The United States has been widely blamed for the recent financial crisis. As the U.S. economy floundered and China continued to grow in the great recession of 2008–2009, Chinese authors launched "a flood of declinist commentary about the United States." One expert claimed that the high point of U.S. power projection was 2000. The Chinese were not alone in such statements. Goldman Sachs advanced the date at which it expects the size of the Chinese economy to surpass the U.S. economy to 2027. In a 2009 Pew Research Center poll, majorities or pluralities in 13 of 25 countries believed that China will replace the United States as the world's leading superpower. Even the U.S. government's National Intelligence Council projected in 2008 that U.S. dominance would be "much diminished" by 2025. President Dmitri Medvedev of Russia called the 2008 financial crisis a sign that the United States' global leadership is coming to an end, and even a sympathetic observer, Canadian opposition leader Michael Ignatieff, suggested that Canada should look beyond North America now that "the noon hour of the United States and its global dominance are over."One should be wary, however, of extrapolating long-term trends from cyclical events, while being aware of misleading metaphors of organic decline. Nations are not like humans with predictable life spans. For example, after the United Kingdom lost its American colonies at the end of the eighteenth century, Horace Walpole lamented its reduction to "as insignificant a country as Denmark or Sardinia." He failed to foresee that the industrial revolution would give the United Kingdom a second century of even greater ascendency. Likewise, Rome remained dominant for more than three centuries after the apogee of Roman power. Even then, Rome did not succumb to the rise of another state, but died a death of a thousand cuts inflicted by various barbarian tribes. Indeed for all the fashionable predictions of Brazil, China, or India surpassing the United States in the next decades, the greater threats may come from cuts from modern barbarians and non-state actors.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed by President Obama
in March 2010 is a landmark in U.S. social legislation. The new law
extends health insurance to nearly all Americans, fulfilling a
century-long quest and bringing the United States to parity with other
industrial nations. Affordable Care aims to control rapidly rising
health care costs and promises to make the United States more equal,
reversing four decades of rising disparities between the very rich and
everyone else. Millions of people of modest means will gain new benefits
and protections from insurance company abuses—and the tab will be
paid by privileged corporations and the very rich. How did such a
bold reform effort pass in a polity wracked by partisan divisions and
intense lobbying by special interests? What does Affordable Care mean—and what comes next? In Health Care Reform and American Politics: What
Everyone Needs to Know, Lawrence R. Jacobs and Theda Skocpol—two of the
nation's leading experts on politics and health care policy—provide a
concise and accessible overview. They explain the political battles of
2009 and 2010, highlighting White House strategies, the deals Democrats
cut with interest groups, and the impact of agitation by Tea Partiers
and progressives. Jacobs and Skocpol spell out what the new law can do
for everyday Americans, what it will cost, and who will pay. Above all,
they explain what comes next, as critical yet often behind-the-scenes
battles rage over implementing reform nationally and in the fifty
states. Affordable Care might end up being weakened. But, like Social
Security and Medicare, it could also gain strength and popularity as the
majority of Americans learn what it can do for them.
Dr. Jim Ocitti is the author of two highly acclaimed books on Uganda: Political Evolution and Democratic Practice in Uganda 1952–1996 and Press, Politics and Public Policy in Uganda: The Role of Journalism in Democratization, both published by the Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston, NY. He has served as a Senior Communication Advisor to the United Nations and worked as a Journalist in Uganda, Germany and the Netherlands. Dr. Ocitti obtained his PhD from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom and attended Harvard University as a Postdoctoral Fellow in International Conflict Analysis and Resolution. He was also a Fellow in International Affairs at Harvard's Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. In this book, he traces the life of one of the most illustrious military and political leaders in Acholi of Northern Uganda at the intersection of history between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries by illuminating the man's contribution to social change in Northern Uganda during the malleable early phase of colonial rule in the area. This book illuminates the life of Oteka Okello Mwoka Lengomoi, a legendary figure in the history of Acholi of Northern Uganda between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The book traces Mwoka's life from early childhood to his elevation to the position of Oteka, or military commander, of the Chiefdom of Puranga and narrates his relationship with key socio-political figures within the region, such as the king of Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom, major chiefs in Lango and Acholi, and the British colonial authorities. The book shows Mwoka's various levels of contribution to social change in Acholi within the British colonial setting, as he became the single most important and dependable local leader for the British in their imperial designs in the area. It documents the circumstances under which the Oteka was assassinated and the implication of his demise on Acholi politics and society. It shows how, in the wake of his death, many of his children and grandchildren rose to various levels of influence within Acholi and Uganda. The book ends with a brief narrative of the history of the Chiefdom of Puranga from which Oteka Okello Mwoka Lengomoi originated and of which he was a principal player.
