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  • Author: Nancy Birdsall
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century is a tour de force—a compelling and accessible read that presents an eloquent and convincing warning about the future of capitalism.* Capitalism, Piketty argues, suffers from an inherent tendency to generate an explosive spiral of increasing inequality of wealth and income. This inegalitarian dynamic of capitalism is not due to textbook failures of capitalist markets (for example, natural monopolies) or failures of economic institutions (such as the failure to regulate these monopolies), but to the way capitalism fundamentally works. Unless the spiral is controlled by far more progressive taxation than is now the norm, the political fallout could undermine the viability of the successful “social state” (p. 471) in the advanced economies, putting the democratic state itself at risk.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, France
  • Author: Edward Skidelsky
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: Money has always inspired obsession, both in those who amass it and in those who think about it. “Man will never be able to know what money is any more than he will be able to know what God is,” wrote the French financier Marcel Labordère to his friend John Maynard Keynes. The analogy is apt. Money, like God, injects infinity into human desires. To love it is to embark on a journey without end. Three new books testify to money's enduring power to fascinate and horrify. The most scholarly of them, The Invention of Market Freedom by political theorist Eric MacGilvray, traces the emergence of the distinctively modern or “market” conception of freedom out of its “republican” predecessor. The general story is somewhat familiar, but MacGilvray complicates it by showing that market freedom did not vanquish its republican competitor in open combat but subverted it from within, like a parasite devouring its host.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: New York
  • Author: Sir Richard Jolly
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: As of 2007 the world economy has been caught in the worst crisis since the 1930s. Yet after two years of only partly successful efforts to mobilize and coordinate global action of financial control and stimulus, ending with the G-20 meeting of March 2009, responsibility for corrective economic initiatives has essentially been left to individual countries, supported by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Union (EU). Moreover, such support has been usually conditional on countries following financial policies of tough austerity. The United States took some actions to stimulate its economy, but by many accounts these were insufficient. Most of Europe has not even attempted stimulus measures and has been in a period of economic stagnation, with falling real incomes among the poorest parts of the population. Although some signs of “recovery” have been heralded in 2013 and 2014, growth has mostly been measured from a lower base. There is little evidence of broad-based economic recovery, let alone improvements in the situation of the poor or even of the middle-income groups.
  • Topic: Economics, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Asia
  • Author: David Rodin
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: We are one humanity, but seven billion humans. This is the essential challenge of global ethics: how to accommodate the tension between our universal and particular natures. This tension is, of course, age-old and runs through all moral and political philosophy. But in the world of the early twenty-first century it plays out in distinctive new ways. Ethics has always engaged twin capacities inherent in every human: the capacity to harm and the capacity to help. But the profound set of transformations commonly referred to as globalization-the increasing mobility of goods, labor, and capital; the increasing interconnectedness of political, economic, and financial systems; and the radical empowerment of groups and individuals through technology-have enabled us to harm and to help others in ways that our forebears could not have imagined. What we require from a global ethic is shaped by these transformative forces; and global ethics-the success or failure of that project-will substantially shape the course of the twenty-first century.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Politics
  • Author: Leif Wenar
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: The "resource curse" can strike countries that derive a large portion of their national income from exporting high-value natural resources, such as oil, gas, metals, and gems. Resource-exporting countries are subject to four overlapping curses: they are more prone to authoritarianism, they tend to suffer more corruption, they are at a higher risk for civil wars, and they exhibit greater economic instability. The correlations between resources and such pathologies as authoritarianism, corruption, civil conflict, and economic dysfunction are evident in the list of the five major African oil exporters: Algeria, Angola, Libya, Nigeria, and Sudan. The recent histories of mineral exporters support the correlations: for example, "blood diamonds" fueled Sierra Leone's decade-long civil war, and the continuing conflict in the metal-rich eastern Congo has caused up to 6 million deaths. The phenomenon is not solely African: Burma, Yemen, and Turkmenistan, for example, are also resource cursed. Moreover, poor governance in resource-cursed countries can engender follow-on pathologies, such as a propensity to cause environmental damage both domestically (for example, through the destruction of forests) and globally (through increased greenhouse gas emissions). Most research on the resource curse has focused on the institutions of exporting countries. This essay focuses instead on importing countries, especially those in North America and Europe. I survey how the resource curse impedes core interests of importing states. I then discuss how the policies of importing states drive the resource curse, and how these policies violate their existing international commitments. The second half of the paper describes a policy framework for importing states that can improve international trade in resources for both importers and exporters.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Sudan, Libya, Algeria, Burma, North America, Nigeria, Angola
  • Author: Doris Schroeder, Thomas Pogge
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: Benefit sharing as envisaged by the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is a relatively new idea in international law. Within the context of non-human biological resources, it aims to guarantee the conservation of biodiversity and its sustainable use by ensuring that its custodians are adequately rewarded for its preservation. Prior to the adoption of the CBD, access to biological resources was frequently regarded as a free-for-all. Bioprospectors were able to take resources out of their natural habitat and develop commercial products without sharing benefits with states or local communities. This paper asks how CBD-style benefit-sharing fits into debates of justice. It is argued that the CBD is an example of a set of social rules designed to increase social utility. It is also argued that a common heritage of humankind principle with inbuilt benefit-sharing mechanisms would be preferable to assigning bureaucratic property rights to non-human biological resources. However, as long as the international economic order is characterized by serious distributive injustices, as reflected in the enormous poverty-related death toll in developing countries, any morally acceptable means toward redressing the balance in favor of the disadvantaged has to be welcomed. By legislating for a system of justice-in-exchange covering nonhuman biological resources in preference to a free-for-all situation, the CBD provides a small step forward in redressing the distributive justice balance. It therefore presents just legislation sensitive to the international relations context in the 21st century.
  • Topic: Economics, International Law
  • Author: Carole K. Fink
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: Faced with the political, economic, and social challenges of a globalized planet, are we bereft of any coherent political guideposts or do we still possess realistic and robust idea-systems? Steger, a prolific scholar of globalization, adopts a cautiously optimistic version of the second position.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: Miller builds on his seminal work on national identity and special duties to co-nationals to carve out a position on such issues as global poverty and immigration that is distinct from both the recent stream of cosmopolitan theories and a narrow "citizens-only" account of obligations.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Rights
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Economics, Terrorism
  • Author: Ron Kassimir
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: Planet of Slums is relentless. Mike Davis, the prolific author and social critic, piles on evidence in the service of a passionate, despairing, and at times furious analysis of the economic, social, and environmental state of cities in the global South. Davis might have just as readily titled his book The World Is a Ghetto, after the 1972 hit by the band War. But a key goal of the book is to show how much things have changed since that time, almost all for the worse. If the book tends to oversimplify enormously complex and diverse urban worlds, it has an undeniable virtue at its core. Whereas the War tune's chorus was ''don't you know / that it's true / that for me and for you / the world is a ghetto,'' Davis never stops asking who the ''me and you'' are. The growth and transformation of slums from Cairo to Manila, from Lagos to Lima, are both a symbol and a cause of a growing gap in life chances (socioeconomic and existential) between rich and poor—local, national, and global in scale.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, War