Expert comments

Expert comments


Collective Rights as a Potential Source for Peace, Harmony, and Well-Being in the Global Community

Scherto Gill

This Expert Comment explores how collective rights, peace, harmony, and global well-being require international political commitments to create the necessary conditions to humanise social structures and institutions and enable relational processes to flourish. Scherto Gill reconceptualises collective rights through five social constructionist lenses. Her analysis enables us to develop an innovative conceptual framework where collective rights could be regarded as a source for peace, harmony, and well-being, and could unite global communities in solidarity to pursue a better future for humankind and the planet. As examples, Gill narrates the experiences of five communities and organisations to illustrate that how we understand the nature of collective rights can have a pivotal impact on governments, institutions, and a culture of peace and harmony across the globe.

tap water with rupee banknotes 3d illustration

Surreal Economics and the Language of Mind Control

Fred Harrison

How is the financial crisis of 2008 linked to the election results of 2016?  How can economic reform address this systemic malaise?  How can people be empowered to determine their own futures?  Fred Harrison’s paper addresses issues of land and property cycles, capital formation, land rents, and VAT, as well as migration and the rise of Donald Trump. Harrison argues that two new statistics are needed to enhance the accountability of policy-makers and provide transparency in the administration of the public’s finances. The  course of the current contest over the control of power, says Harrison, will depend on access to this information.

Education School Teacher Student Digital Tablet Technology Conce

The Roles and Responsibilities of Educational Institutions and Strategies for Intercultural Citizenship Education in a Globalising World

Léonce Bekemans

In our globalised and globalising world, we are searching for sustainable conviviality in confusing times. Education and the role of educational institutions are  crucial in facing the challenges of new intercultural realities. In this Expert Comment, Léonce Bekemans introduces his proposal for a human-centric approach to education and explores the role of education in facing the challenges and oportunities of these intercultural realities. Bekemans explains the objectives and competences of education for integral human development; introduces the concept, objectives, trajectories, and practices of responsible citizenship education; and addresses the need for intercultural citizenship education in globalising societies with regard to the objectives, competences, and strategies of educational institutions. The paper concludes with six policy suggestions to promote true intercultural citizenship education.

Incentive Trap

Values and Anti-values in Contemporary Economic Policymaking

Dimitris Psarrakis

This Expert Comment argues that economic morality arises from market failure, which requires social corrections and government interventions. Such corrections might challenge economic actors who enjoy a privileged position, and who consequently advocate the so-called ‘free market’ that supports their unfair advantages. Dimitris Psarrakis argues that we must revisit old narratives and re-establish a consensus about the true values of liberal economic thinking in order to emancipate people who suffer under the current market structure. He suggests a return to Ordoliberalism and proposes eight principles of good economic governance as a basis for establishing the values of freedom and responsibility in contemporary economic policymaking.


BRICS: Building a NWICO 2.0?

Daya Thussu

In a globalised, mobile-multimedia age, the flow of media products is becoming increasingly multiple and horizontal. Daya Thussu’s Expert Comment focuses on the emergence of media content and digital media from the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) and explores the ways in which their increasing globalisation offers new opportunities for reformulating global communication discourses. Thussu argues that a new communication order may be evolving, which could contribute to more pluralistic and democratised international communication. This could resurrect an older demand for a New World Information and Communication Order, which dominated international communication debates during the 1970s. The BRICS nations represent a striking example of new geo-political and economic constellations emerging in the fields of media and communication, offering possibilities for a NWICO 2.0 to address asymmetries of power in global media and communication.

Culture, Consensus, and Peace

Culture, Consensus, and Peace

Christine De Vollmer

Urban living and the upheavals of the twentieth century are causing fractures in local and global societies.  The common language of recognised values, customs, and beliefs in human societies around the world has broken down, and as a result each society is facing a variety of conflicts.  In this Expert Comment, Christine de Marcellus Vollmer analyses the situation and offers a practical solution: a school programme called Alive to the World, designed by an international team of experts and already successfully implemented in Latin America, Europe, and Korea.  Vollmer argues that educational programmes focusing on stories and positive role models, providing students with a variety of options and perspectives through which to face their own difficult decisions and to understand the difficulties others face, is more effective than imposing right and wrong answers to particular questions.  She argues that all children and adolescents want to know how to do the right thing, and a key part of addressing and preventing conflict is to provide them with the skills and values they need to achieve consensus and sustain peace.

