Probing the work of C. P. Cavafy has been intriguing for me, not only because he is one of the most influential figures in twentieth-century European aesthetic culture, but also for another reason: as Cavafy records in his diary of his first trip to Greece in 1901 (written in English), he was positively predisposed toward the work of Georgios Roilos, an influential late nineteenth-early twentieth-century Greek painter, among the first to introduce impressionism in Greece, a professor and mentor of, among other artists, Giorgio de Chirico. In his diary entry for June 28, 1901, Cavafy reports that he visited Roilos in his studio and enjoyed his painting "The Battle of Pharsala": "At 4:30 I took the direction of the Polytechneion. The first person I met in the Odos Patision was Tsocopoulo [sic], who accompanied me to the Polytechneion and conducted me to the painter Roilos's study to see this artist's great picture 'The Battle of Pharsala.'" That encounter of the poet with the painter is one of the stories often narrated at home when I was a child—stories that later determined my scholarly attachment to cultural history and art.
This week, the Global Partnership for Education meets in Brussels with the hope of raising $3.5 billion for the education of the world’s most marginalized children. The countries furthest from Education for All (EFA) goals and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are settings of fragility. These countries have traditionally been challenged to attract funding, with overseas development assistance (ODA) channeled primarily toward “good performers” with strong records of good governance. The assumption has been that investment in education is only wise once good governance has been established.
The Global Partnership for Education’s (GPE) new investment strategy, however, turns this assumption on its head. The number of fragile states funded by GPE, for example, grew exponentially, from 1 in 2003 (when GPE was called the Fast Track Initiative) to 22 in 2013. Can investment in education strengthen governance? The GPE’s investment suggests a belief in this pathway. What does the evidence say?
A Dynamic Relationship
Today at the GPE replenishment meetings in Brussels, director of the Brookings Center for Universal Education Rebecca Winthrop will present our exploratory analysis of the connections between universal education and good governance. We have found unmistakable relationships between universal education and good governance. The direction and strength of these relationships, however, remain murky. Does good governance lead to universal education? Does universal education lead to good governance? The answer, in both cases, is likely yes.
The direction of causality is still uncertain, but our exploratory analyses show a stronger relationship between high levels of education in the mid-1990s and good governance in recent years than vice versa.
It appears that there are multiple relationships between universal education and good governance, and that they may be cyclical and mutually reinforcing. Of particular interest are the characteristics of education systems and the content of education, which may mediate the effects of universal education on governance.
How Might Education Improve Governance?
Overall, we see the potential of universal education—for which we use primary net enrollment and primary survival rates as proxies—to act on three elements of governance: voice and accountability, control of corruption, and political instability and violence. These are the three elements of the World Bank’s Good Governance Indicators that we find to be most relevant to education. Across these domains, there are three key mechanisms by which universal education might promote good governance:
The development of a more informed citizenry promotes voice and accountability. Education can be essential for citizens to access and act on information. The ability to access information relates not only to literacy rates; it also relates to other school-acquired knowledge required to comprehend and analyze information and to act civically. For example, math skills allow citizens to understand if their schools are being cheated out of funds, and general knowledge of a political system enables citizens to understand how best to influence it.
The socialization into norms, including attachment to the state, helps control corruption. Education socializes citizens. It can do so in ways that lead both toward and away from good governance. It can lead people to feel greater attachment to the nation state. This greater attachment brings with it greater expectations for honest government, which is associated with increased state capacity, or strong institutions. These strong institutions are less likely to exhibit corruption (and they also feed back into strengthening education). On the other hand, the content of education can serve to distance citizens from the nation state: curriculum can reveal explicit or subtle discrimination toward particular ethnic, religious, or political groups and can increase social distance between diverse groups, while rationalizing or reproducing intergroup grievances. In this way, education can build greater mistrust within government institutions thereby perpetuating weak governance.
