The 1930s American Dust Bowl was an environmental catastrophe that greatly eroded sections of the Plains. The Dust Bowl is estimated to have immediately, substantially, and persistently reduced agricultural land values and revenues in more-eroded counties relative to less-eroded counties. During the Depression and through at least the 1950s, there was limited relative adjustment of farmland away from activities that became relatively less productive in more-eroded areas. Agricultural adjustments recovered less than 25 percent of the initial difference in agricultural costs for more-eroded counties. The economy adjusted predominantly through large relative population declines in more-eroded counties, both during the 1930s and through the 1950s.
In societies divided on ethnic and religious lines, problems of democracy are magnified—particularly where groups are mobilized into parties. With the principle of majority rule, minorities should be less willing to endorse democratic institutions where their parties persistently lose elections. While such problems should also hamper transitions to democracy, several diverse Eastern European states have formed democracies even under these conditions. In this book, Sherrill Stroschein argues that sustained protest and contention by ethnic Hungarians in Romania and Slovakia brought concessions on policies that they could not achieve through the ballot box, in contrast to Transcarpathia, Ukraine. In Romania and Slovakia, contention during the 1990s made each group accustomed to each other's claims, and aware of the degree to which each could push its own. Ethnic contention became a de facto deliberative process that fostered a moderation of group stances, allowing democratic consolidation to slowly and organically take root.
The long-awaited joint communication by the Commission and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy “Developing a European Union Policy towards the Arctic Region: Progress since 2008 and next steps” was issued in July 2012, four years after the groundbreaking Commission communication on the EU and the Arctic region.The 2008 communication was a difficult effort to identify the EU’s potential role in the Arctic, building on a checkered variety of policies and actions. The declared aim was “to lead to a structured and coordinated approach to Arctic matters, as the first layer of an Arctic policy” for the EU, thus “opening new cooperation perspectives with the Arctic states, helping all of us to increase stability and to establish the right balance between the priority goal of preserving the Arctic environment and the need for sustainable use of resources.” That aim has yet to be achieved, as the language of 2012 reveals: “Taking a comprehensive approach to Arctic issues, this new Joint Communication underlines the need for a coherent, targeted EU approach towards the Arctic, building on the EU’s strengths, promoting responsible development while engaging more extensively in dialogue and cooperation with all Arctic stakeholders.”
Adele Airoldi is a Fellow of the Center who was in residence at Harvard in 1994-1995.Download PDF
European leaders seemed to understand, at least until recently, that
even a partial breakdown of the euro zone would have a devastating
economic and political impact on departing countries and on the European
Union as a whole. But while they have repeatedly committed to providing
emergency aid, they haven’t yet accepted that saving the euro is more
vital than clinging to the constraining rules that govern the European
Central Bank. They are debating their future with a diminished sense of
history and of the alternatives available to them. They should recall
Secretary of State George C. Marshall’s grave warning, upon returning
from Germany in early 1947: “The patient is sinking while the doctors
The former patient is now the principal doctor. The German chancellor,
Angela Merkel, assures us that the answer to the crisis is “more Europe”—more coordination of policies and more common decision-making. But
the question behind the immediate crisis posed by Greek and Spanish debt
is how to bring about more Europe. It will not be created simply
through the European Union’s recent “fiscal compact” extracted by
Berlin, which provides for automatic but unenforceable fines designed to
encourage budget orthodoxy.
It is time for Germany, once the recipient of aid, to design its current
policies with the same sense of urgency and vision that America did
after World War II with the Marshall Plan, a farsighted program of
assistance for the reconstruction of Europe. The Continent is vastly
wealthier today than it was then, but the key issue remains how to
overcome economic stagnation without imposing painful austerity that
strengthens extremist parties and endangers democratic politics.
Unwinding a decade of profligate borrowing will not be easy. But no one
should believe that if Greece and Spain abandon the euro, their
economies will float buoyantly upward without wrenching interim misery.
Their European neighbors will have to provide assistance whether they
are in the euro zone or outside; after all, unemployed Greeks and
Spaniards can and will migrate to northern Europe in search of jobs.
Many Germans—not only bankers and Ms. Merkel’s political allies—have
lost patience with the idea of pouring resources into a “bottomless
barrel,” as they often call Greece. They justifiably ask whether bailing
out Greece won’t make Spain even more vulnerable and they fret about
moral hazard—rewarding irresponsible behavior and making it more
likely to recur. Yes, Spain and Greece indulged in irresponsible
borrowing, but it’s important to recall that they did so in partnership
with French and German banks who were willing lenders. Moreover, Germany
has benefited greatly from the euro and the European Union: two-thirds
of German trade revenue, and about half of the trade surplus from which
Germans derive so much pride, can be attributed to commerce with other
members of the European Union.
Countries in a position of leadership must finance and support their
distressed neighbors for systemic reasons. or they have no real claim to
leadership. In the 1990s, West Germans committed roughly one trillion
euros to give their newly reunited countrymen a common standard of
welfare. Two decades later, Germans must extend the same sense of
obligation to Europe more broadly.
THE Marshall Plan is sometimes seen as an early triumph for
“conditionality”—that is, grants dependent on the recipient’s cutting
domestic public expenses, raising revenues and, often, firing
“redundant” workers. In fact, the Marshall Plan worked because it
indefinitely suspended conditionality while nudging recipients toward
Postwar American leaders repeatedly postponed austerity requirements
when confronted with French and Italian tax evasion and budget deficits.
They let Marshall Plan funds cover budgetary deficits, wagering
correctly that growth would ultimately wipe out the deficits. Today,
rather than conditioning assistance on policies of immediate austerity
that will only worsen depression—the outcome that the architects of
the Marshall Plan sought to avoid—creditor countries like Germany
would be wise to tie debt reduction and loan repayment to the resumption
of economic growth. The cautious leaders of the European Central Bank argue that the euro
treaties prohibit the bank from buying the debts of member states;
likewise, Berlin has resisted issuing any “Eurobonds” that the members
of the European Union would have a collective duty to repay. But
treaties can be loosened as well as tightened; they fit for a while,
then must be revised. If European leaders and finance ministers were
able in a weekend to agree on a pact that envisaged a punishing
commitment to austerity, surely they can also authorize the central bank
to buy government bonds directly.
Sober minds among the German opposition understand this. Ms. Merkel
seems to comprehend it, but, constrained in part by her own majority’s
reluctance, she has been moving too slowly to halt the unfolding crisis,
hoping that lining up harsher fiscal discipline will stanch the ebbing
of confidence. Promise the impossible and supposedly the bond markets
should rally. But this is wishful thinking. The history of the last five
years has demonstrated that political leaders can’t always rely on the
market; banks are fair-weather friends—anxious to lend in good times
but in danger of imploding in crises.
