Publications

2008
Beckfield, Jason. 2008. The Dual World Polity: Fragmentation and Integration in the Network of Intergovernmental Organizations.Abstract
A growing body of research demonstrates powerful effects of international organizations on national policy, and the literature on international conflict is increasingly adopting a network perspective on international organizations, but we still know little about the network structure of the world polity itself. This is surprising in light of the theoretical implications of world polity theory, world systems theory, and the world civilizations approach to the structure of the world polity. Using data on a set of prominent intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), along with a comparison to the complete population of IGOs, this study examines the world polity as a network structured by symbolic and material conflict. Network analysis reveals a contradictory duality in the structure of the world polity: while states are densely interconnected through international organizations, these international organizations are only sparsely interconnected. Contrary to world polity theory, world system position and world civilization predict position in the world polity. These results show that, in neglecting the network structure of the world polity, previous research has underestimated the extent of structural inequality in the world polity. Because embeddedness in the world polity has such powerful effects on state policies, international trade, and international conflict, the centralization and fragmentation of the world polity may have disintegrative implications for world politics.
Meierhenrich, Jens. 2008. The Legacies of Law. Cambridge University Press. WebsiteAbstract
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.
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).
Toft, Monica Duffy. 2008. Why Islam Lies at the Heart of Iraq's Civil War. WebsiteAbstract
It matters what we call things. It took too long for the Bush administration to admit that its intended liberation of Iraq had become an occupation, that US forces faced a home-grown insurgency there, and that a transition to Iraqi democracy might not result in a nation that supports US interests. Finally, not until 2007 did the Pentagon acknowledge that Iraqi sectarian violence had crossed a threshold to become a civil war. But policymakers still haven't come to terms with the implications of that fact. If they did, they'd see that a wisely executed withdrawal of US-led forces could well be the surest path to peace. That's because withdrawal is likely to transform the fighting in Iraq into a defensive struggle for power in a nation-state, as opposed to an offensive battle rooted in religion. The evidence overwhelmingly suggests that the war in Iraq is a religious civil war and that—even putting aside Al Qaeda in Iraq—Islam is at the heart of it for three reasons. First, Iraq's Sunnis and Shiites themselves see the war in these terms. They identify first and foremost as Shiites and Sunnis. Second, they use religious identity both to target opponents and define threats. Finally, they have appealed beyond the borders of Iraq for aid—fighters, arms, cash—in religious terms. Islam is not based in a specific territory; it is a transnational faith that unites its community, or umma, in the minds of men. Further, Islam does not have one leader who can dictate what is right or who is wrong. The absence of an ultimate authority figure means that Shiites—who, unlike Sunnis, believe that religious scholars are needed to help interpret the will of God—often latch on to charismatic imams. This helps explain why the cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has recently committed himself to further religious study in Iran. It also helps to explain why Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will fail to gain acceptance as a leader among the vast majority of Iraq's Shiite population. Not only does Mr. Maliki not have support in the street—his government's failure to deliver even basic security and life's needs is apparent to most Iraqis—but he has no religious credentials of his own to fall back on. By contrast, Mr. Sadr's ability to deliver security and services through his Mahdi Army, and his authority as cleric and the son of the martyred Grand Ayatollah Mohammed al-Sadr, has assured him a devoted following. Sectarian conflict in Iraq was previously limited to fighting between Sunnis and Shiites. But today, the conflict has grown to include Shiites against fellow Shiites. Despite signs that security has improved, the religious civil wars in Iraq may have only just begun. My research on civil wars from 1940 to 2000 highlights three important facts about such wars, all of which apply to Iraq. First, nearly half of all ongoing civil wars (46 percent) involve religion in some form. Second, Islam has been involved in more than 80 percent of all religious civil wars. Third, religious civil wars are less likely to end in negotiated settlement. Instead, combatants