The United States currently wields unprecedented global power. Americans often assume that their global role is benevolent and their dominant position unchallenged, but other states are increasingly worried about U.S. dominance and are beginning to turn their concerns into action.In this elegant and provocative new book, Kennedy School professor and renowned scholar Stephen M. Walt analyzes the different strategies that states employ to counter U.S. power or to harness it for their own ends. These responses threaten America's ability to achieve its foreign policy goals and may eventually undermine its dominant position. To prevent this, Walt argues, the United States must adopt a foreign policy that other states welcome, rather than one that reinforces their fear of American power.
In this chapter, I examine a topic inadequately addressed in current discusssions about education in developing countries: teaching quality. I argue that teaching quality is important if schools are to help students develop capabilities of consequence to improve their life chances, especially if students cannot develop those capabilities in other institutions. I further argue that we need to think about teaching quality as a complex process, on that incorporates both normative and positive elements and that integrates what teachers do with how students make meaning and understand what their teachers do. The focus of this paper is on the relationship between teaching quality and the literacy skills of marginalized children. In supporting these arguments with empirical analysis of a nationally representative sample of sixth graders in Mexico, I address two research questions: How do variations in the literacy skills of various groups of sixth graders relate to the different circumstances they experience at home? How do their literacy skills relate to the teaching they experience in schools? I conclude that teaching quality, as reported by students, is as related to learning outcomes as parental educationand other home advantages. This finding is important: While the intergenerational transmission of educational advantages within families is widely accepted as a sociological and psychological fact, the importance of instructional quality and the conceptualization of teaching quality are not as widely established or accepted.
In International Education for the Millennium, edited by Sarah Dryden-Peterson, Kim Young-suk, and Benjamin Piper. Cambridge: Harvard Educational Review, 2006Download PDF
Many low skilled jobs have been substituted away for machines in Europe, or eliminated, much more so than in the US, while technological progress at the “top”, i.e. at the high-tech sector, is faster in the US than in Europe. This paper suggests that the main difference between Europe and the US in this respect is their different labor market policies. European countries reduce wage flexibility and inequality through a host of labor market regulations, like binding minimum wage laws, permanent unemployment subsidies, firing costs, etc. Such policies create incentives to develop and adopt labor saving capital intensive technologies at the low end of the skill distribution. At the same time technical progress in the US is more skill biased than in Europe, since American skilled wages are higher.
The globalization debate has largely been fought between those who prophesize a "race to the bottom" in government expenditure and those who foresee continued divergence, with some states better shielded from global economic volatility. However, over the past few decades there has, in fact, been "upward convergence" in the percentage of national income governments devote to public education, albeit amidst considerable cross–national variance. This phenomenon has an enormous distributional impact, yet it has been largely neglected by political scientists. What explains this tremendous shift? This paper argues that two forces in particular shape the aggregate pattern of human capital expenditure: the level of democracy and the level of openness of any given state. By developing a model of the political economy of education investment, and testing its implications over a dataset of 115 countries from 1960 to 2002, this paper provides a first cut at explaining this critical issue.
Working Paper 06–01, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, 2006. Download PDF
International treaties in pursuit of common endeavors can be classified into two categories: those that set mutually agreed national objectives and leave each signatory to pursue them in their own way; and those that define mutually agreed actions. The proposed treaty on global climate change falls into the first category with respect to greenhouse gas emissions by the rich countries. Stabilization of atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases requires eventual engagement of developing countries. The proposed treaty, based on historical emission levels, does not provide a foundation acceptable to them. Indeed, there is unlikely to be any generally acceptable principle for allocating emission rights, potentially worth trillions of dollars, among rich and poor countries. This probable impossibility suggests a successful attack on greenhouse gas emissions, necessarily international in scope, must be through mutually agreed actions, such as a nationally-collected emissions tax, rather than through national emission targets.
Cooper, Richard N. "A Treaty on Global Climate Change: Problems and Prospects." Working Paper 97–09, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, December 1997Download PDF
Two contemporary issues provide reason to focus on national saving and investment: the debate over public pensions, and pensions more generally, in all rich countries; and the large global current account imbalances, conceptually the difference between national savings and domestic investment. Are we all saving enough to provide adequate retirement income for rapidly ageing populations—especially Americans, whose household savings seems to have disappeared altogether in 2005? And are the countries with large external deficits—notably the United States—mortgaging the income of future generations inappropriately, not to mention courting financial calamity in the meantime?This paper will not answer either question definitively, but I hope to shed some light on them, especially the second. The focus of attention will be the United States, but in an increasingly globalized economy it is increasingly anachronistic to focus on domestic factors alone, and it is simply inappropriate when the issue is the country's external deficit—equal attention must be devoted to the counterpart surpluses elsewhere in the world.