Ultimately, the issue is not merely one of economic welfare. For over
half a century the progress of the European Union has provided a civic
vision comparable to earlier aspirations for national liberation from
dictatorships—whether Nazi or Communist. It managed to move millions
of excess farmers off the land into new jobs without their mass
defection to xenophobic populist parties. It has led to a huge exchange
of young students and workers, reintegrated formerly Communist nations
of Eastern Europe and accommodated a united and wealthy Germany without a
destructive revival of earlier anxieties. And in the future the
European Union is needed for the Continent to remain a significant
international actor in a world organized around powerful regional
Ultimately, the path to “more Europe” will require granting the European
Parliament a far greater share of control over Europe’s public
expenditures, even if many European Union experts might be scornful and
the British would balk. The European Union’s budget today is limited to
less than 2 percent of total European G.D.P., whereas every major
European country’s budget usually accounts for 40 to 50 percent of
national output. Europe’s parliament should have the power to decide on
the overall amounts to spend on welfare and pensions and support of the
unemployed. Then European social preferences can be debated the way they
are within every nation, through European-wide parties and
parliamentary elections that will take on real significance. If German
policies prevail, they will seem less coercive, and the national
populist parties that have emerged with disturbing strength will be
compelled to debate ordinary politics rather than demonize immigrants.
Ms. Merkel is right; Europe must press forward, and Germany is today the
country on whose farsightedness the European project hinges. Chancellor
Helmut Kohl proved an unlikely visionary in 1989–1990 when he urged both
German unification and an enhanced European Union. The need for decisive
policies has come again.
Syria’s uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, which began peacefully in Damascus a year ago, has become increasingly brutal and splintered. As the death toll nears 9,000, calls for international intervention have increased—but what worked in places like Libya won’t necessarily succeed in Syria. The country’s political and military elites have always been secretive about their power and how they make important decisions, leading to several misconceptions about the regime. Let’s dispel some myths about Syria and its upheaval.
1. President Bashar al-Assad’s departure would end the violence.
International efforts to stop the violence in Syria have focused on forcing Assad to step down. But even if he did, there would be no change in the government’s policy of crushing the Free Syrian Army’s activities and demonstrations with force.
Surrounding the president is a tightly knit group of military and security officials, mostly from the Alawite minority, who have grown enormously wealthy over the past two to three decades, beginning under the rule of Assad’s father, Hafez al-Assad. In regime circles, especially among the older men who were close associates of his father, Bashar al-Assad is seen as a figurehead with some credibility among parts of the Syrian population. But he is easily replaceable by someone much tougher and even more committed to repression and facing down international condemnation.
2. It’s hard for outsiders to really know what’s going on in Syria.
As with any regime that has been in power for decades, Syria’s ways of dealing with dissent are well-known, beginning with the partial destruction of the town of Hama in 1982 to eliminate the threat posed by Muslim Brotherhood rebels.
So when the present revolt broke out a year ago, there could be little doubt that Assad, his close family and his Alawite advisers would respond in more or less the same way, blaming the uprising on a few foreign-inspired malcontents, controlling the media and using loyal army units to try to crush the opposition.But today, unlike in 1982, it has proved much more difficult to hide what is going on. Through personal testimony, such as Syrians’ telephone calls to relatives abroad; graphic videos and cellphone images; and whispered conversations with the few foreign journalists and Arab League investigators whom the Assad regime has allowed in — in an effort to convince the outside world that all is well - the rebels have presented a picture of brutal crackdowns and repression.
Not only are the country’s long borders impossible to seal off, but the Internet makes it virtually impossible to prevent news from getting out. The tactics being used in Homs—shutting off electricity, seizing parts of the city, going house to house to arrest young men and terrorizing the few remaining inhabitants—are desperate signs of weakness from a regime that can think of no other way to stop news of its crimes from spreading.
3. Syria is headed for civil war.The Assad regime, the Obama administration and the West are constantly predicting a civil war. But the country is already in one. Cities such as Homs and Hama have split into regime-friendly and regime-hostile quarters, with their residents often forced to move from one to the other in search of protection.Meanwhile, on a larger scale, there is plenty of evidence of sharp divisions, some of them militarized, within the larger sectarian communities such as the Alawites, the Christians and the Kurds.Many families are split between regime critics and supporters, each heavily invested in rival discourses about who is to blame. The result, as seen in other major civil wars such as in Lebanon or Bosnia, is violence and hatred between fellow citizens, an atmosphere of kill or be killed—with an intensity that often surpasses that in conventional wars between nations.Reluctance to call Syria’s uprising a civil war largely comes from those advocating international intervention. For if a conflict is recognized as a civil one, it is much harder to persuade outside nations to get involved because of the danger that such a conflict will spill over into neighboring states.
4. Libya’s regime change is a model for Syria.
Libya is being invoked as an example: outside intervention that would start with pressure to allow humanitarian aid, followed by the establishment of secure corridors to be guarded, perhaps, by foreign planes operating no-fly zones. However, the Assad government is well aware of such aims and is prepared to counter them.For one thing, it is a much more cohesive regime than that of Moammar Gaddafi and has much more popular support. For another, with its loyal brigades of largely Alawite troops and its pervasive network of informers, thugs and intelligence operatives, it has been preparing to confront an internal threat for decades.Syria also has the advantage of diplomatic and other support from Vladimir Putin’s Russia, its main supplier of military equipment.
5. The international community has to intervene to stop the violence.Daily news reports and images on social networks of the destruction of Syrian cities, and of the systematic torture and killing of thousands of people, are almost impossible for Western governments and international human rights organizations to ignore. But then so, too, are the problems of doing anything immediate to halt the violence.As the recent history of such interventions demonstrates, the desire to put an end to what are regarded as the evil policies of an evil regime can easily cause politicians to neglect the other side of the balance sheet: the number of civilian lives that will undoubtedly be lost in the attempt to save them. Think, for example, of the hundreds of thousands of Afghans who’ve been widowed since the Russian invasion some 30 years ago.
Better, as the Obama administration is doing, to undertake a more long-term strategy of isolating the Assad regime with punitive sanctions designed to cripple the Syrian economy, coupled with travel warnings and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s statement that Assad fits the definition of a war criminal.
