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19 04.2013 Science for everyone


editorial board Enrico Alleva (president) Giulio Ballio Roberto Cingolani Paolo Andrea Colombo Fulvio Conti Derrick De Kerckhove Niles Eldredge Paola Girdinio Helga Nowotny Telmo Pievani Francesco Profumo Carlo Rizzuto Robert Stavins Umberto Veronesi

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Oxygen is an idea by Enel, to promote the dissemination of scientific thought and dialogue


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summary

Governance, plural future

10˜ editorial

The economic and financial crisis and the revolution in the contemporary social model have imposed the advent of a new era that is seeing the advance of “unexpected” players, who are more and more influential in the global geopolitical balance. As the power of national governments and supranational organizations seems to weaken, new players are emerging to lead the “soft power” of relations and international developments: they are corporations, nongovernmental organizations, and social media that give voice to millions of citizens. Here are the new political, economic, and social factors that will be able to impose their vision on the planet.

12˜ opinions

Looking for a new world government by Vittorio Emanuele Parsi

the people will govern themselves by Shimon Peres At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Shimon Peres talked about an optimistic future in which people will govern themselves, supported by the state, the global companies, and science. Pursuing diversity and, in equal measure, satisfying the desires common to all individuals will help to move beyond from the economic crisis.

16˜ preview antifragile: a new trend to save modernity by Nassim Nicholas Taleb “By understanding the mechanisms of antifragility we can build a systematic and broad guide to non-predictive decisionmaking under uncertainty in business in different fields: economics, politics, medicine, and life in general – anywhere the unknown preponderates, any situation in which there is randomness, unpredictability, opacity, or incomplete understanding of things.”

20˜ interview with parag khanna The frontiers of “open regionalism“ by Stefano Milano

× Who will govern the world? ×

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From the economic crisis to “open regionalism,” through foreign policy and the race to energy independence of the United States, the difficult phase of the European Union, the rapidly growing countries and their relationship with democracy, up to the new players in the governance of a “multistakeholder” world and the increasing role played by cities.


26˜ passepartout

40˜ contexts

(Undemocratic) Growing Economies

Italy, Europe’s special interlocutor by Franco Bruni

28˜ contexts Obama II: a more interventionist agenda by Paolo Magri “What would be reasonable to expect from the second term of Obama, after two decades of wishful thinking? Caution and realism are a must. Despite the public pronouncements and the agenda, however, a significant step toward change in the international projection of the Obama II administration is not to be excluded.” The priorities? The Middle East, China, and institutions of global governance.

“A new phase of ‘diplomatic intervention’ able to show that being cautious and pragmatic does not necessarily mean being passive or disengaged” 34˜ contexts The eurozone between a rock and a hard place by Karel Lannoo The rigor has highlighted the renewed Stability and Growth Pact (SGP), the core of the structure of economic governance of the European Union. But, according to the latest forecasts, in 2013 Europe will have zero growth and a record 11% unemployment. A situation that is putting pressure on European governments to explain what they are doing and why. Meanwhile, there is a growing discontent: according to the Eurobarometer, 29% of the population has a negative or very negative view of the EU, an unprecedented figure.

The relationship between Europe and Italy, the role played by a member state with a special weight in the economic balance and its contribution to the European Stability Mechanism and the Pact for Growth and Employment, their advantages and their weaknesses. Europe is a place of debate and Italy is one of its essential interlocutors.

44˜ scenarios Energy: everything is changing! by Fatih Birol Gas, oil, nuclear energy, renewable energy: depending on the availability and export strategies in each country, the world map is being redrawn. Countries with a brighter future have resources and, at the same time, they are imposing rigorous standards for energy efficiency.

50˜ contexts Competition and collaboration between China and India by Kishore Mahbubani “The common challenges and shared interests of China and India underscore that the relationship between the two countries will shift back and forth between competition and collaboration. Now, as the West slowly recedes from the global stage, it is time for the future superpowers to begin taking more responsibility for the welfare of our world.”

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55˜ interview with francesco sisci

68˜ opinions Tweet & Quotes

China: it is time to reform. Policies by Cecilia Toso With the election of the new President of the Republic of China, Xi Jimping, a season has opened of political reforms that will follow the season of economic reforms: an inevitable and controlled transformation of the global power of China.

56˜ contexts Civil society guides democracy in Latin America by Leonardo Morlino Latin America, with its contradictions and difficult political and economic conditions, is aiming for democracy. The different situations of Latin American countries do not create an equal number of democracies, but just good or bad democracies, so it is important to learn how to best evaluate and measure them.

61˜ focus The two Americas and their possible recovery

62˜ report The war in Aleppo and the future of Syria by Gabriele Del Grande photographs by Alessio Genovese After the First World War, it rebelled against the Ottoman Empire. After WWII, it gained its independence. After the war that is still raging today, however, Syria may cease to exist. While the world looks away, the country is disintegrating and threatens to drag the surrounding states along with it and fuel the jihad. There have already been 70,000 deaths, mostly civilians. What will happen to Syria? For Oxygen, here is an exclusive report from Aleppo.

67˜ focus Jordan: the peaceful heart of the Middle East

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“A nation that doesn’t have control over its energy resources doesn’t have control over its future” (@BarackObama) 70˜ in-depth Beyond the GDP: a new measurement of well-being by Donato Speroni For all countries to reach the same level of progress, it is necessary to find a common understanding of development. While the UN sets out the goals to be achieved over the next 15 years, the world searches for new indicators that establish what the wellbeing of a nation is.

74˜ in-depth An emerging country to head the WTO by Maurizio Molinari This year, the WTO renews its leaders and will become the first major international economic institution to be led by a representative of an emerging economy, but this watershed event is marked by a no holds barred challenge between the most qualified candidates: Indonesia and Brazil.

80˜ opinions Occupy… What? by Tom Kington The Indignados in Spain, the Occupy movements in the US and the United Kingdom, and the Yo Soy 132 group in Mexico. Thousands of people protested when the international financial system seemed close to collapse. Was this only a short, noisy protest carried out by students who were tweeting on their iPhones? Or was it something deeper?


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86˜ focus liquid democracy by Marco Ciurcina “According to many, the innovation of communication technologies that has been taking place in recent decades will enable a real change in the forms of democratic participation. For several years, various Pirate Parties have been using LiquidFeedback: a software platform that allows you to deliberate and vote online.” Here is what it is and how it works.

88˜ opinions The new ‘68 is on the Internet by Jacopo Tondelli “The Internet is a place that is all the rage for passions, great battles, and personal identity within groups, made up of the natural, the physiological avant-garde, of neurosis, and a lot of solitude,” but in recent years, above all, of political fervor. Referendums, regional elections, and policies: the relationship between the Internet and democratic expression in Italy.

92˜ in-depth Journalists are still useful by Antonio Preziosi Today, journalists carry out their profession in a globalized context, quickly reaching anyone in any country. So the role of those who must offer clarity, transparency, credibility, and completeness – and always faster and faster as required by the Internet – is even more delicate. Because information generates awareness and the choices in a world of constantly shifting balances.

96˜ future tech Science fiction, a dystopian future by Simone Arcagni

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98˜ scenarios War and peace by Marco Valsania “In 2030, the world will be radically transformed with respect to the world today. By 2030, no country, neither the United States, nor China, nor any other great nation will be a hegemonic power.” What are the challenges and dangers that will arise for a fragmented world? What role will the current superpowers have in the future? Resource crises, the emerging countries, planetary population growth, and urbanization: an overview of the possible scenarios and actors.

“The challenges that this fragmented world will have to deal with are particularly relevant to power which, according to all the analysts, will be more a country of reference than a first among equals: the United States” 104˜ passepartout Global Peace Index 2012

106˜ science at the toy store Not Risk. I choose peace by Davide Coero Borga

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OUR JOURNEY IN ENERGY KEEPS US MOVING AHEAD.

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contributors

Contributors to this number 01˜ Fatih

02˜ Franco

03˜ Marco

04˜ Gabriele

05˜ Parag

Birol

Bruni

Ciurcina

Del Grande

Khanna

Chief Economist and Director of Global Energy Economics at the IEA in Paris, she is responsible for the World Energy Outlook, the most authoritative publication on the global energy market. Named by Forbes as one of the most influential people in the world of energy, she is Chairman of the Advisory Board of the World Economic Forum Energy.

Professor of International Monetary Economics at Bocconi University, he has been a Visiting Professor at several universities. He is Vice President of the ISPI, a member of the European Shadow Financial Regulatory Committee, and a member of the Board of Directors of Pirelli&C. and of Pioneer Investment Management SGRpA. He is an editorial columnist for La Stampa.

He is a lawyer who works in the field of commercial and contract law, Information Technolog law, copyrights, patents, and trademarks. A lecturer in Law and Ethics of Communication at the Polytechnic University of Turin, he is an activist for free software and digital freedom.

A writer and journalist, he collaborates with Rai television, RTSI, Taz, Famiglia Cristiana, PeaceReporter, and Letter 27. He has published Mamadou goes to die (2007), The Sea in the Middle (2010), and Homeless in Rome (2009). In 2006, he founded “Fortress Europe,” an observatory of the victims of illegal migration.

Director of the Hybrid Reality Institute and Professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, he is the author of the recent Hybrid Reality. Thriving in the Emerging Human-Technology Civilization and is a regular contributor to international newspapers and TV channels.

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06˜ Tom

07˜ Karel

08˜ Paolo

09˜ Kishore

Kington

Lannoo

Magri

Mahbubani

A British journalist who has worked in London, Lebanon, and Italy, he is the Rome correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, The Observer, and The Guardian, focusing on Italian politics and society.

Director General of the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) since 2000, he is a member of the European Shadow Financial Regulatory Committee (ESFRC). He is the author of several publications on European financial regulations and collaborates with the OECD, the World Bank, and other European institutions.

Executive Vice President and Director of ISPI, he is Professor of International Organizations at the University of Pavia. He has been a consultant on international relations for several organizations and businesses, and is an official of the United Nations Secretariat in New York.

A Singaporean diplomat and professor, he collaborates with several institutions and was the representative of Singapore to the United Nations. He is the Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore and author of The Great Convergence: Asia, the West, and the Logic of One World.

10˜ Maurizio

11˜ Leonardo

12˜ Vittorio Emanuele

13˜ Shimon

Molinari

Morlino

Parsi

Peres

A correspondent from New York for La Stampa, he has been concerned with foreign policy and security for Il Tempo, Il Foglio, Panorama, and L’Indipendente. He has collaborated with many television networks, interviewing the most important politicians in the world, and has been a foreign correspondent.

Professor of Political Science at LUISS in Rome, he is President of the International Political Science Association (IPSA). He is the co-author and editor of numerous books and a Visiting Professor at various European schools. In 2004, he was awarded the Jean Monnet Chair in European Studies by the European Commission.

Professor of International Relations at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, he has collaborated with a number of universities in the world. He is a member of the Strategic Reflection Group of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Director of Idem and an editorial columnist of the newspapers Il Sole 24 Ore and Avvenire.

The President of Israel since 2007, he was Prime Minister in 198486 and in 1995-96 and Foreign Minister between 2000 and 2001. Among the founders of Israel’s Labor Party, he later joined Kadima. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994, together with Rabin and Arafat.

14˜ Antonio

15˜ Nassim

16˜ Jacopo

17˜ Marco

Preziosi

Taleb

Tondelli

Valsania

A journalist and Director of Radio Rai Uno, he was a correspondent to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, he covered italian politics, the G8 and European Council summits. He collaborates with various master programs and universities, teaching Political Communication.

A Lebanese philosopher, essayist, and mathematician, he teaches risk engineering at the Polytechnic Institute of New York, focusing on the science of uncertainty. He is the author of The Black Swan, named by the Sunday Times as one of the books that have changed the world, and Antifragile.

A journalist who worked for Il Riformista and as Economic Editor of the newspaper Corriere della Sera, he was the Director of Linkiesta until February 2013. He has published Mitra and skullcap. Journey into the bowels of Israel (2007) and Democratic Sheriffs. The metamorphosis of the Left (2009).

A professional journalist, he is the New York correspondent of the newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, for which he has followed five presidential elections, the evolution of American foreign policy, debates in multilateral institutions such as the UN, the IMF, and the World Bank, and repeated economic and financial crises.

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Ed

editorial

Looking for a new world government by Vittorio Emanuele Parsi

A future of extreme pluralism, in which the certainties of the past will be of little help, if not downright detrimental


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Faced with the prospects of change evoked in this issue of Oxygen, the real question we should be trying to answer is not “Who will rule the world,” but if someone will actually be able to do so. The idea that the international system nevertheless remains subject to governance, even though it is articulated by the presence of more and more actors, and that there is simply not a situation of anarchy (understood to be the mere absence of a government, as the old realist theory of international relations has always sustained), perhaps conceals an excess of confidence in the role that rationality or simply coherence plays in human events. It is precisely the qualitative plurality of the nature of the actors that makes it extremely difficult to hypothesize the continuity of consistent forms of governance of the international system. In the past, when the States were almost exclusive actors in the international arena, it was the difference between them in terms of capacity (expressed in power and determined by military, economic, and cultural relations) that sanctioned the de facto government of the world. This was the logic of the concert of great powers, whose last pale heir is represented by the international summits of the G8 and its multiples. In recent years, in fact, in the international system the principle “the one who has the most” has more say in their government – and above all, is more likely to have his/her voice heard – has been applied in unusual, and perhaps even questionable, forms but has never really been abandoned. Especially during the Cold War years, the non-military dimensions of power gained increasing importance without ever coming to replace the former or render them irrelevant. Almost a quarter of a century since the end of the Cold War, having set aside the illusion of an apparent absolute victory, due to a lack of challengers, the same values embodied by Western liberalism summarized in the “democracy and the market” dyad have regained their “competitive” or “ideological” dimension, or that is to say, represent both a proposal for a social organization and a tool through which to also change reality and not the exhaustive container of reality. Subjects of a different nature, which embody or are inspired by different ideals but which nonetheless continually interact with respect to one another. What makes the situation and the prospect of governance so complicated today, more complicated than in the past, is not so much the new qualitative articulation of the actors (States, multinational corporations, international institutions, the media, NGOs, criminal and terrorist groups, individuals…) or the fact that the interests represented have increased and have significantly diversified. The biggest problem, the one that is truly the most intricate, consists of the non-convergence toward a shared framework, a set of values that is able to attract a general consensus on the part of such different actors, and therefore able to “prioritize” the interests on the basis of priorities

minimally accepted by all or most (and strongest). By now we have left the phase when it was believed that “liberal values” could represent this platform. Their triumph, the absence of alternatives sufficiently robust and at the same time able to intercept adhesion in different areas and in different regions of the world, had allowed for its de-ideologization, or the transformation from “partisan banners” into signs under which to rally humanity as a whole. For those who challenged it, this shift took the form of the “dictatorship of the single thought,” a totalizing if not totalitarian conformism. Like it or not, this was the condition that allowed – after ’89 – to formulate the hypothesis of global governance, which was actually nothing more than the extension, with minor adaptations, of the rules and principles of the intra-Western mode of operation to the entire global system. The current conditions are quite different. This is also due to the limits shown by the economic crisis that began to attack the system in 2007 and the outbreak of tensions between democracy and the market that it has exacerbated – demonstrating how the practice has increasingly moved away from its true liberal model – and the particular, and not universal, nature and organization of Western political and economic relations have become evident once again. Not only. Precisely the attack on the paradigm of equality – understood as being a rejection of privilege – implicit in some of the proposed solutions to exit from the crisis, leads one to believe that, with the end of the transient era of the “post-Cold War,” the clash between ideological visions is once again to have full citizenship already in the West. And even more important is to consider that, while this contrast between the two souls of the Western world is positively equipping a new era of pluralism of ideas and policy proposals, elsewhere visions and experiences are being reinforced that are completely alternative if not explicitly hostile by those whom we had deluded ourselves into thinking would have monopolized the international system at the same time with the crisis and the fall of the Soviet Union. To represent this set of problems in relation to the renewed proliferation of platforms of values and interests, that, as always, are looking for their own pathway to a universal dimension (think of the concept of “harmony” as opposed to the “trade-off”) does not mean to imagine a bleak future in which the competition among ideals will necessarily become a clash between the actors who embody them or in which they identify themselves. And it would make even less sense to envisage scenarios of real military conflict, especially now that the growing ineffectiveness of the ordering capacity of force is plain for all to see. What matters, instead, is to stress – and it is crucial to be equipped for – a future characterized by extreme pluralism, in which the certainties of the past, even the recent past, will be of little help, if not downright detrimental.

It is possible that the clash between ideological visions is once again to have full citizenship in the West


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opinions

the people will govern themselves by Shimon Peres

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Shimon Peres spoke of an optimistic future in which people would govern themselves, supported by the state, global companies, and science. Pursuing diversity and satisfying the desires common to all individuals, in equal measure, will help to overcome the economic crisis. I think the world is moving faster than our minds are: we live in a new era, but we have an old mentality. At one time, we needed to have nations, fences, or armies to defend and expand our borders. But science cannot be controlled, neither by distance nor by fences, not by the police nor by the army. An army can conquer a territory, but not knowledge. When a scientist goes through customs, they can check his bag, but not his brain. In a meeting with President Obama, I told him, “Just think, a twenty-seven year old boy, Zuckerberg, has unleashed a revolution greater than that of Lenin and Stalin, without killing anyone. And this revolution is still alive and goes on.” And thus, the governments that we have built so they can defend the countries find themselves unemployed, because the economy has become global and governments have remained national. Everybody is influenced by the global economy without being able to influence it. And security is no longer about clashes between armies, but about the spreading of terror. A handful of people, maybe fifteen, can get to Manhattan, destroy the Twin Towers, cause 3,000 deaths, and escape. We do not know where they come from, we do not know their motives, and we do not know how to stop them.

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Today, when a traditional politician tells you, “I am wise, I am strong, I am great,” you ask him, “Really? Can you stop the economic crisis?” He’ll say no, he cannot. “Can you stop terror or the war?” Once again he’ll say he cannot. So you may object, “Why do you want to rule us? We are not looking for rulers.” People need someone who is able to save them. This is why another system of government has arisen, a more powerful kind: that of global companies. At first, it was neither true nor clear that large companies might have more money and means than all the armies in the world. Because in reality, governments have a budget but not the money. Whereas corporations have lots of money and do not depend on politics. Companies have given power to the individual. They do not govern as governments do, with laws, armies, or the police, but with their ears, by listening to the wishes and expectations of individuals. This is something that absolutely must be done, because the younger generations do not listen to the government or to their parents. Young people say to their parents: “Thank you for bringing us to life, but stop telling us about your great experience and great wisdom. You weren’t so great: what sort of a world have you left us? It’s full of wars, full of


ungovernable The world is becoming ungovernable: the weakness of the governments is the weakness of our society.

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hatred and suspicion. We don’t want it, we don’t want to continue it. We want to be different.” Their concept of democracy is different. For them, democracy is not just the attempt to be equal, but the contrary: it is the equal attempt to be different: “I want to remain personal, I want to develop my own potential, my own inclination. And we don’t want to have a collective group of equal people; rather, we want to have an open club of different people who live together in peace.” Now we have to answer them. The global companies are trying not only to resolve the situation of new globalism, but also to satisfy the new expectation of individuality. Whatever your desires are, no matter where you come from, they do not hate you, they do not suspect you, they do not say if you are doing well, and they will not give up. Today, just to be a young man, or a young woman, is very expensive: you must be more educated, more competitive. Your parents cannot answer all your needs, and the deficit does not just concern money, it is a deficit of expectations. Global companies are introducing more and more individuality. Now we are going to replace mass-production with individual production. It is a major change in the world. If a lady is in the company of some of her friends, and she finds four of them are wearing the same dress as hers (how awful), she has no reason to be worried. All she has to do, thanks to 3-D printers, is “print” her own original dress. She can keep her personality the way she wants; and this is a major change. Likewise, there are more and more computers and every year their number increases exponentially, and the same holds true for robots as well. And the people are afraid: “What will become of us. They will work instead of us.” I do not think there is anything to worry about because there will be new industries. Instead of building many different instruments to aid the human being, such as glasses or umbrellas, there will be an industry for human “spare parts”: rather than look for outside aids, you can simply replace or improve a part of your own body. I also think we should have more time to learn and less to work. I do not think it is true that we have to work eight hours a day; I think maybe it is enough to work 3 or 4 hours a day, but the other 4 hours are for learning, every day. At times, the students are more informed than their teachers, who stopped studying years ago and since then, the world has changed. If the teachers are good ones, they will know what is happening. I like to say jokingly that if you eat three times a day, you will get fat: if we could read three times a day, we would become wise. Better to be wise than fat.

