The South African Chinese have long labored to manipulate their racial position to advance their individual and collective economic and political interests. Their negotiation reached its peak under apartheid, the oppressive system of segregation instituted by the National Party in 1948. Under various concurrent tenets of apartheid law, the Chinese were classified as non-white, Coloured, Asian, and Chinese. Like other non-white groups, the Chinese were subject to discrimination because of their race. Yet over the course of apartheid, the Chinese slowly gained more rights. By the late 1970s, they were still Chinese but had won many of the privileges reserved for Whites. The Chinese population managed this success through their small size and specific political strategies intended to portray their community as diligent, law-abiding citizens. Instead of protesting the existing social order, they sought to manipulate the apartheid apparatus to their advantage. Ultimately, the South African Chinese managed to manipulate racial policies to their advantage because of the apartheid state’s overarching concerns about its political and economic relations with the Republic of China’s government. Chinese South Africans represent a miniscule fraction of South Africa’s population and have received a commensurately small amount of historiographic attention. However, their experiences offer a privileged vantage point into the connections between South Africa’s domestic racial policies and international relations during the apartheid years. Ultimately, this study demonstrates that the international context deeply shaped the construction and reconstruction of racial and ethnic categories in apartheid South Africa—a regime too often dismissed as exceptional and divorced from a changing international order. This work not only engages the literature on the experiences of the South African Chinese, but also provides a critical case study for the larger literature on the functional utility of race in the policy formation of apartheid.
Using state-level variation in the timing of political reforms, we find that an increase in female representation in local government induces a large and significant rise in documented crimes against women in India. Our evidence suggests that this increase is good news, driven primarily by greater reporting rather than greater incidence of such crimes. In contrast, we find no increase in crimes against men or gender-neutral crimes. We also examine the effectiveness of alternative forms of political representation: large scale membership of women in local councils affects crime against them more than their presence in higher level leadership positions.
Harvard Business School Working Paper No. 11-092, March 2011. Download PDF
My thesis explores the ethics behind assisted reproductive policy in China by examining how ethical issues are identified, framed, and implemented among three groups of professionals: academic bioethicists, policymakers, and medical personnel. I will then examine how these issues are transferred across groups and identify the factors that shape their formation. Finally, I argue that while ethical priorities are heavily shaped by traditional cultural structures and definitions, they are simultaneously being altered by international influences. My research draws on ethnographic data collected through in-depth qualitative interviews and is supplemented with non-participant observation conducted at field sites in Beijing.
This thesis seeks to analyze what would have to change in American discussions of global environmental sustainability for population growth to assume its rightful place in the discussion. The amount of carbon that people consume times the number of consumers determines the total carbon emissions and thus environmental impact, yet most environmentalists avoid any mention of population growth. I examine the common sources of opposition—religious, feminist, capitalist, ethical, and even environmental—to understand what specific element of population stabilization each group reacts against and whether there are ways to address those concerns while still discussing population growth in environmental terms. To do this, I conducted informational interviews with people in the population and/or environment movement, observed a population organization and did archival research there, and read population-ethics theory. I suggest that sustainability discussions can include population growth, within certain important bounds, and in doing so, create the space for more effective policy.
