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.
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.
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.
This paper will focus on international climate change policy tools, cap-and-trade and the creation of the global carbon market. Additionally, I will review post-Kyoto agreement scenarios.
Environmental impact assessments of trade agreements have gained prominence since the 1990s as tools to identify environmental effects resulting from trade liberalization. The European Union and the United States have taken similar, but different, approaches to developing assessment methods: Sustainability Impact Assessments (SIAs) in the EU and Environmental Reviews (ERs) in the United States. Given that knowledge on both the EU and the U.S. side about what the other is doing in this regard is fairly limited, we seek to provide a basis for a more informed and in-depth discussion of the features, experiences, and potential advantages or disadvantages of the two approaches. This article is based on a comprehensive report on the topic, in which we discuss the underlying legal guidelines of trade impact assessments and examine two case studies on each side—for the EU, the agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council and Ukraine, and for the United States, the Free Trade Agreement with Chile and CAFTA-DR.
In light of the political identification of Darfur as the first climate change violent conflict, this paper analyzes the Darfur case within the environmental securitization framework, discussing the underlying dynamics of the current situation. The paper argues that the environment-security nexus has to be analyzed in the domestic-international border and that the a-securitization of environmental policies with due regard to Darfur has been a fundamental, conceptual and operational obstacle to progress towards peace. Therefore, the internalization of this dialectic relation in politics and action is here understood as an essential step to address the root causes of violent conflict in Darfur.
In 2006 Dale Jamieson published a paper in Climatic Change entitled “An American Paradox.” The paradox in question concerned the attitudes of the American public to global warming. Most Americans, it seemed, self-reported as environmentalists, believed that climate change was an environmental bad, and said that they were willing to pay to mitigate it. When, however, specific policies with definite costs were placed before them, their support for mitigation faded away.1
As environmental issues become a growing concern for policy makers, the difficulty of creating international policy becomes evident. With the rise of renewable energies and advances in technology, there exists the potential for using social entrepreneurship as a means of addressing environmental issues while meeting the energy demands and needs of many countries. For-profit businesses create appropriate incentives and benefits while at the same time avoid the issue of state sovereignty and bridge the divide between developed and developing countries. At the same time, social entrepreneurship has its own limitations and has the potential to fill only part of the gap that international and domestic environmental policy is unable to accomplish.
Despite the predictable nature of many threats to public health, safety, and security, governments around the world struggle to find a successful systematic response to these dangers. In fact, lawmakers often respond in a knee-jerk, emotional fashion that all but ensures that the most effective means of protecting the public from harm are ignored. Frequently, policy responses address only a primary danger, leaving us still vulnerable to an even greater secondary danger. Although cost-benefit analysis is not perfect, it carries some clear advantages to other responses such as the increasingly popular precautionary principle. This paper uses the example of lead poisoning to examine the question of why regulators struggle to accept cost-benefit analysis, and opt instead for inferior alternatives based on irrational, and sometimes unfounded, public fears.
Over the past 200 years, science has undergone an evolution from curiosity-driven exploration to being the engine of development and recently the voice of planetary sustainability. These changing roles require changes in the skills of scientists and in the relation between science and society. The issues of mitigation and adaptation to global change now demand rapid adjustments in the relation between science and society, which are explored in this article.
Sustained economic growth is a uniquely modern concept. World per capita incomes, after millennia of stagnation, only rose significantly at the end of the eighteenth century. This development first took off in Western Europe, and it has largely not taken place in sub-Saharan Africa. This divergence is due, in part, to an interconnected series of Enlightenment-era cultural trends in Europe epitomized by the rise of the developmental state based on a social contract, the increasing influence of rationality and applied science within the economy, and the encouragement of economic development by religion. These trends represented a cultural shift toward individualism in the political, economic, and religious spheres of the Western world during the Enlightenment and stand in stark contrast to Sub-Saharan Africa’s postcolonial culture of collectivism and ineffective development strategies based on Pan-Africanism and statism. As such, the prospect of future economic development in Africa along a Western path would require a cultural transformation.
The rise of radical Islam along both sides of the Afghan-Pakistani border has its roots in three major factors. The first is the disintegration of Afghan social structures at both the state and tribal levels, beginning in 1979 with revolts against the communist government and the subsequent Soviet invasion. The second is the increased sway of political Islam, due mostly to outside influences, including Salafist thought from the Middle East, and the more local Deobandi philosophy. The third is the radicalization of the Pashtuns, the dominant ethnic group along the border. This paper will examine how these three converging factors have created the current instability on both sides of the border, and where it might lead.
Religion is a subject academia often overlooks when it considers the origins of the modern African state. This paper aims to analyze religion’s role in shaping African society through its complex, political relationship with colonial administrations under indirect rule. In order to understand this historical process, the hegemonic-culture thesis is examined, critiqued, and applied to the case studies of Nigeria and Rwanda. Based on its findings, this study suggests that the hegemonic-culture thesis elucidates the process of state formation as manipulated by colonial rule, but cannot fully explain contemporary conflict because it fails to account for religion’s influence on the development of the African state and society.