Increases in economic equality can reduce political instability and violence. Education can lead to greater productivity, which in turn can create conditions for economic equality. Greater economic equality leads back into more demand for education, which in turn leads to stronger demands on the state by more citizens and decreased elite power, resulting in lowered corruption. Greater economic equality is also associated with political stability and lack of violence. Unequal access to education or lack of access to quality education, however, does not increase economic equality.
Not All Universal Education Is Created Equal
Across all three mechanisms, the nature of both the structure of education systems and content of teaching and learning are critical. In particular, education that is inclusive and relevant may have positive effects on governance, while education that alienates or marginalizes individuals and groups or that lacks relevance to the aspirations and possible livelihoods of students may have negative effects on governance. For example, the content and skills about which a citizenry is “informed” through education determine whether and how individuals have voice, seek accountability and counter corruption. Similarly, the inclusivity and relevance of the norms into which citizens are socialized appear to form a dividing line between strong and weak governance. Further, increases in economic equality by definition reflect inclusion so that all citizens can have voice, seek accountability, counter corruption, and work to support rule of law and against political instability and violence.
Overall, in our exploratory analyses, we see stronger correlations between governance indicators and education indicators in the mid-1990s than we do now. An important difference between these two times periods may be the quality of universal education. There is clear evidence that remarkable progress in increasing access to education since 2000 has often happened at the expense of quality. Indeed, not all universal education is created equal. Does the weaker correlation between universal education and good governance more recently reflect tangible differences in the quality of education? A research agenda going forward should be focused on determining the content and structures of education that are most likely to produce pathways to good governance.
The exchange rate is the most important price in any economy, since it affects all other prices. Exchange rates are set, either directly or indirectly, by government policy. Exchange rates are also central to the global economy, for they profoundly influence all international economic activity. Despite the critical role of exchange rate policy, there are few definitive explanations of why governments choose the currency policies they do. Filled with in-depth cases and examples, Currency Politics presents a comprehensive analysis of the politics surrounding exchange rates.
Identifying the motivations for currency policy preferences on the part of industries seeking to influence politicians, Jeffry Frieden shows how each industry's characteristics--including its exposure to currency risk and the price effects of exchange rate movements--determine those preferences. Frieden evaluates the accuracy of his theoretical arguments in a variety of historical and geographical settings: he looks at the politics of the gold standard, particularly in the United States, and he examines the political economy of European monetary integration. He also analyzes the politics of Latin American currency policy over the past forty years, and focuses on the daunting currency crises that have frequently debilitated Latin American nations, including Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil.
With an ambitious mix of narrative and statistical investigation, Currency Politics clarifies the political and economic determinants of exchange rate policies.
After a quarter-century of tightly focused studies, historians are addressing extended periods of time and the global dimensions of history. As Thomas Piketty did in “Capital in the 21st Century,”his excellent recent study of wealth and inequality, Sven Beckert takes the long view in “Empire of Cotton: A Global History.” Mr. Beckert’s book is more broadly framed and more readable, but at its heart, as in Mr. Piketty’s book, is inequality.
The history of an era often seems defined by a particular commodity. The 18th century certainly belonged to sugar. The race to cultivate it in the West Indies was, in the words of the French Enlightenment writer Guillaume-Thomas de Raynal, “the principal cause of the rapid movement which stirs the Universe.” In the 20th century and beyond, the commodity has been oil: determining events from the Allied partitioning of the Middle East after World War I to Hitler’s drive for Balkan and Caspian wells to the forging of our own fateful ties to the regimes of the Persian Gulf.
