Latin America provides an interesting lesson about trade preferences and their complex link with economic development. This paper evaluates the claim that Latin America has adopted restrictive trade policies and highlights a double paradox. First, the region is particularly protectionist despite relatively high levels of GDP per capita and exports. Second, economic development and import dependence have little impact on trade openness in the region. The cross-country evidence for this paradox relies on a sample of industrialised and developing economies, including twelve Latin American states. The paper also identifies three factors that could explain protectionism in the region: political economy, recent economic history, and politics and ideology. It then briefly evaluates the impact of restrictive policies on recent economic performance. In particular, it demonstrates that high tariffs and economic growth can coexist.
The recent High Court case brought by three elderly Kenyans against the British government for abuses suffered under the colonial government’s suppression of the Mau Mau Rebellion has shone a light on the British concept of Empire. Following last year’s release of the Hanslope papers, revelations regarding the colonial administration’s culpability compel us to re-examine the notion of the British Imperialist. This essay looks at the process by which the British Imperialist self-image was shielded from the brutal realities of colonial rule and what the future holds for British Imperialism, specifically in its relations with Kenya.
Ever since the collapse of the central Somali state in 1991, the unrecognized northern state of Somalia, Somaliland, has operated under independent parallel institutions of governance. Upon achieving de facto independence, Somaliland faced the twin challenges of restoring peace and forming new political institutions. Development practitioners often point to the relative peace, stability and modest economic growth that Somaliland has enjoyed since this time as proof that democracy delivers. This paper, however, seeks to debunk the myth of a democratic Somaliland and contends that a closer analysis of the history of this transition and of Somaliland’s governing institutions reveals that the territory’s leaders prioritized peace over democracy. The composition and role of the Guurti or House of Elders, the continuing role of the clan system in politics, and the explicit limitation on the number of political parties constrict political space. However, they also encourage peace by giving all of the major political actors a stake in the territory’s governance. Somaliland’s recent political trajectory shows how to transform a politics of war into a politics of consensus, and suggests that power-sharing arrangements—rather than deep democratization—may play an important transitional role in post-conflict countries.
Due to Germany’s weight in the Eurozone, it has an outsized role in policy prescriptions for the region. It is imposing a reform package that it itself passed in the early 2000s, which is widely credited with turning around the German economy. However, these reforms are suited for the export-driven economy of Germany, not the demand-driven economy of Greece. In Greece, the reforms have led to a massive drop in GDP, high youth unemployment, and a rise in debt to GDP. Meanwhile, the Greek government is becoming less capable of enacting the reforms demanded of them. As a result, citizens are turning towards more extremist political parties that want to end austerity. All of this will make it harder for Greece to pay back its debt and remain in the Eurozone at an acceptable cost to society. If things do not change soon, the troika may be creating conditions for the same Greek exit that it has been trying to prevent.
As the European Union emerges from an economic crisis that caused deep internal tensions and at times threated to undermine its very existence, it is also growing in size and engaging with the international community in new capacities. During this period of rebuilding and transformation, Sir Michael Leigh, senior advisor at the German Marshall Fund, tells the Journal why he believes that EU cooperation will prevail in the coming years. Europe’s unity in the 21st century is a hard-won victory for a region that has a long history of conflict and division, he says, and the continuation of this peaceful partnership is crucial to the success of its member states and to the larger global community as well.
In March 2011 Italy celebrated its 150th anniversary as a unified country. However, it did so with little of the enthusiasm that had greeted previous anniversaries in 1911 and 1961. Increasing numbers of its citizens have, in recent years, come to wonder whether their long failure to construct a viable political system may be a consequence of a process of unification that had disregarded the history and diversity of their peninsula. This article argues that centralized power was destined to fail in Italy, and that only a federal system will reconcile people of its very different regions to continue living together under the same flag.
This paper evaluates how U.S. President George W. Bush’s push for democratization in Egypt may have influenced the 2011 Egyptian uprising. It argues that Bush’s “Freedom Agenda” policy towards Egypt had a number of small but significant effects that both heightened and publicized Egyptians’ discontent with former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak – effects which were not necessarily intended or central to the Agenda when it was conceived. Specifically, the Freedom Agenda created a period of limited public dialogue, which further alienated Egyptians from their government, and altered the economic environment – all factors which made the 2011 uprising more likely.
Integrating China into the global balance of power and the community of nations is the greatest challenge facing statecraft in the 21st century. According to power cycle theory, the “single dynamic” that has always mapped the structural trends of history is shaping China’s power cycle. This cycle will contain the same “critical points” of suddenly shifted trends that challenged every other rising power historically, all too frequently ending in major war. Viewing history’s dynamic through the lens of meanings embedded in the power cycle trajectories, this article argues for careful management of the future systems transformation that will occur.
In the last quarter century, Brazil has undergone structural economic changes. This article aims to help the reader understand how Brazil overcame the discouraging scenario of the mid-1980s and early 1990s to become a major global economic power. A unique story of a lively economic policy laboratory is told by laying out eight economic idiosyncrasies that need to be examined in order to grasp the country’s past and future challenges and analyze whether or when it will emerge as an economic superpower.
With four female presidents elected in the past decade, Latin America has seen a spike in female executive leadership unprecedented in any other region thus far in the 21st century. However, having female heads of state is no guarantee that women’s interests will take priority under these female-headed administrations. This paper explores the conceptual distinction between women’s short-term ‘practical’ interests and their long-term ‘strategic’ interests. Whilst all ‘presidentas’ more or less advance the former, commitment to structural change aimed at furthering women’s strategic interests in the long-run has been less clear. This article explores and interprets this mixed record.
For the past two decades, the ‘failed state’ of Somalia has been ravaged by protracted violence and famine, armed clashes between warlords, and their unpredictably shifting alliances. As the extended mandate of the corrupt and dysfunctional Transitional Federal Government nears its expiration date in August 2012, increasing international attention has created an impetus for a renewed consolidation process leading to the recent London Conference on Somalia. This paper assesses the realistic options for a shift towards peaceful governance, and examines what lessons can be learned from the hitherto existing international approach that has fueled rather than averted violent conflict.