One of the refreshing aspects of Christopher Layne’s work over the years has been his willingness to challenge conventional wisdom. But now, he is in the awkward position of being part of a new conventional wisdom. Recent polls show that in 15 of 22 countries surveyed, most people say that China either will replace or has replaced America as the world’s leading superpower. Even Americans themselves are equally divided about whether China will displace the United States.
Human societies fashion themselves through rites of memory, gilding and illuminating some pages of the past while consigning others to forgetfulness. Official memories reinforce dominant cultural narratives, asserting continuities where skeptics might see breaks or ruptures, contradictions or untruths; indeed, revolutions, scientific or otherwise, can be thought of as violent breaks with comfortable connections between past and present. To see the power of such story-telling, consider for example the myth of the durability of the US Constitution, a myth that proclaims the unchanging identity of that founding document through a secession, a civil war, and numerous democratizing amendments that totally transformed the look of the nation’s voting polity. To this day, that myth legitimates styles of constitutional analysis that challenge, under the rubric of strict constructionism, attempts to treat the Constitution as a source of living and evolving principles. Or, at the opposite pole of the Earth, take Australia’s ritualistic annual observance of Anzac Day. That remarkable celebration connects the forging of the nation’s identity to Gallipoli: to a dawn landing on faraway shores almost a century ago, in a war of others’ making, to a failed military enterprise that ended in an inglorious evacuation, following a bloody, months-long stalemate.
This book focuses on normative questions that arise about globalization. Much social science research is devoted to exploring the political, legal, social and economic changes that occur all around us. This books offers an introductory treatment of the philosophical questions that arise about these changes. Why would people have human rights? We will be looking at different answers to this question. Could there be a universal morality in the first place? This question captures a particular kind of skepticism that has also been applied to the human rights movement and needs to be addresses for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to be intellectually credible. Ought there to be states? Perhaps there are more appropriate ways of organizing humanity politically. What does distributive justice require at the global level? The world in which we live is one of a striking inequality that challenges us to explore what a just world would look like. What does justice require of us with regard to climate change? We now live in a geological era sometimes called the Athropocene: it is human action that has the biggest impact on the future of all life. How should we think about fairness in trade? Trade, after all, ties people together around the world. And what does justice imply for immigration policy? Each of these questions is answered in its own chapter. Introductions to political philosophy normally focus mostly or entirely on domestic questions. This introduction is concerned with questions of global scope throughout.
The United States is in the throes of the most serious recession in post-war history. Despite improving employment numbers, the official unemployment rate still exceeded 8% in March 2012. Amidst this malaise, the health care sector is one of the few areas of steady growth. It may seem natural to think that if the health care sector is one of the bright spots in the economy,public policies should aim to foster continued growth in health care employment. Indeed, hospitals and other health care organizations point to the size of their payrolls as evidence that they play an important role in economic recovery, a role that must not be endangered by reforms that seek to reduce spending on health care. Politicians on both sides of the aisle are quick to emphasize the “job-creating” or “job-killing” aspects of reforms. But this focus on health care jobs is misguided. The goal of improving health and economic well-being does not go hand in hand with rising employment in health care. It is tempting to think that rising health care employment is a boon, but if the same outcomes can be achieved with lower employment and fewer resources, that leaves extra money to devote to other important public and private priorities such as education, infrastructure, food, shelter, and retirement savings.
The 1930s American Dust Bowl was an environmental catastrophe that greatly eroded sections of the Plains. The Dust Bowl is estimated to have immediately, substantially, and persistently reduced agricultural land values and revenues in more-eroded counties relative to less-eroded counties. During the Depression and through at least the 1950s, there was limited relative adjustment of farmland away from activities that became relatively less productive in more-eroded areas. Agricultural adjustments recovered less than 25 percent of the initial difference in agricultural costs for more-eroded counties. The economy adjusted predominantly through large relative population declines in more-eroded counties, both during the 1930s and through the 1950s.
To what extent do migrants carry their culture with them, and to what extent do they acquire the culture of their new home? The answer not only has important political implications; it also helps us understand the extent to which basic cultural values are enduring or malleable; and whether cultural values are traits of individuals or are attributes of a given society. Part I considers theories about the impact of growing social diversity in Western nations. We classify two categories of society: ORIGINS (defined as Islamic Countries of Origin for Muslim migrants, including twenty nations with plurality Muslim populations) and DESTINATIONS (defined as Western Countries of Destination for Muslim migrants, including twenty-two OECD member states with Protestant or Roman Catholic majority populations). Using this framework, we demonstrate that on average, the basic social values of Muslim migrants fall roughly mid-way between those prevailing in their country of origin and their country of destination. We conclude that Muslim migrants do not move to Western countries with rigidly fixed attitudes; instead, they gradually absorb much of the host culture, as assimilation theories suggest.