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And also, give more and more freedom to your spirit. Facts become old, but values, spirit, and wisdom never age. We have to learn them and adopt them. I think that is the way of the future. I know that the world is becoming ungovernable, the weakness of the government is the weakness of our society. I think there will be three major elements that will enable us to continue and not let the world become wild and out of balance. The first one is to understand that national governments have their limitations. They cannot control the companies and the economy, but somebody must be in charge of the changing climate: it is in this sense that we need a government. So there will be governments that will be doing what

must be done, and will be in charge of the husbandry of the state. The second matter is an empowerment of the global companies which will have more and more power; they will deal with development and investment in science (the third element), enabling other public companies to enjoy them It is so strange: we have such a brilliant instrument on our shoulders that we can create artificial intelligence, but we are unable to understand our own selves. We are strangers to ourselves. We do not know what makes us decide to do this and that. Now we are trying to enter the brain, and although we are quite ahead of it, we are still very far from solutions. But if we could understand how our head


the people will govern themselves |

oxygen

When did civilization appear? I think it was when the mirror was introduced

[Excerpt form the speech given at theWorld Economic Forum in Davos, January 24, 2013] functions, how we make decisions, I believe that if every person had to choose between being happy or unhappy, they would choose to be happy. And between being extreme or moderate, they would choose to be moderate. When did civilization appear? I think it was when the mirror was introduced. Before then, nobody combed their hair or cut their nails. Every morning everybody was just themselves. Dull governments and dull dictators. The minute we have the mirror of our own functions, I believe the people will be the government of themselves. And it is already beginning: today we know that we can already overcome a

great deal of illnesses and weaknesses. When I was a young boy, I admired telescopes. I wanted to see the stars and the sun, and to say nice things to my girlfriend about the moonlight. Today, I prefer a microscope to enter into our cells: the secret in every cell of our brain is greater than the secrets of the moon. We now want to be inside ourselves and billions of dollars and millions of scientists are making this effort. I believe that there will be an entirely new world in the near future. There will be more balances and more possibilities. I am ninety years old, and I have never lost a thing by believing or by hoping. If I have lost, it was when I was disappointed. It is better to have great

hope than to suggest hopelessness. Better to encourage friendship than to look to your enemies and fight animosities. So these are the three concepts that I want to focus on for the future and we are moving in that direction. I believe all of you will reach that era, thanks to governments or husbandry of the state, and global companies offering to innovate for producing new ideas in science. Human science and others sciences tend toward the human being’s control over himself. Pessimists or optimists might pass away in the same manner, but they live differently. The advice I give you is to live as an optimist. I have tried it for ninety years, it’s not bad.

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antifragile: a new trend to save modernity by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

“By understanding the mechanisms of antifragility, we can build a systematic and broad guide to non-predictive decision-making under uncertainty in different fields: economics, politics, medicine, and l ife in general – anywhere the unknown preponderates, any situation in which there is randomness, unpredictability, opacity, or incomplete understanding of things.�


ANTIFRAGILE Some things benefit from shocks, thrive and grow when exposed to mutation, randomness, disorder, and stress, and love adventure, risk, and uncertainty. Nevertheless, in spite of the omnipresence of the phenomenon, we do not have a term indicating the exact opposite of fragility. For this, we will talk about antifragility. Antifragility goes beyond the concept of “elastic resilience� and robustness. A resilient thing withstands shocks but remains the same as before: antifragility gives rise to something better. This property underlies everything that changes over time: evolution, culture, ideas, revolutions, political systems, technological innovation, cultural and economic success, the survival of organizations, the best recipes (such as chicken soup or tartare with a drop of cognac), the emergence of cities, cultures, and legal systems, the equatorial forests, the resistance to bacteria, and so forth, up to and including the very existence of our species on this planet. Antifragility establishes the boundary between what is living and organic (or complex), such as the human body, and what is inert, such as a physical object like the stapler on your desk. [...] By understanding the mechanisms of antifragility we can build a systematic and broad guide to non-predictive decision-making under uncertainty in different fields: economics, politics, medicine, and life in general – anywhere the unknown preponderates, any situation in which there is randomness, unpredictability, opacity, or incomplete understanding of things.

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antifragile: a new trend to save modernity

According to my definition, modernity is the largescale dominance of the human environment, the systematic smoothing of the roughness of the world, and the suppression of volatility and stress factors. Modernity is the systematic eradication of human beings from their ecology burdened by physical, social, and even epistemological, chance. Modernity is not just the post-medieval, post-agricultural, and post-feudal historical period, as defined in sociology texts. Rather, it is the spirit of an age marked by rationalization (naive rationalism), the idea that society is understandable and, therefore, must be modeled by men. Statistical theory was also created at the same time as this idea, and thus, the horrible bell curve. And linear science. And the concept of “efficiency” or “optimization.” Modernity is a Procrustean bed, be it good or bad, a reduction of human beings to what is efficient and useful. In some respects, it works: Procrustean standards are not always negative reductions. Some may even be beneficial, albeit rarely.

Violence is transferred from individuals to states, as is financial insubordination. At the center of all this, is the negation of antifragility Think about the life of a lion in the comfort and predictability of the Bronx Zoo (Sunday visitors who flock to watch him with a mixture of curiosity, fear, and pity) and then compare it to the life of his cousins in the wild. We, too, at some point in history have had free-ranging men, women, and children, before the advent of the golden era of super-busy moms and super-busy children. We are entering a phase of modernity marked by lobbyists, by extremely limited corporate responsibility, by those with Master’s degrees in business administration, by the problems of gullibility, by secularization (or better yet, the invention of new sacred values, such as flags, which have come to replace altars), by tax-collectors, by the terror of our boss, of spending weekends in interesting places and the working week in other places considered much less interesting, by the separation between “work” and “pleasure” (although to a person from a wiser era, the two may seem the same), by pension plans, by polemic intellectuals who would disagree with this definition of modernity, by thought without imagination, by inductive inferences, by the philosophy of science, by the invention of the social sciences, by smooth surfaces and egocentric architects. Violence is transferred from individuals to states, as is financial insubordination. At the center of all this, is the negation of antifragility.

| oxygen

It relies on stories, on an intellectualization of actions and risky enterprises. Public companies and their directors, even the employees of large companies, can only do what seems to be part of a narrative, as opposed to businesses that can simply follow their profits, whether or not they are supported by a good story. Remember that when you construct a story, you need to give a name to the color blue, but that this does not happen when you act: the thinker who does not have a word for blue is disadvantaged; not so those who act (I made a huge effort to make intellectuals understand the intellectual superiority of practice). Modernity has widened the difference between what is sensational and what is relevant: in a natural environment, the sensational is, well, sensational for a reason; today, we depend on the press for what concerns essentially human things like gossip and anecdotes, and we are interested in the private lives of people living in remote corners of the Earth. In fact, in the past, when we were not fully aware of antifragility, self-organization, and self-healing, we were able to observe these properties in the belief that they helped in managing uncertainty and surviving it. We have made improvements on the work of God (or gods). Maybe we denied that things could have taken care of themselves without outside intervention, but it was the gods who acted, not the longtime Harvard-graduate captains. Thus, the birth of the nation-state in its own right lies in this progression, that is, the transferring of the capacity to intervene to mere humans. The history of the nation-state coincides with that of the concentration and the exaggeration of human errors. Modernity begins with the state monopoly on violence and ends with the state monopoly on financial unconsciousness. [Excerpt from Antifragile, published in 2012 by Random House]

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In

interview

The frontiers of “open regionalism“ interview with Parag Khanna by Stefano Milano

From the economic crisis to “open regionalism,” through foreign policy and the race to energy independence of the United States, the difficult phase of the European Union, the rapidly growing countries and their relationship with democracy, up to the new players in the governance of a “multistakeholder” world and the increasing role played by cities.

How does the world feel in this beginning of 2013? It feels more optimistic than 5 years ago. Some say this is the first post-financial crisis year. Many countries seem to be slowly solving the problem of the economic crisis. Is this really true? Which countries do you think are regaining their economies and which will continue having trouble? We have known the solutions for some time, but the rate of adoption of bold policies varies. Look at how Ireland has radically reformed itself structurally and picked itself back up. Spain and Greece have deeper problems and may have taken austerity too far, but they still must focus on productivity, services, exports, and other shifts to rebalance their economies. How has the economic crisis affected global governance? Clearly, monetary coordination remains very weak, as we can see through the competitive devaluations led by the U.S. and Japan, for example. Fiscal stimulus is also highly variable and uncoordinated. America has simply reduced interest rates, while China is truly investing in new infrastructures. So there is very little actual global economic governance. Yet almost all nations retain a crucial interest and stake in keeping markets open.

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Despite the economic crisis, there are many “breakout nations” that are growing and are having/will have gradually more power. Which countries are becoming/ will become “top players” in the global scenario? I have written about dozens of these socalled “breakout nations” in my book The Second World. There are key ones in each region: Colombia and Mexico, Angola and Mozambique, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, Malaysia and Indonesia. All are performing well, remaining stable, and have become economic gateways. I am often a champion of these markets. Outsiders tend to perceive them as more risky than they actually are.

there is a major regionalization of the world going on. At the same time, there is also an interdependency of natural resources and other supply chains. So we have a world of “open regionalism”


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Many emerging countries are growing and gaining economic power at the expense of democracy: i.e., Zambia, Mozambique, Liberia, and Niger were among the fastest growing economies in 2012, but they are in a low position in the Democracy Index of the Economist Intelligence Unit. “Growing economy = Low democracy” seems to be a widespread paradigm. Is that really so? What do you think? The Asian growth miracle has already weakened the linkage between economic progress and democracy. Remember how Singapore, China, Vietnam, and Malaysia have grown in recent decades without being full democracies. So this is not a new phenomenon. Good governance can be achieved through investing in infrastructures and enabling entrepreneurship. This does not always require democracy. The world is becoming increasingly multipolar: what consequences will this have on international diplomacy and governance? What kind of multilateral political and economic agreements will we see? Multipolarity is already a reality today. We have strong North American, South American, European, and Asian systems whose internal trade is now greater than with each other. So there is a major regionalization of the world going on. At the same time, there is also an interdependency of natural resources and other supply chains. So we have a world of “open regionalism.” Trade within Asia is greater than with North America and Europe, which shows how ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), for example, is gradually decoupling from the EU, yet there is still a big effort to have more FTAs between the EU and ASEAN, or the U.S. and key Asian allies like Thailand. Let’s talk about the three super-powers… first of all, the U.S. During Obama’s second term, what is going to change and what is going to be empowered in U.S. foreign policy? Obama wants to have a second term without any surprises, to complete the withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, and to build economic and strategic ties with Asia. These are good goals. Every president since Richard Nixon has chased the dream of energy independence, promising to break U.S. reliance on foreign oil. Today, this seems to be possible: in 2012, the U.S. produced 83% of the energy it consumed, imports from OPEC have been cut by a quarter in the last four years, new drilling techniques

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have unlocked vast reserves, and oil and natural gas production is increasing at its fastest rate in 50 years. Do you think the U.S. is really going to be 100% energy independent? Obviously, this goal would change many things, not only in foreign policy… It is not just about the U.S. producing for itself, but the creation of a full zone of energy independence across the entire Western Hemisphere. This means including in our calculation the tar sands of Canada and the oil and gas of Brazil, in addition to America’s shale gas. And that hemispheric resource wealth is not just hydrocarbons but also water and food, which are just as important! More widely: examples like U.S. energy independence lead to thinking about some kind of new form of protectionism… Do you think the economic crisis is leading some countries to some protectionist measures? Not protectionism, but exporters will have to re-evaluate the rapidly shifting (declining) demand from the Western hemisphere. Countries from Canada to Argentina will not need to import any natural resources, whether oil/gas, food, or other commodities. This will make North and South America stronger in the sense of resource autarky, but not necessarily more protectionist. Yet still, resource exporting nations will have to look for new markets for the long-term. Shortly, China is going to change its leadership, and there is the possibility this will lead to some important changes. Do you think China will really start a kind of democratic transition? What consequences could this have? China’s political and economic liberalization process is a very controlled process, even if there are surprises, such as the corruption scandals involving Bo Xilai and others. These changes will make China a more consultative political system, if not a truly democratic one. Last but not least, the EU: its role in global governance has been softened in the last years. How can Europe recover stability and have a renewed centrality in the global scenario? The EU needs to remain unified as a market and economic zone to retain global relevance, and it is good to see the strong ECB signals that it will support this. The next step is to keep up the role of being the largest importer and also an exporter of capital in terms of foreign investment, as this is crucial to global leverage.

Talking about global governance, two things seem to have a reverse trend: on the one hand, the power of the governments, and above all, of the supranational organizations, is becoming increasingly more weak; on the other hand, “new actors” of global governance are emerging and the power of some of them (such as corporations, stakeholders, social movements, etc.) is growing. Who are these new actors? What is their real power and who are the most powerful? How is this changing global governance? The world has truly become a multi-stakeholder in terms of governance. Most delivery of services takes place through supply chains or partnerships that involve some combination of governments, companies, and NGOs. These new players claim authority on the basis of their capacity to provide basic goods and services that governments have failed to do. I think this is a very healthy trend – it is what I call “all hands on deck.” We have a far greater capacity to address global problems than just what is controlled by governments. The Gates Foundation, for example, has not only taken the lead in addressing infectious disease treatment in Africa, but also provides 40 percent of the annual operating budget of the World Health Organization (WHO). So it is an NGO funding an international organization. Indonesian forests have been pillaged by the government and corporations, but now Asian Pulp and Paper has demanded that its supply chain not rely on the logging of virgin forests. WalMart’s supply chain emits more greenhouse gases than the country of Ireland, so it very much needs to have a seat at the table in negotiations concerning climate change. These are just some examples of how we need to bring in the players whose actions can have a decisive impact. And what about the power of terrorist organizations? Terrorism is a constant phenomenon in the world and cannot be eliminated. But we should not blow its influence out of proportion. Terrorist groups do not make very good governors, just look at the Taliban!


the frontiers of “open regionalism� |

oxygen

USA On the preceding page: the Space Needle, Seattle. On this page: the Pentagon, Washington, D.C.; Arizona State University, Tempe.

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TURKMENISTAN – UK Above: Rukhiyet Palace, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. On the right: Radcliffe Camera, Oxford, UK.

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the frontiers of “open regionalism” |

This notion of “assemblage” is the new reality of how governance operates in much of the world. Authority must be earned by delivering goods, not simply assumed on the basis of sovereignty

oxygen

How is the spreading power of social networks and technology (and of the millions of citizens using the social medias and organizing through them) gaining soft power and leading to new forms of governance? It is a two-part phenomenon: technology enables the rising power of new players in governance, and it is also a tool for their collaboration with each other. NGOs now coordinate with each other and with companies and international organizations in crisis situations or war zones by using social media. In Hybrid Reality, you and Ayesha Khanna wrote that “the political consequence of globalization and the information revolution are now playing out a broader set of empowered players (including governments, companies, NGOs and more) and competing ambitions (territory, market monopoly, mind-share). Each now has access to the deep source of power – authority – to build the constituencies that legitimize their influence. […] Citizen groups, consumers, social movements can all increasingly alter the parameters of politics. As a result even government is becoming a generative one featuring novel assemblages of diverse players that associate freely.” How is this changing the new governance? This notion of “assemblage” is the new reality of how governance operates in much of the world. Authority must be earned by delivering goods, not simply assumed on the basis of sovereignty. “The 21st century will not be dominated by the USA or China, Brazil or India, but by the city” (Hybrid Reality). Are the big and smart cities becoming the “clusters” of governance of the future? If so, why and how? Cities are the foundation of global demographics and economics. Most of the world’s population lives in cities, and the lion’s share of the world economy is centered on just 200 cities. Some cities are indeed becoming so large and geographically expanded that they are fusing into urban corridors. One sees this between San Francisco and San Jose, Dubai and Abu Dhabi (or “Abu Dubai”), Beijing and Tianjin, and the entire Pearl River Delta region of China. Also, cities learn more from each other than from federal government mandates, and trade and investment flows between cities are decisive for economic growth. I now focus as much on “inter-city relations” as on international relations.

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passepartout

+15,4% +10,57%

IRAQ

GDP - 120,094 billion $

+10,5%

ANGOLA

GDP - 1,32 billion $

+10,32%

LIBERIA

GDP - 1,32 billion $

+9,52%

ChINa

GDP - 7.209,42 billion $

haiti

GDP - 9,21 billion $

+8,8%

east timor

GDP - 0,807 billion $

+8,63%

by Oxygen

In 2012, despite the crisis, some countries have seen their economies grow, among the first ranking are two of the BRICS and countries such as Niger, Iraq, Liberia, Afghanistan, and Ethiopia. These are countries rich in mineral resources or oil, that more often than not base their economy on exports or privileged contacts with the Western powers. The Economy Watch has compiled a ranking of the top twelve with the highest growth rate, and Oxygen has made a comparison with the level of democracy present in these countries, established by the Democracy Index of the Economist Intelligence Unit (an assessment of 167 countries based on criteria such as the electoral process, civil liberties, functioning of the government, and political culture). And the final picture – three imperfect democracies, five semi-regimes, and four authoritarian regimes – reflects economic growth, but not democratic growth. 026

ethiopia

+8,02%

india

+7,82%

GDP - 32,3 billion $

GDP - 1.858,9 billion $

mozambique

+7,8%

afghanistan

+7,47%

GDP - 12,9 billion $

GDP - 19,1 billion $

zambia

GDP - 21,8 billion $

+7,38%

Growth in 2012

Niger

GDP - 7,38 billion $

(Undemocratic) Growing Economies

Pp


110°

Democracy Index

112° 133°

Sources: Economy Watch; Economist Intelligence Unit. The data concerning the GDP and the 2012 growth percentage is based on predictions

Niger

semi-regime

Iraq

semi-regime

angola

authoritarian regime

98° Liberia semi-regime

141°

China

authoritarian regime

114°

haiti

semi-regime

42° 121°

east timor

imperfect democracy

ethiopia

authoritarian regime

39° 100° 152°

india

imperfect democracy

mozambique

semi-regime

afghanistan

authoritarian regime

71°

zambia

imperfect democracy

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contexts

Obama II: a more interventionist agenda by Paolo Magri

“What would be reasonable to expect from the second term of Obama, after two decades of wishful thinking? Caution and realism are a must. Despite the public pronouncements and the agenda, however, a significant step toward change in the international projection of the Obama II administration is not to be excluded.” The priorities? The Middle East, China, and institutions of global governance.

