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Introduction from the Editors Few periods in history have seen such heightened interest in political questions as the one in which we currently reside. Public attention and scrutiny has been strong and focused upon political debates and leaders, and renewed interest has been sparked in classical ethical and modern empirical questions. Such attentiveness is reflected in this issue of Juncture – the University of Manchester’s undergraduate political journal. The journal reflects the broad range of opinions, interpretations, arguments, questions and topics that makes Manchester such an exquisite centre of political discourse. The student body as a whole can feel well-represented by the politically astute authors who submitted their work for our consideration, only a small sample of which is catalogued here. As ever, our debt to them is immeasurable, and we would like to thank everyone who submitted their work to us in 2019/20. The consistency with which the politics department produces students capable of writing such outstanding essays is a testament to their hard work behind the scenes. Dr Adrienne Roberts has been a source of advice and guidance whenever we have required it, and an effective organiser to ensure that the Journal remains focused, comprehensive and concise. Furthermore, our predecessors in this role – Olivia Flett and Anna-Maria Köhnke – were great sources of inspiration in their leadership and approach, as well as being wonderful aides in the transferring of the editorship. Finally, we would like to thank the co-founders, Matthew Perry and Emma Schicker, who, as well as giving all of us the opportunity to work on this project, had the foresight to cultivate tools, procedures and documents that still help to guide the leadership of Juncture. Ongoing disputes between the UCU and UUK have led to strikes that have threatened to disrupt academic performance, affect student marks and undermine educational goals. Nevertheless, the Juncture Team has been overwhelmed by the continued quality and quantity of submissions it has received, highlighting the tenacity of its students and the excellence of the resources available to them. As a result, we have been able to select a broad array of essays that we think excellently capture the ability of Manchester’s students and the breadth of the work that they are doing. This is ensured by our peer-review process that gives precise, in-depth analysis to every piece of work submitted. Moreover, the quality of the board members themselves allow this process to be enhanced by debate regarding the inclusion of submissions, the accuracy of the analysis and the revisions desired for publication. Each piece is read by two board members who independently reach their conclusions on the work before presenting to the board as a whole. The rest of the board, and the initial reviewers themselves, then debate the merits of the piece and reach a determination across a series of values, including writing style, accuracy, fairness in their reflection of opposing beliefs, critical analysis and originality. We then submit the pieces to a secret ballot that allows for a judgement of the work based on its analytical rigour and suitability for publication. Editing is done using a two-stage process that ensures that all of the required alterations are made, all the correct spelling, punctuation and grammar is in place and the specific Juncture-style is employed throughout. After this, it is compiled


by the editors and sent to the printers as well as uploaded online. Such democratic, balanced and thorough processes are designed to guarantee that the final product is reflective of the quality of the submissions themselves. It would not be possible without a board composed of trusted, intelligent and hard-working members – something the chief editors are keenly aware of and immensely proud to lead. In our first essay of this issue, (pp. 7-19), Fanny Reiter asks as to consider who we are and the justifications we use to support and uphold veil bans. Her paper critically evaluates some of the most prominent arguments, nuancing our understanding of the Muslim veil and its relationship to women and the West. Next, in an interesting and novel piece, Diego Cacciapuoti argues that the Euro is a political, rather than an economic, project. Through a rigorous economic analysis, he shows that the institutions, guiding theories and policy leadership of the Eurozone made an effective response to the 2008 crisis impossible (pp. 20-29). In our third essay, Rhea Kamath explores the notion of ‘sanctuary cities’ within contemporary immigration rhetoric. Through examining the most notable sanctuary city of San Francisco, Kamath invites us to question their implications, as well as the nature of citizenship and what it means to truly belong (pp. 30-37). Following on from that, Ruby Tapper questions the assumption that equality can be achieved through the recognition of our identities. Through a nuanced comparison of modern feminist movements, she asks us to imagine a reformulated notion of Identity Politics that seeks both to advance gender equality and deconstruct rigid, oppressive constructions of who we fundamentally are (pp. 38-47). Following on from that, George Crafer uses a Hobbesian understanding of the state to dispute the outsourcing of healthcare to the private sector. By examining the legacy of both the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) and the contaminated blood scandal, it is argued that the privatisation of healthcare poses an inherent risk to citizens and should, ultimately, be the responsibility of the state (pp. 48-53). In his paper, (pp. 54-59), Edward White challenges Rawls’s argument that, under a veil of ignorance preventing individuals from knowing what their position in society will be, people would choose to structure society according to the difference principle. Instead, he proposes that the Marxist maxim “from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs” would be chosen. Discussing the limitations that one encounters when holding the difference principle up to scrutiny, he makes the case that where Rawls’s principle misses the mark the Marxist alternative rises to the occasion. Jocelyn Gaitskell’s article, (pp. 60-72), tries to establish a relationship between development and ecological crises by identifying three salient themes and conspicuous causal factors. By offering discourse, capitalist and modernisation frameworks, she argues that even though development is not the sole cause of ecological crises, it plays a pivotal role in the contribution and aggravation of environmental degradation, and that without a change in ideology or economic structures in society, this relationship will pertain and prevail. Continuing with the theme of development, Bianca Getzel critiques the relationship between China’s Belt Road Initiative and Neoliberalism. Instead of constituting an alternative to Neoliberal politics, she argues that


it instead marks a continuation of the Neoliberal order. By drawing on Zizek’s concept of the sublime, she shows how the desire to escape Neoliberal politics may lead to the reproduction of Neoliberal policies (pp. 73-85). Through this work, (pp. 86-97), Tyler Hodgkinson dissects Australia’s remarkably fast paced economic development. He analytically traces the history of the country as a settler colony and unpacks how it has progressed and transitioned from past vestiges into a dawn of economic advancement. From studying the effect of the Gold Standard, to the impacts of immigration on the labour market, as well as a domestic propensity for innovation Hodgkinson contextualizes a unique developmental story allowing us to reflect not only on what is next for Australia but what can be learned from its evolution. Finally, Orla Kilroy deftly engages with a rigorous critical analysis of the relationship between development in the global south carried out by the global north and colonialism. By applying postcolonialist ideas to empirical case studies, Kilroy presents a strong case for an increased wariness of Control Development Mechanisms (pp. 98-108). We are incredibly proud of this new edition of Juncture. Reading it is a wonderful reminder of the rich, interesting and difficult discussions that students from our University are consistently engaging in. Moreover, we hope that the Journal serves as a spark for debate and discourse, because it is clear to us how valuable that is for the dissemination of brilliant ideas. If you would like to get in contact with us to provide feedback, comments or receive details about this edition, then use the contact information below. Furthermore, any existing University of Manchester undergraduates reading this should consider applying for a role on the board, or submitting their essay for consideration if they are so inclined after reading this issue. Finally, this Journal is intended to be an anthology of the interesting, diverse and original work being conducted by students from the University of Manchester, and thus we encourage educators to extract from it essays, topics, arguments and discussions that might be of use. Thank you to all those people involved. We hope that you enjoy reading. James Rogers and Edward White Chief Editors www.junctureuom.co.uk/ juncture.editor@gmail.com

The Juncture Editorial Board


Contents Facing who we think we are – Debates about banning the Muslim Veil in Europe

7-19

Fanny Reiter The Eurozone Crisis and the Euro: An Analysis of a Defective Political Project

20-29

Diego Cacciapuoti A Sanctuary or a Political Battleground: An Examination of San Francisco as a "Sanctuary City" in Modern Immigration Rhetoric

30-37

Rhea Kamath Is Hegel’s Theory of Mutual Recognition Compatible with Identity Politics?

38-47

Ruby Tapper A Hobbesian Argument for the Rejection of Private Healthcare

48-53

George Crafer Do you agree with Rawls that the difference principle would be chosen behind a veil of ignorance?

54-59

Edward White A Theoretical Exploration of the Relationship between Development and Ecological Crisis

60-72

Jocelyn Gaitskell The Belt and Road Development Machine: Producing Neoliberalism’s “Sublime”

73-86

Bianca Getzel From settler-colonial economy to one of the world’s most developed nations: Explaining Australia’s rapid development from the 19th to the 21st century and its associated implications

86-97

Tyler Hodgkinson Climate Change Colonialism: How Control Development Mechanisms (CDMs) are used to justify a colonial land grab and sustain a manifestly unsustainable global order Orla Kilroy

98-108


Editorial Team Chief Editors James Rogers Edward White Board Members Bianca Getzel – Secretary Jacob Darcy Justine Keeling Alexia Ozeel Sylvie Pope Yasmin Puran Sophia Steel


Reiter, Debates about banning the Muslim veil in Europe

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Facing who we think we are - Debates about banning the Muslim veil in Europe Fanny Reiter, 2nd Year Essay LLB (Hons) Law with Politics

Abstract: This essay examines how the ongoing debate about restricting the wearing of the Muslim veil in many Western countries can help us to gain insights into far broader issues such as the construction of European identity, attitudes towards women and the “other” as well as what are deemed to be foundational societal principles more generally. It will be argued that the discourse about the veil reveals that we might still have a long way to go to live up to our own values and work towards better approaches for dealing with today’s changing world. Facing the discrepancies between who we think we are and who we might actually be appears to be a constructive starting point.

While many Europeans share a sense that some things are going wrong in the world, opinions on where exactly the problems lie are divided.1 However, what a majority of the population in many EU-states seems to agree on is that one of the issues to be tackled is the wearing of the Muslim veil in Europe. 2 Since 2003 a wide range of legislation has been passed in various EU countries, from regional bans on headscarves for teachers in Germany in 2004 to a general ban on niqab and burqa in any public space in France in 2011, allegedly supported by up to 70 per cent of French citizens,3 and upheld by the European Court of Human Rights in 2014.4 In this essay, I will show that dealing with the controversies about the Muslim veil through the question of who we think we are can reveal that the actual problem might not lie in the veil itself, but in our attitudes as evidenced in the discourse about it. Therefore, I will take a look at three common claims made in favour of veil bans and critically examine them. I will begin by showing how arguing that “we must help veiled women” exposes paternalism and Orientalism in Western societies, before moving to discuss the way

European Commission (2018), “Standard Eurobarometer 90: Public Opinion in the European Union”, European Union. Baehr, P. and Gordon, D., (2013), “From the headscarf to the burqa: the role of social theorists in shaping laws against the veil”, Economy and Society, 42(2), p. 3. 3 Smith, A. D., (2004), France divided as headscarf ban is set to become law, The Guardian. 4 Weaver, M., (2018), Burqa bans, headscarves and veils: a timeline of legislation in the west, The Guardian. 1 2


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the statement “the veil doesn’t belong to us” points to controversial politics of nationalism, identity and integration. Finally, I will then demonstrate what framing the veil as an offence to “our society’s public order” uncovers about possible challenges to principles deemed to be foundational in dominant discourse. Drawing these points together, I will highlight how the debate about the veil underlines problems with the way “we” might have constructed our identity, leading to discrepancies between who we think we are and who we might actually be. The need to face such discrepancies and attitudes underlying current discourse is crucial in order to work out better approaches towards dealing with today’s changing world. “We must help veiled women” One of the most central arguments raised in favour of banning the veil, especially those that cover the face, has been a supposed need to help Muslim women. Describing veils as “dark, oppressive ‘prisons’”, 5 it is argued that Muslim women ought to be liberated from them in a fight for “women’s dignity and [the] equality between men and women”.6 Many prominent Western feminists such as Alice Schwarzer have spoken out in favour of legislative action,7 seeing the veil as a symbol of misogynist suppression and exploitation.8 But, as asked by Abu-Lughod, “do Muslim women really need saving?”9 As discourse analysis and field work have highlighted, the voices of Muslim women themselves have not received a lot of attention in the media. However, the meaning they seem to ascribe to veiling utterly contradicts common depictions: in fact, many Muslim women have described wearing the veil as empowering, liberating and a means of resistance.10 To better understand this, it is useful to view the veil in its historical context. While veiling was already a common practice in pre-Islamic times and often linked more to high social status and respectability than religion, 11 negative representation first arose in the colonial period. Arguing that it was a sign of “backwardness”, colonizers started “unveiling”-campaigns, forcing women to drop their veils in order to demonstrate imperialist dominance. It was then that the garment first became a political symbol, with women veiling as an act of resistance to colonial power. In the early 20th century however, influenced by colonial discourse, movements emerged in many parts of the Arab world propagating veil bans Crosby, E., (2014), “Faux Feminism: France’s Veil Ban as Orientalism”, Journal of International Women’s Studies, 15(2), p.54. Hunter-Henin, M., (2012), “Why the French don’t like the burqa: Laïcité, national identity and religious freedom”, The International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 61(3), p.624. 7 Schwarzer, A., (2016), Burka verstößt gegen Grundgesetz!. Alice Schwarzer. 8 Grace, D., (2004), The Woman in the Muslin Mask: Veiling and Identity in Postcolonial Literature, London: Pluto Press, p.2. 9 Abu-Lughod, L., (2008), “Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving? Anthropological Reflections on Cultural Relativism and Its Others”, American Anthropoligist, 104(3), pp. 783-790. 10 See, for example, Golnaraghi, G. and Dye, K., (2016), “Discourses of contradiction: A postcolonial analysis of Muslim women and the veil”, International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, 16(2), pp. 137-152. 11 Macdonald, M., (2006), “Muslim Women and the Veil. Problems of image and voice in media representations”, Feminist Media Studies, 6(1), p. 8. 5 6


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as a “key to social transformation” and, moreover, as a necessary step towards a Western modernity. 12 However, when doubts started arising as to the possibility and desirability of such a step, many started to feel increasingly unsatisfied with their government’s policies. In the 1970s, therefore, Islamist movements started gaining popularity - arguing, as propagated by feminists such as Al-Ghazali, that the “cure” to their “backwardness” was a return to authentic Islam. Thereupon, both the Arabic and Western world witnessed a “new veiling phenomenon”, which still continues today.13 The history of the veil explains why it emerged for many Muslim women as an “embodiment of their will to act, their agency”14 and as a symbol of resisting Western hegemonic power. It is important to note however, this is just one of multiple meanings assigned to the veil. Apart from religious reasons, with the veil as offering respect, dignity and spirituality, many also perceive it as a way of fighting patriarchal oppression. Not only is it seen as a means of resisting an image of women that turns them into “sexual objects”, reducing them to their outward appearance,15 the veil is also understood as demonstrating Muslim women’s “presence as students and employees in the public arena”,16 challenging misconceptions of supposed limits of their power and agency to both a Western and Muslim audience. Pushing beyond boundaries, veil-wearing women aim to show that it is possible to be both Muslim and emancipated. 17 Especially with the increased stigmatization of Islam after 9/11, this expression of their cultural identity seems to have gained particular importance. 18 The key point here is to appreciate that the meaning of the veil is fluid, complex and always dependent upon the context within which it is worn.19 Whilst history shows that “the question of the veil was only central in the debate about woman’s place in society because the West […] had made it so”,20 the veil can now be understood in a variety of positive ways, empowering the women who wear it. How then can we make sense of its negative representation in the West? Viewed through the perspective of Edward Said’s concept of “Orientalism”, one can come to understand this as a continuing manifestation of colonialist attitudes in discourse: Muslim women are represented by both Western men and