We investigate whether leading indicators can help explain the cross-country incidence of the 2008–2009 financial crisis. Rather than looking for indicators with specific relevance to the recent crisis, the selection of variables is driven by an extensive review of more than eighty papers from the previous literature on early warning indicators. Our motivation is to address suspicions that indicators found to be useful predictors in one round of crises are typically not useful to predict the next round. The review suggests that central bank reserves and past movements in the real exchange rate were the two leading indicators that had proven the most useful in explaining crisis incidence across different countries and episodes in the past. For the 2008–2009 crisis, we use six different variables to measure crisis incidence: drops in GDP and industrial production, currency depreciation, stock market performance, reserve losses, and participation in an IMF program. We find that the level of reserves in 2007 appears as a consistent and statistically significant leading indicator of who got hit by the 2008–2009 crisis, in line with the conclusions of the pre-2008 literature. In addition to reserves, recent real appreciation is a statistically significant predictor of devaluation and of a measure of exchange market pressure during the current crisis. We define the period of the global financial shock as running from late 2008 to early 2009, which probably explains why we find stronger results than earlier papers such as Obstfeld et al. (2009, 2010) and Rose and Spiegel (2009a,b, 2010, 2011) which use annual data.
There is growing concern over the rising share of the US economy devoted to health care spending. Fueled in part by demographic transitions, unchecked increases in entitlement spending will necessitate some combination of substantial tax increases, elimination of other public spending, or unsustainable public debt. This massive increase in health spending might be warranted if each dollar devoted to the health care sector yielded real health benefits, but this does not seem to be the case. Although we have seen remarkable gains in life expectancy and functioning over the past several decades, there is substantial variation in the health benefits associated with different types of spending. Some treatments, such as aspirin, beta blockers, and flu shots, produce a large health benefit per dollar spent. Other more expensive treatments, such as stents for cardiovascular disease, are high value for some patients but poor value for others. Finally, a large and expanding set of treatments, such as proton-beam therapy or robotic surgery, contributes to rapid increases in spending despite questionable health benefits. Moving resources toward more productive uses requires encouraging providers to deliver and patients to consume high-value care, a daunting task in the current political landscape. But widespread inefficiency also offers hope: Given the current distribution of resources in the US health care system, there is tremendous potential to improve the productivity of health care spending and the fiscal health of the United States.
This book examines the writings of an early sixth-century Christian
mystical theologian who wrote under the name of a convert of the apostle
Paul, Dionysius the Areopagite. This 'Pseudo'-Dionysius is famous for
articulating a mystical theology in two parts: a sacramental and
liturgical mysticism embedded in the context of celestial and
ecclesiastical hierarchies, and an austere, contemplative regimen in
which one progressively negates the divine names in hopes of soliciting
union with the 'unknown God' or 'God beyond being.'Charles M.
Stang argues that the pseudonym and the influence of Paul together
constitute the best interpretive lens for understanding the Corpus
Dionysiacum [CD]. Stang demonstrates how Paul animates the entire
corpus, and shows that the influence of Paul illuminates such central
themes of the CD as hierarchy, theurgy, deification, Christology,
affirmation (kataphasis) and negation (apophasis), dissimilar
similarities, and unknowing. Most importantly, Paul serves as a fulcrum
for the expression of a new theological anthropology, an 'apophatic
anthropology.' Dionysius figures Paul as the premier apostolic witness
to this apophatic anthropology, as the ecstatic lover of the divine who
confesses to the rupture of his self and the indwelling of the divine in
Gal 2:20: 'it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.' Building
on this notion of apophatic anthropology, the book forwards an
explanation for why this sixth-century author chose to write under an
apostolic pseudonym. Stang argues that the very practice of
pseudonymous writing itself serves as an ecstatic devotional exercise
whereby the writer becomes split in two and thereby open to the
indwelling of the divine. Pseudonymity is on this interpretation
integral and internal to the aims of the wider mystical enterprise. Thus
this book aims to question the distinction between 'theory' and
'practice' by demonstrating that negative theology-often figured as a
speculative and rarefied theory regarding the transcendence of God-is in
fact best understood as a kind of asceticism, a devotional practice
aiming for the total transformation of the Christian subject.
When praised at all, imperialism is most often commended for the peace it bestowed. By demobilizing armies, deposing marauding princes and subduing war-like states, European powers fashioned a half-century of political order. The question nonetheless arises: Should they be lauded for that? In this chapter, I view Africa’s history through the lens of comparative history and argue that the imperial peace may have retarded Africa’s development.
Africa is largely agrarian and the performance of agriculture shapes the performance of its economies. It has long been argued that economic development in Africa is strongly conditioned by politics. Recent changes in Africa’s political systems enables us to test this argument and, by extension, broader claims about the impact of political institutions on economic development. Building on a recent analysis of total factor productivity growth in African agriculture, we find that the introduction of competitive presidential elections in the last decades of the 20th Century appears to have altered political incentives, resulting in policy reforms that have enhanced the performance of farmers.
We revisit Lipset’s law, which posits a positive and significant relationship between income and democracy. Using dynamic and heterogeneous panel data estimation techniques, we find a significant and negative relationship between income and democracy: higher/lower incomes per capita hinder/trigger democratization. We thus challenge the recent empirical literature that found no such significant relationship. We attribute this result to the nature of the tax base, and exploit additional sources of heterogeneity. Decomposing overall income per capita into its resource and non-resource components, we find that the coefficient on the latter is positive and significant while that on the former is significant but negative.
After briefly reviewing the new institutionalism, this article uses the history of political reform in Africa to test its key tenet: that power, if properly organized, is a productive resource. It does so by exploring the relationship between changes in political institutions and changes in economic performance, both at the macro- and the micro-level. The evidence indicates that political reform (Granger) causes increases in GDP per capita in the African subset of global data. And, at the micro-level, it demonstrates that changes in national political institutions in Africa strongly relate to changes in total factor productivity in agriculture.