tend to duke it out until one side achieves victory. In Iraq, a negotiated settlement is going to be very difficult for two reasons. First, the Shiites will want to remain in almost complete control due to two entirely legitimate concerns: (1) fears of Sunni repression as experienced in the past, and (2) a sense of majority-rule justice. Second, the Shiites themselves are divided on how Iraq should be ruled, so it's difficult to know whom to bargain with on the Shiite side, and therefore who can credibly commit to abide by the terms of any settlement. What then can the United States and its allies do to bring about a negotiated settlement? Ironically, the best way to support a negotiated settlement would be to leave Iraq. The withdrawal of US forces would allow Iraq's predominantly Arab Shiites and Sunnis to find common interest in opposing their two more classical historical adversaries: Kurds and Persians. The longer the US and Britain stay, the more they facilitate a shift away from the identity that long unified Iraq to the religious identity that is tearing it apart and facilitating its manipulation by Iran. There are three obvious downsides to this approach. First, the end of violence in Iraq following a US withdrawal would lead to the emergence of a nonsecular, nondemocratic government in Iraq. It would be more friendly toward Iran (though not Iran's puppet, as currently feared), but less friendly toward Israel, although a democratic Iraq would be no improvement in this regard. Second, since US withdrawal has been conditioned on a de-escalation of violence in Iraq, the Bush and Brown governments would be left the unenviable task of explaining to their countries that "withdrawal is the best way to create the conditions for, withdrawal." Third, withdrawal before violence has fully ceased will look like failure to most Americans and Britons. The idea of victory versus failure is really a false dichotomy, however. The real choice for US and British policymakers is between the more costly failure that will obtain from current policy and the less costly failure that might obtain from a well-thought-out and well-executed withdrawal.
Clark, William C, Michael Devereux, and Henry Lee. 2008. Biofuels and Sustainable Development.Abstract
The goals and concerns surrounding the debate over government policies related to the greater use and production of biofuels were addressed in an executive session convened by the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the Venice International University on May 19-20, 2008. The session attracted more than 25 of the world's leading experts from the fields of policy, science, and business to San servolo Island for an intensive two day session (see Appendix A for a list of the participants). The discussions were off-the-record, with each participant present in his or her own capacity, rather than representing an organization. The session was one in a series on Grand Challenges of the Sustainability Transition organized by the Sustainability Science Program at Harvard University with the generous support of the Italian Ministry for Environment, Land, and Sea. This particular session was held as part of the Ministry's ongoing work with the Global Bioenergy Program established at the G8 Gleneagles Summit in 2005. This summary report of the session is our synthesis of the main points and arguments that emerged from the discussions. It does not represent a consensus document, since no effort was made at the Session to arrive at a a single consensus view. Rather, we report here on what we heard to be the major themes discussed at the session. Any errors or misrepresentations remain solely our responsibility.
Also CID Working Paper No. 174 and BCSIA Working Paper, July 2008.Download PDF
Rodrik, Dani. 2008. Normalizing Industrial Policy.Abstract
The theoretical case for industrial policy is a strong one. The market failures that industrial policies target—in markets for credit, labor, products, and knowledge—have long been at the core of what development economists study. The conventional case against industrial policy rests on practical difficulties with its implementation. Even though the issues could in principle be settled by empirical evidence, the evidence to date remains uninformative. Moreover, the conceptual difficulties involved in statistical inference in this area are so great that it is hard to see how statistical evidence could ever yield a convincing verdict. A review of industrial policy in three nonAsian settings—El Salvador, Uruguay, and South Africa—highlights the extensive amount of industrial policy that is already being carried out and frames the need for industrial policy in the specific circumstances of individual countries. The traditional informational and bureaucratic constraints on the exercise of industrial policy are not givens; they can be molded and rendered less binding through appropriate institutional design. Three key design attributes that industrial policy must possess are embeddedness, carrots-and-sticks, and accountability.