Behiery, V., (2013), “A Short History of the (Muslim) Veil”, IMRE, 16(4), pp.395-401. Ibid., pp.404-409. 14 Ibid., p.391. 15 Golnaraghi, G. and Dye, K., (2016), “Discourses of contradiction: A postcolonial analysis of Muslim women and the veil” International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, 16(2), p.143. 16 Behiery, V., (2013), “A Short History of the (Muslim) Veil”, IMRE, 16(4), p.406. 17 Crosby, E., (2014), “Faux Feminism: France’s Veil Ban as Orientalism”. Journal of International Women’s Studies, 15(2), pp. 46-60. 18 Ahmad, L., (2011), A quiet revolution: the veil’s resurgence, from the Middle East to America, New Haven: Yale University Press. 19 Franklin, M.I., (2013), “Veil Dressing and the Gender Geopolitics of ‘What Not to Wear’”, International Studies Perspectives, 14(4), pp.394-416. 20 Behiery, V. (2013), “A Short History of the (Muslim) Veil”, IMRE, 16(4), p.399. 12 13


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women as “ignorant”, “uneducated”, “powerless” and passive victims,21 who “cannot represent themselves”.22 Their voices are silenced in discourse in order to create an image of the “Orient” as an inferior “Other”, which is “backward”, “barbaric” and in need of civilizing through the West. 23 In this paternalistic stance towards the non-Western world, it becomes the “white man’s burden” to “save brown women from brown men”. 24 However, such claims have been exposed as hypocritical “faux feminism” by Crosby, who contends that whilst claiming to improve women’s situation, the opposite is often the case. While the veil bans are unlikely to change anything for the women who may be coerced into wearing the veil, 25 such bans exclude women who refuse to take off their veil from various aspects of public life and, in some instances, have led to an increase in Islamophobic attacks - exposing veiled women as apparently legitimate targets of discrimination.26 Taking this into account, it might seem like veil bans actually have something in common with coerced veiling in countries like Iran. By placing Muslim dress “outside history, frozen in time and space rather than deeply embedded in changing sociocultural and political economic power relations”,27 veil bans become just another way of policing women’s bodies in respect of the “male gaze”. 28 Muslim women are turned into an exotic object of desire to be “unveiled”,29 whilst at the same time denying their agency and visually demonstrating Western superiority. The argument that “we must help veiled women” is therefore highly problematic: it exposes colonial and patriarchal attitudes in our own societies, stigmatizes Muslims and also shows that we might not be as progressive as we think we are. “The veil doesn’t belong to us” While only a remarkably small minority of women wear full veils in Europe, 30 they have been provoking intense reactions amongst media and populations.31 Some commentators have worried that “soon enough it may be as unthinkable for a U.K. woman to go outdoors without her head scarf as it is to find a slice of real

Golnaraghi, G. and Dye, K., (2016), “Discourses of contradiction: A postcolonial analysis of Muslim women and the veil”, International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, 16(2), p.140. 22 Crosby, E., (2014), “Faux Feminism: France’s Veil Ban as Orientalism”, p.52. 23 Ibid., p.50. 24 Cloud, D. L., (2004), “’To veil the threat of terror’: Afghan women and the ‘clash of civilizations’ in the imagery of the U.S. war on terrorism”, Quarterly Journal of Speech, 90(3), p.289. 25 Van Gulik, G., (2009), Beyond the Burqa. 26 Crosby, E., (2014), “Faux Feminism: France’s Veil Ban as Orientalism”, p.51. 27 Franklin, M. I., (2013), “Veil Dressing and the Gender Geopolitics of ‘What Not to Wear’”, International Studies Perspectives, 14(4), p.395. 28 Grace, D., (2004), The Woman in the Muslin Mask: Veiling and Identity in Postcolonial Literature, London: Pluto Press. p.31 29 Macdonald, M., (2006), “Muslim Women and the Veil. Problems of image and voice in media representations”, Feminist Media Studies, 6(1), p. 9. 30 Ahmed, N. (2017), So few Muslim women wear the burqa in Europe that banning it is a waste of time, The Conversation. 31 Macdonald, M., (2006), “Muslim Women and the Veil. Problems of image and voice in media representations”, Feminist Media Studies, 6(1), p.7. 21


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bacon at a U.K. Subway”,32 framing the veil as a perceived “Islamification” posing a threat to European norms and values by “making unwelcome inroads in the heartlands of European Enlightenment”.33 Populist as well as mainstream parties have also polarised public opinion by arguing that the veil is an affront to equality, tolerance and liberalism34 and, as stated by German interior minister, “We are not burqa”. 35 This shows that the debate is not just about the veil itself, but about questions of national and European identity: 36 Who are we, if we “are not burqa”? Essentially, the controversy evolves around how the increasing diversity of European societies should be managed. Since the need for an additional workforce encouraged many immigrants to come in the 20 th century, Europe has arrived in a multicultural reality.37 Blaney and Inavatullah have noted three principal ways of handling differences: “ignore it, and if that is not possible, copy it if we think it is dominant, or destroy it if we think it is subordinate”.38 After it became clear that immigrants were not just “temporarily residing” in Europe, the common approach taken by European states towards immigration was an “assimilationist model”.39 Immigrants were expected to cast off their original cultural identity in order to minimize difference, instead of aiming for equality across differences. This has meant that specific cultural and religious needs have often been ignored.40 Problems with emerging parallel societies and a perceived rise in criminality and fundamentalist views however have often not been attributed to a wrong model of integration, but multiculturalism itself. This stems from an essentializing image of Islam: As a response to current terrorist attacks, it is envisioned as a dangerous “jihad culture” incompatible with Western ideas of equality and freedom, 41 making a “clash of civilizations” inevitable.42

Allen, C., (2018), “Religious Freedom and the Burqa”, Wall Street Journal (24 August 2018), p.13. Franklin, M.I., (2013), “Veil Dressing and the Gender Geopolitics of ‘What Not to Wear’”, International Studies Perspectives, 14(4), p.396. 34 Cherti, M., (2010), “The politics of Muslim visibility in Europe”, Public Policy Research, 17(3), pp.157-161. 35 Shapira, S., (2017), „De Maizières Leitkultur erntet Spott und Kritik“, Deutschlandfunk. 36 Cherti, M., (2010), “The politics of Muslim visibility in Europe”, Public Policy Research, 17(3), pp.157-161. 37 Franklin, M. I., (2013), “Veil Dressing and the Gender Geopolitics of ‘What Not to Wear’”, International Studies Perspectives,14(4), pp. 394-416. 38 Inayatullah, N. and Blaney, D. L., (2004), “Introduction” in N. Inayatullah and D.L. Blaney (eds) (2004), International Relations and the Problem of Difference, New York: Routledge, p.1. 39 El Hamel, C., (2010), “Muslim Diaspora in Western Europe: The Islamic Headscarf (Hijab), the Media and Muslims’ Integration in France”, Citizenship Studies, 6(3), p. 300. 40 Doyle, N. J., (2011), “Lessons from France: popularist anxiety and veiled fears of Islam”, Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, 22(4), pp. 475-489. 41 El Hamel, C. (2010), “Muslim Diaspora in Western Europe: The Islamic Headscarf (Hijab), the Media and Muslims’ Integration in France”, Citizenship Studies, 6(3), p. 300. 42 Cherti, M. (2010), “The politics of Muslim visibility in Europe”, Public Policy Research, 17(3), pp.157-161. 32 33


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Critics have exposed this as problematic politics of identity. They argue that identity is not a preexisting entity, but is always constructed through narratives and discourse. It is constantly evolving and up for challenge, influenced through relations of power.43 Seeing Muslim and European identities as representing entire Islam as some sort of lost cause and demanding complete conformity to dominant European identity as the only way to successful integration, therefore seems highly questionable.44 Many immigrants came to see such policies as part of an “old colonial discriminating model”, observing that, no matter how much they assimilated, differences could never be fully erased and derogatory attitudes prevailed further on.45 Feeling misunderstood, they criticize how a possibility of multiple identities is denied, based upon misconceptions about the nature and diversity of Islam. To many, it is clear that they can be “Muslim, and French – 100% both!”,46 arguing that being Muslim doesn’t contradict embracing values such as freedom and democracy. The fact that being a “European Muslim” is often represented as an oxymoron47 has given rise to feelings of alienation. Feeling rejected by the majority, policies such as the veil ban are seen as an actual betrayal of those proclaimed European values. 48 Instead of promoting integration and national loyalty, women are excluded from taking part in society, fostering feelings of discontent and estrangement.49 In contrast to the rather unjustified fear of the veil, scholars argue that this might have evolved to pose a real threat: the resentment experienced can lead to a wish to rise up against the West and promote Islamist radicalization.50 What becomes evident is that the way belonging and identity have been constructed in Europe are deeply embedded in ideas of the nation, based on assuming the existence of certain entrenched characteristics existing outside of discourse.51 The policing of Muslim visibility in Europe has exposed a “symbolic imprinting”, with space that is perceived as different from that of the majority now seen as a threat to hegemony.52

Wibben, A.T.R., (2013). “Who do we think we are?”, in J. Edkins and M. Zehfuss (eds) (2013), Global Politics: A New Introduction, Oxon: Routledge Ltd, p. 95. 44 Heyes, C., (2002), “Identity Politics”, Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy. 45 El Hamel, C., (2010), “Muslim Diaspora in Western Europe: The Islamic Headscarf (Hijab), the Media and Muslims’ Integration in France”, Citizenship Studies, 6(3), pp. 305. 46 Adrian, M., (2017), Religious Freedom at Risk. The EU, French Schools, and Why the Veil was Banned, Berlin: Springer, p. 4. 47 Ibid., p. 5. 48 El Hamel, C., (2010), “Muslim Diaspora in Western Europe: The Islamic Headscarf (Hijab), the Media and Muslims’ Integration in France”, Citizenship Studies, 6(3), pp. 293-308. 49 Jung, C., (2016). “Criminalization of the burqini”, Harvard International Review, 38(1), pp. 6-7. 50 McPartland, B., (2015), Burqa ban five years on – ‘We created a monster’, The Local. 51 Wibben, A.T.R., (2013). “Who do we think we are?” in J. Edkins and M. Zehfuss (eds) (2013), Global Politics: A New Introduction, Oxon: Routledge Ltd, p. 95. 52 Cherti, M., (2010), “The politics of Muslim visibility in Europe”, Public Policy Research, 17(3), p. 161. 43


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Critiquing the exclusionary and static nature of such approaches, Jürgen Habermas has asked for a new construction of citizenship and belonging based solely on democratic participation rather than on outmoded ideas incapable of handling the fact that Europe is now made up of multicultural societies.53 Whether the burqa belongs here is therefore wholly a matter of construction. It is up to us whether we pay attention to the way European Muslims have evoked exactly those values we deem to be European in order to critique the veil ban, or if we hold on to exclusionary ideas of national belonging. State leaders and the media would have the power to shape this discourse, protecting European values instead of seeking marketability and votes in a preoccupation with short-term matters.54 “The veil offends our society’s order” The legal prohibition of the veil forbids Muslim women to wear a piece of cloth that represents a religious symbol and serves as an expression of identity. Such restrictions typically invoke strong arguments, since the right to religious freedom and expression is codified in the European declaration of Human Rights. 55 Nevertheless, challenges of veil bans before the courts have remained unsuccessful as of yet. In the following section, I will examine explanations for the judiciary’s deference, arguing that these might reveal a need to rethink some fundamental principles. Baehr and Gordon have raised noteworthy doubts about interpreting the bans as a sign of Islamophobia. Based on comparing the situation in France to that in the US, where veil bans seem highly unlikely, they challenge the notion of Western racism as a “default explanatory category”.56 Instead, they argue that bans can be explained through France’s different conception of democracy, which focuses on both social and political rights, wherefore a more influential role is granted to social theorists in shaping legislation. They examine the statements offered by theorists to the governmental Information Committee and how these might have offered a persuasive, conceptual justification of the ban based on democratic values, which was able to convince both national and international courts. These arguments are framed in terms of women’s dignity,

Habermas, J., (1996), “The European Nation State. Its Achievements and Its Limitations. On the Past and Future of Sovereignty and Citizenship”, Ratio Juris, 9(2), pp. 125 – 137. 54 Cherti, M., (2010), “The politics of Muslim visibility in Europe”, Public Policy Research, 17(3), pp. 157-161. 55 Hunter-Henin, M., (2012), “Why the French don’t like the burqa: Laïcité, national identity and religious freedom”. The International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 61(3), pp. 613-639. 56 Baehr, P. and Gordon, D., (2013), “From the headscarf to the burqa: the role of social theorists in shaping laws against the veil Economy and Society, 42(2), p. 272. 53


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defending the principle of secularism and notions of a societal public order, which needs to be protected in order to ensure “living together” remains possible.57 However, Baehr and Gordon seem to have overlooked that there is an issue with who gets to speak in the discourse about the veil. Those in power often have the capacities to dominate discourse, whereupon it becomes crucial to critically enquire as to who is allowed to be heard and for what purposes.58 While, on the surface, the arguments raised by said theorists might seem to provide a reasonable narrative in favour of bans, a closer look will highlight how their points are rested on problematic claims about the universality of their individual interpretations of certain multifaceted principles, widely contested among other scholars. The justification on grounds of women’s dignity has already been exposed as hypocritical, rather infringing female agency and autonomy with a complete lack of evidence as to a widespread practice of coerced veiling.59 Similarly, evoking secularism and promoting bans in schools and public space based on the ideal of the separation of church and state developed in the Enlightenment has been criticized as a serious distortion of the principle, which “even in its most virulent forms is designed to manage rather than deny diversity of beliefs”.60 It is argued that Europe’s contemporary “secular fundamentalism” 61 works in a way that results in the marginalization of a minority by the majority instead of actual state neutrality, posing a further obstacle to integration and equality.62 A supposed need to protect a “societal public order” has been questioned as well. While admitting that there is no material threat, theorists cited by the Information Committee have pointed towards a “symbolic” violence the veil entails. By covering her face, the veiled woman is said to rupture the “visibility” and “reciprocity” fundamental to “living together” in a democratic society.63 While it is not disputed that some situations might require a temporary uncovering of the face for reasons of security or identification, scholars like Hunter-Henin have been highly critical of basing a general veil ban on such an abstract concept. Here, it is argued that a blanket ban gives a disproportionate priority to ensuring the compliance with specifically

Ibid. Golnaraghi, G. and Dye, K., (2016), “Discourses of contradiction: A postcolonial analysis of Muslim women and the veil, International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, 16(2), pp. 137-152. 59 Hunter-Henin, M., (2012), “Why the French don’t like the burqa: Laïcité, national identity and religious freedom”, The International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 61(3), p. 625. 60 Ibid., p.617. 61 Arthur, J. and Holdsworth, M., (2012), “The European Court of Human Rights, Secular Education and Public Schooling”, British Journal of Educational Studies, 60(2), p.129). 62 Safitri, D. M., (2010), “What went wrong with the veil? A comparative analysis of the discourse of the veil in France, Iran, and Indonesia”, Journal of Islamic Studies, 48(1), p.81. 63 Baehr, P. and Gordon, D., (2013), “From the headscarf to the burqa: the role of social theorists in shaping laws against the veil”, Economy and Society, 42(2), pp. 249-280. 57 58


