For about a century, economic inequality has been measured on a scale, from zero to one, known as the Gini index and named after an Italian statistician, Corrado Gini, who devised it in 1912, when he was twenty-eight and the chair of statistics at the University of Cagliari. If all the income in the world were earned by one person and everyone else earned nothing, the world would have a Gini index of one. If everyone in the world earned exactly the same income, the world would have a Gini index of zero. The United States Census Bureau has been using Gini’s measurement to calculate income inequality in America since 1947. Between 1947 and 1968, the U.S. Gini index dropped to .386, the lowest ever recorded. Then it began to climb.
Robert Putnam’s new book, “Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis” (Simon & Schuster), is an attempt to set the statistics aside and, instead, tell a story. “Our Kids” begins with the story of the town where Putnam grew up, Port Clinton, Ohio. Putnam is a political scientist, but his argument is historical—it’s about change over time—and fuelled, in part, by nostalgia.…
Please note: This listing mistakenly had Robert Putnam listed as an author for a short period of time. Robert Putnam's book Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis is discussed in the article. (March 24, 2015)
Several years after the Arab Spring began, democracy remains elusive in the Middle East. The Arab Spring that resides in the popular imagination is one in which a wave of mass mobilization swept the broader Middle East, toppled dictators, and cleared the way for democracy. The reality is that few Arab countries have experienced anything of the sort. While Tunisia made progress towards some type of constitutionally entrenched participatory rule, the other countries that overthrew their rulers Egypt, Yemen, and Libyaremain mired in authoritarianism and instability. Elsewhere in the Arab world uprisings were suppressed, subsided or never materialized.
The Arab Springs modest harvest cries out for explanation. Why did regime change take place in only four Arab countries and why has democratic change proved so elusive in the countries that made attempts? This book attempts to answer those questions. First, by accounting for the full range of variance: from the absence or failure of uprisings in such places as Algeria and Saudi Arabia at one end to Tunisias rocky but hopeful transition at the other. Second, by examining the deep historical and structure variables that determined the balance of power between incumbents and opposition.
Brownlee, Masoud, and Reynolds find that the success of domestic uprisings depended on the absence of a hereditary executive and a dearth of oil rents. Structural factors also cast a shadow over the transition process. Even when opposition forces toppled dictators, prior levels of socioeconomic development and state strength shaped whether nascent democracy, resurgent authoritarianism, or unbridled civil war would follow.
From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe the world has witnessed a rising tide of contentious elections ending in heated partisan debates, court challenges, street protests, and legitimacy challenges. In some cases, disputes have been settled peacefully through legal appeals and electoral reforms. In the worst cases, however, disputes have triggered bloodshed or government downfalls and military coups. Contentious elections are characterized by major challenges, with different degrees of severity, to the legitimacy of electoral actors, procedures, or outcomes.
Despite growing concern, until recently little research has studied this phenomenon. The theory unfolded in this volume suggests that problems of electoral malpractice erode confidence in electoral authorities, spur peaceful protests demonstrating against the outcome, and, in the most severe cases, lead to outbreaks of conflict and violence. Understanding this process is of vital concern for domestic reformers and the international community, as well as attracting a growing new research agenda.
The editors, from the Electoral Integrity Project, bring together scholars considering a range of fresh evidence– analyzing public opinion surveys of confidence in elections and voter turnout within specific countries, as well as expert perceptions of the existence of peaceful electoral demonstrations, and survey and aggregate data monitoring outbreaks of electoral violence. The book provides insights invaluable for studies in democracy and democratization, comparative politics, comparative elections, peace and conflict studies, comparative sociology, international development, comparative public opinion, political behavior, political institutions, and public policy.
A groundbreaking examination of the growing inequality gap from the bestselling author of Bowling Alone: why fewer Americans today have the opportunity for upward mobility.
It’s the American dream: get a good education, work hard, buy a house, and achieve prosperity and success. This is the America we believe in—a nation of opportunity, constrained only by ability and effort. But during the last twenty-five years we have seen a disturbing “opportunity gap” emerge. Americans have always believed in equality of opportunity, the idea that all kids, regardless of their family background, should have a decent chance to improve their lot in life. Now, this central tenet of the American dream seems no longer true or at the least, much less true than it was.
Robert Putnam—about whom The Economist said, “his scholarship is wide-ranging, his intelligence luminous, his tone modest, his prose unpretentious and frequently funny”—offers a personal but also authoritative look at this new American crisis. Putnam begins with his high school class of 1959 in Port Clinton, Ohio. By and large the vast majority of those students—“our kids”—went on to lives better than those of their parents. But their children and grandchildren have had harder lives amid diminishing prospects. Putnam tells the tale of lessening opportunity through poignant life stories of rich and poor kids from cities and suburbs across the country, drawing on a formidable body of research done especially for this book.
Our Kids is a rare combination of individual testimony and rigorous evidence. Putnam provides a disturbing account of the American dream that should initiate a deep examination of the future of our country.