Also published as a Commission on Growth and Development Working Paper No. 3, Washington, DC, 2008.Download PDF
Miller, Manjari. 2008. India's Global Ambition and the Nuclear Deal. WebsiteAbstract
Unlike China, India doesn't have a clear vision for its role in the world.For three decades, India has craved a nuclear energy deal that would bring prestige and advanced technology. Yet when the coalition government declared this week that it would move ahead with one, it triggered a crisis and a no-confidence motion in Parliament, which it had to scramble to survive.Watching this drama unfold, the international community may be forgiven for feeling a little baffled. After all, the landmark Indo-US nuclear deal is immensely advantageous for India. It allows India to buy nuclear technology from the US in exchange for abiding by International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards. It would give India's growing economy much-needed energy without endangering its strategic capabilities or influencing its sovereignty in foreign policy.To understand the political anguish and hand-wringing in India over a nuclear deal with the US, one needs to understand a very simple fact. Unlike China, its rival rising power, India lacks a grand strategy or concept of its role in the world. India thinks it should be a great power but has no clear vision of its path. In contrast, China thinks it is a great power and expends a great deal of time and energy outlining its "peaceful rise" to itself and the world.China's rise on the world stage is constantly discussed by Chinese academics, journalists, policy experts, political leaders, and the elite. This discourse emphasizes that despite China's growing power and the need for resources and markets, it will not pursue militarization and hegemony as Germany and Japan did before and during World War II.Rather, it intends to rise peacefully and harmoniously. Simultaneously, this idea draws on the concept of tianxia ("all under heaven") which, simply put, promotes order over chaos and has been key to understanding governance in China for the past 2,000 years. With defined ideas of the world and their role in the world, China acts like a confident great power and pursues its international goals with single-minded zeal.The last time India had a defined concept of its international role, Jawaharlal Nehru was the prime minister. Nehru made some notable foreign policy mistakes, particularly his disastrous Forward Policy that resulted in the 1962 war and bitter defeat at the hands of China.But there is no doubt the man was a visionary. Designed by Nehru, the Non-aligned Movement (NAM) was a domestic and international triumph for India. It was poor, struggling to develop economically and militarily, but there was a sense of purpose and national pride that it had, at least, cornered the moral market in international relations and assumed the leadership of the developing nations.Post Nehru and post cold war, India failed to adapt or abandon NAM, even when it had little significance. Nor, unlike China after Mao, did any Indian leader articulate an alternate ideology of the world and India's role in it.It is, therefore, not surprising that such bitter ideological divisions now exist in India. What is the way forward for India as a would-be great power? Does signing a nuclear deal with the US make its old antagonist its new BFF? Does it mean that even paying lip service to the long-obsolete idea of NAM is no longer possible? Or does great power mean, as the communists suggest, proudly rejecting the nuclear deal and thereby showing the international community who's boss?Even as the nuclear deal steams ahead, unless India articulates a vision for itself and gains the confidence of a great power, such splits will continue to plague its international relationships and negotiations.Manjari Chatterjee Miller is a post-doctoral fellow at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and an affiliate of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. She is working on a book about Indian and Chinese foreign policy.
Abrami, Regina M, Edmund Malesky, and Yu Zheng. 2008. Accountability and Inequality in Single-Party Regimes: A Comparative Analysis of Vietnam and China.Abstract
Over the past two decades, no two economies have averaged more rapid economic growth than China and Vietnam. But while China's income inequality has risen rapidly over that same time frame, Vietnam's has only grown moderately. Structural and socio-cultural determinants fail to account for these divergent pathways. Existing political variables are also unhelpful. China and Vietnam are coded in exactly the same way, even in the path-breaking work on authoritarian regimes. In this paper, we take a deeper look at political institutions in the two countries, demonstrating that profound differences between the polities directly impact distributional choices. In particular, we find that Vietnamese elite institutions require construction of broader coalitions of policymakers, place more constraints on executive decision making, and have more competitive selection processes. As a result, there are stronger political motivations for Vietnamese leaders to provide equalizing transfers that limit inequality growth.
Also Harvard Business School Working Paper No. 08-099.Download PDF
Kremer, Michael, and Mary Kay Gugerty. 2008. Outside Funding and the Dynamics of Participation in Community Associations. American Journal of Political Science. WebsiteAbstract
The poor and disadvantaged are widely seen as having weak organizations and low rates of participation in community associations, impeding their political representation and economic advancement. Many policy initiatives aim to build civic participation among the disadvantaged by funding local community associations. Taking advantage of random assignment in a program supporting women’s community associations in Kenya, we find little evidence that outside funding expanded organizational strength, but substantial evidence that funding changed group membership and leadership, weakening the role of the disadvantaged. The program led younger, more educated, and better-off women to enter the groups.New entrants, men, and more educated women assumed leadership positions. The departure of older women, the most socially marginalized demographic group, increased substantially. The results are generalized through a formal model showing how democratic decision making by existing members of community associations can generate long-run outcomes in which the poor and disadvantaged either do not belong to any associations or belong to weak organizations.
