Domínguez, Jorge I, and Juan Enriquez. 2008. “What about austerity?”. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Within the billions of sentences about the financial bailout there is one word notably absent, austerity. All talk is of payments, supports, subsidies, incurring more debt, stimulus packages. The thesis seems to be: If only we spend more the party can go on. True, only if the financial meltdown is a temporary mismatch and dislocation in housing and credit markets. But suppose there is something fundamentally wrong with the US economy. Then spending more will not fix it. Getting the diagnosis right means getting the treatment right. It may save us a trillion or two.

The subprime collapse is one symptom of years of little regulation, under-taxing, overspending, and massive debt. One way to understand what is happening in the United States is to look at what occurred time and again in Latin America and Asia, hotbeds of financial and banking crises. What we are living through happened time and again in Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico, as well as Korea and Thailand.

If there is too much debt, people lose confidence in the banks, then credit markets, currency, and government.

For more than a decade, the international financial cop, the International Monetary Fund, forecast a hurricane was heading toward US shores. As did many heads of the treasury and the Fed. It is, to paraphrase a great writer, a chronicle of an agony foretold. There are five basic drivers of these crises, all based on excess: high income concentration, too much debt, too much reliance on foreign money, not enough tax revenue, and reckless government spending. Time after time governments believe they are different. They are bombarded by warnings but ignore, postpone, spend even more, and crash.

Over past decades, most US wages have fared poorly. Despite stagnant wages, consumer spending and debt increased, fueled by cheap credit. Companies also went on a debt binge. Careless deregulation allowed financial cowboys to run the system. Responsible CEOs who kept some cash, maintained moderate debt, invested for the long term, got pink slips. Financial chop shops did leveraged buyouts using a company's own cash and credit. To survive, companies piled on debt.

Many politicians decided reelection depended on cutting taxes and offering more benefits. Increase Medicare, postpone Social Security reform, hire more bureaucrats, and pay for a two-front war. Debt grew to pay for this party. These were not true tax cuts, just postponed debt; now we owe more and the bill has come due with interest.

Complicating this crisis is US economic hegemony. There were few places to park a lot of money. Despite the euro, European policies on debts and deficits are not much to brag about. So foreigners have gorged on US debt. The United States continues importing more than it exports. Middle Easterners and Asians who save and invest bought dollars for decades, but some of this money is now fleeing. The dollar has dropped sharply. Gold and oil have skyrocketed. In financial crises, huge pools of capital cross borders very quickly; a few can make a great deal of money shorting the country's currency.

The United States requires a massive restructuring to address its debt, cutting back on its borrowing, spending, and wars. The bailout package is essential to keep the credit markets open. But absent sentences that include the word austerity all the bailout will accomplish is a temporary postponement. Bailout and stimulus are a stopgap.

A solution requires the country to begin to spend what it earns, reduce its mountainous debt, and address massive liabilities, restructure Social Security, pension deficits, military, and Medicare. No wonder politicians would rather spend more of your money now rather than address these problems. Because we have been spending 5 to 7 percent more each year than we earn, a forced restructuring, triggered by a currency collapse, would have the same effect on wages and purchasing power that the housing collapse had on housing prices. So let's learn from our Latin and Asian friends and act before it is too late.

Juan Enriquez, managing director of Excel Medical Ventures, is author of "The Untied States of America: Polarization, Fracturing, and Our Future." Jorge Dominguez is vice provost for international affairs and a professor of Mexican and Latin American Politics and Economics at Harvard University.

Meierhenrich, Jens. 2008. The Legacies of Law. Cambridge University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Focusing on South Africa during the period 1650–2000, this highly original book examines the role of law in making democracy work in changing societies. The Legacies of Law sheds light on the neglected relationship between path dependence and the law. Meierhenrich argues that legal norms and institutions, even illiberal ones, have an important—and hitherto undertheorized—structuring effect on democratic outcomes. Under certain conditions, law appears to reduce uncertainty in democratization by invoking common cultural backgrounds and experiences. In instances where interacting adversaries share qua law reasonably convergent mental models, transitions from authoritarian rule are shown to be less intractable. Meierhenrich’s innovative longitudinal analysis of the evolution of law—and its effects—in South Africa during the period 1650–2000, compared with a short study of Chile from 1830–1990, shows how, and when, legal norms and institutions serve as historical causes to both democratic and nondemocratic rule.
Varshney, Ashutosh. 2008. “Assault on India’s fabled city of dreams”. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Terror has rocked India before but never have terrorists been so audacious. South Mumbai is India’s economic heart. This attack is "India’s 9/11".

Mumbai is no routine urban agglomeration. It is a fabled city, where millions of Indians, migrating from poor hinterlands, seek a living; where rags-to-riches stories are not uncommon; where vast business deals are struck. It is where dreams are manufactured by a film industry that gives countless Indians relief from the struggles of life. Millions identify with the city.

Mumbai is a paradox. It has areas of appalling squalor but is India’s city of hope. It is in south Mumbai that the Tatas honed world-class business skills, Zubin Mehta learnt how to conduct Beethoven’s Fifth and Salman Rushdie understood how to turn the drama of everyday life into novels.

By targeting south Mumbai, the terrorists have not only attacked the economic symbol of a rising India but also its most globalised quarters.

A big hypothesis beckons: India is a highly unequal democracy in a bad neighbourhood, and as long as its democracy, inequalities and regional misfortunes remain unreformed, it will be vulnerable to terrorism.

Consider how Indian democracy has addressed terrorism. India’s politicians have asked: are terrorists simply terrorists, or are they Muslim or Hindu terrorists?

This question is tied up with electoral politics. Muslims comprise about 13 per cent of India’s population. Given how they are geographically distributed, they form a crucial electoral segment of at least a quarter of India’s parliamentary seats.

Seeking Hindu votes, some politicians have been quick to equate terror with Islam. Others, especially pro-Muslim political parties, focus on the unfair treatment of Muslims by the police rather than the fight to eliminate terror.

Recently Indian democracy has been treated to the obverse of "Muslim terror". Prima facie evidence and intelligence suggest the rise of Hindu networks practising terror against Muslims. In India’s democracy, terror has become identified not as an evil but as an outgrowth of the grievances of Muslims or Hindus, or as a sign of whether the Indian state is unfair to Muslims or Hindus. That is a recipe for further disasters.

Inequalities are the second part of the problem. The Indian economy has been booming, but while some business leaders, film stars and sports icons are Muslim, Muslims mostly come from the poorest, least educated and most poorly skilled communities.

Nowhere is this contradiction more evident than in Mumbai. It has some of the richest Indian Muslims but there is a huge Muslim underclass and a connection between Mumbai’s underworld and its poor Muslims has been noted. Muslim gangs are among the most powerful players in Mumbai’s organised crime. To many, crime appears to offer greater and easier rewards than a dogged pursuit of regular employment.

Finally, Indian democracy functions in a region, whose failings are second only to the Middle East’s. Recent works by Pakistani scholars make it clear that the state in Pakistan has long been fractured between agencies that support terrorism and those that seek to control it.

India has its troubles in Kashmir and the north-east, but these conflicts have never reduced the Indian state to a shambles. Alone in south Asia, India has had sufficient institutional strength to hold regular elections.

India has to ask how long it can continue to be institutionally strong if the neighbourhood is so violent. Its borders are porous and the prospect of maritime terrorism, raised by the Mumbai carnage, makes them more so. Foreign policy and national security are increasingly tied up with India’s political health, with potential consequences for India’s economic resilience.

