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World hegemonies and global inequalities

The Rest Beyond the West

Sahan Savas Karatasli, Sefika Kumral, Daniel Pasciuti and Beverly J. Silver

The chapter seeks to understand the significance of contemporary radical changes in world income distribution (most notably the recent rapid rise of China, India and a handful of other peripheral countries) by comparing the present with other periods of world-hegemonic transition. The empirical core of the chapter examines the interrelationship between the rise and decline of world hegemonies and changes in the global stratification of wealth (between-country inequality) from the sixteenth century to the present. The authors find that (like the contemporary period) past periods of world-hegemonic crisis and transition have been characterized by radical transformations in the global hierarchy of wealth, although there are fundamental differences in the nature/direction of change in each transition. Drawing on world-systems theories of global inequality and hegemonic cycles, the authors conduct a comparative-historical analysis of the dynamics underlying the long-term empirical patterning in the global distribution of wealth and power. They analyse the implications of their findings for the ongoing debate about whether we are in the midst of an impending ‘great convergence’ or on the verge of a major reversal of fortunes favoring the global North/West.

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Luiz Carlos Bresser-Pereira

The ‘Rest’ will only be able to catch up and grow more than the West if it goes against a ‘received truth’: capital-rich countries should transfer their capitals to capital-poor countries. This is intuitively the truth, and the mantra that the West uses to occupy the markets of developing countries with their finance and their multinationals. Yet, new developmentalism tells us that developing countries will invest (and save) more if their current account is balanced, if not showing a surplus.  Starting from a balanced current account, the decision to incur in deficits or grow cum ‘foreign savings’ – actually, foreign finance – will appreciate the exchange rate in the long term and discourage investment. In consequence, we will have a high rate of substitution of foreign for domestic savings, and foreign finance will finance consumption, not investment. Yet, developing countries have difficulty realizing this, first, because the West and their economists are adamant in recommending current account deficits; second, because such policies are consistent with a high preference for immediate consumption; and third, because economists in developing countries are unable to criticize the ‘growth cum foreign savings policy’.

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Why growth rates differ

The Rest Beyond the West

Vladimir Popov

Many agree that the crucial factor of economic growth is institutions in the long term, but there is less agreement on what determines institutional strength. The chapter uses objective measures of the institutional capacity (shadow economy and murder rate) to trace the trajectories of institutional developments in the Global South and discusses hypotheses to explain these trajectories.

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Alison Davidian and Emily Kenney

This chapter explores the role of the UN in the field of transitional justice. It provides an overview of normative standards and actors working in the area, and focuses on three of the UN’s added values, namely: (a) the breadth of its work in post-conflict countries which allows it to reinforce synergies between transitional justice and development programming; (b) its ability to leverage relationships with member states and other intergovernmental bodies, to provide direct support to transitional justice processes; and (c) its convening power which provides a platform for victims and civil society groups to engage directly with governments. The chapter concludes that, while the UN has made positive advances in this field, its work is plagued by the same concerns and limitations that impact implementation of human rights instruments globally. UN entities, special rapporteurs, commissions of inquiry and treaty bodies can and do make recommendations to member states to respect international standards and norms, but it is up to states to act on them. Given the limitations of sovereignty, one of the UN’s greatest strengths in this area is its ability to engage diplomatically, advocate for the highest standards and provide a platform for civil society and victims associations to engage with the state. United Nations; norms; standards; actors; engagement

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Adriana Campelo

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Cynthia M. Horne

Vetting and lustration are two types of transitional justice that fall under the category of personnel reform mechanisms. Most basically, the measures involve the screening of individuals in public institutions, semi-public positions and/or loosely defined positions of public trust in order to verify that personnel have the integrity and capacity to fulfil their positions in a way that supports the goals of the new regime. Individuals found lacking in certain integrity or capability criteria are compulsorily removed from their positions, prevented from taking new positions, encouraged to voluntarily resign from positions or face the public disclosure of their past, or alternatively, are required to confess past involvement as a form of accountability. Vetting and lustration measures are alleged to establish a break with the past and provide opportunities for state and societal rebuilding and reconciliation. Vetting and lustration have been used in a variety of post-conflict and post-authoritarian contexts, including targeted security sector reforms in Liberia and Bosnia, broader public employee assessment programs in Greece and El Salvador, and personnel reforms coupled with truth-telling in the Czech Republic and Poland. As transitional justice measures, they are malleable to the institutional setting and capacity of states, and can be enacted in conjunction with other measures, like trials, truth commissions and amnesties. In terms of goals, both vetting and lustration are designed to directly improve the trustworthiness and functionality of the new regime’s institutions and indirectly support the processes of democratization, state (re)building and societal reconciliation. Vetting; lustration; personnel reform; institutional change

