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Rafael Heiber | Patricia Guzmán Cabello
Jun, 2024

Security in Crisis: Challenges for Rediscovering the Future
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The success of humanity as a species has much to do with its own vulnerability and the solutions found to overcome it. However, the divide between moral-ethical development and technological advancements—which is significantly faster—breeds a deceptive sense of self-sufficiency tearing this consciousness of our fragility apart. Thus, human beings find themselves helplessly facing the rise of autocracies, financial conditioning and the ruins of more than 40 years of neo-liberalism. The authors contributing to this volume elaborate causalities and critically contextualise this tumultuous time, but also encourage the reader to dare to conceive the impossible. Indeed, as we witness the clash between geopolitics and the dogmas of the free market, there is much to be discovered: bridges to overcome neo-colonial relations between world nations, allies sharing the will to create alternatives, and paths of reconciliation that promote a new global common sense.

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Diego Borja
May, 2024

Towards a different economic order: A vision from the South
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The rise of the Global South and de-globalisation are bringing forth a new economic order, in which trading in national currencies has gained significant ground. In addition to opening up the possibility of nationalising strategic resources, these can represent an integration strategy for some regions of the world, as happened in Latin America in the early 21st century. Value déficit regarding the US dollar or the questioning of the mainstream approach to the climate crisis are among the many points of agreement between nations of the South. These countries seem to now visualise themselves as actors capable of joint articulation in challenging the global status quo. Southern political integration can thus be understood as a dynamic process of mutual learning, facing the geopolitical interests of the North as their main disruption factor.

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Soledad Magno
Mar, 2024

The rise of the far right as a result of the crisis of neoliberalism: the case of Argentina
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This article analyses the rise of far-right symbol Javier Milei to the presidency of Argentina as a kind of collateral disruption of the wider global crisis of neoliberalism. In a country that was believed to have achieved a democratic coexistence of unbreakable boundaries, the Covid-19 crisis deepened the contradictions of the system, giving way to an atmosphere of social confrontation and political violence that culminated in Milei’s dystopian and anarcho-capitalist project. This is both a symptom of a system in crisis and the result of pushing the system itself to its extremes. The Latin American experiences that contested the global neoliberal cycle of the 2000s, becoming a beacon of the alternative to neoliberalism in the past decade, are extremely valuable in resisting this wave of involution.

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José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero
Jan, 2024

Peace, an Ongoing Endeavour
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Just as the Millennium Development Goals became a horizon of hope for the last century, the key challenge for this generation is to push for the creation of a truly global political community. One that is mature enough to endow itself with a global constitution. Transforming the United Nations and updating its founding charter in line with the geopolitical shifts of the contemporary world should be the starting point to this objective. Aiming to reverse globalisation, denying climate change or renouncing the utopia of abolishing war are opposite paths to the civilising spirit this endeavour requires. We must renew our commitment to equality, progress and science if we are to multilaterally face the challenges of a future that’s now very much present.

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Ivana Vasic-Lalovic
Jul-Dec, 2023

Breaking the Vicious Cycle: the Urgency of Reforming the International Financial Architecture
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The climate & development finance gap, combined with the absence of effective mechanisms to address sovereign debt, is leaving developing countries without meaningful pathways for recovery and resilience to future shocks. The Global South faces a direct trade-off between debt repayment and investment in essential public services such as health, education and infrastructure, but also in climate change adaptation and mitigation policies. A radical reform of the international financial architecture is needed, to break this vicious circle that strangles Southern countries’ budgets: a comprehensive global response that includes the elimination of surcharges, the establishment of reliable and pluralistic debt relief, restructuring and cancellation mechanisms, as well as direct transfers from wealthier countries.

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Youssef Mahmoud
Jul-Dec, 2023

The 2024 Summit of the Future: an opportunity for U.N. regeneration in an era of radical disruptions
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There is a growing consensus that if it wants to remain relevant, the United Nations (UN) must lean into the future and start changing by design rather than by accident. The author argues in this article that the time is ripe for conversations that analyse the assumptions, prejudices and entrenched beliefs that have informed the work of multilateralism and discern those no longer fit for purpose. These reflections should look back to the future as a way to disrupt the present and generate visionary aspirations for a UN that is fit for a radically different world. The starting point would be to debunk the myth that the Security Council was designed as a collective security mechanism because it is not.

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Irene López | Marta Cazorla
Dic, 2022

Multipolar dispute: between old mistakes and new uncertainties
(part II)

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The resurgence of the age-old spectre of war in the heart of continental Europe was first sensationalized by the mass media, then banalized afterwards. The outcome is a combination of warmongering, agitation and trivialization of the nuclear threat, a particularly dangerous development at a time when generalized rearmament brings us closer to a total war scenario not seen since the days of the Cold War. War psychology has already warned of the disastrous consequences of approaching military conflicts as if they were “war games”, virtual reality or science fiction. Moreover, it should be kept in mind that there are numerous incentives (and juicy profits) for the Russian-Ukrainian war not to end.

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Axel Ruppert
Nov, 2022

A geopolitical European Union to what end?
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The paradigm shift towards militarization and hard power in the European Union’s geopolitical strategy, which began well before the war in Ukraine, has failed in its aim to provide more security inside and outside its borders and secure more autonomy in an increasingly multipolar world. In this context, Ruppert argues for a collective security approach that opposes the current antagonistic security policies and structures which, based on neocolonial backyard policies, have diverted to the military-industrial complex the funds and resources urgently needed to address the climate and socioeconomic emergencies we are facing today.

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Ray Acheson
Sep, 2022

Abolishing Geopolitics and Building a World Without State Violence
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Drawing on his work in various organizations and campaigns for arms control—among which is the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, which was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize—Ray Acheson point out in their article the close links between colonialism, inequality, patriarchy, state violence and nuclear weapons. Both the use and the mere existence of nuclear weapons have, they claim, disastrous humanitarian and political consequences. Thus, a global effort is necessary so that all governments adhere to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and work towards an international security based on disarmament, denuclearization, demilitarization and the fight against inequality at a global level.

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María Lois
Jul, 2022

Movement and (in)security: from the politics of surveillance to the politics of compassion
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Sociologist María Lois reflects on the narratives and public discourse around migrant mobility that shape public opinion on this social phenomenon, as well as the public and institutional policies that regulate it. Lois specifically analyses EU territorial strategy, particularly in the context of COVID-19 and the crisis in Ukraine, and encourages us to think openly about the circuits of production responsible for both institutional and non-institutional rhetoric around mobility, focussing on what these mean for society at large.

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Rafael Fernández
Jun, 2022

International relations and the energy crisis: what has changed since war broke out in Ukraine?
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In this piece, Rafael Fernández analyses the current and complex state of international energy relations, currently undergoing an upheaval unparalleled since the Yom Kippur War. Fernández argues that the war in Ukraine will only serve to reinforce, rather than weaken, the power held by dominant players on the energy market. However, regardless of how the situation develops, it is renewed concern around the issue of energy security that will serve as the catalyst for the implementation of a much needed new strategy for real energy transition, giving rise to radical change in the global energy supply.

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David Vine
Abr, 2022

(The only way to) Stop wars and save the world
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David Vine outlines the history and global reach of the Military Industrial Complex, whose political and economic power has only expanded since the end of the Cold War. Undermining this power is a necessary prerequisite to free the enormous quantities of financial and human resources it accumulates and are needed to address the urgent environmental and social challenges that the World faces today. If we want to avoid nuclear annihilation, Vine argues, we need to build an ambitious transnational movement of movements to dismantle an increasingly transnational MIC.

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Eduardo Barcesat
Feb, 2022

The future of human rights and overcoming anthropocentrism
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The real sovereignty, social justice and economic independence of the peoples of the world depend on the effectiveness of the civil and political, economic, social, cultural and environmental rights contained in the International Bill of Human Rights. Far away from being a lofty set of norms, Human Rights constitute a crucial contribution to face the ecosocial challenges of our time, provided that the State manages to rise up and legitimise itself as a guarantor of its full validity and effectiveness and becomes answerable to its citizens.