What can be done? How to include India’s Muslims in the economic mainstream is key. India’s political parties need to learn that terrorism cannot be seen as a vote-winner. It is an evil and a security threat. If political parties link terrorism with Muslims or Hindus, they will only bring greater catastrophe closer. Finally, India must vigorously cultivate peace with Pakistan. Luckily, a government today exists in Pakistan that has made the most resolute gestures towards peace in decades. President Asif Ali Zardari has opened up a unique opportunity for regional peace. After Mumbai, India needs to respond.

Varshney, Ashutosh. 2008. “Why It Won’t Happen: The improbability of an Indian Obama”. Publisher's VersionAbstract

On January 20, when Barack Obama is formally inaugurated as president, the US will have a tryst with destiny. As famously defined by Jawaharlal Nehru, a national tryst with destiny is “a moment...when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance”.

Scholars of nationalism agree that the US was founded upon an ideology, not ethnicity or race. The ideology was contained in the Declaration of Independence of 1776. “We hold these truths to be self-evident”, it said, “that all men are created equal”. Europe, the Old World, was horribly tied up in feudal hierarchies. The New World would have political and social equality at its core. As a corollary, rising from below became the socalled American dream. In reality, however, the US has not fully lived up to this ideal. Indeed, the creed of political equality came entwined with a founding ambiguity. The founders did not abolish slavery, an institution diametrically opposed to equality.

This original ambiguity has haunted the US. The election of Obama as president liberates America from its basic contradiction. It is a shining moment in the historical journey of American nationhood and a landmark moment for world history. No society has yet elected someone from its deepest subaltern trenches to the highest office of the nation. Obama is not a slave’s descendant, but he is African-American. It should be no surprise that an international debate about whether other nations can produce an Obama has begun. The debate in India, too, has been vigorous. Can Mayawati become India’s Obama? Can a Muslim be elected India’s prime minister?

A Muslim PM would, indeed, be a celebratory landmark for Indian secularism, but that is not an exact comparison. No community of India has suffered more than the nation’s Dalits. Muslims have historically had a dualistic structure: a ruling class and an aristocracy on one side and a vast mass of poor on the other side. In significant ways, that dualism continues to this day: the Azim Premjis and Shah Rukh Khans on the one hand, and the teeming millions on the other. In contrast, no film and sports stars or business leaders have come from the Dalit community. Though not enslaved, at least in modern times, Dalits, much like the African-Americans, have been segregated, stamped upon, and treated shabbily. India also has a founding ambiguity. Our Constitution abolished untouchability, but it is still widely practised. A Dalit PM would constitute a true parallel to the election of Obama.

Can India produce an Obama? Three great differences between India and the US make it unlikely. First, party establishments cannot easily be challenged until there are open intra-party elections for the leadership of political parties. American elections start with the primaries, allowing anyone in a political party to stake a claim to leadership. Lacking internal elections, India’s parties today are on the whole family properties. The partial exceptions are the BJP and CPM. But the BJP cannot easily have a leader not approved by the RSS. And the CPM is ruled by an unelected politburo.

The Congress was historically based on internal elections, but with the exception of a feeble attempt in the 1990s, internal elections, suspended by Indira Gandhi in 1973, have not been restored. The institutional decay of India’s political parties means that rank outsiders, like Mayawati, tend to create new political parties, but it is well known that it is much harder to create a new nationwide political organisation than use an existing one. The competition between political parties in India is remarkably vigorous, but competition inside is its exact opposite.

Second, the US has a presidential system, India a parliamentary one. Since a US president is elected by the whole nation, a presidential system creates a national political arena. Every presidential candidate has to think of how to lead the nation. In a parliamentary system, the electorate votes for an MP, but there is no national election for the PM. Only when a parliamentary system has two (or three) nationwide parties, as in the UK, do political leaders tend to compete the way American presidential candidates do. India does not have a two-party system.

Third, to mobilise citizens for vote, one has to speak in a language that the citizens can understand. Political campaigns take place in a linguistic register. Until India becomes more or less fully literate and also bilingual, India’s primary political arenas will be linguistically diverse provincial units. As a result, state-level Obamas will emerge, but national-level Obamas will be extremely hard to come by. Mayawati is at best a provincial Obama, with one major difference. Obama never ran a campaign of bitterness and anger; he subscribed to post-racial politics. In contrast, before the current Brahmin-Dalit brotherhood phase began, Mayawati conflated the politics of dignity with the politics of revenge.

Only movement politics, aimed at putting the various communities together, can tear down India’s institutional constraints. The freedom movement was the last great movement that built unity in India. It produced impressive national political leaders. The JP movement in the 1970s presented an alternative version of national unity, but it could not really take off. The Advani-led rath yatra was also one of the biggest movements of 20th century India. But it did not unite; it only divided. Until such time as India’s political parties become more internally democratic, a national level two-party system emerges, or strong movements of national unity come to the scene, India’s national leaders will continue to come from party establishments, not from the lower reaches of society.

Ferguson, Niall. 2008. The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World. The Penguin Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Niall Ferguson follows the money to tell the human story behind the evolution of finance, from its origins in ancient Mesopotamia to the latest upheavals on what he calls Planet Finance.

Bread, cash, dosh, dough, loot, lucre, moolah, readies, the wherewithal: Call it what you like, it matters. To Christians, love of it is the root of all evil. To generals, it’s the sinews of war. To revolutionaries, it’s the chains of labor. But in The Ascent of Money, Niall Ferguson shows that finance is in fact the foundation of human progress. What’s more, he reveals financial history as the essential backstory behind all history.

Through Ferguson's expert lens familiar historical landmarks appear in a new and sharper financial focus. Suddenly, the civilization of the Renaissance looks very different: a boom in the market for art and architecture made possible when Italian bankers adopted Arabic mathematics. The rise of the Dutch republic is reinterpreted as the triumph of the world’s first modern bond market over insolvent Habsburg absolutism. And the origins of the French Revolution are traced back to a stock market bubble caused by a convicted Scot murderer.

With the clarity and verve for which he is known, Ferguson elucidates key financial institutions and concepts by showing where they came from. What is money? What do banks do? What’s the difference between a stock and a bond? Why buy insurance or real estate? And what exactly does a hedge fund do?

This is history for the present. Ferguson travels to post-Katrina New Orleans to ask why the free market can’t provide adequate protection against catastrophe. He delves into the origins of the subprime mortgage crisis.

Perhaps most important, The Ascent of Money documents how a new financial revolution is propelling the world’s biggest countries, India and China, from poverty to wealth in the space of a single generation—an economic transformation unprecedented in human history.

Yet the central lesson of the financial history is that sooner or later every bubble bursts—sooner or later the bearish sellers outnumber the bullish buyers, sooner or later greed flips into fear. And that’s why, whether you’re scraping by or rolling in it, there’s never been a better time to understand the ascent of money.

The "Ascent of Money," a two-hour documentary based on the newly-released book, premiered on Tuesday, January 13 on PBS. The film was written and presented by the bestselling author, economist, historian, and Harvard professor Niall Ferguson. To watch the full program, go to PBS online.
Ferguson, Niall. 2008. “Team 'Chimerica'”. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Future historians, I suspect, will look back on Saturday's anticlimactic G-20 gathering in Washington less as Bretton Woods 2.0 and more as a rerun of the London Economic Conference of 1933. Back then, representatives of 66 nations completely failed to agree on a concerted international response to the Great Depression. The fault lay mainly with the newly elected U.S. president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who vetoed European proposals for currency stabilization.

This time around, it wasn't the newly elected Democrat but the outgoing Republican who wielded the veto. Even before his counterparts reached Washington, President Bush made it clear that recent events had done nothing to diminish his faith in free markets and minimalist regulation. Over the weekend, it was the United States that resisted European calls for a new international regulatory body, opposed significant redefinition of the International Monetary Fund's role and showed no interest in the idea of a global stimulus package.