Over the past twenty years, the hope of obtaining an effective response to the growing demand for global governance has been fed by two illusions. The first illusion led us to believe that the collapse of the Soviet Union would lay the foundations for a new order, less expensive and imperfect than the one guaranteed by the bi-polar system of the Cold War. A hierarchical order, with the United States, the hegemonic but “benign” power at the center, and whose solitude in command could be balanced by the multilateral and regional organizations (UN and EU in particular), at long last out of the hibernation of the Eighties. An order which, precisely because it is “benign” and “multilateral,” could even be allowed to violate the sovereignty of the individual states in order to guarantee global order: to export the free market, security, peace (for humanitarian reasons), and even justice (with the birth of the International Criminal Court). Wishful thinking. G.W. Bush, with his mistakes and the “war on terror,” reminded us that the hegemonic power was not necessarily benign; the revival of international organizations immediately showed signs of slowing down; with the financial crisis of 2008, the capitalist economic model – emerging triumphant from the Cold War and diligently exported – entered into crisis in the very country that had elected it as its creed. The second illusion occurred with the election of Barack Obama, when America was still engaged in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and hit hard by the financial crisis. The illusion was that the discontinuity that the new President represented (generational, political, racial) would guarantee a recovery of the image and prestige of the “benign power” and make his significant contribution to global governance pos-

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sible. Agreements on financial regulation, on measures to tackle the economic crisis in the advanced economies, on trade, and on the environment would, in essence, have benefited from America’s new “engagement” (radically different as to means and styles) in world affairs. Obama had no shortage of narrative rhetoric (“outstretched hand,” “reset,” the emphasis on “dialog among equals”) or tools, starting with the newly formed G20, more inclusive and attentive to the new equilibrium that has emerged in the last decade. The “Yes We Can” President was even awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on this basis, receiving the first “preventive” Nobel in the history of the Norwegian prize. Despite the Nobel, despite the millions of miles traveled by Hillary Clinton, the capture of Bin Laden, the withdrawal from Iraq, and the (announced) withdrawal from Afghanistan, the foreign policy inherited from Obama’s first term was a long series of “unfinished missions” (dialog with China and Russia, the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Iran’s nuclear program), the “forgotten continents” (Africa, Europe, Latin America), and blocked global negotiations (trade, environment, financial regulation). Of course, it was not solely the responsibility of the U.S. President, but it is undeniable that Obama’s emphasis on domestic priorities (the crisis, employment, debt, deficit) has inspired an extremely pragmatic and cautious approach to foreign policy that, while the expression of a positive awareness of the need to revise America’s role in a new multipolar context, did not seem able to ensure a more orderly and stable “governed” world. The most explicit translation of this cautious pragmatism – the Libyan “lead from behind,” which then evolved into “wait from behind” in Mali – presupposes a willing-


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Dealing with the architecture of global governance. The current institutions (UN, WTO, IMF) reflect a world that no longer exists and is neither inclusive nor effective

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obama ii: a more interventionist agenda

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oxygen | 19 — 04.2013

ness and ability for guidance by others; a condition that has occurred, thanks to France and Great Britain, in these two crises but was far from materializing in Syria, for example, where the weaknesses and divisions of the United Nations, Europe, and the emerging countries became clearly evident. What would be reasonable to expect from Obama’s second term, after two decades of wishful thinking? Caution and realism are a must; in all probability, the choices of the recently re-elected President will continue to be inspired by Kennedy. Not John, nor Bob, but Paul, the Anglo-American historian who, already in 1987, declared the inevitable decline of the superpowers whose interests and global military commitments would exceed their economic strength. Hence – in full awareness of weak growth, the $17 trillion debt, and a deficit of nearly 10% of the GDP – the totally “domestic” emphasis of the presidential campaign and the first pronouncements after re-election.

The four-point program indicated in the State of the Union address on February 13th (work, education, minimum wage, gun control) is a more explicit demonstration, especially when compared with another State of the Union address by Truman in 1949, who indicated to America, just back from a war “in Europe” and “for Europe,” his confirmed commitment to the UN and NATO, the continuation of the Marshall Plan, and the launch of de-colonization, the four points of his presidential program. It is not just the pre- and post-election rhetoric that leaves few illusions to those who are waiting for a new “vision” concerning the role of the U.S. in the world or, at least, a less passive approach by the “indispensable superpower.” The 2013 political agenda is totally dominated by an obstacle course of internal affairs, made even more complex by the increasingly difficult dialog with the Republicans: the “sequester” management, adopted on March 1st; the deadline on March 23rd of the “Continuing Appropriations Resolution” to manage the Interim Financial Statements; and yet another increase in the debt ceiling, in mid-May. Despite the public pronouncements and the agenda, however, a significant step toward change in the international projection of the Obama II administration is not to be excluded. Certainly not for the “second term theory,” which sees the U.S. Presi-

032

dents, released from the stress of re-election, as more likely to use their last four years in the White House for opening up to foreign policy capable of ensuring them a significant legacy. The theory has held up with Reagan (detente with Russia, despite the stain of the Iran-Contra scandal) and Clinton (the peace process in the Middle East, despite the Lewinsky scandal); much less so with Nixon and Bush, whose second terms were characterized by Watergate and the controversy over the lack of relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina, respectively, rather than by any new visions of foreign policy and the commitment to global governance. Even more important for understanding the direction that the Obama presidency will take in the coming months and years, are the appointments made for key positions (for the purposes of foreign policy) in the administration: Kerry (foreign policy), Hagel (defense) and McDonough (chief of staff of the White House) are three well-known and respected experts in international politics, from isolationist positions and with a staunchly multilateral vision. “Doves,” but tenacious and determined doves who could foreshadow significant changes of direction. The main focus is obviously aimed at the new Secretary of State; Obama’s second choice (after the “sacrifice” of Susan Rice in the post-Benghazi negotiations with the Republicans) who, however, brings a significant range of skills and relationships to the administration, as well as a focus on economic diplomacy and environmental issues that could lead to a new phase of “diplomatic intervention” (as an alternative to the military kind, less and less compatible with budget constraints), and is able to show that being cautious and pragmatic does not necessarily mean being passive or disengaged. There is no shortage of areas in which to test a greater involvement; above all, there are three key priorities that are unavoidable. The first, and most pressing, is the Middle East. Obama cannot afford to accompany the slow death of the twostate solution between Israel and Palestine, to leave the countries of the “Arab awakening” to their political and economic chaos, to witness the completion of the Iranian nuclear issue. America did not seem to be able to determine the course of events in any of these crises; however, it can significantly influence them with diplomatic, economic, and (occasionally) military engagement which was certainly lacking in the first four years of Obama’s administration. Then there is the need to limit the damage inflicted by the electoral rhetoric (Republican, but also Democratic) to relations with China, a country with which it is trying to find a stable modus vivendi, given its economic importance (especially for the U.S.), and the growing threats to regional stability

A new phase of “diplomatic intervention” able to show that being cautious and pragmatic does not necessarily mean being passive or disengaged


obama ii: a more interventionist agenda

raised by territorial disputes with Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The third priority – and certainly the most ambitious – is to deal with the architecture of global governance. The current institutions (UN, WTO, IMF) reflect a world that no longer exists and, despite the cautious reforms of recent years, are neither inclusive (regarding new players) nor effective, as demonstrated by the Syrian deadlock and the failure of negotiations on trade, the environment, and financial regulations. Missions that are seemingly impossible – even for the “Yes We Can” President – and that obviously depend on the stance taken by the main stakeholders in the coming months. But Obama

| oxygen

and his new team might just amaze us by leaving “cliffs” and “ceilings” behind, and putting back into play an America that helps to shape a new order for a deeply transformed world. On the other hand, like Obama, F. D. Roosevelt, too, was elected to address the concerns of American voters and the economic problems after the Great Depression, but he ended up being the President of the war in Europe, the birth of the UN, and the institution of the Bretton Woods monetary management system. We would gladly spare ourselves another world war. We would not at all mind an America that is more “engaged” and that assumes more responsibility (with the necessary support of Europe and other regional powers).

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contexts

The eurozone between a rock and a hard place by Karel Lannoo photographic project by White through Google Street View

Austerity was the theme of the revamped growth and stability pact (GSP), the core economic governance framework of the EU. The latest European growth forecast predicts zero growth for 2013, and unemployment at an all-time high of 11%. This is putting pressure on European governments to explain what they are doing, and why. Recent eurobarometer figures showed that 29% of the European population had a negative or very negative view of the EU, an all-time high.


The euro-sovereign crisis may be over for the financial markets, but not for the economies of most of the member states, considering the growth prospects for 2013, the unemployment figures, and budget deficits. This while the U.S. is gradually recovering from the economic crisis, with growth, declining unemployment, but with an important budget deficit. The latter element indicates better than anything else the difference in approach on both sides of the Atlantic: austerity first in the eurozone, and growth first in the U.S. Recent developments seem to be indicating that the U.S. is on the right track, or did the eurozone have no alternative? Austerity has been the fundamental theme in the eurozone and in the EU’s crisis response. After a too generous response to the banking crisis, with about 13.5% of the EU’s GDP spent on bank rescues, EU member states reacted too tightly to the sovereign crisis, and are now reaping the harvest: increasing unemployment, declining growth perspectives, further pressures on public finances, and strong declines in the support for the EU. The latest European growth forecast predicts zero growth for 2013, and unemployment at an all-time high of 11%. This is putting pressure on European governments to explain what they are doing, and why. Europe is thereby seen as the bad man. In the U.S., in contrast, growth for this year is expected to be at about 2%, with an unemployment rate of 7.7%. Austerity was the theme of the revamped growth and stability pact (GSP), the core economic governance framework of the EU. With the “six-pack” and “duopack” measures, adopted in November 2011 and February 2013, respectively, the EU agreed to control public finances on the basis of a broader set of criteria, and to give more powers to the EU Commission to control its application. Hence, apart from monitoring public debt and budget deficits, current account positions

Recent eurobarometer figures showed that 29% of the European population had a negative or very negative view of the EU, an all-time high and double that of the pre-crisis period. At the same time, only 30% still have a positive view of the EU, down from 50%

and draft budget plans of the member states are also assessed. With the “Fiscal Pact,” concluded in March 2012, the EU leaders of 25 member states (without the UK and the Czech Republic) agreed on an Intergovernmental Pact to strive to maintain balanced primary budgets, the “golden rule,” and to write it down in the national constitutions. It would be wrong to state that austerity is only an issue for the eurozone. The UK, too, is pursuing tight budgetary conditions, with a high budget deficit and low or no growth. It devalued its currency, the £, by about 20% in 2008, but the results so far have not been very comforting for life outside the eurozone. It certainly is no example for those economists arguing that countries need to keep control of monetary policy as a core tool to monitor competitiveness. To make austerity possible, and prepare for eventual contingencies, the eurozone agreed on a permanent stabilization mechanism, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), which was inaugurated in October 2012. Combined with the ECB’s Outright Monetary Transactions, the facility now exists at eurozone level to react to debt funding problems in the member states. The ESM can buy primary debt of eurozone member states, and the ECB can, through the OMT, buy debt of member states with problems on the secondary markets. The latter facility is, however, conditional to the acceptance of a fiscal program, a scheme to bring the public finances back in balance. The market reaction to austerity has, for the last months, been positive. The yield spreads between the eurozone countries have started to converge slowly again, after the peaks of the second half of 2011 and the first half of 2012. But the reaction of the public is quite different. Recent eurobarometer figures, the opinion polls in member states about views on the EU, showed that 29% of the European population had a negative or very nega-


oxygen | 19 — 04.2013

Eurozone vs US key figures

2013 forecasts (or latest)

Eurozone

US

gov debt (% GDP) budget deficit (% GDP) inflation (%) long bond yield (av. %) growth (% GDP) current account (% GDP) unemployment (%) rating

95,1 -1,3 1,8 3,25 0,1 2,2 11,1 ( ) da AAA a BBB-

111,1 -6,6 1,9 1,8 1,9 -3,0 7,7( ) AA+( )

Sources: European Commission (2013), JP Morgan

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the eurozone between a rock and a hard place |

oxygen

Hence, to bring the EU onto a sustainable path toward the future, plans urgently have to be developed to create economic growth and political union

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STREET VIEW European cities and capitals photographed using Google Street View.

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the eurozone between a rock and a hard place |

tive view of the EU, an all-time high and double that of the pre-crisis period. At the same time, only 30% still have a positive view of the EU, down from 50%. After almost three years of expanding sovereign crisis, these measures were considered sufficient by the markets to restore some calm. The question, however, is for how long. Markets will want to see further measures to strengthen market integration in the EU and stimulate economic growth; the public will want to have a bigger say in what is going on. This concerns the other large wharfs of the EU: economic and political union. But both subjects have been discussed for decades at the EU level, without agreement on its effective content. Economic union would require that, where appropriate and more effective, further integration be pursued at the EU level. This concerns, for example, energy policy, with commonly managed grid networks and a common energy supply policy; research and development policy, with a higher degree of coordination of R&D expenditure; a common digital agenda, with content and data protection laws and common e-network policies; more harmonization in corporate taxation, a domain almost untouched by EU harmonization efforts so far; and action in the domain of employment policy to allow for the emergence of a European labor market, through transferable labor rights and pension plans. Proposals for action in all these areas have been raised in the context of the recent economic problems, such as, for example, in the May 2010 report by Mario Monti on the sin-

oxygen

gle market, but little progress has been achieved so far. Political union would require that the EU institutions become truly accountable, from the mixture of intergovernmental and federal institutions that we have today. In the reaction to the sovereign crisis, the central power has been strengthened, but not necessarily the democratic control over it. The powers of Parliaments over the European Commission on economic governance matters remain limited, and the ECB insists on retaining its hallmark trait of independence. Unlike national parliaments, the European Parliament has no real right of initiative, which rests with the European Commission. But the Commission College is appointed by the member states of the EU and its leaders are not elected to their positions. Hence, to bring the EU onto a sustainable path toward the future, plans urgently have to be developed to create economic growth and political union. A large European industrial plan is required to create growth, to get rid of the uncoordinated or old-fashioned policies of the past, and to demonstrate that the EU matters. A political union is needed to give the EU population the feeling that their views count, not only in the national capitals, but also in Brussels. The recent eurobarometer results should be a wake-up call for all of them. If the negative attitude toward the EU is not tackled urgently, the next European Parliament elections could produce disastrous results, with all the consequences this entails for EU policy making.

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contexts

Italy, Europe’s “special” interlocutor by Franco Bruni

The relationship between Europe and Italy, the role played by a member state with a special weight in the economic balance and its contribution to the European Stability Mechanism and the Pact for Growth and Employment, their advantages and their weaknesses. Europe is a place of debate and Italy is one of its essential interlocutors.

In 2011, Italian public finances were found to be out of line with the European coordination of fiscal policies, which had become more attentive due to the international financial crisis. At first, it was not a question of the measure of the plan for recovery from the deficit but the credibility of the decisions to achieve it. After Italy’s further hesitations about what to do, Europe also asked to review the size of the planned balances, moving up to 2013 the goal of breaking even. Relations with Brussels were stretched to the point of becoming a contributing cause of Italy’s change of government. It has fueled the debate on national sovereignty, on the degree of invasiveness of the EU, and on the effectiveness of imposing austerity from the outside, without an adequate sharing of responsibility within the country. Three months before taking on the task as Prime Minister to adapt to that imposition, Monti himself warned us about the critical aspects of “foreign authority” (“Corriere della Sera,” August 7, 2011). Throughout the EU, the sovereign debt crisis has accelerated the reassessment of economic coordination, in order to make it stronger and shared.

In 2012, this effort marked great strides forward. It has become increasingly clear that the stability and growth of the member countries are both a condition and an effect of good collective policies. Italy has played a crucial role in strengthening the integration of the EU: by starting the adjustments and reforms internally, it has given stability to the eurozone. It has taken advantage of the control of the EU, but has also earned the credibility to influence its improvement. This special role of Italy is due to its size. If the country falls into a financial abyss, it drags down Europe, which will not be able “save” it, because it is too big. Therefore, when an Italian crisis deepens, mutual responsibility between Rome and Brussels is triggered. The European Community helps, and together, it “ties the hands” of the Italian authorities, holding them back from the brink. And every progress made in Italy increases the weight of the country’s voice in the European concert. The diplomacy of our country, if governed by sustainable policies, has the clout to make multilateral interventions that recompose the alignments between Member States seeking

consensus for the advancement of the EU. In 2012, Italy was decisive – also for the attention it paid to countries such as Spain, the UK, and Poland – in interrupting the arbitrariness of a self-proclaimed Franco-German leadership that was ineffective and controversial. Italy has contributed with ideas and actions on three fronts: rigor, solidarity, and stimulus for growth. With regard to rigor, in addition to “putting its house in order,” it insisted on the fact that EU macroeconomic discipline had already been strengthened and expanded. The Stability Pact, adopted at the same time as the euro and misfiring shortly thereafter, was reformed in 2011. It was enhanced with the monitoring of imbalances in the private sector, including its competitiveness and the balance of foreign trade; the “European semester” was launched, i.e., the elaboration of Community estimates of the adjustment plans and structural reforms to be launched in every country in the second half of each year; a minimum speed was prescribed for the reduction of the stock of public debt when in excess of 60% of the GDP; and the Commission’s power to sanction non-compliance


Italy has played a crucial role in strengthening the integration of the EU: by starting the adjustments and reforms internally, it has given stability to the eurozone

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with commitments of the national governments was strengthened. In 2012, it was decided to add to this governing framework the so-called Fiscal Compact, which requires that balanced budgets be made obligatory through norms of constitutional status. It was important that the addition not compromise the implementation of newly-made reforms with a counter-productive rigidity of “too many restrictions and caveats” (an expression used by Monti in his address to the Senate on January 25th). We have managed to avoid this risk: the formulation of the Fiscal Compact was sufficiently flexible. In terms of solidarity, Italy has insisted on the “systemic” nature of the instability in the eurozone: the difficulty of refinancing the public debt of a country and avoiding excessive increases in its spread does not always depend on the intractability of its budget. Even the spread of those countries which comply with the Community guidelines might increase too much, plagued by the problems of others: Italy can suffer from the problems in Greece, Spain, or even those outside Europe. So, if solidarity mechanisms, that is to say, interventions of support using EU funds, are properly organized, aid to “disciplined” but “infected” governments should not require doses of rigor that go beyond the discipline already under the Commission’s control. This position reflected the situation in Italy, which was paying spreads disproportionate to the imbalances that it was fixing. But it was also correct from the point of view of the effectiveness and timeliness of EU solidarity. Our government was vehemently insistent, with moderate success, in the European Council in June 2012 when it came to deciding the rules of the newborn European Stability Mechanism (ESM), the intergovernmental solidarity fund created to help refinance countries in difficulty. The result was important because the support of the ESM was then considered a prerequisite for the ECB’s interventions which, between July and August, Draghi promised to use to smooth out that part of the spread created by the erroneous perception of a risk of the euro’s rupture. This promise was all that was needed: the markets have reduced spreads and Italy has benefited greatly. During the European summit in June 2012, Italy’s insistence on “flexible” soli-

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darity for the disciplined countries went so far as to threaten – if the unnecessary rigidity in the conditionality of ESM aid was not excluded – to veto the launch of the Pact for Growth and Employment, even though the Pact would have been acceptable to Italy, whose diplomacy had done the utmost to obtain it. The Pact was perhaps the biggest development of European economic policy in 2012. To forge toward ways of eurozone recovery that would be more favorable to growth and employment was a constant objective of the Italian government last year. The Pact is divided into different fronts of action; but the leitmotiv is that of the most rapid and intense completion of the single

market, especially in the field of services. Exploitation of the opportunities of the internal market in the EU is the main tool for relaunching growth, but it meets with the resistance of special interests and nationalistic protectionism, including those in Germany. The credibility of Italian commitment in this area has been increased by the fact that, in 2010, Professor Monti, on behalf of the Commission, drafted a document which later became the Single Market Act, whose difficult implementation was given new impetus in the Pact of June 2012. In terms of formal decisions – made on the basis of what had been maturing in 2011 –, 2012 was therefore an exceptional

year for the construction of a real European economic policy. Italy has contributed in an essential way, both because it would otherwise have risked collapsing along with the entire eurozone, and because its internal political situation puts it in a position to influence Europe. The question is whether Italy and the EU will continue on the right path, putting what they have actually decided into act. More than trying to guess the correct degree of optimism, here it is a matter of reiterating the three points underlying the progress made, at least conceptually and on paper, by European cooperation for stability and growth. First: the macroeconomic discipline is strict but flexible and cyclical: it does not ask – not even the Fiscal Compact asks – that decreases in the GDP be followed with greater fiscal stringency, thus creating a vicious circle. Second: Community solidarity toward countries in difficulty is now a fact, incorporated into the European institutional apparatus and justified by the systemic interdependence increasingly felt in the eurozone. It can be assumed that the solidarity is still insufficient, but it makes no sense to pretend that there is none or to believe that they can make do without it: the non possumus and rigorous rhetoric of some Germans has been refuted by the facts. Third: the heart of the policies to regain stability and growth, the foundation of the countries’ annual commitments with the Commission, is no longer represented by the cuts made to the deficit of countries considered “big spenders,” but rather by the programs of structural reform, of both the public administrations and the markets and private sectors, able to increase the competitiveness and resilience to shocks of the individual member countries, the whole interconnected eurozone, and the EU. Italy, therefore, must draft its future policies by looking to Europe not as a policeman totally dedicated to fining overspending, but as a supportive and interdependent framework in which to agree on the best ways to modernize its public and private economy, finding among its community partners the care and help of those who, in addition to coordinating their own agenda of reforms with others, are aware of the benefits that will result from the national reforms of the others.


italy, europe’s special interlocutor |

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In terms of formal decisions, 2012 was therefore an exceptional year for the construction of a real European economic policy. Italy has contributed in an essential way 043


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Energy: everything is changing! by Fatih Birol

Gas, oil, nuclear energy, renewable energy: depending on the availability and export strategies in each country, the world map is being redrawn. Countries with a brighter future have resources and, at the same time, they are imposing rigorous standards for energy efficiency.