TEHRAN—Today marks the seventh anniversary of the student protests that took post-revolutionary Iran by storm. On July 9, 1999, after the forcible closure of several liberal media outlets and a coordinated attack on a dormitory at the University of Tehran, Iranian students poured into the streets by the thousands, calling for political reform. Just as at Tiananmen Square a decade before, the Iranian students gave the world a glimpse of what might be—only to be quickly silenced by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's Revolutionary Guard.Naturally, Iran's regime will not celebrate today's anniversary, but neither will Iran's opposition. The Iranian student movement is a shambles—divided, confused and lacking any cause for celebration. In extensive conversations with students and student veterans of the 1999 protests, who asked to remain anonymous because of fears about their safety, I found that one message emerged loud and clear: Iran does not need another revolution, but it is in desperate need of reform.The atmosphere at the University of Tehran is eerily quiet these days. Nothing remains from the 1999 protests, which were in fact the most notable outbreak of unrest since the Islamic Revolution 20 years earlier.The protests were directed at the rule of the ayatollahs, and they revealed the pronounced internal divisions between the reformist president, Mohammed Khatami—then in the middle of his first term—and Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei. Khatami, who was trying to loosen Khamenei's tight control of the judiciary, security services and media, was facing strong resistance from the clerics when the students came to his aid. But unlike the Islamic Revolution, in which the legitimacy of the country's whole system was called into question, the 1999 protests sought reform within the existing regime, and for an Islamic democracy, that would be in accordance with Iran's constitution.That reform didn't happen, and now, under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's leadership, the process has been completely sidelined. The Iranian political scene is dominated by the nuclear issue. Confrontation with the West has made the public more tolerant of authoritarian methods, damaging reformers and making concern for individual rights and civil liberties seem utterly irrelevant. The student movement very much wants a reemergence of the reform process, but it has no good ideas on how to make it happen.Indeed, the student movement has found no place in Iran's new political reality, and its stance has moved from the politics of realistic change to the politics of survival through inaction. The old guard—the 1999 student leaders—is either in jail or abroad, and those of its members still in Iran desperately want out. Their successors—the new leaders of the liberal student union Daftare Tahkim Vahdat—have no organized structure and are weak and fragmented. Their manifestos espouse a Marxist ideal—the orthodox left as they call it—and surreal plans for communist change. These are mostly poor students from Iran's provinces who find themselves repelled by the big city's bourgeois way of life. They see the move to the left as an outlet for change, but they have no real ideological base or sense of direction. “The government could crush them any day, but they don't because it is convenient to have some sort of weak opposition,” said a student participant in the 1999 protests and a former member of the group. “It makes the regime look more democratic.”Said another disillusioned veteran of the 1999 student uprising: “Everyone talks about radical change, but nobody wants to do anything about it, and they don't want it to come from America.…We need to bring together the student movement, the women's movement, the workers' movement and the ethnic minority movements and create a united front to face the regime's radical ideas.”When I asked this person about his contribution to the student movement, he told me he is working on a book. “I am using the U.S. student protests from the late 1960s to show the students that revolution and radicalism is a bust,” he said, adding that “lessons may come from America after all, but they will be for reform, not revolution.”The writer is a fellow in National Security at the John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard. She is currently at the International Center for Persian Studies, University of Tehran.
Larry Summers's experience says much about what Harvard—and any great university—should look for in a president.Summers was not forced out by a radical segment of the faculty of arts and sciences. He was not forced out because bold visions threatened a complacent faculty. Most faculty in arts and sciences are eager to reinvigorate undergraduate education, strengthen cutting-edge science, internationalize the university, develop the Allston campus, and encourage collaboration among the schools. Any president of Harvard at this time would have essentially the same goals.Achieving such goals requires raw intelligence, which Summers has in abundance. But more crucial to leadership than IQ is the ability to inspire others with your vision and to help them come to see it as their vision, too. You must understand the culture of an institution even as you try to change it. Business Week wrote: “Summers joins the ranks of recent leaders brought in to generate change in organizations only to misfire and fail, [such as] Carly Fiorina at Hewlett-Packard.”Giving orders goes only so far. As the late Richard Neustadt, America's premier student of the US presidency, put it: Presidential power is the power to persuade.During his presidency, Summers planned the Allston campus and rationalized the budget, but failed to make progress toward his central academic goals. He came in with much political capital, but frittered it away on battles he did not need to fight. He alienated even those—from all disciplinary and ideological backgrounds—most committed to his goals and to Harvard.Take one of Summers's highest priorities—reforming the undergraduate curriculum. Successful curricular reform requires that hundreds of instructors change their behavior in hundreds of classrooms that cannot be policed. The hard part about curricular reform is not finding the right answer, because there is no single right answer. The hard part is inspiring and persuading.Harvard's justly famed (though now outdated) Core Curriculum of the 1970s succeeded not because of its rationale or rules, but because the process of reform itself reinvigorated an entire generation of instructors who (for several decades) then took teaching more seriously. Most Harvard faculty agree that our undergraduate education needs change, perhaps even radical change. But to forge a consensus out of many creative but discordant ideas requires deft leadership. That was what Derek Bok brought to the task then. That is the quality Harvard should seek now in its next president.Bold statements and a forceful personality are not enough. Indeed, clumsily applied, boldness and forcefulness can lead to weakness. What was most dispiriting about Summers's final year to those who shared his values was that he relinquished the capacity to say no, even to bad ideas. “Superman is surrounded by kryptonite,” said one irrepressible colleague. “Now is the time to move.” Political correctness was not the root of the problem, and politically correct decisions could not solve it.One especially misguided idea is that deans and presidents should be chosen by faculty. Harvard is already unduly decentralized, and faculty-chosen executive leadership is a recipe for blandness. Larry Summers understood that perfectly well, but having squandered political capital through four arrogant years, he acquiesced in unwise limits on presidential discretion. Harvard's next leader must have sufficient emotional and social intelligence to preserve the ability to say no.Above all, the power to persuade depends on the capacity to maintain trust. Colleagues need to believe that leaders will not only act honorably but speak truthfully. Once a faculty comes to believe that their president is “less than truthful” (as a former dean reportedly said of this president), the basis for leadership of any kind has vanished.Harvard is a strong university. Its faculties, including its Faculty of Arts and Sciences, want bold change. Professors do not agree on exactly what the changes should be. That is the nature of a great faculty—the more creative, the more likely to disagree. But Harvard faculty have followed strong leaders in the past, and they will follow them in the future. What Harvard needs now is a boldly reformist leader, but one who actually knows how to make reform happen.
