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Dr. Catherine L. Mann has been OECD Chief Economist, G20 Finance Deputy, and Head of the Economics Department since October 2014. Dr. Mann is responsible for advancing the Strategic Orientations of the OECD, including the OECD’s Economic Outlook, country-based economic surveys and the Going for Growth report. She was most recently a Professor of Global Finance at the International Business School at Brandeis University and Director of the Rosenberg Institute of International Finance.

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This paper will explore the concept of human security from theoretical, practical, and case study perspectives. It traces the history of human security through academic discourse and practice, and develops a balance sheet of the concept, assessing the motivations, advantages, and problems inherent in pursuing it in peacebuilding. Specifically, statistical evidence of “indirect deaths” and Azar’s seminal Theory of Protracted Social Conflict provide strong support for the idea, and practice in the field has shown its value in addressing certain inconsistencies in peacebuilding—namely, the tension between Western and local views on values and priorities, and the possibility of local traditions reinforcing inequality. On the other hand, there exist potential problems of co-option, obscuring proper analysis of the drivers of conflict, and overpromising. The final section concludes that human security achieves its greatest utility when pursued by apolitical organizations, such as the United Nations, within missions that are a reasonable match for their capabilities.

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Dr. Gary Sick is a captain (retired) in the U.S. Navy and served on the National Security Council in the Ford, Carter, and Reagan administrations. He is a senior research scholar at the Middle East Institute at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and an adjunct professor of international and public affairs.

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Brazil has been badly shaken, economically and politically, by the ongoing investigation into a nearly USD 1 billion corruption scheme involving state oil company Petrobras, many of Brazil’s largest construction firms, and Brazil’s leading politicians – including both former and current presidents. This article will look at the extent of the criminal organization run by political actors in Brazil to determine the country’s qualification as a captured state. With Brazil’s efforts to consolidate its democratic institutions since its return to civilian rule in 1985, this article will also examine how this level of criminal organization is impacted by the state’s democratic norms, and how the state has come to exploit these norms over time. This distinction is critical to the development of a new terminology to describe Brazil’s unique circumstances – those of a captured democracy.

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This paper portrays the Spanish transition to democracy in the context of selected systems and negotiation theoretical arguments. Transition leaders’ ability to think in systems and to conceive a framework for negotiations centered on shared interests and common goals was crucial for the success and durability of the process. However, the common view of the Spanish transition as a sheer “success story” falls short of recognizing the sacrifices that were made to achieve peaceful transformation of the political system. In fact, the transition compromise engendered severe problems that strain the Spanish State and the political process until the present day.

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The academic debate on whether world income inequality is rising or falling has reached a stalemate: parties are unable to agree on the analysis of these economic world trends. This commentary examines recent research that supports the opposing “convergence” and “divergence” camps to examine the origins of the debate, and to determine why consensus is so difficult to reach. While this analysis concludes that the main driver of disagreement is calculation methods and data, that conclusion poses a key question: Is studying world income inequality useful?

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With global development aid budgets on the decline, impact investing offers a cost-effective alternative to financing international development without deficit spending. The U.S. Government recently became an active participant in this space, investing in new funds and taking steps to clarify the tax code, but can and should do more to expand the global impact economy.

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This research paper considers the case of the recently founded “African Risk Capacity” (ARC), a new Specialized Agency of the African Union that will set up a risk-pooling insurance fund against drought in sub-Saharan Africa. The paper first describes how the envisaged mechanism will function and how it has evolved. Subsequently, it considers the role of ARC in the wider humanitarian response framework for food security in times of drought. Looking at its role in relation to changes in the drought resilience level of African farmers, it shows that ARC can contribute significantly to the overall protection level against drought and possibly revolutionize the way the humanitarian response system functions.

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In the last two decades, emerging markets have become important global economic players. This paper evaluates the implications of the structural economic changes and increased participation of emerging markets in the global trade and the financial system for growth dynamics and economic interactions of the world economy. Furthermore, the effects of the current crises and the role of the emerging markets in the global economic recovery are analyzed in conjunction with the areas of multilateral policy coordination that have to be fostered to manage an increasingly multi-polar world economy. The article concludes with a discussion of the reforms necessary to sustain the growth performance of the emerging markets in the future.

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In the last quarter century, Brazil has undergone structural economic changes. This article aims to help the reader understand how Brazil overcame the discouraging scenario of the mid-1980s and early 1990s to become a major global economic power. A unique story of a lively economic policy laboratory is told by laying out eight economic idiosyncrasies that need to be examined in order to grasp the country’s past and future challenges and analyze whether or when it will emerge as an economic superpower.

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With four female presidents elected in the past decade, Latin America has seen a spike in female executive leadership unprecedented in any other region thus far in the 21st century. However, having female heads of state is no guarantee that women’s interests will take priority under these female-headed administrations. This paper explores the conceptual distinction between women’s short-term ‘practical’ interests and their long-term ‘strategic’ interests. Whilst all ‘presidentas’ more or less advance the former, commitment to structural change aimed at furthering women’s strategic interests in the long-run has been less clear. This article explores and interprets this mixed record.

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Despite much discussion of the resource curse in recent years, a consensus on a development model for resource-rich states has not emerged. Such states have tremendous economic potential but have tended to under perform when compared to resource-poor states due to a higher propensity to resort to civil conflicts. This article argues that the key to escaping the resource curse is through the application of a rentier state development mode, which creates political stability while increasing GDP per capita through (1) increased military expenditures, (2) private goods transfers to elites, (3) redistributive economic programs, and (4) security guarantees from foreign states.

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Sustained economic growth is a uniquely modern concept. World per capita incomes, after millennia of stagnation, only rose significantly at the end of the eighteenth century. This development first took off in Western Europe, and it has largely not taken place in sub-Saharan Africa. This divergence is due, in part, to an interconnected series of Enlightenment-era cultural trends in Europe epitomized by the rise of the developmental state based on a social contract, the increasing influence of rationality and applied science within the economy, and the encouragement of economic development by religion. These trends represented a cultural shift toward individualism in the political, economic, and religious spheres of the Western world during the Enlightenment and stand in stark contrast to Sub-Saharan Africa’s postcolonial culture of collectivism and ineffective development strategies based on Pan-Africanism and statism. As such, the prospect of future economic development in Africa along a Western path would require a cultural transformation.

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Religion is a subject academia often overlooks when it considers the origins of the modern African state. This paper aims to analyze religion’s role in shaping African society through its complex, political relationship with colonial administrations under indirect rule. In order to understand this historical process, the hegemonic-culture thesis is examined, critiqued, and applied to the case studies of Nigeria and Rwanda. Based on its findings, this study suggests that the hegemonic-culture thesis elucidates the process of state formation as manipulated by colonial rule, but cannot fully explain contemporary conflict because it fails to account for religion’s influence on the development of the African state and society.

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This article explores the issues developing countries face in implementing a biofuels program as a means of growth and security. Biofuel development holds the promise of significant gains, but at the same time, very challenging problems must be addressed if the impact is to be positive on balance. A well-designed biofuels program will stimulate agricultural productivity and green technologies, help to create rural jobs, and free up precious capital from being spent on fossil fuels. Yet attention must also be given to the major pitfalls and hurdles—chief among them food scarcity and climate change—which are changing the calculus for biofuels. It is concluded that the potential for developing countries to harness biofuels for their advantage is real, but only if great care is taken to constrain the potential for adverse consequences.