This thesis asks how uses of city space among a minority demonstrate engagement and identification with the city overall. Research focused on ethnographic interviews with second-generation Turkish women in Copenhagen, about their use of the city throughout different stages of their lives. This was supplemented by participation observation across Copenhagen’s public spaces and interviews with urban planners and leaders of various women’s centers. I find that the second-generation Turkish women demonstrate multiple uses and understandings of city spaces based on their multiple, fluid identities, so that through a particular identity a physical space becomes a meaningful place. Because people are situated and related through space, space and place play an important role in an individual’s identification with and against others. I define space as composed of the built and physical environment across all scales. Place, on the other hand, is space made especially meaningful, interpreted by individuals based on their histories, use, and perceptions of the space. Place is thus a product of a particular identity and its respective ways of being in the city. Different contexts and spaces become the platform for enacting different identities. The result is to conceive of space as dynamically constructed into different places as different identities play out across the city. I demonstrate this first by describing how Turkish immigrants claim and appropriate urban space in Copenhagen, recreating their cultural uses of space within the context of Copenhagen. I continue by contextualizing these Turkish practices within the diverse repertoire of identities of second-generation Turkish women and their accompanying diverse understandings of place. Ultimately, allowing for an open, fluid sense of identities and place creates a more inclusive framework for belonging in a multicultural, transnational city. Download PDF
Climate change is predicted to have huge impacts on rural farmers in
developing countries, as small-scale farmers are particularly vulnerable
to climatic stresses and shocks. Agroforestry, or the use of trees in
the cropping system to improve farm productivity, has been put forth as a
potential strategy to improve farmers’ ability to adapt to future
climate changes. Through a case study in western Kenya, I examine
agroforestry’s role in helping subsistence farmers adapt to climate
change through both qualitative and quantitative analyses. My results
show that farmers are unable to cope with current climatic shocks in a
sustainable way. By examining household responses to the most recent
floods and droughts I find that often households are forced to engage in
erosive coping strategies that threaten their farm’s long-term
productivity. Farmers and the general literature agree that the most
effective way to cope with future climate variation and shocks will be
to improve general livelihoods through increasing farm productivity and
enhancing non-farm incomes. My statistical analyses support my
qualitative observations that agroforestry techniques can improve farm
productivity and household wealth. From these results I conclude that
agroforestry practices have the potential to help farmers adapt to
climate change through improving general household wellbeing in rural
western Kenya. My findings also stress the importance of
location-specific evaluations of effective development strategies and
the need for enhanced community participation in development practices.
When NAFTA went into effect in 1994, many feared it would intensify animosity among North American unions, lead to the scapegoating of Mexican workers and immigrants, and eclipse any possibility for cross-border labor cooperation. But far from polarizing workers, NAFTA unexpectedly helped stimulate labor transnationalism among key North American unions and erode union policies and discourses rooted in racism. The emergence of labor transnationalism in North America presents compelling political and sociological puzzles: How did NAFTA, the concrete manifestation of globalization processes in North America, help deepen labor solidarity on the continent? In addition to making the provocative argument that global governance institutions can play a pivotal role in the development of transnational social movements, this book suggests that globalization need not undermine labor movements: collectively, unions can help shape how the rules governing the global economy are made.
Three weeks of peaceful street protests; a couple of Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) members of parliament resigning this week; a few more PASOK members of parliament challenging the leadership qualities of Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou; rampant unemployment; violent clashes with the police; and one of the worst financial crises in modern Greek history culminated today in...a cabinet reshuffle.
Prime Minister Papandreou is facing the most intense criticism since his election in October of 2009, both from his party and from Greek society. What on Wednesday night looked like a grand coalition government with the main opposition party, Nea Demokratia, was transformed on Thursday into an intra-party “reshuffling for elections.”
The new government was sworn in on June 17 and will be up for a confidence vote on June 21. The opposition parties are not impressed with the reshuffle. Most citizens reacted by saying “same old, same old.”
Not much is expected from this new government. Why is that? To begin with, Papandreou's effort to regain the confidence of the Greek public began with the ambitious idea of a coalition government including many technocrats but ended up with a mild cabinet reshuffling satisfying the narrow interests of the ruling political party rather than effectively tackling the mounting problems.
For example, his efforts to recruit Lucas Papademos, an experienced economist that has served as vice president of the European Central Bank, as a Minister of Finance did not bear fruit. This is just one example of the failure of Papandreou to bring technocrats into the government. Instead, Evangelos Venizelos, a professor of constitutional law and until today defense minister, took up the burden.
Moreover, Theodoros Pangalos remained deputy prime minister despite the fact that he has been the target of most of the chants of the street protesters for the past three weeks. Most ministers were not changed and three important ministers were demoted but not fired—the Ministers of Finance, Interior, and Justice. However, there is a more positive way to read the news. Papandreou managed to build a team that agrees with him, to improve the internal cohesion of the party, and to share the burden with the rest of PASOK.
One step was to remove Katseli, who was probably a victim of her disagreements with the Troika (European Central Bank, IMF, European Commission), from the Ministry of Labor and Social Security. To appease the political base of PASOK and silence a wave of internal criticism that has been mounting within his party he removed from the government some of his close friends that had been intensely criticized and included some of his personal critics in the government. Last but not least, by promoting Venizelos—his party rival and contestant for the leadership of the party just a few years ago—to deputy Prime Minister. Adding a second deputy Prime Minister position for Venizelos, Papandreou significantly changed the dynamic within PASOK.