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The global energy map is changing, with potentially far-reaching consequences for energy markets and for economic prospects. It is being redrawn by the resurgence of oil and gas production in the United States, Canada, and Iraq, and by the retreat from nuclear power in some countries following Fukushima Daiichi. It could also be transformed if major energyconsuming countries follow through on what seems to be a renewed policy focus on energy efficiency. Amidst these shifts, the past twelve months have also shown that many symptoms of an unsustainable energy system persist. CO 2 emissions have risen to a new record level – with the renewables industry experiencing growing strains – while climate change has slipped down the policy agenda. Oil prices continue to remain at well over $100 per barrel, acting as a brake to the fragile global economic recovery. Momentum behind reform to fossil-fuel subsidies appears to have stalled, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, meaning that the value of these subsidies ballooned to $523 billion in 2011 – 30% higher than in 2010 – encouraging wasteful consumption and artificial demand growth. Meanwhile, despite new international efforts, 1.3 billion people still lack access to electricity. The resurgence of oil and gas production in the United States is one of the most remarkable features of the changing energy landscape. The innovative application of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technologies has unlocked unconventional resources that only a few years ago had been considered too difficult or costly to access. Consequently, increasing production of light tight oil and shale gas has reversed the long trend of declining U.S. oil and gas output, putting the country on track to overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer and Russia as its top gas supplier between the end of this decade and the mid-2020s. The implications of this growth in supply are being felt well beyond the energy sector. In North America, a range of industries are gaining a competitive edge from cheaper gas and electricity prices. The combined effect of booming oil production and more rigorous vehicle fuel-economy standards, introduced by the first Obama administration, has also set the United States on a path to dramatically reduce its oil imports and its oil import bill; there are already signs that the U.S. trade deficit is narrowing due to increasing oil product exports and reduced petroleum imports. Considering trends in the U.S. together with the broader (and well-established) phenomenon of shifting oil demand growth toward emerging economies, especially those in Asia, you have the ingredients for a fundamental re-orientation in patterns of oil trade. We anticipate that the focus for oil trade will shift even more toward Asia, putting increasing strategic emphasis on the security of shipping routes to Asian

markets from the Middle East, as well as the relationships of emerging trading partners. Some of the dynamics affecting oil market are in play with natural gas, but (as opposed to oil) you do not have a single international market, but rather three main regional markets, each with their own market dynamics, their own ways of pricing gas, and – for the moment – wide variations in price levels. At its lowest level in 2012, natural gas in the United States traded at around a fifth of import prices in Europe and an eighth of those in Japan. In the future, price relationships between regional gas markets are set to strengthen as the liquefied natural gas trade becomes more flexible and contract terms evolve, meaning that changes in one part of the world are more quickly felt elsewhere. Unconventional gas production will help to accelerate this process of globalization of gas markets, putting pressure on the main conventional gas exporters and on traditional oil-linked pricing mechanisms for gas. And within individual countries and regions, competitive power markets are creating stronger links between gas and coal markets. Taking oil and gas together, it becomes even more striking how the United States is bucking the trend that characterizes the other major importing countries. Even considering the likely spread of unconventional oil and gas production in some resources-endowment regions, all major importing countries are set to become more dependent on oil and gas imports over the next two decades, with the United States being the only one having its oil imports being reduced significantly and becoming a small but significant exporter of gas. The power sector is another focal point of a shifting energy landscape. Almost two years after Fukushima Daiichi, the future of nuclear power – at least among the OECD countries – continues to dim. Japan and France joined other countries in announcing their intentions to reduce their use of nuclear power. Meanwhile, its competitiveness in North America is challenged by an extended outlook of relatively cheap gas. These actions and conditions will have varying degrees of consequences related to spending on imports of fossil fuels, electricity prices, and the level of effort needed to achieve climate targets. Nevertheless, there has been no change to policies among the countries expected to be the main drivers of the industry – namely China, India, Russia, and Korea. How governments and industry respond to this shifting landscape will be crucial to shaping our energy future for years to come. The IEA’s World

As opposed to oil, natural gas does not have a single international market, but rather three main regional markets, each with their own market dynamics and their own ways of pricing gas


total electricity

3,6$

1,2$

biofuels

committed to existing projects

trillion

1,2$

other subsidies to electricity

1,0$

trillion

trillion

trillion

required to meet targets 2012-2020

1,6$

milioni

in the graph Global renewable energy subsidies of $4.8 trillion, 2011-2035

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While climate change has slipped down the policy agenda, oil prices continue to remain at well over $100 per barrel, acting as a brake to the fragile global economic recovery

in the graph Trends in oil and gas import dependency Source: IEA, World Energy Outlook 2012, New Policies Scenario 2010

100%

2035

gas imports

japan

80%

european union 60%

40%

china

india

20%

united states

0%

gas exports

20%

oil imports

40%

60%

80%

100%


Energy Outlook 2012 projects that $37 trillion ($1.6 trillion per year on average) of investment is needed in the world’s energy-supply infrastructure to 2035, with investment in the power sector absorbing almost half of the total. A significant portion is needed to replace existing power plants, more than a third of which will be retired by 2035. Thanks to substantial capacity additions and investments, renewables-based generation is expected to become the secondlargest source behind coal already in 2015. Renewables are gaining in competitiveness versus conventional energy sources, but after a period of very strong growth, renewable energy sources have reached a crossroads as some governments look at the undoubted benefits but also review critically how renewables are being supported and how much that is costing. Subsidies to renewable energy, which totaled $88 billion in 2011, would have to increase to $240 billion per year in 2035 to meet existing targets. But weak economic conditions and tightening government budgets, particularly in OECD countries, mean that some of the government support to renewable energy, including for research, is now in danger of being eroded. Support schemes for renewables must be carefully designed to ensure their success with ambitious yet credible targets and be support differentiated according to the maturity of each technology. And as cost reductions for renewable technologies are achieved, the level of support provided for new installations needs to decline to avoid excessive and unnecessary increases in the cost of energy services. Additional renewables capacity means that system flexibility will be critical, and must be supported by robust transmission and distribution grids. The majority of necessary investment will have to come from the private sector, but there is a clear role for policymakers to provide priorities and frameworks that send the appropriate signals. Another potential game-changer for the global energy markets is energy efficiency. Several large energy-consuming countries have, in the last year, announced new measures aimed at improving energy efficiency: China is targeting a 16% reduction in energy intensity by 2015; the European Union has committed to cut its 2020 energy demand by 20%; and Japan plans to decrease electricity consumption by 10% by 2030. Such policies will help to accelerate the slow progress on energy efficiency seen over the last decade, but even with these and other new measures in place, two-thirds of the world’s economic potential to improve energy efficiency would remain unrealized. Global action to remove obstructions to energy efficiency could represent another “unconventional revolution” for global energy and climate trends. Based on the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2012, implementing economically viable energy efficiency measures could halve the growth in global energy demand, with the amount of oil


energy: everything is changing! |

For many countries, energy efficiency represents the best opportunity to enjoy their own energy boom. But this will be possible if, and only if, governments take the lead

oxygen

saved equivalent to the current combined production of Russia and Norway, and generate similarly impressive savings for coal and gas. But this would also lead to important benefits for the environment, buying precious time for governments to take determined action to mitigate climate change. And critically, the additional investment that would be needed in energy efficiency to achieve those energy savings would be more than offset by savings in fuel expenditures by households and businesses. For many countries, energy efficiency represents the best opportunity to enjoy their own energy boom. But this will be possible if, and only if, governments take the lead in ensuring that these opportunities are exploited fully and rapidly. In conclusion, trends in the past year point to major shifts in the global energy landscape, but the hard truth is that the imperative to enable a transition to a more secure and cleaner energy economy remains clear and urgent. Doing so requires that decision-makers reconcile sometimes-conflicting energy security, economic, and environmental objectives and adopt much stronger policies and measures than currently envisaged. Weakened economies and the specter of “an age of austerity” provide tempting excuses to delay making the necessary investments in a more sustainable energy future. Against this complex backdrop, one policy approach stands out as a way for policymakers to reach multiple policy objectives – that is energy efficiency. We cannot allow this potential to go to waste.

World Energy Outlook 2013 In 2013, the World Energy Outlook, the most authoritative source of strategic analysis of the global energy markets, reset the old expectations about the future of energy and, in light of current events, updated its projections up to 2035. The emerging themes are: the relationship between climate change and energy; future prospects of oil – demand, supply, and trade; the diffusion and the environmental and social impacts of the supply of unconventional gas; the situation in some specific areas and, thus, the energy prospects in Brazil and fossil fuel subsidies in the Middle East. (worldenergyoutlook.org)

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Competition and collaboration between China and India by Kishore Mahbubani

“The common challenges and shared interests of China and India underscore that the relationship between the two countries will shift back and forth between competition and collaboration. Now, as the West slowly recedes from the global stage, it is time for the future superpowers to begin taking more responsibility for the welfare of our world.�


The most important geopolitical relationship in the world today is between the world’s greatest power, the United States, and the world’s greatest emerging power, China. The second most important geopolitical relationship in the world is between the world’s two emerging superpowers, China and India. Goldman Sachs has forecast that by 2050 or earlier, the number one and number two economies in the world will be China’s and India’s. Hence, even though the China-U.S. relationship is the most important geopolitical relationship today, the China-India relationship will be the most important one tomorrow. Right now, both China and India are dealing with a new political reality in which the richer Western countries no longer feel confident about the future. Western politicians are constrained by their anxious publics from making short-term sacrifices for the long-term global good in issues like trade and climate change. A greater burden will then shift onto the shoulders of China, India, and other developing countries. So the time has come for both China and India to think about the clear long-term interests they have in collaborating with each other in many areas of common interest. Both China and India can sustain their rapid economic growth only if the relatively open 1945 rules-based order is sustained and, indeed, strengthened. Both China and India are increasingly plugging their economies into the global economic grid. In so doing, they are demonstrating great common faith that this global economic grid will carry on. What happens if this grid falls apart? Who is going to rebuild it? China and India have essentially been “free riders,” exploiting the advantages of this global economic good without sustaining it. While it is true that China and India are playing by the rules of the 1945 political order, who have the custodians of this rules-based order been? The answer, of course, is America and the EU. And why should America and the EU continue to be custodians of the multilateral order in which the primary beneficiaries have become China and India? Pure common sense dictates that both China and India should put in a stronger common effort to keep the global economic grid functioning. Sadly, Chinese and Indian policymakers have not yet accepted the reality that they have to do more to keep the cur-

rent institutions of global governance going. A second common challenge for both China and India is the need for open global access to natural resources. Both countries have been roaming actively around the world in search of critical natural resources such as oil and gas, iron and coal, bauxite and aluminum. A report by Rice University’s Baker Institute has found that “Chinese oil consumption has close to doubled over the last decade and now represents over 10 percent of the global world demand.” The same story is true for India. Consumption of coal in India is increasing at a rate of 9 to 10 percent a year, while India’s oil imports are expected to more than triple from 2005 levels by 2020. In some cases, zero-sum competition is unavoidable, but both share a common interest in ensuring that the rules encourage open and continuing access to key resources. Such collaboration is growing, notably between Indians and Chinese in Africa. In January 2006, Beijing and New Delhi promised to exchange information when bidding for oil resources abroad. “Unbridled rivalry between Indian and Chinese companies is only to the advantage of the seller,” China’s official Xinhua News Agency quoted the Indian Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Mani Shankar Aiyar, as saying. There are other geopolitical challenges in which there are incentives for the two countries to discover shared solutions. Maintaining rising nutrition levels requires both China and India to import more food. Food, however, is a politically sensitive commodity. When food prices rise, politicians, especially in developing countries, panic and immediately begin to ban exports. Such behavior is immensely destructive in the long run, driving up global food prices and denying domestic farmers a higher profit, creating a disincentive to grow more food. Despite this obvious common interest in developing a fair and equitable regime in food supplies, neither China nor India has even begun a dialog in this area. Both sides also share a common interest in developing a common global assessment of the relatively predictable expected demand in the coming decades and the relatively unpredictable supply of food. A third common challenge is secure sea-lanes. In the past two decades, the enforcer of the last resort in keeping vital sea-lanes open has been the U.S. Navy. Even though it has been carrying out its


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If the forecasts of the consequences of global warming prove to be accurate, both China and India will emerge as big losers

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global operations in response to a vital American national interest, the U.S. Navy has also been delivering a global public good that both China and India have benefited from. But with enormous and unending budget deficits, the U.S. will have difficulty justifying its levels of military expenditures. Indeed, with the diminution of interstate wars, why maintain a thirteen-carrier Navy? Logically, there will be a significant shrinking, in relative terms, of the Navy in the coming decades. Both China and India will be affected by this shrinkage. Hence, both should be maintaining a dialog on keeping sea-lanes secure. In the maritime area, China and India also have a common interest in developing a viable long-term global regime for preserving fish stocks. There seems to be a growing global consensus that humanity’s harvesting of fish stocks has become unviable. Indeed, “Newsweek” noted in 2012, “The oceans have changed more in the last 30 years than ever before. In most places, the seas have lost upwards of 75 percent of their megafauna […] By the end of the 20th century, almost nowhere shallower than 3,000 feet remained untouched by commercial fishing.” Moreover, a 2009 World Bank report, “The Sunken Billions,” calculates that the major fish stocks of the world would produce 40 percent more if they were fished less. Since China and India will produce the world’s largest new middle classes in the near future, they will suffer the most deprivation if future fish stocks diminish. The current generations of middle classes are benefitting at the expense of future generations of Chinese and Indian middle classes. What are China and India doing to protect this common future interest? A fourth, and most obvious, common challenge that China and India face is global warming. If the forecasts of the consequences of global warming prove to be accurate, both China and India will emerge as big losers. The Stern Review, a report commissioned by the British government on the economics of climate change, projects that melting glaciers will eventually threaten one-sixth of the world’s popula-

tions, most of whom reside in India and China. Yet, while they share a common long-term interest in preventing global warming, they also share a common short-term interest in not paying too heavy an economic price for reducing current GHG emissions. Both share a vital common interest in apportioning a larger share of the economic burden on the richer developed countries that have been emitting greenhouse gases for centuries without paying an economic price. Finally, a fifth common interest is the geography of neighbors: China and India will want to preserve stability on their common borders. To cite two obvious examples, if both Afghanistan and Pakistan fall apart and become havens for terrorist groups, both China and India will suffer, as both have disgruntled domestic Islamic groups willing to collaborate with external terrorist groups. Indeed, if Pakistan collapses and its nuclear weapons are not secured, the consequences could be disastrous for the region. Despite this clear common challenge, the dialog between China and India is furthest apart on the issue of Pakistan. China perceives Pakistan as a reliable old-time ally that helped China consistently and which it will therefore not even contemplate abandoning. By contrast, India views Pakistan as the biggest thorn in its side. Even though New Delhi has overcome its obsession with Pakistan as its natural rival and competitor, it still believes that the Pakistan regimes have had a consistent long-term policy of undermining India’s political order, partly justified by frequent Pakistan-funded and supported terrorist attacks in India. The common challenges and shared interests of China and India underscore that the relationship between the two countries will shift back and forth between competition and collaboration. Cooperation between the two giants is not only in the national self-interest of China and India, but in the longterm interest of the rest of the world. Now, as the West slowly recedes from the global stage, it is time for the future superpowers to begin taking more responsibility for the welfare of our world.

Chinese and Indian policymakers have not yet accepted the reality that they have to do more to keep the current institutions of global governance going

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China: it is time to reform. Policies

interview with Francesco Sisci by Cecilia Toso The election of the new President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jimping, opens a season of political reforms that will affect their economic reforms. An inevitable and controlled transformation of Chinese global power.

In his closing speech of the eighteenth congress of the Communist Party, the future President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jimping, said that if China needs to know more about the world, the world needs to know more about China. Francesco Sisci, journalist and sinologist, has confirmed this to Oxygen: “The Chinese are much more informed on matters abroad than foreigners are on China. Very few in the West know what China is now.” In fact, while the whole world watched the fate of the U.S. elections, few have perceived that China – with the end of the congress and the appointment of Xi Jimping as President and Li Keqiang as Premier – was simultaneously experiencing a very significant step because it is one that is different from all the previous changes. “The last 30 years have brought about economic reform, while the next 30 years will be about political reform,” continues Sisci. “Xi Jimping confirmed this and, with a highly unofficial signal, on January 1st, the Chinese central television announced that China will have to implement political reforms that can lead the political system to be like that of other countries, certainly over time and with gradual steps and great prudence.” There

will thus be a slow transition to democracy: “The strategy is clear, the tactics less so. But that is how you win all the wars and that is what makes China the country that it is. Instead, policies are failing in those nations which live on tactics but are unaware of the strategies to be applied.” It is hard to say for sure when the effect of these reforms will begin to be felt: “The impact and scope of the economic reforms were initially minimal. Launched in ‘78, their effects began to be felt only in the early Nineties. And this is likely to happen with the political reforms, whose impact will be felt only in a few years.” But some changes are already visible: “In the last 10 years, we have witnessed a gradual freedom of information on the Internet and this has been granted by the government precisely to announce a future of freedom in the most absolute sense.” It is more risky, however, to make predictions about what will change in terms of governance and foreign and domestic policy. For now, “we only know that there will be a major reorganization of the government which, for example, will dramatically reduce the number of ministries, from the current 40-44 to around 23-27.”

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Civil society guides democracy in Latin America by Leonardo Morlino

Latin America, with its contradictions and difficult political and economic conditions, is aiming for democracy. The different situations of Latin American countries do not create an equal number of democracies, but just good or bad democracies, so it is important to learn how to best evaluate and measure them.