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Padraig McAuliffe

Although it is commonly assumed that transitional justice is inherently restorative of the rule of law, the return of the rule of law it apparently heralds is a much wider and more contingent phenomenon. In transitional justice scholarship and policy documents soliciting support for projects in the field, the rule of law is presented as a broad narrative of progress from the dominance of force to the judicialization of politics, primarily viewed through the lens of a single defining idea, namely an almost exclusive focus on legal and non-legal responses to human rights deprivations broadly understood. This complements, but falls far short of, the conception of the rule of law in large reconstruction missions where the rule of law is conceived of in a more programmatic way as an admixture of institutions, culture and norms. Given what we know about the enduring nature of weak rule of law in post-conflict states, it should not be assumed that transitional justice automatically contributes anything beyond the symbolic to institutional reconstruction or the process of fostering a cultural commitment on the part of rulers or the ruled. Justice is but one virtue of the rule of law – policy-makers and practitioners need to separate justice conceptually from the rule of law if either is to be pursued with clarity. Rule of law; democratization; reconstruction

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Lavinia Stan

Since 1989 Central and Eastern European countries have implemented a wide range of programs designed to help those societies reckon with the numerous human rights abuses perpetrated by the communist regimes after the end of the Second World War. Some of these programs (lustration and access to secret files) had never been enacted in other regions of the world. This chapter presents an overview of transitional justice mechanisms launched in the region by state and non-state actors, as well as two of the most important theoretical insights gained from studying the coming-to-terms experience of Central and Eastern Europe. These theoretical insights relate to the factors that explain why some countries engage in transitional justice and others do not, as well as the impact of reckoning programs on post-communist democratization. Eastern Europe; court trials; secret files; lustration; history commissions

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Cheryl Lawther

In recent years truth commissions have become the ‘go to’ response in the aftermath of violent conflict and human rights abuses. They are often presented as a way to manage two problems that commonly occur in peace processes – finding the balance between the need to know what happened in the past and moving forward, and encouraging greater recognition of the complexity of ‘truth’ post conflict. This chapter questions the extent to which truth commissions have tended to shape and reify the identities of victims and perpetrators and whether these binary oppositions obscure the reality of structural culpability. It does so by critically interrogating the relationship between truth commissions and victims, truth commissions and perpetrators and truth commissions and structural actors in turn. The chapter concludes by arguing that greater recognition of the complexity of identity and involvement in conflict is required to provide a more honest reflection of the past and a more sustainable link between truth-telling and peacebuilding. Truth commissions; victims; perpetrators; institutions

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Laurel E. Fletcher and Harvey M. Weinstein

As transitional justice has evolved over the last two decades, the field has coalesced around the goals of truth, justice and reconciliation, with victims at its center. Even as a sense of a moral – and increasingly – a legal obligation to victims has driven the international transitional justice agenda, scholars have questioned the assumptions about victims that drive policy and practice, thereby opening up new areas of inquiry. A burgeoning transitional justice literature has raised questions of national and international responsibility to victims, the role of cultures in processes of social reconstruction, the value of transitional justice to victim empowerment, the social construction of victim identity and the differential contribution of retributive and distributive justice to victims and societal change. This chapter examines these assumptions, from where they arose, and how they have been expressed in discourse and praxis. It also takes into account the work of academics as well as the contributions of victims and their advocates to examine the evolution of the field. By identifying some of the tensions generated by the diverse goals and understandings of victimhood, this chapter sheds new light on the challenges to and concerns raised by a victim-centered transitional justice. Victimhood; identity; reimagining