A real opportunity has been missed. Just as happened in the 1930s, what began as an American banking panic has now escalated into a global economic crisis. And just as happened in the 1930s, a lack of international coordination has the potential to turn a recession into a deep and protracted depression.

The problem that seems scarcely to have been discussed over the weekend is that each national government is currently responding to the crisis with its own monetary and fiscal measures. Some central banks have already slashed official rates to close to zero. Some treasuries have already launched multibillion-dollar bailouts and stimulus packages. The devil lies in the different timing and magnitudes of these measures. The absence of coordination makes it almost inevitable that we will see rising volatility in global foreign exchange and bond markets, as investors react to each fresh national initiative. The results could be nearly as disruptive as the protectionist measures adopted by national governments during the Depression. Now, as then, a policy of "every man for himself" would be lethal.

At the heart of this crisis is the huge imbalance between the United States, with its current account deficit in excess of 1 percent of world gross domestic product, and the surplus countries that finance it: the oil exporters, Japan and emerging Asia. Of these, the relationship between China and America has become the crucial one. More than anything else, it has been China's strategy of dollar reserve accumulation that has financed America's debt habit. Chinese savings were a key reason U.S. long-term interest rates stayed low and the borrowing binge kept going. Now that the age of leverage is over, "Chimerica"— the partnership between the big saver and the big spender—is key.

In essence, we need the Chinese to be supportive of U.S. monetary easing and fiscal stimulus by doing more of the same themselves. There needs to be agreement on a gradual reduction of the Chimerican imbalance via increased U.S. exports and increased Chinese imports. The alternative—a sudden reduction of the imbalance via lower U.S. imports and lower Chinese exports— would be horrible.

There also needs to be an agreement to avoid a rout in the dollar market and the bond market, which is what will happen if the Chinese stop buying U.S. government bonds, the amount of which is now set to increase massively.

The alternative to such a Chimerican deal is for the Chinese to turn inward, devoting their energies to "market socialism in one country," increasing the domestic consumption of Chinese products and turning away from trade as the engine of growth.

Memo to President-elect Barack Obama: Don't wait until April for the next G-20 summit. Call a meeting of the Chimerican G-2 for the day after your inaugural. Don't wait for China to call its own meeting of a new "G-1" in Beijing.

Niall Ferguson is a faculty associate of the Weatherhead Center; Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History, Department of History; and William Ziegler Professor of Business Administration, Business, Government, and the International Economy Unit, Harvard Business School.

Varshney, Ashutosh, and Daniel Herwitz. 2008. Midnight's Diaspora: Critical Encounters with Salman Rushdie. University of Michigan Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Almost twenty years after the Ayatollah Khomeini declared a fatwa against him, Salman Rushdie remains the most controversial and perhaps the most famous living novelist. Far more than an acclaimed author, Rushdie is a global figure whose work is read and studied by a wide variety of constituencies, many of whom are not primarily concerned with its literary significance.

This important collection of essays and interviews brings together a distinguished group of critics and commentators, including Rushdie himself, to explore the political and cultural contexts of Rushdie's novels. While each of the essays offers a distinct and often highly original take on Rushdie and his work, the two substantial interviews with Rushdie illuminate his thoughts on a series of literary and political subjects that he has for the most part been reluctant to discuss in public. This combination of fresh perspectives and historical and political context will appeal to a wide array of readers interested not only in Rushdie's own work but also in the many collateral cultural and political issues it raises.

Lamont, Michèle, and Bruno Cousin. 2008. “Les Conditions de l’évaluation Universitaire”.Abstract

La question de l’évaluation professionnelle des enseignants-chercheurs est au cœur du mouvement qui, depuis trois mois et demi, les oppose quasi unanimement au gouvernement français. Ils ont entendu Nicolas Sarkozy leur reprocher de ne jamais voir leur travail évalué, alors que c’est aujourd’hui le cas à chaque étape de leur carrière, chaque fois qu’ils sollicitent le financement d’un projet et chaque fois qu’ils soumettent un article à une revue scientifique. D’autre part, on leur rebat que le « classement de Shanghai » mesure les performances d’ensemble du système de recherche français, alors même qu’il ignore par construction une grande partie de sa production (effectuée au sein du CNRS) et qu’il s’agit d’un palmarès peu valorisé à l’étranger. Le point crucial de la controverse concerne néanmoins le type et les modalités d’évaluation individuelle auxquels il est souhaitable de soumettre les enseignants-chercheurs au long de leur parcours professionnel. De nombreuses interventions publiques ont déjà souligné qu’une évaluation collégiale, indépendante, approfondie et qualitative, par des spécialistes du domaine concerné, était une condition nécessaire pour recruter et distinguer de bons chercheurs. Ce n’est pas un hasard si c’est la façon de faire courante dans la plupart des pays européens, ainsi qu’en Amérique du Nord. En France aussi, jusqu’en 2008, les enseignants-chercheurs étaient sélectionnés exclusivement par leurs (futurs) collègues : d’abord par une section du Conseil National des Universités propre à chaque discipline, puis par une commission de spécialistes de cette même discipline propre à chaque établissement. Le système français comportait néanmoins et comporte toujours de nombreux défauts nuisant trop souvent à son efficacité (et à sa justice), notamment au moment de la première embauche : récurrence du clientélisme local, auditions-éclairs des candidats, manque de transparence des délibérations, pénurie chronique de postes à pourvoir alors que l’Université est déjà en sous-effectifs, attractivité limitée par des conditions de travail dégradées et des salaires peu compétitifs à l’international (y compris en Europe). Pourtant, la vaste « réforme » entreprise depuis deux ans sous l’égide de la loi LRU, ne s’attaque véritablement à aucun de ces problèmes cruellement ressentis par les enseignants-chercheurs. Au lieu de quoi, elle prétend réformer leurs carrières en soumettant les recrutements et promotions à des comités de sélection ad hoc, qui peuvent être largement interdisciplinaires, passibles du véto du président d’établissement, et en conférant à ce dernier le pouvoir de moduler à la hausse le service d’enseignement des universitaires qui seraient identifiés (par qui ? comment ?) comme des chercheurs peu performants. Cette perspective managériale est-elle envisageable ? Est-elle compatible avec le principe de l’évaluation par les pairs (qui veut que le « bon mathématicien » soit désigné comme tel par ses collègues mathématiciens, et le « bon historien » par les autres historiens) ? Pourrait-elle avoir des effets vertueux sur les universités françaises ?