Harvard University’s Semitic Museum, lately undergoing an exciting resurgence, was founded in 1889 by Professor David Gordon Lyon. A southern Baptist from Alabama, Lyon was a charismatic scholar of ancient Mesopotamian scripts, and one of Harvard’s more dynamic and vital figures in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
What motivates individuals to participate in contentious, political forms of collective action? In this article, I consider the possibility that the promise of social esteem from an ingroup can act as a powerful selective incentive for individuals to participate in contentious politics. I conducted a field experiment—the first to my knowledge to take place in the context of a political march, rally, or social-identity event—to isolate this esteem mechanism from others. Using measures of intent to attend, actual attendance, and reported attendance at a gay and lesbian pride event in New Jersey, I find evidence that the promise of social esteem boosts all three measures of participation. The article offers new theoretical and practical implications for the study of participation in nonvoting forms of collective action.
The epic story of the rise and fall of the empire of cotton, its centrality to the world economy, and its making and remaking of global capitalism.
Cotton is so ubiquitous as to be almost invisible, yet understanding its history is key to understanding the origins of modern capitalism. Sven Beckert’s rich, fascinating book tells the story of how, in a remarkably brief period, European entrepreneurs and powerful statesmen recast the world’s most significant manufacturing industry, combining imperial expansion and slave labor with new machines and wage workers to change the world. Here is the story of how, beginning well before the advent of machine production in the 1780s, these men captured ancient trades and skills in Asia, and combined them with the expropriation of lands in the Americas and the enslavement of African workers to crucially reshape the disparate realms of cotton that had existed for millennia, and how industrial capitalism gave birth to an empire, and how this force transformed the world.
The empire of cotton was, from the beginning, a fulcrum of constant global struggle between slaves and planters, merchants and statesmen, workers and factory owners. Beckert makes clear how these forces ushered in the world of modern capitalism, including the vast wealth and disturbing inequalities that are with us today. The result is a book as unsettling as it is enlightening: a book that brilliantly weaves together the story of cotton with how the present global world came to exist.
Why do stateless nationalist movements change the area they see as appropriately constituting the nation-state they aspire to establish? This article draws a number of hypotheses from the literature on nationalism and state formation and compares the predictions of each about the timing, direction, and process of change to the empirical record in two stateless national movements in the post-Ottoman space: Fatah and the Macedonian Revolutionary Organization. Based on this investigation, the article argues that shifts in the areas stateless nationalist movements seek as their nation-states occur as a byproduct of the politically competitive domestic environment in which these movements are embedded. As nationalist movements engage in the competition for mundane power and survival, their leaders may alter their rhetoric about the extent of the desired national state to meet immediate political challenges that are often only loosely related to territorial issues. If these, initially tactical, rhetorical modulations successfully resolve the short-term challenges that spurred their adoption, they can become institutionalized as comprising the new territorial scope of the desired national state.
Elgar Advanced Introductions are stimulating and thoughtful introductions to major fields in the social sciences and law, expertly written by the world’s leading scholars. Designed to be accessible yet rigorous, they offer concise and lucid surveys of the substantive and policy issues associated with discrete subject areas.
Mark Tushnet, a world-renowned scholar of constitutional law, presents an introduction to comparative constitutional law through an analysis of topics at the cutting-edge of contemporary scholarship. His authoritative study investigates constitution making, including the problem of unconstitutional constitutional amendments; recent developments in forms of constitutional review, including “the battle of the courts”; proportionality analysis and its alternatives; and the emergence of a new “transparency” branch in constitutions around the world. Throughout, the book draws upon examples from a wide range of nations, demonstrating that the field of comparative constitutional law now truly encompasses the world.
This edited volume addresses the root causes of Africa’s persistent poverty through an investigation of its longue durée history. It interrogates the African past through disease and demography, institutions and governance, African economies and the impact of the export slave trade, colonialism, Africa in the world economy, and culture’s influence on accumulation and investment. Several of the chapters take a comparative perspective, placing Africa’s developments aside other global patterns. The readership for this book spans from the informed lay reader with an interest in Africa, academics and undergraduate and graduate students, policy makers, and those in the development world.