Party cohesion is a arguably a precondition for the government to pass the new bundle of austerity measures required to secure more loans from the EU/IMF. Despite these cooptation tactics, however, the new government has already found its critics from within the party. A few minutes after the new government was sworn in, PASOK MP Voudouris argued that the reshuffle was unsatisfactory. Regardless, as a result of this reshuffle, the whole political party is seen as an “accomplice” of Prime Minister Papandreou in this effort.
There are also important changes in the functioning of the government. The Prime Minister re-created a “Government Committee”—something that has been a demand of many party members—where the most important policies are normally decided. The irony is that it is both oversized, with ten Ministers participating, and lacks the key Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense.
These changes aim to enhance Papandreou’s ability to delegate responsibility and for the government to coordinate more efficiently. Another important fact is that Pangalos will not be part of the “Government Committee” — something that might appease some of his many critics.
Turning to the Ministry of Finance—the hot potato of this affair—most people believe that Venizelos may be better in the negotiations than the previous Minister of Finance, Papaconstantinou. Venizelos is an experienced politician and charismatic speaker. He has served as minister of culture, justice, transportation, and development. Nevertheless, he is not an economist and thus he will have to rely on the advice of others.
Finally, two promising new faces in the government are Stavros Lambrinidis, (BA from Amherst, JD from Yale), the new Minister of Foreign Affairs, and LSE Professor Elias Mossialos, the new government spokesman and Minister of State.
In the meantime, this Sunday the Eurogroup is meeting in Brussels to decide on the next installment from the EU/IMF bailout package. It seems that the developments in Greece have also alarmed Sarkozy and Merkel to the point that they rushed to declare that they will provide further assistance to Greece and that the private sector can also participate in this scheme on voluntary basis — a highly contested point so far.
Nevertheless, with few exceptions, the changes have not impressed the Greek people—who are still waiting for social justice, more just redistribution, and have grown impatient with political parties— and it is unlikely that they will restore the confidence of our foreign creditors.
If this new government fails to regain the confidence of the people then we will have early elections. And one thing is certain. From these elections a one party government will not emerge.
As the world struggles to emerge from the greatest financial crisis since the Depression, the institution at the heart of the global economic system is facing a profound crisis of governance. Since the International Monetary Fund’s inception at the end of World War II, Europe and the United States have dominated decision-making. Incredibly, and possibly dangerously, decisions are now being made to keep the backward-looking status quo for at least another five years.
True, the final stage of the race for the top job at the I.M.F. still offers the possibility that a Mexican candidate might beat out the French front-runner. Unfortunately, with Europe still controlling an excessive voting share, the outcome has all the suspense of a Soviet-era election. Worse, the I.M.F. board does not seem to feel the need to establish even a pretext of legitimacy for the powerful No. 2 position; everyone takes for granted that the board will rubber-stamp whomever the Obama administration nominates.
In a world where markets already pay more attention to what happens in China than in Europe, and where loans from emerging economies are keeping the debt-challenged United States economy on life support, the I.M.F.’s outdated governance practices have become an accident waiting to happen. The I.M.F. has long been the last line of defense in emerging-market debt crises, combining big short-term loans with technical assistance that has proven effective far more often than not. Today it is on the front lines of the European debt crisis, with Greece, Ireland and Portugal teetering on the brink. Given Japan’s huge debts and demographic implosion, and China’s runaway growth boom, it is not hard to imagine a vast I.M.F. program in Asia in the next decade. Even the United States is a potential customer if it continues for another 10 or 15 years to neglect its soaring debt burden.
If the fast-growing economies of Asia and Latin America feel disenfranchised from the I.M.F. — there is still a strong undercurrent of hostility in Asia over the fund’s handling of the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis — it will be difficult for the I.M.F. to raise money to deal with Europe and potentially Japan and to credibly do its work in emerging markets now and in the future. And because American and European leaders do not want to hear when their monetary, fiscal or regulatory policies are out of whack, the I.M.F. is really the only strong voice that can deliver the message; a non-European is best-equipped to deliver it.