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designated social standards rather than protecting individual’s human rights. 64 The importance of visibility has been challenged further, with arguments suggesting that it can be seen rather as a peculiarity of Western culture, which seeks to “master, control and reshape” Oriental women by making them visible,65 instead of considering ways to leave the “other” intact as an “other” when encountering its “living presence”, as envisioned by Levinas.66 A more convincing explanation of how such an infringement of human rights became possible is offered by Jocelyne Cesari. She places the bans into a wider context of policies of securitization in post-9/11 Europe. In this process, the rule of law is violated and instead of trying to tackle citizen’s fears and negative connotations with Islam, governments seek to “protect the comfort of the majority”. 67 Thereby, Muslims become increasingly stigmatized while governments are granted new means in order to control their populations – often to the detriment of individual’s rights and freedoms.68 This had led critical scholars to question if there might not be better ways of protecting such rights and freedoms than by supposedly “universal”, codified human rights that often deny difference and work to the detriment of minorities with alternative subjectivities.69 How justified are we in pronouncing the achievements of secularism or human rights if for many they do more harm than good, not working in a way that protects their dignity and agency? If one looks beyond dominant discourse, the veil debate can challenge some of the most fundamental principles of our societies. Instead of seeing the veil as a threat to our society’s order, we should rather understand that order itself is in need of rethinking and re-evaluation. Who are we? What we can come to understand through the discussions above is that the controversy about the veil can often expose more about ourselves than the veil. It highlights that, from perceiving ourselves as the saviours of Muslim women where they might neither want nor need it, to justifying policies through allegedly progressive principles that seem highly contestable upon closer examination, European societies are far from Hunter-Henin, M., (2012), “Why the French don’t like the burqa: Laïcité, national identity and religious freedom”, The International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 61(3), p. 628. 65 Behiery, V., (2013), “A Short History of the (Muslim) Veil”, IMRE, 16(4), p. 393. 66 Patton, C., (2014). “Defacing Levinas: vision, veiling and the ethics of republican citizenship in France”, Social Identities – Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture, 20(2-3), pp. 186-198. 67 Hunter-Henin, M., (2012), “Why the French don’t like the burqa: Laïcité, national identity and religious freedom”, The International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 61(3), p. 617. 68 Cesari, J., (2012), “Securitization of Islam in Europe”, Die Welt des Islams, 52(3/4), pp. 430-449. 69 Shani, G., (2013). “Who has rights?”, in J. Edkins and M. Zehfuss (eds) (2013), Global Politics: A New Introduction, Oxon: Routledge Ltd, pp. 590-609. 64


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flawless and might still have a long way to go to live up to their values themselves. The discrepancies between who we think we are and who we seem to actually be are striking. Why then is “exclusive knowledge” still claimed so often in the discourse about the veil, declaring to know what is good for others? Inayatullah links this perceived need to claim superiority to overcoming “the hidden doubts about the very same exclusive knowledge we espouse.” 70 The veil controversy highlights that such doubts may be quite legitimate. We are asked to question our own approaches and urged to admit patriarchal structures in our own societies. Why do we think it is “oppressive to wear a headscarf but liberating to wear a mini-skirt?”71 Is the problem really the immigrants, or is it the way in which we have tried to integrate them? Inayatullah points out that a balance between belief and doubts is the key to a healthy society: we need to understand that, due to our own partial knowledge, it becomes crucial to also be open towards receiving knowledge from others, creating “knowledge encounters” of mutual giving and receiving. 72 However, there is a more subtle narrative running through the veil controversy that explains why this ideal is so hard to achieve. Behiery points out that the criticism of the veil, dating back to colonial eras, demonstrates how the “modern Western self was constructed through distinction from cultural Others”. 73 Analysing discourse, it becomes evident how Western identity is usually based on an ‘us-them’ dichotomy: “we” must help “them”, “they” don’t belong to “us”, “they” offend “our” society’s order. 74 The veil was a necessary proof of the inherently backward nature of the entire Orient and Islam, as opposed to the superiority of the modern and progressive West with its universal, civilized subjects. Muslim women however, are increasingly challenging such representations. They are resisting Western ideas of what feminist empowerment and agency look like, developing a form of Islamic feminism encompassing both Muslim and Western women. Realising that “we have to find a way to be ourselves”, they are envisioning an alternative version of modernity on their own terms.75 However, this causes trouble to the Western construction of self-identity:

Inayatullah, N., (2013), “Why do some people think they know what is good for others?”, in J. Edkins and M. Zehfuss (eds) (2013), Global Politics: A New Introduction, Oxon: Routledge Ltd, p.466. 71 Grace, D., (2004), The Woman in the Muslin Mask: Veiling and Identity in Postcolonial Literature, London: Pluto Press, p.11. 72 Inayatullah, N., (2013), “Why do some people think they know what is good for others?” in J. Edkins and M. Zehfuss (eds) (2013), Global Politics: A New Introduction, Oxon: Routledge Ltd, p.467. 73 Behiery, V., (2013), “A Short History of the (Muslim) Veil”, IMRE, 16(4), p. 388. 74 Golnaraghi, G. and Dye, K., (2016), “Discourses of contradiction: A postcolonial analysis of Muslim women and the veil”, International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, 16(2), p.142. 75 Behiery, V., (2013), “A Short History of the (Muslim) Veil”, IMRE, 16(4), p.407. 70


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no longer oppressed, veiled women have come to represent a “forbidden modern,”76 which makes old dichotomies between Muslims as the backward “Other” as opposed to the progressive West void. On the contrary, many European Muslims have argued that they no longer form a part of “them”, but of “us”. 77 It becomes clear that, in order to overcome negative depictions of the veil in Western discourse and the violence inherent in banning it, it is crucial to face how we have answered the question of who we think we are. Simply tackling Islamophobia or nationalism is not enough. As Yegenoglu states, what the controversy about the veil reveals is “the deep and vital need of rethinking both the production of self and the relationship with others.”78 Trying to evade this challenge by banning the veil is simply an attempt to protect European non-Muslim majorities from having to “confront a changing world”,79 in which the future is to be constructed by both “us” and “them” together. Conclusion While the issue of the Muslim veil is a highly complex one, what we can take away from an examination of the controversy is that, while there might be many problems in the world, veiled Muslim women are unlikely to be one of them. However, we can view the debates as an opportunity to question our own attitudes and practices. Instead of claiming to know what’s good for others, we should voice doubts and question ourselves. Why do we feel this way? Who dominates the discourse and for what purpose? Examining how we might have answered the question of who we think we are in a particular context is usually a good starting point. Bibliography Abu-Lughod, L., (2008), “Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving? Anthropological Reflections on Cultural Relativism and Its Others”, American Anthropoligist, 104(3), pp. 783-790. Adrian, M., (2017), Religious Freedom at Risk. The EU, French Schools, and Why the Veil was Banned, Berlin: Springer. Ahmad, L., (2011), A quiet revolution: the veil’s resurgence, from the Middle East to America, New Haven: Yale University Press. Ahmed, N., (2017), “So few Muslim women wear the burqa in Europe that banning it is a waste of time”, The Conversation. Available at https://theconversation.com/so-few-muslim-women-wear-the-burqa-in-europe-that-banning-it-is-a-waste-of-time-82957, (Accessed 13th January 2020). Franklin, M.I., (2013), “Veil Dressing and the Gender Geopolitics of ‘What Not to Wear’”, International Studies Perspectives, 14(4), p.396. 77 Adrian, M., (2017), Religious Freedom at Risk. The EU, French Schools, and Why the Veil was Banned, Berlin: Springer, pp. 1-16. 78 Behiery, V., (2013), “A Short History of the (Muslim) Veil”, IMRE, 16(4), p. 410. 79 Taub, A., (2016), “France’s ‘Burkini‘ Bans Are About More Than Religion or Clothing”, New York Times. 76


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Allen, C., (2018), “Religious Freedom and the Burqa”, Wall Street Journal (24 August 2018), p.13. Arthur, J. and Holdsworth, M., (2012), “The European Court of Human Rights, Secular Education and Public Schooling”, British Journal of Educational Studies, 60(2), pp. 129-149. Baehr, P. and Gordon, D., (2013), “From the headscarf to the burqa: the role of social theorists in shaping laws against the veil”, Economy and Society, 42(2), pp. 249-280. Behiery, V., (2013), “A Short History of the (Muslim) Veil”, IMRE, 16(4), pp. 387-414. Cesari, J., (2012), “Securitization of Islam in Europe”, Die Welt des Islams, 52(3/4), pp. 430-449. Cherti, M., (2010), “The politics of Muslim visibility in Europe”, Public Policy Research, 17(3), pp.157-161. Cloud, D. L., (2004), “’To veil the threat of terror’: Afghan women and the ‘clash of civilizations’ in the imagery of the U.S. war on terrorism”, Quarterly Journal of Speech, 90(3), pp. 285-306. Crosby, E., (2014), “Faux Feminism: France’s Veil Ban as Orientalism”, Journal of International Women’s Studies, 15(2), pp. 46-60. Doyle, N. J., (2011), “Lessons from France: popularist anxiety and veiled fears of Islam”, Islam and ChristianMuslim Relations, 22(4), pp. 475-489. El Hamel, C., (2010), “Muslim Diaspora in Western Europe: The Islamic Headscarf (Hijab), the Media and Muslims’ Integration in France”, Citizenship Studies, 6(3), pp.293-308. European Commission (2018), “Standard Eurobarometer 90 Autumn 2018: Public Opinion in the European Union”, European Union. Available at https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&ved=2ahUKEwiV29nPuvfAhXOLVAKHUJ4ABsQFjABegQIBRAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fec.europa.eu%2Fcommfrontoffice%2Fpublicopinion%2Findex.cfm%2FResultDoc%2Fdownload%2FDocumentKy%2F84928&usg=AOvVaw1MIbW7aUr9c2cg-3mdwbk2, (Accessed: 13 January 2020). Franklin, M. I., (2013), “Veil Dressing and the Gender Geopolitics of ‘What Not to Wear’”, International Studies Perspectives, 14(4), pp.394-416. Golnaraghi, G. and Dye, K., (2016), “Discourses of contradiction: A postcolonial analysis of Muslim women and the veil”, International Journal of Cross Cultural Management,16(2), pp. 137-152. Grace, D., (2004), The Woman in the Muslin Mask: Veiling and Identity in Postcolonial Literature, London: Pluto Press. Habermas, J., (1996), “The European Nation State. Its Achievements and Its Limitations. On the Past and Future of Sovereignty and Citizenship”, Ratio Juris, 9(2), pp. 125 – 137. Heyes, C., (2002), “Identity Politics”, Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy. Available at https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/identity-politics/, (Accessed 13th January 2020) Hunter-Henin, M., (2012), “Why the French don’t like the burqa: Laïcité, national identity and religious freedom”, The International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 61(3), pp. 613-639. Inayatullah, N., (2013), “Why do some people think they know what is good for others?”, in Global Politics: A New Introduction by J. Edkins and M. Zehfuss (eds), Oxon: Routledge Ltd, pp. 450-471. Inayatullah, N. and Blaney, D. L. (2004), “Introduction”, in International Relations and the Problem of Difference by N. Inayatullah and D.L. Blaney (eds), New York: Routledge, pp. 1-17. Jung, C. (2016)., “Criminalization of the burqini”, Harvard International Review, 38(1), pp. 6-7.


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Macdonald, M., (2006), “Muslim Women and the Veil. Problems of image and voice in media representations”, Feminist Media Studies, 6(1), pp. 7-23. McPartland, B. (2015), “Burqa ban five years on – ‘We created a monster’”, The Local. Available at https://www.thelocal.fr/20151012/france-burqa-ban-five-years-on-we-create-a-monster (Accessed 13th January 2020). Patton, C., (2014). “Defacing Levinas: vision, veiling and the ethics of republican citizenship in France”, Social Identities – Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture, 20(2-3), pp. 186-198. Safitri, D. M., (2010), “What went wrong with the veil? A comparative analysis of the discourse of the veil in France, Iran, and Indonesia”, Journal of Islamic Studies, 48(1), pp. 81-100. Schwarzer, A., (2016), “Burka verstößt gegen Grundgesetz!”, Alice Schwarzer. Available at https://www.aliceschwarzer.de/artikel/die-burka-verstoesst-gegen-das-grundgesetz-333243, (Accessed 13th January 2020) Shani, G., (2013). “Who has rights?”, in Global Politics: A New Introduction by J. Edkins and M. Zehfuss (eds), Oxon: Routledge Ltd, pp. 590-609. Shapira, S., (2017), “De Maizières Leitkultur erntet Spott und Kritik“, Deutschlandfunk. Available at https://www.deutschlandfunk.de/wir-sind-nicht-burka-de-maizieres-leitkultur-erntetspott.2852.de.html?dram:article_id=384997 (Accessed: 25th February 2020). Smith, A. D., (2004), “France divided as headscarf ban is set to become law”, The Guardian. Available at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/feb/01/france.schoolsworldwide, (Accessed 13th January 2020). Taub, A., (2016), “France’s ‘Burkini‘ Bans Are About More Than Religion or Clothing”, New York Times. Available at https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/19/world/europe/frances-burkini-bans-are-about-morethan-religion-or-clothing.html, (Accessed 13th January 2020). Van Gulik, G., (2009), Beyond the Burqa, Available at: https://www.hrw.org/news/2009/07/02/beyondburqa, (Accessed: 13th January 2020). Weaver, M., (2018), Burqa bans, headscarves and veils: a timeline of legislation in the west, [Online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/14/headscarves-and-muslim-veil-ban-debate-timeline, (Accessed 13th January 2020). Wibben, A.T.R., (2013). “Who do we think we are?”, in Global Politics: A New Introduction by J. Edkins and M. Zehfuss (eds), Oxon: Routledge Ltd, pp. 85-107.


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The Eurozone Crisis and the Euro: An Analysis of a Defective Political Project

Diego Cacciapuoti, 3rd Year Essay BA (Econ) (Hons) Economics and Politics

Abstract: This paper analyses the deceptive structure of the Eurozone, with respect to the consequences of the 2008 financial crisis. It highlights the general flaws of common currency areas and the specific flaws of the Euro institutional designs. It then shows the failure of the alternative mechanisms for growth (namely, austerity and internal devaluation) put in place by the Euro-founders. It also discusses how the current Eurozone structure promotes divergence, with particular respect to the absence of the so-called banking union. Fundamentally, then, this paper demonstrates the reality of the Euro as a political, not economic, project. Introduction In this essay I will analyse the rationale and the institutional design of the Euro, with respect to the consequences of the 2008 Financial Crisis. I will argue that the Eurozone Crisis was the outcome of the exposition of an incomplete and defective monetary union to a sudden shock, such as the 2008 Financial Crisis. I will begin by illustrating why currency areas in general are prone to crises, and, in so doing, I will highlight some defective features of the Eurozone structure. I will then identify the alternative methods for adjustment put in place by the Euro founders and I will discuss their main failures. I will highlight the political nature and the failure of the project of the Euro by illustrating why the current institutional design of the Eurozone makes it a divergent system, focusing, among many mechanisms, on the lack of a complete banking system union. The argument that I will make is that the Euro is fundamentally a political, rather than economic, project.


