Symβiosis aims to provide resources, commentaries and analysis, on political, social and cultural ideas and developments affecting change and policy, original and creative, based on arguments, able to propose and debate solutions to critical issues, maintaining a broad intellectual scope and global reach that readers need to understand the choices shaping lives, and reflecting on Greece, the Balkans, Europe and the world.


Global poverty halved since 1990, says World Bank – really?

Author : German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)
By Nicole Rippin

Have we missed a unique success story? World Bank forecasts in late February suggested that the proportion of poor people in the world shrank by half between 1990 and 2010, and this despite the financial crisis. That means nothing less than that the first and best-known Millennium Development Goal was achieved in 2010, five years ahead of target. We will recall that it was in 2000 that the United Nations approved eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were to be achieved by 2015. Among the measurable goals is the halving of the proportion of people living in poverty or hunger.


"The Text-messaging Revolutions"

16 February 2011 / Opinión CIDOB 104

The first time that social media helped force the ousting of a ruling despot was in the Philippines ten years ago, in January 2001, when mass mobilization and protests were arranged, in part, by forwarded text messages reading: “Go 2 EDSA Wear blk.” [1]. Over a million people choked traffic in downtown Manila and, three days later, President Joseph Estrada was gone, blaming “the text-messaging generation” for his downfall.


Africa’s Organic Peasantry

Beyond Romanticism

In the Western imagination Africa now stands for the antithesis of our own modern economy: its authenticity contrasting with our own contrivance. More specifically, the dominant image of Africa is that of the peasant farmer. In contrast to the large, commercial organization in which most of us find employment, the African peasant is self-employed. In contrast to the global market into which we find ourselves integrated, the African peasant produces for subsistence. In place of our restless mobility characterized by frequent changes of job and home, the African peasant is rooted to the ancestral soil. In contrast to our industrialized destruction of the global environment, the African peasant preserves as custodian the natural world. In contrast to our atomistic isolation, the African peasant is bound to a local community by ties of kinship and reciprocity.


Together But Not In Sync

The “Split” of the World Cycle and Opportunities for Russia

The developing economies are prepared to join the ranks of key players on the financial markets by strengthening their national market infrastructures; that is, by setting up new financial centers on the basis of their banking systems and stock exchanges, and by diversifying debt securities markets. Shanghai, Dubai and Moscow are new generation centers, to name just a few.


Just War in Africa

Who Decides?

Sovereignty and the Right of Intervention

Three months after September 11, 2001, the “right to intervention” was re-characterized and presented to the UN Secretary General as the “right to protection” via the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS). The consequence was the expansion of power under the umbrella of jus ad bellum - the justice of resorting to war. Although the language of the report, titled “Responsibility to Protect,” did not justify material and geostrategic motives, the justified invasion of oil-rich nations such as Iraq was successfully smuggled in and well served by the intuitive geopolitical ambiguities following September 11.


Machiavelli 2.0

The Fundamentals of Network Society

Alexander Schellong, PhD, MA, is a Senior Consultant with CSC’s public sector management practice advising clients internationally on issues of eGovernment, citizen relationship management, public management and public policy. Among others, he serves as an expert to the European Commission. He continues to be active in academia through research and lectures. His studies focus on the impacts of ICT and organizational and societal issues. Philipp Mueller, PhD, MA, is director of the Center for Public Management and Governance at the Salzburg University Business School and visiting professor for public policy and management at the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy in Erfurt. His research interests lie in the interplay of ICTs and public policy and he is working with leaders in business and governments worldwide on strategies to adapt to our changing world. Both authors have collaborated in various executive education programs and research projects at Harvard University and elsewhere.


Crises of Capitalism

In this RSA Animate, renowned academic David Harvey asks if it is time to look beyond capitalism towards a new social order that would allow us to live within a system that really could be responsible, just, and humane?

This is based on a lecture at the RSA (