Sheehan, Edward RF. 2008. Bush's doomed Mideast peace efforts. WebsiteAbstract
President Bush does not seem to know it yet, but his peace plan for the Middle East is moribund. That is my chief impression from a recent three-month journey through the troubled region. A viable Palestinian state will not exist by the time Bush leaves office. Nor will one exist, probably, in the predictable future—not least because of the failures of US policy.Cynicism prevails among Palestinians, and Israelis also. Azmi Bishara, a prominent Palestinian intellectual, decries what he calls “the Palestine settlement industry—that inexhaustible source of quasi-initiatives [and] pseudo-dialogues” that after 41 years of harsh Israeli occupation have led nowhere. To virtually every Palestinian I talked to, Bush's peace process has become a black comedy.To them, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has become a forlorn figure, frequently flying to Jerusalem to entreat the Israelis to remove roadblocks and cease building settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and then the Israelis blithely do the opposite. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in his grandfatherly way has become a nearly pathetic figure—regarded by his own people as an American stooge, dependent on the United States to pay his huge bureaucracy, and constantly disappointed by Bush's refusal to pressure Israel.The Israeli government is split between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, the stronger of the two. Olmert fears for the future of Israel as a Jewish state under Palestinian demographic pressure and favors some sort of peace deal, but he will soon resign from office on accusations of corruption. Barak is leisurely in cracking down on settlements and wants to delay a final deal indefinitely.Israeli peace advocates complain that the army in effect has a veto over Olmert and slows down or sabotages civilian orders to remove roadblocks and settlement outposts. Even if an accord is achieved before Bush leaves office, it will probably be no more than a cloudy declaration of goals that would take many years to implement. Olmert has admitted that no agreement on the division of Jerusalem can be reached this year.Bush has done little to satisfy the Palestinians who entrusted their fate to November's Annapolis declaration, which promised “every effort” to conclude an agreement on a two-state solution before the end of 2008. At the White House in April, Abbas told Bush that when the Palestinian negotiators saw the latest Israeli proposals, they laughed. According to the eminent Israeli analyst Akiva Eldar, Olmert and his foreign minister Tzipi Livni demanded all of East Jerusalem except the Temple Mount, much of the Jordan Valley except for a walled enclave around Jericho, and the retention of all settlement clusters, such as Ariel in the heart of the West Bank.The territory reserved for the Palestinians would be a patchwork of Bantustans cut off from Jerusalem with no continuity, no sovereignty, and subject still to incursions by the Israeli Army. A referendum containing such limitations would inevitably be rejected by the Palestinian population.A struggle resumes?When the peace process collapses, as seems so likely, the broad Palestinian struggle will probably resume. Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, the dynamic physician who heads the Palestinian National Initiative, told me in Ramallah that he hopes the struggle will be Gandhian and peaceful. But Nasser al-Qudawi, Yasser Arafat's nephew, thinks not.“The resistance will resume,” Qudawi told me, “but it will bring more splintering of Palestinian society, more extremism, and more blood.” In the West Bank, Hamas and Islamic Jihad may flourish. Will Hamas fire rockets at Israel from the West Bank?Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants have launched thousands of primitive Qassam rockets from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel since 2000, killing 17 Israeli civilians, wounding scores, and destroying much property. Yet more than 2,000 Palestinian civilians, many of them children, have been killed by Israeli retaliatory attacks, and it is heart-rending to tour tiny Gaza and witness the devastation.In the north of the Gaza Strip sits a lake of human waste. It exudes the stench of excrement and is threatening to burst because the Israelis have rationed the importation of cement. The waste seeps into the ground of Gaza and pollutes the aquifers, causing rampant diarrhea and infestations that afflict children most.At Khan Younis near the sea, buildings chopped in half by Israeli bombs are still inhabited, and laundry hangs from the ruins. A man named Ahmed, who has lost a leg, invites me upstairs into his flat to meet his wife and 10 children. The ceiling sags. “Aren't you afraid it will collapse?” I ask. “We have nowhere else to go," he answers.Since Hamas chased Abbas's secular government out of Gaza in June 2007, it has governed the Strip untainted by the Fatah faction's corruption and with modest benefits to the population of 1.5 million. Women feel compelled to wear the veil, the sexes are rigidly