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Literature Review Between 2007 and 2008 the world started to experience financial turmoil on a scale that had never been seen since the 1929 stock market crash and the associate Great Depression. 1 The crisis has been explained through very different phenomena. Reflecting this variety of causes, multiple and competing narratives have been given by scholars: Feldstein2 has argued that it was a crisis of institutional design, implying that the monetary union did not satisfy the criteria to be an optimal currency area. 3 A second explanation, more popular in Northern Europe, is that it was a budgetary crisis of excessive spending.4 Closely related to this narrative, there is also the German theory of the crisis as the outcome of a loss of competitiveness in southern Europe.5 A fourth explanation, which in a sense is the flip coin of the German one, is that the crisis was the result of considerable macroeconomic imbalances.6 Further narratives have also emerged, yet I will focus on the first and fourth narratives and, in so doing, I will identify the failures of the second and third explanations, often advocated by neoliberals. Whatever the structural cause of the crisis, the immediate trigger was the collapse of the US subprime mortgage market, due to incredibly high insolvency rates from individuals who had been granted loans despite their poor credit ratings.7 This crisis set in motion a chain reaction of mechanisms of which the first was a global credit crunch, which, in turn, was followed by a banking crisis: as major financial institutions were unable to deal with their subprime-related losses they started either to file for bankruptcy or to be bailed-out from national governments. Clearly, the banking crisis worsened the credit crunch even more, making borrowing much harder for individuals and firms. In October 2008 the EU member states decided to set aside €2 trillion to rescue engulfed European banks. Nevertheless, the credit shortages, along with a sharp contraction in global trade, had already paved the way for a severe recession. The sudden slowdown of the world economy sowed the seed for a Euro area sovereign debt crisis, as European countries run double-digit budget deficits.8 It is important to notice, for the purpose of our analysis, that those countries that ‘…entered the

Matthijs, M., (2014), “The Eurozone Crisis: Growing Pains or Doomed from the Start?” in M. Moschella and C. Weaver, Handbook of Global Economic Governance, Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 201-217. 2 Feldstein, M., (2012), “The Failure of the Euro: The Little Currency that Couldn’t”, Foreign Affairs, 91(1), pp. 105-116. 3 Mundell, R., (1961), “A Theory of Optimal Currency Areas”, American Economic Review, 51(4), pp. 657-665. 4 Matthijs, M., (2014), The Eurozone Crisis, p. 210. 5 Scharpf, F., (2011), “Monetary Union, Fiscal Crisis and the Preemption of Democracy”, Journal for Comparative Government and European Policy, 9(2), pp. 163-198. 6 Jones, E., (2010), “Fiscal Discipline is Not Enough to Stabilize the Euro, EUSA Review, 23(3), Fall 2010b. 7 Shiller, R. J., (2008), The Subprime Solution: How Today’s Global Financial Crisis Happened, and What to Do about It, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 8 Matthijs, M., (2014), The Eurozone Crisis, p. 212. 1


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financial crisis with serious macroeconomic imbalances were, by and large, the hardest hit.’9 We will return to this. Traditional Mechanisms for Adjustment ‘An economy facing an economic slump has three primary mechanisms to restore full employment: lower interest rates, to stimulate consumption and investment; lower exchange rates, to stimulate exports; or use fiscal policy - increasing spending or decreasing taxes’.10 When different countries form together a single-currency union, however, they are automatically ruling out the first two adjusting mechanisms. If, for instance, Canada is in an economic downturn, the Bank of Canada can independently lower the interest rate in order to stimulate the economy through investment. If France and Italy are in the same condition, they cannot adjust their interest rates. It is in fact a common institution, the European Central Bank, which sets a unique interest rate for all the Eurozone area. If they are both facing an economic downturn there is no problem, as the ECB will lower the interest rate to make all the Eurozone area recover. If France and Italy, however, are exposed to different shocks, or if the responses that are appropriate for one are not appropriate for the other, the interest rate adjusting mechanism cannot work and should not be employed. Another adjusting mechanism that is fundamental to avoid considerable trade imbalances is exchange rate variation. If, for example, Japan imports more than it exports, its currency will depreciate, it will become cheaper, and therefore Japanese-made goods will also be cheaper in the global market. This will result in an increased demand for Japanese products, which will now be less expensive for other countries. It is a very simple but extremely important economic principle that self-corrects trade imbalances. Trade imbalances, in the long run, can in fact be very dangerous for an economy: if a country is a net importer (it has an excess of imports) it will have to finance these, and the only way to finance a trade deficit is to borrow money. This debt can be both private and public, but it does not make much of a difference for the purpose of this analysis. What matters is that if a trade deficit cannot be financed anymore, because, for instance, banks believe the conditions are too risky, the country will be in serious trouble. In the case of the Eurozone, not only the creation of the Monetary Union was accompanied by the inevitable elimination of exchange rate variations,

Commission (2013), “European Economic Forecast: Spring 2013”, European Economy, (2), Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities. 10 Commission (2013), European Economic Forecast. 9


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but it was much worsened by the diffusion of the very wrong idea that the elimination of exchange-rate risk meant the elimination of all risk.11 Capital thus rushed into periphery countries: ‘In some cases, it created real estate bubbles. In all cases, it created upward pressure on prices and current account deficits that were not sustainable. One country after another went into crisis, as markets eventually realized that the current account deficits were unsustainable, and as real estate bubbles broke. But by then it was too late: money that should have gone into making these economies more productive went instead to financing consumption and real estate bubbles (in Spain and Ireland) and government deficits (in Greece).’12 So, the common currency created and nourished trade imbalances, but capital made it much worse. It was private sector irrational exuberance, not government spending, which created unsustainable situations in the periphery countries and then suddenly stopped lending and flew to the core countries as bubbles broke. The structure of the Euro made it impossible for the governments of these countries to stop bubbles: only with central bank sovereignty, in fact, they could have raised their interest rates to dampen bubbles.13 The third mechanism that a country can use to turnaround a falling output is fiscal stimulation. It can increase spending, as the most basic Keynesian economics predicts, to increase demand and stimulate the whole economy. However, the convergence criteria, which we will now analyse, have ruled this possibility out for the EU member states. The Maastricht Treaty provided the so-called convergence criteria, a set of principles meant indeed to support convergence among the joining countries. Price and exchange rate stability, sound public finances (both in terms of public deficit and public debt), and interest rate convergence, 14 were thus institutionalised. Subsequently, with the Growth and Stability Pact, the EU countries upheld their loyalty to the debt and deficit constraints. The Euro founders deliberately chose to exclude the possibility of expansionary fiscal policy. The argument for some kind of arrangement was very sound; it made perfect sense that the Euro founders worried about the differences among countries impeding economic growth. Yet, they worried about government imbalances, rather than trade imbalances, “…somehow believing that, in the absence of government deficits and debts, disparities would miraculously not arise and there would be growth and stability throughout the Eurozone.”15 The problem is that there is no trace of mechanisms to avoid economic and trade imbalances. As this analysis has illustrated, the European countries chose to rule out these three

Nuti, M., (2014), “The Euro-Area: Premature, Diminished, Divergent”, in J. Hölscher (eds), Poland and the Eurozone. Studies in Economic Transition, Palgrave Macmillan: London. 12 Stiglitz, J., (2016), The Euro and its Threat to the Future of Europe, Allen Lane: London, p. 126. 13 Sinn, H. W., (2014), The Euro Trap: On Bursting Bubbles, Budgets, and Beliefs, Oxford University Press: Oxford. 14 European Council, Conditions for joining the euro area: convergence criteria, Consilium. 15 Stiglitz, J., (2016), The Euro, p. 88. 11


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fundamental economic adjusting mechanisms. Clearly, they were not ignoring the consequences, but they had faith in a different theory. The Failure of the Eurozone Theory The point of view of the Euro founders, that has been described as the ‘Eurozone theory’,16 identified in two alternative mechanisms the solution to restore full employment: cutting government spending (thus reducing public deficits) would restore confidence, which in turn would raise investment; markets let free would adjust. In both cases, they were wrong. The first hypothesis relates to long-standing austerity tradition, to the idea of ‘expansionary contractions’. 17 The so-called confidence theory, or, as Paul Krugman has described it, ‘the confidence fairy,’ 18 dates back to Hoover and to the responses the Republican government put in place in 1929 to respond to the stock market crash, with the only result of transforming such a financial crash into the Great Depression. This idea, which was emulated in the convergence criteria, was that cutting debts would restore confidence among investors. So in an economic downturn, with GDP falling, and thus with falling tax revenues too, and with unemployment rising, a country would have to cut back expenditure and raise taxes, which would make things worse. Even the IMF has now recognized that fiscal consolidation hurts the economy, and can even hurt confidence too.19 Furthermore, ‘…budget deficit cuts are likely to be more painful if they occur simultaneously across many countries’,20 which is exactly what has happened in the Eurozone during the Crisis. In their book ‘Austerity: When it Works and When it Doesn’t,’ 21 Alberto Alesina et al., who tend to adopt a mainstream neoliberal perspective, recognize that the effects of fiscal consolidation vary a lot according to external circumstances. In plainer words, austerity almost only works when a neighbouring country goes through a boom, so that a country can cut expenditure but will enjoy increased exports, which will compensate for the reduced government spending. This is exactly what has happened in Canada (and in their neighbouring United States) in the 1990s, which is the example that has been used the most by advocates of austerity.

16

Ibid., p. 95.

Barry, F. and Devereux, M. B., (2003), “Expansionary Fiscal Contraction: A Theoretical Exploration”, Journal of Macroeconomics, 25(1), pp. 1-23. 18 Krugman, P., (2012), Expectations and the Confidence Fairy, New York Times. 19 Blanchard, O. and Leigh D., (2013), “Growth Forecast Errors and Fiscal Multipliers”, IMF Working Paper, 13/1. 20 International Monetary Fund, Research Dept., (2010), Will it Hurt? Macroeconomics Effects of Fiscal Consolidation, International Monetary Fund. 21 Alesina, A. et al., (2019), Austerity: When It Works and When It Doesn’t, Princeton University Press: Princeton. 17


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The other mechanism the Euro founders put their faith in is referred to as internal devaluation. When a European country is facing an external imbalance, i.e. a net import, it can make its products more competitive by lowering the costs of production. It goes without saying that the only cost that firms can cut in the short term are wages. So, the neoliberal argument goes, if prices in a EU country decline with respect to another’s, the first country will be able to produce at lower prices and will therefore have a competitive advantage which will help it correct the imbalance. The first issue is that this mechanism, even in theory, can only start to work when a crisis has already begun. The first required element is, in fact, falling output. The more output is falling; the more aggregate demand will fall too. As a result, there will be a downward pressure on prices which will lead the market to adjust. In other words, the Euro founders considered unemployment a good thing. The neoliberal notion is in fact that unemployment and trade imbalances will self-correct each other. Yet, as even neoliberals would admit, this transition does not happen overnight. The adjustment process would take time, and in the meanwhile there would be terrible humanitarian consequences: “the neoliberal proponents of the euro would argue that perseverance pays: there is redemption through pain.”22 Not only was this strategy questionable in terms of social consequences, but it also failed from a strictly economic perspective. There are, in fact, several issues that can stop this mechanism. First, wages may not fall: in this case, the failure of internal devaluation is blamed on wage rigidities. The data in many European countries has shown a considerable failure of wages to fall in the presence of high unemployment. 23 Second, the fall in wages may not lead to a fall in the price of exports: as the efficiency wage theory predicts, ‘cutting wages undermines workers productivity.’24 Greece is a perfect example of this phenomenon. During the crisis, in fact, falls in wages were accompanied by falls in productivity, with the result of no increased competitiveness. Third, the crisis has also highlighted a certain reluctance for firms to pass on wage cuts in the form of lower prices.25 In times of crisis, firms have a very strong incentive to build up their balance sheets, as they are probably facing difficulties in getting funds and experiencing the recession. Again, this has happened during the Eurozone crisis. As this analysis has shown, the alternative mechanisms for adjustment identified by the Euro founders failed to yield to desired results. Nevertheless, as the crisis worsened, European policy-makers renewed their faith in the convergence criteria and in the so-called Eurozone Theory.

Stiglitz, J., (2016), The Euro, p. 100. Addison, J.T., Centeno, M. and Portugal, P., (2009)., “Do Reservation Wages Really Decline? Some International Evidence on the Determinants of Reservation Wages”, Journal of Labour Research, 30(1), pp. 1-8. 24 Akerlof, G. A. and Yellen J. L., (1986), Efficiency Wage Models of the Labour Market, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge. 25 Stiglitz, J., (2016), The Euro, p. 107. 22 23


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They therefore made it clear that they were operating on the basis of political beliefs, not economic ones. In the words of Joseph Stiglitz “it was a matter of ideology, not economic science.” 26 The Eurozone as a Political Project In his paper ‘A Theory of Optimum Currency Areas’,27 the Nobel prize-winner Robert Mundell sketched out a very simple principle that has since been extremely useful for policy-makers and governments around the world: that to promote macroeconomic stability and to avoid excessive costs, differences between countries sharing the same currency should not be too big. In some circumstances, currency areas can, in fact, be incredibly effective in reducing transaction costs, in increasing trade, and therefore in promoting the currency area’s general well-being. When these circumstances are not there, i.e. when countries are too diverse, however, currency areas can have very distortive effects on markets and disastrous long-term consequences for entire economies, unless institutional arrangements of some kind are put in place. Specifically, the differences among countries prevent them from attaining full employment and external balance simultaneously. The differences in question relate to the structural composition of national economies and to their institutional designs. When they are considerable, the area cannot be considered as an optimal currency area. Yet, as the American experience suggests, it can be made to work. Even the United States, in fact, do not constitute an optimal currency area,28 but the institutional arrangements that have been put into existence have allowed the country to prosper and the currency to work properly. According to Micheal Kouparitsas three out of eight macro-areas in the US deviate significantly from Mundell’s notion of an optimal currency area.29 Nevertheless, as a result of institutional arrangements taken at the federal level, such as the fact that the federal government intervenes in cases of economic downturn, (in Europe the slack is picked up by national governments), the common currency works. In other words, for a reason that goes beyond the purpose of this analysis, the American common currency area was made to work. Similarly, during the setup of the Eurozone, it was very clear the Eurozone did not satisfy the Mundell’s requirements. The issue was not whether the countries would be an optimal currency area or not, but the discussion was rather focused on how to make such an area with such differences share the same currency.

26

Ibid., p. 123.

Mundell, R., (1961), A Theory of Optimal Currency Areas, p. 659. Kouparitsas, M., (2002), “Is the United States an Optimum Currency Area? An Empirical Analysis of Regional Business Cycles”, FRB of Chicago Working Paper, 2001-21. 27 28

29

Ibid.


