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  • The consumer, the market and the universal aristocracy: the ideology of academisation in England

    Hoctor, Tom; (Sage, 2022-04-20)
    In 2018, academies accounted for 72% of all English secondary schools, compared to 6% in 2009 (National Audit Office, 2018). English academy schooling conforms to marketizing trends in international education reform, but Conservative politicians have also attempted to promote particular moral values. This article analyses the tensions between neoliberalism and neoconservatism and applies this analysis to a concrete debate taking place within the Conservative Party in the 2000s and 2010s. It uses arguments made by an illustrative group of Conservative politicians to explore and analyse the tension between these two reform trends. The aim of this article is twofold. Firstly, it will present the key arguments which were marshalled by a selection of thinkers affiliated with the Conservative Party in favour of educational reform. It will do this by analysing Conservative articulations of the failure of state education; the role of the consumer and the relationship between democracy and the market. Secondly, it will explore the degree to which marketizing and traditionalist impulses in education reform should be considered complimentary or contradictory. I will conclude by arguing that the parent-consumer functions as a vanishing mediator between neoliberal and neoconservative ideological positions.
  • How the signified went missing in twentieth-century economic theory: Mises, Hayek and Schumpeter and the abolition of value

    Hoctor, Tom (Taylor & Francis, 2022-04-29)
    This article contributes to a growing literature on economic epistemologies by arguing that so-called ‘neoliberal’ ways of thinking are characteristic of a trend in wider social theory to privilege epistemological problematics over ontological ones. It will approach the shared nature of these epistemological precepts through an interrogation of the formal approaches to economic value used in the work of Schumpeter, Mises and Hayek and compare this with Derrida and Saussure’s understanding of linguistic value. Using a Marxian understanding of use-value, it will be argued that the movement to abolish the transcendental signified in post-structural philosophy is homologous to the abolition of objective value in economics. It will be claimed that the impulse to abolish the Thing shared by economic theorists and post- structuralists follows from a shared, though necessarily differently constituted, anti- socialism. In both cases, undermining the Thing is seen as a means of undermining organised socialist politics. I will conclude by arguing that these similarities demonstrate the need for neoliberalism and critique of neoliberalism to be historicised as part of a wider account of the relationship between contemporary capitalism, politics and the production of knowledge.
  • Beveridge or Bismarck? choosing the Nordic model in British healthcare policy 1997-2015

    Hoctor, Tom (Routledge, 2021-10-20)
    Historical and social science literature has a long tradition of interest in the Nordic model and its permutations and developments. This chapter will make two straightforward and related claims. First, that ideas about the Nordic model circulated in British political circles in the period 1997 to 2010 in the field of healthcare, and second, that this Nordic model was a departure from the ‘traditional’ social democratic conception of Norden, instead of relying heavily on New Public Management ideas. It will substantiate this claim using a policy diffusion model to analyse think-tank reports, political speeches, and articles from the popular and business press. I will claim that a dual process of policy learning was taking place in the 2000s with a group of broadly social democratic think tanks and media figures engaging with Nordic countries on the one hand and a group of free-market think tanks, journalists and the Conservative Party looking to Central European examples, especially Germany, on the other hand. Labour’s use of the Nordic model should, therefore, be seen as a means to defend taxation-funded healthcare against policymakers arguing for the adoption of a social insurance system. What Labour policymakers created was, in historical terms, a distinctive and quite British conception of the Nordic model which emphasised marketising and privatising aspects of Nordic reform trajectories that were consistent with Labour’s policy platform for the NHS.
  • Artificial intelligence robot safety: a conceptual framework and research agenda based on new institutional economics and social media

    Li, Rita Yi Man; Crabbe, M. James C. (Springer, 2022-05-15)
    According to "Huang's law", Artificial intelligence (AI)-related hardware increases in power 4 to 10 times per year. AI can benefit various stages of real estate development, from planning and construction to occupation and demolition. However, Hong Kong's legal system is currently behind when it comes to technological abilities, while the field of AI safety in built environments is still in its infancy. Negligent design and production processes, irresponsible data management, questionable deployment, algorithm training, sensor design and/or manufacture, unforeseen consequences from multiple data inputs, and erroneous AI operation based on sensor or remote data can all lead to accidents. Yet, determining how legal rules should apply to liability for losses caused by AI systems takes time. Traditional product liability laws can apply for some systems, meaning that the manufacturer will bear responsibility for a malfunctioning part. That said, more complex cases will undoubtedly have to come before the courts to determine whether something unsafe should be the manufacturer's fault or the individual's fault, as well as who should receive the subsequent financial and/or non-financial compensation, etc. Since AI adoption has an inevitable relationship with safety concerns, this project intends to shed light on responsible AI development and usage, with a specific focus on AI safety laws, policies, and people's perceptions. We will conduct a systematic literature review via the PRISMA approach to study the academic perspectives of AI safety policies and laws and data-mining publicly available content on social media platforms such as Twitter, YouTube, and Reddit to study societal concerns about AI safety in built environments. We will then research court cases and laws related to AI safety in 61 jurisdictions, in addition to policies that have been implemented globally. Two case studies on AI suppliers that sell AI hardware and software to users of built environment will also be included. Another two case studies will be conducted on built environment companies (a contractor and Hong Kong International Airport) that use AI safety tools. The results obtained from social media, court cases, legislation, and policies will be discussed with local and international experts via a workshop, then released to the public to provide the international community and Hong Kong with unique policy and legal orientations.

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