Tag Archives peace

The role of National Governments in delivering humanitarian-development-peace nexus approaches: a reflection on current challenges and the way forward

The role of National Governments in delivering humanitarian-development-peace nexus approaches: a reflection on current challenges and the way forward

The concept of humanitarian, development, peace (HDP) — referred to also as the triple nexus — gained momentum during the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016, and more recently with the ...

Can technology ‘decode’ developmental problems? by Oane Visser and Manasi Nikam

Can technology ‘decode’ developmental problems? by Oane Visser and Manasi Nikam

This article presents an interview with Dr. Oane Visser, Associate Professor in Rural Development Studies, at the International Institute of Social Studies. It shows ways in which technology can be ...

EADI/ISS Series | Why do we need Solidarity in Development Studies? by Kees Biekart

The next EADI Development Studies conference is about “Solidarity, Peace and Social Justice”. But what does solidarity actually mean in relation to development studies? Kees Biekart explores the term by looking at current global examples such as the Fridays for Future movement.


Let’s assume development essentially comes down to a process of social change. Or better, a wide range of connected processes of social change. We can think of female textile workers in Bangladesh trying to unionise, even though the employers try to prevent this. Or we can think of measures to deal with massive flooding in the Bangladeshi deltas, washing away many houses of these textile workers’ families. Or we can think of decisions by European teenagers willing to pay extra for fair trade labels in their fashion clothes made in Bangladesh. All these processes are in some way connected around the idea of solidarity. Social change cannot be generated by ourselves only, even though we can make individual choices. This is probably the core idea of solidarity.

There are at least two essential building blocks of solidarity: action and reciprocity. Any activist struggle will require some sort of solidarity in order to be able to realize social change at a larger scale. Greta Thunberg started her protest in August 2018 at the age of 15 just by herself, quitting her classes every Friday and sitting in front of the Swedish parliament, handing out leaflets about climate breakdown. In the following months hundred thousand teenagers all over the world joined her example and went out during school time to protest against the destruction of the planet; by May 2019 the crowds had grown to over a million.

According to Amnesty International Secretary General Kumi Naidoo (also former director of Greenpeace), Thunberg’s “Fridays for Future” climate campaign was more effective in generating global awareness about climate change than the combined efforts of the major international environmental NGOs. It illustrates again that every big struggle often starts small with the ripple effect of an activist initiative making sense to many more: the basis of any solidarity campaign.

Inequality undermines solidarity

The other building block of solidarity is reciprocity: it represents more than just a voluntary gesture, as it is a commitment that will often imply personal sacrifices. This commitment may be ideologically driven, or religiously, but is born out of the conviction that there is mutuality in a supportive relationship. Solidarity with Syrian refugees coming to Europe implies that we also share some of our welfare and freedom. Again, born out of a basic human value that we help those who have less, as long as we can afford it. This reciprocity distinguishes solidarity from charitable initiatives. And it is not without implications: the bond of solidarity also has consequences for how mutual support is realized. Of course, not everyone is willing to give up welfare or to offer shelter. As Juergen Wiemann argued in his recent EADI-ISS blog: “Solidarity is waning with rising levels of immigration to Europe and the US, provoking resentment by those who already feel left behind”. Inequality is therefore definitely an undermining factor for solidarity.

Following Hannah Ahrendt’s view on compassion, solidarity implies linking action and reciprocity, as it is based on connecting existing struggles. After all, social struggles are mutually dependent the old mantra ‘your struggle is our struggle’.  It is a matter of locating and analysing activist struggles as part of broader efforts and bigger visions for change. This can be extrapolated also to struggles for changing development studies to embrace a more global perspective. The wicked problems to be solved are not necessarily originating in the Global South, as most of its causes are located in the Global North. Despite arguments by authoritarian populist leaders such as Trump and Netanyahu and their supporters for the opposite, the construction of walls between North and South will only aggravate international inequality and will eventually be felt particularly in the North.

Rethinking mainstream Development Studies

So how to deal with solidarity as development studies scholars? Well, it implies that we have to really rethink development studies in its mainstream fashion. For example, by exploring development research topics to be researched explicitly in the Global North, linked to migration policies, poverty and inequality, climate change, neo-colonialism, etc., analysed from a global solidarity perspective. It may require new ways to organise research programmes by providing leading roles (and funding) to Southern scholars. It may even imply phasing out development studies programmes in the Global North as we currently practise it, by shifting their hubs to the Global South. Development studies often remains a Northern-dominated field of studies in which solidarity often is disregarded as a concept revealing activist agendas, rather than a key agenda for fundamental change. After all, isn’t that what we aspire when focusing on ‘development’?