Le livre que l’une d’entre nous vient de publier apporte de nombreux éléments de réponse à ces questions. À partir de l’étude empirique du monde académique américain, où des commissions scientifiques interdisciplinaires et encadrées par un « program officer » attribuent les prestigieuses bourses de recherche qui jalonnent une carrière universitaire réussie, il met en évidence les conditions de possibilité d’un dispositif d’évaluation semblable – par certains aspects – à celui qui est en train de voir le jour en France. Mais aussi les écueils qu’il devrait absolument éviter… Même en se limitant aux sciences humaines, économiques et sociales, les conceptions de l’excellence scientifique et les critères de son évaluation divergent nettement d’une discipline à l’autre. La nouveauté, le caractère généralisable et la virtuosité d’une recherche pèsent différemment et n’ont pas le même sens selon les domaines ; les divers modes de validation d’une connaissance et d’administration de la preuve (par déduction, par induction ou par interprétation) y sont plus ou moins bien acceptés ; et l’idée même de commensurabilité au sein d’une discipline n’est pas partagée par l’ensemble de celles-ci. Enfin, l’innovation – cette mesure utilitariste de la recherche à l’aune des avantages compétitifs qu’elle génère sur les marchés – n’apparaît que marginalement comme une marque de qualité scientifique telle que l’entendent les chercheurs de ces disciplines. L’évaluation ne peut donc s’exercer au sein de ces commissions interdisciplinaires qu’à travers le respect de plusieurs principes fondamentaux : l’indépendance professionnelle de la recherche, qui se fixe elle-même ses objectifs ; la reconnaissance de l’expertise de chacun dans son domaine de compétence ; la croyance de ceux qui jugent en la mission de sélection méritocratique qui leur est confiée. Or, ce fonctionnement est le fruit d’une culture académique relativement confiante dans ses valeurs partagées et consciente des enjeux auxquels elle fait face, mais aussi de normes coutumières, d’ajustements progressifs et d’apprentissages en situation concernant la façon la plus efficace et équitable d’interagir au sein des comités. Par rapport à une sélection automatisée par l’usage seul d’instruments comme les décomptes bibliométriques (qu’il est aisé de manipuler [10]), la délibération apparaît comme un processus décisionnel plus complet et plus juste, parce qu’elle conduit à l’explicitation, à la transparence et à une pondération réfléchie des critères utilisés. Mais les vertus du dispositif relèvent moins de la configuration de celui-ci que des bonnes habitudes et des valeurs qu’y insufflent ceux qui y prennent part ; or, ces dernières ne s’établissent pas par décret. Ainsi, dans le contexte américain, le rôle managérial des « program officers » est de stimuler le développement de mécanismes institutionnels vertueux, et de garantir la mise en œuvre effective de la collégialité et d’une évaluation par les pairs qui contrebalancent les inévitables idiosyncrasies de chacun. Il s’agit donc, malgré leur participation à la constitution initiale du jury, essentiellement d’un rôle de coordination et non de direction.

Bien sûr, on ne saurait plaider ici pour l’adoption de modes d’évaluation qui seraient une copie conforme du cas étasunien. Celui-ci est composé de près de 3000 établissements dispersés à travers le pays, dont plusieurs centaines d’universités qui développent une activité de recherche plus ou moins intensive . Cette dispersion accroît le degré d’autonomie, d’anonymat et de non coordination des procédures d’évaluation qui se tiennent de part et d’autre ; tandis qu’en France, la taille comparativement limitée du monde académique rend plus denses et quasiment inévitables les liens d’interconnaissance. Par ailleurs, au delà de l’octroi des bourses individuelles de recherche dont les modalités sont présentées ci-dessus, l’ensemble de la carrière d’un-e universitaire américain-e se déroule dans un monde à la fois plus fluide (en termes de mobilité professionnelle) et hiérarchisé (en termes de classements de valeur) que ce n’est le cas en France. Dans ce contexte, des normes instititionnelles partagées (comme l’interdiction pour un département de recruter directement ses propres docteurs ou le poids des avis sollicités auprès d’experts extérieurs lors des procédures locales de titularisation), ainsi que des mécanismes concurrentiels interindividuels et inter-établissements, jouent un rôle central dans la légitimation réciproque du niveau des uns et des autres. Néanmoins, l’étude des pratiques d’évaluation et de gestion des carrières universitaires, telles qu’elles se déroulent Outre-Atlantique, mettent surtout en évidence combien la combinaison entre une délibération collégiale développée et la croyance en un idéal (et une norme) d’excellence académique présentent un caractère auto-réalisateur de cette dernière, ou créent du moins une tension constante dans sa direction. Ce tropisme n’est pas sans inconvénient : il suscite souvent un rapport enchanté à la réussite (d’autant plus marqué qu’il est partagé aux États-Unis par la majorité des autres secteurs professionnels), une absence de réflexivité à propos des ressorts de la légitimation en milieu académique, ainsi qu’une valorisation de l’équité supposée et des « gagnants » de la compétition universitaire, au détriment de considérations d’égalité entre ses participants. Mais, ce faisant, il empêche aussi la diffusion d’un scepticisme comme celui que l’on recueille auprès de nombreux enseignants-chercheurs français, qui nient la possibilité même que – dans l’état actuel des modalités d’évaluation – eux-mêmes ou leurs collègues (même les plus reconnus) puissent exprimer un jugement informé et désintéressé sur un candidat. Une des critiques récurrentes du système français tel qu’il existe aujourd’hui (particulièrement vive à propos du recrutement des maître-sse-s de conférence) est que la procédure de sélection ne se donne pas pour ce qu’elle est et qu’il ne s’agit pas, comme aux Etats-Unis, de « jouer le jeu » de la méritocratie et de l’excellence pour les faire ainsi advenir au mieux. Au contraire, la rapidité de la procédure formelle d’évaluation (2-3 semaines pour examiner plus d’une centaine de dossiers et pour lire les publications des auditionnés, et moins d’une demi-heure consacrée à chaque audition, alors même que l’on recrute potentiellement un-e collègue pour les trente-cinq années à venir) amène nombre de commissions de sélection à privilégier d’autres sources d’information pouvant confirmer les qualités de chercheur, informer sur les qualités d’enseignant, et garantir l’aménité de caractère du candidat ; voire à porter directement leur choix sur quelqu’un déjà connu localement, afin d’éviter toute mauvaise surprise. La justice procédurale de la sélection s’en trouve alors inévitablement compromise, au point que se développe parfois une forme de cynisme à l’égard des atteintes qui lui sont portées, laquelle augmente à son tour le risque de voir se multiplier ces dernières… En la matière, l’Université italienne – dont les établissements publics sont largement autonomes depuis 1999 – est un contre-modèle des plus notoires : elle s’est tellement enfoncée (et depuis si longtemps) dans ce cercle vicieux que la véhémence avec laquelle son fonctionnement ouvertement non méritocratique est dénoncé de temps en temps dans l’espace public n’a d’égal que le fatalisme avec lequel ses insiders (et aspirants tels) le reproduisent, et le volume des vagues d’exil vers l’étranger (notamment en France) qui en résultent.