Since the end of the Cold War, security studies have broadened to take into account a wide range of non-military threats ranging from poverty to environmental concerns rather than just national defense. Security scholars, backed by international organizations and a growing number of national governments, have developed the concept of Human Security, focusing on the welfare of ordinary people against a broad range of threats. This has aroused vigorous debate. Part I of this paper proposes an analytical model of Human Security. Part II argues that it is important to measure how ordinary people perceive risks, moving beyond state-centric notions of Human Security. We examine new evidence, drawing upon survey items specially designed to monitor perceptions of Human Security, included for the first time in the 6th wave of the World Values Survey (WVS), with fieldwork conducted in 2010–2012. Part III demonstrates that people distinguish three dimensions: national, community, and personal security and then explores some structural determinants driving these perceptions. Part IV discusses why perceptions of Human Security matter, in particular for explaining cultural values and value change around the world. The conclusion argues that the shift from a narrow focus on military security toward the broader concept of Human Security is a natural response to the changing challenges facing developed societies, in which the cost-benefit ratio concerning war has become negative and cultural changes have made war less acceptable. In this setting, valid measures of perceptions of Human Security have become essential, both to understand the determinants of Human Security among ordinary people, and to analyze their consequences.
The man who knocks on the door is polished and friendly. His suit is fashionable, his briefcase looks important. And the things he pulls out of it are impressive: large sheets of bonds and coupons to be redeemed, signed by the heads of important banking houses and credit institutions.
The contracts are in clear terms and, he assures you, guaranteed by the government. They are secured by land, the safest asset in the world. Best of all, several times a year, the bond gives you a chance of winning a huge cash prize. How can you afford not to buy?Conversations like this were commonplace in late nineteenth-century France, when novel financial instruments known as lottery bonds were in high demand among the middle classes. Some of the most popular were those deemed safest for their underlying security: bundled mortgages available through the Credit Foncier, a national mortgage bank founded in 1852.Although the bonds may have lacked a AAA rating (credit-rating companies weren’t in operation yet), the government promoted them as gilt-edged securities, or “placements de pere de famille.” These instruments combined a reasonable investment (bonds) with hopes of irrational gain (lotteries). The combination was irresistible, and when stock-and-bond salesmen—known in France as “demarcheurs”—zoomed into towns and villages, they brokered a dream of ownership that often blinded their clients to the risks and onerous terms they were accepting.
In combining noxious sales pitches with novel financial instruments, innovative contracts, and ultimately exploitative payment schedules, the demarcheurs were a precursor to the unsavory mortgage practices that helped lead to the 2008 financial crisis.Cash PrizesThe Credit Foncier, a semipublic joint-stock bank, was the envy of foreign mortgage reformers, who saw both its ability to pool mortgages and its loan terms—long-term credit with annual amortization—as the cutting edge in agricultural lending. (Most mortgages in the U.S. at the time were shorter-term “balloon loans” that imposed burdensome payment conditions on borrowers.) Authorized by, and accountable to, the state, the Credit Foncier enjoyed the singular privilege of issuing bonds to fund its loans. By the late 1870s, the bank had sold 1.5 billion francs’ worth of debt to hundreds of thousands of bondholders. Those sales doubled by 1890.
The success of these bonds was due in no small part to another privilege the company enjoyed: an exemption from an 1836 law prohibiting lotteries in France. This allowed the bank to issue bonds that came with rights to attend annual drawings for the lifetime of the loan. These drawings randomly selected bonds that the company would reimburse, as well as some that would be rewarded with cash prizes.Drawings were highly orchestrated public events, attended by hundreds of hopeful investors. Special drums—fantastic creations of glass and iron more than 6 feet tall—were filled with thousands of brass cases, themselves filled with papers featuring hundreds of bond numbers. By the 1920s, the number of eligible bonds meant that the public drawing took as long as an hour, while processing the results took three days and required a staff of 70. The thousands of winning bonds were then listed in the company’s official publications and in national journals. Provided the installment payments on a bond were up to date—the Credit Foncier’s archives are filled with letters from “winners” who were not so diligent—the lucky bondholders stood to win as much as 200,000 francs.
Multiple SchemesInvestors paid handsomely for the right to participate in these drawings. Bonds issued with a lottery option cost more than those issued without, and paid a lower annual interest rate. They were thus a lucrative way for the Credit Foncier to obtain loans, despite the outlandish sums the company spent on publicity. Just one of the many reasons these investments were criticized by contemporaries was that they were less productive vehicles for the modest class of buyers to whom they appealed.Critics also noted the multiple schemes to which the securities gave birth. Bonds were sold on option, giving their temporary owners the right to the bond before a drawing but allowing them to decline to purchase it afterward. They were broken into portions as small as 50ths, with the intention of sharing any winnings between all the “owners,” a practice that seemed more like gambling than investing. They were sold on credit for installment payments over several years that amounted to more than the bond was worth. When the government sought to regulate such sales in the 1890s, legislators estimated that as much as 12 million francs in annual payments flowed through the offices of fly-by-night brokerage houses.
The purest example of the victory of chance over investment occurred in the new economic climate of the 1930s, when a devalued franc helped promote the sale of these titles globally as simple lottery tickets.But the anxiety the bonds produced was outweighed by their real utility to financial institutions and public bodies, as well as their imagined utility to the investing public. The Credit Foncier was convinced that such instruments were the only way to create a consumer marketplace for its debt, and used them until the 1970s. In the 1880s, the economist Paul Leroy-Beaulieu, an ardent supporter of the bonds, reminded critics that they were to the urban citizen what land was to the peasant: an investment that appealed to the heart and the head. Today, the U.K.’s Premium Bonds are perhaps the best-known example of a lottery-based investment instrument.
The Credit Foncier’s lottery bonds combined land and financial markets in a manner calculated to enhance their persuasiveness to novice investors. Their popularity reminds us of something the political and cultural weight placed on property ownership has often hidden: that investment in land is always a gamble.
George Orwell’s classic novel “Animal Farm” is the definitive depiction of how any rebellion or social revolt risks not just failure but a reversal where one type of domination is merely exchanged for another. After the leaders of the animal rebellion take over, they impose a single commandment: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
It is not exactly the same, but recent developments in Acehnese politics are reminiscent of the animal farm. The Aceh Party, which was spawned by the separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM), is heading in a worrying direction. Internal conflict among former combatants, as well as their desire to dominate the seats of power in the province, is driving Aceh into another phase of uncertainty.If the Aceh Party members continue to behave undemocratically, they will go down in history as nothing more than a ragtag bunch of ignoble former rebels who behaved eerily like their former “enemies.”