Until a few weeks ago, everyone seemed to agree that it was high time for a change. The presumption was that the I.M.F. board would choose its next managing director from the handful of supremely qualified candidates from emerging markets, thereby strengthening its claim to be a truly global institution. The incumbent, Dominique Strauss-Kahn of France, was on record supporting a transparent, merit-based approach for choosing his successor. Given the prestige he had amassed leading the I.M.F. during the crisis, it was assumed that he would use his influence to shepherd in the new era.
Everything changed in mid-May. Mr. Strauss-Kahn was forced to resign after being accused of sexually assaulting a hotel housekeeper. Suddenly, the I.M.F. became tabloid fodder and the plans for an open and meritocratic selection process were tossed out the window. With the I.M.F.’s legitimacy now under unexpected attack on a second front, gender inequality, European leaders inventively coalesced around the French finance minister, Christine Lagarde.
Just a short while ago, the fact that Ms. Lagarde is French would surely have been disqualifying, given that the French have held the I.M.F. leadership for most of the last three decades. Ms. Lagarde’s training as a lawyer, rather than as an economist, might also have been an obstacle. The head of the I.M.F. is like the head of a central bank, and is frequently confronted with difficult judgments on the sizing and timing of debt programs, not to mention on monetary policy and regulation.
Ms. Lagarde has provided a strong and clear voice on the need for dramatic financial sector reform. But weighed against Mexico’s candidate, Agustín G. Carstens, she might have come up short, at least prior to the Strauss-Kahn debacle. Mr. Carstens, who has a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, has a golden C.V. for the job. The head of the I.M.F. routinely deals with central bankers as well as finance ministers, and Mr. Carstens had held both positions in Mexico. He has also served as a deputy managing director of the I.M.F. and knows the institution inside and out.
Mr. Carstens has rightly argued that a European is going to be hugely conflicted in managing the central challenge facing the I.M.F. today: Europe. Soon, the I.M.F. will likely have to help manage government debt defaults in more than one European nation, starting with Greece. European leaders want to kick the can down the road by bribing the Greeks with more loans to prevent them from defaulting. This is where the I.M.F. normally preaches tough love.
The I.M.F. board has given itself until June 30 to decide. The circumstances of Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s departure have to be taken into consideration, and the fallout on gender issues is not over. There has never been a woman as head of a major multilateral lending institution, and Ms. Lagarde is a highly credible candidate. It seems a done deal, though perhaps there is some way to cap the length of her tenure and improve the selection process next time.
And the managing director is not the only position that matters. At the end of August, John P. Lipsky, the first deputy managing director, who was named to the job by the Bush administration, is due to step down. Why not see if one of the top emerging-market candidates can be a replacement? An effective No. 2 would also be well-positioned to take over when Ms. Lagarde herself steps down. (The last three I.M.F. managing directors have departed without completing their terms.)
There is still time to set in place a merit-based selection process that could eventually form the basis for filling the top job. The I.M.F. may be a poorly understood institution, but it does not have to be a poorly governed one.
You probably missed the recent special issue of China Newsweek, so let me bring you up to date. Who do you think was on the cover—named the “most influential foreign figure” of the year in China? Barack Obama? No. Bill Gates? No. Warren Buffett? No. O.K., I'll give you a hint: He's a rock star in Asia, and people in China, Japan and South Korea scalp tickets to hear him. Give up?
This news will not come as a surprise to Harvard students, some 15,000 of whom have taken Sandel's legendary “Justice” class. What makes the class so compelling is the way Sandel uses real-life examples to illustrate the philosophies of the likes of Aristotle, Immanuel Kant and John Stuart Mill.
Sandel, 58, will start by tossing out a question, like, “Is it fair that David Letterman makes 700 times more than a schoolteacher?” or “Are we morally responsible for righting the wrongs of our grandparents' generation?” Students offer competing answers, challenge one another across the hall, debate with the philosophers—and learn the art of reasoned moral argument along the way.
Besides being educational, the classes make great theater—so much so that Harvard and WGBH (Boston's PBS station) filmed them and created a public television series that aired across the country in 2009. The series, now freely available online (at http://www.JusticeHarvard.org), has begun to stir interest in surprising new places.
