s Unseen Enclosures

October 31, 2016

airbnb1-600x400-1

With the rise of Sharing Economies (a socio-economic ecosystem built around the sharing of human, physical, and intellectual resources, The People Who Share), many thought that this could signal the end of oppressive capitalist structures where individuals are pressured into an endless consumer cycle of purchasing items that are seen as vital to the survival and enjoyment of modern day life. This new system was thought to bring people together to share the resources they have with those who are unable to obtain said resource. Airbnb and Uber are seen as the pioneers of the Sharing Economy as technology has enabled the rise of peer to peer exchanges. While many embrace the ethos of the Sharing Economy and allow individuals access to their resources, others are exploiting this new niche in the economy and accumulating resources that were once available to the general public for their own private interest.

London is currently facing a housing crises as home ownership is at a 30 year low due to the fact that housing prices are increasing at a rate that is unobtainable as salaries have remained stagnant since the recent financial crises. This means that there is an increased size of the population that relies on yearly rental contracts. For a family with children, this is highly unstable as there is always the threat of an increase of rent at the end of a contract that may force the family to relocate to somewhere that has more reasonable prices.

With the rise of popularity of flat sharing platforms like Airbnb, many see it as supplementing the housing crises for numerous reasons. As Airbnb becomes the preferred choice of holiday accommodation for young travellers, it contributes to the $23 billion dollar vacation rental market. With such a valuable market, many landlords are finding it more profitable to rent to short term vacation renters rather than long term renters from London. As more and more properties are turning into full time Airbnb rentals, it takes away properties that are usually rented to long term renters and creates a scarcity of rental properties with a growing number of people unable to find suitable housing in London.

Many of the listings are also listed for the whole property rather than a room in the host’s house as the platform originally intended. Not only is the entire property rented, many hosts have multiple listings on Airbnb which indicates that the host is a professional land lord who runs the property as a business and does not live in any of the properties which is in violation of most short-term rental laws. Rather than sharing a property to create more options for accommodation and creating a common to benefit the host and the renter, Airbnb is taking properties away from the local housing market to benefit the host while displacing residents.

Many of the full time professional landlords are also letting their properties illegally as there is a 90 day per year rental limit that doesn’t require special permits. They are also able to bypass many food, tax, health and fire safety regulations that are required for hotels by the British Hospitality Association. Many local communities are also feel the disruption from a full-time Airbnb rental from the increase of noise, traffic, and displacement of local residents.

The rise of the Sharing Economy created a common for people to share high value capital resources like houses and cars. Paradoxically, the creation of this common also created new enclosures as people  continue to exploite the capitalistic nature of this society.

South African Julius Malema on the Socio-Political Situation in S.A. and Africa

October 26, 2016

This video clip on youtube is very interesting for those who would like to know more about the ‘commons’ in South Africa and Africa generally and how these ‘commons’ have been turned into ‘#enclosures’ by the prevailing capitalist system. This discourse actually extends to reveal how these ‘commons’ re being invaded on an International scale and turned into some kind of International enclosures that benefit the foreign capitalists and a few priviledged political elite at the expense of the general populace of these African countries.

The concept of different forms of power is also clearly demonstrated in this scenario:-

  1. The visible, collective power (power with) of the minors to withhold their labour power at local level in their own created space
  2. The invisible power (power over) of the corporate bosses to influence the politicians at local, national and global levels in closed space.
  3. The invisible and visible power (power to and power over) of the politicians in closed spaces at local and national level to order the military to shoot striking minors.

It is a very interesting reading for ‘Sustainability and the Commons’ as well as ‘Development in the International Context’.