GAM was an ethnic nationalist movement that mobilized resistance through nationalistic fervor. The roots of the movement were in past injustices, but the conflict later evolved into an antagonistic identity dispute between Aceh and Jakarta.Especially during the New Order, the conflict reached a level where the idea of an independent Aceh became entrenched as a result of endless oppression and unjust treatment.As a movement, GAM took advantage of this. It pledged a promised land where democracy would rule and injustice would be a thing of the past. All of Aceh was dragged by the rebels into this independence narrative and into the lengthy struggle.The rebels in Aceh laid down their arms with the Helsinki peace agreement in 2005. The agreement brought an end to 30 years of war and provided a significant opportunity for the local people to manage their own affairs and participate in a democratic process as Aceh became a special autonomous region.All the trouble in Aceh was supposed to end there. Today, the reality is that it continues, and it is stubborn.The seeds for the current tension were planted with the first gubernatorial election soon after the peace agreement. The leadership of the rebels in exile supported a candidate who was not supported by the majority of former combatants. Ignoring the opinions of the former field commanders, the exiled leaders went ahead with their candidate — who ended up losing by a landslide.
The field commanders had used their networks of former combatants to provide strong backing for their candidate. Irwandi Yusuf was elected as the first governor of post-peace agreement Aceh, but his defiant victory upset the exiled leaders.These divided camps seemed to have reconciled in the legislative elections, when the exiled leadership and the field commanders agreed to jointly form a political party called Partai Aceh (Aceh Party) to stand a better chance of winning. The reconciliation bore fruit, with the Aceh Party winning the majority of the seats.Again, the field commanders and their networks provided the crucial machinery to ensure the victory.Winning a majority of the seats in the provincial legislature was supposed to put GAM in full control of the province and close the chapter on the rebellion, but it did not. Another problem was to about to surface.The Aceh Party, which was and is closely controlled by the exiled former leadership, had not forgotten the embarrassment of that first gubernatorial election and began working toward revenge.It started a low-level campaign against their unwanted elected governor, meaning that Aceh’s legislature, since the 2010 elections, has been a legislature that measures its success by how badly it can undermine Irwandi. Most of the policies introduced by the executive arm of the government are constantly being undermined by its legislative arm.
This time, the exiled leaders are in full control of the field commanders and legislature members who, by now, mostly pledge loyalty to the Aceh Party. For many field commanders, the Aceh Party is their vehicle to control the province both politically and economically. To achieve that goal, many of them have decided to stick together.This is the struggle that we see playing out today in the run-up to the second gubernatorial election. The Aceh Party supports the former exiled leader Zaini Abdullah and former GAM commander Muzakir Manaf, and refuses to support Irwandi despite the governor’s popularity.
To ensure the governor cannot even compete in the election they went so far as to propose a revision of the Election Law to bar independent candidates from running in elections.The dispute over independent candidates was politically motivated, intended to stop Irwandi and many other ex-rebels running in the election. Fortunately, it failed, though only after the Constitutional Court’s decision safeguarded the national law. Had it been successful, this attempt to block independent candidates would have been a reversal of democratic progress for the entire country.It is a nasty game in Aceh, where the players are willing to go so far as to undermine democratic progress and the peace process for their own purposes of retaliation, punishment and control — where all parties are equal, but some are more equal than others.
Human societies fashion themselves through rites of memory, gilding and illuminating some pages of the past while consigning others to forgetfulness. Official memories reinforce dominant cultural narratives, asserting continuities where skeptics might see breaks or ruptures, contradictions or untruths; indeed, revolutions, scientific or otherwise, can be thought of as violent breaks with comfortable connections between past and present. To see the power of such story-telling, consider for example the myth of the durability of the US Constitution, a myth that proclaims the unchanging identity of that founding document through a secession, a civil war, and numerous democratizing amendments that totally transformed the look of the nation’s voting polity. To this day, that myth legitimates styles of constitutional analysis that challenge, under the rubric of strict constructionism, attempts to treat the Constitution as a source of living and evolving principles. Or, at the opposite pole of the Earth, take Australia’s ritualistic annual observance of Anzac Day. That remarkable celebration connects the forging of the nation’s identity to Gallipoli: to a dawn landing on faraway shores almost a century ago, in a war of others’ making, to a failed military enterprise that ended in an inglorious evacuation, following a bloody, months-long stalemate.
This book focuses on normative questions that arise about globalization. Much social science research is devoted to exploring the political, legal, social and economic changes that occur all around us. This books offers an introductory treatment of the philosophical questions that arise about these changes. Why would people have human rights? We will be looking at different answers to this question. Could there be a universal morality in the first place? This question captures a particular kind of skepticism that has also been applied to the human rights movement and needs to be addresses for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to be intellectually credible. Ought there to be states? Perhaps there are more appropriate ways of organizing humanity politically. What does distributive justice require at the global level? The world in which we live is one of a striking inequality that challenges us to explore what a just world would look like. What does justice require of us with regard to climate change? We now live in a geological era sometimes called the Athropocene: it is human action that has the biggest impact on the future of all life. How should we think about fairness in trade? Trade, after all, ties people together around the world. And what does justice imply for immigration policy? Each of these questions is answered in its own chapter. Introductions to political philosophy normally focus mostly or entirely on domestic questions. This introduction is concerned with questions of global scope throughout.
A Feb. 29 update to the print story from the March/April issue: In the wake of the Great Recession it would seem natural that the 2012 election would be fought over economic issues. Yet so far in the Republican primaries, we have seen social issues, and religion especially, move to the forefront. Rick Santorum is only the latest in a series of Republicans who have infused their campaigns with talk about God. Even Mitt Romney, a Mormon who has generally tried to avoid discussing religion, has recently pledged to defend “religious liberty” against the Obama administration. Increasingly, the rhetoric of the leading Republican contenders echoes the Republican fringe of twenty years ago. Then, we heard Pat Buchanan - the quintessential protest candidate—bombastically declare that America was in the midst of a culture war. Today, the frontrunners all play to the Republican base by describing the White House's “war on religion.”
Deepening the mystery of the GOP's turn to God is the emergence of the Tea Party, which ostensibly formed to shrink government with a relentless focus on fiscal issues. What gives? A careful look at the trends in our politics over the last generation, including the rise of the Tea Party, solves the religion riddle. Not only have the Democratic and Republican parties been increasingly separated by a “God gap,” but our data clearly show that Tea Party supporters sprang from the ranks of the Religious Right—conservatives who advocate a fusion, rather than a separation, of church and state. Tea Partiers are thus the natural constituency for a culture warrior like Rick Santorum. They are fiscal conservatives, but religious issues really resonate.
Time will tell whether all this God talk will be good for the Republicans in November—we suspect not. Tea Party supporters constitute the most energized part of the Republican base and roughly two thirds of the primary electorate. However, they constitute barely a quarter of the November electorate and are reviled by much of the rest. While the Republican base has become ever more committed to mixing religion and politics, the rest of the country has been moving in the opposite direction...
