The End of Capitalism

2009

Download PDFVolume: 12 Issue: 1

Acknowledgments

The Bologna Center Journal of International Affairs would like to acknowledge and thank those individuals who have provided support over the past year, including faculty advisor Dr. Erik Jones, Director Kenneth Keller, Giulio Belcastro, the Bologna Center student government, debate participants Larina Helm, Jon Vogan, & Astrid Haas, translators Portia Mills & Michele Spitler, and the contributors to the annual fundraising auction.

2009 Journal Staff

Editor-in-Chief Ben Welch
Managing Editor Julia Romano
Executive Editor Mike Manetta
Fundraising Caroline Meledo
Head of Copy Editing Lauren Consky
Design and Layout Jamie Zvirzdin
Back Cover Illustration Shannon Drake
Finances Jerrod Vaughan
Public Relations Paul Bisca
Web Editor Jason Overmyer
Event Planners Larina Helm
Masha Savchuk
Amy Deckelbaum
Peter Rizov

Editors

Alexander Albertine | Karen Anderson | Eric Borgman | Samantha DeMartino | Astrid Haas | Risa Grais-Targow | Sabine Haspel | Clint Hougen | Denisa Lazarescu | Thibault Meilland | Lea Moubayed | Portia Mills | Pat O’Brien | Kristina Ortiz | Deniz Ozdemir | Karen Riley | Dristen Schubert | Beth Schumaecker | Joel Singerman | Mario Soto | Emre Tunclap

Copy Editors

Christopher Brownfield | Yekaterina Chertova | Magaly Clavijo | Beth Horowitz | Annie Magnus | Pat O’Brien | Daniel Pescatore

Articles:

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In handling the current financial crisis, policymakers are seemingly blind to the opportunity to re-fashion the financial sector into a more efficient and competitive form. This failing is due to three major erroneous lessons: that it is better for banks to be big than to be bust; that securitization is without social value; and that investment banking is dead. Large commercial banks pose both a systemic risk and a risk to competition. Securitization is necessary to reduce the concentration of risk in smaller banks. Investment banking is a necessary activity, and should be made up of smaller market participants.

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It has become a cliché to say that there are many forms of democracies: instead, we ask if a policy is “democratic.” With the onset of increasing economic difficulty, governments intervene in otherwise free markets. Voters tolerate corruption when rural development is secured through it. Civil rights have been restricted due to possible harm of the national economy. This essay temporarily defends such incidents from the accusation of being “undemocratic,” for such policies are often believed to be necessary to strengthen a democracy in the long run. After all, our model of democracy is not the only model of democracy, nor is it always the best for them.

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Both realists and institutionalists agree that more empirical research is needed to determine the explanatory value of institutions. This paper looks at the EU’s reaction to the 2007–2008 financial crisis for evidence that the EU mattered in shaping the behavior of its member states. Three responses at the EU level—attempts to reform EU banking supervision, the creation of European Economic Recovery Plan, and the push for the November 2008 G20 summit—are examined for evidence of the EU altering member states’ interests, calculations of interests, power, and resources. It concludes that the EU mattered only when member states were not motivated by relative-gains concerns to restrain collective action.

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The global financial crisis has a significant impact on euro adoption strategies in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, as national governments use the crisis strategically in national debates about economic policies and future choices. The turmoil in Hungary was a wake-up call exposing the vulnerabilities of emerging economies as Central Europe did not prove resistant to liquidity deterioration, exchange rate volatility and direct and indirect effects of the crisis. The policy implications of the crisis on the euro adoption strategies reveal that these developments only intensified the already existing position on the euro rather than dramatically changed the attitude of the governments currently in power. Analyzing the effects of the financial crisis on Central Europe, exemplified in the issue of euro adoption, helps us to understand policy choices that politicians make and the extent to which these are being influenced by international organizations. The global financial crisis has a significant impact on euro adoption strategies in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, as national governments use the crisis strategically in national debates about economic policies and future choices. The turmoil in Hungary was a wake-up call exposing the vulnerabilities of emerging economies as Central Europe did not prove resistant to liquidity deterioration, exchange rate volatility and direct and indirect effects of the crisis. The policy implications of the crisis on the euro adoption strategies reveal that these developments only intensified the already existing position on the euro rather than dramatically changed the attitude of the governments currently in power. Analyzing the effects of the financial crisis on Central Europe, exemplified in the issue of euro adoption, helps us to understand policy choices that politicians make and the extent to which these are being influenced by international organizations.

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Often, an unrestrained capitalism in association with globalization is blamed for causing the actual financial crisis. In this article, after a historical overview on the emergence and development of the term “Laissez-faire Capitalism,” the question of the truthfulness of the above assertion is examined. Although laissez-faire capitalism does not oppose globalization, it does not endorse the process of the last two decades. While laissez-faire capitalism champions economic freedoms and deregulated markets, it also stresses the aspect of accountability: the possibility of failure itself is essential for assessing risks. Globalization on the other hand made not only markets and players global, but also regulations and regulators, and thus constrained economic freedom. In particular, globalization played a significant role in diminishing accountability for the decisions of actors in the market.

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This paper intends to show how Comparative Cultural Economics help to understand more about the path dependencies that affect economic agents in case of brutal and severe economic downturns such as the current one. Policymakers tend then to get back to former economic models experienced as successful in the past or mainly try to avoid already experienced dangers. The actual spreading of anti-capitalist behavior in the economic and political elite itself and of deeply rooted anti-capitalist violence by the victims of the downturn is one more sign that the current economic downturn also entails a strong psychological and cultural dimension. This thesis is illustrated by short examples from France, Germany, the UK and the USA.

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Michel Rocard was Prime Minister of France from 1988 to 1991, under President Françoise Mitterrand. Previously, he was French Minister of Planning, of Town and Country Planning and of Agriculture. He was First Secretary of the French Socialist Party (1993–1994), then Socialist deputy to the European Parliament from 1994–2009. He currently chairs the Scientific Committee of Terra Nova, a think tank for the intellectual revival of the Left. In March 2009, President Nicolas Sarkozy nominated him French ambassador for international negotiations relating to the Artic and Antarctic poles. This interview was conducted in Paris in February 2008. In the course of the discussion, Michel Rocard identifies three phenomena at the heart of this transformation: the drift away from the capitalism of “les Trente Glorieuses” that has been brought about by deregulation, the replacement of traditional values of work and thrift with those of profit and fortune, and, finally, the potentially criminal practices of the banking and financial sectors.

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Through analyzing the Mexican and Salvadoran migrant communities living in the US and their remittance flows back to Latin America, this paper attempts to examine the political implications of economically empowered diasporas and how home country governments are responding and becoming more accountable. This paper explores this phenomenon’s implications on political processes through remittance delivery collaboration and reviews recent developments in Mexico and El Salvador in light of the current global economic crisis.