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  • Author: Roger Ballentine, Andy Karsner
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: We are still in the early stages of a transformation of the U.S. electricity sector into a cleaner, more flexible, more resilient, and more dynamic system. The early history of investment in and adoption of clean energy technologies and practices has been mixed. The venture capital model has proven to be inadequate for scaling up clean energy, and anticipated policy developments have been slow to be realized. The sector-reshaping impact of unconventional gas, uneven capitalization of clean energy companies, and the mixed signals of government policymakers have slowed the march to a more distributed energy economy rooted in the greater use of renewables, the more efficient use of energy, and the optimization of information technologies in the energy sector.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Energy Policy, Industrial Policy, Markets, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Colby Farber
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The 2014 Financial Security Summit examined how policymakers, the financial services industry, advocates, and academics can advance new policies and products to make it easier for households to build financial security and to reinvigorate the American Dream.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Bill White, Leonard Coburn
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The evolution from energy scarcity to abundance in the United States creates dislocations. Technology, infrastructure, laws, regulations, trade flows, and environmental and security policies developed during American energy deficits must be adapted to cope with its new energy prosperity. Significant improvements in oil and gas technology are leading to production increases outpacing projections. A need for infrastructure development follows energy production, necessitating adaptations. Laws passed in the 1970s during times of energy disruptions require reconsideration in a period of relative plenty. The shift of the United States and Canada from an oil and gas importing region to an exporting region has enormous global implications. Policies need to be readjusted in light of new realities, and the effects of the oil and gas boom in North America will require new thinking by governments, industry and consumers.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Oil, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Alexander N. Pan
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: Over the past decade, a growing segment of social entrepreneurs and small and growing businesses(SGBs) has emerged that seeks to utilize the power of invention to create products and companies that improve the lives of people living in poverty around the world. We call this class of entrepreneur-looking to develop and disseminate tangible products that will be manufactured and sold at high volumes via market mechanisms-an invention-based entrepreneur.1 ANDE believes that invention-based entrepreneurs are supported or impeded by a number of environmental factors, or the entrepreneurial ecosystem in which they work. While ANDE and our members have made significant progress toward strengthening these entrepreneurial ecosystems in emerging markets, invention-based entrepreneurs have a unique set of needs that differentiates them from typical SGBs. Consequently, we believe we can improve the ecosystem to support the growth of this industry, and thereby unleash the full potential impact of these invention-based entrepreneurs.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States, South Africa
  • Author: Dave Grossman (Rapporteur), Sue Tierney, Chair
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: New federal regulations, changes in fuel prices and trends, the expansion of distributed energy resources, declines in U.S. electricity consumption, and advances in technology are all spurring utilities and regulators to respond and adapt. Discussions of the challenges and opportunities these forces present for the U.S. electricity sector – as well as how the industry and its regulators are adapting – formed the heart of the 2014 Aspen Institute Energy Policy Forum. This report summarizes and organizes some of the key insights from those discussions.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Natural Resources, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Richard P. Adler
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: In 1987, back at the dawn of the Internet age, two studies were published that provided perceptive looks at the evolution of electronic networks and the impact that they would likely have on the way business is conducted in the U.S. and globally. Both studies concluded that rapidly evolving information technologies were helping to break down old hierarchical business structures in favor of new, more decentralized models of economic activity.
  • Topic: Economics, Science and Technology, Communications, Mass Media
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: David Bollier
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The structure and character of commerce has changed dramatically since the arrival of the World Wide Web and various digital technologies, particularly mobile phones and large, interconnected databases. Consumers now have much greater market power and choice. Markets can more easily scale, often globally. Co-production and fluid producer/consumer interactions are routine. Transactions themselves have become far cheaper and more easily consummated.
  • Topic: Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Science and Technology, Communications, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Alexander N. Pan, Randall Kempner
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: From our perspective at ANDE, we have seen impact investing become an increasingly important tool used to support small and growing businesses in the developing world that are capable of creating jobs, stimulating long-term economic growth, and generating social impact. However, impact investing is still very much an emerging tool. If it is to scale and become a viable solution to social issues in the United States. There are several key lessons from the international context that the industry should consider.