Robert D. Putnam is the Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University and a member of the Executive Committee of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.
From the conflicts that presaged the First World War to the aftershocks of the Cold War, the twentieth century was the bloodiest in human history. This was an age when multicultural communities were torn apart by the irregularities of economic boom and bust. It was also an age poisoned by an idea: the idea of irrevocable racial differences. Above all it was an age of struggle between decaying old empires and predatory new empire-states. Who won the war of the world? We tend to assume it was the West. Some even talk of the American century. But for Niall Ferguson the biggest upheaval of the twentieth century was the decline of Western dominance over Asia. Drawing on history, economics and evolutionary theory, The War of the World is a revolutionary new interpretation of the modern era.
"My first exposure to murder," the Nobel-winning economist Amartya Sen writes in Identity and Violence, "occurred when I was 11." It was 1944, a few years before the end of the British Raj and a period of widespread Hindu-Muslim riots. The victim was “a profusely bleeding unknown person suddenly stumbling through the gate to our garden, asking for help and a little water.” Rushed to the hospital by Sen's father, the man died there of his injuries. He was Kader Mia, a Muslim day laborer knifed by Hindus. He had been asked by his wife not to go into a hostile area of then-undivided Bengal. But he had to feed his starving family, and he paid with his life.To the young Sen, this event was not just traumatic but mystifying. How was it, Sen asks about that murderous year, that "the broad human beings of January were suddenly transformed into the ruthless Hindus and fierce Muslims of July"? And how was it that Kader Mia would be seen as having only one identity—that of being Muslim— by Hindus who were, like him, out in the unprotected open because they too were starving? "For a bewildered child," Sen remembers, "the violence of identity was extraordinarily hard to grasp." And, he confesses, "it is not particularly easy even for a still bewildered elderly adult."Sen's book argues for the reasonableness of that bewilderment. He takes aim at what he calls the "‘solitarist’ approach to human identity, which sees human beings as members of exactly one group." This view, he argues, is not just morally undesirable, but descriptively wrong. While "a Hutu laborer from Kigali may be pressured to see himself only as a Hutu and incited to kill Tutsis… he is not only a Hutu, but also a Kigalian, a Rwandan, an African, a laborer and a human being."The originality of this critique is that it eschews trite appeals to the common humanity of those in savage conflict. Instead, Sen invokes the myriad identities within each individual. Because all of us contain multitudes, we can choose among our identities, emphasizing those we share with others rather than those we do not. Sen acknowledges, as he must, that such choices will be limited by external circumstances. Still, to concede that identity choices are constrained is a far cry from the claim that identity is destiny.In a related vein, Sen criticizes the solitarist approach to civilizations. Influential texts like Samuel Huntington's Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the World Order take a drubbing for assuming monolithic Western and Eastern civilizations. With charming erudition, Sen demonstrates that things usually ascribed to one culture in fact often arose in another. Vindaloo, now seen as a quintessentially Indian dish, originally derived from chilies brought from Portugal, while the trigonometric sine function, assumed to be a European discovery, came from India. (An unequal exchange if ever there was one.)For all its urbanity, however, Identity and Violence neglects what others will take to be common sense. Hutus and Tutsis will not lay down arms because they are told they are Kigalians, laborers or human beings. Sunnis and Shiites will not be coaxed into a group hug by a reminder of the religion and cultural attributes they share. The strength of Sen's argument lies in its intuitive nature: "In our normal lives we see ourselves as members of a variety of groups." Its weakness lies in its failure to explain why, at critical junctures, we disown that knowledge. Is it because human cognition tends to trade in binaries? Is it because violence creates identity as much as identity creates violence? Is it because human beings fear the choices or solitude a more cosmopolitan outlook would force them to face? These and other possibilities go unexamined.To be sure, Sen's apparent naïveté seems of a piece with his characteristic optimism about the human condition. This foray into identity and culture will seem a new departure for a scholar best known for his contributions to economics. But in all his work Sen has insisted that human beings are not simple. As early as 1977, he assaulted the concept of homo economicus, the individual who acts only in his narrow self-interest. And the complications he stresses point in a hopeful direction, revealing the extent to which actual people are guided by the claims of others.In giving human complexity its due, Sen has always been a theorist of identity politics, even before the phrase became fashionable. The story of Kader Mia surfaces throughout his corpus as a seminal event of his childhood; "Identity and Violence" is simply the work in which he most directly confronts that memory and its implications. In doing so, he embodies his thesis, showing that one can be a Nobel winner, a secular saint and a writer who, for good and ill, retains a child's faith in our human natures.Amartya Sen is Lamont University Professor at Harvard University and a Faculty Associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.Kenji Yoshino, a professor at Yale Law School, is the author of Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights.
From the nineteenth through the mid-twentieth centuries, millions of American men and women participated in fraternal associations—self-selecting brotherhoods and sisterhoods that provided aid to members, enacted group rituals, and engaged in community service. Even more than whites did, African Americans embraced this type of association; indeed, fraternal lodges rivaled churches as centers of black community life in cities, towns, and rural areas alike. Using an unprecedented variety of secondary and primary sources—including old documents, pictures, and ribbon-badges found in eBay auctions—this book tells the story of the most visible African American fraternal associations.