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Patricio Cabello / Andrés Lomeña
Dec, 2021

A new political imagination: creating realistic utopias (part II)
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The several crisis we are facing require that politics find new vehicles of communication and action that move beyond manichean paranoia and confrontation. This new issue of metapolis aims to transport us to that horizon of possibility, demonstrating that despite the inertia of the forces that seek to stop us, we can still succeed in creating a new political imagination.

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Mariano Gómez Aranda
Nov, 2021

Medieval imaginary and Black Death: pandemic, medicine and religion
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The current pandemic will have a direct effect on how we view and think about politics for years to come. It seems difficult to predict exactly how, but if we look back at the mediaeval Black Death, the largest pandemic humanity has experienced to date, it may impart some points of comparison and help us to reflect on how exactly our collective trauma from this experience may unfold. At what resulted in a pivotal moment in the middle of the 14th century, the Black Death also resulted in a rise in ‘fake news’ and xenophobia, which led to the expulsion, massacre and scapegoating of many Jewish communities. At the same time, it also marked a turning point in terms of the collective religious imaginary of the era. Rationalist interpretations of religious texts were introduced and provided a theological basis for the calls emerging from the medical community demanding sanitary measures in order to prevent contagion.

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Romualdo Dias
Sep, 2021

Imagination and Action: Movements between Immanence and Transcendence
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Working from the basis of the critical pedagogy tradition Romualdo Dias proposes a didactic framework that unites imagination and action. Only insofar as we dream—or only when we practice a certain metaphysical leap towards an imagination separate from factual realism—does change become possible. Romualdo connects the idea of utopia with education, crucial in the process of awakening the conscience to a greater immanence, or in other words, a realism that is expanding towards what is possible but as of yet realized.

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David Bollier
Jul, 2021

Commoning and Changemaking
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The old and new commons paradigm helps us name and understand a richer notion of value and create new types of socially constructive institutions based on bottom-up acts of participation, mutual support, conflict, negotiation, communication and experimentation.

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Concha Roldán
Jun, 2021

Historical notes in a reflection on tolerance for a new political imaginary
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Tracing the etymology and history of thought regarding the concept of tolerance informs the current and future political imaginary. Borne out of modernity, this concept and its origin was limited to a negative formulation of allowing something while not approving for it. In tracing modern thought, it evolved into a positive tolerance of other cultures, underpinned by justice, perspective and pluralism. If we truly understand its origin and evolution, tolerance does not translate to relativism or monolithic beliefs, but rather is a methodological tool with which to exchange knowledge, promote a situated rationality and achieve progress that can shape a new political imaginary.

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Jo Guldi
Abr, 2021

Pandemics Occasion the Rethinking of Shared Technology
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Past epidemics of malaria and cholera across the British empire taught lessons about shared infrastructure. While these diseases are largely eliminated in Europe, they endure in other parts of the world as a testimony to where money is spent, or not spent. Looking back on the history of disease, we witness how systemic crisis can stimulate change in public infrastructure. This epidemic is an opportunity to transform infrastructure yet again, perhaps this time utilizing technology to address and attempt to rectify the ways in which these systems can continue to exclude many communities and the developing world.

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Joost Smiers
Feb, 2021

Roaming noise and other unwanted sounds. Protecting the public domain
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Public spaces are full of sounds, many of which can be undesirable for the majority of individuals. Noise can affect our state of mind and health, but does not «ask permission» before entering our ears. While this kind of intrusion may not be immediately apparent, it is important that it be addressed as a public concern, given how it acts as a form of contamination that can damage the hearing or mental health of citizens. In short, as with other public matters, noise occupies the public space to the extent that it should be regulated in order to preserve our collective well-being.

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Colleen Boland / Rafael Heiber
Dec, 2020*

The post-pandemic city: transnational cooperation and public policy
(Part II)

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Insights from living with the repercussions and realities of the COVID-19 crisis for a full year now have demonstrated how a global meta-crisis can accelerate and exacerbate inequalities, further jeopardizing societal wellbeing. Still, examples of both concrete micro and meso level change within local communities, via citizen mobilization, have illustrated how reshaping the urban landscape is profoundly linked with the rural, as well as bears transnational implications. Restoring power to the public space, catalyzing participatory citizen networks and revolutionizing policy as based in solidarity and coexistence are crucial in rectifying the more profound, systemic crisis, to achieve a viable human and planetary future.

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Felipe Llamas
Nov, 2020

Old challenges in a new context: the pandemic accelerating city multilateralism
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The COVID-19 pandemic has jeopardized the legitimacy of national and international institutions, inspiring worrying trends of isolationism and protectionism. Meanwhile, as populations struggle to survive not only a health crisis, but one of social and economic dimensions, local authorities provide for the continuity of public services. These local and regional communities and their leaders recognize that the current situation calls for addressing systemic inequalities and an ecological transition. In order to achieve this societal wellbeing, transnational cooperation between these diverse localities, grounded by the immediate needs of their populations, is the way forward.

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Bob Black
Sep, 2020

Work After Coronavirus
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The economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis have been crippling, and unemployment is rampant. Up until now, the economy has been divided rather arbitrarily into a primary agriculture and extractive industry, a secondary manufacturing sector, and a tertiary «service» sector. The latter sector has become more and more bloated, with many unjustified jobs. Meanwhile, the pandemic has taught us that authoritarian and city-centric labor regimes are unnecessary. Work has the potential to be transformed into a new type of activity, an autonomous, productive play that allows for healthier, freer societies.

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Saskia Sassen
Jul, 2020

Urban capabilities: those we want in our cities and those we should avoid
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In considering cities and how we want to construct them, it is fundamental to analyze the actors shaping them, and their capabilities. Beginning in the late 1980s, the financial sector and its innovative capacity for extraction has played a key role on the global stage, in a very different manner from that of traditional banking and corporations. Now, with the COVID-19 phenomenon also resembling a global actor, it becomes all the more clear that, no matter how it is disguised, high finance operates to the detriment of local and household economies, as well as to the flow of urban spaces.

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Manuela Carmena
Jun, 2020

Before and after the pandemic: a city of solidarity, creativity and participation
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Solidarity, creativity and participation are the three main pillars upon which cities should be built. The COVID-19 pandemic has proven we cannot have healthy cities if the entirety of our citizens and government officials do not embrace the principle of solidarity. Participation is inherent to cities as public spaces of freedom. Last but not least, creativity is essential, as it allows us to imagine better worlds: it is only in imagining them that they can begin to be real.

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Herta Däubler-Gmelin
Jun, 2020

The post Covid-19 challenge: a simple reset or a real change?
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COVID-19 has exposed the very real weaknesses of global cooperation. It affects not only disenfranchised populations and underdeveloped countries, but also Europe. This pandemic has shaken a false sense of security among the more developed regions of the world. At the same time, we have witnessed how democratic societies are not necessarily less efficient than authoritarian ones when it comes to crisis management, and that far-reaching solutions are attainable when threats are perceived as sufficiently severe.

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Laura Basu
Jun, 2020

The post-pandemic city beyond state and market: a thought experiment
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The COVID-19 pandemic and the international racial justice movement sparked by the police murder of George Floyd have led many to deeply question the capitalist system of markets and nation-states. Bringing together fiction, theory, and real-world examples, this contribution asks the reader to imagine what a utopian city beyond both the state and the market might look like.

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Arlene Clemesha
Jun, 2024

The Nakba as a Rite of Passage… Towards Genocide?
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The war in Israel-Palestine began the day after the UN approved the partition of its lands for the creation of an ethnic Jewish state. This article reviews the main historical milestones from 29 November 1947 to the present day: the discriminatory laws and devices that led to the forced expulsion of thousands of Palestinians, the invasion and theft of homes by radical settlers, the attacks and demolitions of houses that were the starting point of ethnic cleansing… In short, the various targeted forms of demographic engineering designed to ensure Jewish racial supremacism between the Mediterranean and the Jordan; which respond to undeniable economic and geopolitical ends, and which led to the apartheid regime and the genocide we are witnessing today.