Last year, Japan's NHK TV broadcast a translated version of the PBS series, which sparked a philosophy craze in Japan and prompted the University of Tokyo to create a course based on Sandel's. In China, volunteer translators subtitled the lectures and uploaded them to Chinese Web sites, where they have attracted millions of viewers. Sandel's recent book—Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?—has sold more than a million copies in East Asia alone. This is a book about moral philosophy, folks!
Here's The Japan Times describing Sandel's 2010 visit: “Few philosophers are compared to rock stars or TV celebrities, but that's the kind of popularity Michael Sandel enjoys in Japan.” At a recent lecture in Tokyo, “long lines had formed outside almost an hour before the start of the evening event. Tickets, which were free and assigned by lottery in advance, were in such demand that one was reportedly offered for sale on the Web for $500.” Sandel began the lecture by asking: “Is ticket scalping fair or unfair?”
But what is most intriguing is the reception that Sandel (a close friend) received in China. He just completed a book tour and lectures at Tsinghua and Fudan universities, where students began staking out seats hours in advance. This semester, Tsinghua started a course called “Critical Thinking and Moral Reasoning,” modeled on Sandel's. His class visit was covered on the national evening news.
Sandel's popularity in Asia reflects the intersection of three trends. One is the growth of online education, where students anywhere now can gain access to the best professors from everywhere. Another is the craving in Asia for a more creative, discussion-based style of teaching in order to produce more creative, innovative students. And the last is the hunger of young people to engage in moral reasoning and debates, rather than having their education confined to the dry technical aspects of economics, business or engineering.
At Tsinghua and Fudan, Sandel challenged students with a series of cases about justice and markets: Is it fair to raise the price of snow shovels after a snowstorm? What about auctioning university admissions to the highest bidder? “Free-market sentiment ran surprisingly high,” Sandel said, “but some students argued that unfettered markets create inequality and social discord.”
Sandel's way of teaching about justice “is both refreshing and relevant in the context of China,” Dean Qian Yingyi of Tsinghua’s School of Economics and Management, explained in an e-mail. Refreshing because of the style and relevant because “the philosophic thinking among the Chinese is mostly instrumentalist and materialistic,” partly because of “the contemporary obsession on economic development in China.”
Tsinghua's decision to offer a version of Sandel's course, added Qian, “is part of a great experiment of undergraduate education reform currently under way at our school. …This is not just one class; it is the beginning of an era.”
Sandel is touching something deep in both Boston and Beijing. “Students everywhere are hungry for discussion of the big ethical questions we confront in our everyday lives,” Sandel argues. “In recent years, seemingly technical economic questions have crowded out questions of justice and the common good. I think there is a growing sense, in many societies, that G.D.P. and market values do not by themselves produce happiness, or a good society. My dream is to create a video-linked global classroom, connecting students across cultures and national boundaries—to think through these hard moral questions together, to see what we can learn from one another.”
Line in the Sand details the dramatic transformation of the western US-Mexico border from its creation at the end of the Mexican-American War in 1848 to the emergence of the modern boundary line in the first decades of the twentieth century. In this sweeping narrative, Rachel St. John explores how this boundary changed from a mere line on a map to a clearly marked and heavily regulated divide between the United States and Mexico. Focusing on the desert border to the west of the Rio Grande, this book explains the origins of the modern border and places the line at the center of a transnational history of expanding capitalism and state power in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Moving across local, regional, and national scales, St. John shows how government officials, Native American raiders, ranchers, railroad builders, miners, investors, immigrants, and smugglers contributed to the rise of state power on the border and developed strategies to navigate the increasingly regulated landscape. Over the border's history, the US and Mexican states gradually developed an expanding array of official laws, ad hoc arrangements, government agents, and physical barriers that did not close the line, but made it a flexible barrier that restricted the movement of some people, goods, and animals without impeding others. By the 1930s, their efforts had created the foundations of the modern border control apparatus.
Drawing on extensive research in US and Mexican archives, Line in the Sand weaves together a transnational history of how an undistinguished strip of land became the significant and symbolic space of state power and national definition that we know today.
