The Wilberforce Society | Policy Papers
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Policy Papers

Writers: Max Gibson, Stacy Young, Thomas Carlile, Matija Franklin

Editors: Jun Pang

The urgency of planning and implementing sustainable environmental practices cannot be understated. Most recently, world leaders spoke of the pressing need to deal with climate change at COP21, with many heralding the talks as a sign that the international community was finally moving from the realm of words to that of action. However, problems continue to abound as governments grapple with the imperative of ensuring their countries’ growth and development versus that of implementing environmental policies – there remains difficulty in bridging the gap between policy and reality.

This paper aims to discern the different benefits of local versus top-down methods of common-pool resource (CPR) management, in the context of resource scarcity in the world today. Contrasting these two ideal types, it identifies existing local and top-down solutions to the management of the common-pool resources of land, energy, and fisheries, and evaluates a variety of relevant historical and current case studies for their successes and failures.

 

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Writers: Jun Pang and Vidya Ramesh

Editors: Laura Grunberg and Chia Jeng Yang

Commissioned by: End Rape on Campus UK

Sexual violence is endemic to university campuses and other institutions of higher education. While preliminary engagement with the issue has begun on the part of the education sector and the government in the United States, there remains no comprehensive set of mechanisms for dealing with sexual violence across universities and other institutions of higher education in the United Kingdom.

The University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford are compelling examples of the difficulties of instituting simultaneously vertical and lateral processes of disciplinary action and awareness-raising when it comes to issues surrounding rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and consent, due to their collegiate system. This paper explores the answer to the seemingly straightforward question, “Does the University of Cambridge have a policy for cases of sexual harassment and assault?”, and hopes to highlight the importance of instituting comprehensive mechanisms for dealing with the issue of sexual violence in universities. It recommends that institutions of higher education pursue a two-pronged approach to instituting policy: preventative measures (raising awareness of the importance of consent) should function in tandem with disciplinary measures (mechanisms for dealing with alleged perpetrators of sexual violence) in order to best uphold student welfare.

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Writers: Sophie Ashford, Daniel Gayne, Connor MacDonald, Joshua Watts

This paper discusses the challenges associated with data use in both political and commercial contexts. In particular, we discuss how organizations and corporations (particularly political parties and telecommunications firms), have used data in recent controversies and elections. In addition, we consider the legal regimes governing data arrangements and usage in a number of jurisdictions, notably Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States. In particular, we note that legal regimes have not kept pace with data usage, particularly in the political sphere. In some cases, notably Australia, this takes the form of under-regulation. In other cases, including both Canada and the United Kingdom, this involves improper regulation or regulation not fit for the purposes of electioneering, with the result that political parties are unnecessarily impeded while electors are not properly protected. In terms of commercial settings, the paper highlights that current regulation disempowers consumers and provides companies with ample opportunity for abuse. In Part 1, the paper details policy proposals to improve political data usage regulations. In part 2, policy proposals are put forward to empower consumers and protect privacy, with a particular emphasis on privacy agreements and customer-corporate relations.

 

 

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Lead Writers: Zoe Adams, Francois Vanherck

Writers: Shani Wijetilaka, Maximilian Campbell, Joshua Richman, Jack LeGresley

Editor: Umang Khandelwal

The House of Lords is suffering from an identity crisis. This is as much due to short sighted reform efforts as it is to issues of legitimacy. Reform needs to be seen as a priority, conceived as part of a normative vision of the role that the House of Lords could, and should play in the context of the modern British constitution. It is time to recognise that the House of Lords can make a meaningful contribution to our democracy, and defend it against the widespread criticism to which it is subject today.

This paper has sought to highlight the importance of the scrutinizing function the House of Lords performs. It has sought to demonstrate that the question of expertise cannot be separated from the nature of its composition. Before other issues can even begin to be addressed, the House needs to demonstrate it represents a diverse cross-section of society. By focusing on the central issue of composition, the proposed reforms should help to convince the public of the important contribution that the House of Lords can make to the quality of our democracy today.

 

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Writers: Tom Ellis, Walter Myer, Eddie Reynolds, Kartik Upadhyay

Editor: Walter Myer

Formatted by: Brendan Tan

This paper outlines a strategy to improve upon formal and informal recognition of qualifications held by refugees entering the UK. It begins with an overview of UK NARIC, the national body responsible for producing equivalence qualifications. This is followed by discussion of the problem of refugees who lack physical evidence of their qualifications upon arrival. We then turn to the problem of language acquisition, before finally considering official channels of support for refugees as they use their equivalence qualifications to seek employment.

