Monday, January 31, 2011
There are no easy solutions, but I think the short answer is, "Where possible, legalize it; when it's morally impossible to legalize it, do everything you can to reduce regulatory gaps." In other words, efforts like CITES for wildlife smuggling, or the Basel Convention for waste flows (to cite two examples), are on the right track — though the latter has huge loopholes and the former doesn't address capacity issues.
Even more importantly, the concept of deviant globalization has important things to say about what policy-makers should NOT do. Above all, policy-makers should avoid indulging locally specific moral codes, since that simply creates arbitrage opportunities for bad actors. (Not to mention political perversions: Bootleggers & Baptists, QED. Note how Humboldt County, the capital of domestic U.S. marijuana growing, voted against marijuana legalization last November.)
In short: If you can't universalize/globalize both the underlying moral principle and the enforcement capacity, then you've either got to give your moral principle up, or else accept that the uneven efforts to impose them are likely to end up empowering bad actors who will profit off of your moral outrage. (And it gets worse: these deviant entrepreneurs sometimes begin to act like termites on the very framework of the state, e.g. the Taliban, the Sinaloa Cartel, the 'Ndraghetta, etc.)
That's not a very pleasant thing for policy-makers to hear, but it's the fundamental lesson of our work. And analytically, it provides powerful predictive insights.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
I'm continually surprised at how many people don't understand the three-fifths compromise in the original U.S. Constitution, usually describing it somewhat like Cord Jefferson does: "the three-fifths compromise, in which the government decided that black slaves were subhuman." The clear implication here that the Constitution codified a black slave was worth only 60% of a normal human, because they didn't count as much as "free Persons" in establishing proportional representation in the House.
But this understanding is completely backwards; black slaves would have been better off if the Constitution counted them at one-fifth, or not at all. The southern states would have been much happier had the slaves counted as whole persons, or better yet, 5 persons each!
Alas, subsequent history shows that those fears were hardly misplaced. As we all know, "radical" reconstruction failed, blacks were disenfranchised, and for at least the next century precisely what the Radicals feared in fact took place: the racist southern political class would continue to punch far above its national weight until at least the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and arguably until 2009.
The three-fifths compromise was, from a purely practical perspective, a positive inasmuch as it weakened the South relative to the North. But it was hugely negative from an ideological perspective because it established in America’s founding document that slaves were not analogous to women and children – that they were something less than full (nonvoting) members of the community.
Imagine for a moment what could happen if China falls into turmoil. If it happens now, it'd be far worse than the Cultural Revolution.... Once civil war got started, blood would flow like a river, and where would human rights be then? In a civil war, each power would dominate a locality, production would fall, communications would be cut off, and refugees would flow out of China not in millions or tens of millions but in hundreds of millions. First hit by this flood of refugees would be Pacific Asia, which is currently the most promising region of the world. This would be disaster on a global scale. So China mustn't make a mess of itself. And this is not just to be responsible to ourselves, but to consider the whole world and all of humanity as well.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Tuesday, January 04, 2011
- INGO: international non-governmental organization
- GONGO: government organized NGO
- GRINGO: government regulated and initiated NGO
- QUANGO: quasi-autonomous NGO
- PANGO: party affiliated NGO
- RONGO: retired officials NGO
- DONGO: donor-organized NGO
- DINGO: donor international NGO
- CONGO: co-opted NGO
- BINGOs: business interest NGOs
- BONGOs: business-organized NGOs
- and finally, my personal favorite... MANGO: a mafia-organized/operated NGO