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Dave Grossman (Rapporteur), Roger Ballentine, Andy Karsner
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The U.S. electricity sector is nearing an historic inflection point. A confluence of mutually-reinforcing factors is putting unprecedented pressure on the century-old model of monopolistic supply of electrons at approved rates of return, flowing from central generation stations to end-users. Cleaner energy generation technologies continue to improve, are getting less expensive, and are being deployed at an accelerating rate. Innovations in the financial markets and in business models are spurring cleaner energy deployment and increasing competition for providing customers with energy services. A new generation of customers accustomed to transparency, control, and choice in all aspects of their consumption of goods and services is increasingly expecting the same from energy providers. Information technologies that have enabled rapid change in communications and entertainment are now starting to be applied to energy. And public policies are beginning to enable, if not encourage, fundamental changes in how electricity is generated and provided. The current utility model is colliding with this confluence of factors, leading to a system in conflict, with the old system trying to accommodate more irregular dispatch, customer or third-party owned distributed generation, a range of social equity issues, and societal desires for a stable, clean, interactive, and hardened system. While part of the answer to these challenges may lie in a reformulation of the regulated utility business model, others believe that a more fundamental re-ordering of how energy is produced, delivered, managed, and owned is in the offing. This vision of a re-ordered, more diverse, more competitive, and more integrated electricity system could be thought of as “Clean tech 3.0”. This vision involves better systems (not just better devices), smart and connected devices of all sorts, a dynamic and flexible two way grid, more active and involved consumers, and business models that do not rely on subsidies. It also envisions clean energy not just as a commodity but as a way to provide value to customers (e.g., comfort, mobility, health). Achieving Clean tech 3.0 will require society to grapple with some tough equity and policy challenges, including whether to keep and/or adapt the traditional regulatory compact, how to treat low-income consumers and consumers not generating their own power, and which policies and institutions should be created, reformed, or eliminated to create the proper enabling environment for change. The electricity sector is already starting to witness the rise of a class of customers empowered by technological advances to start to re-think their relationship to energy. These empowered customers have social needs and practical preferences for which they are willing to pay, including price certainty, reliability, resilience, and cleanness. The industry is thus entering a new era that focuses less on selling electrons than on offering consumers valuable services. The path, however, is not without obstacles. The role for traditional utilities in this customer-focused market is unclear; such a focus has not historically been part of their business and is not one of their strengths, and the utilities have been operating in a sector unaccustomed to significant change. Clean energy companies, too, can find it challenging to develop new profitable business models. Even the energy efficiency industry, which offers the fastest and lowest cost pathway to a cleaner energy future, may struggle to sell and scale energy efficiency unless market structures and enabling policies can align with improving technologies to realize the full value proposition of smarter energy delivery and consumption. Regulators have been struggling to figure out how to address the suite of changes facing the electricity sector as well. Current physical and policy infrastructures do not seem to be up to the task. There appear to be three interdependent tectonic plates in motion – long term utility generation planning, mid-term smart grid design, and very near-term device and software design and deployment – that are not aligned, are moving at dangerously different speeds, and are not properly engaging with each other on a regular basis. Regulatory models must be devised that are more flexible, adaptive, and open to rapid advances in technology. There are some places now, such as Hawaii and New York, where regulatory innovation is occurring to try to get ahead of some of these issues. While the challenge of rethinking utility regulatory models falls largely in the hands of state policy makers, the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed rule for carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants, issued under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, might have profound implications for how state policies and markets will impact energy efficiency and clean energy. The draft rule would set 2030 emissions goals for states and then give states flexibility on how to meet those goals. The draft 111(d) rule is complex, and a variety of concerns have been raised about it. It is not known how the final rule will be modified to address concerns and comments, nor how the almost certain litigation will be resolved. At the very least, the draft rule is already spurring conversations in every state that have not been had to this point at the level and scale necessary, forcing states to think about how emissions reductions will be achieved, what their energy mix will be, what role clean energy will play, and how state policies and market structures need to change in the years ahead. Those conversations can help contribute to broader discussions about creating a clear and compelling vision of the near-future state of U.S. clean energy. Those discussions need to include a range of actors, including the many regulators and utility executives who think the U.S. is still in Clean tech 1.0 and does not need to go anywhere else. There is a need to figure out how to bring those people along and help them start to understand the speed and nature of the changes that are occurring.