From human trafficking to the smuggling of small arms to the looting of antiquities, illicit trade poses significant threats to international order. So why is it so difficult to establish international cooperation against illicit trade? Governing Guns, Preventing Plunder offers a novel, thought-provoking answer to this crucial question. Conventional wisdom holds that criminal groups are the biggest obstacle to efforts to suppress illicit trade. Contrarily, Asif Efrat explains how legitimate actors, such as museums that acquire looted antiquities, seek to hinder these regulatory efforts. Yet such attempts to evade regulation fuel international political conflicts between governments demanding action against illicit trade and others that are reluctant to cooperate. The book offers a framework for understanding the domestic origins of these conflicts and how the distribution of power shapes their outcome. Through this framework, Efrat explains why the interests of governments vary across countries, trades, and time. In a fascinating empirical analysis, he solves a variety of puzzles: Why is the international regulation of small arms much weaker than international drug control? What led the United States and Britain to oppose the efforts against the plunder of antiquities, and why did they ultimately join these efforts? How did American pressure motivate Israel to tackle sex trafficking? Efrat's findings will change the way we think about illicit trade, offering valuable insights to scholars, activists, and policymakers.
My work has brought me up close to leaders of all sorts. There's one thing they share: highly developed technical and intellectual capacities, most of whom are educated in colleges and universities between Guam, Hawaii, and the US mainland.
They also share something else: leadership challenge and how they navigate emotionally charged situations. For all their technical expertise, they lack confidence when dealing with outraged subordinates; those who feel they were treated unfairly or the inconsistency of the boss who says one thing and does the exact opposite.
Unacknowledged grievances change the attitude of these folks into fighting men and women who'd snap at the slightest insult, even from co-workers. In other words, their bosses don't know what to do when faced with people who have experienced repeated violations of their dignity, which are by definition highly charged emotional events, explained Donna Hicks, PhD, an associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University and author of Dignity: The Essential Role It Plays in Resolving Conflict.
“Their default reaction is often to use their authority and the power of their position to control the situation, often leaving the aggrieved people angrier, more resentful, and less willing to extend themselves in their jobs or their roles within an organization. The dignity violations remained unaddressed, contaminating the work environment. A reason why the default reaction is to exert authority and control over a volatile emotional situation is that they are afraid of it. They are especially fearful of being exposed and embarrassed by a bad move or a flawed policy for which they were responsible,” according to Dr. Hicks.
“I have seen otherwise brilliant leaders get caught in all of the predictable traps that ignorance of how to best handle dignity violations creates. They are not bad people who deliberately try to make life difficult for those whom they lead; they simply are clueless how to navigate through emotional turmoil. Without an education in matters related to dignity, a most vulnerable aspect of being human, even technically gifted and well-intentioned leaders can unknowingly create an undignified work environment.
“The need has never been more urgent for people in leadership positions to be educated in all matters related to dignity; both the human vulnerability to being violated, and the positive effect it has on people when they feel seen, heard, understood, and acknowledged as valuable and worthy.
“The emotional impact of treating someone well and honoring their dignity has benefits that are incalculable. It's the easiest and fastest way to bring out the best in people. The opposite is equally as true: treat people as if they don't matter and watch how fast a destructive, if not violent, emotional storm erupts.
“Leading with dignity means that leaders recognize this; that they are willing to embody what it looks like to treat others as valuable, to know what to do with people when they have been violated, and to know what to do when they have violated them. Establishing a culture of dignity in the workplace would go a long ways.”
Personally, I've pushed people to the hilt, not that I want to be mean-spirited but to bring out the best in them. They may have seen it otherwise. For instance, I've encouraged former employees to take up courses at NMC to upgrade their skills and eventually place their AAs under their belt. An AA degree would soon become the minimum requirement in future jobs. It's the only reason why I've pushed for the acquisition of lifetime skills.
Definitely, the attitude of royal misfits could be found in some government employees. They neglect the fact that it is taxpayers who pay for their salaries. Yet there's the acquired attitude of arrogance as though it is taxpayers who owe them an arm and a leg. No sir! It's the other way around, like it or not.
Excuse me, sir, how about some sense of common decency and courtesy? How about going the extra mile to assist those who come for help? Do taxpayers owe you their livelihood? Why the arrogance and fiesta de la mañana when we are paying for your biweekly loot? Isn't it time that you buckle down and fulfill your duties and responsibilities?
In all interactions, personal dignity is the most important aspect of any and all employees. I will not rob them of it given that they have earned their stripes. In short, they have earned the respect of others, respect being a two-way street; grant them generously. I'd rather talk with them rather than to them. Respect, after all is reciprocal, never commanded nor demanded. At the end of the day, a happy worker goes the extra mile to do his best, contributing generously to the overall goals and objectives of the organization.Need for desk auditAs scarce government revenues slide deeper south, it becomes mandatory that the local government seek desk audits of all departments and agencies to determine where real cuts ought to be made. You'd be surprise what this audit could reveal upon completion.It probes positions and the qualifications of employees, demonstrating in no uncertain terms real qualifications or the lack of credentials and experience. It recommends cuts in salaries where qualifications are lacking. It may not be met with big smiles from employees, but this is how we build credibility into the merit system. You want a certain salary you must earn it and not be a beneficiary of political corruption at the expense of other equally deserving employees.It also ensures retaining a truly qualified cadre of public servants fully aware of their roles in assisting the needs of the general public.A desk audit was performed at the Department of Public Land six years ago. It shows how unbridled salary spikes have violated certain laws like there's no tomorrow. When the desk audit came, I implemented it accordingly, much to the displeasure of those who were making tons of money illegally. It obviates strengthening the merit system. It's the fairest way to earn your stripes and dues.* * *Indeed, how pleasant it is meeting highly motivated and fully trained employees in private industries, i.e., banks, hotels, or the service industry. I am proud of these employees who flash common courtesy as they assist you in your need. When it's done, they simply say, “Have a nice day.” We don't hear nor see common courtesy in government other than a constipated “hafa adai.” Embarrassing, huh?
Greece continued to be gripped by political turmoil Tuesday amid diminishing hopes that leading political parties can form a coalition government after Sunday's splintered election result, increasing the possibility that Greeks will be called back to the polls as early as next month.
Greek leftist leader Alexis Tsipras has taken center stage as he embarks on a bid to form a coalition government following his Syriza party's surprise second-place finish in Sunday's inconclusive election. Tsipras will try to win support from other leftist parties but without a sufficient majority his bid is expected to collapse, just as that of his conservative peer did a day earlier.
Greece's initial attempt to strike up a coalition government ended quickly Monday after conservative leader Antonis Samaras failed to reach a deal with rival lawmakers only six hours into the effort. He had three days to complete the task, under Greek law.
The inconclusive vote and ensuing coalition talks, combined with concerns about the emergence of a Socialist president in France who opposes German-led austerity measures for the euro zone, has revived speculation that Greece would leave the euro, stoking new worries about the fragility of Europe's monetary union.
