Friday, July 28, 2006

New Book - In Defense of Animals

Peter Singer (ed.)
In Defense of Animals: the second wave
Blackwell Publishing, 2006, 179.3 IND

RSA Lecture Program for autumn 2006 kicks off with a lecture from Peter Singer, Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University. Singer, who edits this pro-animal rights text, is a leading thinker in the field and has been described as 'the world's most controversial ethicist'. He has published books on the ethics of subjects as diverse as food production, allocation of health care resources, globalization, euthanasia, and George W. Bush. contains an entire catalogue of book excerpts, articles and reviews by Peter Singer, including an interview in early 2006 in which Singer states clearly his views on the ethics of animal rights.

Read an
Independent Online Review of In Defense of Animals.

Monday, July 17, 2006

RSA Lecture - Who owns the world?

Journalist, author and RSA fellow Kevin Cahill presented an RSA lecture in June 2006 entitled "Who owns the world?" The lecture precedes the publication of his forthcoming book of the same name (published in November 2006), and furthered his argument for land reform as a vital means of achieving more equal and economically prosperous societies.

Who owns the world? is highly significant as the first ever attempt to survey every piece of land on the planet. In a typically provocative lecture, Cahill made reference to how little attention has been paid to startlingly accurate primary sources such as the
Doomsday book in attempts to understand and research into land ownership in Britain. He also pointed to the inefficiency of land usage caused by the current system of land ownership, criticized the Campaign to Protect Rural England for presenting a false picture of the threat posed by planning and development to rural areas of Britain, and argued that land reform is key in the task of alleviating poverty in the developing world.

The Caledonia Centre for Rural development has an extensive
on-line information base for issues around land reform and ownership which contains, among other things, articles on UK agriculture subsidies, community based land reform, and urban land reform.

Kevin Cahill's book Who owns Britain? is available to borrow from the RSA Fellow's Library. Read a
New Statesman review of Who owns Britain?.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Government Report - Tackling homelessness

The issue of "homelessness" is directly related to a number of the RSA's manifesto Challenges . The forthcoming issue of the RSA Journal will contain an article on homelessness written by John Bird (pictured left), entrepreneur and co-creator of popular magazine "The Big Issue". The Big Issue is "the most successful social business in the UK", combining hard-hitting current affairs journalism with a social enterprise that provides homeless street vendors with the opportunity to work themselves out of poverty.

This contribution to the RSA Journal is a continuation of Bird's significant campaigning on issues of homelessness. Bird has been highly vocal in his criticisms of the way the British "homeless industry" has focused on treating the short-term symptoms rather than long term causes of homelessness. A
Guardian article summarizing a talk Bird gave to a Conservative Party organized summit on homelessness in 2005 provides an example of his message. In his forthcoming article for the RSA Journal, Bird turns his attention to the role of government in tackling homelessness, arguing that government provision for homeless people robs them of the opportunity to create meaning and direction in their own lives.

The Government's most recent report on homelessness is available to download:
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: Tackling homelessness - thirteenth report of session 2005 - 06.