Sara Nora Ross
Vol. 6 No. 1 Mar 2010
Richard A. Couto
Abstract: This paper examines and juxtaposes discourses about terrorism, violence, and political leadership. It presents generalizations about terrorism—a form of political violence by, for, and against the state—and politics and violence based on the theories of Max Weber and Hannah Arendt. The stark contrasts drawn from these theories include power as non-violent strength (Arendt) versus power as violence-dependent (Weber) and the struggle for legitimacy between different agents (states and individuals) as well as terrorism by, for, and against the state. This reframing of power leads to judging a lack of power where there is violence, and the presence of power where one observes non-violence. An examination of political and criminal violence leads to questions about deliberate and purposeful violence, indirect and structural violence that has political consequences, and their relationship to terrorism.
It expands the application of terrorism to include indirect structural violence by indicating its relationship to direct violence, not only in traditionally-viewed terrorist action but in the ignored terror of, for example, inner cities. Terrorism has many forms by many actors. To synthesize the results of these lines of reasoning leads to a conclusion with considerable implications for politics and for political leadership. The politics of terrorism suggest a central counter-terrorist approach: de-politicizing the violence of terrorists whenever possible and using the authority and power of the state to institutionalize it as criminal violence. This, in turn, also means politicizing other forms of violence, such as capital punishment, and their indirect and structural forms, such as the inner city.
The Superbubble behind “The Great Moderation:” How the Brandt Report Foresaw Today’s Global Economic Crisis
James Bernard Quilligan
Abstract: The Brandt Commission Report, published in 1980, broke ground in vital areas. It was the first international body to develop such concepts as interdependence, globalization, sustainable development, and alternative sources of development financing. It grappled with the difficult problem of global monetary imbalances, not in a vacuum, but rather, situated in the Commission’s stance that reforms in poverty, aid, debt, armaments expenditures, environment, technology, trade, and finance will not effectively meet their goals until they are supported by a totally-restructured monetary system. Virtually all sustainable development initiatives since then have missed that need for restructuring.
The Brandt Report warrants this first treatment of a full political economic framing because the world continues to operate with those structural imbalances and faces a global economic crisis. Nations with current account deficits are required by the rules of the marketplace and international institutions to adjust their fiscal balances by paying off their loans. Yet nations with current account surpluses are not under similar obligation because there is no adjustment mechanism for recycling their trade surpluses and currency reserves. Compelling examples of this disequilibrium today are the current account imbalances between the surplus nations of China and other Asian states on the one hand, and deficit nations like the United States and United Kingdom on the other. A mitigating factor is the use of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, which allows the US to avoid adjusting its deficits on a timely basis. A major global financial adjustment is needed to eliminate the financial and monetary superbubble that has been forming as a result of these deep contradictions in the international system. The Brandt Report anticipated that unless these global imbalances were corrected through coordinated international action, there would be a series of sovereign debt crises, resulting in an emergency monetary readjustment. Brandt also demonstrated that any international stimulus program to merge the development needs of the global South, the underused capacity of the global North, and the needs of the entire world for a low-carbon environment, must be directly linked to the restructuring of the international monetary regime, including a new global currency and reserve system.
A return to the principles and analyses spelled out in the Brandt Report is needed now to reform the global economic infrastructure. Brandt’s call for an international monetary conference to address these issues is even more pressing and salient today than it was 30 years ago.
Tags: Balance of payments adjustment, Brandt Commission, current account imbalances, dollar crisis, exchange rates, global Keynesianism, global monetary conference, global monetary system, Great Moderation, new Bretton Woods system, reserve system, superbubble, sustainable development, Willy Brandt., James Bernard Quilligan
Meg Spohn Bertoni
Abstract: Globalization is not merely inevitable western cultural conquest. The assumption that the juggernaut of western hegemonic domination will continue until the world is consumed is a common one, but not an accurate one. That accuracy is compromised by a number of related misconceptions about the nature of globalization. Some of these have to do with an attachment to dichotomy in a world too complex for dualism. Some of them are related to assumptions about the nature of trade, of trends, of inevitability, and of statistical prediction that turn out not to be accurate—and by extension misconceptions about the unidirectionality of cultural exchange. Most are related to misconceptions about the nature of culture—particularly in oversimplifying, and making strange assumptions about, nonwestern cultures. Cultures change over time, with generations and historical forces—today’s cultural changes make up tomorrow’s cohesive culture. Cultures die not when they change to reflect the new attitudes and lifestyles of the peoples who live in them, but when they stagnate and become static, preserved only in museums, artifacts and books, and not in the everyday lives of the people themselves. Finally, phenomena do reach a saturation point, from biological populations to the motion of catamarans to absorption of cultural values, and these can be observed using methods of nonlinear dynamics. This project considers common misconceptions about globalization and culture, and uses concepts from nonlinear dynamics to expose the nature of the movement and saturation points of cultural globalization.