Political turmoil in Greece continued to put pressure on bond prices from lower-rated euro-zone governments, pushing yields higher Tuesday. Yields on Italian 10-year bonds rose two basis points to 5.58%, according to Tradeweb.
Spanish 10-year yields were three basis points higher at 5.75%, with reports that Spain's government is planning to bail out ailing lender Bankia further hitting sentiment. The yield on the Greek bond due in 2023 was 22.89%, up nine basis points and pushing down the price of Greek government bonds to near 21% of their face value.
Time is running short. At stake is Greece's ability to implement next month agreed budget cuts and reforms it must take in order to secure continued financing from its European partners and the International Monetary Fund. Failure to do so could delay--and potentially imperil--further aid promised to Greece as part of a EUR130 billion bailout agreed only in March, rendering it unable to meet its obligations.
Syriza, which campaigned against the austerity policies championed by Greece's European partners, more than tripled its share of the vote in the last elections in 2009. In the process, Tsipras, an admirer of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, won a seat at the table in forming a new Greek government--something that seemed unlikely just a few days ago.
Tsipras led his party, the Coalition of the Radical Left, or Syriza, to second place in the polls on Sunday with 16.8% of the vote, just two percentage points behind the winning center-right New Democracy, relegating the once-powerful Socialist, or Pasok, party to third place. He was scheduled to meet with President Karolos Papoulias at 1100 GMT and will be tasked with forming a government, also with a three-day deadline.
Tsipras, who has sought to annul policies agreed under Greece's bailout and is favoring a debt-repayment moratorium, rejected teaming up with the conservatives, saying after meeting with Samaras Monday that he couldn't consent to austerity measures promised to the country's international creditors."We believe that the path of salvation doesn't pass through the barbarity of austerity measures," Tsipras told reporters Monday after rejecting Samaras' offer.
He said he will instead focus on striking up a deal with other left-wing peers, though officials from within his party believe that effort is unlikely to succeed."The basic principle for us is a leftist coalition government made up of parties that have not backed the austerity measures. This makes any relationship with Pasok and New Democracy very difficult," a senior Syriza official said.
That attempt is likely to fall flat with the Communist Party, which has ruled out cooperating with any other political party, openly advocating Greece's exit from the euro and a return to the drachma.
A cross-party deal with other parties is also unlikely because of lingering ideological, personal and historical differences separating the country's political leaders. The Syriza official said that even if Pasok and New Democracy agree to support a Syriza government without participating in the cabinet, such a government wouldn't be viable."It's going to be a schizophrenic coalition which will negotiate to change the austerity package while its two main allies have already signed for the package. It won't work," he said.
Tsipras instead may use his mandate to strike an alliance with other smaller fringe parties, with an eye to the next election expected in June, when he would hope to build on his momentum and win the vote.
If Tsipras wins the next election—or if his party increases its support, as many observers expect—it will be difficult for other leftist parties not to join him in a coalition, including the former ruling Socialist party, a chunk of whose former supporters voted for Syriza on Sunday.
Spiros Rizopoulos, a political communications strategist and chief executive of Spin Communications, says a second round of elections is inevitable, and would probably favor Syriza at the expense of the two mainstream parties."Tsipras will do better in a second round. He has momentum at a time when people are ready to listen to anything," said Rizopoulos. "If he is smart, he will start moving to the center. But politics is all about momentum and he has got the momentum."
Syriza expects its campaign to encounter mounting pressure on Greece as international creditors and the mainstream parties Pasok and New Democracy ramp up the rhetoric about the dangers facing the country if it doesn't stick to its commitments."We expect a climate of terror, that they won't give Greece more money, that banks will run out of money, that we'll be thrown out of the euro zone. It's going to be an effort to bring voters back to the mainstream parties. This is going to be the main challenge for Syriza in the next elections," the party official said.
The risk, however, of Greece running out of money amid protracted political uncertainty is real. Without further aid, Greece has enough money to make it through the end of July, according to a Greek government official.
Greece is due to receive a EUR5.2 billion aid tranche Thursday, which will mostly go towards a pending bond redemption. This payment is expected to be disbursed as planned, a European Union official said Tuesday. But the official said that further payments will depend on Greece's political developments.
Greece must also decide whether to repay a EUR450 million bond due May 15, which has been issued under foreign law and whose holders refused to participate in a recent debt restructuring. In the absence of a government, it's unclear who will make the call on whether to default on this bond. Greece's EUR200 billion debt restructuring doesn't foresee payments to holdouts.
The protracted political uncertainty will also complicate pending decisions on EUR11.5 billion in additional cutbacks the country must come up with by June to meet budget gaps in 2013 and 2014.
On Monday, officials from the EU and the International Monetary Fund warned that Greece must adhere strictly to the austerity program, signaling there was little room for a new government to renegotiate the bailout terms.
Amadeu Altafaj, the spokesman for EU Economics Commissioner Olli Rehn, said Greece's membership in the 17-member euro zone wasn't in question but that it does come with strings attached."This is the deal that is on the table," Altafaj said. "It is an unprecedented effort in terms of solidarity... Solidarity is a two-way street."
The United States is in the throes of the most serious recession in post-war history. Despite improving employment numbers, the official unemployment rate still exceeded 8% in March 2012. Amidst this malaise, the health care sector is one of the few areas of steady growth. It may seem natural to think that if the health care sector is one of the bright spots in the economy,public policies should aim to foster continued growth in health care employment. Indeed, hospitals and other health care organizations point to the size of their payrolls as evidence that they play an important role in economic recovery, a role that must not be endangered by reforms that seek to reduce spending on health care. Politicians on both sides of the aisle are quick to emphasize the “job-creating” or “job-killing” aspects of reforms. But this focus on health care jobs is misguided. The goal of improving health and economic well-being does not go hand in hand with rising employment in health care. It is tempting to think that rising health care employment is a boon, but if the same outcomes can be achieved with lower employment and fewer resources, that leaves extra money to devote to other important public and private priorities such as education, infrastructure, food, shelter, and retirement savings.
