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  • Author: Nancy Birdsall
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics International Affairs Journal
  • 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: Ivan Krastev
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The European elections failed to mobilise public support for the European project. Despite the strong showing of populist parties in the European Parliament, there are indications that the European Union would rather be transformed than destroyed by the current political crisis.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Alba Ferreri
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Review of: Politics and the Internet in Comparative Context, edited by Paul Nixon, Rajash Rawal and Dan Mercea, Routledge, 2013.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Author: David Samuels, Cesar Zucco Jr.
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: What is the source of the Partido dos Trabalhadores' (PT) success? And is the PT likely to thrive into the future as a key player in Brazil's party system? In this paper we weigh in on an emerging debate about Lula's role in the PT's rise to power. Without Lula's ability to win more votes than his party, we might not be discussing lulismo at all, much less its difference from petismo. Yet despite Lula's fame, fortune, and extraordinary political capabilities, lulismo is a comparatively weak psychological phenomenon relative to and independently of petismo. Lulismo mainly reflects positive retrospective evaluations of Lula's performance in office. To the extent that it indicates anything more, it constitutes an embryonic form of petismo. The ideas that constitute lulismo are similar to the ideas that constitute petismo in voters' minds, and they have been so since the party's founding – a nonrevolutionary quest to make Brazilian democracy more equitable and more participatory. Both lulismo and petismo are key sources of the PT's strength, but petismo is likely to endure long after Lula has departed the political scene.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Brazil
  • Author: Xinyuan Dai
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: A growing sense among academics and policymakers alike is that the dominant issues of the twenty-first century will be decided in Asia-Pacific. But, the open question is how will these issues be decided: Who defines the rules of the game in the region and how? To address these questions, this paper studies the regulatory competition that is unfolding in the region. In particular, it examines the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), with its potential to redraw the political-economic geography in Asia. Why is such a significantly path-breaking institution possible? This paper builds on the scholarship of international political economy and especially the literature on international institutions. It argues that this potential of the TPP crucially depends on the institutional environment in East Asia. A state of institutional anarchy enables the TPP to take hold in Asia. Important policy implications follow regarding the strategic use of international institutions.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: East Asia
  • Author: Joseph MacKay
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: International relations scholars have recently taken increased interest in empire. However, research has often focused on European colonial empires. This article aims to evaluate imperialism in a non-Western historical setting: Late Imperial China. The article first compares extant international relations (IR) accounts of empire (one broad and one narrow) to theories of the East Asian hierarchical international system. Second, to further specify analysis, I evaluate IR theories of empire against the historical record of the Ming and Qing dynasties, addressing Chinese relations with surrounding 'tributary' states, conquered imperial possessions, and other neighboring polities. I argue that while IR theories of empire capture much of the region's historical politics, they nonetheless underspecify it. Theories of East Asian hierarchy suggest additional mechanisms at work. The historical cases suggest extensive variation in how empires expand and consolidate. I conclude that there is room for further theory building about empire in IR and suggest possible areas of emphasis.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics
  • Political Geography: China, East Asia
  • Author: Michelle Leanne Burgis-Kasthala
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: This study employs a select ethnography of Palestinian workers in the field of international law and human rights to explore how an epistemic community gives content and meaning to international law in its professional and personal life. Through a series of interviews conducted in the West Bank in the wake of the Palestinian attempt to gain full United Nations membership in September 2011, the article constructs a meta-narrative about the nature of international legal discourse as spoken on the Palestinian periphery. It shows how speakers of international law are required to restate or over-state the distinction between law and politics so as to sustain their hope and desire for Palestinian statehood in the face of despair about its protracted denial. The article then is an exploration about the politics of meaning making through international law and a call for methodological hybridity within the discipline of international law.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Law, Politics, United Nations
  • Author: Mónica García-Salmones Rovira
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: The article examines the substance and form of 20th century positivist international law; in particular the way in which each determines the other. The text describes the turn to interests in international law, which evolved slowly in scope and depth. By examining Lassa Oppenheim's focus on 'common interests' that united states and Hans Kelsen's focus on the 'struggle of interests' that constituted politics, the article studies two phenomena produced by the foundational role taken by interests during the 20th century. First, this role contributed to putting an end to the moral discussion about the treatment of native populations. Secondly, it curbed debate about a common political project for a global order, thus creating conformity characterized by abuse of power – all in the name of the neutrality of positivist law. This article suggests that the work of these two leading theoreticians in the field has contributed to the shaping of the legal theory of mainstream positivist international law, and seeks to foreground discussions about the different theories on the role of law in politics. In this manner it aims to help reconceptualize law in such a way as to bring about a situation in which discussions of a common political project for the international arena are more central.
  • Topic: International Law, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Birgit Lode
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: Already back in 1987 the Brundtland report by the World Commission on Environment and Development stressed that '[n]ational and international law is being rapidly outdistanced by the accelerating pace and expanding scale of impacts on the ecological basis of development'. Since then international environmental law regimes have multiplied and an up-to-date introduction to the constantly evolving field of international environmental law is very welcome, not least due to the lack of equally concise alternatives in the introductory literature. Aimed at filling this gap, Timo Koivurova with his Introduction to International Environmental Law chooses an approach well suited to the student readers he primarily intends to address. The book dispenses with footnotes, tables of treaties, and a comprehensive bibliography. Instead, a manageable number of endnotes accompany each chapter, preceded by a set of questions and research tasks, and followed by suggestions for further reading and websites addressing the respective topics. Thereby, the subject matter is presented in the most general fashion possible without making concessions to the scientific nature of the book, allowing '[i]nternational environmental law and politics [to] speak for themselves' (at xix). Moreover, in order to make the information provided easily accessible and comprehensible by a broad range of readers the book includes several boxes going into more detail on, e.g., specific cases, conventions, institutions, or environmental disasters. It illustrates topics and sometimes presents them from a different angle by adding photographs and figures, clarifying essentials as well as sparking the readers' imagination.
  • Topic: Environment, Politics, Law
  • Author: Shaun Breslin, Jinghan Zeng, Yuefan Xiao
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: As China has grown stronger, some observers have identified an assertive turn in Chinese foreign policy. Evidence to support this argument includes the increasingly frequent evocation of China's 'core interests'—a set of interests that represents the non-negotiable bottom lines of Chinese foreign policy. When new concepts, ideas and political agendas are introduced in China, there is seldom a shared understanding of how they should be defined; the process of populating the concept with real meaning often takes place incrementally. This, the article argues, is what has happened with the notion of core interests. While there are some agreed bottom lines, what issues deserve to be defined (and thus protected) as core interests remains somewhat blurred and open to question. By using content analysis to study 108 articles by Chinese scholars, this article analyses Chinese academic discourse of China's core interests. The authors' main finding is that 'core interests' is a vague concept in the Chinese discourse, despite its increasing use by the government to legitimize its diplomatic actions and claims. The article argues that this vagueness not only makes it difficult to predict Chinese diplomatic behaviour on key issues, but also allows external observers a rich source of opinions to select from to help support pre-existing views on the nature of China as a global power.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: China