In recent decades, Latin America has embarked on a difficult road but, nevertheless, it is resolutely aiming for democracy. What conclusions can be drawn today? To answer this question, first of all, it is necessary to specify how a democracy is analyzed to detect its quality and, then, to see how democratic governance has actually been carried out in this area of the world. This is what we will do, also asking ourselves if the “populist siren,� which has had such a large say in the past, is still present. Without dwelling on the debate among scholars, let us remind ourselves that a democracy of quality should be a stable institutional framework through which properly functioning institutions and mechanisms achieve freedom and equality for its citizens. Therefore, a quality democracy is, first, a largely legitimate and stable system, where citizens are fully satisfied (quality with respect to the result). Second, the individuals, associations, and communities that are part of it enjoy freedom and equality at a level that is somewhat higher than the minimum levels of freedom and equality (quality with respect to content). Third, due to their inherent characteristics,

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the citizens of a good democracy must be able to monitor and evaluate whether and how these two values are achieved through full compliance with the regulations in force (the so-called rule of law), and their efficient implementation, the effectiveness in decision-making, with the political responsibility for the choices made by those elected to office in relation to the demands expressed by civil society (quality with respect to procedure). Based on these premises, a democracy has at least eight dimensions of quality that must be analyzed and assessed. The first five are procedural, in that they relate mainly to the rules and only indirectly to the content. They are: the rule of law, or respect for the law; two dimensions concerning accountability or electoral responsibility and inter-institutional responsibility; participation; and competition. The other two are substantive: full respect of the rights that can be extended to achieve the different freedoms and the progressive development of greater social and economic equality. The last dimension to analyze relates to the result and regards responsiveness, i.e., that the responsiveness of governments to the questions and needs of the citizens meets their satisfaction.


a democracy of quality should be a stable institutional framework through which properly functioning institutions and mechanisms achieve freedom and equality for its citizens

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Latin America no longer has need of the likes of Chávez, Morales, Uribe, another Simón Bolívar figure or similar “saviors of the country.” The existence of an active civil society is a much safer route in terms of democratic quality

Uruguay Costa Rica Chile Argentina Brazil Bolivia Ecuador Mexico Colombia Paraguay Peru Venezuela Nicaragua El Salvador Guatemala

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

3,84 3,78 3,85 2,90 2,83 2,49 2,31 2,04 2,19 2,42 2,12 1,96 1,97 2,09 1,88

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

4,62 4,65 4,62 4,30 4,23 3,82 3,86 4,08 2,69 3,53 3,85 3,49 3,41 3,70 3,57

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

3,40 3,84 3,66 3,54 3,90 2,76 3,20 3,28 3,42 2,95 2,35 2,50 2,68 2,64 2,51

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

3,53 3,29 3,48 3,40 3,43 3,38 2,67 2,82 3,23 2,83 2,78 2,75 2,96 2,11 2,34

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

4,50 4,00 4,00 3,83 4,33 3,75 3,50 2,50 2,81 2,75 3,67 2,50 3,17 2,50 3,17

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

4,50 4,50 3,25 4,00 3,88 3,75 3,10 2,75 3,30 2,25 2,75 2,88 2,50 2,88 2,63

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

4,33 4,25 4,00 3,83 3,50 3,00 2,83 3,00 2,90 3,13 2,58 2,25 2,08 2,17 2,08

Totale

E

L

Res

PC

I-I.Acc. PP

EAcc.

RL

Country

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

3,83 3,47 3,30 3,05 2,50 1,67 2,17 2,33 2,28 2,55 2,25 3,00 2,00 2,17 1,42

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

4,07 3,97 3,77 3,61 3,58 3,08 2,96 2,85 2,85 2,80 2,79 2,67 2,60 2,53 2,45

Legend: RL = rule of law, Eacc. = electoral accountability, I-IAcc. =inter-institutional accountability, PP = participation, PC = competition, Res = responsiveness, L = liberty; E = social and economic equality. Source: G. Katz and L. Morlino, What Qualities of Democracy in Latin America?, Stockholm, IDEA, 2013

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civil society guides democracy in latin america

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Without going into a specific analysis of the indicators, on the basis of a scale from 0 (absence of quality) to 5 (maximum presence), in the table below, you can immediately see the state of democracy in almost all Latin American countries. As might be expected, Uruguay, Costa Rica, and Chile are the countries with the relatively highest democratic quality, but Argentina is also in a good position – thanks to the operation of electoral accountability mechanisms –, followed by Brazil, which better achieves control mechanisms among the different institutional powers (column 3). Reflecting on this data, the first question to ask is if there are two models of democracy emerging in the Latin American reality of today, one that is liberal and one that is neo-populist, characterized by high levels of participation and, at the same time, reduced control among the different constitutional powers and low political competition. The answer is no. For example, in Bolivia and Nicaragua, there is great participation and reduced control among the different powers, but the competition is high. In other words, the data shows the predominance of a single democratic model, that is consistently characterized by lower or higher levels of the different dimensions, but not by that opposition and distance among different values in the above-mentioned dimensions which characterizes the neo-populist model. One may wonder, however, whether there are lowquality democracies in which the citizen is called upon to vote, but in which his questions and needs will be ignored until the next elections; where politicians take turns promising measures and laws that they will enact once they are elected or re-elected; where citizens do not have a direct or indirect way of controlling corruption and mismanagement, and where there are no institutions that are able to control the other great powers. In fact, these democracies – or the so-called “delegated democracy,” whose mechanisms of representation and control are very weak – exist and are mainly those of Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala. In this regard, take a look at their low scores on the rule of law, freedom, and equality to get a strong indication of the democracies without qualities in this area.

Uruguay, Costa Rica, and Chile are the countries with the relatively highest democratic quality, but Argentina is also in a good position, followed by Brazil

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Continuing in our reasoning, we can focus on two qualities in which they appear worse than in others: participation and equality. In Latin America, it is well known that there have always been low political participation and high inequality. But our data emphasizes the close connection between these two dimensions, and, more precisely, that a greater participation entails greater equality. Moreover, in contexts in which violent and radicalized participation has decreased significantly, so has unconventional participation featuring demonstrations of various kinds and, thus, testifying to the vitality of civil society, which leads to a decrease in inequality. In this perspective, the new democratic Latin America no longer has need of the likes of Chávez, Morales, Uribe, another Simón Bolívar figure, or similar “saviors of the country.” The existence of an active civil society, even at the local level, is a much safer route in terms of democratic quality. These observations lead us to focus more on the issue of equality. If we ask ourselves which are the most markedly unequal countries, we immediately see that they are the ones that are not doing well also with regard to the other dimensions. First of all, this confirms the link between the different dimensions and suggests that it is simplistic to only emphasize the connection between equality and participation: a non-violent participation helps reduce inequality, but to fully achieve this result, there must also be respect for the law, which, in fact, is more limited precisely in those countries that are more unequal. Thus, only in the context of effective law, and after having allowed for a certain amount of time to go by in order to see the effects, does our analysis show that collective action which is expressed in different forms of participation is necessary to improve inequalities. A number of examples can be made to support this conclusion. But perhaps the most significant case is Bolivia, where there is strong economic and social inequality, especially with respect to the Andean people, at the same time as increased participation in different areas, with good results in the direction of decreasing disparities, including that of race. So, to conclude, in Latin America today, there are no liberal and neo-populist democracies, there are just good and bad democracies. And the only possible way to improve them, especially as regards their biggest problem of inequality and poverty, seems to be through participation that is more or less organized, but always non-violent.


The relations that Europe and the United States maintain and have to maintain with Latin America could be the solution to the crisis. Aspenia Institute and Enel have organized a conference on the possible new dynamics of the international economic scene.

What is needed is “economic, and hence political, integration, without which Europe is in danger of being crushed between the US and the growing strength of the economies in the developing countries of South America

Political dynamics, fiscal rigor, economic growth. What are the possible scenarios for the future of America and the European Union? The United States of Barack Obama’s administration, after a 2012 marked by a public debt at 109% of the GDP and a public deficit twice that of the eurozone, is showing the first signs of recovery. Focusing also on relocations in 2013, its industrial production is expected to return to the pre-recession level. In the European Union, however, the trend seems to be the opposite. “There is progress, but without any economic recovery.” And there is a problem of governance: decisions are made at the national level, whereas what is needed is “economic, and hence political, integration, without which Europe is in danger of being crushed between the United States and the growing strength of the economies in the developing countries of South America.” This reflection was made by the President of Enel, Paolo Andrea Colombo, who opened the meeting The two Americas and their possible recovery, moderated by Maurizio Caprara of the newspaper “Corriere della Sera,” on February 5th at the Aspen Institute Italia in collaboration with Enel, for the 59th issue of the magazine “Aspenia.” Those participating in the debate included Marta Dassù (Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs and director of

“Aspenia”), Ian Lesser (director of the German Marshall Fund), and Charles Kupchan (director of European Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations). Kupchan explained that “the priority for the United States now is to go back to having a strong economy.” This does not mean a more closed approach but one that is “more selective” in its relations with other countries, encouraged by an attitude toward the euro that is less “anxious’” today. What instead is worrisome is the international fate of the possible exit of the UK from the EU, suggested recently by David Cameron. But to Robin Niblett, director of Chatham House, this is a remote hypothesis. “A similar strategy would be detrimental both to the UK and to Europe.” The essential question, rather, is the crisis of growth, the need to create opportunities for work, trade, and development abroad. And in this sense, Latin America is an essential resource, as the CEO of Enel, Fulvio Conti, and the president of Techint Group, Gianfelice Rocca, have pointed out. It has demographic resources, raw materials, and energy. And very interesting areas such as Mexico and Brazil. “A huge effort of productivity is needed,” said Rocca, which means “a great problem of social sustainability.” It is an extremely vast area where “industrial policy needs to be created and Europe can play a vital role in this.”

focus

The two Americas and their possible recovery by Anna Franchin

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report

The war in Aleppo and the future of Syria by Gabriele Del Grande photographs by Alessio Genovese

After the First World War, it rebelled against the Ottoman Empire. After WWII, it gained its independence. After the war that is still raging today, however, Syria may cease to exist. While the world looks away, the country is disintegrating and threatens to drag the surrounding states along with it and fuel the jihad. There have already been 70,000 deaths, mostly civilians. And the power of the Muslim Brotherhood and radical Islamists is growing. What will happen to Syria? For Oxygen, here is an exclusive report from Aleppo.

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“May God protect us! I am neither for the regime nor the opposition. Bashar bombards us and the free army robs us. Aleppo was a gem. Today there is no electricity, gas, water, or telephone. Nothing. I have five children, my husband was killed by a bomb and I have come to beg for bread. How did we get to this point? Who has sown all this hatred in the hearts of our children? The soldiers of the regime are our children, too. Who benefits from all this blood?” The women around Amal all agree. There must two hundred of them. Many have children in their arms. They have been standing in line for three hours in front of a building of Masakin Hananu in Aleppo, to pick up a package of food. Some of them are widows of soldiers of the free army. Others, of soldiers of the regime. But in their eyes, it does not make much difference: whether from one side or the other, they are all called martyrs. Beyond the gate, a middle-aged gentleman comes forward. His name is Yusef ‘Abbud, and he has a trimmed salt-and-pepper beard. With a reassuring tone, he exchanges a few words with some of the ladies. Then he organizes the students to begin the distribution. There are black bags with oil, sugar, rice, salt, and flour. ‘Abbud is a commander of the Free Syrian Army, but today he is not wearing any camouflage. He has come as chairman of the Committee for the Distribution of Goods (Hayat Amr bil Ma’ruf), the civilian branch of the Islamic Front for the Liberation of Syria (Jabhat Tahrir Suriya al Islamiya), the new Islamist coalition of the free army, and the most important as to the number of fighters and political weight. “We have just formed,” ‘Abbud explains to me, “and we already have more than 125 battalions, of which the most important are: Liwa al Tawhid, Liwa al Fateh, Kataib al Faruq, and Liwa al Nasr. More than 30,000 combatants, practically the entire moderate Islamic movement of the free army. Our union is the first step toward the construction of a moderate Islamic state.” The funding of this new formation comes both from businessmen close to the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and from the governments of Qatar and Turkey. And the food aid that ‘Abbud is distributing to the women comes from an Islamic Turkish charitable organization. “We are working on three fronts. The first is the jihad, the war against the forces of the regime. The second is the security of the liberated areas: we have formed a revolutionary Islamic police and Islamic courts. The third is aid. People are living in extreme poverty. We are assisting thousands of displaced people in Aleppo who lost their homes in the bombings. We are cleaning up the streets from the mountains of garbage, soon we will repair the electrical grid, we are re-opening schools and replenishing hospitals with supplies and medicines.” Armed resistance, safety, and social services. Thus, the Islamists are trying to build consensus in the areas of Aleppo liberated from the regime. But first they have had to bring a little calm to the city by changing military strategy. Less urban warfare and more targeted attacks at checkpoints, convoys, military bases, and airports of the regime. Consequently, in the last three months, the main bases from which the regime bombed Aleppo have fallen. Bases from which the combatants of the free army looted arms and ammunition in large quantities. Including those that the United States

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the war in aleppo and the future of syria

| oxygen

A new front has opened amid the rubble of Aleppo. This time the fighting is not being conducted with weapons, but with aid and services. What is at stake is the consensus for the future government of Syria after Assad. The battle is between the block of moderate Islamists and the radical Islamists’ Front of Victory who, after gaining acceptance on the front, have restored order in the city

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had forbidden sending to the Syrian opposition. Tanks, rocket to be an example of coexistence between religions for the whole launchers, mortars, and anti-aircraft weapons. The regime’s Air world. It is our history. It is our civilization. And we are proud of it.” Force continues to bomb the city, but with less intensity. On the It is hard to predict, though, when it is the weapons and not the one hand, this is because the planes must take off from Homs thinking that decides. The echo of gunfire and explosions reand Hama, since the regime no longer has any airports, neither mind the people of Aleppo that the war is just beginning. The in Aleppo nor in Idlib. Secondly, because the bulk of the fighting battered minivans of the volunteer fighters of the free army keep has now moved to Damascus. going back and forth from the front. These are just ordinary guys. Thus, a new front has opened amid the rubble of Aleppo. Mostafa was a merchant; Yusef, a carpenter; and Ahmed worked However, this time the fighting is not being conducted with with computers. They bought their weapons with their own monweapons, but with aid and services. What is at stake is the coney and really believe in the revolution. You can tell by their stories. sensus for the future government of Syria after Assad. The batMany of them were at the demonstrations in the Syrian squares tle is between the block of moderate Islamists and the radical two years ago, in the spring of 2011, when there were uprisings Islamists’ Front of Victory (Jabhat al-Nusra) who, after gaining on the wave of popular movements that had led to the fall of the acceptance on the front, have restored order in the city and dictatorships in Tunisia and Egypt. For six months, the protest put an end to the looting carried out by the free army. remained non-violent, despite the brutality of the repression, In the vacuum created by the war, in fact, real gangs of thieves and despite hundreds of deaths every week: shot by the police at have infiltrated the the demonstrations or in ranks of the free army of jails under torture. Until, Aleppo. Despite being disheartened by the ima small minority, they mobility of the internahave aroused a lot of attional community and tention for their robbercourted by the petrodolies, kidnappings, and lars from the Gulf counextortion on the price tries who are Assad’s of flour for bread. Up enemies, a group of deuntil the first two courts serting officers created in the city were opened: the Syrian free army. This two Islamic courts that was in August, 2011. At apply the religious laws first they simply protectof the Sharia and which ed demonstrations from are under the control of attacks by the security the radical Islamists of forces. Then, supported Jabhat al-Nusra. by Qatar, Turkey, Saudi The Americans accuse Arabia, and the USA, they them of being close to chose a military solution, Al Qaeda. The free army starting to attack the forchas opened their doors es of the regime in the like any good ally. In countryside and in cities. KAHLIL Syria, there must be at least 4,000 Nusra extremists. The young men of the free army continue to believe “Syria must continue to be They wear traditional clothing, do not smoke, do not that this was the only choice possible. And the only an example of coexistence drink alcohol, do not listen to music, and are the best right choice. But not everyone in Syria thinks so. Espebetween religions for the in battle for the cult of martyrdom that makes them cially the activists of the anti-war movement. The war whole world. It is our almost wish for death. 15% are foreigners, religious has cut them off. The voice of the armies covers the history. It is our civilization. youth rushed to Syria from all over the world, armed voice of any procession or any strike or civil initiative. And we are proud of it.” to defend the oppressed Sunni community. The So, often from exile, they see their country dragged into others are Syrian boys, fascinated by the religious discourse a bloodbath by the regime and its allies. By now, at least 70,000 of Nusra and eager to liberate the country from the regime. people, mostly civilians, have died. And in that bloodbath they The feelings of the people toward the Nusra front are a mixture of see consensus advance for the Muslim Brotherhood and radical fear and respect. Fear, because it is radical Islam and the idea of​​ Islamists, the only ones with support from the Gulf countries, an Islamic caliphate are far from the common feelings. Respect, which are in Syria to play out a match against Iran. in that – precisely because of their religious devotion – the men of For the Syrian activists in the peace movement, the revolution the Nusra are proving not only to be the best in battle, but also the ended with the beginning of the war. Farzand is convinced of this. most honest in the city in their relations with the citizens. He is a Kurdish doctor from Aleppo in his forties, the father of However, despite the power and the consensus that the Nusra two children. A year ago, he took to the streets against the regime. front has earned in Aleppo in a few months, moderate Islamists Today, he has left Syria, leading his family to safety. Talking with do not seem to be worried. General Khalil, the Kurdish head of tears in his eyes, weighing every word, it is as if he were admitting the military council of the free army and a member of the Islamic defeat for the first time. “A year ago, we had a dream. And it was Front for the Liberation of Syria, is sure that Syria will take another not just the end of the regime. Our dream was to build the furoute. And not just because the Nusra radicals are a small minority ture of Syria. After 40 years of dictatorship and terror, the Syrian of the free army. “Syrian society is pluralistic. Minorities make up people had defeated fear, we had found our dignity and started 40% of the population. We cannot create an Islamic state. Where to dream once more. The war has killed all that. I do not want would we put the Christians, the Shiites, and the Alawites? The the fall of the Ba’ath regime if then another regime comes along, only solution is a democratic state with a large popular Islamist maybe an Islamist one. And I do not want the regime to fall if the party. It will be the voting that decides. But Syria must continue price to pay is the blood of tens of thousands of innocent people.”

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Jordan: the peaceful heart of the Middle East

Syria, Iraq, the Palestinian territories, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. And just a step away, Lebanon and Egypt. These are highly tense boundaries but, despite everything, Jordan, which has long been the mild heart of the Middle East, is divulging its recipe for peace: in ‘48 and ‘67 it welcomed the Palestinian refugees (who now make up 40% of the population), in ‘91 the Iraqis, and now the Syrians, already more than 300,000 of them. Religious tolerance is a reality here and in the center of Amman, Christian churches stand alongside mosques. But the state of Jordan is primarily looking to the future: the population is young (60% are under thirty) and has a high percentage of university access. The capital is a city with great development plans (GAM City Projects, Abdali, and the expansion of the airport) to make it become the main crossroads between East and West: projects have been designed to make it an even more cosmopolitan

city, even though it is already very modern and lively, from the cultural point of view. Two years ago, Jordan was one of the first countries to be affected by the Arab Spring, and it found an outlet by following a path of gradual reform and aperture, instead of violence and revolutions. King Abdullah II responded to the protests by dissolving the government and – in June 2012 – the parliament, and introducing a new electoral law (which, however, did not increase parliamentary power at the expense of the weight of the constraints of tribal loyalties to the crown). After the 10% increase in the price of gas and the ensuing protests in public squares last November, elections were held in January (once again preceded by demonstrations by the opposition, the Islamic Action Front, vastly growing in the country), in which citizens were able to elect their representatives in the lower house of Parliament. These progressive reforms, even if not yet

politically decisive, are the result of the vision of a sovereign who is investing in the “new Jordan” in a number of ways, and they concretely respond to the economic crisis that is being felt. The aim of King Abdullah II is the major re-launching of the two leading sectors for the country: the service sector (in this sense, the plan of development and modernization of Amman is strategic) and tourism. Precisely the tourism sector is the pride of Jordan, with its rich and protected heritage, also from the point of view of the extreme safety of tourists visiting the country. Its potential is significant: from the secular stratification of Amman (ancient Philadelphia) to the red wonders of Petra (UNESCO), from the timeless landscapes of Wadi Rum to wellbeing on the Dead Sea. And there are many more reasons to push for the Jordanian revival and keep peace in the country. (Stefano Milano)

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tweet tweet & & quotes quotes

Edited by Oxygen

“A nation that doesn’t have control over its energy resources doesn’t have control over its future.” (@BarackObama)

“The world has changed and the energy policies of the planet will have to adapt to this change.” (@ClimateNews)

“Nations must align their energy policies and their environmental and financial objectives.” (@OECD) “Social networks are an important tool for foreign policy.” (@Twiplomacy)

“Gender equality is more than just a goal. It is a prerequisite for promoting sustainable development and building good governance.” (@KofiAnnan)

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“Making governments more righteous is a continuous effort, but one that can lead to global growth that will benefit everyone.” (@David_Cameron)

“The global recovery is fragile and slow. Politicians must not think that we can let our guard down.” (@Lagarde – Christine Lagarde)


“It is impossible to create recognized global authorities, because there is no global democracy, nor is there any sense of common citizenship or trust.” (@nytdavidbrooks – David Brooks)

“Until not long ago, companies were leading the markets and governments drove the policy. Today, politics and economics converge.” (Hillary Clinton)

“Our work in promoting human rights and helping people aims at a broader objective: to strengthen the ability of citizens to participate in decisions that affect them.” (Ban Ki-moon)

“The Generation Y kids are more connected and more determined to make the government work than the previous generations were.” (@JeffDSachs – Jeffrey Sachs)

“Global governance means carrying out, without a sovereign authority, relationships that transcend national boundaries. Global governance means doing at the international level what individual governments do at home.” (Lawrence Finkelstein – Northern Illinois University)

“Geopolitics is in full swing. Countries are unraveling relationships that they previously had.” (@ianbremmer)

Trend of Twitter Topics All time: Global governance: 37.429 tweets Governance + energy: 2.673 tweets Governance + EU: 7.406 tweets Governance + Obama: 4.503 tweets

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Beyond the GDP: a new measurement of well-being by Donato Speroni

For all countries to reach the same level of progress, it is necessary to find a common understanding of development and therefore, common goals. While the UN sets out the goals to be achieved over the next 15 years, the world searches for new indicators that establish what the well-being of a nation is.