Hurricane Isaac, which made landfall in Louisiana last night, has not only disrupted the Republican National Convention but also brought back painful memories of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the Gulf Coast seven years ago this week.In August 2005, my wife and our small children and I evacuated to Houston just before the storm destroyed the New Orleans home we had moved into six weeks earlier. We took with us just a bag of toys and a suitcase. We applied for federal aid, but especially in the immediate aftermath, it was family, friends and friends-of-friends who came through for us.As a political scientist (I taught at Tulane at the time), I decided to study how communities respond to natural disasters. I’ve concluded that the density and strength of social networks are the most important variables—not wealth, education or culture—in determining their resilience in the face of catastrophe.Take, for example, the densely populated region around Kobe, Japan, where an earthquake struck on Jan. 17, 1995, setting off more than 200 fires and killing 6,400 people. In the neighborhood of Mano, local residents self-organized into a bucket brigade and doused the flames, while in nearby Mikura, residents stood by helplessly as the fires destroyed their homes and businesses. The residents of the two inner-city neighborhoods were of roughly the same age and social class. But residents of Mano had forged bonds of trust through civic and voluntary activities, including efforts to combat pollution, while Mikura’s communal experiences were far more limited.Similarly, after the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, rural coastal villages in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu followed very different arcs of recovery. From survivors in the temporary shelters around the city of Nagapattinam, I learned that the villages that had formed and maintained relationships with local government officials and foreign aid workers — in many cases, via women who spoke at least a little English—were able to secure disaster relief more quickly, and distribute it more efficiently, than equally poor villages that did not have outgoing and well-connected residents.
The earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown around Fukushima, Japan, in March 2011 also demonstrated the importance of social capital. Those who were able to flee (often with help from neighbors and friends) moved in with people they knew rather than into the public shelters. While some towns offered incentives to lure back former residents, many who returned did not apply for aid because of onerous paperwork rules. Instead, they told me, they came back to re-establish friendships and daily routines.Social scientists know that communities that are relatively homogeneous, with honest government and a history of cooperation and civic engagement, have deeper reservoirs of social capital. I would argue that even in diverse countries like the United States, social capital can be built, not just passively acquired.First, each of us can follow the example of Fred Rogers. Whether in small towns or big cities, there are always people who choose to go the extra mile to get to know their neighbors—an inexpensive tactic that builds social capital—while others are content to hunker down.Second, local governments and community associations can follow the example of Japan, which gives money to local communities to hold “matsuri,” or small-scale festivals, so that neighbors—including shut-ins and the elderly—can get out and meet one another. Officials in cities like San Francisco, Seattle and Santa Barbara, Calif., have put on such events as part of disaster preparedness.Third, civic engagement can be enhanced through structured discussions. Teams led by researchers from Harvard and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine convened focus groups in Nicaragua and South Africa of people who had never met to debate issues like youth literacy, women’s rights and AIDS prevention. The meetings enhanced members’ trust in the other group members, as well as in society and the government more generally. Politically engaged residents plug into existing institutions.Finally, there is evidence that “community currency” programs, which reward volunteers with an alternative currency that is accepted by local merchants, deepen social networks. Research in Japan has shown that residents of communities with such programs had greater trust in their government officials than other residents did.Just as the focus of Western development aid to poor countries has shifted from roads, power plants and factories to productivity, skills and entrepreneurship, so should the field of disaster recovery focus on enhancing resilience—people power—not just physical infrastructure.There’s no doubt that speedy, efficient distribution of emergency shelter, food, medical care and clothing are among the essential responsibilities of government. But at a time of scarcity, with governments and charities facing financial strain, a focus on the social infrastructure of vulnerable communities may be the best (and most cost-effective) survival strategy.
Do democracies make more effective coercive threats? An inﬂuential
literature in international relations argues that democratic institutions allow leaders
to credibly signal their resolve in crises, thereby making their threats more likely to
work than threats by nondemocracies. This article revisits the quantitative evidence
for this proposition, which we call the “democratic credibility hypothesis,” and ﬁnds
that it is surprisingly weak. Close examination of the data sets most commonly used
to test this hypothesis reveals that they contain few successful democratic threats, or
indeed threats of any kind. Moreover, these data sets’ outcome variables do not properly measure the effectiveness of threats, and therefore yield misleading results. The
article then reassesses the democratic credibility hypothesis using the Militarized Compellent Threats data set, a new data set designed speciﬁcally to test hypotheses about
the effectiveness of coercive threats. The analysis indicates that threats from democracies are no more successful than threats from other states.
When praised at all, imperialism is most often commended for the peace it bestowed. By demobilizing armies, deposing marauding princes and subduing war-like states, European powers fashioned a half-century of political order. The question nonetheless arises: Should they be lauded for that? In this chapter, I view Africa’s history through the lens of comparative history and argue that the imperial peace may have retarded Africa’s development.
We revisit Lipset’s law, which posits a positive and significant relationship between income and democracy. Using dynamic and heterogeneous panel data estimation techniques, we find a significant and negative relationship between income and democracy: higher/lower incomes per capita hinder/trigger democratization. We thus challenge the recent empirical literature that found no such significant relationship. We attribute this result to the nature of the tax base, and exploit additional sources of heterogeneity. Decomposing overall income per capita into its resource and non-resource components, we find that the coefficient on the latter is positive and significant while that on the former is significant but negative.
African agriculture is at the crossroads. Persistent food shortages are now being compounded by new threats arising from climate change. But Africa faces three major opportunities that can help transform its agriculture to be a force for economic growth.First, advances in science, technology, and engineering worldwide offer Africa new tools needed to promote sustainable agriculture.Second, efforts to create regional markets will provide new incentives for agricultural production and trade.Third, a new generation of African leaders is helping the continent to focus on long-term economic transformation. Agriculture needs to be viewed as a knowledge-based entrepreneurial activity.Economic collaborationThe emergence of Africa's Regional Economic Communities (RECs) provides a unique opportunity to promote innovation in African agriculture in a more systematic and coordinated way.The launching of the East African Common Market in July 2010 represented a significant milestone in the steady process of deepening Africa's economic integration. It is a trend that complements similar efforts in other parts of Africa. It also underscores the determination among African leaders to expand prospects for prosperity by creating space for economic growth and technological innovation.Agricultural productivity, entrepreneurship, and value addition foster productivity in rural-based economies. In many poor countries, however, farmers, small and medium-sized enterprises, and research centers do not interact in ways that accelerate the move beyond low value-added subsistence sustainable agriculture.Strengthening rural innovation systems, developing effective clusters that can add value to unprocessed raw materials, and promoting value chains across such diverse sectors as horticulture, food processing and packaging, food storage and transportation, food safety, distribution systems, and exports are all central to moving beyond.Africa is largely an agricultural economy, with the majority of the population deriving their income from farming. Food security, agricultural development, and economic growth are intertwined. Improving Africa's agricultural performance will require deliberate policy efforts to bring higher technical education, especially in universities, to the service of agriculture and the economy.It is important to focus on how to improve the productivity of agricultural workers, most of whom are women, through technological innovation.Scientific advancesBiotechnology has the promise of leading to increased food security and sustainable forestry practices, as well as improving health in developing countries by enhancing food nutrition. In agriculture, biotechnology has enabled the genetic alteration of crops, improved soil productivity, and enhanced natural weed and pest control. Unfortunately, such potential has largely remained untapped by African countries.Tissue culture of bananas has had a great impact on the economy of East African countries since the mid-1990s. Because of its susceptibility to disease, bananas have always been a double-edged sword for the African economies like that of Uganda, which consumes a per capita average of one kilogram per day.For example, when the Black Sigatoka fungus arrived in East Africa in the 1970s, banana productivity decreased as much as 40%. Tissue culture experimentation allowed for quick generation of healthy plants and was met with great success. Since 1995, Kenyan banana production has more than doubled, from 400,000 to over one million tons in 2004, with average yield increasing from 10 tons per hectare to 30–50 tons.