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27

Before continuing into our analysis, there is already a conclusion that should be drawn. The creation of the European common currency area was not made on the basis of economics arguments: the Euro was, and still is, a political project, not an economic one, grounded in the hope that this kind of economic integration, i.e. a single currency, would push on the political project of European integration. The idea was that the political dividends were so high, that economically controversial decisions were justified. This principle is at the core of Neofunctionalism, the theory that best explains the creation of the Euro. According to Neofunctionalists, economic integration would reinforce all of the state’s welfare, which would in turn would result in increased support for political integration. Their general idea is that integration in one policy area would have put pressure for further integration. In the case of the Eurozone, as we will show, politics was not strong enough to build the necessary institutions. Unfortunately, the opposite has happened. The European project has in fact paid a very high political cost for the project of the Euro, as the political support for further integration has been undermined by such an undemocratic project.30 The Euro as a Failed Political Project Another important political outcome needs to be highlighted here: these institutions were not put in place. The Euro founders failed to establish correct institutional designs to ensure a correct functioning of the euro. Marcus Brunnermeier has argued that the Euro founders shared the belief that these institutions would rise as they were needed.31 Revisiting the neofunctionalist principles, the German economist has advocated that crises would have brought the complementary institutions to Europe. Following the Eurozone crisis, for instance, the Single Supervision Mechanism was instituted, a regulatory framework for which the ECB is the legal authority responsible for prudential supervision of all European banks. This, maintains Brunnermeier, clearly showed the capacity of European institutions to independently adapt and optimally develop. Yet, it is clear that it was too late and way too little. 32 In a sense, the common supervision might have been even counterproductive. Before explaining why, let us consider the case for the so-called banking union. Robert Mundell underestimated the requirements for an optimal currency area: he had in mind a very simple model based on perfect markets, rational agents and so forth. He failed to consider, however, the importance of the government in backing the banking system, which is now commonly recognized as fundamental. 33 The banking union

Stiglitz, J., (2016), The Euro, p. 204. Brunnermeier, M., (2016), The Euro and the Battle of Ideas, Princeton University Press: Princeton. 32 Stiglitz, J., (2016), The Euro, p. 134. 33 Howarth, D. and Quaglia, L., (2013), “Banking Union as Holy Grail: Rebuilding the Single Market in Financial Services, Stabilizing Europe's Banks and Completing Economic and Monetary Union�, Journal of Common Market Studies, 51, Annual Review, pp. 103-123. 30 31


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takes three elements: common supervision, common resolution (how a bank resolves or bails out a problem) and common deposit insurance. To prevent divergence in the Eurozone the most important institutional design would be common deposit insurance. If there were a common European fund to rescue banks, in fact, interest rates among European countries could converge as markets should not worry about the governments abilities to bail creditors out. In the current institutional design, however, the ECB sets a single interest rate for the entire region, but the interest rate on different countries’ bonds, or the interest rates that different governments in the EU have to pay when borrowing differ. Common deposit insurance is so important because it prevents money from flowing from the weak countries to the strong countries. The lack of it in the structure of the Eurozone plays an extremely big role in divergence since as money leaves the weak countries the banks cannot lend anymore and the weak countries tend to get weaker and the strong countries stronger. Thus, going back to Brunnermeier’s observation, one can notice that complementary institutions did not rise. Politics failed to put them in place. Moreover, what the German economist calls a success is worse than nothing: common supervision can in fact be bad without common deposit insurance because it results in the elimination of forbearance. In the presence of systemic risk forbearance is very important in central banking: without common deposit insurance, having uniform rules with no sensitivity to the situation of each country can actually make things worse. Conclusion In this essay I have illustrated that the creation of a common currency area rules out two adjusting mechanisms (interest rates and exchange rates) that are usually fundamental in order to avoid trade imbalances between countries. A single currency only works if the countries constitute an optimal currency area, or if particular kinds of institutional arrangements, such as the so-called banking union, are put in place. Not only did the Euro founders fail to implement these, but they also eliminated the possibility of fiscal stimulus, as they had faith in a totally different approach. They in fact identified in internal devaluation and in expansionary austerity alternative engines for growth. As this analysis has illustrated, their commitment towards this theory was based on ideology, thus making the project of the Euro a political one. Moreover, these mechanisms unfortunately failed. As a result, the European project paid very high political costs for the Euro, as the political support for further integration has been undermined by this undemocratic project.34

34

Ibid., p.204.


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29 References

Addison, J.T., Centeno, M. and Portugal, P., (2009), “Do Reservation Wages Really Decline? Some International Evidence on the Determinants of Reservation Wages”, Journal of Labour Research, 30(1), pp.1-8. Akerlof, G. A. and Yellen, J. L., (1986), Efficiency Wage Models of the Labour Market, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge. Alesina, A. et al., (2019), Austerity: When It Works and When It Doesn’t, Princeton University Press: Princeton. Barry F. and Devereux M. B., (2003), “Expansionary Fiscal Contraction: A Theoretical Exploration”, Journal of Macroeconomics, 25(1), pp.1-23. Blanchard, O. and Leigh D., (2013), “Growth Forecast Errors and Fiscal Multipliers”, IMF Working Paper, 13/1. Brunnermeier, M., (2016), The Euro and the Battle of Ideas, Princeton University Press: Princeton. Commission, (2013), “European Economic Forecast: Spring 2013”, European Economy, 2, Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities. European Council, “Conditions for joining the euro area: convergence criteria”, European Union. Available at: https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/policies/joining-the-euro-area/convergence-criteria/, (Accessed: 15 November 2019). Feldstein, M., (2012), “The Failure of the Euro: The Little Currency that Couldn’t”, Foreign Affairs, 91(1), pp.105-116. Howarth, D. and Quaglia, L., (2013), “Banking Union as Holy Grail: Rebuilding the Single Market in Financial Services, Stabilizing Europe's Banks and Completing Economic and Monetary Union”, Journal of Common Market Studies, 51, Annual Review, pp.103-123. International Monetary Fund, Research Dept., (2010), Will it Hurt? Macroeconomics Effects of Fiscal Consolidation. Available at https://www.elibrary.imf.org/view/IMF081/10685-9781589069473/106859781589069473/ch03.xml?rskey=0YPVeb&result=9,(Accessed: 17 November 2019). Jones, E., (2010), “Fiscal Discipline is Not Enough to Stabilize the Euro, EUSA Review, 23(3), Fall 2010b. Kouparitsas, M., (2002), “Is the United States an Optimum Currency Area? An Empirical Analysis of Regional Business Cycles”, FRB of Chicago Working Paper, 2001-21. Krugman, P., (2012), “Expectations and the Confidence Fairy”, New York Times. Available at: https://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/23/expectations-and-the-confidence-fairy/, (Accessed: 3 November 2019). Matthijs, M., (2014), “The Eurozone Crisis: Growing Pains or Doomed from the Start?”, in M. Moschella and C. Weaver, (2014), Handbook of Global Economic Governance, Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 201-217. Mundell, R., (1961), “A Theory of Optimal Currency Areas”, American Economic Review, 51(4), pp. 657-665. Nuti, M., (2014), “The Euro-Area: Premature, Diminished, Divergent”, in J. Hölscher, (eds.), Poland and the Eurozone. Studies in Economic Transition, Palgrave Macmillan: London. Scharpf, F., (2011), “Monetary Union, Fiscal Crisis and the Preemption of Democracy”, Journal for Comparative Government and European Policy, 9(2), pp. 163-198. Shiller, R. J., (2008), The Subprime Solution: How Today’s Global Financial Crisis Happened, and What to Do about It, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Sinn, H. W., (2014), The Euro Trap: On Bursting Bubbles, Budgets, and Beliefs, Oxford University Press: Oxford. Stiglitz, J., (2016), The Euro and its Threat to the Future of Europe, Allen Lane: London.


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A Sanctuary or a Political Battleground? An Examination of San Francisco as a "Sanctuary City" in Modern Immigration Rhetoric

Rhea Kamath, 2nd Year Essay BA Geography

Abstract: The sanctuary city exists as a territorially bounded entity in the long debate surrounding American citizenship and immigration; sat in between the federal policies and the realities of undocumented immigrants. In the Trump era the widespread criminalisation of migrants is being faced with pushback from several cities, choosing instead to adopt policies that seek to protect immigrants from policing. San Francisco is one such notable city which has been frequently targeted by the current administration for instilling policies to increase immigration rights and is consequently seeing the withdrawal of federal resources to essential services as a response. This essay looks at the role of the sanctuary city, its iterations and its federal backlash, and also its choice to reimagine what citizenship truly means.

The sanctuary city exists as a territorially bounded entity in the long debate surrounding American citizenship and immigration, and in the broader dynamics of federal policy and local realties. Due to the scale and structure of American statehood, and the varying geographies of immigration, defining a sanctuary city is becoming increasingly complex, even within academic literature where little consensus exists. According to Bauder,1 there is no single set of policies or practices that define what a sanctuary city is. Instead, urban sanctuary policies and practices involve legal, discursive, identity‐formative, and scalar aspects. However, their intentions are similar – sanctuary cities aim to soothe the relationship between the city (especially the police) and undocumented immigrants by hindering the direct relationship between them and immigration agencies like the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).2

1

2

Bauder, H. (2017), "Sanctuary cities: Policies and practices in international perspective", International Migration, 55(2), pp.174-187. Bhatt, R. (2016), “Pushing an end to sanctuary cities: Will it happen?”, Mich. J. Race & L., 22, p.139.


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Sanctuary cities can then be used as a lens to understand the complicated relationship between the city and the federal government, especially since it has been highly politicised on both sides of the spectrum. Especially in the current political climate, cities have been positioned against the Trump administration, demonised as spaces of liberal elitism and as contrary to the national. 3 To understand sanctuary cities and how they are analysed, this essay will first aim to provide a background to the sanctuary movement in San Francisco, which has been considered a frontrunner in the sanctuary city movement. This example will provide a lens to understand how sanctuary cities have been conceptualised in immigration literature, but also the role they play in American politics, particularly in the Trump era. It will also discuss the futures of the sanctuary city movement, particularly in the emerging space of abolitionism – a version of the Lefebvrian concept of the “right to the city”. It is important to preface this essay by stating that most academic literature surrounding such topics is mainly from a liberal, pro-immigrant standpoint, though some do offer critique and a nuanced understanding of arguments against sanctuary city movements. The history of the sanctuary city movement helps us understand its continued prevalence across major cities. Sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants emerged in the 1980s in institutions like churches and other religious congregations in response to a perceived lack of action by the federal government to the influx of refugees from Central America. Los Angeles and San Francisco became centres of this movement due to their border proximity and high Latin American populations.4 The critical factor that led to their transition from being a collection of localised sanctuaries to San Francisco as a sanctuary city, was the early involvement of city officials, who worked to formalise sanctuary ideas into city policy. Alliances of sanctuary organisations with the municipal government allowed for a formal regulatory apparatus which propelled refugees to fully settle into American society. This eventually bled into current policies involving law enforcement and employment.5 De Graauw6 also corroborates this by heralding San Francisco as a "gateway" city to migrants. This has led to contestations of migrant citizenship rooted into the phenomenon’s legacy of immigration rights activism even before the sanctuary movement. The socio-economic embeddedness of undocumented immigrants in San Francisco, also led to a pro-migrant culture, which is currently reflected in literature and policy documents.

Gimpel, J.G., and Kimberly A.K. (2006), "The rural side of the urban-rural gap", PS: Political Science & Politics 39(3), pp.467-472. Mancina, P. (2012), "The birth of a sanctuary-city: a history of governmental sanctuary in San Francisco", in Lippert, R. and Rehaag, S. (eds.), Sanctuary Practices in International Perspectives, Abingdon: Routledge, pp.223-236. 5 Ibid. 6 de Graauw, E. (2017),"The inclusive city: public-private partnerships and immigrant rights in San Francisco", in McQuarrie, M. (ed.), Remaking urban citizenship, Abingdon: Routledge, pp.135-150. 3 4


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A prevalent policy for sanctuary cities is community policing. In San Francisco, this prevents local law enforcement and employers from requesting or providing immigration details unless necessary. This policy plays into the broader concept behind sanctuary policies: 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Enforce' which intends to limit the spread of information provided to organisations like ICE. 7 It aims to protect undocumented immigrants from unnecessary deportation and maintain community trust and police cooperation. Hereby, locals report crimes and are willing eyewitnesses to reduce the fear surrounding police for undocumented immigrants. Community policing in a sanctuary city is considered a morally sound and practical mean of protecting citizens.8 9 However, both of these arguments base themselves on the left-leaning ideology that protecting undocumented migrants is the best way to ensure community safety, which is being troubled by San Francisco's recent role in the sanctuary city debate – discussed in more detail below. San Francisco's reframing of undocumented immigrants as equal to citizens is in line with several citizenship scholars like Lefebvre's concept of the ‘right to the city’, basing 'citizenship' and its privileges on inhabitancy rather than formal (and often procedural) status. This problematises questions of whether immigrants should be held at a higher bar or be treated unequally.10 These concepts of alternative citizenship in the context of migrants (and the 'other') are also rooted in Derrida's (as elucidated Roy) 11 moral concept of hospitality to the outsider, where the way an outsider is treated reflects the morality of the city itself. In the United States, where cities can exist as semi-autonomous beings, Derrida's philosophies link immigrant protection to moral imperatives. Considering the moral and often religious background of San Francisco's sanctuary movement, it is easy to see how sanctuary policies are the route to which this moral 'goodness', in a community-oriented and liberal sense, has been deemed necessary. This contrasts how the current administration views citizenship and migration, as increasingly tangled in complex discourses and bureaucracy. A process that DeGenova12 refers to as the "criminalisation of migration", which involves making the very process of migration increasingly difficult, expensive and subject to social scrutiny and othering. Citizenship and its policing (in the form of immigration laws) is increasingly being made responsible by the federal government in the name of national safety: "America first". In fact, the Bhatt, R. (2016), “Pushing an end to sanctuary cities: Will it happen?”, Mich. J. Race & L., 22, p.139. Mancina, P. (2012), "The birth of a sanctuary-city: a history of governmental sanctuary in San Francisco", in Lippert, R. and Rehaag, S. (eds.), Sanctuary Practices in International Perspectives, Abingdon: Routledge, pp.223-236. 9 de Graauw, E. (2017),"The inclusive city: public-private partnerships and immigrant rights in San Francisco", in McQuarrie, M. (ed.), Remaking urban citizenship, Abingdon: Routledge, pp.135-150. 10 Purcell, M. (2003),"Citizenship and the right to the global city: reimagining the capitalist world order", International journal of urban and regional research, 27(3), pp.564-590. 11 Roy, A. (2019), "The city in the age of Trumpism: From sanctuary to abolition", Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 37(5), pp.761-778. 12 De Genova, N.P. (2002), "Migrant “illegality” and deportability in everyday life", Annual review of anthropology, 31(1), pp.419-447. 7 8


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2015 Kate Steinle case led many leading to question whether the sanctuary city is coming to an end in the Trump era. In this case, San Franciscan Kate Steinle was murdered by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez who had been previously deported five times.13 This case brought sanctuary city policy (particularly San Francisco's) under critique from Republican candidates who blamed San Francisco law enforcement and sanctuary policy for "allowing" him to commit such a crime, and also perpetuated the prevailing rhetoric of immigrants (particularly Hispanic immigrants) as criminals.14 Lasch’s 15 analysis further highlights the highly racialised element to the sanctuary city debate but also how the state could constitutionally interfere with local laws, in the form of essential funding in order to influence city politics. The section regarding the analysis of real implementation discusses the practicalities of funding further. However, this case illustrates how federal level engagement in the state can be used as a tool of manipulation, undermining the semi-autonomy and political aims at the city/state level. Even in the pre-Trump era, sanctuary cities have been used as pejorative term by some key rightwing figures. Rudy Giuliani, for instance, demonised the phrase sanctuary city concerning his constituency of New York City, posing it as "soft" and encouraging criminal activity. 16 Giuliani and other major Republicans at the time (and now) see sanctuary policies as a risk to national safety, raising the other moral argument of the federal government having the imperative to protect citizens from outside harm. 17 18 Wells19 argues that immigration policy will always contend between the city and the federal government because immigrants tend to be so involved in the socio-economic fabric of the city, rather than anywhere else. This often leads to parallel ideas of "insurgent citizenship", building on Lefebvrian concepts based on inhabitance which have become popular means of retaining socio-economic stability.20 It is in line with Holston and Appadurai ideas of urban citizenship and "...the defamiliarising enormity of national citizenship and the exhilaration of its

Weinberg, A. (2015), “Kate Steinle Lawsuit Has Political Reverberations in Washington over Illegal Immigration”, ABC News, 1st September. 14 Ibid. 15 Lasch, C.N. (2016), "Sanctuary cities and dog-whistle politics", New Eng. J. on Crim. & Civ. Confinement ,42, p.159. 16 Ridgley, J. (2008), “Cities of refuge: Immigration enforcement, police, and the insurgent genealogies of citizenship in US sanctuary cities”, Urban Geography, 29(1), pp.53-77. 17 Villazor, R.C. (2008), "What is a Sanctuary", SMUL Rev, 6, p.133. 18 Weinberg, A. (2015), “Kate Steinle Lawsuit Has Political Reverberations in Washington over Illegal Immigration”, ABC News, 1st September. 19 Wells, M.J. (2004), "The grassroots reconfiguration of US immigration policy", International Migration Review, 38(4), pp.1308-1347. 20 Purcell, M. (2003),"Citizenship and the right to the global city: reimagining the capitalist world order", International journal of urban and regional research, 27(3), pp.564-590. 13