The violence tearing apart Jamaica, a democratic state, raises serious questions not only about its government’s capacity to provide basic security but, more broadly and disturbingly, the link between violence and democracy itself.The specific causes of the turmoil are well known. For decades political leaders have used armed local gangs to mobilize voters in their constituencies; the gangs are rewarded with the spoils of power, in particular housing and employment contracts they can dole out. Opposition leaders counter with their own gangs, resulting in chronic violence during election seasons.These gangs eventually moved into international drug trafficking, with their leaders, called “dons,” becoming ever more powerful. The tables turned quite some time ago, with the politicians becoming dependent on the dons for their survival.
A case in point is the reliance of Prime Minister Bruce Golding on one notorious don, Christopher Coke, whose refusal to surrender for extradition to the United States to stand trial on gun and drug charges led last week to virtual warfare on the streets of the capital, Kingston, and the deaths of scores of civilians.Endemic political corruption is hardly Jamaica’s only problem. Add to it paltry rates of economic growth, widespread poverty and income inequality, vast urban slums and a police force considered brutal and despised by the poor, and it is little surprise that the island nation’s homicide rate is always among the handful of the world’s highest.Yet Jamaica, to its credit, has by global standards achieved a robust democracy. However great the violence during elections, voting is fair and governments change at the national level regularly and fairly smoothly. The judiciary, if overburdened, is nonetheless independent and relatively uncorrupt. There is a vigorous free press, and a lively civil society. Freedom House has continuously categorized the island as a “free” country.For most observers of democracy, Jamaica’s violence seems an anomaly. Democracy is held to be inherently prone to good order and peace. According to this “democratic peace” doctrine, democracies do not go to war with each other, and in domestic life they provide nonviolent means of settling differences. Violence, writes the political theorist John Keane, is anathema to democracy’s “spirit and substance.”It may or may not be true that democracies do not wage war with each other, but a growing number of analysts have concluded that, domestically, democracies are in fact more prone to violence than authoritarian states, measured by incidence of civil wars, communal conflict and homicide.There are many obvious examples of this: India has far more street crime than China; the countries of the former Soviet Union are more violent now than they were under Communism; the streets of South Africa became more dangerous after apartheid was dismantled; Brazil was safer before 1985 under its military rule.Three good explanations are offered for this connection between democracy and violent crime. First, it has been persuasively shown by social scientists like David Rapoport of the University of California at Los Angeles and Leonard Weinberg of the University of Nevada at Reno that the electoral process itself tends, on balance, to promote violence more than peace.Sometimes the ballot can substitute for the bullets of civil wars, as in Nicaragua in 1990 when the Sandinista government was voted out peacefully. However, the opposite is more often the case, as in Greece in 1967, when electoral uncertainty led to a military coup, and Algeria in 1992, when elections were canceled in the face of a certain victory by a fundamentalist Islamic party, leading to civil war.Another well-supported argument is that democracies are especially vulnerable to ethnic conflict and organized crime. In diverse democracies, the temptation of leaders to exploit ethnic identity for political ends is an all too frequent source of major conflict, sometimes culminating in oppression of minorities and even genocide. We saw this happen in Rwanda in 1994 and the former Yugoslav states in the 1990s. Dennis Austin, who has studied political strife in India and Sri Lanka, has concluded that in such societies “democracy is itself a spur to violence” adding “depth to the sense of division.” Organized crime, especially international trafficking in drugs, has become a serious threat to democracies worldwide. Felia Allun and Renate Siebert, the editors of an important scholarly collection, “Organized Crime and the Challenge to Democracy,” argue that “it is by exploiting the very freedoms which democratic systems offer that organized crime is able to thrive ... although mortifying democratic rights, these kinds of crimes need the democratic space to flourish.”A third, more nuanced argument is suggested by the work of the Norwegian political scientist Havard Hegre, who has shown that nondemocratic regimes become more prone to civil unrest, and more likely to threaten or start wars with neighboring countries, as they enter the transition period toward becoming democratic. The arc to democratic peace is therefore U-shaped. Authoritarian regimes can tyrannize their citizens into less violence. But as their states become more democratic, the mix of persisting authoritarian traditions and democratic freedoms can be lethal, sometimes resulting in complete state collapse, as in Yugoslavia.It is only when such countries get very close to democratic maturity that social violence rapidly declines. At least that is the conclusion that my Harvard colleague Ethan Fosse and I came to after examining the relationship between homicide rates and Freedom House’s democracy rankings.Yet even in these countries on the cusp of democracy there is a complicating factor — they are usually also going through the transition from a poor economy to a more developed one. The expectations of citizens in these transitional economies often outrun the capacity of society to meet them; people get frustrated and feel unfairly treated, leading to high risks of violence.The worst possible situation for a state, however, is