Marker-assisted selection helps identify plant genome sections linked to genes that affect desirable traits, which allows for the quicker formation of new varieties. This technique has been used not only to introduce high-quality protein genes in maize but also to breed drought-tolerant plant varieties.In order to take full advantage of the many potentials of biotechnology in agriculture, Africa should consider whether aversion to and over regulation of GM production are warranted.Nanotechnology has the potential to revolutionize agriculture with new tools such as the molecular treatment of diseases, rapid disease detection, and enhancement of the ability of plants to absorb nutrients.Smart sensors and new delivery systems will help to combat viruses and other crop pathogens. Increased pesticide and herbicide effectiveness as well as the creation of filters for pollution create more environmentally friendly agriculture process.Entrepreneurship mattersThe creation and spread of value-added food processing enterprises could help African farmers retain a higher portion of the profits from the materials they produce. Food processing could also help reduce the threat of hunger by increasing the number of protein and vitamin-rich products provided by the local market, as well as improve local incomes by tapping into international markets to get much needed export revenues from agriculture.Fostering entrepreneurship and facilitating private sector development has to be highest on the agenda to promote the autonomy and support needed to translate opportunity into prosperity. This has to be seen as an investment in itself, with carefully tailored incentives and risk-sharing approaches supported by government.It is not enough for governments to simply reduce the cost of doing business. Fostering agricultural renewal will require governments to function as active facilitators of technological learning. Government actions will need to reflect the entrepreneurial character of the farming community; they too will need to be entrepreneurial.
Los temas centrales que aborda este libro son la infraestructura de transportes en una dimensión sudamericana; el desarrollo descentralizado y la relación con Brasil; y la puesta en valor de la ubicación estratégica del Perú en Sudamérica, de cara a la Cuenca del Pacífico, y su inserción internacional.
La integración física se basa en un enfoque que parte del territorio para abordar los temas del desarrollo. Centrarse en este aspecto medular es la contribución más significativa que ha tenido la Iniciativa para la Integración de la Infraestructura Regional Suramericana (IIRSA). La noción clave es la de los Ejes de Integración y Desarrollo, que es analizada en profundidad en este volumen.
The possibility that the renminbi may soon join the ranks of international currencies has generated much excitement. This paper looks to history for help in evaluating the factors determining its prospects. The three best precedents in the twentieth century were the rise of the dollar from 1913 to 1945, the rise of the Deutsche mark from 1973 to 1990, and the rise of the yen from 1984 to 1991. The fundamental determinants of international currency status are economic size, confidence in the currency, and depth of financial markets. The new view is that, once these three factors are in place, internationalization of the currency can proceed quite rapidly. Thus some observers have recently forecast that the RMB may even challenge the dollar within a decade. But they underestimate the importance of the third criterion, the depth of financial markets. In principle, the Chinese government could decide to create that depth, which would require accepting an open capital account, diminished control over the domestic allocation of credit, and a flexible exchange rate. But although the Chinese government has been actively promoting offshore use of the currency since 2010, it has not done very much to meet these requirements. Indeed, to promote internationalization as national policy would depart from the historical precedents. In all three twentieth-century cases of internationalization, popular interest in the supposed prestige of having the country’s currency appear in the international listings was scant, and businessmen feared that the currency would strengthen and damage their export competitiveness. Probably China, likewise, is not yet fully ready to open its domestic financial markets and let the currency appreciate, so the renminbi will not be challenging the dollar for a long time.
We begin, however, by asking: What is international currency status, and why does it matter?
This is an interview with Michèle Lamont and Nissim Mizrachi about the special issue of Ethnic and Racial Studies: Responses to Stigmatization in Comparative Perspectives: Brazil, Canada, Israel, France, South Africa, Sweden, and The United States.Related Links
About the IssueThis special issue offers a first systematic qualitative cross-national
exploration of how diverse minority groups respond to stigmatization in a
wide variety of contexts. This research is the culmination of a
coordinated study of stigmatized groups in Brazil, Israel, and the USA,
as well as of connected research projects conducted in Canada, France,
South Africa, and Sweden. The issue sheds light on the range of
destigmatization strategies ordinary people adopt in the course of their
daily life. Articles analyze the cultural frames they mobilize to make
sense of their experiences and to determine how to respond; how they
negotiate and transform social and symbolic boundaries; and how
responses are enabled and constrained by institutions, national
ideologies, cultural repertoires, and contexts. The similarities and
differences across sites provide points of departure for further
systematic research, which is particularly needed in light of the
challenges for liberal democracy raised by multiculturalism. Weatherhead InitiativeThis special issue is the first set of papers to come out of the 2007 Weatherhead Initiative, ″A Comparative Study of Responses to Discrimination by Members of Stigmatized Groups.”
In the aftermath of a civil war, former enemies are left living side by side—and often the enemy is a son-in-law, a godfather, an old schoolmate, or the community that lies just across the valley. Though the internal conflict in Peru at the end of the twentieth century was incited and organized by insurgent Senderistas, the violence and destruction were carried out not only by Peruvian armed forces but also by civilians. In the wake of war, any given Peruvian community may consist of ex-Senderistas, current sympathizers, widows, orphans, army veterans—a volatile social landscape. These survivors, though fully aware of the potential danger posed by their neighbors, must nonetheless endeavor to live and labor alongside their intimate enemies.Drawing on years of research with communities in the highlands of Ayacucho, Kimberly Theidon explores how Peruvians are rebuilding both individual lives and collective existence following twenty years of armed conflict. Intimate Enemies recounts the stories and dialogues of Peruvian peasants and Theidon's own experiences to encompass the broad and varied range of conciliatory practices: customary law before and after the war, the practice of arrepentimiento (publicly confessing one's actions and requesting pardon from one's peers), a differentiation between forgiveness and reconciliation, and the importance of storytelling to make sense of the past and re-create moral order. The micropolitics of reconciliation in these communities present an example of postwar coexistence that deeply complicates the way we understand transitional justice, moral sensibilities, and social life in the aftermath of war. Any effort to understand post-conflict reconstruction must be attuned both to devastation as well as to human tenacity for life.