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Annual Editions: Developing World 14/15
How Development Leads to Democracy: What We Know about Modernization, Ronald Inglehart and Christian Welzel, Foreign Affairs, March/April 2009
A reinterpretation of modernization theory in a way that emphasizes the cultural changes that accompany this process helps to explain how pressures for democracy push societies toward greater openness and political participation.... MORE
The New Population Bomb: The Four Megatrends That Will Change the World, Jack A. Goldstone, Foreign Affairs, January/February 2010
Declining fertility rates will stabilize world population in the middle of the twenty-first century. Shifting demographics will bring about significant changes in both rich and poor countries, however. The industrial countries will account for less of the world's population, their economic influence will diminish, and they will need more migrant workers. Meanwhile, most of the world's population growth will take place in the developing world, especially the poorest countries. Those populations will also be increasingly urban.
Best. Decade. Ever. Charles Kenny, Foreign Policy, September/October 2010
Despite being bracketed by the September 11th attacks and the global financial crisis, the first decade of the 21st century brought significant gains for the developing world. From economic growth and a reduction in the number of people living in poverty, to progress on infectious diseases and fewer conflicts, living conditions improved for many citizens of the developing world. Serious challenges such as environmental degradation remain, however.
The Mixed News on Poverty, Anirudh Krishna, Current History, January 2013
There has been a significant drop in poverty around the world. While this has been a welcome development, the measurement of poverty reduction does not provide a full picture of what is happening in poor countries. Although many are climbing out of poverty, many are also falling into the ranks of the poor. One of the biggest factors contributing to families falling back into poverty is the high cost of health care. A mixture of policies to both lift people out of poverty and prevent them from falling back into it must be implemented.
Own the Goals: What the Millennium Development Goals Have Accomplished, John W. McArthur, Foreign Affairs, March/April 2013
The Millennium Development Goals(MDGs) have produced substantial progress toward reducing poverty, child mortality rates, and treating HIV/AIDS. Goals related to hunger, sanitation and environment have not seen as much progress. Although the overall record of progress has been mixed, the MDGs have helped focus the world's attention and demonstrated that a concerted effort can have an effect on even the most persistent global problems. Discussions on replacing these goals should build on the momentum so far.
Justice and Development: Challenges to the Legal Empowerment of the Poor, Magdy Martínez-Solimán, UN Chronicle, No. 4 2012
Although there has been progress in reducing poverty and increasing human development, many poor people lack access to basic services and social protection. A greater emphasis on legal empowerment which includes legal protection of their assets, homes, businesses, and personal security focuses on the structural causes of poverty. Legal empowerment not only addresses range of development issues, including health, education, dispute resolution, and environmental sustainability. It also promotes greater access to services, housing, land tenure especially for women, and economic opportunity.
The Democratic Malaise, Charles A. Kupchan, Foreign Affairs, January/February 2012
Western industrialized countries face steep challenges in dealing with the effects of globalization. These challenges follow from the diffusion of wealth and power to emerging markets in particular. The factors that have contributed to the "rise of the rest" are the same ones that contribute to the West's difficulties in responding to globalization.
The Post-Washington Consensus: Development after the Crisis, Nancy Birdsall and Francis Fukuyama, Foreign Affairs, March/April 2011
The Washington Consensus, which has guided international economic policy for decades, faces challenges as a result of the 2008–2009 global financial crisis . In the future, developing countries are much less likely to adhere to the capitalist model championed by the United States and its western allies. Instead, they will be more wary of free fl owing capital, more inclined to prevent disruption through social spending, supportive of industrial policy, and less willing to defer to the West's alleged expertise
Role Reversal, Eswar S. Prasad, Finance and Development, December 2011
Emerging markets have rebounded from the world economic crisis more quickly than the western industrialized countries. Their growing participation in the global economy has helped insulate them from the effects of the recession and has also prompted a significant shift in the structure of emerging country assets and liabilities. This shift will give these economies even more opportunity to reduce their vulnerability to market swings.
Is Indonesia Bound for the BRICS? Karen Brooks, Foreign Affairs, November/ December 2011
Indonesia has had a substantial turn-around over the past decade. Democracy, economic growth, and greater security have all contributed to Indonesia's emergence as a more important international actor. The country faces some formidable challenges that threaten further progress, however.
Broken BRICs, Ruchir Sharma, Foreign Affairs, November/December 2012. There has been a great deal of attention focused on the emerging markets over the past several years. While growth rates in these countries have been exceptional, there is reason to think that sustained annual growth of over 5% is unlikely to continue. China's growth is slowing, as is that of the West and export driven economies will feel the effects of lower demand. There will be some high growth countries in the future but convergence between industrialized and developing countries is not occurring.