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: In many respects, the U.S. health care system is breathtakingly innovative. It produces new technology, medical procedures, and scientific knowledge at a dazzling speed, enabling patients to recover from diseases and injuries once thought incurable or untreatable. As a consequence, the U.S. has one of the highest survival rates for cancers, excels at acute and trauma care, and has produced half of the world's Nobel laureates.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, Social Stratification, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: Congressional leaders are best able to judge what committee should have jurisdiction over this department and its duties. But we believe that Congress does have the obligation to choose one in the House and one in the Senate, and that this committee should be a permanent standing committee with a nonpartisan staff.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Biosecurity, Governance, Law, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Bill White(Chair), Leonard Coburn(Rapporteur)
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: Improved technology has led to enhanced oil and gas productivity at lower cost and significant production increases in the United States and Canada, dramatically changing energy perspectives. The shift from energy scarcity toward abundance is requiring new energy policies. The potential for the United States to become a net exporter of oil and gas changes American views of energy dependency. Shifts in global energy demand growth from developed to less developed countries, and especially to the Asia-Pacific region, require understanding of changing global energy trade. American energy will flow to markets where scarcity is the largest. Canada and the United States are reaping the benefits of this new world of oil and gas. Mexico will lag behind unless it addresses its chronic problems. Without reform, Mexico could become a net importer of all its hydrocarbons, a fundamental change from its current status. Responding to these changes will require knowledge, foresight, and strategies that are bold and comprehensive.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Environment, Oil, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Canada, Mexico
  • Author: Bill Dickenson (Co-Chair), Phil Sharp (Co-Chair), Dave Grossman (Rapporteur)
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The future of the U.S. electricity sector is hard to foresee – and it is never wise to overpay one's fortune tellers – but there appear to be some key trends and technologies that may reshape future electricity markets and determine the innovativeness, resilience, security, and global competitiveness of the sector. Discussions of the sector's past, present, and future formed the heart of the 2013 Aspen Institute Energy Policy Forum. This report summarizes and organizes some of the key insights from those discussions.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Energy Policy, Environment, Markets, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jeremy A. Leonard
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: As the United States struggles to find a politically acceptable and economically sensible solution to its severe fiscal crisis, hidden in plain sight just North of the 49th parallel is an example that ought to be considered more carefully. Quietly, but steadily, under governments of all political stripes, Canada has profoundly re-structured its economy, gotten its fiscal house in order, created a competitive business tax environment, and come into its own as a strong economic player in North America and beyond.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada
  • Author: Basit Chaudhry deBronkart, Carole Roan Gresenz, Joseph Hutter, Anjali Jain, Brent C. James, Shawn Martin, Lewis Mattison, Daniel L. Newton, Anthony Nguyen, Brent Parton, Kavita Patel, Steven Weinberger
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: In many respects, the U.S. health care system is breathtakingly innovative. It produces new technology, medical procedures, and scientific knowledge at a dazzling speed, enabling patient store cover from diseases and injuries once thought incurable or untreatable. As a consequence, the U.S. has one of the highest survival rates for cancers, excels at acute and trauma care, and has produced half of the world's Nobel laureates.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Health Care Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: Today America finds a new market force emerging: companies that achieve an intimate connection between profit and purpose. And these businesses are supported by a developing system of investors and other financial actors that seek to place capital in firms that are achieving social impact. A new trail is being blazed for our country – open, far-reaching, transformative, offering an opportunity for renewal and growth. This is the Impact Economy.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Phil Sharp
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The question is never whether the United States has an energy policy. It has dozens. They come with various decision-makers at overlapping levels of authority, ample numbers of stakeholders, and generally lots of confusing and often contradictory signals.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Energy Policy, Environment
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Bill White
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: A shift in relative energy consumption among regions and the development of new, unconventional supplies will be the most significant changes over the next twenty years. The dominant fuels in the world energy market until 2030 will continue to be hydrocarbons — oil, coal, and natural gas. Major shifts will occur, however, among the three fuels, among regions and in their supply. Globally, oil will continue to be the most widely used fuel as it supplies more than 90 percent of the energy for transportation. Coal, now the dominant fuel used for electric power generation, will lose ground to natural gas, a less carbon-intensive hydrocarbon. Natural gas will become the second largest overall supplier and well positioned to replace coal as the leading supplier for electric power. Developing countries will lead the way in overall energy growth, with Chinese and Indian energy demand growing fastest. Energy demand in developed countries will remain flat. For the United States, growth in gas shale and oil shale are likely to be “game changers,” altering the supply picture dramatically.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Markets, Political Economy, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: United States, China, India
  • Author: Keith O. Lawrence (ed)
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: More than 2.3 million people in america are in jail or prison.sixty percent are african american and Latino.Of all the statistics portraying racial inequity in our country, this is the most alarming: it indicates the failure of so many of our society's institutions; it predicts dire consequences for millions of children and families of color who are already at socioeconomic disadvantage; and it challenges the very definition of our democracy.
