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Decentralization, Democracy, and Subnational Government in Brazil, Mexico, and the USA
Governance in the Americas, a multidisciplinary volume, offers important new insights about decentralization, federalism, and democratic change in the three largest federal nations in the Americas: Brazil, Mexico, and the United States. Originating in a major research project conducted by teams in each of the three countries, this study contributes significantly to our understanding of how representative and participatory democracy is being constructed at state and local levels in the recently emerged democracies of Brazil and Mexico, and is being recast and sustained in the United States. The contributors evaluate the performance of subnational governments, as these societies become more genuinely decentralized, and as new actors and managerial routines create and implement public policy. The authors challenge the criticism of “exceptionalism” in the United States, seeking instead to understand the points of convergence and divergence among the three countries as each seeks to improve the effectiveness and public accountability of its policy-making processes.
A New Framework for Analysis and Action
In recent years, the developing world has seen a burst of efforts to reduce corruption, increase transparency and accountability, and improve governance. Needless to say, this is an important and encouraging development. However, the lack of a reliable compass to describe where a country is at a given moment and where it could be heading in the absence or acceptance of proposed reforms can result in disastrous missteps. The unfortunate absence of such a guide has helped lead to innumerable failed governments or ineffective regimes. This important book aims to fill that void.
How to Improve Governance emphasizes the need for an overall analytical framework that can be applied to different countries to help analyze their current situations, identify potential areas for improvement, and assess their relative feasibility and the steps needed to promote them. A country-specific analysis needs to be comprehensive, in the sense that it includes the four concepts of transparency, accountability, governance, and anticorruption throughout the calculus. Without such an analytic framework, any reform attempt is likely to flounder for lack of a shared understanding of the underlying problems and of the feasible reforms. The book gives special emphasis to the potential for civil society groups to play a stronger role in holding governments accountable for their use of public resources, and to the importance of developing politically feasible, prioritized country strategies for reform.
"Whether one looks at how to increase domestic demand for good governance, how to make government more accountable to the public, or how to build democratic processes that deliver results, the underlying issues are essentially the same.... As development actors of various types... seek to help, more and more of them are calling for a clearer conceptual framework to guide their efforts." From the Introduction
International Institutions in Postcommunist Europe
Though the fall of the Soviet Union opened the way for states in central and eastern Europe to join the world of market-oriented Western democracies, the expected transitions have not been as easy, common, or smooth as sometimes perceived. Rachel A. Epstein investigates how liberal ideas and practices are embedded in transitioning societies and finds that success or failure depends largely on creating a social context in which incentives held out by international institutions are viewed as symbols of an emerging Western identity in the affected country. Epstein first explains how a liberal worldview and institutions like the European Union, World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization go hand-in-hand and why Western nations assume that a broad and incremental program of incentives to join will encourage formerly authoritarian states to reform their political and economic systems. Using Hungary, Poland, Romania, and the Ukraine as case studies, she demonstrates the limits of conditionality in the face of national social perceptions and elucidates the three key points around which a consensus within the state must emerge before international institutions can expect liberalization: domestic officials must be uncertain about how changing policies will affect their interests; the status of international and domestic institutions must not be in jeopardy; and the proposed polices must seem credible. In making her case, Epstein cleverly bridges the gap between the rationalist and constructivist schools of thought. Offering new data on and fresh interpretations of reforming central bank policies, privatizing banks with foreign capital, democratizing civil-military relations, and denationalizing defense policy, In Pursuit of Liberalism extends well beyond the scope of previous book-length studies.
Local Politics Go Global
For the last decade, China and India have grown at an amazing rate particularly considering the greatest downturn in the U.S. and Europe since the Great Depression. As a result, both countries are forecast to have larger economies than the U.S. or EU in the years ahead. Still, in the last year, signs of a slowdown have hit these two giants. Which way will these giants go? And how will that affect the global economy? Any Western corporation, investor, or entrepreneur serious about competing internationally must understand what makes them tick. Unfortunately, many in the West still look at the two Asian giants as monoliths, closely controlled mainly by their national governments. Inside Out, India and China makes clear how and why this notion is outdated.
William Antholis a former White House and State Department official, and the managing director at Brookings spent five months in India and China, travelling to over 20 states and provinces in both countries. He explored the enormously diversity in business, governance, and culture of these nations, temporarily relocating his entire family to Asia. His travels, research, and interviews with key stakeholders make the unmistakable point that these nations are not the immobile, centrally directed economies and structures of the past.
