Thursday, December 21, 2006

New book - World Changing

Alex Steffen (ed.)
Worldchanging: a user's guide for the 21st century
Abrams, 2006, 333.7 WOR

Worldchanging began with the belief "That the motive, means and opportunity for profound positive change are already present. That another world is not just possible, it's here. We only need to put the pieces together".

From this simple premise has developed a dynamic not for profit organisation that provides a sophisticated web resource for anyone interested in the ways technology, organisation and collective action can change the world for the better. Having won much critical acclaim as a blog, and demonstrating the great power and usefulness of blogging as a developing medium, has been described by science fiction author
Bruce Sterling as "The most important web site on the planet".

Browse the website or borrow the book from the
RSA Library, and remember, "Changing the world is a team sport."

Friday, December 15, 2006

New book - The Future of Socialism

Andy Crosland
The Future of Socialism
Constable, 2006, 320.531 CRO

First published in 1956, the latest edition of
Andy Crosland's book The Future of socialism boldly declares itself to be "the book that changed the face of British politics".

Despite being written so long before the 'new labour' movement, Crosland, who was a labour MP, was what could be called a revisionist socialist and so held views that posed significant challenges to what many people would consider the traditional 'old labour' values. The Future of socialism is so clearly relevant to the new labour movement that Gordon Brown writes the forward to the latest edition of the book, and Roy Hattersley, in an article in the
Times Online argues that:

'If anybody in Labour's leadership is interested in the ideas on which "renewal" could be built, Tony Crosland's The Future of Socialism, published 50 years ago this month, provides the classic formula for relating the ideals of social democracy to the realities of the modern world.'

As support for the current labour government dwindles, the publication of this new edition is timely. The philosophy set out by Crosland is fundamental for the New Labour project, and some might argue, also contains the key for reviving the fortunes of the Party of the future

The Future of socialism is available to borrow now in the RSA library.

Friday, December 08, 2006

New Book - New & Old Wars

Mary Kaldor
New & Old Wars: Organized Violence in a Global Era
Polity Press, 2006, 303.66 KAL

Tony Blair's recent visit to Washington DC and the
increased pressure placed on George W. Bush by the publishing of the findings of the Iraq Study Group, has sharpened the focus of the world's attention to the question of 'ending' the war in Iraq.

From this timely new edition of LSE professor
Mary Kaldor's book New & old wars: organized violence in a global era, we can see how the continued and intensifying violence in Iraq constitutes a new war in witch 'the actors are both global and local, public and private. The wars are fought for particularistic political goals using tactics of terror and destabilization that are theoretically outlawed by the rules of modern warfare".

Fully updated and containing a brand new chapter unpacking this issue of war in the post 9/11 world, Kaldor argues that the US-British understanding of a war as being between two nation states (what she calls an 'old war') is not appropriate for addressing the complex nature of 'new war'. New & old wars is a bold re-conceptualization of war in the globalized world. Understanding Kaldor's message and addressing the issues she identifies will be crucial in determining the future direction of global conflict and conflict resolution.

Mary Kaldor presented an RSA lecture in October 2006 entitled 'New & Old Wars'; click the links to listen to it or view it in PDF format.

Read a concise response to the Iraq war from Mary Kaldor in the independent global current affairs website - OpenDemocracy.

Friday, December 01, 2006

New Report - Status Quo...?

Andrew Missingham.
Status Quo...?: An Exploration of the Status of Composers, Performers and Songwriters in the UK's Creative Economy.
The Musicians' Union, 2006, 780.905 MIS.

In October of this year RSA Fellow Andrew Missingham published a report commissioned by
The Musicians' Union and The British Academy of Composers & Songwriters, examining the status of composers, performers and songwriters in the UK's creative economy.

The UK creating economy is growing quickly and obtaining an increasing significance in term of the UK's wider economic development and cultural landscape. In this report, Missingham suggests that the current 'status quo' is not capable of sustaining the great potential of the world creative economy in the 21st Century, and highlights the need for a new system that encourages the creation of intellectual property (IP).

The report discusses how recent developments within the creative industries in Britain have often focused on the exploitation of IP and questions the effect this is having on creative production. The RSA's recent project on intellectual property rights, the
'Adelphi Charter', constitutes a significant piece of research into the role of IP legislation and a template for a new approach that stimulates IP.

Andrew Missingham has worked for the
Institute of Contemporary Arts, Paul McCartney's Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts and in 2002 he founded the arts consultancy and 'think and do tank' , 'the hub'.

The report is available to borrow from the RSA library; alternatively the full text is available to download

Read a debate between Andrew Missingham and Piers Hellawell regarding the role of classical music in musical education, published in the New Statesman Magazine in October 2005.