Lions, Tigers, and Emerging Markets: Africa's Development Dilemmas, Anne Pitcher, Current History, May 2012
Recent economic growth rates of the so-called "African lions" have focused attention on the continent's potential. Several factors have contributed to this impressive growth rate, including economic reforms associated with conditional aid, higher levels of foreign direct investment, more democratic governments, and the rising demands of a growing middle class. The benefits of Africa's impressive growth rates have been uneven, and in some cases have widened the gap between rich and poor.
The New Mercantilism: China's Emerging Role in the Americas, Eric Farnsworth, Current History, February 2011
Although China has historically had little engagement with Latin America, its links with the region are growing. China's Latin American imports, especially raw materials and commodities, are booming and Chinese exports to the region have also been increasing rapidly. While this trade boost has been beneficial, the long-term implications of the relationship are less clear.
A Few Dollars at a Time: How to Tap Consumers for Development, Philippe Douste-Blazy and Daniel Altman, Foreign Affairs, January/February 2010
HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis account for one in eight deaths in developing countries. Because these diseases reinforce one another, an effort is under way to fight all three together. The funding for these efforts comes from innovative financing, which involves small taxes on airline ticket purchases and voluntary contributions through product purchases. Innovative financing will provide millions for fighting disease and help increase economic activity in developing countries.
Haiti Doesn't Need Your Old T-Shirt, Charles Kenny, Foreign Policy, November 2011
Well-meaning westerners donate clothing and other goods to developing countries but this practice can be counter-productive. Donated goods are often not what poor countries need and there are much better ways to aid needy citizens in the developing world. Those who contribute unwanted goods or buy products from companies that make charitable contributions based on sales are less likely to give cash, thinking they have done their part.
Please, Don't Send Food, Joshua E. Keating, Foreign Policy, July/August 2012
A new study suggests not only that food aid does not work, it may prolong conflicts it is intended to help resolve. Donor countries must be more selective in providing food aid to countries in conflict.
It's Economics, Stupid: Mobile Technology in Low-Income Countries, Iqbal Z. Quadir, Harvard International Review, Winter 2013
Mobile phones improve the the lives of ordinary people, add an estimated billions of dollars to the economies of poor countries, and also contribute to government accountability. The expansion of phone service takes place more efficiently when entrepreneurs and not the government are the service providers. The mobile industry provides an important model for economic progress in developing countries.
World Peace Could Be Closer Than You Think, Joshua S. Goldstein, Foreign Policy, September/October 2011
Although it seems like the world is a more violent place deaths in war have actually declined substantially over the past decade. Technological advances are making war less brutal, especially for civilians, and improvements in peacekeeping practices have increased the chances that wars will not re-start. All but a few of the conflicts once thought to be intractable have ended or substantial progress has been made toward settlement.
Uprisings Jolt the Saudi-Iranian Rivalry, Frederic Wehrey, Current History, December 2011
The competition for regional influence between Iran and Saudi Arabia has been made more complicated by the events of the Arab Spring. Political, ethnic, and religious differences as well as differing agendas regarding oil production have sharpened tensions. Iran's nuclear program adds another layer of complexity to the competition for regional hegemony.
A New Kind of Korea, Park Geun-hye, Foreign Affairs, September/October 2011
South Korea, an economic powerhouse and North Korea, destitute but with a large army and nuclear capability share the Korean Peninsula. Long-standing tensions between the two flared again recently over North Korea's shelling of South Korean territory. Reducing the potential for conflict and building trust between North and South Korea represents one of Asia's most important security challenges.
Central America's Security Predicament, Michael Shifter, Current History,February, 2011
Disappearing from the radar screen after the end of political violence in the 1980s, Central America is again facing serious security challenges. Despite some social, economic, and political progress, the region now faces fallout from the 2008 economic crisis, an alarming increase in crime associated with drug trafficking, weak political institutions, and flagging support for democracy .
Humanitarian Intervention Comes of Age, Jon Western and Joshua S. Goldstein, Foreign Affairs, November/December 2011
The failures of past humanitarian interventions have prompted skepticism about the effectiveness of the international community's efforts to protect civilians. Western and Goldstein argue that the international community has learned not only from these failures but also from successes in Cote d'Ivoire, East Timor, and Libya. Among the lessons learned are the need for quick action, sufficiently strong peacekeeping forces, the ability to withstand criticism, and solid backing from the international community.
The True Costs of Humanitarian Intervention, Benjamin A. Valentino, Foreign Affairs, November/December 2011
The outcome of the intervention in Libya is still unclear but the costs and benefits of this operation and those of future humanitarian missions must be carefully weighed. Intervention is costly and requires a commitment to assist in the re-building of war-torn societies. Many lives could be saved by preventing conflict in the first place and by focusing on providing for those displaced by conflict.
