Verband stadsontwikkeling en vervoer- en verkeerssysteem

trekschuit-tekening-ca1810Vervoer- en verkeerssystemen voor de onderlinge verbindingen tussen steden bestaan al heel lang. Deze waren en zijn nodig om staten te kunnen beheren dan wel te beheersen. Een heel oud voorbeeld vormen de heerbanen die dienden om het Romeinse Rijk bijeen te houden. Niet alleen gaat het daarbij om verkeersinfrastructuur zoals wegen en kanalen, maar ook om vervoerdiensten. Hierbij is bijvoorbeeld te denken aan diensten van postkoetsen en trekschuiten. In de negentiende eeuw kwamen daar de spoorwegen bij. Binnen de steden had in het verleden de verkeersinfrastructuur hoofdzakelijk een ontsluitings- en verblijfsfunctie. Opstallen en terreinen moesten voor voetgangers, rijtuigen en karren met goederen bereikbaar zijn, maar er was geen noodzaak binnen de steden lange afstanden snel te kunnen overbruggen. Afgezien van wat (huur)rijtuigen gingen nagenoeg als verplaatsingen van personen te voet.
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Telkens weer op zoek. In de sporen van de Recherche van Proust

Marcel Proust 1871 – 1922
Illstr. Ingrid Bouws

De grote werken uit de Modernistische periode nodigen wellicht des te meer uit tot navolging en imitatie omdat ze zelf vaak variaties zijn op oudere kunstwerken. Ulysses en De dood van Vergilius zijn sprekende voorbeelden die bewijzen dat mimicry en citationisme blijkbaar niet voorbehouden zijn voor een postmoderne aanpak. In deze bijdrage willen we aantonen dat het inhaken op beroemde voorbeelden om deze op eigen wijze te verwerken ook tot een soort ‘vormdwang’ kan leiden (of sterker gezegd – met een lacaniaanse ondertoon – dat deze dwang inherent is aan zo’n onderneming). In ons geval zal het daarbij – in het kader van de voorliggende bundel – vooral gaan om aan te tonen dat kunstwerken die tijdens de laatste decennia als voorbeeld, oriëntatiebron of uitgangspunt Op zoek naar de verloren tijd van Marcel Proust hebben gekozen, als vanzelfsprekend karaktertrekken van het modernisme hebben overgenomen. Uiteraard gaat het hier om complexere processen dan alleen vormdwang, zoals bijvoorbeeld een ‘terugkeer naar het modernisme’ of, genuanceerder, een innige verstrengeling van modernistische en postmoderne componenten.

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The Return of the Underground Retail Cannabis Market?

Attitudes of Dutch coffeeshop owners and cannabis users to the proposed ‘cannabis ID’ and the consequences they expect.

The sale of cannabis to persons aged 18 or older is permitted in the Netherlands under certain conditions in commercial establishments called coffeeshops. The present Dutch government has proposed that access to coffeeshops be restricted to persons holding a cannabis ID, a mandatory membership card known colloquially as a ‘weed pass’ (wietpas). Recent interviews with 66 Amsterdam coffeeshop owners reveal that they expect mainly detrimental effects from the proposed measure. In particular, they predict customer resistance to compulsory registration, the discriminatory exclusion of tourists and other non-members, and a resurgence of cannabis street dealing. Two surveys of cannabis users (in a local sample of 1214 Amsterdam coffeeshop customers and a nationwide sample of 1049 last-month users) confirmed that many, but not all, users would oppose registration. The majority of respondents intended to look for other suppliers or to grow their own marijuana if the cannabis ID becomes law. Surprisingly, about one in ten said they would stop smoking cannabis.
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Ireland and the European Economic and Monetary Union

“A theory of capitalism that recognises the pluralist, multi-dimensional and internally conflicted nature of social systems restores politics to the central place it deserves, in contrast to efficiency theories in which politics is about no more than the instrumental problem of defining and implementing the most efficient institutions for the essentially technocratic task of coordination” (Wolfgang Streeck, 2010)

The financial crisis has called into question the capacity of national sovereign democratic states to reconcile the distributional tensions that emerge from capitalist market expansion. This problem has become particularly acute for countries of the Eurozone (De Grauwe, 2010, 2011). They cannot devalue their currencies and must adjust their economies through IMF-ECB induced structural reforms in labour, wage and fiscal policy. The problem of coordinating wage, fiscal and monetary policy in the interest of employment and economic performance, or capital accumulation, is not new. It was central to the construction of different variants of national incomes policies in European political economies during the neo-corporatist Keynesian era.

But how did domestic political actors respond to the adjustment constraints of globalised variants of capitalism during the neoliberal era, and what has been the trajectory of institutional change in European industrial relations and welfare regimes? This question guides the theoretical dimension of my PhD The Rise and Fall of Irish Social Partnership – The Political Economy of Institutional Change in European Varieties of Capitalism (2012) which is grounded on an argument that the politics of democratic capitalist change can be traced to the disorganisation and flexibilisation of institutions that enable labour to constrain capital. The decline in trade union strength and an increase in business power underpins the public policy paradigm shift from Keynesianism to neoliberalism across Europe. The role of the state in conditioning this pattern, and the diverse trajectory of change it invoked, is central to the study of comparative political economy. National labour market regulations have been flexibilised and the problem of employment resolved either through supply side reforms aimed at activation or low wage employment (Hall, 2011).

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From Big Brother to Radical Decentralization

In the past centuries governing has become more centralized, out of necessity and because it made the most sense. The state and its organizations, national as well as international, will not disappear as sources of power and government. However, they can no longer govern alone.

Many things will have to be radically re-organized. Districts organize their own waste collection and every home is energy supplier. The adage for the next decennium will be: Radical Decentralization.

Sun and waste

Governed from Beijing and in its well-known particular brand of go getting, China is creating giant fields full of solar panels in the Gobi desert. The European Union has found the spirit after the accession of 10 new countries in 2004 and is getting ready to accept the rest of former Yugoslavia (Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Macedonia) after the accession of Slovenia. The role of centralized government is far from played out. And yet a different trend marks the second decennium of this century: Radical decentralization, meaning organizing general interest issues on a micro scale. The size of the scale varies, and ends with the individual. Currently, individualism is not a popular term and brings to mind images of self-enriching bankers. That is one side of the coin. Thanks to the high level of education of for instance Western societies and ongoing technological advancements, we are more than ever capable of shaping our own lives, which creates great opportunities for the individual as well as for society at large. It does require changes from bureaucrats and administrators. In the next decade they will either have to adjust or make room for new ones.

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Policy Games for Strategic Management

In the life of each organization, situations arise that are completely new to the history of the organization. These situations are complex, surprising, urgent, inspiring, threatening and sometimes enduring. Leadership is forced to bring the organization into uncharted territory. Facing these situations, and often after a period of muddling through in a business-as-usual way, leadership has to recognize that a breakthrough response will only emerge from a previously unexplored (and, for this organization, a revolutionary) strategy process. Think about the bewilderment in a high-tech company when an emerging technology from a competitor threatens the whole existence of their organization.

The California energy crisis in 2002 is another example: by initially oversimplifying the problem and failing to identify and evaluate major alternatives, the state found itself in a crisis of its own making. If there had been proper communication about this complex system among all interested parties (e.g. suppliers, regulatory agencies, distributors, and consumers), it is unlikely that the decisions made would have proven so unsatisfactory. Yet another instance is the dilemma faced by a nationalized railway or postal service – is deregulation an opportunity or a threat? Should they lobby against adoption of a new deregulation law, or pursue it as a great opportunity?

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