The authors demonstrate how African American fraternal groups played key roles in the struggle for civil rights and racial integration. Between the 1890s and the 1930s, white legislatures passed laws to outlaw the use of important fraternal names and symbols by blacks. But blacks successfully fought back. Employing lawyers who in some cases went on to work for the NAACP, black fraternalists took their cases all the way to the Supreme Court, which eventually ruled in their favor. At the height of the modern Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s, they marched on Washington and supported the lawsuits through lobbying and demonstrations that finally led to legal equality. This unique book reveals a little-known chapter in the story of civic democracy and racial equality in America.
Can a country grow faster by saving more? We address this question both theoretically and empirically. In our model, growth results from innovations that allow local sectors to catch up with the frontier technology. In relatively poor countries, catching up with the frontier requires the involvement of a foreign investor, who is familiar with the frontier technology, together with effort on the part of a local bank, who can directly monitor local projects to which the technology must be adapted. In such a country, local saving matters for innovation, and therefore growth, because it allows the domestic bank to cofinance projects and thus to attract foreign investment. But in countries close to the frontier, local firms are familiar with the frontier technology, and therefore do not need to attract foreign investment to undertake an innovation project, so local saving does not matter for growth. In our empirical exploration we show that lagged savings is significantly associated with productivity growth for poor but not for rich countries. This effect operates entirely through TFP rather than through capital accumulation. Further, we show that savings is significantly associated with higher levels of FDI inflows and equipment imports and that the effect that these have on growth is significantly larger for poor countries than rich.
The conventional wisdom in political science is that for a democracy to be consolidated, all groups must have a chance to attain power. If they do not then they will subvert democracy and choose to fight for power. In this paper we show that this wisdom is, if not totally incorrect, seriously incomplete. This is so because although the probability of winning an election increases with the size of a group, so does the probability of winning a fight. Thus in a situation where all groups have a high chance of winning an election, they may also have a high chance of winning a fight. Indeed, in a natural model, we show that democracy may never be consolidated in such a situation. Rather, democracy may only be stable when one group is dominant. We provide a test of a key aspect of our model using data from La Violencia, a political conflict in Colombia during the years 1946-1950 between the Liberal and Conservative parties. Consistent with our results, and contrary to the conventional wisdom, we show that fighting between the parties was more intense in municipalities where the support of the parties was more evenly balanced.
PERHAPS THE biggest surprise about this week's election results, in which the terrorist group Hamas won a majority of seats in the Palestinian parliament, is that it was a surprise to us at all. There are two main reasons why.First, many in this country have fallen victim to the notion that if today's rogue states are bad neighbors, democratization will make them good neighbors. A central pillar of the current Bush administration's foreign policy is that dictators make bad neighbors. In other words, we can expect authoritarian governments to start wars and support terrorism more readily than democratic governments.When the current US administration first took office, the security concern of the day was “rogue states,” a euphemism for Afghanistan, North Korea, Iraq, and Iran. After Sept. 11, the threat of rogue states morphed into the terrorist threat, along with the conviction that because these states were led by dictators, they would be more susceptible to terrorism and they would eventually have “to be dealt with.”But apt as the characterization of these states might have been, and as troubling as they were to their respective neighbors, the corollary does not follow. It is not the case that democratic states necessarily make good neighbors on account of their form of government alone.Japan is a democracy, but China does not rest easy on that account, even though Japan has no formal military to speak of, and even though pacifism is a part of its constitution. Democracies, even traditional allies, often don't see eye to eye; and historically they are as likely to start wars as dictatorships.Second, most Americans buy into the romantic notion that “there are no bad people, only bad leaders.” By extension, giving power to the people must result in “good” policy. The trouble is, what is “good” depends on where you sit. If you live among the minority of states that are rich and getting richer, then war and violence are a bad idea: There is little to gain and everything to lose. If, however, you live among the majority of states that are poor and getting poorer, then war and violence seem a good idea: There is everything to gain and nothing to lose. Thus, as in Woodrow Wilson's day, exporting democracy is as useful for gaining domestic political support as it is destructive as foreign policy.Logic notwithstanding, we have a real-world example of what happens when the people of a poor Islamic state are offered democracy. In the early 1990s, Algeria's government held democratic elections to head off widespread dissent and riots. The Islamic Salvation Front—the first legal Islamic political party in North Africa—worked hard to win. When the Algerian people were given a choice (twice), they chose the theocracy (twice), and the government of Algeria was toppled by a military coup that repudiated the election results and imposed martial law.What can we learn from this?First, the United States and its allies have the power to bring their own foreign policies in line with their professed democratic values. It may be difficult, but the United States must stop supporting military dictatorships simply because they are “allies in the war against terror.” The United States must also support Israel by pressuring it to concede to a genuine Palestinian state, while at the same time guaranteeing Israel's security.Second, the more democratic Palestinians and Iraqis become, the less likely they are to support US strategic and economic interests. Israel is a strategic interest for the United States; but it is unlikely that given a choice, most people in the Middle East would accept Israel's right to exist. In other words, ideal election outcomes may not result in ideal foreign policy outcomes, from a US perspective.Countering the popular appeal of groups such as Hamas requires controlling habitat, not population. Killing terrorists can't stop the violence until and unless you destroy the habitat that produces them. That in turn demands serious effort at providing basic needs, such as food, shelter, clean water, education, and healthcare.Hamas has historically done much better at providing for the basic needs of Palestinian Arabs than the Palestinian Authority (Fatah). That's why Hamas won, and that's why, when seeking to export democracy, the United States and its allies must remain careful of what they wish for.