La comparaison avec le cas étasunien suggère par contraste que toute réforme du métier et des carrières des enseignants-chercheurs devrait commencer par se demander comment augmenter l’investissement des universitaires dans la justice du système d’évaluation par les pairs, ainsi que leur croyance en la possibilité de celle-ci. Certaines des mesures nécessaires à cet effet seraient gratuites et à effet immédiat (comme l’interdiction du localisme), mais d’autres devraient consister à limiter au possible la pénurie de moyens et la surcharge de travail administratif auxquelles sont confrontés la grande majorité des universitaires français. En effet, la collégialité se diffuse certainement d’autant mieux que les enseignants-chercheurs d’un département y disposent de bureaux et ne sont pas obligés de rester chez eux pour travailler… tandis que l’organisation d’auditions longues où un candidat multiplierait au cours d’une journée les rencontres et les présentations de son travail requiert des ressources matérielles destinées à cet effet, et que les enseignants-chercheurs puissent être libérés en échange d’un certain nombre de tâches administratives pour lesquelles leur expertise n’est pas nécessaire. L’autonomie et la collégialité académique ne sauraient donc se confondre avec une forme d’autogestion où les enseignants-chercheurs doivent assurer la quasi-totalité des tâches nécessaires au fonctionnement d’une organisation aussi complexe qu’une université. La présence de personnels de support technique et administratif (dont le nombre et les compétences pointues sont un atout des universités de recherche étasuniennes souvent sous-estimé), et d’un appareil de gestionnaires exécutifs veillant à la bonne tenue du budget et (éventuellement) du patrimoine de l’établissement, apparaît comme un pré-requis nécessaire si l’on souhaite que la liberté et l’indépendance des enseignants-chercheurs ne soient pas uniquement formelles. Il ne s’agit donc pas d’un paradoxe, mais de souligner que la réorganisation – nécessaire – des universités françaises ne pouvait faire l’économie d’un affrontement pour redessiner les périmètres de compétence et les prérogatives de chacun des métiers qui doivent se côtoyer au sein d’un établissement. Plus que de fournir des modèles à imiter ou des repoussoirs, la comparaison nous montre à ce propos que les conflits entre logiques managériales et collégiales peuvent se prolonger durant des années et sont faits de petits glissements stratégiques plus que de grandes victoires éclatantes (que l’on pense aux conflits feutrés entre l’administration et les universitaires de Sciences Po Paris, ou au cas américain de la New York University) ; ils peuvent contribuer à reproduire voire renforcer des féodalités antérieures (comme c’est trop souvent le cas en Italie), ou déboucher à l’inverse sur la disparition de départements de recherche entiers sous l’effet du New Public Management (comme ce fut le cas au Royaume-Uni durant les années 1980 et 1990). En France, la sauvegarde de la collégialité apparaît d’autant plus difficile que les universités occupent une position structurellement et conjoncturellement faible au sein de la société : secondes aux classes préparatoires et aux Grandes Écoles en termes de prestige de la formation (et sous-financées par rapport à celles-ci), elles voient désormais leur activité de recherche sous-estimée par les indicateurs internationaux, et font face à un gouvernement qui envisage l’autonomie des établissements essentiellement dans ses dimensions directoriales (avec un président d’université qui en serait aussi une sorte de directeur général) et gestionnaires (afin de diminuer ultérieurement, à terme, l’engagement de l’État dans cette branche de l’éducation supérieure). Portant, après la promulgation (probable) de tous les décrets d’application de la loi LRU, ce sera aux enseignants-chercheurs de chaque université « autonome » de s’organiser – et d’organiser les différents conseils et comités d’établissement – pour se donner les moyens de sauvegarder et d’améliorer la collégialité face aux risques de dérives managériales, clientélistes et/ou autocratiques. Le conflit, ainsi éparpillé au niveau local, sera peut-être moins spectaculaire, mais il est loin d’être terminé.

Lavoie, Amy. 2008. “Rothschild explores economics’ human side”. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Blackmail and attempted murder are not typically studied as part of economic history. However, a credit crisis among 18th century French silk and brandy merchants led to just such dramatic incidents, the accounts of which piqued the interest of Emma Rothschild, a historian of economic life, empires, and Atlantic connections.

Rothschild, Jeremy and Jane Knowles Professor of History in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), has recently come to Cambridge, Mass., from Cambridge, England, where she has worked to facilitate interaction among historians, economists, and scholars from other disciplines, while maintaining rigorous historical methods within her own research.

Rothschild is the director of the newly formed Joint Center for History and Economics (JCHE). In Cambridge, England, she co-founded the Centre for History and Economics at King’s College in 1991, which encouraged conversation among scholars from varying disciplines at a time when the world was changing in profound ways. The JCHE will similarly encourage such scholarly inquiry at Harvard.

When she learned of the events surrounding a credit crisis among silk and brandy merchants that occurred in a small French town in 1769, Rothschild was intrigued. The merchants, when threatened with bankruptcy, struck back by accusing their lenders of usury. The incident had hitherto been studied as a footnote in the history of lending, but Rothschild was gripped by the story, which involved not only accounts of lending and interest, but also blackmail and attempted murder. It helped shift Rothschild’s area of interest within the study of the history of economic life.

"[This] was a story of people’s lives that could be described in other terms than, ‘Was the market rate of interest the same as the natural rate of interest?’ or ‘What were the consequences for the French economy?’ It had to do with their sentiments about the economy, and I thought that was very interesting," says Rothschild. "Everyone has economic experiences, and the way that we think about them changes."

While she is now living full time in Cambridge, Mass., Rothschild was already quite familiar with the area. She first came to Cambridge in 1967 to study economics with a strong interest in economic history, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Later, from 1978 to 1988, she taught at MIT. She has been a part-time visiting professor at Harvard since 2004.

Her marriage was also trans-Atlantic. She married Amartya Sen, Thomas W. Lamont University Professor, in 1991, and for a number of years the two commuted between the two Cambridges. The couple is now happy to be closer to Sen’s children, who live in the area.

Rothschild’s most recent book is Economic Sentiments: Adam Smith, Condorcet and the Enlightenment (Harvard University Press, 2001). In her forthcoming book, The Inner Life of Empires, she traces the history of an 18th century Scottish family of seven brothers and four sisters called the Johnstones. The book is an expansion of a series of lectures that she gave in Princeton in 2006, as Tanner Lectures on Human Values.

The Johnstone siblings were involved with the armed forces, politics, and the law, and they traveled widely—to Africa, North America, India, and the West Indies. Some were in the slave trade, to which others in the family were vehemently opposed. As they engaged in these activities, the family wrote letters, detailing their lives and their feelings about the changing world around them. They were also parties in a variety of legal disputes. Rothschild has been increasingly interested in the lives of the sisters, but as is often the case, information about women in the 18th century has been difficult to discover.

"By centering on a particular family, I am trying to question the distinctions between the economic side of their life, the political side, and the legal side, because for them, they didn’t divide up events, and say, ‘This is an economic problem, and this is a legal problem.’ It becomes easier to think oneself into a world where these distinctions weren’t as clear," says Rothschild.

The letters explored the moral implications of some of the family’s actions at a time when Britain was becoming an empire. In their own words, the brothers and their friends also made comparisons to other imperial regimes, including the Roman, Dutch, Mogul, and Portuguese empires.

"The brothers and sisters wrote to each other over the course of half a century, and expressed deep differences of opinion. It intrigued me to think about how they observed the changes that were taking place in their worlds. The title refers as much to their interest in empires as my own," says Rothschild.

Rothschild explains that the study of the history of economic life differs from the study of the history of economics. The former looks at the ways individuals have been affected by economic events, such as changes in property rights or debts and credit, while the latter concerns itself with the intellectual history of the discipline. Her own research has involved both areas.

The JCHE is one of the first centers of its kind to take on such topics across both scholarly boundaries and geographical divides. Both faculty and graduate students often travel back and forth between the two institutions, and graduate students have been involved with the JCHE on both sides of the ocean.

The centers have tackled many large-scale questions through a series of projects addressing economic and social security, environmental history, transnational exchanges of ideas, and the history of globalization. One such project, about which Rothschild is particularly excited, is "The Digitization of History," which explores the role of new technology in increasing access to historical sources and archives, and changing the way that historians are accessing visual, printed, and manuscript sources.

Initiatives such as the Google books program have put a vast quantity of material online, she explains. The British National Archives have made available—and searchable—wills dating back to the 14th century, and shipping records of the port of Bordeaux, France, have been digitized and made available at no cost.

The JCHE project also explores the technical challenges involved with digital preservation, and the increasing divide between the access to digital materials for wealthy, English-speaking institutions and those of developing countries.

"This is changing the ways that we do history and think about doing history, in respects that we don’t understand yet," Rothschild says. "It raises quite new questions, because one could find out details of lives of people in the past that couldn’t have been put together in the same way before."