10,000 missing refugee children in Europe

October 21, 2016

A fellow classmate recommended a podcast series “The Inquiry” by BBC. They are compelling segments on world issues and I am hooked. A recent episode opened my eyes to something I had no previous knowledge of.  Why are 10,000 children missing in Europe? The facts were alarming. Unaccompanied children are flooding into Europe from Syria and other conflict zones. According to Save the Children, an estimated 26,000 unaccompanied children entered Europe last year
European governments are aware of this problem, however, many countries are simply turning a blind eye when they encounter unaccompanied minors, allowing them to cross through and move along to boarders. These children are at risk for trafficking and being targeted by criminal gangs (Guardian). Some children are in search for family they know to be in the UK and other EU countries. They take dangerous means to try to get to their family and many will die on this journey. Governments need to act now, providing safe passage of children to get to their families and ensuring they are protected and not overlooked. For those that don’t have families in the EU, they should be welcomed by countries and placed into the foster care system. Communities are coming together forming advocacy groups that are campaigning for refugee children and their human rights. CitizensUK

refugees

Corruption at its best

October 19, 2016

I will continue to highlight the plight and suffering of many Zimbabwean children who cannot afford school fees as less as $5/term. What astonishes me most is the level of corruption in high offices who are determined to line their pockets using state funds that they quire through manipulation and corruption.This is sheer evil.The ruling party is even boasting that they will not be made accountable for the misuse of state resources by anyone, and this to me is arrogance.

Many of these children lost both parents to HIV and AIDS related diseases and well wishers are taking care of most of them, and for those that have no one end up living in the streets and feeding from the bins; that is if anyone throws some left over food in the bin.

The well wishers have no resources to look after their own children let alone an added number of orphans. It is so sad that in this century, people have no compassion over the less disadvantaged.God bless Zimbabwe.download-18download-19

Closing an eye to the suffering orphans of zimbabwean children; what has happened to compassion?

October 19, 2016

Closing an eye to the suffering orphans of zimbabwean children; what has happened to compassion?

October 12, 2016

Girl in Zambia

The Social Commons: Cuts in higher education means more debt for students and families

October 11, 2016

Going to college is the American dream and a dream for many young people across the world. We are told that you have to get a university degree to find a decent good job because this will give you more opportunity and an easier life. Today, more than ever, it is almost always required one has a bachelor’s degree for an entry level job. The brutal reality that most people face six months after graduation is a letter in the mail stating hat it’s time to begin repaying your student loans. Government spending has been slashed and now it’s up to student’s to finance their education. Student debt has been on my mind lately due to the fact that I have just began my graduate program which required me to take out a loan. There has been a lot of media attention on the problems and causes of this crisis; increases in tuition, grants that once existed for low income students are now turned into loans,  government funding cut drastically, this means that more financial responsibility is placed on students and families, interest rates raised on federal loans – 6%, caps on federal loans causing students to turn to private banks which have astronomical interest rates, close to 10%. Public universities are beginning to run like for profit entities in order to maintain competitiveness among the vast talent pool of students. This is a problem because they are expanding amenities offered to students to look more appealing and this could have an impact on tuition increases. The university I attended began building a state of the art student recreation center in my last year, sports facilities updated and expanded, and new football coaches were hired. I can imagine this sports facility was not a low ticket item. Was this where student’s increased tuition was going? Higher education is becoming unimaginable for young people today especially if they have to take out loans and so many American’s are left with close $80,000 in debt even if they attend a public university. One of the reasons I decided to study in the UK was because it was more affordable. But even the UK is now seeing government cuts in higher education and tuition increases thus students are finding themselves graduated with loads of debt.

Why has the cost of education increased so much? Is this crisis due to the fact that government funding has been cut in half? Are universities spending money on the wrong things like amenities such as a rock climbing walls and new sports arenas? Are politicians trying to privatize public universities? Why are federal interest rates so high? Is the cost of taking on debt worth it in the long run – will you be forever indebted to your loans or will you find your dream job and live happily ever after?

Alarming stats: Aperian Global states “the cost of a college education in the United States has increased by 500 percent since 1985.” In the UK, grants that were once given to low income students are now loans BBC News. 44 million Americans who share $1.3 trillion in outstanding student debt, more than 16.7 million — nearly 38% — have balances below $10,000, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. “If you look at the long-term trend, [college tuition] has been rising almost six percent above the rate of inflation,” said Ray Franke, a professor of education at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. 

 

debt