for its economic transition to stall or fail before the transition to mature democracy is complete. And this is what Jamaica now faces. For the first dozen years after independence from Britain in 1962, progress toward democracy and self-sustained economic growth moved nicely in tandem. But then the oil crisis and recession of 1973, and the efforts by the democratic socialist government of Prime Minister Michael Manley to deal with hard times, knocked the wind from the sails of economic progress, and Jamaica has never really recovered. (Disclosure: I was an adviser to Prime Minister Manley at that time.)To see what happens when a country accomplishes both transitions, we need only look at the neighboring Afro-Caribbean island of Barbados. It has a similar colonial past, and became independent just three years after Jamaica. Yet Barbados’ per capita income is now more than twice that of Jamaica, its standard of living puts it among the developed world and Freedom House places it on a par with Western Europe in terms of the maturity of its democracy. Sure enough, Barbados also has one of the lowest homicide rates in the hemisphere.Barbados, unfortunately, is not typical. Jamaica, though an extreme case, is more in line with other democracies of the hemisphere, including Colombia, Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico and even Brazil, where the treacherous joint transition to democratic maturity and economic security has been accompanied by horrendous levels of crime.As the American government decides how to respond to the crisis in Jamaica, a product of the (proper) insistence on the extradition of Christopher Coke, it would do well to view developments there in these broader terms. The problem of Jamaica might not seem so insoluble if Americans were to have a more sympathetic understanding of the transitional plight of this little country, brought on in large part by its unwavering struggle toward a more mature and equitable democracy.
Orlando Patterson is a professor of sociology at Harvard.
Focusing empirically on how political and economic forces are always mediated and interpreted by agents, both in individual countries and in the international sphere, Constructing the International Economy sets out what such constructions and what various forms of constructivism mean, both as ways of understanding the world and as sets of varying methods for achieving that understanding. It rejects the assumption that material interests either linearly or simply determine economic outcomes and demands that analysts consider, as a plausible hypothesis, that economies might vary substantially for nonmaterial reasons that affect both institutions and agents' interests.Constructing the International Economy portrays the diversity of models and approaches that exist among constructivists writing on the international political economy. The authors outline and relate several different arguments for why scholars might attend to social construction, inviting the widest possible array of scholars to engage with such approaches. They examine points of terminological or theoretical confusion that create unnecessary barriers to engagement between constructivists and nonconstructivist work and among different types of constructivism.
This book provides a tool kit that both constructivists and their critics can use to debate how much and when social construction matters in this deeply important realm
Far more than an intellectual puzzle for pundits, economists, and
policymakers, economic growth—its makings and workings—is a subject
that affects the well-being of billions of people around the globe. In The Mystery of Economic Growth,
Elhanan Helpman discusses the vast research that has revolutionized
understanding of this subject in recent years, and summarizes and
explains its critical messages in clear, concise, and accessible terms. The tale of growth economics, as Helpman tells it, is
organized around a number of themes: the importance of the accumulation
of physical and human capital; the effect of technological factors on
the rate of this accumulation; the process of knowledge creation and its
influence on productivity; the interdependence of the growth rates of
different countries; and, finally, the role of economic and political
institutions in encouraging accumulation, innovation, and change.
One of the leading researchers of economic growth, Helpman succinctly
reviews, critiques, and integrates current research—on capital
accumulation, education, productivity, trade, inequality, geography, and
institutions—and clarifies its relevance for global economic
inequities. In particular, he points to institutions—including property
rights protection, legal systems, customs, and political systems—as
the key to the mystery of economic growth. Solving this mystery could
lead to policies capable of setting the poorest countries on the path
toward sustained growth of per capita income and all that that
implies—and Helpman's work is a welcome and necessary step in this
In this surprising and highly unconventional work, Harvard law
professor Mark Tushnet poses a seemingly simple question that yields a
thoroughly unexpected answer. The Constitution matters, he argues, not
because it structures our government but because it structures our
politics. He maintains that politicians and political parties—not
Supreme Court decisions—are the true engines of constitutional change in
our system. This message will empower all citizens who use direct
political action to define and protect our rights and liberties as
Americans.Unlike legal scholars who consider the
Constitution only as a blueprint for American democracy, Tushnet focuses
on the ways it serves as a framework for political debate. Each branch
of government draws substantive inspiration and procedural structure
from the Constitution but can effect change only when there is the
political will to carry it out. Tushnet’s political understanding of the
Constitution therefore does not demand that citizens pore over the
specifics of each Supreme Court decision in order to improve our nation.