Bates, Robert H, and Steven Block. 2008. “The Political Economy of Agricultural Trade Interventions in Africa”.Abstract
In this chapter, we explore patterns of variation in the content of agricultural policies in Africa. We look at the impact of the government’s need for revenues, the incentives for farmers to lobby, and their capacity to affect electoral outcomes. We also explore the political impact of regional inequality, especially insofar as it is generated by cash crop production. These factors operate in ways that deepen our appreciation of the impact of politics on the making of agricultural policies.
Sen, Amartya. 2008. “The Rich Get Hungrier”. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Will the food crisis that is menacing the lives of millions ease up—or grow worse over time? The answer may be both. The recent rise in food prices has largely been caused by temporary problems like drought in Australia, Ukraine and elsewhere. Though the need for huge rescue operations is urgent, the present acute crisis will eventually end. But underlying it is a basic problem that will only intensify unless we recognize it and try to remedy it.

It is a tale of two peoples. In one version of the story, a country with a lot of poor people suddenly experiences fast economic expansion, but only half of the people share in the new prosperity. The favored ones spend a lot of their new income on food, and unless supply expands very quickly, prices shoot up. The rest of the poor now face higher food prices but no greater income, and begin to starve. Tragedies like this happen repeatedly in the world.

A stark example is the Bengal famine of 1943, during the last days of the British rule in India. The poor who lived in cities experienced rapidly rising incomes, especially in Calcutta, where huge expenditures for the war against Japan caused a boom that quadrupled food prices. The rural poor faced these skyrocketing prices with little increase in income.

Misdirected government policy worsened the division. The British rulers were determined to prevent urban discontent during the war, so the government bought food in the villages and sold it, heavily subsidized, in the cities, a move that increased rural food prices even further. Low earners in the villages starved. Two million to three million people died in that famine and its aftermath.

Much discussion is rightly devoted to the division between haves and have-nots in the global economy, but the world’s poor are themselves divided between those who are experiencing high growth and those who are not. The rapid economic expansion in countries like China, India and Vietnam tends to sharply increase the demand for food. This is, of course, an excellent thing in itself, and if these countries could manage to reduce their unequal internal sharing of growth, even those left behind there would eat much better.

But the same growth also puts pressure on global food markets—sometimes through increased imports, but also through restrictions or bans on exports to moderate the rise in food prices at home, as has happened recently in countries like India, China, Vietnam and Argentina. Those hit particularly hard have been the poor, especially in Africa.

There is also a high-tech version of the tale of two peoples. Agricultural crops like corn and soybeans can be used for making ethanol for motor fuel. So the stomachs of the hungry must also compete with fuel tanks.

Misdirected government policy plays a part here, too. In 2005, the United States Congress began to require widespread use of ethanol in motor fuels. This law combined with a subsidy for this use has created a flourishing corn market in the United States, but has also diverted agricultural resources from food to fuel. This makes it even harder for the hungry stomachs to compete.

Ethanol use does little to prevent global warming and environmental deterioration, and clear-headed policy reforms could be urgently carried out, if American politics would permit it. Ethanol use could be curtailed, rather than being subsidized and enforced.

The global food problem is not being caused by a falling trend in world production, or for that matter in food output per person (this is often asserted without much evidence). It is the result of accelerating demand. However, a demand-induced problem also calls for rapid expansion in food production, which can be done through more global cooperation.

While population growth accounts for only a modest part of the growing demand for food, it can contribute to global warming, and long-term climate change can threaten agriculture. Happily, population growth is already slowing and there is overwhelming evidence that women’s empowerment (including expansion of schooling for girls) can rapidly reduce it even further.

What is most challenging is to find effective policies to deal with the consequences of extremely asymmetric expansion of the global economy. Domestic economic reforms are badly needed in many slow-growth countries, but there is also a big need for more global cooperation and assistance. The first task is to understand the nature of the problem.

Amartya Sen, is the Chair, Project on Justice, Welfare, and Economics, a Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate, and Thomas W. Lamont University Professor, Department of Economics, Harvard University.

Amartya Sen received the Nobel Prize in economics in 1998.
Rodrik, Dani. 2008. “The New Development Economics: We Shall Experiment, but How Shall We Learn?”.Abstract
Development economics has long been split between macro-development economists—who focus on economic growth, international trade, and fiscal/macro policies—and microdevelopment economists—who study microfinance, education, health, and other social programs. Even though the central question that animates both sets of economists ostensibly is how to achieve sustainable improvements in living standards in poor countries, the concerns and methods of these two camps have at times diverged so much that they seem at opposite extremes of the economics discipline. I shall argue in this paper that there are some good reasons to be optimistic about the reunification of the field, as these sharp distinctions are eroding in some key respects. But there are also some reasons for pessimism, related to divergence in empirical methods. This paper covers both the good and the bad news.
for Affairs, Weatherhead Center International. 2008. “Weatherhead Center Awards Doctoral Candidates with Research Grants”.Abstract

The Weatherhead Center for International Affairs has selected eleven Harvard doctoral candidates to receive pre- and mid-dissertation grants to conduct research on a project related to the core research interests of the Center. In addition and for the first time in 2008, the Center is awarding foreign language grants to doctoral students to assist them in their field research studies. The Weatherhead Center dissertation grant recipients, along with their research projects, are listed below:

Christopher Bail, Ph.D. candidate in sociology, is researching the distortion of collective memory among Muslims and non-Muslims in the United States and the UK.

Amy Catalinac, Ph.D. candidate in government, is conducting research on the electoral politics of national security to explain the contemporary rise of Japan.

Suzanna Chapman, Ph.D. candidate in government, will conduct interviews with immigration policy-makers to examine how states select their population.

Paul Cruikshank, Ph.D. candidate in the history of science, is investigating the late twentieth century historical transformation of the politics in the field of international health.

Michael James Esdaile, Ph.D. candidate in history and Middle Eastern studies, is studying Arabic for his dissertation on the anti-imperial movements termed the “Aden Emergency” that opposed British control in Yemen.

Alex Fattal, Ph.D. candidate in anthropology, is conducting an analysis of the demobilization of insurgents in Colombia to better understand the cultural politics of humanitarianism.

Meghan Healy, Ph.D. candidate in history, is conducting research on South African women’s schooling and power since 1869.

Max Hirsch, Ph.D. candidate in architecture and urban planning, is researching architectural and urban planning strategies that are designed to attract and retain highly skilled international migrants in Frankfurt and Hong Kong.

Jane Hong, Ph.D. candidate in history, is examining political deportation cases of foreign-born Asian communists living in Los Angeles as a lens to explore the relationship between U.S. foreign policy in East Asia and domestic security measures passed between 1945 and 1965.

Catherine Kelly, Ph.D. candidate in government, is studying Wolof in Senegal for her dissertation on Franco-West African relations.

Katherine Mason, Ph.D. candidate in anthropology, is conducting an ethnographic investigation of the rebuilding of China’s disease control system in the wake of the 2003 SARS epidemic.

Sreemati Mitter, Ph.D. candidate in history and Middle Eastern studies, is studying Arabic and Hebrew for her dissertation on relations between Jordan and Israel between 1950 and 1967.

Vipin Narang, Ph.D. candidate in government, is exploring the sources and consequences of regional power nuclear postures by examining the India-Pakistan crises that occurred both before and after nuclearization.

Rebecca Nelson, Ph.D. candidate in government, seeks to explain why some governments get more debt restructurings with private creditors than others.

Aleksandar Sopov, Ph.D. candidate in history and Middle Eastern studies, will study Arabic and Albanian for his dissertation on how the competing histories of the peoples in the Balkans and the Middle East influence their social and political realities.