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Álvaro García Linera
Abr, 2024

The Age of Uncertainty. Liminal Time
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The triumphant globalism that was, until recently, “the enthusiastic common language of societies”, is being replaced by trade wars, industrial protectionism, and geo-economic fragmentation. Geopolitical priorities now seem to prevail over the dogmas of free trade. Cases such as Trump’s, Bolsonaro’s, or Milei’s feel like “neoliberal Jurassic islands” in the midst of this over-arching trend towards state intervention of the economy. These are, according to the author, “the clearest signs of the twilight of the accumulation-based model that dominated the world for the last 40 years”. With the consummation of this decline, a new cycle emerges, and so we find ourselves in a transitional era of global turmoil that Álvaro García Linera refers to as “liminal time”. A “fiery moment” defined by the acceleration of events and a sheer lack of direction and faith in the future; yet also an auspicious moment to stop clinging to outdated beliefs. A time, that is, of cognitive readiness to overthrow old ideas.

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Pedro Manuel Moreno
Feb, 2024

Global Tensions and Trade Sovereignty
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The current state of food and energy security in the world is worrying, and the interconnectedness of contemporary international society makes self-sufficiency virtually impossible. Nations need each other for their supplies, so in order to speak of food sovereignty or energy sovereignty, we must necessarily speak of commercial sovereignty. The author argues that this will not be achieved until world trade is de-geopoliticised, and gives the example of the Black Grain Initiative, carried out in the midst of the Russian-Ukrainian war, to demonstrate that protecting trade as a vehicle for development and equality between countries is a question of political will. In this global order, which is increasingly being crossed by unforeseen events and reprisals, the necessary will is to commit to multilateralism as a path to peace.

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David Koranyi
Jun-Dec, 2023

The Battle for Democracy: Empowering Citizens and Cities
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The advance of authoritarianism on a global scale requires a global strategy that takes advantage of the as yet unexplored capacities of citizens, cities and digital platforms. To this end, it is essential to replace obsolete and restrictive governance models, which reduce the role of citizens to that of passive observers, with others that allow them to take ownership of government decisions, as active contributors to the democratic space. In an increasingly interconnected world, we need to foster a culture of empathy and solidarity that recognises our common humanity and the interconnectedness of our struggles. Weaving networks of cities that challenge classical approaches to diplomacy is one of the ways towards building such a global narrative that transcends borders.

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Salil Shetty | Omar Waraich
Jul-Dec, 2023

Why democracies must deliver
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The world’s democracies have recently been sabotaged by a class of individuals, more dangerous than traditional military dictators, who use power to crush their own institutions. This phenomenon, referred to by the authors as “the rise of autocrats”, is just one aspect of the “polycrisis” facing humanity today. The debt of the poorest countries, the lasting effects of pandemics, the outbreak of armed conflicts, the soaring costs of living, energy, and commodities—all these are different, overlapping dimensions of the same systemic predicament. Multiple crises that have led three quarters of the world’s young people today to define the future as “frightening” and to distrust the systems of governance supporting the unjust world they will inherit.

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Audrey Irvine-Broque | Jessica Dempsey
Jan-Jun, 2023

Towards serious biodiversity policy: foreign debt in the long duree of extractivism
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The ways of the global financial system are a key underlying factor in the massive loss of biodiversity around the world. In order to meet the rising interests of their international creditors, many countries are pushed into intensifying the exploitation of their ecosystems, exposing an undeniable link between their own external debt and the current ecological crisis. As “debt repayments are short-term and require rapid repayment, unlike investments in sustainable development”, a spiral of indebtedness is forcing dozens of nations into extractivism.
Thus, foreign debt is responsible for countries “spending more on interest payments than on education or health”. Unsurprisingly, these are the same countries of the Global South that were historically plundered by the North.

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Rafael Heiber
Dic, 2022

Geopolitics and the generative limits of the ungovernable
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In his article, sociologist and climatologist Rafael Heiber analyzes some of the characteristics of the current Russian-Ukrainian conflict, such as the fact that “the objective of hybrid warfare is not always classical victory” but chaos or destabilization. For the author, the current world order is the residual outcome of colonialism and post-World War II global rearrangement. He sustains that “the states of precariousness, loneliness and excesses that characterize the economy of attention” give rise, together with the fragile peace recently broken by the Ukrainian war, to a present full of vulnerabilities and uncertainties.
In closing, the author reflects on how Artificial Intelligence is displacing and re-signifying the whole range of human activities. “It would not be surprising to witness in the coming years the emergence of modern versions of the English Luddites of the 19th century,” he warns.

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Idoia Villanueva
Oct, 2022

A More Multipolar but not more Democratic International Scenario: The Geopolitical (dis)Order of a World in Reconfiguration
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MEP Idoia Villanueva analyses how the universalisation of the liberal paradigm favoured the accumulation of capital and resources among the Western powers; and how the transatlantic alliance served, from its origin, as an instrument to legitimise and reproduce US hegemony. Thus, in a world order still determined by US dominance, the EU must decide between establishing itself as a global actor in favour of international democratisation or, in the author’s words, “remain a subordinate actor and reduced to the fodder of superpowers”. The war in Ukraine is seen from this perspective as “a war on Europe’s doorstep that the EU never wanted or foresaw”, as the current conflict puts Europe in a clearly uncomfortable position, between its military ally and the giant on which it depends energetically.

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Jacques Ramírez
Ago, 2022

the geopolitics of migratory horror
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In this article, anthropologist Jacques Ramírez analyses the background to the present “geopolitics of migratory horror”: that is, the progressive, global tightening of migration policies, and the primacy of control-based and securitisation approaches to migrant flows. In parallel to this generalised reinforcement of borders, however, the author argues that migrants are today “active social actors, on the move, fighting for their own future”, and that the view of the migrant as a “passive subject” holds an exploitative bias. From a decolonial perspective, the Ecuadorian researcher defends universal citizenship as a legal-political proposal to de-territorialise rights. In other words, to overcome the classical vision that grants rights and obligations only to those individuals recognised as members of a given polis. He advocates for a geopolitical framework of global justice, capable of recognizing historical asymmetries and inequalities between countries.

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Marta Cazorla / Irene López
Jun, 2022

Multipolar dispute: between old mistakes and new uncertainties
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In the wake of a global pandemic and with echoes of our Cold War past resounding, the geopolitical landscape of the world is changing. Energy is becoming scarce, and the climate crisis remains largely ignored. As nationalism grows and the military industrial complex accumulates more wealth, how can we ensure that old power dynamics do not simply reproduce themselves? Strong voices are advocating for feminist approaches and deliberate reflection to turn this ship around, but is there any hope for such a polarised world?

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Irene Zugasti
May, 2022

War Effort and Kitchen-Sink Geopolitics
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Irene Zugasti champions the tradition of internationalist, feminist and militant diplomacy in the face of the uncritical, romanticised glorification of war. Hers is a kitchen-sink geopolitics which draws on the feminist tradition in order to link the personal to the political. She confronts “war effort” with a quotidian “peace effort”, historically led by thousands of marginalised women, which aims to cultivate new relationships with territory, with the Other, with power and with conflict itself.

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Mary-Jane Rubenstein
Mar, 2022

A Tale of Two Utopias: Musk and Bezos in Outer Space
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It is probably old news to you by now: Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos want us off the planet. Not all of us, of course, but according to both of these absurdly wealthy utopians, the future of the species will depend on those humans who have got the foresight, fortitude, and finances to head to outer space. But How can we hope to make a habitat out of Mars when we cannot even preserve the habitability of Earth?