Abstract: This paper is written as a multi-sided dialogue intended to present a number of ideas about power. Some of these ideas are my own, expressed in a kind of evolutionary idiom of adaptation though they were partly developed in reaction to Foucault (and are far more indebted to Foucault and cybernetics than to contemporary evolutionist thinking). There is a deep irony in that my way of thinking is primarily rooted in the cybernetic anthropology of Gregory Bateson; however, he was deeply skeptical of the concept of power. My personification of him in this dialogue, as “Bateson,” demonstrates this skepticism and brings into the discussion other relevant ideas of his. The third participant in the dialogue, Mary Midgley, is included because her consideration of Hobbes’ ideas leads us to consider yet another, probabilistic, way of thinking about power.
Abstract: The most difficult policy issues are those where there are profound disagreements about what is wrong, what should be done, and how things work. This paper describes a pluralist approach, based on the soft systems methodology, to youth nuisance on deprived estates in Manchester, UK, where there were profound disagreements between the agencies involved. When there are disagreements about the nature of the problem, its causes, or about how the system of interest actually functioned, a pluralist approach is required, and this is provided by Checkland’s soft systems approach. When the disagreements involve conflicts of value, it is necessary to adopt an adaptive approach that fosters change in the values, beliefs or behaviour of those involved. In the spectrum of public sector agencies involved, five different perspectives of agencies were identified, their descriptions indicating the need for the pluralist approach taken. The project was an experiment in using systemic approaches in public policy and the paper describes the learning associated with impacting outcomes. Processes used in the project included a “soft systems” workshop, which is described along with some effects on both the project participants and overall outcomes. The overall aim is to share the experience of this project so that it may inform those working with systemic approaches and other pluralist methods on wicked problems in the public sector.
Politics in a New Key: Breaking the Cycle of U.S. Politics with a Generational/Developmental Approach
Abstract: Some common, mental models shape how people in the US perceive political changes over time. The one-dimensional pendulum swing model and the two-dimensional cyclical model are prevalent. When generational differences are mapped onto such political change cycles, they orient to cohorts or age groups. This leads to viewing generational cohorts as experiencing one- or two-dimensional cycles without deeper scrutiny. Cohort differences that surface in the Generations Salons that I and others conducted in California suggest a different, three-dimensional model may be more representative of the potential for societal change in the US. Using a musical metaphor, that model is explained in terms of different political “keys” and the value of distinguishing among them as time passes. It also underlies a speculation about a “politics in a new key,” which might prove more useful.
Summary-level reporting of the action research conducted with the Generations Salons supports the three-dimensional model. We expect new politics to emerge from the Millennial cohort coming of age now, yet it will not be without the support and wisdom of the cohorts that came of age before it. This must be the case if the burden of expectations we place on the Millennials will indeed pave the way for transformative change in US society. Intergenerational support of Millennials is essential. This initial research and application suggests the potential for the generational/ developmental approach as a wellspring for transformational—and practically successful—political work. It begs the question: What will you do to help?
Abstract: Using the definition proposed here, integral politics can be a process of integrating diverse perspectives into wholesome guidance for a community or society. Characteristics that follow from this definition have ramifications for understanding what such political processes involve. Politics becomes integral as it transcends partisan battle and nurtures generative conversation toward the common good. Problems, conflicts and crises become opportunities for new (or renewed) social coherence. Conversational methodologies abound that can help citizen awareness temporarily expand during policy-making, thus helping raise society’s manifested developmental stage. Convening archetypal stakeholders or randomly selected citizens in conversations designed to engage the broader public enhances democratic legitimacy. With minimal issue- and candidate-advocacy, integral political leaders would develop society’s capacity to use integral conversational tools to improve its health, resilience, and collective intelligence. This both furthers and manifests evolution becoming conscious of itself.
Elke Fein and Hans-Peter Studer
Abstract: This article tells the story of the Swiss NGO “Integrale Politik (ip)” founded by about 20 people in November 2007 with the aim of becoming a regular political party at a later stage (www.integrale-politik.ch). We wish to make ip’s concepts and approaches known to a wider public. Inspired by integral thinkers such as Jean Gebser and Ken Wilber, ip develops its own ideas and interpretations of integral in view of the concrete challenges of Swiss and European politics.
Integral political culture is understood, for example, as including practices addressing all senses, turning political commitment into an experience of meaningful activity and an expression of joy, ease and celebrating life. One of the most important challenges currently faced by the group is to perpetuate and further develop this working culture as the organization grows. Its success in doing this seems to be one of the main reasons for ip’s attractiveness to the Swiss cultural creative sector in general and the growing integrally-minded community in particular to whom it gives an increasingly visible face and a clear-cut voice. At the same time, the Swiss political system offers particularly favourable preconditions and thus, a fruitful ground for new political ideas and experiments such as this integral political one.
Tags: Integral Consciousness, awareness, spirituality, democracy, Elke Fein, integral politics, Hans-Peter Studer, creativity, holacracy, integral economy, integral society, integral working culture, Switzerland