Monica Duffy Toft is an associate professor at the Kennedy School of Government and assistant director of the John M. Olin Institute of Strategic Studies at Harvard University.
Why do countries delay stabilizations of large and increasing budget deficits and inflation? And what explains the timing of reforms? We use the war of attrition model as a guidance for our empirical study on a vast sample of countries. We find that stabilizations are more likely to occur when time of crisis occur, at the beginning of term of office of a new government, in countries with "strong" governments, (i.e. presidential systems and unified governments with a large majority of the party in office), and when the executive faces less constraints. The role of external inducements like IMF programs has at best a weak effect, but problems of reverse causality are possible.
We examine the empirical role of different explanations for the lack of flows of capital from rich to poor countries–the "Lucas Paradox." The theoretical explanations include differences in fundamentals across countries and capital market imperfections. We show that during 1970–2000 low institutional quality is the leading explanation for the lack of capital flows. For example, improving Peru?s institutional quality to Australia?s level, implies a quadrupling of foreign investment. Recent studies emphasize the role of institutions for achieving higher levels of income but remain silent on the specific mechanisms. Our results indicate that foreign investment might be a channel through which institutions affect long–run development.
Working Paper 06–04, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, 2006. Download PDF
The belief that outbreaks of politicized religion
are temporary detours on the road to secularization
was plausible in 1976, 1986, or even 1996.
Today, the argument is untenable. As a framework
for explaining and predicting the course of
global politics, secularism is increasingly unsound.
God is winning in global politics. And modernization,
democratization, and globalization have
only made him stronger.
Fiscal policy is procyclical in many countries, and especially in developing ones. We explain this policy failure with a political agency problem. Procyclicality is driven by voters who seek to "starve the Leviathan" to reduce political rents. Voters observe the state of the economy but not the rents appropriated by corrupt governments. When they observe a boom, voters optimally demand more public goods or fewer taxes, and this induces a procyclical bias in fiscal policy. The empirical evidence is consistent with this explanation: procyclicality of fiscal policy is more pronounced in more corrupt democracies.
Why were capital controls orthodox in 1944, but heretical in 1997? The scholarly
literature, following the conventional wisdom, focuses on the role of the
United States in promoting capital liberalization. Although the United States
encouraged capital liberalization bilaterally, US policy makers never embraced
multilateral rules that codified the norm of capital mobility. Rather,
European policy makers wrote the most important rules in favour of the
free movement of capital. Paradoxically, French policy makers in particular
played decisive roles. For the debates that mattered most—in the EU,
OECD, and IMF—the United States was, respectively, irrelevant, inconsequential
and indifferent. Europe did not capitulate to global capital. Rather,
French and other European policy makers created today’s liberal international
financial regime. French and European policy makers have promoted
a rule-based, "managed" globalization of finance, whereas US policy makers
have tended to embrace an ad hoc globalization based on the accumulation
of bilateral bargains. Once liberal rules were codified in the EU and OECD,
they constituted the policy practices of "European" and "developed"’ states,
for which capital controls are no longer considered a legitimate policy tool.
During the middle of the 1990s, the IMF debated new, universal rules in
favour of capital freedom, but the proposal was defeated, primarily by the
US Congress, after the financial crises of 1997–98. By then the vast majority
of the world’s capital flows were already governed by the liberal rules of the
EU and OECD.
The decisive victory of Mahmoud Abbas in the Palestinian elections creates a new opportunity for resuming Israeli-Palestinian
negotiations toward a mutually beneficial two-state solution. The fact that Fatah, the mainstream Palestinian party, united in
support of Abbas's candidacy and that he won the election with an overwhelming majority gives him the legitimacy that he lacked
during his earlier brief term as prime minister and a mandate to enter into peace negotiations.
The opportunity created by the outcome of the Palestinian elections will almost certainly be lost, however, unless the Israeli
government and relevant third parties—particularly the US government—are able to respond to it actively and creatively.
To do so, in turn, requires an understanding of the meaning of Abbas's victory and the nature of the mandate it has given him.
To begin with, the outcome of the vote must be understood as a demonstration of the political maturity of the Palestinian electorate
and its eagerness to end the violence and return to the negotiating table. Even though Abbas is not a charismatic leader and has only
a limited popular base, a large majority voted for him because they see him as most capable of reviving the negotiating process and
undertaking internal reforms.
Abbas has been clear in his rejection of violence as a means of achieving Palestinian national goals. But his goals are the same as
those that have been proclaimed by Arafat and the Fatah leadership: establishment of an independent, viable Palestinian state in the
West Bank and Gaza alongside and in peaceful coexistence with Israel; borders along the 1967 lines, with negotiated minor adjustments
based on a 1:1 exchange of territories; Jerusalem as a shared city containing the capitals of both states; and a resolution of the
Palestinian refugee problem that addresses the human needs and sense of justice of the refugee population without undermining the
character of Israel as a majority-Jewish state. Abbas cannot accept less than that without losing the legitimacy the election has
conferred on him and the mandate to negotiate a peaceful solution.
The Israeli and US response to the Palestinian elections must meet several requirements if the opportunities presented by
Abbas's strong showing are to fulfill their promise.