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Ramzy Baroud / Romana Rubeo
Jan, 2022

Beyond the ‘Interregnum’: Is a Non-Hegemonic World Possible?
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Moscow and Beijing are clearly not basing their future relations on the outcome of the Ukraine war alone. What they are working to achieve is a long-term political strategy that they hope would ultimately lead to a multipolar world. Still, post-World War II U.S. hegemony seems destined to endure with Europe historically unable to integrate Russia and now even more dependent on NATO. Until the tussle is over, the world will continue to experience a transition, rife with possibilities but also dangers.

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Jean Wyllys / Judith Butler
Dic, 2021

The power of dissident solidarity in the rise of ultraliberal authoritarianism
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Judith Butler and Jean Wyllys reflect on the central role of solidarity in a context marked by the rise of a new global fascism. Conflict arises as a key element for the establishment of ineludible alliances to tackle the challenges we face. The authors concretely address the ultraliberal authoritarianism that has gained force in Brazil and the United States, as well as the reactionary far right that sees the LGBTQIA+ movement as a threat to the idea of family and nationalism. Unity, they argue, is the only possible political agenda. Marxists, progressives, feminists, queers—all of these forces are steering the same boat. There is no other option because otherwise they will capsize.

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Antonio Penedo Picos
Oct, 2021

New poetics for the digital age
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The divide which is becoming entrenched centres on separating the working subject from the real human like never before. The former is asked (though really they are forced) to attain a deep knowledge of only that subject matter which is deemed to be productive, while the latter seems to be asked for (or advised of, as it were) nothing. We regularly hear the World Health Organisation’s statistics on the rise of mental illness, not only in the Western world but also across the globe. Can we believe that economic thresholds are the sole deciding factor in these percentages? What if we started to consider that the opposite were true? It is at this juncture that digital language and nascent cyberculture once more take centre stage.

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Sofía Coca
Ago, 2021

Cultural mediation for social change in pandemic times
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Cultural mediation is an amalgam of practices, tools and methodologies that involve facilitation, support and recoding, but mediation is also the search for a common language, a language that may be new and invented and that seeks to inspire. A language that sometimes attempts to revive lost words or rituals. A language that sometimes resembles a patchwork quilt.

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Andrés Lomeña / Patricio Cabello
Jun, 2021

A new political imagination: creating realistic utopias
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We need new goals and a new language articulating these goals in order to rehabilitate the currently unhealthy sociopolitical climate. This entails drawing on historical ideals, but also allowing past mistakes to inform a new, ambitious, and credible program for change. Such change must move beyond individual needs and myopic political vision, grounding the new political imagination in explicit realism. to meet societal demands and chart a new future, such a proposal must have the capacity to attract, convince, and be driven by a combination of science, critical consciousness, and action.

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Maysoun Douas
May, 2021

Towards a New Social Contract for the 21st Century
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The decline of democratic systems, deepening inequalities, complex and bureaucratic international institutions, fragile social models and exploitation of the natural world can still be remedied. A new social contract could restore the space of active citizenship and invoke the global societal collaboration that our current reality demands .As part of this, we must understand where we have came from and the “truths” that have formed the basis of our societal construction up until now, and move past territorialization as inherent to citizenship. Instead we should look to digitization as the new engine of postmodernity, renewed democracy as a tool, and youth as key actors, in order to achieve future societal well-being and sustainability.

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Steve Keen
Mar, 2021

A Modern Debt Jubilee
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Our current societies, with advanced levels of industrialization and knowledge, continue to stymie innovation at the expense of the collective benefit. This is particularly manifested in the blind adherence to neoclassical economics and unchallenged economic systems. The «Modern Debt Jubilee» serves as one strategy with which to challenge these paradigms and provide solutions. It addresses the systemic problem of central banks printing trillions of dollars to lower interest rates to make asset owners feel richer and spend more, which does not engender economic growth due to the rich accumulating much of this new money into their existing assets. The Jubilee would leverage these same central banks to provide freshly printed money to the indebted, wiping the global debt slate clean.

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Jesús Rey Rocha / Emilio Muñoz Ruiz
Jan, 2021

Science and democracy: institutions in search of a sociopolitical identity
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Science and democracy are comparable in that they are not characterized by absolute truths, but rather «evolutionary» truths, which should be subject to constant critique and analysis. Both also possess internal and external dimensions; in the context of phenomena like the COVID-19 pandemic, the external dimension becomes crucial, as it links science or democracy to institutions and citizens. Recovery and regeneration of the current state of governance is possible, if there is a true pivot to empowered institutions and citizens. In order to overcome the systemic crisis that we face, a framework of strong, reliable and committed institutions, underpinned by an individual and collectively responsible citizenry, is the way forward.

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Rebeca Grynspan
Dec, 2020
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A new, «glocal» social pact for recovery
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The COVID-19 pandemic represents a challenge in global coordination. More than ever before, multilateralism proves to be an indispensable tool in confronting major world challenges. The health crisis precipitated by the disease is merely symptomatic of greater environmental and systemic crises that threaten humanity. This necessitates a multi-level and multi-stakeholder social pact, involving cities as well as international organizations. We need institutions capable of engaging in innovation, as well as of achieving long-term and green agendas. The latter in particular uniquely presents the possibility of our civilization’s survival.

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Fernando Carrión Mena
Oct, 2020

The Global Transurban System: Forms It Takes and New Challenges
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COVID-19 has become a fundamentally urban disease: social interaction, so characteristic of cities, has put them all at the epicenter of this pandemic. Through the local integration process it is possible for us to identify the main assemblages that constitute the Global Urban Network. Recognizing the inter-urban and trans-urban logics means exploring an unchaperoned horizontal cooperation, and the transformation of the city-state relationship, both nationally and internationally.

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Leticia Merino / Simone Buratti
Aug, 2020

Cities, COVID-19 and Commons in Latin America
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Cities derive their value from commons: goods, benefits, or services collectively, used, created and preserved, and are governed by collective action. In the case of Latin American cities and megacities in particular, collective action and sharing of resources has taken place during the COVID-19 crisis. However, a history of colonialism, neoliberal policies and inequality make this region particularly vulnerable during the pandemic. This article traces the reasons why now, more than ever, the Latin American region must learn from this crisis in order to build more resilient and equal societies.

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Rafael Heiber / Colleen Boland
Jun, 2020

the post-pandemic city: transnational cooperation and public policy
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The COVID-19 pandemic and its immediate effects have not only triggered crises worldwide, but also have raised awareness about greater systemic failures that have been plaguing our modern society. Progressive advocates have already attempted to shed light on these problems, demanding alternative models. Further efforts might now resonate enough to implement them. As we present in the overview of all articles that compose the launch issue of metapolis, this is a step that depends on strengthened relations between transnational cooperation and public policy, to transform the life of citizens attuned to common values.

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Alfredo Aguilar
Jun, 2020

let us give the future another chance
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Science is a fundamental pillar for designing effective policies and guiding public-private efforts. From the current pandemic to climate change, all of humanity’s challenges are closely interlinked with the biosphere. Global challenges require global, and therefore synergistic, responses. We propose Bioeconomics and Biodiplomacy as two new tools to integrate local, national and global initiatives for the transformation we need.

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Alfonso Zegbe
Jun, 2020

Socioemotional wellbeing: a revisited approach
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This article presents an approach and vision that should be considered in the different stages of policy making, in order to promote the wellbeing and happiness of individuals and their communities. This proposal is presented as a transversal approach that can be applied to various sectors and social rights, including health and wellbeing, education and lifelong emotional learning, food security, urban and rural spaces and flows, and housing and human habitats. The article closes with some final reflections on the future of government interventions, and approaches to the concepts of wellbeing and happiness.

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Wadah Khanfar
Jun, 2020

Covid-19 as a meta crisis and our post-pandemic order
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This pandemic provides a space-time from which a new world order can emerge, based on the great potential of an interconnected social organization. A transition that requires re-imagined institutions and societies, as the power of ideas makes a new world history possible. The post-pandemic world may not be equitable or secure, but it will push humanity to build a more just alternative under a new value system that will make the common good prevail.

