Benefits, US Gun Control & Open Information

16th January 2013

In 2013’s first issue of The Big Picture, Elliot Johnson, Joseph Todd, Seb Bench, Michael Gaffney and Louis Cotgrove joined David Hayes to discuss the week’s key issues.

Click here to listen to the podcast!

First up, the panel discussed the Government’s proposals to raise benefits by only 1% in the next financial year. While Joseph condemned the Coalition’s decision-makers for being callous and disconnected from reality on the ground, Elliot praised any moves to reduce tax, arguing that they would promote much-needed economic growth.

In the second debate, the panel addressed the biggest and most tragic news event from the Christmas holiday – the US school massacre and the consequences for US gun control laws. The panel conceded that due to the sheer number of firearms in circulation in the States, as well as the position of firearms in the American national phsyche and mythos, the chances of serious gun control still look slim.

Finally, the focus turned to the tragic case of Reddit founder Aaron Schwartz, who took his own life in the wake of investigation by the FBI for breach of intellectual property law. Schwartz was accused of stealing academic articles from journal repository Jstor, with a view to distributing them for free on the Internet. In light of these events, the panel discussed the future of academic research publishing, and in particular the possibilities for free and alternative publishing methods. The future of intellectual property in the information era was also speculated on.

Thanks to all who listened and texted in.