  • Topic: Crime, Race, Social Stratification
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Jon Gant, Nicol Turner-Lee
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: Over the last several decades, local, state and federal government entities in the United States have steadily moved toward more openness and transparency.By definition, openness and transparency allow stakeholders to gather information that may be critical to their interests and offer channels of communication between stakeholders and elected officials. Aided by legislative mandates and public policy decisions, most government entities are now required to make a minimum amount of information available to citizens, operate in the “sunlight” and not behind closed doors, and actively engage citizens in the policy-making process.
  • Topic: Corruption, Education, Government, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: John M. Deutch
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The development of natural gas from shale is providing new possibilities for gas use in the United States and throughout the world. The largest conventional natural gas deposits are concentrated in the Middle East and Russia, but unconventional natural gas, including shale, is spread throughout the world, potentially permitting development in many different countries.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Globalization
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Middle East
  • Author: Clark Kent Ervin
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: This is the third in a series of reports about various cities' preparedness for terrorism and/or natural disasters. It is the outgrowth of a series of discussions in 2007-2008 in New York, Los Angeles, Houston, New Orleans, and Chicago among key federal, state, and local government officials in each such city, as well as private sector stakeholders, and think tank/academic experts on homeland security and counterterrorism. The series was underwritten by a generous lead grant from the Ford Foundation, supplemented by additional grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, the McCormick Foundation, and the Houston Endowment. The goal in each city was to identify best practices that can be replicated around the country; to identify any gaps in preparedness; and to recommend to policymakers ways and means of closing any such gaps.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, Chicago
  • Author: Clark Kent Ervin
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: This is the fourth in a series of reports, underwritten principally by the Ford Foundation, and, in this particular case, additionally, the Houston Endowment, as to various cities' (namely, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, New Orleans, and Houston) preparedness for terrorism and catastrophic natural disasters. Our goal in each city was to identify best practices that can be replicated in other cities around the nation; to identify any gaps in preparedness; and to make recommendations to close any such gaps. We conducted these assessments primarily through roundtable discussions in each city in 2007-2009 with key local, state, and federal government officials, corporate and non-profit stakeholders, and academic and think tank experts, with some supplemental research and follow-up interviews. The audience for each roundtable consisted of representatives of funding organizations, congressional staff, policy experts, and students, all of whom were helpful in engaging the speakers in dialogue following their formal presentations.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Terrorism, Natural Disasters, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, Chicago
  • Author: David Monsma, Regan Nelson, Ray Bolger
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: During the past 150 years, a complex water infrastructure has been built throughout the U.S. to supply homes and businesses with clean water, collect and treat wastewater and manage stormwater – and an equally complex regulatory system has evolved alongside it. A generation of progress has been made under the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act. However, serious challenges still exist for the nation's freshwater resources, including insufficient progress in achieving water quality goals, overuse of water resources, and looming challenges associated with global climate change, including droughts, heavy storm events and flooding. Meanwhile, water and wastewater utilities are struggling with aged infrastructure that requires upgrades or replacement. Control of urban storm water and rural runoff will require large new investments. Appropriate sources of funding and affordability of these investments also requires attention.