One Step Forward, Two Steps Back, Joshua Kurlantzick, Foreign Policy, March/April 2013
The political upheaval in parts of the Arab world, Asia, and Africa suggests that democracy is expanding throughout the world. Recent surveys of democracy tell a different story though. The number of defective democracies is up, press freedom is increasingly limited, and the military has become a more active participant in politics. Joshua Kurlantzick argues that the growth of the middle class, long thought to strengthen democracy may actually undermine it.
Good Soldier, Bad Cop, The Africa Report, April 2011
The political turmoil in Tunisia and Egypt highlighted the important role the military plays in post-colonial regimes. In Tunisia, the military stood largely on the sidelines while in Egypt the military has taken charge, ostensibly to pave the way for elections. It remains to be seen how the armed forces will react in other countries facing demands for reform.
Islamism After the Arab Spring, Ashraf El Sherif, Current History, December 2011
In the aftermath of the Arab Spring, there were concerns that Islamist groups would be able to take advantage of more open political space and dominate the politics of the region. Fears that Islamism would stifle democratic progress do not take into account the various strands of Islamist political thought and organization. The political changes brought about by the Arab Spring have produced opportunities and uncertainties for both Islamists and secular reformers.
Between Democracy and Militancy: Islam in Africa, Leonardo A. Villalón, Current History, May 2012
Groups like Al Shabaab in Somalia, Boko Haram in Nigeria, and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb have deepened concerns about Islamic radicalism in Africa. The focus on extremism overshadows the fact that Islam in Africa covers a range of viewpoints. Moreover, radicalism is often a product of local circumstances.
The Awakening, Emma Larkin, The New Republic, February 2, 2012
Since the end of the military dictatorship in Burma/Myanmar, there is greater freedom of the press, economic reforms have been instituted, and the country's most prominent political dissident has been freed. The reasons for Myanmar's reforms are unclear and skeptics are unconvinced that real reform will follow.
Divergent Paths: The Future of One-Party Rule in Singapore, Meng Chen, Harvard International Review, Winter 2011 Singapore's modernization and rapid increase in wealth have been attributed to its strict, one-party rule. As the architect of Singapore's prosperity, former Prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, ages and relinquishes his grip on power, it is unclear whether the People's Action Party will continue its monopoly on power . Singapore's experience has an influence on the debate about authoritarian rule and economic growth.
How the ANC Lost Its Way, Alex Perry, Time January 16, 2012
South Africa's ruling African national Congress (ANC) recently celebrated the 100th anniversary of its founding. In power since the first real democratic elections in 1994, the ANC is increasingly marred by scandals and allegations of corruption. There are some preliminary indications that the ANC's unassailable political strength may be slipping. In an effort to retain the party's strong majority support, the ANC has announced an ambitious program of job growth, infrastructure development, and a fight against corruption.
Shifting Fortunes: Brazil and Mexico in a Transformed Region, Michael Shifter and Cameron Combs, Current History, February 2013
An examination of the trajectories of Brazil and Mexico suggests that the assumption of Brazil's ascendance and Mexico's decline is inaccurate. Brazil's economic growth rates have slowed and it faces significant economic and political problems. Mexico's growth exceeded Brazil's in 2012 and it appears to be dealing with its economic and political problems effectively. Both countries have promising opportunities but face significant challenges.
Human Rights Last, Gary J. Bass, Foreign Policy, March/April 2011
Chinese engagement with some of the world's worst human rights offenders prompts concerns about growing Chinese influence around the world. A long-time proponent of non-interference in internal affairs, China's position has shifted slightly over the years but Beijing remains reluctant to criticize human rights abuses. Its policy is driven primarily by economic considerations.
Not Ready for Prime Time: Why Including Emerging Powers at the Helm Would Hurt Global Governance, Jorge G. Casteñada, Foreign Affairs,September/October 2010
There is growing recognition that emerging countries should have more influence in international institutions. Jorge Casteñeda argues that the most likely candidates for more power have weak commitments to human rights, free trade, non-proliferation, and environmental preservation. Their participation could undermine efforts aimed at greater global governance .
The End of Easy Everything, Michael Klare, Current History, January 2012
As the easiest sources of energy and minerals are depleted, more difficult, expensive, and dangerous methods must be employed to extract resources. These resources are also often located in in countries plagued by corruption and conflict. The increasing cost of these resources are also likely to drive up prices for other commodities.
The World's Water Challenge, Erik R. Peterson and Rachel A. Posner, Current History, January 2010 A substantial portion of the world's population lacks access to potable water and adequate sanitation. A recent report forecasts as much as a 40 percent gap between global water demand and reliable supply over the next 20 years. Despite this, there has been little effort to establish a value for water that will promote more efficient use of increasingly scarce water resources. Consumption patterns and climate change are likely to both sharpen competition and increase the likelihood of conflict and have a detrimental impact on development prospects.