Instead, by providing key facts about Congress, the president, and the
nature of the current constitutional regime, his book reveals not only why the Constitution matters to each of us but also, and perhaps more important, how it matters.
In February of 2008, amid the looming global financial crisis, President
Nicolas Sarkozy of France asked Nobel Prize–winning economists Joseph
Stiglitz and Amartya Sen, along with the distinguished French economist
Jean Paul Fitoussi, to establish a commission of leading economists to
study whether Gross Domestic Product (GDP)—the most widely used measure
of economic activity—is a reliable indicator of economic and social
progress. The Commission was given the further task of laying out an
agenda for developing better measures.Mismeasuring Our Lives
is the result of this major intellectual effort, one with pressing
relevance for anyone engaged in assessing how and whether our economy is
serving the needs of our society. The authors offer a sweeping
assessment of the limits of GDP as a measurement of the well-being of
societies—considering, for example, how GDP overlooks economic
inequality (with the result that most people can be worse off even
though average income is increasing); and does not factor environmental
impacts into economic decisions.In place of GDP, Mismeasuring Our Lives
introduces a bold new array of concepts, from sustainable measures of
economic welfare, to measures of savings and wealth, to a “green GDP.”
At a time when policymakers worldwide are grappling with unprecedented
global financial and environmental issues, here is an essential guide to
measuring the things that matter.
Drawing on the research and experience of fifteen internationally recognized Latin America scholars, this insightful text presents an overview of inter-American relations during the first decade of the twenty-first century. This unique collection identifies broad changes in the international system that have had significant affects in the Western Hemisphere, including issues of politics and economics, the securitization of U.S. foreign policy, balancing U.S. primacy, the wider impact of the world beyond the Americas, especially the rise of China, and the complexities of relationships between neighbors.Contemporary U.S.-Latin American Relations focuses on the near-neighbors of the United States—Mexico, Cuba, the Caribbean and Central America—as well as the larger countries of South America—including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela. Each chapter addresses a country’s relations with the United States, and each considers themes that are unique to that country’s bilateral relations as well as those themes that are more general to the relations of Latin America as a whole. This cohesive and accessible volume is required reading for Latin American politics students and scholars alike.
From natural disaster areas to zones of political conflict around the world, a new logic of intervention combines military action and humanitarian aid, conflates moral imperatives and political arguments, and confuses the concepts of legitimacy and legality. The mandate to protect human lives—however and wherever endangered—has given rise to a new form of humanitarian government that moves from one crisis to the next, applying the same battery of technical expertise (from military logistics to epidemiological risk management to the latest social scientific tools for "good governance") and reducing people with particular histories and hopes to mere lives to be rescued. This book explores these contemporary states of emergency.Drawing on the critical insights of anthropologists, legal scholars, political scientists, and practitioners from the field, Contemporary States of Emergency examines historical antecedents as well as the moral, juridical, ideological, and economic conditions that have made military and humanitarian interventions common today. It addresses the practical process of intervention in global situations on five continents, describing both differences and similarities, and examines the moral and political consequences of these generalized states of emergency and the new form of government associated with them.
The Boston Study Group on Middle East Peace is comprised of
professional and academic members with strong interest in the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Some have been intensely engaged with
this subject for decades. Others have closely followed the conflict
within the context of their professional work in conflict resolution,
international law and international relations, religion, and U.S.
foreign policy. The Group's principal contribution is the
jointly written Policy Statement entitled "Israel and Palestine—Two
States for Two Peoples: If not Now, When?" The Statement stands as a
collegial, collective enterprise that represents a consensus view of the
group. Prior to drafting the policy statement each member
undertook to research and write a background paper on one of the topics
important to the statement.
/* Style Definitions */
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
font-family:"Times New Roman";
mso-bidi-language:#0400;}The relationship between the processes of economic development and
international human rights standards has been one of parallel and rarely
intersecting tracks of international action. In the last decade of the 20th
century, development thinking shifted from a growth-oriented model to the
concept of human development as a process of enhancing human capabilities, and
the intrinsic links between development and human rights began to be more
readily acknowledged. Specifically, it has been proposed that if strategies of
development and policies to implement human rights are united, they reinforce
one another in processes of synergy and improvement of the human condition.
