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  • Author: Steve H. Hanke
  • Publication Date: 10-1998
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The devaluation of the Russian ruble this year was predictable, especially considering Russia's poor monetary history. State-manipulated money has been a Russian hallmark since the time of Peter the Great and shows that the country's money problems are endemic and do not depend on who controls the central bank. Czarist, Soviet, and post-Soviet governments have used the central bank printing press to finance deficit spending, resulting in high inflation, confiscation of savings, capital controls, or a combination of the three.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Soviet Union
  • Author: Anna J. Schwartz
  • Publication Date: 08-1998
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The International Monetary Fund and the U.S. Treasury Department's Exchange Stabilization Fund are undemocratic institutions unaccountable for their actions. Their current functions have little to do with their original missions. The ESF is used by the executive branch to circumvent Congress in the provision of foreign aid. Its foreign exchange interventions have, in any event, always been wasteful and ineffective at controlling the relative price of the U.S. dollar. The IMF has also been used to provide massive bailouts in the cases of Mexico in 1995 and of Asian countries since 1997. Defenders of the IMF as an international lender of last resort are misinformed since the IMF does not and cannot serve that purpose. Both institutions should be abolished, not reformed, because they are not needed to resolve currency crises and they preclude superior solutions.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, Mexico
  • Author: John D. Macomber, Charles McC. Mathias
  • Publication Date: 10-1998
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Can the United States collaborate with foreign nations in armaments development and production without jeopardizing US national security? This question - in light of America's global security obligations - demands a satisfactory answer. The economic and political advantages of greater international cooperation are significant. Benefits from cooperation include improved interoperability of weapons and equipment used by US allies and partners in operations with the United States, reduction in production costs, and preservation of a defense industrial base among US allies. Yet, considerations of national security are equally cogent.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Publication Date: 12-1998
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The provided an overview of the Indian economy. This issue will focus on three key sectors: industry, the financial sector, and agriculture. The three sectors, while seemingly unrelated, are key to India's future. Indian industry is undergoing unprecedented change as a result of the deregulation process begun in 1991, the recent downturn in the domestic economy, and the crisis in Asia. Established industries are being challenged and new ones are emerging.
  • Topic: Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Tim Forsyth
  • Publication Date: 10-1998
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: This workshop was arranged by the RIIA under the sponsorship of the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) of Japan to explore ways of increasing international investment in renewable energy technology in Asia. Enhancing renewable energy investment is clearly relevant to global strategies to mitigate climate change. However, the two debates on climate change policy and renewable energy investment have largely remained separate, and characterized by tendencies to discuss large-scale global flows of energy and investment on the one hand, and local development-oriented practice on the other. The workshop attempted to integrate these two debates, and therefore form part of a growing body of knowledge to inform the current climate change negotiations with practical options available to small and large businesses. The workshop had three main aims: to identify the implications of the Kyoto Protocol for international renewable energy investment; to define technology transfer and identify how it may be increased for renewable energy in South and Southeast Asia; to assess what public and private forms of finance could be sought to ensure the success of renewable energy businesses in South and Southeast Asia. The workshop was attended by some 30 industrialists, financiers and renewable energy specialists from around the world. This paper is a summary of the proceedings. In order to encourage frank exchange, the workshop was held under Chatham House Rule of confidentiality and anonymity, so individual speakers are not named.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Environment, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Jesmond Blumenfeld
  • Publication Date: 07-1998
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: As South Africa approaches its second inclusive elections in 1999, the government's economic record will come under increasing scrutiny. Against widespread expectations of a post-apartheid transformation in economic performance, the country's achievements in output, investment and employment have been profoundly disappointing. The adoption of a new, and more market- and investor-friendly, macroeconomic strategy in 1996 boosted confidence by promising major structural and policy reforms, but this has since been undermined by failure to meet most of the strategy's targets. In this Briefing Paper, Jesmond Blumenfeld analyses the origins, content and outcomes of the strategy as well as the economic and political dilemmas that it has created.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: South Africa, New Delhi
  • Author: Ralph Negrine
  • Publication Date: 07-1998
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The last decade of the 20th century has apparently seen a profound change in the way in which European media handle their reporting of the political process. It is a process which marks an end to the formality and sense of obligation with which parliamentary debates and the activities of individual politicians have traditionally been treated. It has been paralleled by far-reaching changes in the ways in which politicians seek to influence their electorate. This briefing paper summarizes the findings of a comprehensive study that attempts to quantify what these changes in presentation of news and information might really mean.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Abiodun Alao
  • Publication Date: 06-1998
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Prior to the recent controversy over the transfer of arms, little international attention was devoted to Sierra Leone. Even its civil war, which is at the root of the matter, did not attract any significant attention outside West Africa, despite the fact that it had claimed nearly 50,000 lives. Although its enormous diamond deposits have always attracted some interest, this has been limited to private companies and individual entrepreneurs. Many Sierra Leoneans believe that had there been sustained concern about the predicament of their country, the entire arms controversy might have been avoided. This briefing paper does not, however, attempt to delve into the complexities surrounding the sale of arms to Sierra Leone and deals only tangentially with the role of mercenaries that has been the subject of so much scrutiny. Rather, it traces the major events leading to the civil war that began in March 1991, bringing with it immense suffering for this impoverished nation. This is a tale of intrigue and power struggles that has involved most of the West African region, and has allowed unscrupulous actors from as far afield as South Africa, Britain and the United States to dabble in the affairs of this country. It is a salutary lesson in the lack of concern about the fate of small nations in the post-Cold War era.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, South America
  • Author: George Joffé
  • Publication Date: 06-1998
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The current situation in Algeria is the direct result of a crisis that developed in the wake of the country-wide riots in 1988 and appeared to have been resolved by political and economic reform up to 1992. Despite a brief period of political liberalization — which, in reality was unsuccessfully manipulated by the regime in power to guarantee its own survival — Algeria has been in the grip of a virtual civil war for the past five years. In these circumstances, the behaviour of the regime and of its clandestine opposition have become parallel experiences, despite the gestures towards renewed democratization made in the past two years. The reality for the vast majority of Algerians — with figures for civilian deaths to date ranging from 50,000 to 120,000— is one of constant fear, both of arbitrary arrest and worse from the authorities and of summary and terminal justice from the clandestine opposition. For these circumstances to be properly appreciated, therefore, some knowledge of the events leading up to the contemporary situation is necessary.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: Algeria, Hiroshima
  • Author: Jonathan Krueger
  • Publication Date: 05-1998
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The international community is increasingly turning to the use of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) to solve problems of global environmental degradation and transboundary pollution. One of the most important of these MEAs is the 1989 Basel Convention dealing with transboundary movements of hazardous waste. The Convention has been instrumental in helping to eliminate the dumping of industrialized countries' hazardous wastes on developing countries. However, the development of the regime has been slow and it is now tackling the more controversial issue of regulating 'recyclable' hazardous wastes. This briefing paper provides a short guide to the development and current status of the international effort to manage transboundary movements of hazardous wastes.
  • Topic: Environment, International Organization, Science and Technology