Democracy & Governance

Iraq’s Neoliberal Constitution

Article 25: “The state shall guarantee the reforming of the Iraqi economy according to modern economic bases, in a way that ensures complete investment of its resources, diversifying its sources and encouraging and developing the private sector.”

read more

August Around the World

The song speaks of “those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.”

The prevailing sentiment, less “laid back,” refers to “the dog days of summer” from which the rich and well-connected have historically sought relief by getting out of town. Indeed, one can easily picture Caesar Augustus—in whose honor the Roman Senate renamed and lengthened the sixth month in the Julian calendar—abandoning Rome in the same way Congress and the president flee Washington.

read more

Security Council Reform Debate Highlights Challenges Facing UN

Within a day of arriving at the United Nations John Bolton, the former lobbyist for Taiwan and advocate for one permanent seat on the Security Council, the United States, had cut a deal with the Chinese representative. China wants to stop an additional permanent Security Council seat for Japan. The United States had promised Japan its support in return for its loyalty over Iraq, but hated Germany more than it loves Japan. So the two agreed to thwart the attempt by the G-4 (Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan), to secure permanent seats during the current reform proposals.

read more

The Left and the Iraq War

The left has been snookered by the U.S. invasion of Iraq, for it is deeply opposed to the war yet supports the spread of democracy and civil freedoms. It is in the interests of the world that democracy should succeed in Iraq but that the U.S. has its nose bloodied in the process.

read more

Debt and Corruption

There are few issues that have captured the airwaves in Nigeria more than the twin campaigns in favor of debt relief and against corruption. A photograph of Nigeria’s former top cop made the front pages only to be followed the next day by apologies for humiliating the man. The Senate president, the number three man in the government, got kicked out of office for allegedly helping to grease of palms of some Senators, so that a government ministry’s budget could be laced up with bogus figures. The Senate president did not go down alone. He is currently squirming in the dock with the former minister of education and some other senators. Another minister was sacked for underhand dealings in a proposed sale of government houses in the high-brow section of Ikoyi, Lagos . Many of President Obasanjo’s extended family members were scheduled to become owners of these choice quarters built with public funds.

read more

Kicking Away the Ladder: The “Real” History of Free Trade

Central to the neoliberal discourse on globalization is the conviction that free trade, more than free movements of capital or labor, is the key to global prosperity. Even many of those who are not enthusiastic about all aspects of globalization–ranging from the free-trade economist, Jagdish Bhagwati, advocating capital control to some non-governmental organizations (NGOs) accusing the developed countries for not opening up their agricultural markets–seem to agree that free trade is the most benign, or at least a less problematic, element in the progress of globalization.

read more