Since the end of the Cold War, Western powers have frequently used sanctions to fight declining levels of democracy and human rights violations abroad. However, some of the world’s most repressive autocracies have never been subjected to sanctions, while other more competitive authoritarian regimes have been exposed to repeated sanction episodes. In this article, we concentrate on the cost–benefit analysis of Western senders that issue democratic sanctions, those which aim to instigate democratization, against authoritarian states. We argue that Western leaders weight domestic and international pressure to impose sanctions against the probability of sanction success and the sender’s own political and economic costs. Their cost–benefit calculus is fundamentally influenced by the strength of trigger events indicating infringements of democratic and human rights. Western sanction senders are most likely to respond to coups d’e´tat, the most drastic trigger events, and tend to sanction vulnerable targets to a higher extent than stable authoritarian regimes. Senders are also more likely to sanction poor targets less integrated in the global economy and countries that do not align with the Western international political agenda, especially in responding to ‘weaker’ trigger events such as controversial elections. The analysis is carried out using a new dataset of US and EU sanctions against authoritarian states in the period 1990–2010.
Reporting bias–the media’s tendency to systematically underreport or overreport certain types of events–is a persistent problem for participants and observers of armed conflict. We argue that the nature of reporting bias depends on how news organizations navigate the political context in which they are based. Where government pressure on the media is limited–in democratic regimes–the scope of reporting should reflect conventional media preferences toward novel, large-scale, dramatic developments that challenge the conventional wisdom and highlight the unsustainability of the status quo. Where political constraints on reporting are more onerous–in non-democratic regimes–the more conservative preferences of the state will drive the scope of coverage, emphasizing the legitimacy and inevitability of the prevailing order. We test these propositions using new data on protest and political violence during the 2011 Libyan uprising and daily newspaper coverage of the Arab Spring from 113 countries. We uncover evidence of a status-quo media bias in non-democratic states, and a revisionist bias in democratic states. Media coverage in non-democracies underreported protests and nonviolent collective action by regime opponents, largely ignored government atrocities, and overreported those caused by rebels. We find the opposite patterns in democratic states.
Global history is very much the fashion in leading university history departments today. Some of them seek to replace courses in Western civilization with classes in global history—but usually such courses have to be team-taught by a variety of specialists, since so few individual academics have such a broad reach. “Empire of Cotton” proves Sven Beckert one of the new elite of genuinely global historians.
Good economic history tells dramatic stories of ingenuity and aspiration, greed and national self-interest. Sven Beckert writes good economic history. But why cotton? Mr Beckert’s answer is that for 900 years, until 1900, it was the world’s most important manufacturing industry. Cotton is relevant now because the story explains how and why an industry goes global. It is a story of wildly fluctuating fortunes, from stunning wealth to dire social disasters.
In December 2012, thousands of protesters flooded the streets of cities across India, demanding a safer environment for women. A 23-year-old female student had died from injuries sustained 13 days earlier, when six men raped and savagely beat her on a Delhi bus. The case gained international attention, and since then South Asian media have reported dozens more horrifying instances of violence against women, several involving tourists: a Danish woman was gang-raped in Delhi after asking for directions back to her hotel, and an American was raped while hitchhiking in the Himalayas.
This workshop report is a summary of themes discussed by five panels during a daylong workshop on “Innovation and Access to Technologies for Sustainable Development: A global Perspective” at Harvard University on April 24, 2014. The workshop brought together a diverse group of scholars to explore how the technological innovation needed for sustainable development can be promoted in ways that assure equitable access in current and future generations.
Three key themes that emerged from the workshop include: (1) The central role of power, politics and agency in analyzing technological innovation and sustainable development—an important aspect of this includes the articulation of the roles of actors and organizations within frameworks and models of innovation systems. (2) The importance of focusing both on supply-push and demand-pull mechanisms in innovation scholarship and innovation policy. (3) The need to focus more innovation scholarship around the goals of sustainable development.
An integrated world economy requires cooperation among major economic powers. Without determined cooperation among the principal powers, globalization is unlikely to survive the inevitable shocks to which it is subjected.
The world faces a difficult adjustment to reduce the macroeconomic imbalances that were a major cause of the current crisis. This means reducing the surpluses of the major surplus countries in East Asia and Europe, and reducing the deficits of the major deficit countries in North America and Europe. Both processes require substantial domestic economic changes; economies and people will be tempted to turn inward, and governments will be tempted to reduce the priority they give to their external ties. This increases the risks of a breakdown in international cooperation.
Historical precedent is instructive. During the interwar period, a global macroeconomic imbalance was a major cause of the eventual economic catastrophe. During the 1920s, Germany borrowed heavily from the United States. But when a crisis hit, it turned out that neither country was politically prepared to maintain cooperative policies. Americans, focused on domestic concerns, were unwilling to help work out a cooperative resolution of the crisis. Germany exploded into social and political unrest and ended up in the hands of rabid nationalists and protectionists. The problem was political: a lack of domestic support for the sacrifices necessary to maintain international cooperation.