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New number
released.
Please, enjoy
V5N1

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Rafael Heiber | Patricia Guzmán Cabello
Jun, 2024

Security in Crisis: Challenges for Rediscovering the Future
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The success of humanity as a species has much to do with its own vulnerability and the solutions found to overcome it. However, the divide between moral-ethical development and technological advancements—which is significantly faster—breeds a deceptive sense of self-sufficiency tearing this consciousness of our fragility apart. Thus, human beings find themselves helplessly facing the rise of autocracies, financial conditioning and the ruins of more than 40 years of neo-liberalism. The authors contributing to this volume elaborate causalities and critically contextualise this tumultuous time, but also encourage the reader to dare to conceive the impossible. Indeed, as we witness the clash between geopolitics and the dogmas of the free market, there is much to be discovered: bridges to overcome neo-colonial relations between world nations, allies sharing the will to create alternatives, and paths of reconciliation that promote a new global common sense.

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Arlene Clemesha
Jun, 2024

The Nakba as a Rite of Passage… Towards Genocide?
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The war in Israel-Palestine began the day after the UN approved the partition of its lands for the creation of an ethnic Jewish state. This article reviews the main historical milestones from 29 November 1947 to the present day: the discriminatory laws and devices that led to the forced expulsion of thousands of Palestinians, the invasion and theft of homes by radical settlers, the attacks and demolitions of houses that were the starting point of ethnic cleansing… In short, the various targeted forms of demographic engineering designed to ensure Jewish racial supremacism between the Mediterranean and the Jordan; which respond to undeniable economic and geopolitical ends, and which led to the apartheid regime and the genocide we are witnessing today.

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Diego Borja
May, 2024

Towards a different economic order: A vision from the South
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The rise of the Global South and de-globalisation are bringing forth a new economic order, in which trading in national currencies has gained significant ground. In addition to opening up the possibility of nationalising strategic resources, these can represent an integration strategy for some regions of the world, as happened in Latin America in the early 21st century. Value déficit regarding the US dollar or the questioning of the mainstream approach to the climate crisis are among the many points of agreement between nations of the South. These countries seem to now visualise themselves as actors capable of joint articulation in challenging the global status quo. Southern political integration can thus be understood as a dynamic process of mutual learning, facing the geopolitical interests of the North as their main disruption factor.

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Álvaro García Linera
Abr, 2024

The Age of Uncertainty. Liminal Time
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The triumphant globalism that was, until recently, “the enthusiastic common language of societies”, is being replaced by trade wars, industrial protectionism, and geo-economic fragmentation. Geopolitical priorities now seem to prevail over the dogmas of free trade. Cases such as Trump’s, Bolsonaro’s, or Milei’s feel like “neoliberal Jurassic islands” in the midst of this over-arching trend towards state intervention of the economy. These are, according to the author, “the clearest signs of the twilight of the accumulation-based model that dominated the world for the last 40 years”. With the consummation of this decline, a new cycle emerges, and so we find ourselves in a transitional era of global turmoil that Álvaro García Linera refers to as “liminal time”. A “fiery moment” defined by the acceleration of events and a sheer lack of direction and faith in the future; yet also an auspicious moment to stop clinging to outdated beliefs. A time, that is, of cognitive readiness to overthrow old ideas.

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Soledad Magno
Mar, 2024

The rise of the far right as a result of the crisis of neoliberalism: the case of Argentina
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This article analyses the rise of far-right symbol Javier Milei to the presidency of Argentina as a kind of collateral disruption of the wider global crisis of neoliberalism. In a country that was believed to have achieved a democratic coexistence of unbreakable boundaries, the Covid-19 crisis deepened the contradictions of the system, giving way to an atmosphere of social confrontation and political violence that culminated in Milei’s dystopian and anarcho-capitalist project. This is both a symptom of a system in crisis and the result of pushing the system itself to its extremes. The Latin American experiences that contested the global neoliberal cycle of the 2000s, becoming a beacon of the alternative to neoliberalism in the past decade, are extremely valuable in resisting this wave of involution.

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Pedro Manuel Moreno
Feb, 2024

Global Tensions and Trade Sovereignty
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The current state of food and energy security in the world is worrying, and the interconnectedness of contemporary international society makes self-sufficiency virtually impossible. Nations need each other for their supplies, so in order to speak of food sovereignty or energy sovereignty, we must necessarily speak of commercial sovereignty. The author argues that this will not be achieved until world trade is de-geopoliticised, and gives the example of the Black Grain Initiative, carried out in the midst of the Russian-Ukrainian war, to demonstrate that protecting trade as a vehicle for development and equality between countries is a question of political will. In this global order, which is increasingly being crossed by unforeseen events and reprisals, the necessary will is to commit to multilateralism as a path to peace.

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José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero
Jan, 2024

Peace, an Ongoing Endeavour
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Just as the Millennium Development Goals became a horizon of hope for the last century, the key challenge for this generation is to push for the creation of a truly global political community. One that is mature enough to endow itself with a global constitution. Transforming the United Nations and updating its founding charter in line with the geopolitical shifts of the contemporary world should be the starting point to this objective. Aiming to reverse globalisation, denying climate change or renouncing the utopia of abolishing war are opposite paths to the civilising spirit this endeavour requires. We must renew our commitment to equality, progress and science if we are to multilaterally face the challenges of a future that’s now very much present.

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David Koranyi
Jun-Dec, 2023

The Battle for Democracy: Empowering Citizens and Cities
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The advance of authoritarianism on a global scale requires a global strategy that takes advantage of the as yet unexplored capacities of citizens, cities and digital platforms. To this end, it is essential to replace obsolete and restrictive governance models, which reduce the role of citizens to that of passive observers, with others that allow them to take ownership of government decisions, as active contributors to the democratic space. In an increasingly interconnected world, we need to foster a culture of empathy and solidarity that recognises our common humanity and the interconnectedness of our struggles. Weaving networks of cities that challenge classical approaches to diplomacy is one of the ways towards building such a global narrative that transcends borders.

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Ivana Vasic-Lalovic
Jul-Dec, 2023

Breaking the Vicious Cycle: the Urgency of Reforming the International Financial Architecture
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The climate & development finance gap, combined with the absence of effective mechanisms to address sovereign debt, is leaving developing countries without meaningful pathways for recovery and resilience to future shocks. The Global South faces a direct trade-off between debt repayment and investment in essential public services such as health, education and infrastructure, but also in climate change adaptation and mitigation policies. A radical reform of the international financial architecture is needed, to break this vicious circle that strangles Southern countries’ budgets: a comprehensive global response that includes the elimination of surcharges, the establishment of reliable and pluralistic debt relief, restructuring and cancellation mechanisms, as well as direct transfers from wealthier countries.

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Salil Shetty | Omar Waraich
Jul-Dec, 2023

Why democracies must deliver
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The world’s democracies have recently been sabotaged by a class of individuals, more dangerous than traditional military dictators, who use power to crush their own institutions. This phenomenon, referred to by the authors as “the rise of autocrats”, is just one aspect of the “polycrisis” facing humanity today. The debt of the poorest countries, the lasting effects of pandemics, the outbreak of armed conflicts, the soaring costs of living, energy, and commodities—all these are different, overlapping dimensions of the same systemic predicament. Multiple crises that have led three quarters of the world’s young people today to define the future as “frightening” and to distrust the systems of governance supporting the unjust world they will inherit.

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Youssef Mahmoud
Jul-Dec, 2023

The 2024 Summit of the Future: an opportunity for U.N. regeneration in an era of radical disruptions
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There is a growing consensus that if it wants to remain relevant, the United Nations (UN) must lean into the future and start changing by design rather than by accident. The author argues in this article that the time is ripe for conversations that analyse the assumptions, prejudices and entrenched beliefs that have informed the work of multilateralism and discern those no longer fit for purpose. These reflections should look back to the future as a way to disrupt the present and generate visionary aspirations for a UN that is fit for a radically different world. The starting point would be to debunk the myth that the Security Council was designed as a collective security mechanism because it is not.