In recent decades Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) emerged into an en vogue investment philosophy. Originating from religious and moral considerations, SRI evolved in the wake of socio-political deficiencies and corporate social conduct. In the global rise of financial social conscientiousness, differing national legislations and regulatory traditions have led to various SRI practices, which are harmonized by the United Nations (UN). Building on the historic advancement of Financial Social Responsibility in the wake of socio-ethical deficiencies, this paper highlights the future potential of SRI in the aftermath of the 2008/09 World Financial Crisis as a means to avert economic market downfalls. During the current financial market reform, additional micro- and macro-research on financial social conduct could foster the idea of Financial Social Responsibility and aid a successful implementation of SRI.
Julia Puaschunder is a faculty associate at the Center for the Environment at Harvard University. Download PDF
Latin America experienced an unprecedented wave of left-leaning governments between 1998 and 2010. This volume examines the causes of this leftward turn and the consequences it carries for the region in the twenty-first century.
The Resurgence of the Latin American Left asks three central questions: Why have left-wing parties and candidates flourished in Latin America? How have these leftist parties governed, particularly in terms of social and economic policy? What effects has the rise of the Left had on democracy and development in the region? The book addresses these questions through two sections. The first looks at several major themes regarding the contemporary Latin American Left, including whether Latin American public opinion actually shifted leftward in the 2000s, why the Left won in some countries but not in others, and how the left turn has affected market economies, social welfare, popular participation in politics, and citizenship rights. The second section examines social and economic policy and regime trajectories in eight cases: those of leftist governments in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay, and Venezuela, as well as that of a historically populist party that governed on the right in Peru.
Featuring a new typology of Left parties in Latin America, an original framework for identifying and categorizing variation among these governments, and contributions from prominent and influential scholars of Latin American politics, this historical-institutional approach to understanding the region's left turn—and variation within it—is the most comprehensive explanation to date on the topic.
Over the past quarter century, researchers have successfully explored
the inner workings of the physical and biological sciences using a
variety of social and historical lenses. Inspired by these advances, the
contributors to Social Knowledge in the Making turn their
attention to the social sciences, broadly construed. The result is the
first comprehensive effort to study and understand the day-to-day
activities involved in the creation of social-scientific and related
forms of knowledge about the social world.
The essays collected here tackle a range of previously unexplored
questions about the practices involved in the production, assessment,
and use of diverse forms of social knowledge. A stellar cast of
multidisciplinary scholars addresses topics such as the changing
practices of historical research, anthropological data collection,
library usage, peer review, and institutional review boards. Turning to
the world beyond the academy, other essays focus on global banks, survey
research organizations, and national security and economic policy
makers. Social Knowledge in the Making is a landmark volume for a
new field of inquiry, and the bold new research agenda it proposes will
be welcomed in the social science, the humanities, and a broad range of
This study assesses the relationship between political partisanship and attitudes and behavior with respect to the Swine Flu crisis of 2009 in general, and the US mass vaccination program in particular. I argue that even seemingly non-partisan political issues like public health are increasingly characterized by partisan polarization in public attitudes, and that such polarization is in part attributable, at least in part, to the breakdown of the information commons that characterized the American mass media from roughly the 1950s until the early 1990s. In its place has arisen an increasingly fragmented and niche-oriented media marketplace in which individuals are better able to limit their information exposure to attitudes and opinions that reinforce, rather than challenge, their preexisting beliefs. I test my argument against a variety of data sources, including opinion surveys and state level Swine Flu vaccination rate data.
Harvard Kennedy School Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP11-010, January 2011. Download PDF
Barack Obama became US president, one of his top foreign policy
priorities was to improve relations with China. Yet on the eve of
President Hu Jintao's state visit to Washington, US-China relations are
worse, rather than better.
Administration officials feel their efforts to reach out to China have been rebuffed.
Ironically, in 2007, President Hu Jintao had told the 17th
Congress of the Communist Party that China needed to invest more in its
soft, or attractive, power.
From the point of view of a country that was making enormous strides in economic and military power, this was a smart strategy.
By accompanying the rise of its hard economic and military
power with efforts to make itself more attractive, China aimed to reduce
the fear and tendencies to balance Chinese power that might otherwise
grow among its neighbours.
But China's performance has been just the opposite, and China has had a bad year and a half in foreign policy.
For years, China had followed the advice of Deng Xiaoping to keep a low profile.
However, with its successful economic recovery from the
recession, China passed Japan as the world's second largest economy, and
America's slow recovery led many Chinese to mistakenly conclude that
the United States was in decline.