Williamson, Jeffery G, and Aurora Gomez Galvarriato. 2008. “Was It Prices, Productivity or Policy? The Timing and Pace of Latin American Industrialization After 1870”.Abstract
Brazil, Mexico and a few other Latin American republics enjoyed faster industrialization after 1870 than did the rest of Latin America and even faster than the rest of the poor periphery (except East Asia). How much of this economic performance was due to more accommodating institutions and greater political stability, changes that would have facilitated greater technology transfer and accumulation? That is, how much to changing fundamentals? How much instead to a cessation in the secular rise in the net barter terms of trade which reversed de-industrialization forces, thus favoring manufacturing? How much instead to cheaper foodstuffs coming from more open commercial policies ('grain invasions'), and from railroad-induced integration of domestic grain markets, serving to keep urban grain prices and thus nominal wages in industry low, helping to maintain competitiveness? How much instead to more pro-industrial real exchange rate and tariff policy? Which of these forces contributed most to industrialization among the Latin American leaders, long before their mid 20th century adoption of ISI policies? Changing fundamentals, changing market conditions, or changing policies?
Also published as NBER Working Paper 13990.
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Rodrik, Dani. 2008. “Second-Best Institutions”.Abstract

The focus of reforms in the developing world has moved from getting prices right to getting institutions right. This reflects the recognition that markets are unlikely to work well in the absence of a predictable and legitimate set of rules that support economic activity and dispense its fruits. "Governance reforms" have become the buzzword for bilateral donors and multilateral institutions, in much the same way that liberalization, privatization and stabilization were the mantras of the 1980s.

But what kind of institutions should reformers strive to build? It is easier to list the functions that good institutions perform than it is to describe the shape they should take. Desirable institutions provide security of property rights, enforce contracts, stimulate entrepreneurship, foster integration in the world economy, maintain macroeconomic stability, manage risk-taking by financial intermediaries, supply social insurance and safety nets, and enhance voice and accountability. But as the variety of institutional forms that prevail in the advanced countries themselves suggests (Richard Freeman 2000, Peter Hall and David Soskice 2001), each one of these ends can be achieved in a large number of different ways (Dani Rodrik 2007).

Hochschild, Jennifer L, and Brenna M Powell. 2008. “Racial Reorganization and the United States Census 1850-1930: Mulattoes, Half-Breeds, Mixed Parentage, Hindoos, and the Mexican.” Studies in American Political Development.Abstract

Between 1850 and 1930, demographic upheaval in the United States was connected to reorganization of the racial order. Socially and politically recognized boundaries between groups shifted, new groups emerged, others disappeared, and notions of who belonged in which category changed. All recognized racial groups—blacks, whites, Indians, Asians, Mexicans and others—were affected. This article investigates how and why census racial classification policies changed during this period, only to stabilize abruptly before World War II. In the context of demographic transformations and their political consequences, we find that census policy in any given year was driven by a combination of scientific, political, and ideological motivations.

Based on this analysis, we rethink existing theoretical approaches to censuses and racial classification, arguing that a nation's census is deeply implicated in and helps to construct its social and political order. Censuses provide the concepts, taxonomy, and substantive information by which a nation understands its component parts as well as the contours of the whole; censuses both create the image and provide the mirror of that image for a nation's self-reflection. We conclude by outlining the meaning of this period in American history for current and future debates over race and classification.


This paper was originally: Hochschild, Jennifer L., and Brenna M. Powell. "Racial Reorganization and the United States Census 1850-1930: Mulattoes, Half-Breeds, Mixed Parentage, Hindoos, and the Mexican." Working Paper 2007-28, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, 2007.

Kelman, Herbert C. 2008. “A 'declaration of principles' for the Mideast”. Publisher's VersionAbstract

HAIM RAMON, a vice prime minister of Israel, recently stated that Israel hoped to reach agreement with its Palestinian negotiating partners by the end of 2008 on a "declaration of principles" for peace, but not on a detailed peace treaty. At this time of escalating violence and diminishing hope, the call for such a declaration offers an opportunity for revitalizing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

To represent a dramatic breakthrough, a declaration would have to go beyond a vague, general commitment to a two-state solution, and lay out the fundamental principles on which such a solution must be based if it is to be perceived as fair and just by the two populations and offer them a positive vision of their future relationship. The statement must address the key final-status issues - notably borders, Jerusalem, settlements, and refugees - that a viable two-state agreement would have to resolve. In essence, the statement would frame the envisaged final agreement as a principled peace, based on a historic compromise that meets the fundamental needs of both peoples, validates their national identities, and declares an end to the conflict and to the occupation consistent with the requirements of fairness and attainable justice.

To concretize the components of a statement of basic principles for framing a negotiated agreement, I offer the following hypothetical draft of what such a statement, issued by the two leaderships, might contain, in the hope that it might stimulate thought.

Israeli-Palestinian joint statement of principles

The parties agree that the land that has been in dispute between the Jewish and the Palestinian peoples - the land that includes the State of Israel and the occupied territories (the West Bank and Gaza) - belongs to both peoples: both have historic roots in it, both are deeply attached to it, and both claim it as their national homeland. We are convinced that there is no military solution to the conflict resulting from these competing claims.

The attempt to impose a solution by violence has caused pain and suffering to both peoples for generations, which we deeply regret. The conflict threatens to destroy the future of both peoples and of the land itself. We are therefore committed to ending the conflict by negotiating a principled peace, based on a historic compromise in the form of a two-state solution. We agree to share the land in a way that allows each people to exercise its right to national self-determination, express its national identity, and fulfill its national aspirations in its own independent, viable state within the shared land.

The details of a peace agreement that concretizes this historic compromise have to be negotiated, but we are committed to certain basic principles, dictated by the logic of the historic compromise, that must be followed in resolving the key issues in the negotiations. Specifically:

The borders between the two states will follow the 1967 armistice lines, with minor, mutually agreed-upon adjustments, based on an exchange of West Bank territories that contain most of the Israeli settlements for Israeli territories of equal size and value, and with a secure link between the West Bank and Gaza. These borders are necessary in order to enable the Palestinian state to meet the criteria of true independence, viability, governability, and contiguity within the West Bank. Palestinians can accept the fairness of these borders because they conform with international legitimacy, as expressed in appropriate United Nations resolutions.

Jerusalem will be shared by the two states and contain the national capital of each state, in recognition of the central importance of the city to the national identities of both peoples. Jerusalem's Jewish neighborhoods will be under Israeli sovereignty and its Arab neighborhoods under Palestinian sovereignty, with jointly administrated arrangements for security, freedom of movement, and municipal services for the entire city and for governance of the Old City. A plan of shared or joint sovereignty will be negotiated for the holy sites, allowing each side control over its own sites and assuring free access to them from both parts of the city.

Israeli settlements with extraterritorial rights and status (including separate roads and protection by Israeli troops) will be removed from the Palestinian state in order to ensure the state's independence, viability, governability, and contiguity. The right of individual settlers to stay in place as Palestinian citizens or as resident aliens, subject to Palestinian law, will be negotiated.

In negotiating solutions to the problem of Palestinian refugees, Israel recognizes that the refugee problem and the right of return are central to the Palestinian national identity and national narrative, and acknowledges its share of responsibility for the plight of the refugees. Concretely, the refugee problem will be addressed in all its dimensions, with comprehensive plans for financial compensation, regularization of the status of refugees in host countries, and resettlement when needed or desired. Refugees will be granted citizenship in and the right of return to the Palestinian state. Only a limited number, however, will return to Israel proper, in order to allow Israel to maintain its character as a Jewish-majority state.

The final negotiated agreement, based on a historic compromise as reflected in the above principles, is designed to yield a principled peace, characterized by the following conditions:

Mutual recognition of the national identity of the other people and of each people's right to express this identity in an independent state within the shared land.

A sense that the agreement is not merely a product of the balance of power, but is consistent with the principle of attainable justice and with international law and the international consensus.