First, negotiation of a final peace agreement must be resumed rapidly. Abbas's legitimacy would be undermined if negotiations
were postponed until after the disengagement planned by Israel's prime minister, Ariel Sharon. Moreover, resumption of
negotiations must not be based on conditions that Abbas cannot possibly meet in the short term, among them a total
cessation of Palestinian acts of violence or a major of overhaul of Palestinian institutions. Such conditions would
hand veto power to those elements on both sides that seek to block peace negotiations.
Second, negotiations at this stage need to begin with a commitment by both sides to the end point that these negotiations are designed to achieve.
The general outline of an agreement based on a historic compromise in terms of a two-state solution are well known.
What has been lost in recent years is the mutual trust required to work out the details.
Restoring this trust by committing to the end point will strengthen the majorities in the two populations that favor a negotiated
agreement but do not believe they have a partner on the other side.
Third, Israel and the United States must avoid any implication that Abbas is “their man,” replacing the unacceptable Arafat.
Such an image can only undermine Abbas's legitimacy among Palestinians. The fact is that he was chosen by Palestinians as
Arafat's successor. A major source of his legitimacy, in fact, is his close, longtime association with Arafat. Moreover,
it was Arafat more than anyone else who promoted the idea of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel and helped
legitimate it, although in the end his tactics presented an obstacle to negotiations. Abbas's election has give him
legitimacy to pursue these negotiation goals but to do so by more constructive means.
Finally, Israel—with strong urging by the United States—must take steps on the ground that would strengthen Abbas's
legitimacy by demonstrating that he is able to achieve both visible improvements in Palestinians' daily lives and movement
toward ending the occupation. Such steps would include release of Palestinian political prisoners, an increase in Palestinian
freedom of movement, a decrease in various forms of violence toward Palestinian people and property, and a halt in the settlement process.
The paper is concerned with two questions related to post-communist economic transformation. The first aims at establishing whether national transformation trajectories follow a general pattern of convergence or divergence. To address this question an index of aggregate transition factor scores is constructed for the period 1989–2002 covering 27 post–communist countries. The main finding is that countries cluster around two groups of high–pace and low–pace reformers. Thus, a pattern of inter–group divergence and intra-group convergence emerges over time. The second question aims at explaining the observed pattern: why is it that the two groups follow different collective trajectories? Should the underlying causes be sought at the domestic or the international level? Relying on the empirical observation that high–pace reforming countries were also candidates for EU membership, the paper explores the latter view of international determinants and the decisive impact of the conditioning of the transformation process through early EU policies.
Georgiadis, George G. "Adapting by Expectation: Early EU Policies in the CEE Region and the Consolidation of the Two 'Orbits' of Post-communist Economic Transformation." Working Paper 05-02, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, March 2005.Download PDF
Electing a Parliament under the new permanent Constitution was a significant achievement for the Iraqi people, who once again faced down terrorist violence and political intimidation to demonstrate their desire for a democratic future. For better or worse, in the election's aftermath, the United States will almost certainly begin to withdraw its military from Iraq in 2006. But that does not mean that the time has come to disengage. On the contrary, a broader, more diverse engagement with Iraqi society is needed to help Iraqis develop the institutions, practices and values essential to real and enduring democracy.As President Bush emphasized in his second inaugural address, change of this sort—from tyranny to democracy—is a generational challenge. Our strategy in Iraq must be generational as well. We should reorient our efforts and reallocate some of our resources as our military presence scales down. The needs of Iraqi civic institutions, from the news media and universities to professional associations and nongovernmental organizations, are both vast and urgent. While the National Endowment for Democracy, the United States Agency for International Development and others have done important work to bolster such groups, overall, American efforts have so far been inadequate.Higher education is a case in point. In a country whose median age is about 19.5 years, universities play a crucial role in shaping public opinion and producing future leaders. Today's Iraqi political parties, like the Baath party before them, understand this—so much so that Iraq's universities have become battlegrounds, with dozens of students and educators killed. Iraq's elite tends to emerge from the country's most competitive academic programs, including those for medicine, engineering and science. That the first two prime ministers of postwar Iraq, Ayad Allawi and Ibrahim al-Jafaari, were trained as doctors is no accident.But after decades of neglect, brain drain and sanctions, Iraq's universities and colleges are unable to train sufficient numbers of professors or schoolteachers to educate the next generation. Today, Iraq's 20 public universities and more than 40 technical colleges and institutes struggle to educate more than 250,000 students annually. Hundreds of millions of dollars are needed to build the system back up to where it was before Saddam Hussein took power; billions will be needed to meet today's regional standard, set by countries like Qatar.How can we help build a better Iraq unless we focus on its vast population of young people, whose views of their country and its politics have yet to harden into dogma? But despite higher education's strategic importance, American support for it has been paltry. From 2003 to 2005, a United States Agency for International Development program allocated $20 million to building partnerships between American and Iraqi universities. That program ended without a successor; no agency funds are allocated for Iraqi higher education for 