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liberties." Hereby, affiliations to the city are often strengthened by migrant presence and involvement, rather than a formal national connection.21 However, De Graauw's 22 argument contends this autonomy of the city, arguing that migration and citizenship will always be seen as a federal responsibility due to the legal and financial power that the federal government can (and does) exercise over the city, hence constraining the extent to which it can act against the national interest. The consensus between these schools of policy analysis is that the city unsettles the ideas of citizenship and being undocumented, therefore challenging this chain of command.23 San Francisco's suing of the federal government over the sanctuary cities executive order "Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States" is a clear example of this unsettling, where the use of both sanctuary practice, along with constitutional defence has led to the order’s withdrawal. A clear example of the city challenging national authority. Thus far this study has examined sanctuary ideas in a theoretical and discursive manner, looking into how they frame the concept itself. The rest of this work aims to see how this discourse turns into realities of implementation. One of the themes surrounding implementation is the ongoing relationship between the federal and local and how federal policies translate to the local level. Policies surrounding undocumented immigrants depend on having cooperative local law enforcement due to the scale of enactment needed. 24 This creates the ability for regulatory autonomy, where cities act as gatekeepers to national enforcement agencies like ICE. This leads cities, like San Francisco, to under-enforce policy and counter federal policy or find loopholes, even blocking access from federal agencies and suing the federal government under the 4th Amendment (prohibiting unnecessary searches and seizures).25 This further reinforces the ideas discussed above, of the city being perceived as a separate entity that exists to oppose the federal, continually creating a space for conflict. However, De Graauw's 26 argument of the federal level having the ultimate power comes into play in the current political scenario, where the withdrawal (or threat of) of financial grants to the police

Holston, J. and Appadurai, A. (1996), "Cities and Citizenship", Public Culture, 8(2), pp.187-204. de Graauw, E. (2014), "Municipal ID cards for undocumented immigrants: Local bureaucratic membership in a federal system", Politics & Society, 42(3), pp.309-330. 23 Ridgley, J. (2008), “Cities of refuge: Immigration enforcement, police, and the insurgent genealogies of citizenship in US sanctuary cities�, Urban Geography, 29(1), pp.53-77. 24 de Graauw, E. (2014), "Municipal ID cards for undocumented immigrants: Local bureaucratic membership in a federal system", Politics & Society, 42(3), pp.309-330. 25 Wells, M.J. (2004), "The grassroots reconfiguration of US immigration policy", International Migration Review 38(4), pp.1308-1347. 26 de Graauw, E. (2014), "Municipal ID cards for undocumented immigrants: Local bureaucratic membership in a federal system", Politics & Society, 42(3), pp.309-330. 21 22


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force and other services like Medicare is being used as a pawn to force local law enforcement to strengthen immigration controls that the current government wants. Lasch27 examines this rhetoric and policy decision further, and his analysis of the Republican candidates' statements revealed how cities were being demonised as lawbreakers and immoral zones who deserved to be punished. This demonstrates how pejorative rhetoric when reinforced at the federal level, creates a conflict of implementation- unsettling the previous urban semi-autonomy, but also raising an increasing level of questioning about the purpose and effectiveness of sanctuary policies in the face of purportedly increasing immigrant crimes. There is, however, emerging literature surrounding the effectiveness of sanctuary city policies, coming from the pro-immigrant left, which stresses the role of race which, according to Lasch28 has been camouflaged by the right. It emerges from the municipal identity card programme in San Francisco, which allows undocumented immigrants to access essential services like the ability to rent, access Medicare and so on, without fearing deportation or law enforcement. Cities that do not identify themselves as sanctuaries like New Haven, Connecticut, also have a similar identity card programme. This creates an alternative form of citizenship based on practice (e.g., paying taxes, working and living in the area) rather than on official status; problematizing the very need for a formal, yet performative 'citizenship'. 29 These ideas are often referred to as "insurgent citizenship" and the creation of areas of resistance, challenging what it means to be an urban citizen instead of a national one.30 Immigration in the US, particularly in Border States like California, is highly racialised, both in terms of immigrant demographics and rhetoric, which runs laterally to the discourses surrounding police brutality. Roy uses these parallel concepts to situate sanctuary policing into what they refer to as the "racial terror" in American institutions, particularly the police. Provision of sanctuary policing requires the individual to interact with police, which has been analysed as being a racially challenging act. 31 Sanctuary policing creates a suspended state for the immigrant where they are held at the "horizon of deportability",32 which is summarised as: "sanctuary then is not the antonym of detention and deportation

Lasch, C.N. (2016), "Sanctuary cities and dog-whistle politics." New Eng. J. on Crim. & Civ. Confinement, 42, p.59. Ibid. 29 de Graauw, E. (2017),"The inclusive city: public-private partnerships and immigrant rights in San Francisco", in McQuarrie, M. (ed.), Remaking urban citizenship, Abingdon: Routledge, pp.135-150. 30 Holston, J. and Appadurai, A. (1996), "Cities and Citizenship", Public Culture, 8(2), pp.187-204. 31 Theobald, NA. and Donald P.H-M. (2009), "Race, bureaucracy, and symbolic representation: Interactions between citizens and police", Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 19(2), pp.409-426. 32 Roy, A. (2019), "The city in the age of Trumpism: From sanctuary to abolition", Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 37(5), pp.761-778. 27 28


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but rather exists in relation to such forms of power. Indeed, the sanctuary is continuous with, rather than a counterpoint to, the unending border".33 This leads us to question whether sanctuary policing creates a real impact in helping immigrants assimilate and be equal if the added element of racial othering cannot be removed. Systems of identification, like municipal ID cards, subvert police interaction which many argue unsettles the idea of the citizenship and also the biopolitics surrounding police interactions. This propels racialised and anti-immigrant framing of police intervention34. These critics of sanctuary policy go further and push for a progressively Lefebvring and abolitionist future which seeks to upset the rhetoric that creates the criminalisation and illegality of migrants in the first place and recognises the intersectionality that comes with being undocumented. The threat of police defunding is seen as facilitating this new abolitionist citizenship, since it divests from organisations that are structurally racist and anti-migrant, but also are simultaneously affiliated with the federal. 35 In conclusion, sanctuary cities are an active battleground and a territorial reframing of immigration, citizenship and federal-local relationships. The lens of San Francisco, a significant sanctuary city, has been highlighted both politically and in academic literature and provides a lens into the theoretical, discursive, moral and constitutional concepts surrounding the sanctuary, from the local and federal level. It also allows us to discuss implementation and its practicality and whether it actively protects immigrants, especially in a highly racialised political climate, raising alternative forms of immigration futures, such as Lefebvrian citizenship of inhabitancy or the abolition of migrant illegality. This research opens up new and alternative ways of looking at how cities deal with immigration based on the dynamics of migrant inclusion within political debates, and their overall positioning within liberal societies. References Bagelman, J. (2016), Sanctuary city: A suspended state, London: Palgrave Pivot. Bauder, H. (2017), "Sanctuary cities: Policies and practices in international perspective", International Migration, 55(2), pp.174-187. Bhatt, R. (2016), “Pushing an end to sanctuary cities: Will it happen?”, Mich. J. Race & L., 22, p.139. De Genova, N.P. (2002), "Migrant “illegality” and deportability in everyday life", Annual review of anthropology, 31(1), pp.419-447.

Bagelman, J. (2016), Sanctuary city: A suspended state, London: Palgrave Pivot. Roy, A. (2019), "The city in the age of Trumpism: From sanctuary to abolition", Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 37(5), pp.761-778. 35 Paik, A.N. (2017), "Abolitionist futures and the US sanctuary movement", Race & Class, 59(2), pp.3-25. 33 34


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de Graauw, E. (2017),"The inclusive city: public-private partnerships and immigrant rights in San Francisco", in McQuarrie, M. (ed.), Remaking urban citizenship, Abingdon: Routledge, pp.135-150. de Graauw, E. (2014), "Municipal ID cards for undocumented immigrants: Local bureaucratic membership in a federal system", Politics & Society, 42(3), pp.309-330. Gimpel, J.G., and Kimberly A.K. (2006), "The rural side of the urban-rural gap", PS: Political Science & Politics, 39(3), pp.467-472. Holston, J. and Appadurai, A. (1996), "Cities and Citizenship", Public Culture, 8(2), pp.187-204. Lasch, C.N. (2016), "Sanctuary cities and dog-whistle politics", New Eng. J. on Crim. & Civ. Confinement, 42, p.159. Mancina, P. (2012), "The birth of a sanctuary-city: a history of governmental sanctuary in San Francisco", in Lippert, R. and Rehaag, S. (eds.), Sanctuary Practices in International Perspectives, Abingdon: Routledge, pp.223-236. Paik, A.N. (2017), "Abolitionist futures and the US sanctuary movement", Race & Class, 59(2), pp.3-25. Purcell, M. (2003),"Citizenship and the right to the global city: reimagining the capitalist world order", International journal of urban and regional research, 27(3), pp.564-590. Ridgley, J. (2008), “Cities of refuge: Immigration enforcement, police, and the insurgent genealogies of citizenship in US sanctuary cities”, Urban Geography, 29(1), pp.53-77. Roy, A. (2109), "The city in the age of Trumpism: From sanctuary to abolition", Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 37(5), pp.761-778. Theobald, N.A. and Donald P.H-M. (2009), "Race, bureaucracy, and symbolic representation: Interactions between citizens and police", Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 19(2), pp.409-426. Villazor, R.C. (2008), "What is a Sanctuary", SMUL Rev, 6, p.133. Weinberg, A. (2015), “Kate Steinle Lawsuit Has Political Reverberations in Washington over Illegal Immigration”, ABC News, 1st September. Available at: https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/kate-steinle-lawsuit-political-reverberationswashington-illegal-immigration/story?id=33461835 , (Accessed: February 9, 2020). Wells, M.J. (2004), "The grassroots reconfiguration of US immigration policy", International Migration Review 38(4), pp.1308-13


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Is Hegel’s Theory of Mutual Recognition Compatible with Identity Poitics? Ruby Tapper, 2nd Year Essay BA (Hons) Philosophy

Abstract: To begin to answer the question of whether Hegel’s master/slave relation can provide a foundation for identity politics it is first necessary to outline Hegel’s account of the relation of master and slave, and the insights on the nature of recognition that the account provides. With this foundation of understanding it will then be possible to explore the recent focus on the politics of recognition in the form of identity politics, and the normative implications of the adequate conditions needed for recognition to exist. By drawing on both Foucault and Butler’s accounts of identity formation, I will then argue that a political focus on recognition of identity groups is self-contradictory, or at the very least damaging to the pursuit of equal rights for members of oppressed groups. Introduction To begin to answer this question it is first necessary to outline Hegel’s account of the relation of master and slave and the insights on the nature of recognition that his account provides. With this foundation of understanding it will then be possible to explore the recent focus on the politics of recognition in the form of identity politics, and the normative implications of the adequate conditions needed for recognition to exist. By drawing on both Foucault and Butler’s accounts of identity formation, I will then argue that a political focus on recognition of identity groups has the potential to be self-contradictory, or at the very least damaging to the pursuit of equal rights for members of oppressed groups. This will lead on to a brief discussion of the flaws of identity politics. I will argue that the solution to these issues is not to do away with identity politics altogether but a slightly different approach to the fight for recognition. Through drawing on Oksala’s work


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on the phenomenology of gender,1 and Hegel’s ideas on the nature of recognition I will show how this approach can be successful and that from empirical evidence we can already see the potential for this approach’s success in current political movements. Identity politics is a general term, but can be taken to mean ‘a loose collection of political projects, each undertaken by representatives of a collective with a distinctively different social location that has hitherto been neglected, erased, or suppressed’.2 I will be looking at the form of identity politics that aims to gain recognition of oppressed identities, which arguably encompasses many, more specific, forms of identity politics. Throughout my discussion of identity politics, I will be focusing on the feminist fight for the recognition of women. To undertake this task, I will provide a detailed account of Hegel’s master/slave relation and its insights on the nature of recognition. Hegel and Mutual Recognition Hegel’s account of recognition is based on his view that consciousness resists otherness. Taylor 3 uses the idea of integrity to explain this notion; integrity is when ‘the external reality which embodies us and on which we depend is fully expressive of us and contains nothing alien’. We all aim for a state of integrity, in which we are defined by and reliant on nothing which could be considered other, we fundamentally resist otherness. However, we only come to have a conception of ourselves through our opposition to otherness. This dynamic of both resentment and reliance creates a ‘peculiar kind of love-hate relationship between selfconsciousness and the external object’.4 Hegel believes that we first experience this in the form of desire, specifically the desire an infant has for food. We consider ourselves as separate to the object of desire, we consume it and hence eradicate its otherness. ‘We see, for example, the apple as temporary because it disappears as we consume it, whereas we see ourselves as permanent’.5 We posit our subjectivity through the negation of the objectivity of the object of desire. However, this can only provide a temporary basis for our self-knowledge as once the object has been consumed there is no other by which we can negate ourselves, and hence we lose our sense of self. This

Oksala, J. (2006), “A Phenomenology of Gender”, Continental Philosophy Review, 39(3), pp. 229-244. Heyes, C. (2018), “Identity Politics”, The Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy. 3 Taylor, C. (1975), Hegel, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 148. 4 Singer, P. (1983), Hegel, Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 57. 5 Knowles, D. (2003), Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Hegel and the Philosophy of Right, London: Routledge, p. 94. 1 2


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leads to a situation in which ‘human life at this level is an alternation between being before another which is wholly foreign, and having incorporated this, being before nothing at all’. 6 Self-consciousness requires, therefore, an Other which will provide a constant negation by which we can posit ourselves; an Other which will not disappear as we remove its otherness. As Taylor puts it, ‘man, as a being who depends on external reality, can only come to integrity if he discovers a reality which could undergo a standing negation’.7 These requirements can only be satisfied by another self-consciousness, so ‘self-consciousness attains its satisfaction only in another self-consciousness’.8 So it appears we rely somewhat on the existence of another consciousness for the substantiation of our own; we also rely in part on our own body and therefore on the external world. Hence, there are two forms of otherness which we must either destroy or show our lack of dependence upon in order to achieve the fundamental goal of consciousness: integrity. This leads Hegel to argue that we must enter into a life and death struggle, in the ultimate attempt to destroy otherness. We prove that we are not dependent on the other by aiming to destroy them. Hegel believes that by placing our life on the line we are making a move towards integrity in a further way; we prove that we, as a consciousness, are not attached to our own bodies. ‘By risking one’s own life, one shows that one is not attached to one’s own body either’. 9 In the words of Hegel,10 ‘it is solely by risking life that freedom is obtained’. However, it becomes apparent that once one is left victor and the other dead, they will both have lost. The victor, in the eyes of Hegel, is not much better off than his competitor. He is now without another consciousness by which he can posit his negation, and gain recognition. He has destroyed the very thing he needs to sustain his own self-consciousness. This is the point at which Hegel introduces the relation of master and slave. The victor realises the self-undermining nature of killing his competitor, and so at the last moment spares his life. With his new found upper hand he places himself as master, and his competitor as slave. The master is a subject, and the slave object. The slave has valued his life over his freedom and as a result lost his subjectivity. ‘The one is