separated, and the judiciary can be severe. Sharia law has not been officially introduced, but the trend is toward more Islamization.The Internet is monitored for pornography, but Hamas has cracked down on more radical Islamist groups that have attacked Internet café's. The police seem everywhere, but they have generally imposed order. Hamas's rivalry with Fatah remains savage. Despite recent efforts at reconciliation, blood continues to be shed between them.The role of HamasSheikh Ahmed Yassin, the mystical quadriplegic who founded Hamas, said that the fate of Israel must be left to the will of God and future generations of Palestinians. But in June 2006 Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh declared Hamas's willingness to sign a document jointly with all Palestinian factions that it accepts Israel's existence. Hamas will not formally recognize Israel, preferring to offer only a hudna, a truce of 10 or even 30 years. But Hamas would accept a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that produces an independent Palestinian state on the pre-1967 borders.Israel and the United States have shunned Hamas until it explicitly recognizes Israel, and they have discouraged Abbas from negotiating with it. Bush regards Hamas not as a government but as purely a terrorist organization, as if any peace could be achieved by excluding more than a third of the Palestinian people. Barak believes that in good time and by brute force he can emasculate Hamas and crush its governance of Gaza.Yet in mid-June, Israel accepted a cease-fire of six months in Gaza mediated by the Egyptians. The agreement won Israel a reprieve from Qassam rockets, and Hamas a suspension of Israel's military attacks and an easing of its economic blockade of Gaza. The deal was acclaimed in the Arab world, and deplored in Israel, as a victory for Hamas.Hamas did not surrender in Gaza; its crude rockets forced Israel to sue for calm. To Palestinians, Hamas proved its creed that Israel understands only the language of force. Not only have Israel and the United States failed to topple the Hamas government, but Hamas has forced Israel to deal with it—even as President Abbas has achieved so little in his negotiations with Israel.The Israelis fear that Hamas will use the calm to regroup its militia of perhaps 15,000 men and import more arms, and they may be right. The asymmetrical warfare between Israel and Hamas may continue in cycles, periods of quiet interspersed with periods of great violence and attrition, for many years. The Palestinians of Gaza have proved their capacity to absorb suffering. Though the West Bank is more bourgeois, it may come to do likewise under the banner of resistance.Many secular Palestinian intellectuals have despaired of a two-state solution and have resumed their old dream of a unitary, democratic state for Jews and Arabs in all of historical Palestine. But there might still be a meager chance of achieving a two-state solution, depending on the will of the next US president.Will he exert effective pressure not only on the Palestinians to end all violence, but on Israel to evacuate the settlements and retreat substantially to the borders of 1967? Should he do so, he will need also to create a formula to include Hamas in the solution if he truly wants peace. Paradoxically, the key to peace may be held by Hamas.Edward R.F. Sheehan is a former fellow of Harvard's Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.
Massari, Maurizio. 2008. Russia can play a vital role in the west’s security. WebsiteAbstract
The enlargement of NATO to include Georgia and Ukraine could become the most dangerous spoiler in relations between Russia and the west next year. It would also set the new US president off to a bad start. If NATO’s foreign ministers were to decide in December that the two former Soviet republics were ready for the membership action plan and if Russia retaliated by freezing its relations with the alliance, that would create a lose-lose situation for everybody—for NATO, for Russia and, ultimately, also for Kiev and Tbilisi. An already nationalistic Russia would fall prey to its fear of being encircled again and it would dangerously isolate itself from the west. The alliance, in turn, would revert to its 20th-century raison d’être—containing an increasingly hostile Russia—instead of focusing on more crucial tasks, including its adaptation to the new security challenges. This would further exacerbate the rifts within the European Union over its Russia policy. But in a different scenario, could Georgia’s and Ukraine’s legitimate aspiration to join the alliance turn a potential spoiler into a win-win situation for both NATO and Russia? Yes, it could, but only if both sides show political courage. Contrary to today’s received wisdom, Georgia’s and Ukraine’s wish to join the alliance could provide the right conditions for two positive developments: NATO could at last shake off its legacy as a cold war and anti-Russian alliance; and a new mindset could take hold in Russia, involving a vision of security based on co-operation, not on competition or on spheres of influence. How can this be achieved? A strategy