Saturday, 16 July 2011

The cost of renting and the cost of living

I recently wrote an article for the website, openDemocracy. It's a bit more academically rigorous (well, quite a lot more actually) than much of what I write on my blog, but I'm quite happy with it. The subject is a look at how to make hardship a little less hard, and whether we should increase wages for poor people, or do something to reduce the rents that poor people pay out to landlords... my argument is that reducing rents is by some way the more meaningful of the two approaches, see what you think.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Crime fighting and Revolution via smartphone

The internet and its associated technology continues to take steps towards making the world a better place. Already this year we have witnessed Vodafone single-handedly toppling Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, whilst Twitter, Facebook and live blogging have enabled western comrades to experience freedom fighting (sic) in the Libyan desert from the safety of their desks.

Online heroics reached new heights this week, however, when an intrepid and innovative member of the public, seeing two youths stealing a bicycle outside a busy pub, took a photo of the theft using their smartphone. The photo has since been circulated through Twitter, a perfect example of how modern technology allows us to pool our collective will into an unstoppable, but also convenient, social force.

With the image of the thieves now viewed by some tens of thousand of people, it is plain to see that this approach to crime fighting, using smart phones and Twitter, works much better than old-fashioned, twentieth-century methods, which included an archaic practice known as 'stopping it' or 'doing something' when faced by somebody stealing a bicycle right in front of you.

With great excitement we await the next contribution of smart phones to social justice.

The stolen bicycle remains stolen.

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