Therefore, the next EADI conference will, for a change, explore examples and experiences of how solidarity efforts have tried to make meaningful changes in a wide variety of settings. We encourage panels on how to integrate solidarity into new perspectives on development studies. And how to address unequal power relations in our curricula and programmes by highlighting the urgency of pursuing change, facilitated by reciprocal relationships and interdependent struggles. Maybe we should talk less about development and more about how to contribute to the necessary changes required.


This article is part of a series launched by the EADI (European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes) and the ISS in preparation for the 2020 EADI/ISS General Conference “Solidarity, Peace and Social Justice”. It was also published on the EADI blog.


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About the author:

Kees Biekart is Associate Professor in Political Sociology at the International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam

 

EADI/ISS Series | Solidarity, Peace, and Social Justice – will these values prevail in times of fundamental threats to democracy? By Jürgen Wiemann

EADI/ISS Series | Solidarity, Peace, and Social Justice – will these values prevail in times of fundamental threats to democracy? By Jürgen Wiemann

In today’s world of constantly rising inequality, increasingly authoritarian governments and anti-immigration sentiments, solidarity, peace and social justice seem to be more out of reach than ever. In a joint ...

Enacting transitional justice in Colombia and South Africa by Fabio Andres Diaz Pabon

Enacting transitional justice in Colombia and South Africa by Fabio Andres Diaz Pabon

Debates on the provision of justice in countries transitioning from armed violence to peace often fail to reflect on how the objective of justice must be linked with its practice. ...

Deglobalisation Series | Challenges to the liberal peace by Syed Mansoob Murshed

We may have reached a stage where economic interactions have become so internationalised that further increases in globalisation cannot deliver greater prospects of peace.[1] But the logic of the capitalist peace still holds water; the intricate nature of the economic interdependence between advanced market economies almost entirely rules out war, but other hostile attitudes can still persist, and even grow.  


Liberal peace theories posit that peace among nations is not a result of a balance of power, but rests on the pacific nature of commonly held values, economic interdependence, and mutual membership of international organisations. Ideal theories of the liberal peace can be traced back to the work of Immanuel Kant, who in his essay on the Perpetual Peace[2] argued that although war is the natural state of man, peace could be established through deliberate design. This requires the adoption of a republican constitution simultaneously by all nations, which inter alia would check the war-like tendencies of monarchs and the citizenry; the cosmopolitanism that would emerge among the comity of nations would preclude war. The European Union is the most obvious, albeit imperfect, example.

Mirroring Kant’s thoughts is the contemporary philosopher John Rawl’s [3] notion of peace between liberal societies, which he refers to as peoples and not states. He speaks of well-ordered peoples. These are mainly constitutional liberal democracies, which arrive at such a polity based on an idea of public reason. In a well-ordered society, based on public reason, human rights are respected, and the distribution of primary goods (a decent living standard, dignity, respect and the ability to participate) for each citizen’s functioning is acceptably arranged.

Another version of the liberal peace theory based on economic interdependence is the ‘capitalist’ peace notion.[4] The intensity of international trade in an economy is the least important feature in the peace engendered by capitalism. The nature of advanced capitalism makes territorial disputes, which are mainly contests over resources, less likely, as the market mechanism allows easier access to resources. The nature of production makes the output of more sophisticated goods and services increasingly reliant on “ideas” that are research and development intensive, and the various stages of production occur across national boundaries. Moreover, the disruption to integrated financial markets makes war less likely between countries caught up in that web of inter-dependence. It is also argued that common foreign policy goals reflected in the membership of international treaty organisations (such as NATO and the European Union) also produce peace.

The chances of the well-ordered, tolerant societies envisaged by Rawls living in peace within themselves and with one another have greatly diminished with the recent rise in inequality, the growing wealth and income share of the richest 1-10% of the population, and the rise in varieties of populist politics. Also, the quality of Kant’s foedus pacificum has been dealt a severe blow by nations such as the UK choosing to leave the European Union, adversely affecting the utilisation of soft power via common membership of international organisations.

We also may have come to a stage where economic interactions such as the exchange of goods, provision of services and the movement of finance have become so internationalised that further increases in globalisation cannot deliver greater prospects of peace.[5] But the logic of the capitalist peace still holds water; the intricate nature of the economic interdependence between advanced market economies almost entirely rules out war, but other hostile attitudes can still persist, and even grow, given recent developments. This includes the rise in populist politics.