Gold & Silver Coins & Bars On Map Over Europe, Asia, Africa

The Sovereign Project: Old and New Challenges for the Peoples of Asia, Africa, and Latin America

Samir Amin

This paper argues that a national sovereign project implies consistent policies aimed at: 1) constructing an integrated, auto-centred industrial system; 2) reviving peasant agriculture; and 3) articulating these two goals into a comprehensive plan of action. Such projects require state planning and management of an independent national financial system. The author argues that these sovereign projects should ensure social progress for the vast majorities of working classes; reduce inequalities; create favourable conditions for the implementation of participatory democracy; and prepare the ground for a pattern of negotiated globalisation that resists hegemony.

Modernising State Governance:
Restructuring the Relationship Between the State, 
the Market, and Society Since the Reform in China

Modernising State Governance: Restructuring the Relationship Between the State, the Market, and Society Since the Reform in China

Yu Keping

This paper discusses the ideal relationship between the government, the market, and civil society as one of the key reasons for China’s success since its reform towards a market economy at the end of the 1980s. The author identifies three steps necessary to maintain a balance between these three sectors and draws three major conclusions based on the Chinese case. He argues that the ideal kind of state governance – good governance – is governance in which public interests are maximised and balance is maintained between the state, the market, and society in governing social, economic, and political affairs.

East or West, Home Is Best

East or West, Home Is Best: A Home for All

Richard A. Falk

This Expert Comment explores the idea of ‘home’ as a form of political community that has international resonance, but need not be a sovereign state. Mikhail Gorbachev first proposed the idea of a ‘European Home’ in the late 1980s as a more pragmatic  framing of Soviet-Europe relationships to displace the Cold War. In the current context of new tensions between Europe and Russia as well as internal European concerns associated with economic policy, migration, and terrorism, this vision seems even more remote, yet at the same time more necessary. Richard Falk argues that the concept of ‘home’, with its multi-dimensional stress on proximity, shared values, and common historical memories, could be a basis for conflict reduction. Furthermore, this idea of ‘home’ also offers the opportunity to achieve mutual benefits with respect to trade, investment, and cultural exchange. This Expert Comment is a prelude to a more in-depth DOC Special Report on this topic, which will be published in early 2017.

Reforming the International Financial Architecture:
Looking for an Alternative Model

Reforming the International Financial Architecture: Looking for an Alternative Model

Jayshree Sengupta

Since the global financial crisis of 2008, a new model for the international financial architecture is already emerging. Many countries are trying to solve their own problems of development by borrowing from the private sector and from regional development banks. Meanwhile, the global imbalances that were one of the main causes of the 2008 financial crisis continue to grow. Jayshree Sengupta’s Expert Comment explores possible alternative models for the international financial architecture. She argues that some of the old structures must remain, but regional development banks will be increasingly vital for managing global development finance, particularly when it comes to social investment and financing infrastructure.

Understanding Development: 
Alternatives to Conventional Economic Approaches

Understanding Development: Alternatives to Conventional Economic Approaches

Jayati Ghosh

What is behind the shift from development economics to a focus on poverty alleviation? Development economics offered many diverse approaches, but they all shared the common perspective that development is not about simply reducing deprivation, but essentially about transformation – structural, institutional, and normative – in ways that add to a country’s wealth-creating potential, ensuring the gains are widely shared and extending the possibilities for future generations.  Since the 1980s, the focus on poverty alleviation has narrowed the scope of possible futures based on alternative economic models.  This paper explores the underlying principles and assumptions behind this shift and argues that we should refocus on transforming the economies in which poor people live, rather than simply ameliorating the conditions of their poverty. The author argues that macroeconomic process need to be taken into consideration and criticises several recent attempts to accomplish this, including the use of purchasing power parity exchange rates and financial deregulation. She makes a strong case for the urgency of accepting and implementing alternative economic models.

Sustainable Development or Sustainable Economies?

Sustainable Development or Sustainable Economies? Ideas Towards Living in Harmony and Plenitude

Walter Mignolo

Is sustainable development really the best response to the challenges of globalisation? Walter D. Mignolo argues that the concept of ‘sustainable economies’, based on the idea of ‘living in harmony and plenitude’, is necessary in order to change the terms of the conversation. We need to move away from a focus on development towards a more holistic concept of human and ecological flourishing. To accomplish this, peaceful political organisations need to be given more say in conversations currently taking place between states, corporations, banks, and extant international institutions on how to address development issues.  The point is not to do away with development, but to offer another perspective and to take these co-existing options seriously.