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There is now general agreement that it is necessary to establish new national and international policy objectives that go beyond the production of wealth

By 2014, the planet will have new global goals, approved by almost all countries, with the aim of guiding the policies of states and international governance. And this is one of the main commitments of the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, confirmed at the Rio+20 summit in June 2012. A utopian bet? In order to answer, we need to analyze the outcome of the previous objectives, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), approved by the United Nations in 2000 and to be achieved by 2015. 2015: We can end poverty, proclaims the heading of the website dedicated to the UN Millennium Development Goals, and already the slogan tells us that the goal has not been reached. There were eight objectives, from the cancellation of extreme poverty and hunger, to gender equality and empowerment of women, from primary education for all children to the fight against AIDS, malaria, and other diseases that especially ravage the most backward countries. Each objective was made up of a series of indicators, more than 60 in all, whose constant verification would clarify if the world was on the right track with respect to the stated goals. For example, the objectives of the fight against extreme poverty and hunger included nine indicators: from the proportion of the world’s population living on a maximum of one dollar a day to the incidence of underweight children under five years of age. The Millennium Development Goals have not been fully achieved, but they have given a strong boost to the quality of the overall statistics: today, it is easier to monitor health in the world, even if the resulting diagnosis is not comforting. However, it should be noted that this picture is not entirely negative, mainly due to the tremendous progress in Asia, whereas Africa, especially sub-Saharan Africa, has remained far behind. The main flaw of the MDGs, however, was that they had been imposed from above, approved in the wake of the hopes for the beginning of the new millennium, but they hardly ever became a conscious goal of national governments. In politics, numbers that do not become tools of analysis, mobilization, and consensus end up having little meaning, and this is the error that Ban Ki-moon wants to avoid with the new targets for the years beyond 2015. Preferably, they would be established through an extensive process of discussion and sharing, and at the same time, take into account the changes in sensitivity gained over the years, especially related to climate change. In fact, the new objectives will be called Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Having found the name and traced the path, we must admit that filling the SDGs with content is not at all easy. As the name suggests, the new global goals will give more importance to sustainability, and therefore to the environment. The Doha Conference which ended in December 2012, however, confirmed the great difficulty in achieving an agreement between countries on objectives which may serve to contain climate change. It will not be easy to add shared parameters concerning emissions of carbon dioxide or other climate-changing factors. Both the old MDGs and the new SDGs do not take into account the dynamics of the gross domestic product of many countries. The major objectives of the UN are, in fact, part of a process that has gained strength in recent years, which tends to provide policymakers with new tools for assessing the progress of those societies that are called upon to lead. The economic crisis has increased awareness that the measurement of the GDP is no longer sufficient, that parameters are needed to detect the distribution of wealth among families, the actual well-being of citizens or even their happiness, and to assess whether this prosperity is sustainable over time or whether it comes at the expense of future generations. The best-known work in this field is the report developed in

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2009 by the Stiglitz Commission, commissioned by the French President at the time, Nicolas Sarkozy, and led by Nobel laureates Joseph Stiglitz and Amartya Sen, and the French economist, Jean Paul Fitoussi. Equally important is the process initiated by the OECD through the Measuring Progress initiative, promoted by Enrico Giovannini, the current president of Istat, when he was chief statistician in the Paris organization. The last Global Forum on this subject was held in New Delhi in October and “photographed” a situation where many countries are developing measures of well-being. There is no longer only the legendary Bhutan with its index of gross domestic happiness: from China to Thailand, from Canada to Britain, work is being done to define new parameters that could also become the objectives of different political action. Including Italy, which in 2013 will present the parameters of equitable and sustainable well-being (BES), developed by Istat and CNEL. There is also an OECD website, wikiprogress.org, which collects all the work in progress on this issue; the OECD also proposes an indicator, the Better Life Index, which compares the well-being in the major countries of the world according to subjective parameters. The user can change the weight given to each component, because the quality of life obviously depends on different cultural and individual propensities: for example, there are those who attach more importance to social relations and those who favor trust in the institutions. Originally, it was hoped that the new indicators of progress could replace the GDP. In these years of intense work, especially after the release of the results of the Stiglitz Commission, we have realized that the GDP should not be deleted but complemented by other indicators. First of all, it is difficult to construct an indicator that has a value of global comparability similar to the current “national accounts” of which the GDP is a part, and whose methodology is elaborated with shared international standards. It is even more difficult to gather the set of all the factors that contribute to well-being into a single index. The only way to reach a parameter of universal well-being would be to focus on the measure of happiness, a goal common to all mankind. The Gallup poll already does so, periodically asking a sample of people from over 160 countries: “On a scale of zero to ten, how satisfied are you with your life?” According to the economist Richard Layard, who has inspired many studies on happiness at the London School of Economics, only an indication of this kind could have enough political and media strength to be a substitute for the GDP within a generation. But there are many problems, because the subjective responses vary from one country to another (for example, Asians rarely give a vote of more than seven, the AngloSaxons use the entire scale) and they may also be influenced by situational factors, such as the day on which they respond, or if the weather is good or it is raining. Furthermore, some studies in the United States have shown that when the questions about their well-being follow questions on the political situation, the happiness index tends to decrease. In short, the subjective perception of happiness is not very reliable. In conclusion, there is now general agreement that it is necessary to establish new national and international policy objectives that go beyond the production of wealth. For now, however, it is best to measure these objectives with a “dashboard,” a set of several welfare indicators to be monitored, rather than dream of a “new GDP” that marks progress in the twenty-first century just as the gross domestic product marked that of the twentieth century. Moreover, the health of the human body itself is assessed with hundreds of analyses, without there being any presumption of measuring it with a single super-index.


GROSS DOMESTIC HAPPINESS Human happiness is very subjective and therefore, difficult to follow in a way that is universal. But learning to measure it could facilitate the task and even help in preferring its achievement to that of increasing the GDP. With this in mind, since 1972 the Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan has asked its population to orient their policies toward the promotion of Gross National Happiness (GNH), to make the people grow together with their country. A special commission measures the GNH through nine aspects: psychological well-being, use of time, community life, culture, health, education, biodiversity, quality of life, and government operations. And Bhutan’s latest results are very significant: 52% of the people said they were happy, 45% very happy and only 3% is not very happy. Happiness that cultural differences do not affect: “Someone asked us how these values act ​with respect to cultural and religious diversity. But we are talking about universal values ​​ that everyone shares,” said Prime Minister Jigmi Y. Thinley at the Science Festival in Rome.

In politics, numbers that do not become tools of analysis, mobilization, and consensus end up having little meaning, and this is the error that Ban Ki-moon wants to avoid with the new targets


Id

in-depth

An emerging country to head the WTO by Maurizio Molinari

This year, the World Trade Organization (WTO) will become the first major international economic institution to be led by a representative of an emerging economy, but this watershed event is marked by a no holds barred challenge between the two countries with the most qualified candidates: Indonesia and Brazil.

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Pascal Lamy, the French director of the WTO, will end his term at the end of year and by August, the 157 member countries will have to have reached an agreement on the name of his successor. Seeing as how the IMF is led by France’s Christine Lagarde and the World Bank is headed by the American Jim Yong Kim, emerging economies are claiming the position with a determination shown by nine candidates formally in the field. Indonesia was the first to make a move, focusing on Mari Pangestu, Minister of Tourism and of the creative economy, a strong advocate of the need to tear down trade barriers between the emerging nations in order to strengthen their role in driving the planet. The candidacy of Pangestu is solid because Indonesia is one of the emerging nations that has shown to be the most prosperous in the last 18 months, it is the most populous Muslim democracy in the world, and it can count on two allies of the first magnitude: the United States, which considers it to be a strategic ally, and China, to which Pangestu is linked by belonging to a Chinese ethnic minority and which regards her as a kind of emanation of its influence in the Far East. If you add to this that U.S. President Barack Obama is personally linked to Indonesia, having lived in Jakarta as a boy, and Pangestu represents the promotion of free trade in the Pacific (which is also dear to Japan, India, and South Korea), it is not hard to imagine why she is the candidate in pole position. But since we are seeing the first real challenge among the new leaders of the global economy, by definition the game is open. Hence, the focus on the major rival of Pangestu, Roberto Carvalho de Azevedo, Permanent Representative of Brazil to the WTO, whose strength lies not only in the numbers of the greatest Latin American economy, but also in the fact that he can count on the support of Rus-

sia’s Vladimir Putin. The recent trip to Brasilia by Dmitri Medvedev, Prime Minister of Russia, has served to cement an unprecedented axis: not only has the Kremlin delivered anti-aircraft missiles to President Dilma Rousseff to protect the next Olympic Games and is interested in competing with Beijing in the procurement of raw materials, but it also supports his candidacy for the leadership of the WTO, of which the Russian Federation recently became a full member and wants to prove that it takes the membership very seriously. Although it is true that an Asian already headed the WTO before Lamy (the Thai Supachai Panitchpakdi, from 2002 to 2005), in this case, we are faced with the scenario of an internal challenge of the BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – concerning the head of the WTO, with Beijing not against Pangestu and Moscow aligned strongly in favor of Carvalho de Azevedo. This is enough to turn the race for the leadership of the WTO into a barometer of the new planetary equilibrium. But there is more, because there are seven other players among the contenders, at least on paper. Africa is proposing Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen, former Trade Minister of Ghana under Kofi Annan, and Kenyan-born Amona Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General of the UN; while among the Latin American candidates, Mexico is playing the card of Herminio Blanco, former Minister of Commerce and Industry; and Costa Rica, their homologous Anabel Gonzalez. The other candidates from Asia are the trade minister of South Korea, Taeho Bark, and his colleague from New Zealand, Tim Groser. This is a race in which having a candidate means being able to play a role in the new ad hoc economic balance of the planet. Mexico, for example, plays the role of unifier of the Latin Americans, declaring its readiness to support the Brazilian can-

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“The global economy,” Nobel Prize winner Robert Mundell explains, “is a balance of blocks” and therefore the strongest is the one who manages to unify the greatest number

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didate, simply in order to play the role of kingmaker, just as Seoul, which already has UN Secretary-General Ban Kimoon, knows it cannot prevail but has a different type of goal: to show it is able to have worthy candidates for every major international appointment. As WTO spokesman Keith Rockwell admits, “There have never been so many candidates for the leadership of our organization,” and if Pangestu, 57, plays the role of the favorite, it is because of the sum of her economic experience gained over many seasons: during Indonesia’s opening to trade in the ‘80s; in the difficult phase of overcoming the financial crises of the ‘90s and the debut in the global balances as a result of the financial crisis that hit the United States in 2008, leading to the success of the G20 as the most important forum on the issues of the world economy, despite the G8. The formal decision on Lamy’s successor will be adopted at the summit in Bali in December, but the agreement must be reached this summer, and the decision in February of the U.S. and the European Union to launch negotiations for the “Transatlantic Partnership” of trade and investment appears set to give the Euro-Atlantic block a driving role in favor of the agenda of the new director, or that is to say, the acceleration toward the liberalization of trade. The problem to solve is the stalling of the negotiations initiated in Doha in 2001, which then failed in Brazil in 2008. The various vetoes that prevent the unblocking of these negotiations, especially on difficult terrain such as agriculture, explain why the United States has chosen to take the initiative: offering a free trade “partnership” first to the partners in the Pacific and then to those of the Atlantic, President Obama aims to create a de facto alternative to the WTO, forcing emerging economies to react so as not to remain isolated. If the WTP countries cannot agree within the Doha framework, Obama is creating a network of free trade agreements from the bottom up which is oriented in the same direction. “The global economy, on the other hand,” as Nobel Prize winner Robert Mundell, a professor at Columbia University, explains, “is a balance of blocks” and therefore the strongest is the one who manages to unify the greatest number. The positions of Pangestu in favor of the liberalization of trade between emerging economies seem to meet the vision of Obama, supported by the leaders of

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the European Union and Japan, whereas so far, Brazil has paid more attention to defending the markets of those countries which want to be strengthened first and only later to begin to cut down the rates. Not surprisingly, within the IMF, Brazil was the most aggressive of the BRICS countries – along with India – against the eurozone, during the financial crisis of 2011-2012. Among the analysts who follow the multilateral negotiations on the replacement of Lamy – also passed through the work of the Forum in Davos – curiosity has been directed particularly at the possible agreement between Washington and Beijing on the Indonesian candidate because, if it were to actually happen, it would permit a convergence to be found between the two great economic powers, protagonists of fierce fighting on rates and competition exactly in the sense of the WTO. In Beijing, the new president Xi Jingping took office this past autumn and there are those who are betting that the terrain on which to build a new relationship with the United States of the Obama administration is to be found precisely within the WTO, also in order to balance the tensions that arise from mutual polemics against hacker intrusions. But the situation is very fluid for the simple reason that the trade fibrillation between Washington and Beijing is such that it could trigger sudden accelerations at any time. Such as what occurred in February, when the U.S. decided to restrict the export of liquefied LNG to the People’s Republic of China. The other situation concerns the unknown giant, New Delhi, protagonist in the last weeks of a clash with the United States within the WTO on the development of solar panels, and which, so far, is sitting on the fence with regard to the challenge of the succession of Pascal Lamy.

The formal decision on Lamy’s successor will be adopted at the summit in Bali in December, but the agreement must be reached this summer


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Occupy... What? by Tom Kington

The Indignados in Spain, the Occupy movements in the United States and the United Kingdom, and the Yo Soy 132 group in Mexico. Thousands of people camped in Madrid, London, and on Wall Street in 2011 – when the international financial system seemed close to collapse – was this only a short, noisy protest carried out by students who were tweeting on their iPhones? Or was it something deeper, which has left a mark on democratic government?

In October 2011, Italy made a small contribution to the history of the Indignados movement when about 30 tents were pitched outside the Basilica of Santa Croce in Jerusalem by protesters and a massive banner featuring a ferocious dragon was set up in front of curious commuters. The dragon was a joking reference to Mario Draghi and a depiction of the struggle with a banking system accused of bringing the global economy to its knees. But the campers were less convinced about where they stood. A group was sitting on the gravel in a circle debating the essentials of their new existence, from who was doing the cooking to where to put the rubbish. And when I approached them for an interview about what they were protesting about, I was told that no one was talking to journalists. “We will only speak with one voice,” someone said. “There are no leaders and no spokesmen, come back tomorrow when we will have agreed on our manifesto. You can read it then.”

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Understanding exactly what the Indignados in Spain, the Occupy movements in the U.S. and the UK, and the Yo Soy 132 group in Mexico stand for, and whether they have anything in common, has been a challenge from the start, and deciding how they have influenced mainstream politics is even harder. Were the thousands of people who camped out in Madrid, London, and on Wall St. – as the international finance system appeared close to breaking down in 2011 – just a brief, noisy protest held by students twittering on their new iPhones? Or something deeper, which has left a mark on democratic government? The wave of protest got underway in Spain, where the property bubble had burst more spectacularly than anywhere else in Europe, and, as youth unemployment reached 42 percent – an EU record –, thousands turned out to protest in 58 cities on May 15, 2011. Protesting against their politicians’ handling


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The Occupy uprising did bring the issue of economic inequality to the forefront of the American political discourse and debate in a way that left-wing scholars and organized labor had been unable to do

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of the economy, against the role played by the banks in creating the bubble, and defending social spending against cuts, up to eight million Spaniards went on to take part in the months of protests and regular clashes with police, with three million taking part in nationwide protests on June 15th alone, when police fired plastic bullets in Barcelona. Bedding down in piazzas, protesters formed committees to feed themselves, figure out how to use the Internet to communicate with the world, and find legal assistance in case they got thrown in jail On July 24th, thousands of protesters marching from all around the country arrived in Madrid to demonstrate under the banner “It’s not a crisis, it’s the system.” Two years later, the protests have died down, but the movement is still alive, as a correspondent for Spain’s “El Periodico”, Rossend Domènech, said. “They forced the government to approve legislation stopping evictions for non-payment of mortgages,” he said. “They have also pressured banks into letting tenants stay in their homes, or allowing them to hand the houses back in order to pay off mortgages and arranging accommodation in any of the thousands of empty flats in Spain,” he added. But in the meantime, the movement’s national profile has faded. “There is no more camping in piazzas, it has become amorphous, split into different groups at the local level.” And that was a meager result for a movement that had brought millions into the streets, he said, “So many people produced a rather limited effect, and that was because a leader did not emerge, precisely because they said they did not want one. Even the people seen as mentors of the movement did not have any ideas as to how objectives could be reached,” said Domènech. The result was that the movement never entered into national politics, “partly because the Socialists did not see any advantage in it, because they were scared of being rejected by the movement, or dominated by it,” he said. In London, the tents that were erected outside St Paul’s Cathedral on October 15th, 2011, have also been packed away, but there is no doubt that protesters struck a nerve in voters from across the political spectrum. Riding a wave of opposition to the UK government’s bailing out of banks hit by the subprime crisis, the Occupy London movement demanded greater transparency in the City of London and less tax avoidance by big corporations, as well as a defense of health and social spending. By January 2012, British Prime Minister David Cameron was claiming executive pay needed to be reduced, a sign he was listening to a protest which was gaining support among conservatives. Remarkably, in October, the director of the Bank of England, Andy Haldane, admitted that the protesters were right to claim the financial sector needed radical reform and that inequality had

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helped drive the financial crisis. “The movement was characterized by great discussions which put university seminars to shame,” said Rodney Barker, Emeritus Professor of Government at the London School of Economics. “It recalled the teach-ins of the 1960s, and mixed old fashioned debate with new communications technology,” he said. Barker claimed Occupy London had “shifted the center of gravity” in the discussion of capitalism in the UK, introducing a moral element. It was no coincidence that the protesters found a home outside London’s most famous church. “They said the creation of profit was not an end in itself, that public policy had a moral dimension, and this rang bells with old-fashioned conservatives.” The recent outcry in the UK over tax avoidance schemes used by Starbucks and Amazon were the consequence, he said. “When corporations say they have broken no laws, the response is ‘That’s not the point.’ These companies have been told they cannot have the benefits from the state unless they contribute and that is a conservative argument usually aimed at people accused of stealing welfare benefits.”