based on three elements could work. First, the US, NATO, Russia, the EU and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe should forge a new compact jointly to manage security threats in their common neighbourhood, which stretches from Ukraine, through the Caucasus to Central Asia (an area whose geostrategic importance has grown as a result of the conflict in Afghanistan). The group of these organizations would share responsibility for combating common threats in the area, ranging from terrorism to Islamic fundamentalism, to drug-trafficking and organized crime. They would also commit themselves to finally resolving the frozen conflicts in Transnistria, Abkhazia and Nagorno-Karabakh.Russia has been resentful of the west since the end of the cold war, claiming that it is unfairly treated as a junior partner and demanding formal recognition as an equal. A new security compact would grant Russia that status: the sharing of power between Russia, the EU, NATO, the US and the OSCE would go hand in hand with shared responsibility for “securing security”. The new compact should complement these institutions, not replace them. Second, within this new co-operative security framework Russia would shelve its opposition to Georgia and Ukraine accessing the membership access plan. In fact, if NATO becomes part of a larger, co-operative security framework in which Russia is an equal partner, Moscow should have nothing to fear from Georgian or Ukrainian membership. Indeed, Moscow would benefit from the fact that NATO membership would encourage its two neighbors to become more responsible regional players. Russia would thus boost its legitimacy in the eyes of the “new” Europe, which still mistrusts it and sees it as a sovereign democracy bent on denying sovereignty to others. Finally, in return for Russia shelving its opposition to the membership access plan, both Georgia and Ukraine would commit to negotiating new bilateral pacts of friendship and co-operation with Russia to consolidate trust.Implementing such a strategy depends on both the west and Russia showing the political will to do so. In just over a year we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the end of the cold war. What better way could there be to dispel the tensions between Russia and the west than to work together in addressing the common challenges of the 21th century? A US-Russia-NATO-EU-OSCE summit and the signing of a new Eurasian security charter could help to consign this hangover from the past to the archives and allow us to start afresh. It is high time that happened. A reformulation of the terms of security co-operation between the west and Russia in their common neighbourhood would also bode well for future co-operation in other hot areas, with Iran and Afghanistan heading the list.
Sen, Amartya. 2008. The Rich Get Hungrier. WebsiteAbstract
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.
Allison, Graham T., Jr. 2008. Sitting Down at the Nuclear Table with Iran. WebsiteAbstract
IN A SPEECH this week, Iran's supreme leader found himself in rare agreement with President Bush. Echoing Bush's judgment that nuclear terrorism is "the single most serious threat to American national security," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned that, "sooner or later, international terrorists will get their hands on nuclear weapons and bring the security of the world…to an end."Bush has insisted that "for the sake of peace, the world must not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon." Unfortunately, however, as a result of the failure of the Bush administration's strategy toward Iran, today Tehran stands seven years further down its path to nuclear weapons than it did on Jan. 20, 2001. Specifically, when Bush entered office, Iran had no operational uranium enrichment facilities. Today, as last month's International Atomic Energy Agency report documents, Iran is operating 3,492 centrifuges in a cascade that has produced 500 pounds of low-enriched uranium. This is one-third of what is required for Iran's first nuclear bomb.The Bush administration's strategy to prevent Iran's mastering technology for enriching uranium and producing nuclear weapons has been characterized as a "diplomatic slow squeeze." The administration has hoped that UN Security Council resolutions isolating Iran, enforced by sanctions, would persuade Tehran to suspend enrichment activity. Ironically, the IAEA chose Memorial Day to inform its member governments that for the third time, Iran has stiffed the demands of the Security Council resolution.In baseball, it's three strikes and you're out. After the undeniable failure of the third Security Council resolution imposing sanctions to slow Iran's nuclear program, Bush's Iran strategists should recognize that they have struck out.Hoping to divert attention from this record, the Bush administration has further confused the issue with exaggerated rhetorical attacks on those who advocate an alternative strategy of direct diplomacy including negotiations. Speaking to the Israeli Knesset on the 60th anniversary of Israel's creation, Bush accused proponents of negotiations with unfriendly regimes