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Audrey Irvine-Broque | Jessica Dempsey
Jan-Jun, 2023

Towards serious biodiversity policy: foreign debt in the long duree of extractivism
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The ways of the global financial system are a key underlying factor in the massive loss of biodiversity around the world. In order to meet the rising interests of their international creditors, many countries are pushed into intensifying the exploitation of their ecosystems, exposing an undeniable link between their own external debt and the current ecological crisis. As “debt repayments are short-term and require rapid repayment, unlike investments in sustainable development”, a spiral of indebtedness is forcing dozens of nations into extractivism.
Thus, foreign debt is responsible for countries “spending more on interest payments than on education or health”. Unsurprisingly, these are the same countries of the Global South that were historically plundered by the North.

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Irene López | Marta Cazorla
Dic, 2022

Multipolar dispute: between old mistakes and new uncertainties
(part II)

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The resurgence of the age-old spectre of war in the heart of continental Europe was first sensationalized by the mass media, then banalized afterwards. The outcome is a combination of warmongering, agitation and trivialization of the nuclear threat, a particularly dangerous development at a time when generalized rearmament brings us closer to a total war scenario not seen since the days of the Cold War. War psychology has already warned of the disastrous consequences of approaching military conflicts as if they were “war games”, virtual reality or science fiction. Moreover, it should be kept in mind that there are numerous incentives (and juicy profits) for the Russian-Ukrainian war not to end.

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Rafael Heiber
Dic, 2022

Geopolitics and the generative limits of the ungovernable
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In his article, sociologist and climatologist Rafael Heiber analyzes some of the characteristics of the current Russian-Ukrainian conflict, such as the fact that “the objective of hybrid warfare is not always classical victory” but chaos or destabilization. For the author, the current world order is the residual outcome of colonialism and post-World War II global rearrangement. He sustains that “the states of precariousness, loneliness and excesses that characterize the economy of attention” give rise, together with the fragile peace recently broken by the Ukrainian war, to a present full of vulnerabilities and uncertainties.
In closing, the author reflects on how Artificial Intelligence is displacing and re-signifying the whole range of human activities. “It would not be surprising to witness in the coming years the emergence of modern versions of the English Luddites of the 19th century,” he warns.

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Axel Ruppert
Nov, 2022

A geopolitical European Union to what end?
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The paradigm shift towards militarization and hard power in the European Union’s geopolitical strategy, which began well before the war in Ukraine, has failed in its aim to provide more security inside and outside its borders and secure more autonomy in an increasingly multipolar world. In this context, Ruppert argues for a collective security approach that opposes the current antagonistic security policies and structures which, based on neocolonial backyard policies, have diverted to the military-industrial complex the funds and resources urgently needed to address the climate and socioeconomic emergencies we are facing today.

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Idoia Villanueva
Oct, 2022

A More Multipolar but not more Democratic International Scenario: The Geopolitical (dis)Order of a World in Reconfiguration
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MEP Idoia Villanueva analyses how the universalisation of the liberal paradigm favoured the accumulation of capital and resources among the Western powers; and how the transatlantic alliance served, from its origin, as an instrument to legitimise and reproduce US hegemony. Thus, in a world order still determined by US dominance, the EU must decide between establishing itself as a global actor in favour of international democratisation or, in the author’s words, “remain a subordinate actor and reduced to the fodder of superpowers”. The war in Ukraine is seen from this perspective as “a war on Europe’s doorstep that the EU never wanted or foresaw”, as the current conflict puts Europe in a clearly uncomfortable position, between its military ally and the giant on which it depends energetically.

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Ray Acheson
Sep, 2022

Abolishing Geopolitics and Building a World Without State Violence
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Drawing on his work in various organizations and campaigns for arms control—among which is the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, which was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize—Ray Acheson point out in their article the close links between colonialism, inequality, patriarchy, state violence and nuclear weapons. Both the use and the mere existence of nuclear weapons have, they claim, disastrous humanitarian and political consequences. Thus, a global effort is necessary so that all governments adhere to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and work towards an international security based on disarmament, denuclearization, demilitarization and the fight against inequality at a global level.

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Jacques Ramírez
Ago, 2022

the geopolitics of migratory horror
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In this article, anthropologist Jacques Ramírez analyses the background to the present “geopolitics of migratory horror”: that is, the progressive, global tightening of migration policies, and the primacy of control-based and securitisation approaches to migrant flows. In parallel to this generalised reinforcement of borders, however, the author argues that migrants are today “active social actors, on the move, fighting for their own future”, and that the view of the migrant as a “passive subject” holds an exploitative bias. From a decolonial perspective, the Ecuadorian researcher defends universal citizenship as a legal-political proposal to de-territorialise rights. In other words, to overcome the classical vision that grants rights and obligations only to those individuals recognised as members of a given polis. He advocates for a geopolitical framework of global justice, capable of recognizing historical asymmetries and inequalities between countries.

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María Lois
Jul, 2022

Movement and (in)security: from the politics of surveillance to the politics of compassion
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Sociologist María Lois reflects on the narratives and public discourse around migrant mobility that shape public opinion on this social phenomenon, as well as the public and institutional policies that regulate it. Lois specifically analyses EU territorial strategy, particularly in the context of COVID-19 and the crisis in Ukraine, and encourages us to think openly about the circuits of production responsible for both institutional and non-institutional rhetoric around mobility, focussing on what these mean for society at large.

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Marta Cazorla / Irene López
Jun, 2022

Multipolar dispute: between old mistakes and new uncertainties
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In the wake of a global pandemic and with echoes of our Cold War past resounding, the geopolitical landscape of the world is changing. Energy is becoming scarce, and the climate crisis remains largely ignored. As nationalism grows and the military industrial complex accumulates more wealth, how can we ensure that old power dynamics do not simply reproduce themselves? Strong voices are advocating for feminist approaches and deliberate reflection to turn this ship around, but is there any hope for such a polarised world?

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Rafael Fernández
Jun, 2022

International relations and the energy crisis: what has changed since war broke out in Ukraine?
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In this piece, Rafael Fernández analyses the current and complex state of international energy relations, currently undergoing an upheaval unparalleled since the Yom Kippur War. Fernández argues that the war in Ukraine will only serve to reinforce, rather than weaken, the power held by dominant players on the energy market. However, regardless of how the situation develops, it is renewed concern around the issue of energy security that will serve as the catalyst for the implementation of a much needed new strategy for real energy transition, giving rise to radical change in the global energy supply.

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Irene Zugasti
May, 2022

War Effort and Kitchen-Sink Geopolitics
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Irene Zugasti champions the tradition of internationalist, feminist and militant diplomacy in the face of the uncritical, romanticised glorification of war. Hers is a kitchen-sink geopolitics which draws on the feminist tradition in order to link the personal to the political. She confronts “war effort” with a quotidian “peace effort”, historically led by thousands of marginalised women, which aims to cultivate new relationships with territory, with the Other, with power and with conflict itself.

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David Vine
Abr, 2022

(The only way to) Stop wars and save the world
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David Vine outlines the history and global reach of the Military Industrial Complex, whose political and economic power has only expanded since the end of the Cold War. Undermining this power is a necessary prerequisite to free the enormous quantities of financial and human resources it accumulates and are needed to address the urgent environmental and social challenges that the World faces today. If we want to avoid nuclear annihilation, Vine argues, we need to build an ambitious transnational movement of movements to dismantle an increasingly transnational MIC.

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Mary-Jane Rubenstein
Mar, 2022

A Tale of Two Utopias: Musk and Bezos in Outer Space
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It is probably old news to you by now: Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos want us off the planet. Not all of us, of course, but according to both of these absurdly wealthy utopians, the future of the species will depend on those humans who have got the foresight, fortitude, and finances to head to outer space. But How can we hope to make a habitat out of Mars when we cannot even preserve the habitability of Earth?