Occupy London took its lead from the Occupy Wall Street movement, which took possession of Zuccotti Park on September 17th, 2011. Using the slogan “We are the 99 percent” to highlight the income gap between America’s wealthiest one percent and the rest of the country, the movement vowed to take on the U.S. banks and financial services companies which they said controlled the White House. Novel forms of democratic debate were developed in the square, including a system known as “stacking” to allocate places in a queue of speakers in group discussions that had no leaders. Without permits to use megaphones, the protesters invented a system called “the human microphone,” where audience members would repeat, in unison, what the speaker had said. Social media played a crucial role, just as it did the following year in Mexico, where the Yo Soy 132 student movement, born on YouTube,

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challenged the power and the alleged bias of Mexico’s TV networks. But as in Spain, the U.S. movement discovered that, while having no leader and no platform of proposals meant ideas flowed more easily, there was no one to sell those ideas to the wider public. “The Occupy uprising did bring the issue of economic inequality to the forefront of the American political discourse and debate in a way that left-wing scholars and organized labor had been unable to do – despite decades of trying,” said Georgetown University professor Michael Kazin. “It was one of the elements which persuaded Obama to adopt a more economic populist message in 2012. But it never quite got consolidated into a movement,” he said. Moreover, many of the activists involved have since gone on to local campaigns, halting evictions, campaigning against low wages, and helping victims of Hurricane Sandy get funding, he said. “But as has happened with earlier uprisings of the U.S. left, the Occupy movement may have helped change minds but, at least so far, it has not managed to build a durable movement.” That was not inevitable, Kazin said, pointing to the anti-Vietnam, feminist, and Black Power movements, which also lacked a central organization. Unlike Occupy Wall Street, “they were able to formulate strategies that went beyond sitins and the demonstrations which those sit-ins spawned. And more importantly, they could offer reasonably clear solutions to the problems they were protesting,” he said. Back in Italy, one protagonist of the Italian movement, Gianfranco Mascia, said he was not optimistic that the Occupy-Indignados momentum would keep going, but claimed that was not the point. “It’s the networks you create that are important – that is what counts.” When I returned to the Basilica of Santa Croce in Jerusalem a day after my first visit in 2011, I met Giulia, 30, an architecture student from Venice who said taking part in the protest had stimulated her interest in saving her fragile hometown. “I am curious to know more about the events going on in Venice which are similar to this,” she said. “This experience has been something which could be really useful to me in life.” Moving on, I searched for the manifesto the protesters had promised, hoping to get an idea of what they had decided to fight for. With the pouring rain, few had ventured out of their tents, but I eventually found a piece of cardboard nailed to a post with their manifesto written in felt-tip pen. But after hours of rain, the ink was blotched, rendering the writing all but illegible.

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Liquid Democracy by Marco Ciurcina

“According to many, the innovation of communication technologies that has been taking place in recent decades will enable a real change in the forms of democratic participation. For several years, various Pirate Parties have been using LiquidFeedback: a software platform that allows you to deliberate and vote online.” Here is what it is and how it works.

“So after some brilliant changes, ‘representative democracy’ was born, which means that you delegate a party that chooses a coalition that chooses a candidate you don’t know and who you delegate to represent you for five years, and if you meet him, he rightly says: ‘You do not know who I am!’” In 1996, this was how Giorgio Gaber, in his song Democracy, summed up the limits of representative democracy. The fact is that the many attempts to address the shortcomings of representative democracy, perhaps by referring to the values of “true democracy” (which, in contrast to the “representative” kind, is usually called “direct”) have not produced lasting fruit until now. According to many, the innovation of communication technologies that has been taking place in recent decades will enable a real change in the forms of democratic participation and the functioning of democratic institutions. If so, perhaps the experience of the Pirate Parties offers clues on the possible updating of the model of “representative democracy.” For several years now, various Pirate Parties have been using LiquidFeedback, a software platform that allows you to deliberate and vote online. LF was developed in response to needs that emerged in the German Pirate Party, and it has quickly spread. It is currently used by the Pirate Party of Germany, and of Austria, Italy, Switzerland, and Brazil, but also by other political organizations (and not only). In Italy, for example, it has been used by some

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local civic lists of the 5 Star Movement and in the regional elections in Sicily (to prepare the program of the candidate for president, Giancarlo Cancelleri); Umberto Ambrosoli, candidate for president of the Lombardy region, also used LiquidFeedback to collect proposals for his program. In Germany, the elected representatives of the Pirate Party use LiquidFeedback also for suggestions and directions from voters that they take into account in their demonstrations to vote. LF is a free software program: it is licensed under the terms of the MIT license, so anyone can download it freely and use, modify, and distribute it, even in amended form, having access to the source code of the program. This quality of LiquidFeedback software, which makes it inherently consistent with the values that it embodies, has certainly been a reason for its success. And also the fact that it was used by the German Pirate Party to collectively construct its electoral program for the elections in Berlin in September 2011 has undoubtedly contributed to the success of LiquidFeedback. But certainly LiquidFeedback’s success also lies in its functional characteristics, which are interesting in several respects. First of all, this software enables a deliberative process without intermediaries: anyone can make new and alternative proposals and/or suggestions concerning the proposals made by others. Then, LF enables very refined delegation arrangements. The user can delegate his/her

right to vote at different levels: it can be attributed to another user by a general proxy, or for a specific subject matter, or even for a specific proposal. The different levels of delegation may also co-exist but, in any case, the delegator retains the right to amend and/or revoke the delegation at any time and/or to vote directly. Finally, the votes cast are calculated using the “Schulze method,” a system which takes into account the order of preference expressed by the voters. Of course, the adoption of LiquidFeedback presupposes a basic choice: the transparency and traceability of the deliberative process (proposals, suggestions, and votes cast by the users); this feature cannot be eliminated without affecting the reliability of the system. If the inadequate attention given to the privacy of its users may not be considered a real drawback of LiquidFeedback, the same cannot be said, for example, of the fact that its interface of use is quite “coarse” and poorly suited to the evolved representation of the data processed by the system. The Italian Pirate Party’s experience of using LF is worth following, so far the only one that has changed its status by institutionalizing the use of LiquidFeedback: the instance of LF used by the Italian Pirate Party thus constitutes its “permanent assembly,” in which all members can participate in the deliberative process (making proposals and suggestions, and voting), thereby implementing the principle of “one equals one.”


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The new ‘68 is on the Internet by Jacopo Tondelli

“The Internet is a place that is all the rage for passions, great battles, and personal identity within groups, made up of the natural, physiological avant-garde, of neurosis, and a lot of solitude,” but in recent years, above all, of political fervor. Referendums, regional elections, and policies: the relationship between the Internet and democratic expression in Italy.

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In the beginning, in the America of 2008, it was Barack Obama. At the end, in the Italy of 2013, it fell to Beppe Grillo. It is in this five-year period, and in such diverse results as these, that the definitive dismissal of twentieth century media is circumscribed. A wave arose in the United States, in the land of Silicon Valley, and an apple with a chunk missing changed the tastes and gestures of a new global intelligentsia. From Obama onward, nothing would ever be the same: television is no longer the media which shapes and spreads the decisive opinions for winning elections, while the newspapers in print, already in 2008, often spoke of this because many were closing down and others were in danger of doing so. The wave, the force, the rhetoric, and the fashion of the Internet as a great political player took five years to fully cross the ocean and take the form – most definitely not Anglo-Saxon and instead, markedly Latin – of Beppe Grillo. Moreover, he is the only candidate who was already fully present on the Internet when his “descent into the field” was still just a long series of hypotheses, while users of the Internet in Italy were half the number of those who use it today. The result of the last election plastically shows the end of a lifecycle of the republic, but also makes it clear that you can get 25% of the votes if your sole media “friend” is the Internet, where Beppe Grillo and his team are right at home. But this is also the fault, in recent years, of those who believed that 15 lines of very prestigious ink mattered more than twenty thousand Facebook page contacts. And in short, Grillo placed himself on the Internet as if it were an assault platoon in the open field, and the results are evident. In a network which by definition has no master and expands the resources to infinity, Grillo moves with (legitimate) strength from a dominant position he has built up in recent years, without encountering any real cultural resistance. And, therefore, to understand how we got where we are today, and how the founding myth of the Obama campaign is translated into Italian as “Five Stars,” it is necessary to retrace some intermediate stages, a few decisive moments, that happened right in the middle of this five-year period and definitively changed the world and our way of getting an idea of things. Think of the elections of 2011, of the voting in Milan that marked the defeat of the center-right and the victory of Giuliano Pisapia: nothing like this had ever happened since 1994, which ushered in the Second Republic with the voting. And political participation that passed via the Internet, on that occasion, did indeed count. There were waves of viral sarcasm from supporters of the mayor, when Madame Moratti confronted Pisapia on television about a car that had never been stolen, according to which the catchphrase was “it’s all Pisapia’s fault.” A safe use (even then, without adversaries) of the mechanics of the Internet, its ability to beatify, consolidate, or devastate a reputation, responds to the classic garrison of

Buying clicks and likes on Facebook is useless because politics also means getting votes, having sincerely favorable opinions, ideas, and actions that are appreciated

press offices that rely on relationships, the occupation of spaces, and some shaky historical rapports that by now have reached the end of their empire. When the game is uneven, usually those who are oblivious of the Internet and already feel defeated by it are ill-advised to buy a few hundred thousand fans and followers, and that time too, of course, all of this happened. Forgetting an essential, constitutive fact of the Internet: and that is, no one can be deprived of the same right to express themselves according to their own beliefs (however formed) as the bestknown, noble, and authoritative commentator. And then, buying clicks and likes on Facebook is useless – though perhaps not to those who sell these services – because politics also means getting votes, having sincerely favorable opinions, ideas, and actions that are appreciated, and not boasting of having all this, feeling smug because of some schoolboy tricks. The proof, moreover, came a little later. A month after the regional elections – in which the creaking of an era resonated strongly, almost seeming to collapse – came the referendum: water utilities, nuclear power, legitimate impediment. Themes that were made especially for a public opinion movement that was strongly motivated ideally, or ideologically, and no doubt strengthened by the “popularity” of the Fukushima disaster that had just happened; but, after eighteen years, in which the word “referendum” has become synonymous with fiasco, it was hard to believe in the quorum. To strengthen skepticism, in addition to recent history, there was also the perception – clear and corroborated by data – of a record-breaking underexposure of the referendum by the traditional media, little room for serious debate on the significant issues, a few tussles among politicians good for all the contexts and little else. That is how things were on TV and in the newspapers, but not on the Internet. For months, very active committees had been beating the path of the contents, of the arguments, and their propaganda. The same committees coalesced around the nuclear disaster in Japan, of course, riding it, but also employing a strong word of mouth and a series of substantiated networks already in place. The fact that, in those days of fear, with regard to the referendum and everything it represented, Beppe Grillo threw himself into raising the temperature counted a lot, but that is certainly not surprising. So here we are, back again in the present time, when the great platform of the crossroads of media and people that is called the Internet is a major contributor in deciding the political balance and the state government, changing our lives, habits, attitudes, and consumption, yet it does not make us feel any closer to the state nor make it truly more efficient. Therefore, it is striking to see that the Internet taking root has not helped to contain public expenditure nor to improve the reputation of the offices of the state. After all, for the way in which it is made manifest and for the leadership that recognizes it, the Internet of Italian politics has begun to have an established face, in which the few strong subjects are offset by masses of

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the inexperienced. It is a place that is all the rage for passions, great battles, and personal identity within groups, of the truly avant-garde, outposts of neurosis, and a lot of solitude: looking for companionship in a community that is more or less political, of similar people who recognize each other through the Internet and all of its filters. A community that seeks out one another, off-line of course, perhaps around symbols representing the hearth of the third millennium (Grillo followers “meet up”) and who, via the Internet, refine (but most of all establish) the line. Thanks to the Internet, you can learn all the catchwords, watch what is happening in the crowded squares if you are not able go there yourself, read and write, complain and propose: in any case, say what you have to say.

What route the relationship between the Internet and democratic expression will take in Italy, of course, depends on many factors, and in the end, it is always how each actor will perform that is significant, be it known and important to other media, or be it at any level of the “food chain” of the information conveyed by the Internet. What is certain is that – as so often happens – we only realize that there is an issue, that a problem was brewing, when it is too big to be ignored and managed. It is uncanny to remember, twenty-one years after its publication, the political testament of Fabrizio De Andrè; on his blog, Beppe Grillo often acknowledges it as one of his intellectual reference points. In Domenica delle Salme, the Genoese singersongwriter pinpointed the agony of a republic, back then firmly planted in its infinite twentieth century, balancing between TVs, absent with regard to its failures, and with shameless greed of all kinds. And the Italians? And Italy? In response, “from Palermo to Aosta, voices swelled in a chorus of vibrant protest.” As these last words faded out, Fabrizio De Andrè would let the deafening roar explode. Twenty years have gone by, the media has changed but not the distortions in thinking and structure. The chattering has grown up, knotting anger and proposals into the same fabric that now surrounds us. Like a network. 090

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Journalists are still useful by Antonio Preziosi

Today, journalists carry out their profession in a globalized context, quickly reaching anyone in any country. So the role of those who must offer clarity, transparency, credibility, and completeness – and always faster and faster as required by the Internet – is even more delicate. Because information generates awareness and the choices in a world of constantly shifting balance. 092


Information and its government: it is not at all an easy task to find the right balance between the need for common rules and the proper maintenance of a constitutionally guaranteed right. Recent studies of law and economics have analyzed the problem of information, dividing it into “informing” – the manifestation of freedom of expression as sanctioned in Art. 21 of the Constitution – and “inquiring,” i.e., the citizen’s right to the information needed to make their own choices freely (and, thus, the basis of all the freedoms protected by our Charter). Therefore, if the first task is the governance of the journalistic profession, the second one concerns the whole set of rules ensuring that, firstly, citizens receive news that is complete, and secondly, that the flow of information is not vitiated by behavior that is not very transparent or is incorrect. The task of the journalist, in a nutshell, is to ensure all this, and to act with a great sense of responsibility and spirit of service toward the news, fully exercising what we might call the “social function” of the journalist. The information operator performs his or her profession in a global and globalized context: news – thanks to the Internet – can easily travel around the world in seconds, and be communicated in all known languages. On the one hand, this encourages journalist to “hurry,” in an understandable and even necessary logic of competition; on the other hand, it should induce him or her to make careful checks, because it could lead to the spreading of a false, or partially false, story. The Internet has certainly changed journalistic information and continues to do so. But the speed is the same and the multiplication of sources of information should not overshadow an absolutely imperative rule. It is the oldest and most traditional rule, and dates back to before the advent of the Internet: the verification of the sources. This is a simple yet essential work method for those who want to guarantee the rights we mentioned. It helps avoid a major pitfall: that of confusing the true with the plausible, which means creating misinformation. This is the real danger of a profession that is not performed in full compliance with the rules and ethics. Therefore, being “massively” informed does not necessarily mean being better informed: selecting news from the indistinct flow of facts is the task of the journalist, who thus becomes a mediator.

Information acts as a magnifying glass for seeing the current events, and generates awareness. And awareness determines the choices of citizens. In relating the story of a global crisis, like the one that is sweeping the Western world, for example, the journalist must distance himself or herself from anything that may jeopardize their reliable information

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There is, therefore, no need to regulate such a delicate matter right down to the smallest detail, because – as already mentioned – it concerns the right contained in our Constitution and, as such, is “predominant.” However, a supranational regulation simply does not exist. There are no rules governing global journalism. Moreover, just the consideration that the profession of journalism must be carried out respecting the professional ethics should suffice, and not many other rules will be needed to fill this vacatio: clear, fair, transparent, and complete information. The very essence of what it means to be a journalist can be found in these adjectives. Compliance with these professional “obligations” is, in fact, essential to ensuring the proper flow of information. Charges of transparency – as well as putting the operators on a level of competitive equality – provide the ability to independently verify the reports that circulate in public. Correctness generates reliability, and this gives authority to those who inform, which becomes a determining factor in public opinion. In the era of the digital revolution, this is the central concept of credibility, which is also reflected in the concept of the Internet reputation. In the world of information – on the Internet – credibility must be achieved every day and is credited over time only through the journalist’s services, insights, and reliable inquiries, giving a glimpse of in-depth and honest reality. This credibility should never be taken for granted: it must confronted day after day with the attention, trust, and criticism of every single citizen. The ingredients of this credibility are precisely the accuracy, transparency, and completeness of the information. Clarity also allows for the spreading of information that must reach the most people possible. In addition, there is another requirement, that of the timeliness of disclosure: only a minimal “processing” time will permit the journalistic profession to be in step with the times and never – let us always remember this – to the detriment of the certainty of the news and the verification of sources. The request to the media is for a modernity which often puts them to the test. The news and media are part of an international market by now. This requires a reflection on the role of the journalist, who has become the watchful eye on global governance and not just the watchdog of national power. In the absence of a “sovereign world order,” the meetings of the heads of state and government of the countries affected by economic growth, and the financial revolution (and its crisis) are of special importance. Both in the form of bilateral summits, and as a formal or informal multilateral consensus: all events that delineate the international community “in the making.” A living law that does not confer rules and references that are always certain. Relating these moments is a challenge for the journalist, who must be

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constantly updated and trained: we repeat – in order to inform, we have to inquire. This is a fundamental step to ensure the right safeguarded by Article 21 of the Italian Constitution. The recent economic crisis has taught us a lot in this regard. It has “forced” all information professionals to study, to understand firsthand what is happening in the world, and then be able to explain it to the users of the information. The media has shaped and informed citizens, explaining the new terms that have become standard (spread, sub-prime default...) and updating them on the progress of the crisis and the effects it has created in our daily lives, without generating alarmism or ignoring the possible scenarios, even negative ones. Information acts as a magnifying glass for seeing the current events and generates awareness. And awareness determines the choices of citizens. For example, in relating the story of a global crisis like the one that is sweeping the Western world, the journalist must distance himself or herself from anything that may jeopardize their reliable information: a superficial analysis, news that is reported but not verified, the choice to omit or emphasize certain financial indicators. All this does not help the general public in restoring the resources and tools to overcome the crisis. Of course, anyone who provides information is never a mere observer. They do not treat the news aseptically or surgically; instead, they choose, assess, and even intervene. But this can be done responsibly only if they understand. Ultimately, that is the very substance of the job of the journalist: a seeker of truth who prunes everything that is not needed, that is superfluous, or that distracts from the final objective, from all the elements that he or she collects. The journalist must seek objectivity. It is a method, a tension, a state of mind that inspires them while writing a piece, or while communicating the news. Of course, the journalist is not being asked to have no opinion, but rather, to separate it from the facts, not to trade an opinion for a fact, and to always have transparency with respect to the targeted audience of their information activities. This is truly a must for the journalist. This is what shows their sensitivity on the matter and the strong sense of responsibility that there should be in everyone who works in this context. And this is where the importance of education arises. The more the media proliferates and is specialized, the greater its necessity to be able to communicate. For this reason, we have moved from the craft learned “on the road” to the profession, to training that requires more and more education and specialization, normally through formal university and postgraduate education. If you do not want to be out of the game, communicating is obligatory and learning the rules (technical and ethical) before putting them into practice is a must for every aspiring journalist.


journalists are still useful |

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Correctness generates reliability, and this gives authority to those who inform, which becomes a determining factor in public opinion. This is the central concept of credibility 095


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future tech

Science fiction, a dystopian future by Simone Arcagni

Optimism does not seem to be contemplated in science fiction. In the plots of the series and documentaries on the Internet, the world collapses due to the absence of oil, technologies take over or have degenerative effects on society. Why our fears are no longer creating utopias, but dystopias.