Frontiers of Possession asks how territorial borders were established in Europe and the Americas during the early modern period and challenges the standard view that national boundaries are largely determined by military conflicts and treaties. Focusing on Spanish and Portuguese claims in the New and Old Worlds, Tamar Herzog reconstructs the different ways land rights were negotiated and enforced, sometimes violently, among people who remembered old possessions or envisioned new ones: farmers and nobles, clergymen and missionaries, settlers and indigenous peoples.
Questioning the habitual narrative that sees the Americas as a logical extension of the Old World, Herzog portrays Spain and Portugal on both sides of the Atlantic as one unified imperial space. She begins in the Americas, where Iberian conquerors had to decide who could settle the land, who could harvest fruit and cut timber, and who had river rights for travel and trade. The presence of indigenous peoples as enemies to vanquish or allies to befriend, along with the vastness of the land, complicated the picture, as did the promise of unlimited wealth. In Europe, meanwhile, the formation and reformation of boundaries could last centuries, as ancient entitlements clashed with evolving economic conditions and changing political views and juridical doctrines regarding how land could be acquired and maintained.
Herzog demonstrates that the same fundamental questions had to be addressed in Europe and in the Americas. Territorial control was always subject to negotiation, as neighbors and outsiders, in their quotidian interactions, carved out and defended new frontiers of possession.
On Christmas Day, 1991, President George H. W. Bush addressed the nation to declare an American victory in the Cold War: earlier that day Mikhail Gorbachev had resigned as the first and last Soviet president. The enshrining of that narrative, one in which the end of the Cold War was linked to the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the triumph of democratic values over communism, took center stage in American public discourse immediately after Bush’s speech and has persisted for decades—with disastrous consequences for American standing in the world.
As prize-winning historian Serhii Plokhy reveals in The Last Empire, the collapse of the Soviet Union was anything but the handiwork of the United States. On the contrary, American leaders dreaded the possibility that the Soviet Union—weakened by infighting and economic turmoil—might suddenly crumble, throwing all of Eurasia into chaos. Bush was firmly committed to supporting his ally and personal friend Gorbachev, and remained wary of nationalist or radical leaders such as recently elected Russian President Boris Yeltsin. Fearing what might happen to the large Soviet nuclear arsenal in the event of the union’s collapse, Bush stood by Gorbachev as he resisted the growing independence movements in Ukraine, Moldova, and the Caucasus. Plokhy’s detailed, authoritative account shows that it was only after the movement for independence of the republics had gained undeniable momentum on the eve of the Ukrainian vote for independence that fall that Bush finally abandoned Gorbachev to his fate.
How has the process of political representation changed in the era of globalization? The representation of interests is at the heart of democracy, but how is it that some interests secure a strong voice, while others do not? While each person has multiple interests linked to different dimensions of his or her identity, much of the existing academic literature assumes that interests are given prior to politics by a person’s socioeconomic, institutional, or cultural situation. This book mounts a radical challenge to this view, arguing that interests are actively forged through processes of politics. The book develops an analytic framework for understanding how representation takes place—based on processes of identification, mobilization, and adjudication—and explores how these processes have evolved over time. Through a wide variety of case studies, the chapters explore how actors identify their interests, mobilize them into action, and resolve conflicts among them.
Lebanon is again on the precipice of civil war. With the conflict in neighboring Syria spilling over its borders, Lebanese society finds itself bitterly divided between two distinct camps—one that backs the regional Sunni alliance led by Saudi Arabia and supported by the West, another that supports the alliance between Iran and the Syrian government. Tensions between these two groups are worsening by the day in Lebanon, and as a result, the country is on the brink of destabilization.
Education ministers across the globe quake in the run-up to the publication, every three years, of the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which rates 15-year-olds’ academic performance in dozens of countries. Those that do well can expect glory; the first PISA ranking, published in 2001, surprised the world by putting unshowy Finland near the top in every subject and made it a mandatory stop-off for any self-respecting education policymaker. Germany’s poor showing, by contrast, led to national hand-wringing, school reforms and the creation of a €4 billion ($5 billion) federal education support programme.