In our conclusion, we produce a series of proposals directed towards NARIC and other organisations. These include the introduction of an assessment-based qualification recognition process; a model integrating employment with language learning; and the supplementation of NARIC’s role through government-supported initiatives for job-seeking refugees across a range of areas.

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Written by Ewan Lusty

Formatted by Brendan Tan

Corruption is increasingly on the UK policy-making agenda. In December 2014 the Government published a comprehensive Anti-Corruption Plan, consisting of 66 points for further action in addressing corruption, acting on repeated warnings from journalists, academics, and NGOs about the threat corruption poses in the UK and the need for an active policy response. Although this plan is wide-ranging in its scope and ambition, further thought and discussion is necessary to determine the exact shape of this action.

This paper proposes an online service that will act as both an easily accessible reporting mechanism and an information hub. It will allow citizens both to report corruption and to understand the principal corruption risks in more detail. It will specifically target corruption in local government, one of nine risk areas identified by the Anti-Corruption Plan. Because Scotland and Northern Ireland have separate institutional arrangements for tackling corruption, this proposal will confine itself to England and Wales. It draws on a wide range of existing innovations around the world, including from low- and middle-income countries. In particular, India and Ukraine offer valuable examples of how to incorporate citizens’ use of technology into an anti-corruption strategy.

 

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Writers: Beth Barnes, Riccardo Conci, Sobia Hamid, Daniel Hurt, Ed Leon Klinger, Gregory Lewis, Cameron Wallace

Editor: Daniel Hurt

Advisors: Shahar Avin, Clemens Öllinger-Guptara, Chia Jeng Yang

 

This paper offers some suggestions on how governments and businesses can manage the risks, whilst maximising the benefits, posed by Artificial Intelligence (AI) over the course of this century. It begins by outlining the history and present state of the art, summarising predictions made by experts in the field on how it might progress in the coming decades. Following this it provides an overview of the dangers that advanced AI applications may present across a range of industries.

In its conclusion the paper provides a summary of the policy recommendations made across these areas. It continues with a discussion of the policy themes that have been developed, followed by some final remarks. Throughout we avoid discussion of the technical details of AI development, but focus on how states and private institutions can increase the likelihood that the social, economic and political impact of advanced AI will be positive.

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Writers: Shachi Amdekar, Jack Sibley, Vivek Midha
Editor: Daniil Miroshnichenko
Contributors: Matija Franklin, Kartik Vira, Chia Jeng Yang

In this paper, we propose potential solutions to the problem of technological unemployment in the UK. We start with an examination of the phenomenon of technological unemployment in literature as seen in economic models, along with empirical evidence pertaining directly to the UK. Then, we evaluate Britain’s current educational, welfare and innovation policies in relation to coping with technological unemployment. Finally, we set out our proposals for the respective policies before finishing off with the concluding remarks.

With the advent of machine learning and big data technology will destroy jobs on a larger scale and for a longer period than ever before. As it stands, we are not ready for these changes. Britain has a historical record of underperforming in both entrepreneurial education and innovation, and the current welfare system is maladapted to such a shift in the nature of unemployment. The measures outlined below seek to maximise the share of the population involving in and profiting from entrepreneurial activity, as it emphasises creativity and innovation, traits that are hard to automate. We propose equipping people with the knowledge and the financial backdrop to start their own business. We also suggest stimulating product innovation in the hope of creating more jobs faster. It is important to note that our proposals interlace: entrepreneurial education will enable R&D to be converted into new business opportunities, financially supported by a universal basic income. With the government being the largest stakeholder in education, welfare and promoting innovation, this paper naturally focuses on what policies the government and its departments should pursue in response to rising unemployment.

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By Qu Tianlu, Chia Jeng Yang, Beatrice Chan, Chiu Chai Hao

In this paper, we will examine briefly the background of Islamic State and its manifestation over various social media platforms. We will study how IS capitalised on the advantages conferred by each type of platform to achieve its ends. Subsequently, we will look at social reactions against these activities over social media. Most importantly, we would like to highlight the lack of coordinated UK governmental presence with social media providers to address the problem of IS. This is largely attributed to a confused relationship between the government and social media companies, which will be explored. In the last but most important part of the paper, we will offer our recommendations for a possible framework in which governmental bodies and social media companies could cooperate with minimal compromise of privacy and security. Our strategy involves directly engaging IS over social media platforms to regain the attention of youths in the short-run, assisting social media companies in mining and analyzing big data from their databases, followed by utilising the data to identify and respond to potential recruits. We believe that this will not only completely take apart IS’ social media campaign but also construct a foundation over which the government and social media companies could work together against any future threats.

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