The rise of populist politics

The growth in inequality, but more especially the creeping rise in the social mobility inhibiting inequality of opportunity, has spawned the illiberal backlash manifesting itself in the rise in mainly right wing populist politics. A large segment of immiserated voters vote for populists knowing that, once elected, the populist politician is unlikely to increase their economic welfare, as long as they create discomfiture for certain establishment circles, vis-à-vis whom these voters see themselves as relatively deprived. Immigrants and immigration is scapegoated and made responsible for all economic disadvantage and social evils following the simplistic and simple-minded message of right-wing demagogues. It has to be said that left-wing populism, too, has emerged in many societies, mainly among educated millenarians whose economic prospects are often bleaker than those of their parents, and in regions (such as Latin America) with a strong Peronist tradition.

By contrast, during the golden age, which lasted for a little over a quarter of a century after World War II, no particular group in society was disadvantaged by economic growth and the advance of capitalism. The elites appeared to internalise the interests of the median and below-median income groups in society. Social mobility was palpably present, and social protection cushioned households against systemic and idiosyncratic economic shocks. The growth in inequality linked to globalisation and labour-saving technological progress since the early 1980s has disadvantaged vast swathes of the population: it first pauperised the former manufacturing production worker through either job offshore relocation or stagnating real wages, and latterly it is emasculating even median service sector occupations. At the same time the income and wealth share of the top 1-10% of the population grows at an accelerating pace, faster than the rise in national income.[6]

In developing countries there has been a growth in autocratic tendencies, the liberal half of a liberal democracy, even when the other part of democracy, the electoral process, is broadly respected. The use of plebiscites by strong men to garner greater power has been a frequently used tool. There is even talk of autocratic rulers delivering development and economic growth and autocratic tendencies may be greater in nations that have achieved economic structural transformation. But the logic of the “modernisation”[7] hypothesis that argues that democracy is demanded by society as it becomes affluent may still ring true, even if the process is non-linear, and other complex factors need to be taken into account.

A hyper-globalisation trilemma?

Faced with these challenges, we need to abandon our “Panglossian” faith in the ability of markets to always do good. The rules of globalisation and capitalism only serve elites who are owners of internationally mobile skills and wealth. There may be a hyper-globalisation trilemma[8], whereby the simultaneous achievement of national sovereignty, democracy and hyper-globalisation is impossible. It is worth reiterating that hyper-globalisation refers to a situation where for the collective the pains from increased globalisation in terms of adverse distributional consequences outweigh the gains in terms of enhanced income.

Earlier advances of globalisation was made relatively more acceptable in Europe compared to the United States, given the greater prevalence of social protection in the continent. Gradually, after 1980, and especially since the dawn of the new millennium, more and more groups have been disadvantaged by globalisation, and the politics of austerity has diminished social protection, fraying pre-existing domestic social contracts. Thus, many advocate a more limited globalisation, akin to the halcyon days of the golden age, also known as the Bretton Woods era (1945-73), whose hallmark was that the demands of globalisation never exercised veto powers on the domestic social contract.

A retreat from hyper-globalisation is desirable, but not through channels that diminish international cooperation and partnership, like Brexit and President Trump’s protectionist sabre rattling that undermine agreements like NAFTA. What is needed is internationally coordinated checks on hyper-globalisation and agreements on certain wealth taxes on the richest individuals, which is needed to address the alarming rise in wealth inequality given the fact that social protection can only have a palliative, and not curative, impact on these stupendous inequalities.


References:
[1] Rodrik, Dani (2017) Straight Talk on Trade: Ideas for a Sane World Economy, Princeton: University Press.
[2] Kant, Immanuel (1795) Perpetual Peace and Other Essays on Politics, History and Morals, reprinted 1983. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing.
[3] Rawls, John (1999) The Law of Peoples, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
[4] Gartzke, Erik (2007) ‘The Capitalist Peace’, American Journal of Political Science 51(1): 166-191.
[5] Rodrik, Dani (2017) Straight Talk on Trade: Ideas for a Sane World Economy, Princeton: University Press.
[6] Piketty, Thomas (2014) Capital in the Twenty-first Century, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
[7] Lipset, Seymour (1960) Political Man: The Social Bases of Politics. New York: Doubleday.
[8] Argued by Dani Rodrik; see, for example, Rodrik (2017), op. cit.

Also see: Backtracking from globalisation by Evan Hillebrand


csm_6ab8a5ef34f1a5efe8b07dff07d52162-mansoob-murshed_0833a7fcf4About the author:

Syed Mansoob Murshed is Professor of the Economics of Peace and Conflict at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands. His research interests are in the economics of conflict, resource abundance, aid conditionality, political economy, macroeconomics and international economics.

 

 

The Hague Peace Projects: practicing peace and justice by Helen Hintjens

The Hague Peace Projects: practicing peace and justice by Helen Hintjens

How can peace and justice be embodied? How can we move from thinking about societal problems to taking concrete action to bring about change? The Hague Peace Projects, a program ...