of "appeasement." More diplomatically, but equally pointedly, in addressing the American Israel Public Affairs Committee this week, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called for another dose of the same medicine the administration has been prescribing, and sought to shift the blame to Iran, asserting that "The real question is: Why won't Tehran talk to us?"Facts are only obliquely relevant to political debate. But for the record, the charge of appeasement leveled against British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain focused not on his willingness to talk, but on his unwillingness to act. In the run-up to World War II, negotiation was not the issue. The question was whether Britain and France would act when Adolf Hitler violated Germany's Versailles Treaty commitments.Winston Churchill criticized the governments for capitulating when Hitler remilitarized the Rhineland, arguing that if they had responded, "There is no doubt that Hitler would have been compelled by his own General Staff to withdraw.…They had only to act to win." Instead, a confident Hitler went on to absorb Austria, and after Munich, Czechoslovakia.If Bush recognized the fact that his diplomatic squeeze has failed, and asked what he could do in his final eight months to advance US interests in relations with Iran, he would not have to look beyond his own Cabinet.In a 2004 report titled "Iran: Now is the Time for a New Approach," Defense Secretary Robert Gates urged that "the United States deal with the current regime rather than wait for it to fall." When asked about this recommendation during recent testimony on the Hill, Gates noted that he had been "in a happier place" then.But it is clear that Gates remains convinced that direct negotiations are imperative for solving the nuclear standoff. As he told the Academy of American Diplomacy last month, "We need to figure out a way to develop some leverage…and then sit down and talk with them."Negotiations are never certain to yield results. The alternative, a world of nuclear anarchy, is of great concern to both nations. Having seen the results of seven years of nonengagement, Bush could do his successor—whether Democrat or Republican—a great favor by proposing to negotiate with Iran now.Graham Allison is a Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate; Douglas Dillon Professor of Government and Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
Petersohn, Ulrich. 2008. Outsourcing the Big Stick: The Consequences of Using Private Military Companies.Abstract
The outsourcing of military functions is always accompanied by a loss of control over the use of force. Whereas the variances in handling consequences by weak versus strong states have already been addressed in other studies, we know little about the causes of differences among strong states. I will argue that strong states are very well aware of the risk of losing control by outsourcing. In order to mitigate the risk, they develop outsourcing strategies. The strategies of the two states considered here—the United States and Germany—are similar. Despite the resemblance, the U.S. Army faces much greater losses of control than does the German Bundeswehr. This is the result of differences in the compliance with their respective strategies. Whereas the Bundeswehr almost always sticks to its strategy, the U.S. Army instead violates it in numerous cases. This difference can be explained by the different scopes of the two forces’ demand-capability gap, a factor that directly affects compliance-behavior with the strategy. The larger the gap, the less compliance is shown and the greater the loss of control. Since the U.S. Army experiences a larger gap than the Bundeswehr, the former suffers a greater loss of control.
Theidon, Kimberly S. 2008. Histories of Innocence: Post-War Stories in Peru.Abstract
On November 1, 2006, Peruvian president Alan García announced he would be proposing a new law that would include the death penalty as one sanction for terrorism in the Penal Code. As he argued, “We are not going to allow Shining Path to return and paint their slogans on the walls of our universities. Once this law is approved, anyone who commits the serious crime of terrorism will find themselves facing a firing squad. A war forewarned does not kill people.” As one might imagine, García’s comments sparked intense debate in Peru, a country in which a series of democratically elected governments waged a twenty-year war against terrorism. President García himself presided over one of those previous administrations from 1985-1990, and he would subsequently be named as one of the political leaders alleged to have abdicated democratic authority in an effort to finish terrorism by whatever means necessary. In its 2003 Final Report, the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission determined that the country’s twenty-year war on terror resulted in the greatest loss of human life and resources in all of Peru’s history as a republic. However, listening to President García three years after the TRC completed its work, I did not hear Nunca Más; rather, his words provoked a disturbing sense of déjà vu.
