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Transforming Governance Through Technology
Successful democracies throughout history--from ancient Athens to Britain on the cusp of the industrial age--have used the technology of their time to gather information for better governance. Our challenge is no different today, but it is more urgent because the accelerating pace of technological change creates potentially enormous dangers as well as benefits. Accelerating Democracy shows how to adapt democracy to new information technologies that can enhance political decision making and enable us to navigate the social rapids ahead.
John O. McGinnis demonstrates how these new technologies combine to address a problem as old as democracy itself--how to help citizens better evaluate the consequences of their political choices. As society became more complex in the nineteenth century, social planning became a top-down enterprise delegated to experts and bureaucrats. Today, technology increasingly permits information to bubble up from below and filter through more dispersed and competitive sources. McGinnis explains how to use fast-evolving information technologies to more effectively analyze past public policy, bring unprecedented intensity of scrutiny to current policy proposals, and more accurately predict the results of future policy. But he argues that we can do so only if government keeps pace with technological change. For instance, it must revive federalism to permit different jurisdictions to test different policies so that their results can be evaluated, and it must legalize information markets to permit people to bet on what the consequences of a policy will be even before that policy is implemented.
Accelerating Democracy reveals how we can achieve a democracy that is informed by expertise and social-scientific knowledge while shedding the arrogance and insularity of a technocracy.
Politics, Policy, and Risky Technologies
Complex and risky technologies--technologies such as new drugs for the treatment of AIDS that promise great benefits to our society but carry significant risks--pose many problems for political leaders and the policy makers responsible for overseeing them. Public agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration are told by political superiors not to inhibit important technological advances and may even be charged with promoting such development but must also make sure that no major accidents occur under their watch. Given the large costs associated with catastrophic accidents, the general public and elected officials often demand reliable or failure-free management of these technologies and have little tolerance for the error. Research in this area has lead to a schism between those who argue that it is possible to have reliable management techniques and safely manage complex technologies and others who contend that such control is difficult at best. In this book C. F. Larry Heimann advances an important solution to this problem by developing a general theory of organizational reliability and agency decision making. The book looks at both external and internal influences on reliability in agency decision making. It then tests theoretical propositions developed in a comparative case study of two agencies involved with the handling of risky technologies: NASA and the manned space flight program and the FDA's handling of pharmaceuticals--particularly new AIDS therapies. Drawing on concepts from engineering, organizational theory, political science, and decision theory, this book will be of interest to those interested in science and technology policy, bureaucratic management and reform, as well as those interested in health and space policy. C. F. Larry Heimann is Assistant Professor of Political Science, Michigan State University.
2000 and After
Conant explores how the transformation of oil from a commercial commodity to a strategic raw material have changed the face of world energy politics. In an increasingly interdependent world, Conant questions the right of any nation to withold vital supplies from other countries.
Victim Movements and Government Accountability in Japan and South Korea
Government wrongdoing or negligence harms people worldwide, but not all victims are equally effective at obtaining redress. In Accidental Activists, Celeste L. Arrington examines the interactive dynamics of the politics of redress to understand why not. Relatively powerless groups like redress claimants depend on support from political elites, active groups in society, the media, experts, lawyers, and the interested public to capture democratic policymakers' attention and sway their decisions. Focusing on when and how such third-party support matters, Arrington finds that elite allies may raise awareness about the victims’ cause or sponsor special legislation, but their activities also tend to deter the mobilization of fellow claimants and public sympathy. By contrast, claimants who gain elite allies only after the difficult and potentially risky process of mobilizing societal support tend to achieve more redress, which can include official inquiries, apologies, compensation, and structural reforms.
Arrington draws on her extensive fieldwork to illustrate these dynamics through comparisons of the parallel Japanese and South Korean movements of victims of harsh leprosy control policies, blood products tainted by hepatitis C, and North Korean abductions. Her book thereby highlights how citizens in Northeast Asia—a region grappling with how to address Japan’s past wrongs—are leveraging similar processes to hold their own governments accountable for more recent harms. Accidental Activists also reveals the growing power of litigation to promote policy change and greater accountability from decision makers.
Economics and Culture of Transition in Mitteleuropa, the Baltic and the Balkan Area
Besides providing a historical record of the long road from the economic agenda of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution to the present transition from communism, this book can be considered a staunch defense of market capitalism and liberal democracy. Any celebration of the current transition in Eastern Europe necessarily affirms the superiority of a market system over a non-market one and of a democratic system over a non-democratic one. The author does not deny the failures, shortcomings or imperfections of market economy and democracy. Nor does he take the survival of market capitalism and liberal democracy for granted. On the contrary, by highlighting the valiant and painful process of transition and attempting to understand its economics and culture, he seeks to contribute to the theoretical (academic) and practical (political) defense of Western civilization.
Justin Champion is Chair of the History Department at Royal Holloway College, University of London.David Womersley is Thomas Warton Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford.
Thinking Through Cultural Citizenship
Many scholars, practitioners, and policy-makers in the cultural sector argue that Canadian cultural policy is at a crossroads: that the environment for cultural policy-making has evolved substantially and that traditional rationales for state intervention no longer apply. The concept of cultural citizenship is a relative newcomer to the cultural policy landscape, and offers a potentially compelling alternative rationale for government intervention in the cultural sector. Likewise, the articulation and use of cultural indicators and of governance concepts are also new arrivals, emerging as potentially powerful tools for policy and program development. Accounting for Culture is a unique collection of essays from leading Canadian and international scholars that critically examines cultural citizenship, cultural indicators, and governance in the context of evolving cultural practices and cultural policy-making. It will be of great interest to scholars of cultural policy, communications, cultural studies, and public administration alike.
Violence and Dispossession in the Making of Everyday Life
Accumulating Insecurity examines the relationship between two vitally important contemporary phenomena: a fixation on security that justifies global military engagements and the militarization of civilian life, and the dramatic increase in day-to-day insecurity associated with contemporary crises in health care, housing, incarceration, personal debt, and unemployment.
Contributors to the volume explore how violence is used to maintain conditions for accumulating capital. Across world regions violence is manifested in the increasingly strained, often terrifying, circumstances in which people struggle to socially reproduce themselves. Security is often sought through armaments and containment, which can lead to the impoverishment rather than the nourishment of laboring bodies. Under increasingly precarious conditions, governments oversee the movements of people, rather than scrutinize and regulate the highly volatile movements of capital. They often do so through practices that condone dispossession in the name of economic and political security.
A Theoretical Framework
The "Washington consensus" which ushered in neo-liberal policies in Africa is over. It was buried at the G20 meeting in London in early April, 2009. The world capitalist system is in shambles. The champions of capitalism in the global North are rewriting the rules of the game to save it. The crisis creates an opening for the global South, in particular Africa, to refuse to play the capitalist-imperialist game, whatever the rules. It is time to rethink and revisit the development direction and strategies on the continent. This is the central message of this intensely argued book. Issa Shivji demonstrates the need to go back to the basics of radical political economy and ask fundamental questions: who produces the society's surplus product, who appropriates and accumulates it and how is this done. What is the character of accumulation and what is the social agency of change? The book provides an alternative theoretical framework to help African researchers and intellectuals to understand their societies better and contribute towards changing them in the interest of the working people.