Bangladesh's Climate Displacement Nightmare, Scott Leckie, Zeke Simperingham and Jordan Bakker, Theecologist.org April 12, 2011
In Bangladesh, climate change is already affecting millions. With much of the land only a few meters above sea level, Bangladesh is prone to flooding and devastating cyclones. The poorest are most vulnerable and the number of climate dispaced persons is growing. The government and community-based NGOs are seeking solutions to this threat.
Climate Change and Food Security, Bruce A. McCarl, Mario Fernandez, Jason P.H. Jones, Marta Wlodarz, Current History, January 2013
Climate change is having a significant impact on crop yields and demand for food and other agricultural products. Changes in yield and demand require adaptations by producers as well as the international community. The ability to feed a growing global population and address the challenges of climate change are closely tied to agricultural production.
The New Geopolitics of Food, Lester R. Brown, Foreign Policy, May/June 2011
Food prices have continued to climb, affecting the world's poor in particular. The upward trend in food prices is being driven by factors that make it more difficult to increase production, including an expanding world population and demand, climate change, and water scarcity due to the depletion of aquifers. With the most agriculturally advanced countries nearing the limits of production, and other countries restricting exports, wealthier countries have turned to land acquisitions in poor countries.
A Light in the Forest: Brazil's Fight to Save the Amazon and Climate Change Diplomacy, Jeff Tollefson, Foreign Affairs, March April 2013
In the 1960s, as a means to reduce poverty, Brazil began to allow the clearing of large tracts of rainforest. A surge in population and the government's failure to plan for this growth created more widespread deforestation, which has serious consequences for the global environment. The election of Luis Inacio Lula da Silva in 2003 brought policy changes and the rate of deforestation has dropped dramatically. A controversial climate change prevention strategy known as REDD which involves payments from developed countries to protect rainforests has contributed to Brazil's success in slowing deforestation. While Brazil's model offers some important lessons, it is not clear that this program can be adapted elsewhere and there are powerful interests that oppose it.
The Women's Crusade, Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, The New York Times Magazine, August 23, 2009
The marginalization of women and girls throughout large portions of the developing world not only holds these women back but contributes to global poverty and political extremism. Educating girls and providing access to credit through microfinancing can have a profound impact on poor families. Directing more foreign aid toward women, improving reproductive health, and focusing on keeping girls in school should guide foreign aid policy.
Gender and the Revolution in Egypt, Mervat Hatem, Middle East Report 261, Winter 2011
Women were prominent participants in the uprising that removed Hosni Mubarak from power in Egypt. Nevertheless, women are facing serious threats to the gains they had made under the both the Mubarak and Sadat regimes. The military government and both the Islamic and Christian establishments have been slow to engage on women's issues and there is resistance to enhancing the status of women.
Why Do they Hate Us? Mona Eltahawy, Foreign Policy, May/June 2012
Egyptian-American writer Mona Eltahawy provides a scathing critique of the Arab world's treatment of women. The abuses she cites include female genital mutilation, sexual assault, beatings, child marriages and a lack of social and political rights. Moreover, she doubts that the revolutions that shook the Arab world will bring major changes in male attitudes about women's rights.
Girls in War: Sex Slave, Mother, Domestic Aide, Combatant, Radhika Coomaraswamy, UN Chronicle, No. 1&2, 2009
Girls and women are particularly vulnerable in armed conficts. They may be subject to rape, sexual assault, and human trafficking, recruited as child soldiers, displaced or turned into refugees, or become orphans, often managing child-led households. The international community has responded by creating a framework to hold those responsible for these crimes accountable and the UN Security Council has established a Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict.
Increasing Women's Access to Justice in Post-Conflict Societies, Michelle Bachelet UN Chronicle, No. 4 2012
Even after the fighting stops, women remain victims due to poorly functioning institutions, weakened community networks, small arms proliferation, violence, and lack access to justice in post-conflict societies. This also prevents women from fully participating in peacebuilding and reconstruction. The UN has made progress in addressing these issues but significant challenges remain.
Women in the Shadow of Climate Change, Balgis Osman-Elasha, UN Chronicle, No. 3&4, 2009
Women are particularly affected by climate change. They make up the majority of the world's poor and are proportionally more dependent on increasingly scarce natural resources. Moreover, women have less access to resources such as land, credit, agricultural inputs, decision-making, technology, and training and extension programs that might help them adapt to climate change.
The Global Glass Ceiling: Why Empowering Women Is Good for Business, Isobel Coleman, Foreign Affairs, May/June 2010
International business is beginning to realize the benefits of empowering women in the developing world. Multinationals such as GE, Nike, Goldman Sachs, and others have begun to initiate programs to invest in health, education, and leadership development for women and girls in developing countries. Such programs help to reduce gender disparities and generally improve society as well as contributing to the company's bottom line.