Taylor, C. (1975), Hegel, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 152. Ibid. 8 Hegel, G.W.F. (2018), The Phenomenology of Spirit, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 139. 9 Singer, P. (2001), Hegel: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 78-79. 10 Hegel, G.W.F. (2018), The Phenomenology of Spirit, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 187. 6 7


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independent, and its essential nature is to be for itself; the other is dependent, and its essence is life or existence for another’.11 The master relates to the slave as one would to an object, he does not consider him to be an equal self-consciousness. It is Hegel’s observation that neither master nor slave can gain the recognition necessary for selfconsciousness within this relationship. It is quite clear that the slave does not gain the necessary recognition, as he is considered by the master to be on the level of a mere object. However, the master also lacks the adequate recognition for the development of self-consciousness. This is due to the fact that he does not consider the slave as having the standing necessary to provide recognition. This notion can be seen in the general truth that ‘if I want to acquire worth in my own eyes on the basis of another's esteem, I can do it only to the extent that I esteem the other as a judge of my worth’.12 Hegel claims counter-intuitively that the slave is actually in a better position, with regards to the development of the self, than the master. This is due to the slave’s interactions with the external world, in the form of his labour. The slave moulds the world around him through the work he does and hence can see himself in the external world and gains something close to recognition from this; ‘…for the slave, the man made environment comes to reflect him, it is made up of his creations’. 13 In contrast, the master is merely a consumer. He has no interaction with the external world, in which he is creator and as a result gains no reflection of himself in the objects around him, leading him to be even further from recognition than the slave. Hegel claims that to truly achieve recognition, it has to be mutual. This avoids the obstacles for recognition created through power imbalance demonstrated by the master/slave relation. What is required is that each consciousness ‘recognize[s] themselves as mutually recognizing one another’. 14 Recognition can only be received from a consciousness one recognizes as capable of providing recognition, and hence one must recognize the other as a self-consciousness. This is true of both parties and hence all recognition must be mutual. Hegel then goes on to make the normative claim that mutual recognition can only be achieved when there is an understanding that each has equal rights; when the relationship is built on a foundation of equality. This leads recognition and the development of self-consciousness, or in other words personhood, to be ‘a moral concept, as it carries with it ideas of what rights a person may have’. 15 This normative element of recognition

Ibid., p. 189. Wood, A. (1990), Hegel’s Ethical Thought, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 89. 13 Taylor, C. (1975), Hegel, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 156. 14 Hegel, G.W.F. (2018), The Phenomenology of Spirit, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 184. 15 Knowles, D. (2003), Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Hegel and the Philosophy of Right, London: Routledge, p. 89. 11 12


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can be extended to provide the basis for a justification of equal rights. As Taylor puts it ‘recognition for me, for what I am, is recognition of man as such and therefore something that in principle should be extended to all’.16 This normative component provided by the insights of Hegel’s account of the relation of master and slave, into the necessary conditions for adequate recognition to exist, has been the interest of many political movements recently. In many political groups campaigning for equality there has been a shift away from redistribution, and focus has been placed upon recognition. This line of thinking, which could be categorised as identity politics, is grounded in the idea that if members of oppressed groups are given true recognition, then they will necessarily be granted personhood and equal standing to rights. It has been argued that this recognition would then lead to the other elements of equality that have been focused on by political groups in the past such as redistribution, or escaping the psychological harm associated with being a member of an oppressed group.17 Identity Politics as Unequal Recognition? I am now going to draw on the work of Foucault and Butler, to examine the way power is exercised through identity and how our personal identities are formed. This is to explore the problematic implications of realizing identities through recognition of the equal rights of members of those identity groups. I will argue that these ideas suggest the extent to which equality can be achieved through recognition of oppressed group identities is contestable, and that recognition as a political tactic based upon Hegel’s insights, has the potential to be, at the very least, counterproductive to the subversion of oppressive systems of power. Foucault challenges the presumed idea that ‘power is simply the constraint or repression of something that is already constituted’,18 arguing instead that we as subjects are created as the vehicle, as well as the object, of power. In other words, our identities are constituted to uphold and sustain the power structures through which we ourselves are oppressed. Individuals are not only power’s ‘intent or consenting target; they are always also the elements of its articulation. In other words, individuals are the vehicles of power, not its point of application’.19 Our identities are constituted; not separately and prior to power, but as the very

Taylor, C. (1975), Hegel, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 153. Iser, M., ‘Recognition’, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Archive. 18 Armstrong, A. (2019), “Michel Foucault: Feminism”, The Internet Encyclopaedia of Philosophy. 19 Foucault, M. (1980), Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, Brighton: Harvester, p. 98. 16 17


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implementation of it. As a result, our identities seem intrinsically hierarchical, positioning us as either oppressed or oppressor on different axes of power. Butler’s work was inspired by Foucault and argues that our gender is not essential, but rather a performative act. She argues that we come to form our gender through a constant process of interpreting historical and social norms through the way we wear our bodies. Our gender is a creation of the way we exist in the world. As a result, we sustain the power structures by which we are either oppressed or oppressor, through our identities. Gender ‘operates as an interior essence that might be disclosed, an expectation that ends up producing the very phenomenon that it anticipates’.20 If our identities, such as our gender, are not something essential, but rather formed as the very substantiation of power itself then they can never be ‘merely descriptive, but always normative, and as such, exclusionary’.21 If our identities are not essential, but instead constituted as the substantiation of power structures, then any realisation of these identities through recognition could prove to be problematic. It appears that the recognition of certain identities, such as is the focus of identity politics, could unnecessarily construe stagnant and damaging notions of what it means to be a member of a particular identity group. ‘The concern is that there is no form of self-realisation in recognition models that does not, in some way, reproduce patterns of dominance or exclusion’.22 If our identities are intrinsically related to power, then to demand recognition for one’s identity is potentially to be complicit in existing forms of oppression. As McNay puts it, ‘the underlying concern is that the focus on identity inevitably reifies social difference resulting in a parochial politics of recognition that hinders participation in wider democratic debates’. 23 To attempt to gain recognition for an identity with no essential foundation, that has been created as an instrument of power structures, will only perpetuate oppression and produce factionalisation; as a result, identity ‘as a point of departure can never hold as the solidifying ground of a feminist political movement’. 24 The apparent problem with the politics of recognition may run even deeper. If particular identities, such as ‘woman’, are in themselves the substantiation of oppressive forces, then they are necessarily asymmetric and unequal. Yet Hegel has shown that true recognition requires mutual recognition, which in turn requires an equality. The recognition of certain group identities seems then to be in some way paradoxical; Butler, J. (1999), Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, New York: Routledge, p. xv. Butler, J. (1992), “Contingent Foundations: Feminism and the Question of ‘Postmodernism’”, in J.W. Scott and J. Butler (eds.), (1992), Feminists Theorize the Political, London: Routledge, p. 16. 22 McQueen, P. (2019), “Social and Political Recognition”, The Internet Encyclopaedia of Philosophy. 23 McNay, L. (2010), “Feminism and Post-Identity Politics: The Problem of Agency”, Constellations, 17(4), p. 512. 24 Butler, J. (1992), “Contingent Foundations: Feminism and the Question of ‘Postmodernism’”, in J.W. Scott and J. Butler (eds.), (1992), Feminists Theorize the Political, London: Routledge, p. 15. 20 21


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the equality necessary for recognition is compromised by the inequality sustained by the identities which are being actualized, through the recognition itself. It is contestable then, that recognition of oppressed identity groups is even possible on a wider, political scale. It seems that while Hegel's theory of recognition is highly valuable in describing human interaction, and in part how we come to gain identity and self-worth, it could have potentially dangerous implications if used as the central foundation of a political and social movement due to the way in which power structures influence and shape the construction of our identities. It seems impossible, or at the very least, extremely difficult to achieve the necessary conditions for recognition on a wider, collective scale, in the way required by identity politics. However, it is unclear where this leaves us; are we to do away with political movements striving to gain equality for and recognition of oppressed groups? It seems unintuitive that movements, such as feminism or Black Lives Matter, are actually hindering the equality of the groups they represent. It seems fairly uncontroversial to claim that a focus on equality within politics is indispensable, that to do otherwise would not just be impractical but immoral. The question becomes: how do we avoid the damaging and possibly paradoxical nature of identity politics while still fighting for recognition? To attempt to answer this question I will draw on the work of Johanna Oksala,25 using her ideas on the nature of phenomenology to elucidate how identity politics can be approached in a way which avoids the difficulties aforementioned. The Possibility of Mutual Recognition In ‘A phenomenology of gender’ Oksala discusses the problem of the circularity of phenomenology. Phenomenology is the study of meaning from first-person experience, the study of the lived experience of concepts. If we take a phenomenological approach to the concept of ‘women’ then we start from the firstperson experience of a woman, but in doing so we have already given some meaning to the concept. There is a circularity, which could undermine the discipline. Oksala’s solution is what she terms the ‘post-phenomenological approach’, which embraces the hermeneutical circularity of the phenomenological task. As a consequence of this circularity the method has to treat itself as always incomplete, a gradual process which can only be done partially, always being built upon and corrected by further phenomenology. The ‘method continuously turns back upon itself, questioning and modifying itself in an effort to articulate what it secretly

25

Oksala, J. (2006), “A Phenomenology of Gender”, Continental Philosophy Review, 39(3), pp. 229-244.


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thinks. This means understanding epoché not as total, universal and complete, but as an endless, circular and always partial task’.26 This approach to phenomenology is helpful in elucidating what should be done in regards to identity politics. The task of seeking recognition of oppressed identities is crucial and not to be dismissed, yet it should be done with an awareness of its intrinsically incomplete nature. Identity politics should be a process of building and rebuilding recognition for members of oppressed communities, ever changing and evolving. This approach to identity politics would work towards removing the essentialist and oppressive aspects of its past and present. The work of Foucault and Butler shows a potential issue of recognising identities, which have intrinsic hierarchy within them. However, the solution is not to simply fail to recognise these identities at all. We should instead aim to recognise these identities in as full capacity as possible, aware of the inescapable insufficiency of whatever act of recognition is being performed. In as much the same way as Oksala talks of the phenomenology of gender being circular,27 the recognition of oppressed identities can be self-undermining of the equality it both seeks to achieve and requires as a basis. The solution to both issues follows the same lines drawn out by Oksala. Movements for recognition of identities such as ‘woman’ have to make the partial progress they can, each time alleviating the embedded oppression within the identity itself, building the foundation for more fully-fledged recognition further down the line. This idea also echoes Butler’s remarks on the subversion of gender.28 She argues that if gender is the interpretation of cultural and social meanings in the way we wear our bodies, then we can subvert gender slowly from within itself, by gradually reinterpreting these meanings. We are able to ‘reinterpret the cultural history which the body already wears. The body becomes a choice, a mode of enacting and re-enacting received gender norms which surface as so many styles of the flesh’.29 The potential issues within identity politics and the proposed solution can be demonstrated by the controversial trans exclusionary radical feminist (TERF) movement and the feminist opposition to it. TERFs are known for their exclusionary views towards trans women due to their strong adherence to stringent and essentialist definitions of what it is to be a woman. This perspective was modelled on Janice Raymond’s idea that gender is an expression of biological sex, 30 and that ‘gender and sex are locked into each other and secured

Ibid., p. 238. Ibid, pp. 229-244. 28 Butler, J. (1986), “Sex and Gender in Simone de Beauvoir's Second Sex”, Yale French Studies, 72, pp. 35-49. 29 Butler, J. (1986), “Sex and Gender in Simone de Beauvoir's Second Sex”, Yale French Studies, 72, p. 48. 30 Raymond, J. (1979), The Transsexual Empire, Boston: Beacon Press. 26 27


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at birth’.31 TERFs seek to gain equality and recognition for women, drawing the lines of that identity so as not to include trans women. By applying the previous discussion of the potential issues of identity politics, highlighted by both Hegel’s theory of recognition and by thinkers such as Foucault, it seems that in adhering so strongly to an essentialist definition of ‘woman’ TERFs have forfeited any chance of full recognition ‘women’ have. This is because they are attempting to gain recognition for an identity which is already fully formed, created both by and within a patriarchal society. As such, ‘women’ could never be fully recognised, never given the chance to develop full consciousness, as the equality necessary for this recognition is compromised by the identity itself. I will now contrast the TERF movement with the oppositional feminist movement, aiming to further highlight the merits of my approach towards identity politics. Many feminists have rejected the essentialist and exclusionary definition of woman proposed by TERFs, and instead have worked towards definitions of ‘woman’ that aim to include marginalised women, focusing on trans women. By moulding the traditional understanding of the identity that they are fighting to gain recognition for, they model the approach to identity politics that I endorsed. These feminist movements are rebuilding the construction of the identity ‘woman’ so as to be receptive to lived experience, and in doing so they are making more ground on the frontier of equality. By allowing for shifts in traditional identity definitions, those identities can lose a small part of their internalised oppression, leaving room for more fully-fledged recognition. Conclusion Hegel’s theory of recognition and the development of self-consciousness has interesting normative applications to identity politics. While at first appearing to provide a theoretical basis for the fight for equality, on further inspection alongside Foucault and Butler’s insights on the relationship of power and identity, the theory seems to, in fact, pose problems for identity politics. These problems arise due to the equality that is both being fought for and relied upon in the act of recognising oppressed identities becoming compromised by the inequality embedded within those identities themselves. Through drawing on Oksala’s ‘post-phenomenological approach’ to the phenomenology of gender, 32 I presented an approach to identity politics which can largely avoid these issues. The method accepts the partial and flawed nature of the fight for recognition, and so constantly reshapes and modifies itself, in an attempt to slowly eradicate the internalised power from within the identity it is fighting to gain recognition of.

31 32

Hines, S. (2019), “The Feminist Frontier: on trans and feminism”, Journal of Gender Studies, 28(2), p. 146. Oksala, J. (2006), “A Phenomenology of Gender”, Continental Philosophy Review, 39(3), pp. 229-244.