Why does utopia tend to turn into dystopia? If on the one hand, science and even governments compete to propose a utopian future in which technology will be increasingly able to provide for our needs in a simple and effective way (think of the smart city idea), on the other, our society and our culture do not manage to show they are particularly happy about it, and in the stories, a utopia often turns into its opposite, a dystopia. Reading novels or the visions of futurists or watching the new sci-fi products based on analyses of technologies currently in the prototype stage, the scenarios seem apocalyptic. Electric City – the Internet series produced by Tom Hanks for Yahoo! – imagines a world without oil turned into a large provincial town controlled by the electricity companies; in H+ – the Internet series produced by Bryan Singer for Warner Bros. – a virus in a subcutaneous microchip connection has plunged the world into a new Dark Age… perhaps the maxim quoted at the beginning of the first episode of Electric City applies: “Mankind hinders perfection.” In fact, in the future envisaged by the animated series Electric City, a city that at first glance seems ideal, even idyllic, with many green and renewable energy sources, gradually reveals an aspect that is not at all reassuring. Although the sleepy “knitting club,” a circle of old women, is seemingly dedicated solely to knitting, it actually controls the city with methods that could

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be called “unorthodox.” And thus, what with the surveillance of communication and information and the killers hired to control everything, the idyllic green city shows an Orwellian aspect. Another sci-fi series, H +, also moves in this direction, and in this case, too, it was created for the Internet. An Internet series with large investments, it shows a future in which technology offers a futuristic subcutaneous implantation for connections. We are not so far from the Internet 3.0 theories, the Internet of things, and of wearable computing (think of the Google Glasses that the famous company Mountain View is developing)... but something goes wrong, and in the dystopias at the dawning of digital society (think of Blade Runner, Tron, Terminator, etc.), technology created to achieve a better world turns into an apocalyptic evil. And always remaining in the sphere of sci-fi series, although in this case not for the Internet, we should also mention the case of Black Mirror, a British television series conceived and produced by Charlie Brooker for Endemol and broadcast premiering on Channel 4. The peculiarity of Black Mirror lies in the fact that it consists of three episodes, each unlinked to the other, and their duration of 60 minutes (a mini-film). The “black mirror” is the screen of a television, a computer, a tablet or a smartphone: the three films, in fact, deal with some degenerative effects of technology on human beings and society.

Electric City × Electric City – the Internet series produced by Tom Hanks for Yahoo! - imagines a world without oil turned into a large provincial town controlled by the electricity companies.


Reading novels or the visions of futurists or watching the new sci-fi products based on analyses of technologies currently in the prototype stage, the scenarios seem apocalyptic

These apocalypses are much more technological than those of the Maya and they underline a substantial distrust, not so much of science as of human beings, amidst international conspiracies, wars of power and religion, and the apparent inability to manage the resources of the planet, as in the original Internet crossmedia documentary, Collapsus, which shows the planet after the blackout created when the energy resources run out. Collapsus is an interactive work that mixes fiction, animation, and documentary. The point seems to be the enormous power that the technologies provide and, by contrast, the evidence of humans’ inability to better manage the enormous potential that technology develops. Therefore, what is striking in these dystopian series is their nearness to us, with those fears of ours that are so very timely and mundane, such as the energy crisis, the super-power of the Internet, and the possibility of being thoroughly controlled. It is a kind of science fiction that is so very human, so close, a bit like Blade Runner was in its day. The case of another emblematic apocalyptic series on the Internet is Cybergeddon, by Antony Zuiker (executive producer of CSI), which is about terrorist attacks by technological cybercriminals and hackers, and which is sponsored by Norton Symatec, a world leader in anti-virus systems. Almost as if to say: here are all of your worst fears come true! Here is what can happen to you tomorrow... unless you have the antivirus, of course! 097


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scenarios

War and peace by Marco Valsania

“In 2030, the world will be radically transformed with respect to the world today. By 2030, no country, neither the United States, nor China, nor any other great nation will be a hegemonic power.� What are the challenges and dangers that will arise for a fragmented world? What role will the current superpowers have in the future? Resource crises, the emerging countries, planetary population growth, and urbanization: an overview of the possible scenarios and actors.

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New York. An increasingly multi-polar world, which inherits old wounds and has to deal with new challenges. A world that needs more cooperation and leadership in order for peace to “break out.” Otherwise it will risk having to live with the conflagration of a myriad of conflicts and their contagion. The crystal ball that raises the curtain on the international stage in the near future offers few certainties – fewer and fewer than fifteen or twenty years ago, or even further back. On the threshold of 2030, the regions and the root causes of conflicts – or of potential solutions in the shadow of diplomacy and peace – are inextricably linked. Think of the Middle East, which in part has inherited its past and its present, with the continued impasse in the Israeli-Palestinian crisis and the Arab spring, where the contention was about essential resources such as water. And another part is the result of the still evolving trends or new unknowns that are preparing to play a decisive role, from technological revolutions to economic crises, from the green-

house effect to population growth, up to the affirmation of China’s power in foreign and military policy, which goes well beyond its economy. The challenges that this fragmented world will have to deal with are particularly relevant to a power which, according to all the analysts, although no longer the absolute and unrivaled superpower of the post-Cold War years, will be more a country of reference than a first among equals. The United States, with its vocation and global reach, will remain at the heart of the rethinking and the effectiveness of alliances and multilateral institutions such as NATO and the United Nations. With the initiation, at least officially, of the end of open conflict and combat missions – in Iraq and Afghanistan – that have afflicted Washington in recent times, attention will also decisively shift to the vaster regions of Asia and the Middle East as potential trouble spots or laboratories for solutions. Therefore, the concern for the coming decades is now an integral part of the debate that is not at all only for the academic elite of the U.S. This is

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war and peace

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The challenges that this fragmented world will have to deal with are particularly relevant to a power which, according to all the analysts, will be more a country of reference than a first among equals: the United States

WEAPONS TO EMERGING NATIONS Last year, weapons sales to emerging nations were the highest since 2004 ($28 billion total, 60% of global sales).

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a debate that started within the intelligence apparatus, drastically reorganized in the years following the war on terrorism – in spite of the difficulties and mistakes – into a complex structure that must prove to be more capable of gathering, sharing, and processing information in response to failures that still smart. One of the products of this transformation, in theory, is an extensive yet little-known analysis by the National Intelligence Council, Alternative Worlds, devoted entirely to outlining the alternative worlds of tomorrow. Created in 1996-1997, it is not a typical dispatch of the secret services, even though it was developed under the auspices of the National Directorate which coordinates the American intelligence network. Rather, it is a document of real policy, the compendium of an open debate that is also taking place abroad, involving civilian experts from different backgrounds. The latest and fifth version, announced just recently, examines precisely the goal of 2030. And right from the very start, it clearly delineates the horizon within which the dynamics of conflicts and peace will develop: “In 2030, the world will be radically transformed with respect to the world today. By 2030, no country, neither the United States, nor China, nor any other great nation will be a hegemonic power.”

The two key concepts used to conceptualize the dynamics are the mega-trends, namely the major trends that appear to be of great impact, and the game-changers, i.e., critical events that are not necessarily predictable which can dramatically affect the reality that will take shape. A separate chapter is required for the new disruptive technologies. The interplay between regions and issues, whose solution can generate stability but whose degeneration threatens to be the driving force of local crises that threaten widespread contagion, is identifiable starting from its elements. There are three major trends that will undoubtedly become “driving forces,” starting with the emergence of multi-polarity. In addition to China, countries such as India and Brazil, as well as regional players including Colombia, Indonesia, Nige-

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ria, South Africa, and Turkey, will play greater roles in the global economy. In general, there will be an acceleration of the phenomenon of the spreading of power, thanks to the reduction of poverty, higher levels of education, and better healthcare, that will generate an expansion of the global middle class, able to be a tectonic movement at the base of this new balance. The demographic change ahead is less certain: the population will increase from the current 7.1 billion to perhaps 8.3 billion, with an aging population in developed countries and an increase in population in developing regions, accompanied by a growing migration, including the relentless march of urbanization that will bring 60% of the world’s population to live in mega-cities. The demand for resources such as food, water, and energy, following similar demographic trends, will multiply in the end. The increases will be by 35, 40, and 50%, respectively. Climate change will exacerbate the risks of scarcity, particularly in regions such as the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia. A NASA study has already noticed an intensification in the last six years of crises concerning the access to water for millions of people in the Middle East. The game-changers are the unknowns, in every respect: these include the “black swans,” which have a high potential to cause sudden shocks. First of all, the global economy is subject to crises and imbalances between different areas, a situation highlighted by the 2008 financial emergency which devastated the world economy. This framework can become a breeding ground for the explosion of tensions or opportunities for more controls. A crucial role will be played by global governance institutions, in this regard, if they are inspired by the behavior of the major powers, capable of creating an atmosphere of cooperation with emerging countries. Two regions that particularly raise the threat of instability and contagion for global security will still be the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Historically, the last two decades have seen a decline in armed conflict and a reduction of the victims. An open war between great powers is unlikely, due to the large risks that would ensue. However, regional and local conflicts may continue to appear and worsen once again. Concerning the Middle East, much will depend on Iran: an Islamic republic devoted to nuclear arsenals will keep instability high, whereas a moderate and democratic transition in the region, and the end of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which could be possible by 2030 with the birth of a Palestinian state, would advance development and peace. Tensions with minorities – ethnic, generational, or

Tensions with minorities and a lack of natural resources can also easily degenerate in areas such as sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, with risks of also involving China and India


war and peace

INDIA AND ARABIA SAUDITA They are the “best buyers” of weapons (2.8 and 2.7 billion dollars, respectively, according to data published in “The Economist”). The best suppliers are the USA and Russia, which together supply two thirds of all weapons exported to emerging nations.

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political – and a lack of natural resources can also easily degenerate in areas such as sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, with risks of also involving China and India. Countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan will have to come to terms with shocks resulting from low growth, increased costs for basic commodities, and energy shortages. The advent of new technologies may offer new offensive and destabilization capabilities, for which new agendas of cyber-security are being created even now. The United States itself, according to what was proposed by Peter Singer and Thomas Wright of the Brookings Institution think tank, must put pen to paper to draft a new protocol for the use of such hi-tech arsenals if they want to avoid the risk of uncontrolled proliferation. The technological revolutions, however, contain the promise of improved productivity, better management of international change, and the co-ordination of the protagonists. In such a climate of innovation, the growing influence of non-state actors might come into play. The “blacks swans” have names, too. In some cases, the consequences can be encouraging: from a rapid democratization of China to a reformed Iran. More often, though, they threaten frightening repercussions: pandemics, natural disasters, nuclear wars, and intensification of the greenhouse effect. Recently, the Security Council of the United Nations discussed the links between climate change and global security: for example, the hypothesis that in 2033, India will be more populated than China, but without any monsoons and rainfall, the victim of a deadly famine and drought that may sow serious conflicts. Overall, there are two large extreme scenarios in the case studies compiled by the National Intelligence Council, which result from the combination of trends and uncertainties. On the one hand, a world called Stalled Engines, marked by a paralyzing and destructive network of intergovernmental conflicts. In this future scenario, the leading powers such as the United States withdraw gradually from the global stage, thus inflicting a series of setbacks to the whole process of globalization. And an out-of-control spiraling of economic inequality that exacerbates social, political, and military tensions, seeing as there is no longer a “world policeman” to block them, as America used to be in the past. The best of all possible destinies, however, comes from a scenario called Fusion: the boost for cooperation is driven by a new and profitable axis between the United States and China that has been consolidated over the years. And a similar peaceful course has been declared by the other actors in international change. Reality will have to choose between these two extreme worlds. But, as the U.S. intelligence report on 2030 warns, the future is likely to be more complex and articulated. “Probably – warns Alternative Worlds – it will consist of elements taken from all the scenarios” which, for the time being, can only be imagined and vague.

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science at the toy store

Not Risk. I choose peace by Davide Coero Borga photographs by White

A Risk board upon which the colored army tank playing pieces have moved for years or sophisticated modern video games? With tools that have evolved over time, war games always have a common goal: “Reconstructing historical or imaginary events to explore the effects of an action without resorting to reality.”

Conquering territories. Guarding them with armies. Destroying enemy armies. Pursuing secret and complex objectives in a planetary war. Occupying 42 territories on six continents. This is not the plot of a spy movie: in Italian it is called RisiKo! With an exclamation point. Not out of enthusiasm, but for the sake of accuracy. Because that is what the Italian version of Risk, the world’s most popular board game of strategy, is called. As well-known as toy soldiers or naval battles, but more ambitious, articulate, and amazing. Risk: the game that requires the player to have a smattering of the fundamental strategies, tactics, and techniques of warfare. Because it is true that there is no one tactic that is good for all seasons and, as in life, you have to come to terms with reality, even when it differs from the final goal. But a good commander must have a definite plan in mind (and a plan B, if necessary), going straight to their goal only when it is safe to do so, and to wait patiently until the time is ripe, blatantly lie, conceal their objectives, confuse the enemy, avoid or abandon an ongoing attack to reduce the loss of resources and territories, and establish alliances with players in the field to accommodate tactics and strategies. In these cases, we are talking about coordinated attacks, passive resistance, and tacit exchange of territories. Mathematics helps us to examine the situations of conflict and look for competitive and cooperative

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solutions. The game theory defines war as a constant-sum game, since for each player who wins, there is another who loses (game theory is an attempt to mathematize human behavior in situations that involve the sharing of some kind of resource. Therefore, it is a science that is not just about war but also concerns the economy, the market, and life in general). War games, or war strategy games like Risk, are helpful in reconstructing historical or imaginary events to explore the effects of an action without resorting to reality. They are virtual reality, theoretical training. And if the childhood of the so-called “digital natives” is not so very different from that of us Jurassic children of the twentieth century, it must be admitted that there are a lot more tools. Yes, video games are a tool, because technology is like a tool (in Germany, the mobile phone is called a Handy, as if to say that it is an extension of the hand), and in this sense: a game. The board can be a powerful teaching tool. Of course, one wonders how much of the simple Risk board game remains in the modern shooter games! But we must not lose heart. Children and young people never cease to amaze us! In the game Skyrim – the latest in The Elder Scrolls saga – the players can kill dragons, plunder tombs, and fight any fantasy creature. There are, however, those who have decided to embrace a more Franciscan perspective: nineteen-

year-old Daniel Mullins has created a character that is half cat and half man, Felix, the pacifist monk who resorts to magic to placate wolves and appease enemies. Without killing a fly. A guy who is definitely serious (and leaves even skeletons and the undead in peace, so to speak). Then there are those who have reached the last level of the World of Warcraft without giving rein to creative killings, for whom accumulating points is easier (and maybe more banal). They have preferred to gather herbs, chop firewood, cook, find minerals, and explore the territories of the game. A soporific and monotonous activity for almost all of the players and one that has required considerable energy and time: five months in all. Madness? Or the collateral vision of video game fun? Killing is the easy way in the virtual platform. Guys like Daniel need a challenge, to give peace a chance. Stephen Totilo of the blog Kotaku, told the “Wall Street Journal”: “The game is an experimental laboratory where you can embrace extreme behavior, albeit edifying or reprehensible, and watch what happens.” It can turn out that some find pacifism to be a way that makes for intriguing adventure. And the “losing” scheme, in the context of the programmer, becomes a strategically more interesting challenge for the player. Shooter video games are so boring! Risk lovers prefer to be peacekeepers.


The game theory defines war as a constant-sum game, since for each player who wins, there is another who loses

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Oxygen 2007/2013 Andrio Abero Giuseppe Accorinti Nerio Alessandri Zhores Alferov Enrico Alleva Colin Anderson Martin Angioni Ignacio A. Antoñanzas Paola Antonelli Antonio Badini Roberto Bagnoli Andrea Bajani Pablo Balbontin Philip Ball Ugo Bardi Paolo Barelli Vincenzo Balzani Roberto Battiston Enrico Bellone Mikhail Belyaev Massimo Bergami Carlo Bernardini Tobias Bernhard Michael Bevan Piero Bevilacqua Ettore Bernabei Nick Bilton Andrew Blum Gilda Bojardi Aldo Bonomi Borja Prado Eulate Albino Claudio Bosio Stewart Brand Luigino Bruni Giuseppe Bruzzaniti Massimiano Bucchi Pino Buongiorno Tania Cagnotto Michele Calcaterra Davide Canavesio Paola Capatano Maurizio Caprara Carlo Carraro Federico Casalegno Stefano Caserini Valerio Castronovo Ilaria Catastini Marco Cattaneo Pier Luigi Celli Silvia Ceriani Corrado Clini Co+Life/Stine Norden & Søren Rud Elena Comelli Ashley Cooper

Paolo Costa Manlio F. Coviello George Coyne Paul Crutzen Brunello Cucinelli Partha Dasgupta Marta Dassù Mario De Caro Giulio De Leo Michele De Lucchi Ron Dembo Gennaro De Michele Andrea Di Benedetto Gianluca Diegoli Dario Di Vico Fabrizio Dragosei Peter Droege Freeman Dyson Magdalena Echeverría Daniel Egnéus John Elkington Richard Ernst Daniel Esty Monica Fabris Carlo Falciola Alessandro Farruggia Francesco Ferrari Paolo Ferri Tim Flach Danielle Fong Stephen Frink Antonio Galdo Attilio Geroni Enrico Giovannini Marcos Gonzàlez Julia Goumen Aldo Grasso David Gross Sergei Guriev Julia Guther Søren Hermansen Thomas P. Hughes Jeffrey Inaba Christian Kaiser Sergei A. Karaganov George Kell Parag Khanna Sir David King Mervyn E. King Hans Jurgen Köch Charles Landry David Lane Manuela Lehnus Johan Lehrer Giovanni Lelli

François Lenoir Jean Marc Lévy-Leblond Ignazio Licata Armin Linke Giuseppe Longo Arturo Lorenzoni L. Hunter Lovins Mindy Lubber Remo Lucchi Riccardo Luna Tommaso Maccararo Giovanni Malagò Renato Mannheimer Vittorio Marchis Carlo Marroni Peter Marsh Jeremy M. Martin Paolo Martinello Massimiliano Mascolo Mark Maslin Ian McEwan John McNeill Daniela Mecenate Lorena Medel Joel Meyerowitz Stefano Micelli Paddy Mills Giovanni Minoli Marcella Miriello Antonio Moccaldi Renata Molho Carmen Monforte Patrick Moore Luca Morena Luis Alberto Moreno Richard A. Muller Teresina Muñoz-Nájar Giorgio Napolitano Edoardo Nesi Ugo Nespolo Vanni Nisticò Nicola Nosengo Helga Nowotny Alexander Ochs Robert Oerter Alberto Oliverio Sheila Olmstead Vanessa Orco James Osborne Rajendra K. Pachauri Mario Pagliaro Francesco Paresce Claudio Pasqualetto Corrado Passera Alberto Pastore

Federica Pellegrini Ignacio J. Pérez-Arriaga Matteo Pericoli Emanuele Perugini Carlo Petrini Telmo Pievani Tommaso Pincio Michelangelo Pistoletto Viviana Poletti Stefania Prestigiacomo Giovanni Previdi Filippo Preziosi Vladimir Putin Alberto Quadrio Curzio Marco Rainò Federico Rampini Jorgen Randers Carlo Ratti Henri Revol Marco Ricotti Gianni Riotta Sergio Risaliti Roberto Rizzo Kevin Roberts Lew Robertson Kim Stanley Robinson Alexis Rosenfeld John Ross Marina Rossi Bunker Roy Jeffrey D. Sachs Paul Saffo Gerge Saliba Juan Manuel Santos Giulio Sapelli Tomàs Saraceno Saskia Sassen Antonella Scott Lucia Sgueglia Steven Shapin Clay Shirky Konstantin Simonov Uberto Siola Francesco Sisci Craig N. Smith Giuseppe Soda Antonio Sofi Giorgio Squinzi Leena Srivastava Francesco Starace Robert Stavins Bruce Sterling Stephen Tindale Viktor Terentiev Chicco Testa

Chiara Tonelli Mario Tozzi Dmitri Trenin Licia Troisi Ilaria Turba Luis Alberto Urrea Andrea Vaccari Nick Veasey Viktor Vekselberg Jules Verne Umberto Veronesi Marta Vincenzi Alessandra Viola Mathis Wackernagel Gabrielle Walker Elin Williams Changhua Wu Kandeh K. Yumkella Anna Zafesova Antonio Zanardi Landi Edoardo Zanchini Carl Zimmer

Testata registrata presso il tribunale di Torino Autorizzazione n. 76 del 16 luglio 2007 Iscrizione al Roc n. 16116


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19

Governance, plural future The economic and financial crisis and the revolution in the contemporary social model have imposed the advent of a new era that is seeing the advance of “unexpected” players, who are more and more influential in the global geopolitical balance. As the power of national governments and supranational organizations seems to weaken, new players are emerging to lead the “soft power” of relations and international developments: they are corporations, non-governmental organizations, and social media that give voice to millions of citizens. Here are the new political, economic, and social factors that will be able to impose their vision on the planet.

Oxygen is an idea by Enel, to promote the dissemination of scientific thought and dialogue


Oxygen n.19 - Governance, plural future