  • Topic: Natural Resources, Water, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The last 18 months have dealt a devastating blow to Americans' sense of financial security. Few have been untouched by the financial crisis. For many, wealth accumulated over years of saving and investing has disappeared almost overnight. For many more, the economic crisis has imperiled their jobs, their ability to provide for their families, and their optimism about the future.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Clark Kent Ervin
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: This is the second in a series of reports about various cities' pre-paredness for terrorism and/or natural disasters. It is the outgrowth of a series of roundtable discussions in 2007 and 2008 in New York, Chicago, Houston, New Orleans, and Los Angeles among key federal, state, and local government officials in each such city, as well as private sector stakeholders, and think tank/academic experts on homeland security and counterterrorism. The series was financed by a generous lead grant by the Ford Foundation, supplemented by additional grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, the McCormick Foundation, and the Houston Endowment. The goal in each city was to identify best practices that can be replicated around the country; to identify any gaps in preparedness; and to recommend to policymakers ways and means of closing any such gaps.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, Chicago
  • Author: Paul Runci
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: With the expectation that a new Administration and new Congress in 2009 will actively consider climate change legislation, the Aspen Institute's 2008 Energy Policy Forum chose the topic of “Climate Change and the Electricity Sector.” The Forum, now in its 31st year, convened a select group of leaders and policy experts to discuss commercial and public policy issues at the intersection of energy, the economy and the environment. As in previous years, the format relied heavily on dialogue among the diverse participants who brought a variety of perspectives and areas of expertise to the table. Short introductory presentations kicked off each half-day session, and a spirited, off-the-record discussion followed.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Globalization, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Clark Kent Ervin
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: Sooner or later, somewhere or other, another natural disaster will strike America, be it a hurricane, a tornado, an earthquake, or a flood. Sooner or later, somewhere or other, terrorists will attempt to strike America again. Indeed, many experts believe that the threat of another attack is rising. Al Qaeda is resurgent, having reconstituted itself along the Afghan-Pakistan border. And, recent history shows that terrorists are especially prone to strike during the transition from one administration to another or early in the term of a new government. Adding to our vulnerability, the nation is now bogged down in two wars and groaning under mounting debt, while our economy is sinking from the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression.
  • Topic: Security, Disaster Relief, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, New York
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The American relationship with Lebanon has ebbed and flowed over the decades, as policy has tended to be reactive rather than driven by a clear sense of U.S. goals. More recently, the U.S. strongly supported the 2005 Lebanese independence movement against Syrian hegemony, known as the “Cedar Revolution” in the United States and the “Independence Intifada” in Lebanon, and continues to maintain strong ties to the ruling March 14 coalition which was born out of that movement.
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Kurt M. Campbell, Willow Darsie
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: After a protracted period of uncertainty concerning the nature of the foreign policy challenges that are likely to confront the nation over the course of first half of the 21st century, twin challenges are now coming into sharper relief. For the next generation or more, Americans will be confronted by two overriding (and possibly overwhelming) challenges in the conduct of American foreign policy: how to more effectively wage a long, twilight struggle against violent Islamic fundamentalists, and at the same time cope with the almost certain rise to great power status of China.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Development, Economics, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America, Asia
  • Author: Shanthi Kalathil
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: Having lapsed in importance following the end of the Cold War, public diplomacy has reemerged as a focal point for policymakers, scholars, and practitioners. Particularly following the attacks of September 11, 2001, American public diplomacy in the Middle East has rocketed to a place of prominence in the U.S. foreign policy toolkit. Yet even as resources and attention are trained on refining the U.S. public diplomacy strategy, there is little consensus on core problems, effective solutions, and what success might tangibly look like.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Middle East, Asia, Arabia
  • Author: Suzanne Nora Johnson, Lisa Mensah, C. Eugene Steuerle
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: Savings policy in the United States is at a critical juncture. The U.S. personal saving rate has declined from 10.8 percent in 1984 to zero in 2005.The national saving rate, which includes government and business savings, is the lowest among the G-20 countries and has decreased significantly in recent decades. These low levels of saving generally suggest lower growth rates of income and standards of living in the future.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Kurt M. Campbell, Willow Darsie
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld famously bemoaned the challenges of measuring success in a long twilight struggle with Islamic fundamentalists. There are the “known unknowns” and “unknown unknowns” that confront the United States in the most unfamiliar set of foreign policy challenges in the country's history. In addition to the difficulties of establishing “metrics” – as Rumsfeld would put it – in our war on terror, there is also the intrinsically related and perhaps more vexing question of how the global ideological virus of Islamic fundamentalism is morphing and evolving. An influential and well-funded cohort of radicalized Islamists, seizing upon an unyielding interpretation of religious text (a kind of Koranic original intent), has been at war with the West for nearly a generation, and the pace of operations globally is accelerating. According to recently released U.S. government reports, there has been a sharp surge in the number of global terrorist attacks in recent years, a tally substantially comprised of incidents initiated by Islamist instigators. Taken in its totality with all its many manifestations, the jihadist challenge stretches from the Taliban strongholds in the rugged Afghan mountains and the dense jungle hideouts of the Philippines, to the ornate mosques of Saudi Arabia, from a quiet neighborhood in Leeds, England to, just possibly, a place near you.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: John A. Riggs
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The title of the 2006 Energy Policy Forum—Energy: The New Normal? — raises two primary questions: has the world crossed a threshold into a qualitatively different energy environment in which the era of cheap and plentiful energy is over, and does the interaction of energy issues with other considerations, such as national security, foreign affairs, and global climate change, require fundamentally new ways of thinking about U.S. energy policies?