Nuclear proliferation is often seen as a one-way street. The standard realist logic concerning proliferation is that states seek nuclear weapons to counter threats to their security, based on an often-narrow calculation of costs and benefits. Reality is much more complicated. When states do disarm, they base their nuclear decisions on their own highly subjective needs. The following paper attempts to capture this interaction by expanding traditional cost-benefit analysis into a framework that incorporates subjective as well as objective variables. This framework attempts to assess the viability of competing policy options facing promoters of disarmament.
The EU’s energy and foreign policy vis-à-vis Algeria is ambitious, seeking as it does to achieve three primary objectives—democratization, economic liberalization, and security of energy supplies. Whether the EU will succeed in these objectives is far from certain. This paper analyzes the historical record in an attempt to discern the likelihood that the EU will indeed achieve its objectives. In doing so, it assesses EU policy towards Algeria since 1995, identifies the main challenges and opportunities facing EU policymakers in Algeria, and proposes a new policy approach for EU leaders to consider in pursuing more secure energy supplies and internal political and economic reform in Algeria.
During World War II, the Japanese Imperial Army raped and tortured an estimated 200,000 women, mostly Korean and Chinese. Half a century later, documents were discovered within Japan’s Defense Agency (now called the Ministry of Defense) proving that state officials sanctioned underground brothels. To this day, the Japanese government refuses to directly acknowledge and apologize for its actions. The purpose of this paper is to argue that the Japanese government must admit to its past war crimes. The reasons are threefold: victims deserve an official apology; an admission of guilt would lessen Japanese tensions with its Asian neighbors; and it would reinforce the universal intolerance for war crimes as seen in the military tribunals of Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia, and Nazi Germany.
The term “modernity” is rooted in ideas that are embodied in the Enlightenment, namely, the triumph of reason, rationality and individuality, and is often associated with a Western worldview. However, to use the term singularly in this sense is to not fully understand its complex constitutive elements. This paper explores how modernity can be interpreted in diverse ways by different actors. It highlights the two main trends followed by various modernity projects, and further illustrates how this divergence in interpretation increases the potential for conflict at various levels.
This essay argues that there is a ground on which to build a legal case for a doctrine of humanitarian intervention. Instances of armed intervention to protect human rights without the prior authorization of the United Nations Security Council represent a conflict between core norms of the international community: the prohibition of the use of force, on one hand, and the prohibition of grave violations of human rights, on the other. Though many of the legal justifications put forth in the literature are inadequate, such action is legally defensible as a balancing between peremptory norms of international law. But to ensure proper balancing of these norms, a system must be adopted to regulate such intervention.
What should we do about climate change? There is disagreement about what we should do in quantitative terms, but universal agreement about what we should do in qualitative terms. Our aim should be not only to avoid “dangerous interference” with the climate system, but to effect a technological revolution. How can these goals be achieved? The European Union’s favored approach is to tighten up on the Kyoto emission cuts, possibly supported by the application of trade restrictions. A better approach would be to break the problem up into its many parts, using the best means available to enforce each part.
This article explores the issues developing countries face in implementing a biofuels program as a means of growth and security. Biofuel development holds the promise of significant gains, but at the same time, very challenging problems must be addressed if the impact is to be positive on balance. A well-designed biofuels program will stimulate agricultural productivity and green technologies, help to create rural jobs, and free up precious capital from being spent on fossil fuels. Yet attention must also be given to the major pitfalls and hurdles—chief among them food scarcity and climate change—which are changing the calculus for biofuels. It is concluded that the potential for developing countries to harness biofuels for their advantage is real, but only if great care is taken to constrain the potential for adverse consequences.
This paper explores three crucial contemporary issues to reveal the consequence of tariffs as instruments to overcome environmental concerns. In other words, we try to find under what circumstances tariffs can be considered green policy instruments. Starting with conventional trade theory, we study how country characteristics, including environmental policies, can determine each country’s comparative advantage. We then study how governments may create “pollution havens” by setting lax environmental standards in order to maintain international competitiveness. Finally, we look at the role of multilateral trade organizations such as the WTO in muddling with international environmental agreements. Using conventional theory along with contemporary environmental concerns, we argue the need for a new phase of globalization, namely one accompanied by ‘green’ trade liberalization.
Climate change resulting from anthropogenic activity is posing a serious threat to the delicate balance of natural systems that sustain life on earth. While humans are contributing to this grave problem, they also have the potential to find the solution. Through the rapid development of renewable technology, along with the promotion of conservation efforts, humans can help address the problems caused by climate change without damaging the global economy. It is important for policy efforts on the local, national and international levels to encourage the development of renewable technologies before the damage from climate change becomes insurmountable.
While the evangelical community in the United States is often seen as wielding a great deal of political influence, particularly in opposing U.S. support for international cooperation to limit climate change, such a view obscures important—and increasing—differences among evangelicals. In this paper, I highlight these emerging differences, arguing specifically that tensions between “first-generation” and “second-generation” evangelical perspectives on the meaning of “stewardship” have spurred a widening split. In the context of a discussion of theological debates, their policy consequences, and coalitional possibilities, I suggest that this debate has important implications for the evolution of U.S. support for international cooperation to limit climate change.