Such is the premise of the Declaration on the Right to Development, adopted by
the UN General Assembly in 1986.This book explores the meaning and practical implications of the right to
development and the related term of human rights-based approaches to
development and questions what these conceptions may add to our understanding
and thinking about human and global development. Opening with an essay by Nobel
Laureate in Economic Science Amartya Sen on human rights and development, the
book contains a score of chapters on the conceptual underpinnings of
development as a human right, the national dimensions of this right, and the
role of international institutions. The authors reflect the disciplines of
philosophy, economics, international law, and international relations.
Is popular anger about rising inequality propelling China toward a "social volcano" of protest activity and instability that could challenge Chinese Communist Party rule? Many inside and outside of China have speculated, without evidence, that the answer is yes. In 2004, Harvard sociologist Martin King Whyte has undertaken the first systematic, nationwide survey of ordinary Chinese citizens to ask them directly how they feel about inequalities that have resulted since China's market opening in 1978. His findings are the subject of this book.
This paper describes and evaluates the system for trading CO2 emission permits introduced by the European Union to encourage the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to help abate climate change. This system represents a live example of a functioning trading system under the so-called cap-and-trade approach to limiting greenhouse gas emissions. Data are fully available for only one year (2008) of the fully functioning system, and that year was influenced by a sharp economic recession in the final months of the year, making evaluation difficult. Preliminary analysis suggests, however, that the trading system made only a limited contribution to reducing CO2 emissions.
This article will briefly address the future prospects for the dollar as an internationally acceptable denomination for assets, and then discuss the several ways in which the SDR or some other internationally-agreed reserve asset might partially substitute for the US dollar in its international roles, and even eventually replace it. It concludes that there is no practical substitute for the dollar in the near future, meaning the next decade or two; and that while the SDR could be made a substitute for the dollar along several dimensions in the longer run, it would require a major concerted effort by the leading governments of the world to do so.
Israel and Palestine, is written by the Boston Study Group on Middle East Peace: Alan Berger, Harvey Cox, Herbert C. Kelman, Lenore G. Martin, Everett Mendelsohn, Augustus Richard Norton, Henry Steiner, and Stephen M. Walt.The Boston Study Group on Middle East Peace is comprised of professional and academic members with strong interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Some have been intensely engaged with this subject for decades. Others have closely followed the conflict within the context of their professional work in conflict resolution, international law and international relations, religion, and U.S. foreign policy.The Group's principal contribution is the jointly written Policy Statement entitled "Israel and Palestine - Two States for Two Peoples: If not Now, When?" The Statement stands as a collegial, collective enterprise that represents a consensus view of the group.Prior to drafting the policy statement each member undertook to research and write a background paper on one of the topics important to the statement.
The Boston Study Group on Middle East Peace is comprised of professional and academic members with strong interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Some have been intensely engaged with this subject for decades. Others have closely followed the conflict within the context of their professional work in conflict resolution, international law and international relations, religion, and US foreign policy.The Group's principal contribution is the jointly written Policy Statement entitled Israel and Palestine—Two States for Two Peoples: If not Now, When? The Statement stands as a collegial, collective enterprise that represents a consensus view of the group.Prior to drafting the policy statement each member undertook to research and write a background paper on one of the topics important to the statement.
From the vantage point of the United States or Western Europe, the
1970s was a time of troubles: economic “stagflation,” political
scandal, and global turmoil. Yet from an international perspective it
was a seminal decade, one that brought the reintegration of the world
after the great divisions of the mid-twentieth century. It was the
1970s that introduced the world to the phenomenon of “globalization,”
as networks of interdependence bound peoples and societies in new and
The 1970s saw the breakdown of the postwar economic order and
the advent of floating currencies and free capital movements. Non-state
actors rose to prominence while the authority of the superpowers
diminished. Transnational issues such as environmental protection,
population control, and human rights attracted unprecedented attention.
The decade transformed international politics, ending the era of
bipolarity and launching two great revolutions that would have
repercussions in the twenty-first century: the Iranian theocratic
revolution and the Chinese market revolution.The Shock of the Global examines the large-scale structural
upheaval of the 1970s by transcending the standard frameworks of
national borders and superpower relations. It reveals for the first
time an international system in the throes of enduring transformations.