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Environment, Oil
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Author: Amy Korzick Garmer
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: Fundamental changes are taking place in the advertising marketplace. Audiences are moving away from big media and adopting niche media, with indisputable trends toward fragmentation, disintermediation and greater consumer control affecting the media sector. Consumers have expressed preferences for more personalized, relevant forms of media that speak directly to their needs and interests. Advertisers are experimenting with new ways of communicating with customers and searching for new ways of reaggregating audiences. In this new environment, new media expert Jeff Jarvis has observed, “the economies of scale must compete with the economies of small.”
  • Topic: Civil Society, Communications
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: William K. Reilly, Harriet C. Babbitt
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: Few issues matter more to public health, economic opportunity, and environmental integrity than the availability of clean water and sanitation. With the 4th World Water Forum scheduled for Mexico City in March 2006, the Aspen Institute and the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University conducted a multistakeholder dialogue to help highlight the importance of global water issues, suggest steps to provide services more rapidly and effectively, and to identify and draw attention to constructive ways the US government and other US participants can take part in the Forum.
  • Topic: Development, Environment, Government, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States, Mexico
  • Author: Elaine L. Edgcomb, Joyce A. Klein
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The notion that a person can turn a dream into a small business by applying healthy doses of ingenuity, elbow grease and grit has resonated with Americans from the earliest days of this nation. Indeed, there is something so intrinsically appealing about that scenario that more than 22 million Americans are small business owners today—including some 20 million who operate "micro"—or very small—enterprises.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Environment, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Jon Ziomek
  • Publication Date: 01-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The American media have always been intimately connected with American public life. The newspapers of the colonial era helped generate public support for the idea of separation from England and the creation of a democratic state. The newspapers of the 19th century fed the urbanized public life of a young industrializing nation. The media of the 20th century reflected the national and international political and social movements of their era.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Michael Suman
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: We live in an era in which security concerns have become paramount, the forces of capitalism have dealt a death blow to socialist command economies, and the United States is aggressively promoting democracy in the Middle East. In this context, what does the future hold for the values of security, capitalism, and democracy? Historians tell us we also are in the Digital Age—increasingly so with the advent of new communications technologies such as the Internet. What role can the media play in fostering the values of security, capitalism, and democracy?
  • Topic: International Relations, Civil Society, Democratization, Globalization
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East
  • Author: John A. Riggs
  • Publication Date: 05-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: One of the enduring debates about environmental issues is the extent to which progress can be achieved without economic harm, either to a business or to society as a whole. The risk of such harm has frequently been used, often effectively, as a reason to oppose or delay actions to reduce pollution or to otherwise advance environmental protection goals. The apparent political persuasiveness of the argument has led to a counterargument: that there are usually win-win solutions and that environmental and economic goals need not be in conflict.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Madeleine Albright, Kurt M. Campbell
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: In two workshops, June 6-8 and July 31-August 2, 2003, the Aspen Atlantic Group and its guests examined avenues for renewed transatlantic cooperation in light of contemporary and cumulative challenges to the relationship. Having conducted a frank and in-depth diagnosis of core differences and commonalities in the first workshop, the second workshop extended its scope to include sessions on specific areas of collaboration such as homeland security and humanitarian intervention.
  • Topic: International Relations, NATO
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Lael Brainard
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The end of the Cold War and disillusionment with aid's many failures led to widespread aid fatigue among donors during the 1990s. Total official development assistance (ODA) as a share of donor GDP fell by one third over the decade (from 0.32 to 0.22 percent). This was particularly pronounced in the United States, where a slash-and-burn approach reduced foreign economic assistance to just over one half of 1 percent of budget outlays, compared with over 3 percent at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis. And U.S. per capita spending fell to last place among donor nations, ending the decade at $29, far below the average of $70.