Integration of both states in the region and the international community.

As we commit ourselves to negotiating a final agreement based on the concept of a historic compromise and meeting the conditions of a principled peace, we are enabled to develop and to communicate to our publics a positive vision of a common future for the two peoples in the land they are agreeing to share. Our vision contemplates:

A secure and prosperous existence for each society.

Mutually beneficial cooperation between the two states and societies in various fields, including economic relations, public health, environmental protection, telecommunications, cultural and educational programs, and tourism.

Regional development.

Stable peace with ultimate reconciliation.

Our positive vision extends not only to the future of the two peoples in their independent states within the land they are agreeing to share, but to the future of the shared land itself: a land to which both peoples are attached, even though each agrees to claim only part of it for its independent state.

In this spirit, our vision of a common future includes freedom of movement across state borders, as well as a range of cooperative activities that treat the shared land as a unit and are designed to benefit it in its entirety.

A joint statement of principles along the lines proposed above would reassure the two publics about the intentions of the other side and help to reestablish trust in the availability of a negotiating partner. By advocating a principled peace that acknowledges each side's national identity and national narrative, that conforms to the dictates of attainable justice, that provides a rationale for the concessions each side is expected to make, and that offers a positive vision of the future, it has the potential for energizing the two publics and eliciting their full support for the negotiated agreement on a two-state solution.

Given the apparent readiness of the two leaderships to formulate a declaration of principles, the challenge now is to utilize this moment as an opportunity to create a visionary document that will reassure and energize the two publics and elicit their enthusiastic support for negotiating a historic compromise.

Civil society efforts, in the form of unofficial Israeli-Palestinian dialogue, can be instrumental in generating ideas for such a document and conveying them to the political leadership. The US government and other third parties can contribute significantly by encouraging the parties to formulate a statement of basic principles and identifying the issues that it must address, keeping in mind that, in the end, the document must be crafted by the parties themselves in order to reflect their concerns and engender their commitment.

Finally, to be maximally effective, movement toward and beyond the proposed joint statement of basic principles must be accompanied by significant changes in the conditions on the ground, designed to improve the security, economic well-being, quality of life, and personal dignity of the two populations.

Herbert C. Kelman is a professor social ethics emeritus and cochairman of the Middle East Seminar at Harvard.
Schorow, Stephanie. 2008. “Consumers Want to Do the Right Thing”. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Data suggest buyers willing to pay more to humane producers.

A majority of consumers want to do the right thing. That is, in numerous studies, consumers say that they are willing to pay more for products produced under good working conditions, rather than those that come from sweatshops.

But what consumers say and what they actually do when they pull out their wallets at the cash register is not as clear.

Michael J. Hiscox, professor of government, has been developing models to test actual consumer behavior when shoppers are confronted with a choice to buy a higher-priced item certified as produced under good conditions and cheaper items that are not so designated.

Preliminary results suggest that, indeed, consumers are willing to pay a premium if they believe that a product is made under good working conditions, Hiscox said during a Feb. 28 seminar sponsored by the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

More research is needed, but “if this holds up, it’s pretty compelling evidence,” Hiscox told his audience during his talk on “Consumer Demand for Labor Standards: Experiments with Ethical Labeling of Imported Products.”

Hiscox, author of the Riker Prize-winning book “International Trade and Political Conflict” (2002), draws his conclusions from innovative study methods he and graduate students have devised over the past three years.

One such study was conducted in a major home goods retail store in New York City in 2005 with two products: candles and towels. Hiscox created special labels that indicated that an item was “made under fair labor conditions, in a safe and healthy working environment which is free of discrimination, and where management has committed to respecting the rights and dignity of workers.” These labels were posted on one set of candles and one set of towels—when, in reality, all the candles and towels in the displays were produced under good conditions. The labeled towels and candles were priced higher than unlabeled items, and the prices changed over time. Hiscox’s crew also switched labels at key points to the previously unlabeled products.

The result: “Sales rose for items labeled as being made under good labor standards, and demand for the labeled product actually rose with the price increases of 10 to 20 percent above pretest (unlabeled) levels,” according to Hiscox’s paper on his work.

Moreover, a higher price on a labeled towel seemed to actually stimulate demand. The higher price might be telling shoppers it’s a better product,” Hiscox said. They think, “Aha! The label is credible because I have to pay more for the goods.”

Still, the study was done in a high-end shop in a company with a known commitment to fair practice. The items may have had “snob appeal” to wealthy consumers already predisposed to buy ethical items. What about consumers really looking for a bargain?

So Hiscox turned to one of the biggest bargain-hunting markets in the world: eBay.

Hiscox’s team devised auctions around two items, gourmet coffee and polo shirts. All were produced under good conditions and all were extremely similar in presentation. (“It’s very good coffee,” Hiscox added.) But one set of coffee beans was labeled as “fair trade” and the other as “premium.” One set of shirts was described as “ethically made” while the other had no designation.

And again, “eBay shoppers were willing to pay a substantial premium for goods certified by label” as produced under fair standards,” Hiscox said. The results were, however, more dramatic for coffee than for the shirts.

Perhaps, suggested moderator F.M. Scherer, professor of public policy and corporate management emeritus, eBay shoppers are more “world-oriented,” a possibility that Hiscox conceded.

What, asked Jack Waxman, a master’s student in public policy, would happen to fair-trade markets in an economic downturn? “Yes, that’s a fear,” Hiscox said.

Jennifer Kurz, also a master’s student in public policy, wondered if products produced under good conditions would really—in the long run—cost more. “Maybe certification doesn’t increase prices,” she said.

It’s a possibility, Hiscox said. Perhaps healthy workers operating under safe conditions are actually more efficient, thus increasing productivity and lowering prices, he said. “It’s a really inherently open question.”

Hiscox cautioned against basing any business decisions on these initial results. More studies are needed, he said.

“At the moment there’s a prior question: Is there even a market for this that would support the expansion of these [socially accountable] systems? We don’t know that,” he said. “Before you start championing, “‘This is the answer,’ you have to know whether or not it’s feasible.”

Paarlberg, Robert L. 2008. Starved for Science: How Biotechnology Is Being Kept Out of Africa. Harvard University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Heading upcountry in Africa to visit small farms is absolutely exhilarating given the dramatic beauty of big skies, red soil, and arid vistas, but eventually the two-lane tarmac narrows to rutted dirt, and the journey must continue on foot. The farmers you eventually meet are mostly women, hardworking but visibly poor. They have no improved seeds, no chemical fertilizers, no irrigation, and with their meager crops they earn less than a dollar a day. Many are malnourished.

Nearly two-thirds of Africans are employed in agriculture, yet on a per-capita basis they produce roughly 20 percent less than they did in 1970. Although modern agricultural science was the key to reducing rural poverty in Asia, modern farm science—including biotechnology—has recently been kept out of Africa.

In Starved for Science Robert Paarlberg explains why poor African farmers are denied access to productive technologies, particularly genetically engineered seeds with improved resistance to insects and drought. He traces this obstacle to the current opposition to farm science in prosperous countries. Having embraced agricultural science to become well-fed themselves, those in wealthy countries are now instructing Africans—on the most dubious grounds—not to do the same.

In a book sure to generate intense debate, Paarlberg details how this cultural turn against agricultural science among affluent societies is now being exported, inappropriately, to Africa. Those who are opposed to the use of agricultural technologies are telling African farmers that, in effect, it would be just as well for them to remain poor.

Nye, Joseph S., Jr.. 2008. “Toward a Liberal Realist Foreign Policy: A Memo for the Next President.” Harvard Magazine. Publisher's Version