More and more, key policy decisions in India and China are formulated and implemented by local governments states, provinces, and fast-growing cities. Both economies have promoted entrepreneurship, both by private sector and also local government officials. Some strategies work. Others are fatally flawed. Antholis's detailed narratives of local innovation in governance and business as well as local failures prove the point that simply maintaining a presence in Beijing and New Delhi or even Shanghai and Mumbai is not enough to ensure success in China or India, just as one cannot expect to succeed in America simply by setting up in Washington or New York. Each nation is as large, vibrant, innovative, diverse, and increasingly decentralized as are the United States, Europe and all of Latin America combined. China and India each have their own agricultural heartlands, high-tech corridors, resource-rich areas, and powerhouse manufacturing regions. They also have major economic, social, environmental challenges facing them. But few people outside these countries can name those places, or have a mental map of how the local parts of these countries are shaping their global futures. Organizations, businesses, and other governments that do not recognize and plan for this evolution may miss that the most important changes in these emerging giants are coming from the inside out.
"This book is for people who wonder about the inside of China and India, and how different local perspectives inside those countries shape actions outside their borders. Though my family and I spent five months traveling in both countries to do research, this book is not a travelogue. Rather, it is an attempt to sketch how a few of China's and India's many component parts are being shaped by global forces and in turn are shaping those forces and what that means for Americans and Europeans conducting diplomacy and doing business there." from the Introduction
The Argentine Puzzle in Context
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has played a critical role in the global economy since the postwar era. But, claims Claudia Kedar, behind the strictly economic aspects of the IMF’s intervention, there are influential interactions between IMF technocrats and local economists—even when countries are not borrowing money.
In The International Monetary Fund and Latin America, Kedar seeks to expose the motivations and constraints of the operations of both the IMF and borrowers. With access to never-before-seen archive materials, Kedar reveals both the routine and behind-the-scenes practices that have depicted International Monetary Fund–Latin American relations in general and the asymmetrical IMF-Argentina relations in particular.
Kedar also analyzes the “routine of dependency” that characterizes IMF-borrower relations with several Latin American countries such as Chile, Peru, and Brazil. The International Monetary Fund and Latin America shows how debtor countries have adopted IMF’s policies during past decades and why Latin American leaders today largely refrain from knocking at the IMF’s doors again.
Courts and Gender in the Religious-Secular Conflict in Israel
Uses the case of Israel to examine the circumstances that lead national courts to engage heated political issues. Patricia J. Woods examines a controversial issue in the politics of many countries around the world: the increasing role that courts and justices have played in deeply charged political battles. Through an extensive case study of the religious-secular conflict in Israel, she argues that the most important determining factor explaining when, why, and how national courts enter into the world of divisive politics is found in the intellectual or judicial communities with whom justices live, work, and think about the law on a daily basis. The interaction among members of this community, Woods maintains, is an organic, sociological process of intellectual exchange that over time culminates in new legal norms that may, through court cases, become binding legal principles. Given the right conditions—electoral democracy, basic judicial independence, and some institutional constraints—courts may use these new legal norms as the basis for a jurisprudence that justifies hearing controversial cases and allows for creative answers to major issues of national political contention.
Pourquoi le néopatrimonialisme est-il si fréquemment utilisé pour caractériser les systèmes politiques Africains ? Les pratiques auxquelles renvoie cette notion, qu’il s’agisse du clientélisme, de la corruption ou de la privatisation de l’État, sont pourtant présentes dans la plupart des pays, qu’ils soient ou non Africains. Afin de répondre à ce paradoxe, L’État néopatrimonial propose une exploration théorique et comparative de la diversité des trajectoires et usages contemporains du concept. À partir d’une discussion des références initiales de Max Weber au patrimonialisme, les différentes contributions abordent le néopatrimonialisme dans ses rapports avec l’analyse de la démocratisation, des relations internationales, de la sociologie des conflits et de l’économie du développement. L’ouvrage renouvelle les débats sur le néopatrimonialisme en Afrique, tout en les élargissant également à l’Asie, l’Europe et l’Amérique latine à travers des études de cas.
Les fédérations abritent quarante pour cent de la population mondiale. Les 28 pays dotés d’un régime politique fédéral se révèlent des plus diversifiés : de la nation la plus nantie du monde – les États-Unis d’Amérique – à de minuscules États insulaires comme la Micronésie et Saint-Kitts-et-Nevis. Six des dix pays les plus populeux et huit des dix pays les plus vastes de la planète sont des fédérations. Ce livre d’une remarquable concision présente les notions élémentaires de ce système politique dans une langue claire et dépourvue de jargon—sans doute la raison pour laquelle il a été traduit en environ 20 langues. Il s’agit d’un ouvrage incontournable non seulement pour ceux qui étudient les gouvernements et oeuvrent dans le secteur public, mais aussi pour tout citoyen des fédérations du monde.