2006. The American Embassy in Baghdad backed the founding of an American University in Iraq in Sulaimaniya, but future support is uncertain.The State Department offers Fulbright scholarships to about 30 Iraqis annually to study at universities in the United States. But these concentrate on the humanities and social sciences, rather than the scientific and technical disciplines that attract Iraq's best and brightest. With few exceptions, American educational institutions have not tried to fill this gap.The costs being equal, which is the better investment in Iraq's future: some 250 annual scholarships for future Iraqi leaders to study in the United States, or another fighter jet? We can greatly expand our efforts to reach out to Iraqi elites across the board, from ministry technocrats to journalists to doctors. Conferences and seminars, often in the region, have begun to reconnect Iraqis to the outside world. We can find other ways to bypass the current security situation by dramatically increasing our investment in communications technology like the Internet (including access to seemingly mundane but critical resources, like online journal databases) and video conferencing.We should expand "train and equip" programs for Iraqi editors, journalists, and publishers. We should also increase financing for the National Endowment for Democracy, the United States Institute of Peace and other organizations that are helping Iraqis build and sustain civic institutions. Such investments cannot be postponed and must not be considered merely "supplemental." We need to lock them into our budgets today.But the United States government should not carry the load alone. Americans of all types—including educators, management consultants and municipal officials—can contribute and need to step forward. More organizations should follow the lead of Columbia University's Center for International Conflict Resolution, which works with civic leaders in regions of Iraq that are relatively peaceful. American trade unions, professional associations, educational institutions, journalists, students, human rights activists, scientists and business executives should establish ties with their Iraqi counterparts.So far, many Americans who opposed the war have not extended a helping hand to the Iraqi people in its aftermath. Others sit on the fence. With elections under a new Constitution, the time has come to focus on Iraq's future and put aside the politics of the past.A strategy that emphasizes building Iraqi civil society may clear the way for bipartisan cooperation, as well as for more international participation. To be sure, if the United States does not do the heavy lifting, the lifting will not get done. Many partners have already paid heavily for their engagement in Iraq. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is virtually tapped out in Afghanistan. Germany, France and others face domestic challenges. Nonetheless, persuading the Germans, for example, to train 100 Iraqis as vocational educators would be infinitely easier than trying to convince them to put one military trainer on the ground.To many ears, it sounds unrealistic, even idealistic, to say that we should begin concentrating our efforts on improving Iraq's civic life at its grassroots. But such a strategy is a realistic response to the challenges we and our Iraqi allies face, as well as a hedge against possible reversals.Those in office under the new Constitution will almost certainly seek to advance their own interests—personal, party, sectarian, ethnic, tribal—just as their predecessors in the transitional government did. Some tactics will be savage. Powerful militias will continue to stoke fear. Islamists will try to silence secular voices. Sunni extremists will mount attacks, and the attacks will provoke retaliation. Having seen the evidence of death squads and new torture chambers, we should be under no illusions about the dark possibilities of the coming era. Some leaders will try to make their power permanent. Should we expect otherwise, where the political stakes are still often life and death?While we work with the party leaders of today, a new generation will determine what kind of country Iraq becomes. The forces we hope prevail should be the Shakespeare scholar turned newspaper editor, the architect leading an organization devoted to spreading Internet connections among students, and the independent candidate for Parliament advised by the National Democratic Institute. Promoting their success is not an "extra," but is essential to long-term strategic success.We must not underestimate the tenacity of the Iraqi people or lose sight of the lessons of history. Photocopiers, after all, became samizdat weapons against Soviet tyranny. American unions assisted their brethren behind the Iron Curtain in becoming independent forces for change. A once jailed playwright eventually led the Czech Republic. Serbian youth groups galvanized the peaceful uprising that toppled Slobodan Milosevic. Videos of that success inspired activists in Ukraine and elsewhere. And leaders of Georgia's Rose Revolution were once Muskie fellows in the United States.Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has correctly emphasized that the political transition process in Iraq will not be a "straight line." It will be long, difficult, and bloody. It will be uncertain. There will be more setbacks, even if the insurgency is checked. But our current predicament in Iraq centers on the question not of when to withdraw, but of how to broaden and deepen our engagement.
The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) was created in 1930 primarily to administer the Young Plan, including reparations loan repayments from Germany. But the first objective of the BIS, as defined in its statutes, is to "promote the cooperation of central banks…"—to provide a place of meeting for central bankers to exchange information, discuss common problems, agree on shared aims, set common standards, and possibly even provide mutual support. This objective must be viewed against the background of the 1920s, when there had been episodic, typically bilateral cooperation among central banks. Indeed episodes of such cooperation can be found in the pre–1914 period, for example a gold loan by the Bank of France to the Bank of England during the Baring Crisis of 1890, or discounting of English bills by the Bank of France in 1906, 1907, 1909, and 1910, thereby relieving pressure on the gold reserves of the Bank of England. Indeed, examples can be found from even earlier, including the Latin and Scandinavian currency unions.