Given such beliefs, and with rising nationalism in China as it
prepares for the transition of power to the fifth generation of leaders
in 2012, many in China pressed for a more assertive foreign policy.
In 2009, China was justly proud of its success in managing to
emerge from the world recession with a high 10% rate of economic
But many Chinese believed that this represented a shift in
the world balance of power, and that China should be less deferential to
other countries, including the US.
Chinese scholars began writing about the decline of the US. One dated the year 2000 as the peak of American power.
"People are now looking down on the West, from leadership
circles, to academia, to everyday folks," said Professor Kang Xiaoguang
of Renmin University.
This Chinese view is seriously
mistaken and China is unlikely to equal American economic, military or
soft power for decades to come.
Nonetheless, this over-confidence in power assessment
(combined with insecurity in domestic affairs) led to more assertive
Chinese foreign policy behaviour in the last two years.
China miscalculated by deviating from the smart strategy of a
rising power and violating the wisdom of Deng Xiaoping who advised that
China should proceed cautiously and "skilfully keep a low profile".
But perceptions matter, even when they are wrong. China's new attitudes alienated the Obama administration.
China stage-managed President Obama's trip to Beijing in
November 2009 in a heavy-handed way; it over-reacted to Obama's meeting
with the Dalai Lama, and the administration's long-expected and
relatively modest arms sales to Taiwan.
When asked why they reacted so strongly to things they had
accepted in the past, some Chinese responded, "because we were weaker
Obama administration officials began to believe that efforts
at co-operation or conciliation would be interpreted by the Chinese as
proof that the US was in decline.
Alienation and irritation
China's new assertiveness affected its relations with other countries as well.
Its policies in the South China Sea created fear among the
Asean nations; and its over-reaction to Japan's actions after a ship
collision near the Senkaku Islands put an end to the Democratic Party of
Japan's hopes for a closer relationship with China. Instead, the Kan
administration reaffirmed the American alliance.
Beijing alienated South Korea by failing to criticise North
Korea's shelling of a South Korean island; irritated India over border
and passport issues; and embarrassed itself in Europe and elsewhere by
over-reacting to the Nobel Peace Prize granted to the jailed dissident
How will these issues play out in the coming year?
It is likely that China's leaders will draw back somewhat from the overly assertive posture that has proven so costly.
President Hu Jintao's stated desire to co-operate on
terrorism, non-proliferation and clean energy will help to lead to a
reduction of tensions, but powerful domestic interest groups in the
export industries and in the People's Liberation Army will limit
economic or naval co-operation.
And most important, given the nationalism that one sees on
the blogosphere in China, it will be difficult for Chinese top leaders
to change their policies too dramatically.
Mr Hu's state visit will help improve matters, but the
relationship will remain difficult as long as the Chinese suffer from
hubris based on a mistaken belief in American decline.
We exploit variation in U.S. gubernatorial term limits across states and time to empirically estimate two separate effects of elections on government performance. Holding tenure in office constant, differences in performance by reelection- eligible and term-limited incumbents identify an accountability effect: reelection-eligible governors have greater incentives to exert costly effort on behalf of voters. Holding term-limit status constant, differences in performance by incumbents in different terms identify a competence effect: later-term incumbents are more likely to be competent both because they have survived reelection and because they have experience in office. We show that economic growth is higher and taxes, spending, and borrowing costs are lower under reelection-eligible incumbents than under term-limited incumbents (accountability), and under reelected incumbents than under first-term incumbents (competence), all else equal. In addition to improving our understanding of the role of elections in representative democracy, these findings resolve an empirical puzzle about the disappearance of the effect of term limits on gubernatorial performance over time.
Is the Greek crisis an isolated case or the first of a series of future failing developed states? The Greek financial crisis is not on the front page of the Financial Times anymore, but it is far from over. The financial crisis did not manifest itself in Greece alone. Ireland has also sought an equally large EU-IMF rescue plan. Portugal and Spain have been under the microscope of the media and credit rating institutions. Such other instances in the Eurozone’s periphery have repercussions for the currency as a whole as well as for the EU (Straubhaar, 2010). Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain are members of the Eurozone area, which means that they share the same currency with economic giants such as Germany and France.