As the crisis winds down and post-crisis adjustment begins, major governments will be challenged to work together to support a well-functioning international economy. They will need to address the concerns of constituents who will chafe at the economic changes forced upon them. Governments that can build domestic political support for international economic engagement will be in a stronger position to work to sustain an integrated global economy.
The report analyses the policy statements on Arctic issues released from 2010 by the EU institutions and the EU’s role-building in the Arctic political framework, notably the Arctic Council. It describes how the EU’s role in the Arctic is seen in strategies and policy papers of Member States, and reports on the EU’s relations with other Arctic actors, particularly indigenous peoples. It gives an overall view of the status of the main EU policies with relevance for the Arctic and identifies the main challenges the EU has to face for progressing to an integrated and coherent Arctic policy.
When we try to understand cyber governance, it is important to remember how new cyberspace is. "Cyberspace is an operational domain framed by use of electronics to...exploit information via interconnected systems and their associated infra structure" (Kuehl 2009). While the US Defense Department sponsored a modest connection of a few computers called ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) in 1969, and the World Wide Web was conceived in 1989, it has only been in the last decade and a half that the number of websites burgeoned, and businesses begin to use this new technology to shift production and procurement in complex global supply chains. In 1992, there were only a million users on the Internet (Starr 2009, 52); today, there are nearly three billion, and the Internet has become a substrate of modern economic, social and political life. And the volatility continues. Analysts are now trying to understand the implications of ubiquitous mobility, the "Internet of everything" and analysis of "big data." Over the past 15 years, the advances in technology have far outstripped the ability of institutions of governance to respond, as well as our thinking about governance.
The failure of the 1848-49 European revolutions was crucial in the evolution of Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. Whitman shared the revolutionary spirit of 1848-49, portraying an ideal America of unique and growing diversity. How does Whitman as an American national poet with revolutionary sympathies compare with his European contemporaries, such as Mickiewicz of Poland, Petőfi of Hungary, or Shevchenko of Ukraine? Whitman sympathized with liberal European revolution, but not with European xenophobia, which after 1848 was increasingly associated with nationalism and the poetry of nationalism. Whitman is spiritually closest not to European national poets but to poets of the East such as Tagore and Iqbal. His identification with America as heir to xenophobic, dying Europe took added force from his father’s death. Whitman, despairing at the reality of American politics in the 1840s and 1850s, sought an idealized freedom of the Self in a universalist mystical vision. The tolerant inclusiveness of Whitman’s poetry found a practical outlet in the Civil War, in his saintly, self-sacrificing behaviour as a hospital nurse and the expression in his poetry of the horror, not glory, of war. Through his inner conflicts, in which his sexual identity was central, Whitman spoke for the uncertainties of American national identity after 1848. Whitman’s poetry revealed his power, and that of the Nation, to contain and resolve painful contradictions and grow through them; and in this way, too, a multicultural America could emerge.
Nye, Joseph S., Jr.. 2014. “Forward.” In The Crisis with Russia: Collected Papers from the 2014 Aspen Strategy Group Summer Workshop. Queenstown, MD: Aspen Institute. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This edition is a collection of papers commissioned for the 2014 Aspen Strategy Group Summer Workshop. On the occasion of the 30th year anniversary of the Aspen Strategy Group (founded in 1984), the Summer Workshop in Aspen, Colorado convened a nonpartisan group of preeminent U.S.-Russia policy experts, academics, journalists, and business leaders. The group's policy discussions were guided by the papers found in this volume, whose scope ranges from exploring the history of the U.S.-Russia relationship, current developments in the Sino-Russian relationship, the NATO and European responses to Russian aggression in Eastern Europe, energy considerations, areas of potential U.S.-Russia cooperation, and finally, the broader question of U.S. national security and interests in the European region.
Although classical international relations theorists largely agreed that public opinion about foreign policy is shaped by moral sentiments, public opinion scholars have yet to explore the content of these moral values, and American IR theorists have tended to exclusively associate morality with liberal idealism. Integrating the study of American foreign policy attitudes with Moral Foundations Theory from social psychology, we present original survey data showing that the five established moral values in psychology—harm/care, fairness/reciprocity, authority/respect, ingroup/loyalty, and purity/sanctity—are strongly and systematically associated with foreign policy attitudes. The “individualizing” foundations of harm/care and fairness/reciprocity are particularly important drivers of cooperative internationalism and the “binding” foundations of authority/respect, ingroup/loyalty, and purity/sanctity of militant internationalism. Hawks and hardliners have morals too, just a different set of moral values than the Enlightenment ones emphasized by liberal idealists.
"Anyone interested in contemporary Japanese politics needs to read this book. Certainly, no student of Japanese party politics can afford not to read it. This volume illuminates Komeito's history, organization, electoral mobilization, and behavior in and out of power. More importantly, this book reorients our understanding of the intersection of religion and politics in Japan, a topic that has danced along the periphery of academic studies even as it has grabbed headlines in Japan and beyond. My only question is why scholars had to wait fifty years for such an incisive study of Komeito."
–Robert Pekkanen, University of Washington