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Eduardo Barcesat
Feb, 2022

The future of human rights and overcoming anthropocentrism
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The real sovereignty, social justice and economic independence of the peoples of the world depend on the effectiveness of the civil and political, economic, social, cultural and environmental rights contained in the International Bill of Human Rights. Far away from being a lofty set of norms, Human Rights constitute a crucial contribution to face the ecosocial challenges of our time, provided that the State manages to rise up and legitimise itself as a guarantor of its full validity and effectiveness and becomes answerable to its citizens.

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Ramzy Baroud / Romana Rubeo
Jan, 2022

Beyond the ‘Interregnum’: Is a Non-Hegemonic World Possible?
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Moscow and Beijing are clearly not basing their future relations on the outcome of the Ukraine war alone. What they are working to achieve is a long-term political strategy that they hope would ultimately lead to a multipolar world. Still, post-World War II U.S. hegemony seems destined to endure with Europe historically unable to integrate Russia and now even more dependent on NATO. Until the tussle is over, the world will continue to experience a transition, rife with possibilities but also dangers.

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Patricio Cabello / Andrés Lomeña
Dec, 2021

A new political imagination: creating realistic utopias (part II)
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The several crisis we are facing require that politics find new vehicles of communication and action that move beyond manichean paranoia and confrontation. This new issue of metapolis aims to transport us to that horizon of possibility, demonstrating that despite the inertia of the forces that seek to stop us, we can still succeed in creating a new political imagination.

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Jean Wyllys / Judith Butler
Dic, 2021

The power of dissident solidarity in the rise of ultraliberal authoritarianism
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Judith Butler and Jean Wyllys reflect on the central role of solidarity in a context marked by the rise of a new global fascism. Conflict arises as a key element for the establishment of ineludible alliances to tackle the challenges we face. The authors concretely address the ultraliberal authoritarianism that has gained force in Brazil and the United States, as well as the reactionary far right that sees the LGBTQIA+ movement as a threat to the idea of family and nationalism. Unity, they argue, is the only possible political agenda. Marxists, progressives, feminists, queers—all of these forces are steering the same boat. There is no other option because otherwise they will capsize.

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Mariano Gómez Aranda
Nov, 2021

Medieval imaginary and Black Death: pandemic, medicine and religion
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The current pandemic will have a direct effect on how we view and think about politics for years to come. It seems difficult to predict exactly how, but if we look back at the mediaeval Black Death, the largest pandemic humanity has experienced to date, it may impart some points of comparison and help us to reflect on how exactly our collective trauma from this experience may unfold. At what resulted in a pivotal moment in the middle of the 14th century, the Black Death also resulted in a rise in ‘fake news’ and xenophobia, which led to the expulsion, massacre and scapegoating of many Jewish communities. At the same time, it also marked a turning point in terms of the collective religious imaginary of the era. Rationalist interpretations of religious texts were introduced and provided a theological basis for the calls emerging from the medical community demanding sanitary measures in order to prevent contagion.

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Antonio Penedo Picos
Oct, 2021

New poetics for the digital age
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The divide which is becoming entrenched centres on separating the working subject from the real human like never before. The former is asked (though really they are forced) to attain a deep knowledge of only that subject matter which is deemed to be productive, while the latter seems to be asked for (or advised of, as it were) nothing. We regularly hear the World Health Organisation’s statistics on the rise of mental illness, not only in the Western world but also across the globe. Can we believe that economic thresholds are the sole deciding factor in these percentages? What if we started to consider that the opposite were true? It is at this juncture that digital language and nascent cyberculture once more take centre stage.

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Romualdo Dias
Sep, 2021

Imagination and Action: Movements between Immanence and Transcendence
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Working from the basis of the critical pedagogy tradition Romualdo Dias proposes a didactic framework that unites imagination and action. Only insofar as we dream—or only when we practice a certain metaphysical leap towards an imagination separate from factual realism—does change become possible. Romualdo connects the idea of utopia with education, crucial in the process of awakening the conscience to a greater immanence, or in other words, a realism that is expanding towards what is possible but as of yet realized.

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Sofía Coca
Ago, 2021

Cultural mediation for social change in pandemic times
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Cultural mediation is an amalgam of practices, tools and methodologies that involve facilitation, support and recoding, but mediation is also the search for a common language, a language that may be new and invented and that seeks to inspire. A language that sometimes attempts to revive lost words or rituals. A language that sometimes resembles a patchwork quilt.

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David Bollier
Jul, 2021

Commoning and Changemaking
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The old and new commons paradigm helps us name and understand a richer notion of value and create new types of socially constructive institutions based on bottom-up acts of participation, mutual support, conflict, negotiation, communication and experimentation.

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Andrés Lomeña / Patricio Cabello
Jun, 2021

A new political imagination: creating realistic utopias
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We need new goals and a new language articulating these goals in order to rehabilitate the currently unhealthy sociopolitical climate. This entails drawing on historical ideals, but also allowing past mistakes to inform a new, ambitious, and credible program for change. Such change must move beyond individual needs and myopic political vision, grounding the new political imagination in explicit realism. to meet societal demands and chart a new future, such a proposal must have the capacity to attract, convince, and be driven by a combination of science, critical consciousness, and action.

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Concha Roldán
Jun, 2021

Historical notes in a reflection on tolerance for a new political imaginary
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Tracing the etymology and history of thought regarding the concept of tolerance informs the current and future political imaginary. Borne out of modernity, this concept and its origin was limited to a negative formulation of allowing something while not approving for it. In tracing modern thought, it evolved into a positive tolerance of other cultures, underpinned by justice, perspective and pluralism. If we truly understand its origin and evolution, tolerance does not translate to relativism or monolithic beliefs, but rather is a methodological tool with which to exchange knowledge, promote a situated rationality and achieve progress that can shape a new political imaginary.

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Maysoun Douas
May, 2021

Towards a New Social Contract for the 21st Century
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The decline of democratic systems, deepening inequalities, complex and bureaucratic international institutions, fragile social models and exploitation of the natural world can still be remedied. A new social contract could restore the space of active citizenship and invoke the global societal collaboration that our current reality demands .As part of this, we must understand where we have came from and the “truths” that have formed the basis of our societal construction up until now, and move past territorialization as inherent to citizenship. Instead we should look to digitization as the new engine of postmodernity, renewed democracy as a tool, and youth as key actors, in order to achieve future societal well-being and sustainability.

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Jo Guldi
Abr, 2021

Pandemics Occasion the Rethinking of Shared Technology
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Past epidemics of malaria and cholera across the British empire taught lessons about shared infrastructure. While these diseases are largely eliminated in Europe, they endure in other parts of the world as a testimony to where money is spent, or not spent. Looking back on the history of disease, we witness how systemic crisis can stimulate change in public infrastructure. This epidemic is an opportunity to transform infrastructure yet again, perhaps this time utilizing technology to address and attempt to rectify the ways in which these systems can continue to exclude many communities and the developing world.

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Steve Keen
Mar, 2021

A Modern Debt Jubilee
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Our current societies, with advanced levels of industrialization and knowledge, continue to stymie innovation at the expense of the collective benefit. This is particularly manifested in the blind adherence to neoclassical economics and unchallenged economic systems. The «Modern Debt Jubilee» serves as one strategy with which to challenge these paradigms and provide solutions. It addresses the systemic problem of central banks printing trillions of dollars to lower interest rates to make asset owners feel richer and spend more, which does not engender economic growth due to the rich accumulating much of this new money into their existing assets. The Jubilee would leverage these same central banks to provide freshly printed money to the indebted, wiping the global debt slate clean.

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Joost Smiers
Feb, 2021

Roaming noise and other unwanted sounds. Protecting the public domain
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Public spaces are full of sounds, many of which can be undesirable for the majority of individuals. Noise can affect our state of mind and health, but does not «ask permission» before entering our ears. While this kind of intrusion may not be immediately apparent, it is important that it be addressed as a public concern, given how it acts as a form of contamination that can damage the hearing or mental health of citizens. In short, as with other public matters, noise occupies the public space to the extent that it should be regulated in order to preserve our collective well-being.