  • Topic: Development, Human Welfare, International Organization, Poverty
  • Political Geography: United States, Cuba
  • Author: Neil Shister
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The prevailing view of journalism today draws on strands from a diverse portfolio of political, legal, and commercial theories. Some of the propositions underlying the way we regard the practice of the craft date back to the 18th-century “age of reason;” others are as current as yesterday's Wall Street media deal. “Journalism” is a historical hybrid— more an evolving social construct than a fixed point of reference. As such, it conveys contradictory associations: on one hand a band of swashbuckling iconoclasts daring to “speak truth to power;” on the other hand considerably more temperate, disinterested professionals gathering content to distribute through the “information division” of giant corporations. Each image is exaggerated; neither is wholly wrong
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: David Bollier
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: Kurdish people living in Turkey can now receive satellite television broadcasts emanating from London. Iranians can view Farsi-language television programs that originate in Los Angeles. Even though they are dispersed throughout the world, emigrants from mainland China remain a vital diasporic community, thanks to websites and e-mail discussion lists. Insurgent movements from the Zapatistas to the East Timorese to Indonesian students have used the Internet to organize themselves and communicate a political vision to the world.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, London, Kurdistan, Los Angeles
  • Author: Kurt M. Campbell
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: Former Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara was fond of saying that the Middle East was the graveyard of American diplomatic hopes and dreams, and this is a man who knows something about disappointment in global politics (as well as cemeteries). Now, the United States has embarked upon an ambitious mission to remake the Middle East – rebuilding war-ravaged and leader-abused countries in Afghanistan and Iraq, seeking to settle the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, blocking further nuclear proliferation, pushing the region to embrace political moderation and reform, and hopefully improving America's image in the region in the process. There are unintentional though unavoidable echoes of the “best and the brightest” in this campaign as the U.S. embarks upon a global crusade (call it what it is) to help re-direct the course of one of the world's dominant civilizations and the institutions that have served it so poorly. This uniquely American sense of mission and manifest destiny is apparent in a range of endeavors worldwide but it is in the Middle East where U.S. ambitions approach the point of audacity.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Democratization
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: Capital Plus is a position paper written by the members of the Development Finance Forum (the Forum), a group of practitioners that has met for a week each year since 1997. The Forum members use the term “development finance institutions” (DFIs) to refer to our diverse institutional forms, customer strategies, and products, which include microcredit, loans to small and medium sized businesses, and investments in housing projects and community facilities. The word “practitioner” is the key to our group. While donors, academics, and representatives of multilateral institutions play an important role in building and marketing the development finance field, they have often dominated the way debates and ideas are shaped. We asked ourselves: as practitioners, did we have, or could we develop, a common perspective? Could it shape the debate in a new way? What new ideas could we add?
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: John A. Riggs
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: What is the preferred framework for a domestic policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? The approach most likely to achieve environmental results? To be admin- istratively feasible and cost effective? To gain political acceptance?
  • Topic: Environment, Government, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: John A. Riggs, Paul Runci
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: Over the July 4th weekend, seventy current and former government officials and experts from industry, academia, and consumer and environmental public interest groups met to discuss the state of the U.S. electricity industry. The lack of progress in addressing critical electricity issues will increase costs and reduce performance in the electricity sector over the next several years. The long-term future of electricity supply and demand is also clouded by the absence of clear and stable government policies.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Government, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Adam Clymer
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: In the wake of the national trauma of September 11, 2001, if there was one nostrum that dominated national commentary, it was “nothing will ever be the same again.”
  • Topic: Government, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Neil Shister
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The complexity of democracy is both its defect and its virtue. As an idealized conception, democracy promotes equitable social order through the counter play of interests while the rule of law protects individual citizens from the arbitrariness of the state. In practice, matters are considerably more ambiguous. Contradictions exist between theory and action; the power and privileges of some people invariably make them "more equal" than hers—social equity being a relative term. Even so, belief that democracy renders "the greatest good for the greatest number" constitutes the orthodox faith of contemporary civil religion. "No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all wise," noted Winston Churchill in his oft-quoted observation. "Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others that have been tried from time to time."
  • Topic: Politics, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States