Forthcoming in Beyond the Toolkit: Rethinking the Paradigm of Transitional Justice. Rosalind Shaw, Lars Waldorf and Pierre Hazan, eds. Stanford University Press, Studies in Human Rights, 2009.Download PDF
Rodrik, Dani. 2008. One Economics, Many Recipes: Globalization, Institutions, and Economic Growth. Princeton University Press. WebsiteAbstract
Poor countries become rich not by following in suit of their predecessors but rather by overcoming their own highly specific constraints. While economic globalization can be a boon for countries that are trying to dig themselves out of poverty, success usually requires following policies that are tailored to local economic and political realities rather than obeying the dictates of the international globalization establishment. One Economics, Many Recipes shows how successful countries craft their own unique growth strategies and what other countries can learn from them.
Heymann, Philip B. 2008. Living the Policy Process. Oxford University Press. WebsiteAbstract
Policymaking in large bureaucracies is hardly a simple process. Even the most respected policymakers have to contend with obstacles that seemingly have little to do with the issue at hand—office politics, work structure, and shifting political environments. Yet learning to manage such complex environments is necessary for good policymaking. In Living the Policy Process, Philip Heymann outlines the complex thought processes of policymakers as they struggle to influence both foreign and domestic policy decisions from within the United States government bureaucracy. Focusing on three critical situations to illuminate the politics of policy choice—the successful attempt to sell missiles to the Mujahideen in Afghanistan in the 1980s; the Iran-Contra scandal; and the FDA's attempt to regulate smoking as well as the efforts to do the same by an outside lobbyist—Heymann dissects the intuitive yet rigorous framework that highly skilled policymakers follow to influence government outcomes. Throughout, he offers detailed accounts of the policy process at work in the Reagan, first Bush, and Clinton administrations, from the cabinet level down to the middle tiers of the federal bureaucracy.Heymann deftly describes the shifting real-world conditions that government officials face as they struggle to shape the policy agenda. Ultimately, Living the Policy Process offers a clear, incisive look at the complex considerations involved from all perspectives, with concrete examples, and enriches the understanding of the overall policy process for students, scholars, and practitioners.
Colton, Timothy J. 2008. Yeltsin: A Life. Basic Books. WebsiteAbstract
Even after his death in April 2007, Boris Yeltsin remains the most controversial figure in recent Russian history. Although Mikhail Gorbachev presided over the decline of the Communist party and the withdrawal of Soviet control over eastern Europe, it was Yeltsin-Russia’s first elected president-who buried the Soviet Union itself. Upon taking office, Yeltsin quickly embarked on a sweeping makeover of newly democratic Russia, beginning with a program of excruciatingly painful market reforms that earned him wide acclaim in the West and deep recrimination from many Russian citizens. In this, the first biography of Yeltsin’s entire life, Soviet scholar Timothy Colton traces Yeltsin’s development from a peasant boy in the Urals to a Communist party apparatchik, and then ultimately to a nemesis of the Soviet order. Based on unprecedented interviews with Yeltsin himself as well as scores of other Soviet officials, journalists, and businessmen, Colton explains how and why Yeltsin broke with single-party rule and launched his drive to replace it with democracy. Yeltsin’s colossal attempt to bring democracy to Russia remains one of the great, unfinished stories of our time. As anti-Western policies and rhetoric resurface in Putin’s increasingly bellicose Russia, Yeltsin offers essential insights into the past, present, and future of this vast and troubled nation.
Kremer, Michael, Asim Khwaja, and David Clingingsmith. 2008. Estimating the Impact of the Hajj: Religion and Tolerance in Islam’s Global Gathering.Abstract
We estimate the impact on pilgrims of performing the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. Our method compares successful and unsuccessful applicants in a lottery used by Pakistan to allocate Hajj visas. Pilgrim accounts stress that the Hajj leads to a feeling of unity with fellow Muslims, but outsiders have sometimes feared that this could be accompanied by antipathy toward non-Muslims. We find that participation in the Hajj increases observance of global Islamic practices such as prayer and fasting while decreasing participation in localized practices and beliefs such as the use of amulets and dowry. It increases belief in equality and harmony among ethnic groups and Islamic sects and leads to more favorable attitudes toward women, including greater acceptance of female education and employment. Increased unity within the Islamic world is not accompanied by antipathy toward non-Muslims. Instead, Hajjis show increased belief in peace, and in equality and harmony among adherents of different religions. The evidence suggests that these changes are more a result of exposure to and interaction with Hajjis from around the world, rather than religious instruction or a changed social role of pilgrims upon return.
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.