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Jesús Rey Rocha / Emilio Muñoz Ruiz
Jan, 2021

Science and democracy: institutions in search of a sociopolitical identity
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Science and democracy are comparable in that they are not characterized by absolute truths, but rather «evolutionary» truths, which should be subject to constant critique and analysis. Both also possess internal and external dimensions; in the context of phenomena like the COVID-19 pandemic, the external dimension becomes crucial, as it links science or democracy to institutions and citizens. Recovery and regeneration of the current state of governance is possible, if there is a true pivot to empowered institutions and citizens. In order to overcome the systemic crisis that we face, a framework of strong, reliable and committed institutions, underpinned by an individual and collectively responsible citizenry, is the way forward.

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Colleen Boland / Rafael Heiber
Dec, 2020*

The post-pandemic city: transnational cooperation and public policy
(Part II)

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Insights from living with the repercussions and realities of the COVID-19 crisis for a full year now have demonstrated how a global meta-crisis can accelerate and exacerbate inequalities, further jeopardizing societal wellbeing. Still, examples of both concrete micro and meso level change within local communities, via citizen mobilization, have illustrated how reshaping the urban landscape is profoundly linked with the rural, as well as bears transnational implications. Restoring power to the public space, catalyzing participatory citizen networks and revolutionizing policy as based in solidarity and coexistence are crucial in rectifying the more profound, systemic crisis, to achieve a viable human and planetary future.

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Rebeca Grynspan
Dec, 2020
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A new, «glocal» social pact for recovery
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The COVID-19 pandemic represents a challenge in global coordination. More than ever before, multilateralism proves to be an indispensable tool in confronting major world challenges. The health crisis precipitated by the disease is merely symptomatic of greater environmental and systemic crises that threaten humanity. This necessitates a multi-level and multi-stakeholder social pact, involving cities as well as international organizations. We need institutions capable of engaging in innovation, as well as of achieving long-term and green agendas. The latter in particular uniquely presents the possibility of our civilization’s survival.

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Felipe Llamas
Nov, 2020

Old challenges in a new context: the pandemic accelerating city multilateralism
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The COVID-19 pandemic has jeopardized the legitimacy of national and international institutions, inspiring worrying trends of isolationism and protectionism. Meanwhile, as populations struggle to survive not only a health crisis, but one of social and economic dimensions, local authorities provide for the continuity of public services. These local and regional communities and their leaders recognize that the current situation calls for addressing systemic inequalities and an ecological transition. In order to achieve this societal wellbeing, transnational cooperation between these diverse localities, grounded by the immediate needs of their populations, is the way forward.

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Fernando Carrión Mena
Oct, 2020

The Global Transurban System: Forms It Takes and New Challenges
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COVID-19 has become a fundamentally urban disease: social interaction, so characteristic of cities, has put them all at the epicenter of this pandemic. Through the local integration process it is possible for us to identify the main assemblages that constitute the Global Urban Network. Recognizing the inter-urban and trans-urban logics means exploring an unchaperoned horizontal cooperation, and the transformation of the city-state relationship, both nationally and internationally.

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Bob Black
Sep, 2020

Work After Coronavirus
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The economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis have been crippling, and unemployment is rampant. Up until now, the economy has been divided rather arbitrarily into a primary agriculture and extractive industry, a secondary manufacturing sector, and a tertiary «service» sector. The latter sector has become more and more bloated, with many unjustified jobs. Meanwhile, the pandemic has taught us that authoritarian and city-centric labor regimes are unnecessary. Work has the potential to be transformed into a new type of activity, an autonomous, productive play that allows for healthier, freer societies.

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Leticia Merino / Simone Buratti
Aug, 2020

Cities, COVID-19 and Commons in Latin America
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Cities derive their value from commons: goods, benefits, or services collectively, used, created and preserved, and are governed by collective action. In the case of Latin American cities and megacities in particular, collective action and sharing of resources has taken place during the COVID-19 crisis. However, a history of colonialism, neoliberal policies and inequality make this region particularly vulnerable during the pandemic. This article traces the reasons why now, more than ever, the Latin American region must learn from this crisis in order to build more resilient and equal societies.

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Saskia Sassen
Jul, 2020

Urban capabilities: those we want in our cities and those we should avoid
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In considering cities and how we want to construct them, it is fundamental to analyze the actors shaping them, and their capabilities. Beginning in the late 1980s, the financial sector and its innovative capacity for extraction has played a key role on the global stage, in a very different manner from that of traditional banking and corporations. Now, with the COVID-19 phenomenon also resembling a global actor, it becomes all the more clear that, no matter how it is disguised, high finance operates to the detriment of local and household economies, as well as to the flow of urban spaces.

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Rafael Heiber / Colleen Boland
Jun, 2020

the post-pandemic city: transnational cooperation and public policy
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The COVID-19 pandemic and its immediate effects have not only triggered crises worldwide, but also have raised awareness about greater systemic failures that have been plaguing our modern society. Progressive advocates have already attempted to shed light on these problems, demanding alternative models. Further efforts might now resonate enough to implement them. As we present in the overview of all articles that compose the launch issue of metapolis, this is a step that depends on strengthened relations between transnational cooperation and public policy, to transform the life of citizens attuned to common values.

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Manuela Carmena
Jun, 2020

Before and after the pandemic: a city of solidarity, creativity and participation
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Solidarity, creativity and participation are the three main pillars upon which cities should be built. The COVID-19 pandemic has proven we cannot have healthy cities if the entirety of our citizens and government officials do not embrace the principle of solidarity. Participation is inherent to cities as public spaces of freedom. Last but not least, creativity is essential, as it allows us to imagine better worlds: it is only in imagining them that they can begin to be real.

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Alfredo Aguilar
Jun, 2020

let us give the future another chance
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Science is a fundamental pillar for designing effective policies and guiding public-private efforts. From the current pandemic to climate change, all of humanity’s challenges are closely interlinked with the biosphere. Global challenges require global, and therefore synergistic, responses. We propose Bioeconomics and Biodiplomacy as two new tools to integrate local, national and global initiatives for the transformation we need.

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Herta Däubler-Gmelin
Jun, 2020

The post Covid-19 challenge: a simple reset or a real change?
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COVID-19 has exposed the very real weaknesses of global cooperation. It affects not only disenfranchised populations and underdeveloped countries, but also Europe. This pandemic has shaken a false sense of security among the more developed regions of the world. At the same time, we have witnessed how democratic societies are not necessarily less efficient than authoritarian ones when it comes to crisis management, and that far-reaching solutions are attainable when threats are perceived as sufficiently severe.

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Alfonso Zegbe
Jun, 2020

Socioemotional wellbeing: a revisited approach
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This article presents an approach and vision that should be considered in the different stages of policy making, in order to promote the wellbeing and happiness of individuals and their communities. This proposal is presented as a transversal approach that can be applied to various sectors and social rights, including health and wellbeing, education and lifelong emotional learning, food security, urban and rural spaces and flows, and housing and human habitats. The article closes with some final reflections on the future of government interventions, and approaches to the concepts of wellbeing and happiness.

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Laura Basu
Jun, 2020

The post-pandemic city beyond state and market: a thought experiment
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The COVID-19 pandemic and the international racial justice movement sparked by the police murder of George Floyd have led many to deeply question the capitalist system of markets and nation-states. Bringing together fiction, theory, and real-world examples, this contribution asks the reader to imagine what a utopian city beyond both the state and the market might look like.

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Wadah Khanfar
Jun, 2020

Covid-19 as a meta crisis and our post-pandemic order
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This pandemic provides a space-time from which a new world order can emerge, based on the great potential of an interconnected social organization. A transition that requires re-imagined institutions and societies, as the power of ideas makes a new world history possible. The post-pandemic world may not be equitable or secure, but it will push humanity to build a more just alternative under a new value system that will make the common good prevail.

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