Just like Europe in the late 19th century, east Asia is experiencing a period of extraordinary industrialisation, economic growth and arms build-up. Warships have been deployed to mark positions on territorial disputes, chauvinism and national stereotyping abound and crucial countries fail to deal adequately with—or learn from—the past. In Europe such developments ended in disaster. Is Asia repeating Europe's mistakes?Europe overcame its war-prone past through the process of community building and today has established internal peace by working in unison towards two goals. The first was economic integration, an approach that Asia has emulated with extraordinary success, resulting in unprecedented intra-regional trade, transnational investment and networks of multinational production. But this economic interdependence is no guarantee against disastrous escalation of conflicts. Given the region's present economic interdependence, war in Asia would be even more disruptive and costly than it was in 20th century Europe. Will that prevent governments from unleashing a military conflict? Remember that the first world war broke out amid Europe's most advanced international trade integration and that, as Europeans know all too well, chauvinism is capable of drowning all rationality.Europeans put their relations on a radically different footing by basing their policies on three premises: first, every nation must honestly and credibly face its wrongdoings and failures of the past; second, a clear distinction must be made between the actual guilty parties and the nations they came from; and, third, between the guilt of the perpetrators, now mostly dead, and the surviving generation who are responsible for preventing a repetition. It is perhaps understandable that facing historical facts is painful for some, but it is hard to understand why the honour and memory of people long dead is more important than the future of the living and their chance to live in peace and prosperityThe reconciliation between France and Germany and later between Germany and Poland paved the way for others to follow. Much was done jointly, for example by establishing common commissions to review schoolbooks, organising youth exchanges, or promoting city partnerships. Demonstrative gestures and credible acts of asking for forgiveness were crucial. In this respect China, Japan and Korea should play a role similar to that of France, Germany and PolandWhat mattered particularly in Europe and what is missing in Asia now is a transnational consensus among governments and societal elites to combat nationalism as it existed in Europe. On the contrary, nationalist tendencies are being fostered by governments. In a mistaken belief in the short-term gains in such policy, they neglect the long-term cost of conflict they are likely to induce. Europeans owe their success partly to governments choosing to ignore extremist voices in partner countries as expressions of minorities that should not derail co-operation and reconciliation.Moreover, as Europe has shown, the process of reconciliation and political co-operation is not a one-way street. Positive gestures should be acknowledged and rewarded by the other side. On the 60th anniversary of the end of the second world war, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan did not visit Yasukuni Shrine, which commemorates Japan's war-dead. Instead, by attending a secular ceremony with Emperor Akihito while apologising to Japan's wartime victims, he did exactly what many Asians had hoped and asked for. But this gesture will only work if the outstretched hand is seized and neighbours such as China and South Korea react positively.Using the leeway gained from his recent poll victory, Mr Koizumi could now make a courageous step in this direction. Though his visit to Yasukuni Shrine this week took place in a semi-official manner, it has regrettably pointed in the opposite direction and unleashed the predictable cycle of accusations and resentment. Asia's achievements towards economic integration and interdependence are now threatened by rising political tensions and nationalism in the region. Acts of reconciliation and co-operation by governments and elites are therefore urgently necessary to strengthen community building. As Asia becomes increasingly important to global peace and the international economy, the world can only hope for such a development.
Sven Beckert has been on a four-year international history hunt, tracking the trail of cotton through dusty archives from India to Argentina to see what it can tell him about one of globalization's first flowerings.Beckert, a professor of history with an expertise in 19th century America, is hoping to understand the roots of the global economic ties that bind the world today by looking at one of the first truly global products."Once upon a time, it was the most important agricultural product, the most important export, and the most important industry," Beckert said. "This is a history of globalization through the lens of one commodity."Cotton is a particularly apt product to focus on because it was largely produced in Asia until the 19th century, Beckert said. During the 1800s, however, cotton production, processing, and manufacturing moved west into the United States and Europe, until Asia was largely marginalized in the cotton world.This was part of a split between East and West that led to the industrialized West gaining the vast economic power that is still felt around the globe today."I'm interested in how the world took the shape it did in the 19th century," Beckert said.Beckert plans to publish his research in a book, The Empire of Cotton: A Global History, though he is still completing the writing.The project on cotton grew out of Beckert's ongoing desire to place American history in an international setting. As he studied United States history, he said he became dissatisfied with accounts that were too focused within the country's borders and didn't give the international context within which U.S. events took place.Perhaps it is Beckert's own international background that fed that dissatisfaction. Born in Germany, Beckert said he's been fascinated by history for as long as he can remember. He was suspicious, however, of the accounts of the World War II era and of the rise of German fascism that he heard in school. So he set about researching what happened on his own."I just didn't trust my history teachers," Beckert said. "On my own, I read a lot about history because I wanted to be able to argue with them."Beckert was 17 when he wrote his first book on history, an examination of German workers' daily lives during World War II. When he went to the University of Hamburg, from which he received his bachelor's degree in 1987, he became interested in the history of capitalism. After graduating from Hamburg, he came to the United States, drawn by this nation's central role in the history of capitalism. He did graduate work at Columbia University and received his doctorate in history in 1995.Beckert served as the Harvard-Newcomen Fellow in Business History at Harvard Business School from 1995 to 1996 and became an assistant professor in the History Department in 1996. He was named Dunwalke Associate Professor in 2000 and professor of history in 2003.In addition to his work on cotton, Beckert is just beginning a book on the Industrial Revolution that he describes as "cotton writ large." He's also collaborating with several history professors on a new American history textbook that puts U.S. events within their international context.Beckert said he's largely done with the research on The Empire of Cotton and about half done with writing. Though he remains excited about the project, he acknowledges that the research has been difficult. Because cotton has been such a global commodity, he has had to travel around the world to find reports, letters, and other primary documents.He tells of dusty archives in India—an early center for cotton production—and the patience required to examine documents not available elsewhere."You just have to go with the flow," Becket said. "If you get impatient in an Indian archive, you're going to get nowhere."Beckert was in the archives of an Argentinian bank during the economic crisis of 2001. As he read a merchant's letters and understood more about 19th century economic history, 21st century economic history unfolded outside. He said every half-hour or so protesters would pass by and the heavy metal gate of the bank would be lowered, to be raised again when they passed.Research sometimes took Beckert in unexpected directions. He found himself learning about the West African nation of Togo after finding out that the German government, concerned about its reliance on U.S. cotton, began cotton production there in the early 20th century. Beckert traced that story, gathering enough information for both the book and for an article in the Journal of American History in September."This was an amazing story that meant I was suddenly writing about Togo," Beckert said. "It's never boring. Every day there's something new to learn."
Sven Beckert is a professor of history and a faculty associate of the Weatherhead Center.