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References Armstrong, A. (2019), “Michel Foucault: Feminism”, The Internet Encyclopaedia of Philosophy. Available at: https://www.iep.utm.edu/foucfem, Accessed: 6 April 2019. Butler, J. (1986), “Sex and Gender in Simone de Beauvoir's Second Sex”, Yale French Studies, 72, pp. 35-49. Butler, J. (1992), “Contingent Foundations: Feminism and the Question of ‘Postmodernism’”, in Scott, J.W. and Butler, J. (eds.), (1992), Feminists Theorize the Political, London: Routledge, pp. 3-21. Butler, J. (1999), Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, New York: Routledge. Foucault, M. (1980), Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, Brighton: Harvester. Hegel, G.W.F. (2018), The Phenomenology of Spirit, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Heyes, C. (2018), “Identity Politics”, The Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy Archive. Available at: https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2018/entries/identity-politics. Accessed: 14 February 2020. Hines, S. (2019), “The Feminist Frontier: on trans and feminism”, Journal of Gender Studies, 28(2), pp. 145-157. Iser, M., ‘Recognition’, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Archive. Available at: https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2019/entries/recognition. Accessed: 14 February 2020. Knowles, D. (2003), Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Hegel and the Philosophy of Right, London: Routledge. McNay, L. (2010), “Feminism and Post-Identity Politics: The Problem of Agency”, Constellations, 17(4), pp. 512-525. McQueen, P. (2019), “Social and Political Recognition”, The Internet Encyclopaedia of Philosophy. Available at: https://www.iep.utm.edu/recog_sp, Accessed: 5 April 2019. Oksala, J. (2006), “A Phenomenology of Gender”, Continental Philosophy Review, 39(3), pp. 229-244. Raymond, J. (1979), The Transsexual Empire, Boston: Beacon Press. Singer, P. (1983), Hegel, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Singer, P. (2001), Hegel: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Taylor, C. (1975), Hegel, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Wood, A. (1990), Hegel’s Ethical Thought, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


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A Hobbesian Argument for the Rejection of Private Healthcare George Crafer, 3rd Year Essay BA (Hons) Politics, Philosophy and Economics

Abstract: This essay uses a Hobbesian understanding of the state to dispute the outsourcing of healthcare to the private sector. The provision of healthcare is central to British politics and I believe this essay provides a new insight to reinforce its importance. By examining the legacy of both the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) and the contaminated blood scandal I argue that the privatisation of healthcare poses an inherent risk to citizens. I therefore conclude that the provision of healthcare should solely be the responsibility of the state. Introduction In this essay I will argue that Hobbesian social contract theory necessitates a rejection of private healthcare provision. Attempts to reconcile market forces with healthcare have generally been unsuccessful and, in some cases, they have been disastrous. My assumption of a Hobbesian understanding of the role of the state; that a social contract obliges it to protect its citizens from the “nasty, brutish and short� natural condition of mankind is at odds with the potentially harmful consequences of private healthcare provision. 1 While there are several other theories, most notably those posited by John Locke, I believe that for the purpose of this essay Thomas Hobbes provides a more applicable framework. His interpretation of the state of nature is more similar to what the world would look like were there no state provided health care. I will ultimately conclude that the only way to protect citizens from the worst inefficiencies and inadequacies of the market, and therefore satisfy Hobbesian theory, is to exclude the private sector from healthcare provision. The first section of this essay will focus on outlining the Hobbesian framework referred to in the introduction. The second section will focus on two examples in which the introduction of market forces has resulted in severe consequences for citizens. First, I will examine the legacy of the Public Finance Initiative (PFI), and then I will examine the Contaminated Blood Scandal of the 1970s and 80s. I will provide analysis

1

Hobbes, T. and Brooke, C. (2017), Leviathan, London: Penguin Classics, p.76.


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as to why each example constitutes a departure from Hobbesian social contract theory, and I argue that this can only be resolved by rejecting private healthcare provision. The Hobbesian Framework Hobbesian theory is grounded in the idea that “certain rights must be transferred or abandoned.” 2 Citizens find that it is beneficial to abandon these rights for two reasons: First, it provides a form of security against predation from other citizens. Second, by being peacefully secure, this restriction allows them to garner the benefits of harmonious living. 3 By complying with the law, for example, the citizen enters into a tacit agreement with state, whereby the state provides protection from those who break the law. Equally, by paying taxes, the citizen makes an explicit transfer to the state in return for the provision of basic services. In ‘Hobbesian Right to Healthcare’, Shane D. Courtland argues that Hobbesian theory compels the state to provide healthcare because failure to do so would result in morally justified civil unrest. He notes that individuals in Hobbes’ system “always retain the right to defend themselves”, 4 and therefore the state failing to provide healthcare justifiably compels citizens to seek necessary medical treatment by whatever means necessary, in the name of self-defence. He quotes Hobbes saying, “to resist… use of food, air, medicine, or any other thing without which he cannot live, yet hath that man the liberty to disobey.” 5 Courtland goes on to highlight the “empirical connection between health care and poverty”,6 and points out that “illness or medical bills contributed to 62.1% of all bankruptcies (in the USA) in 2007.” 7 He argues that this further exacerbates the potential for civil unrest. Other arguments point to problems with this position. Gregory Kavka claims that a social security net is sufficient to satisfy a Hobbesian social contract, regardless of what form this takes, as this sufficiently protects citizens.8 In this sense, the state’s supposed obligation to provide health care for its citizens could be satisfied by monitoring an insurance-based health industry, while providing a social security net to ensure that those excluded from the market are not at serious risk. In other words, health care is a potential Hobbesian right, not a necessary one.

Hobbes, T. and Lamprecht, S. (1982), De Cive, or, The Citizen, Westport: Greenwood Press, p.34. Courtland, S. (2017), “Hobbesian Right to Healthcare”, Journal of Applied Philosophy, (34)1, pp.99-100. 4 Ibid., p.103. 5 Hobbes, T. and Lamprecht, S. (1982), De Cive, or, The Citizen, Westport: Greenwood Press, p.103. 6 Ibid. 7 Ibid. 8 Kavka, G. (1986), Hobbesian Moral and Political Theory, Princeton: Princeton University Press, p.211. 2 3


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However, Kavka’s claim is partially flawed in that there are many examples where a social security net is not sufficient to preserve what Hobbes refers to as an individual’s “life and limb”. 9 In the US for instance, 14 out 50 states still require a family to live on less than $12,000 a year before they are eligible for Medicaid, a state-funded insurance package.10 This means that millions of working Americans are at risk of destitution if they lack insurance and become ill with a serious medical problem. However, even having insurance does not guarantee protection. James Meek points out that in a study conducted by Harvard University, two-thirds of people who went bankrupt in 2007 as a result of medical bills had insurance.11 While the potential for civil unrest is a valid reason as to why the state should be partly responsible for the provision of health care, it does not explain why private provision should be totally rejected. After all, it seems there is no reason why private health care should not exist so long as those in need of health care can access it at an affordable rate. This would satisfy Courtland’s argument. However, in what follows I will argue that outsourcing health care from private providers carries an inherent risk to citizens, and the state allowing citizens to be exposed to said risk is what represents a departure from a Hobbesian social contract. The Public Finance Initiative (PFI) PFI is the most high-profile case of marketisation in the history of the National Healthcare System (NHS). It was initially introduced by John Major’s Conservative government in the early 1990s, though it was expanded further under Tony Blair in the late 90s and early 2000s. PFI represented a ‘third way’ solution posed between the neo-liberal and socialist solutions for provision of public services.12 It enabled the government to outsource the provision of new medical facilities without the need for large, upfront investments, yet the government would be committed to paying an annual, index-linked payment for the use of the buildings.13 This ultimately created an incentive for private companies to maximise their profits by reducing costs. Three decades on from its inception, the consequences of PFI are clear. The most significant of these lie in the inadequacy of provision. In his book ‘Unhealthy Profits’, John Lister gives the example of a consultancy firm tasked with delivering an NHS hospital in Worcestershire, which “sought to reduce bed numbers by 35% and cut beds per 1000 patients by 40%.”14 An incentive to reduce costs seems to be the main reason

Hobbes, T. and Lamprecht, S. (1982), De Cive, or, The Citizen, Westport: Greenwood Press, p.33. Meek, J. (2014), Private Island, Cornwall: CPI Group (UK) Ltd, p.167. 11 Ibid., p.169. 12 Lister, J. (2018), Unhealthy Profits, York: LULU.com, p.26. 13 Ibid., p.27. 14 Ibid., p.36. 9

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for this, as it is hard to see how such a significant reduction in resources is to the benefit of patients. Recognising the post-Griffiths Report mantra of ‘payment by results’, Lister highlights the conflict of interest that arises. Though patients may often be better treated through community health services, the incentives in place mean PFI hospitals are penalised for doing so, as this means fewer patients and thus lower revenues to pay for unchanged capital costs.15 This demonstrates a clear friction between the desired outcomes of private providers and the desired outcomes of patients. Daniel Simonet outlines the core values of the NHS as “social and cultural equity, homogeneity and universal service.”16 In the Griffiths report, which Rudolf Klein describes as “immensely influential in shaping the future of management of the NHS,” 17 aims such as “motivating and rewarding staff” through incentives,18 and delivering care “more efficiently at a lower cost” are prioritised; 19 this highlights a clear friction. As seen with the example of PFI, these aims have been prioritised over the needs of patients and the core values of the NHS. Establishing an incentive-based approach in order to increase efficiency creates the risk of unforeseen negative consequences, such as patients being discharged from hospital too early. Furthermore, attempts to lower costs have led to “using more vocationally trained health care assistance in place of professionally qualified nursing staff,”20 again putting patience at risk. While the introduction of PFI stands as a clear example of the state putting its citizens in harm’s way, it does not present a complete reasoning as to why the private sector should be excluded from healthcare provision. For example, there is no reason why the state could not have sought to implement similar cost saving measures itself, even though it is fair to assume that it would prioritise the safety of its citizens more so than the private sector. I believe that the following example provides a more complete reasoning as to why, under no condition, the state should outsource healthcare provision to the private sector. The Contaminated Blood Scandal Beginning in the 1970 and continuing throughout the 1980s, the Contaminated Blood Scandal saw thousands of people infected with HIV, Hepatitis C and other deadly diseases. People who suffered from

Lister, J. (2018), Unhealthy Profits, York: LULU.com, p.137. Simonet, D. (2013), “The New Public Management Theory in the British Health Care System”, Administration & Society, 47(7), p.807. 17 Klein, R. (2019), “The National Health Service (NHS) at 70: Bevan’s double-edged legacy”, Health Economics, Policy and Law, (14), p.8. 18 Griffiths, R. (1983), NHS Management Inquiry, London: Department of Health and Social Security, p.7. 19Ibid., p.10. 20 Lister, J. (2018), Unhealthy Profits, York: LULU.com, p.137. 15 16


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haemophilia were the worst hit group, many of whom were infected through the introduction of a new clotting agent, Factor VIII.21 When the supply of the Factor VIII could no longer keep up with demand, the NHS began to outsource blood stocks from the United States where blood banks were privatised. A significant proportion of this blood came from prison inmates and drug users, who are disproportionately infected with HIV and Hepatitis C.22 In allowing blood stocks to be outsourced, the state had put its citizens in acute danger. Unlike PFI, were the state solely responsible for the provision of blood there would be little chance that infected blood would reach patients as the screening process would be far more stringent. As Reynolds notes, “the open market in plasma products creates incentives to exploit all sources of plasma, to operate lax donor selection standards and cut corners on infection control. This allows patients to be infected with lethal diseases.”23 Additionally, the absence of a monetary incentive to provide blood means it is less likely for someone to mask an infection in order for them to meet the requirements to sell their blood. However, a lack in the supply of blood procured by the NHS in a safe and controlled way meant that haemophiliacs would be put at risk of death were they to have had a relatively minor accident. Dr Edward Tuddenham, an expert in haematology who was responsible for treating haemophiliacs at the time of the scandal, notes that “we had a choice, was it bleed to death or be damaged by a bleed, or was it take the clearly increasing risk of what we knew by then was a deadly disease.”24 In this sense, it could be argued that the NHS had no other option but to outsource from provide providers, as failure to do so would also likely result in death. Aside from the fact that most people would rather die from a genetic illness that they were familiar with than by HIV or Hepatitis C which at the time of the scandal carried enormous stigma, in taking such a risk the state actively gambled with its citizens lives. Though the severe consequences of such a gamble are clearest in this example, this kind of gamble is inherent in any attempt by the state to outsource the provision of health care to the private sector. In allowing motives other than providing the best quality care influence the way decision are made, the state exposes its citizens to potential harm.

Triggle, N. (2019), “Why the NHS gave thousands HIV-contaminated blood”, BBC News. Ibid. 23 Reynolds, L. (2019), “Selling our safety to the highest bidder: the privatisation of Plasma Resources UK”, openDemocracy. 24 Youle, E. (2019), “Medics knew risk of HIV-infected blood' given to patients at Royal Free Hospital”, Hampstead Highgate Express. 21 22


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Conclusion In conclusion, the primary objective of private providers of healthcare to reduce costs and increase profits puts citizens in an extremely vulnerable position. It is therefore the duty of the state to acknowledge this and protect its citizens by rejecting private healthcare provision. The risk taken by the state when outsourcing healthcare provision to the private sector is a breach of a Hobbesian social contract and should therefore be rejected on this basis. References Courtland, S. (2017), “Hobbesian Right to Healthcare”, Journal of Applied Philosophy, (34)1, pp. 99-113. Griffiths, R. (1983), NHS Management Inquiry, London: Department of Health and Social Security. Hobbes, T. and Brooke, C. (2017), Leviathan, London: Penguin Classics. Hobbes, T. and Lamprecht, S. (1982), De cive, or, The citizen, Westport, C.T: Greenwood Press. Kavka, G. (1986), Hobbesian moral and political theory, Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press. Klein, R. (2019), “The National Health Service (NHS) at 70: Bevan’s double-edged legacy”, Health Economics, Policy and Law, (14), pp. 1-10. LIister, J. (2018), Unhealthy Profits, York: LULU.com. Meek, J. (2014), Private island, Cornwall: CPI Group (UK) Ltd. Reynolds, L. (2019), “Selling our safety to the highest bidder: the privatisation of Plasma Resources UK”, openDemocracy. Available at: https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/ournhs/selling-our-safety-to-highest-bidder-privatisation-ofplasma-resources-uk/, (Accessed 14 February 2020). Simonet, D. (2013), “The New Public Management Theory in the British Health Care System”, Administration & Society, 47(7), pp. 802-826. Triggle, N. (2019), “Why the NHS gave thousands HIV-contaminated blood”, BBC News. Available at: https://www.bbc.com/news/health-48596605, (Accessed 14 February 2020). Youle, E. (2019), “Medics knew risk of HIV-infected blood' given to patients at Royal Free Hospital”, Hampstead Highgate Express. Available at: https://www.hamhigh.co.uk/news/health/medics-knew-risk-of-hiv-infected-blood-givento-patients-at-royal-free-hospital-1-4724457, (Accessed 14 February 2020).


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A Marxist Response to the Difference Principle

Edward White, 2nd Year Essay BSocSc (Hons) Politics and International Relations

Abstract: This paper questions Rawls’s argument that the difference principle is the best articulation of his idea of justice ‘as fairness’. I argue that Rawls’s veil of ignorance thought experiment, by appealing to ideas of fairness and reciprocity as normative criteria for just principles, does not entail that we should let the difference principle shape our ideals of distributive justice for two main reasons. Firstly, it does not account for injustices caused by natural inequalities. Secondly, it allows for the leisure of some to be subsidised by the forced distribution of the wealth of others. The Marxist maxim “from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs” is presented as an alternative and preferable ideal to the difference principle as it does not fall foul of these objections.

Introduction The notion that any inequality may exist, if it leaves the worst off in a comparatively better position to how they would otherwise be, seems like an intuitively attractive idea. This essay will argue that, whilst there is some merit to this view, which Rawls articulates with the difference principle, it would ultimately not be adopted behind a veil of ignorance. The Marxist slogan “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”, advocated for in Critique of The Gotha Programme,1 will be argued as a preferable ideal to the difference principle. Through overcoming some significant objections to Rawls’s ideas, it is ultimately rendered a fairer set of rules as it is more attractive to the neutral agents under the veil of ignorance. Before continuing, it is necessary to state that this essay will neither outline a practical framework for the implementation of these principles, nor seek to prove outright that Marxism offers the most just, most fair, or otherwise ‘best’ set of ideals. Instead, it will be demonstrated that this Marxist conception of fairness does not fall foul

1

Marx, K. (1966), Critique of the Gotha Programme. (rev. edn), New York: International Publishers, p. 10.


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of the same flaws that the difference principle does under Rawls’s justifications, yet it still retains some of its most appealing elements. This essay will be split in to two main sections. Firstly, Rawls’s arguments for the difference principle will be given. The veil of ignorance will be described, as well as criteria for whether or not a principle is attractive under the veil. The argument in favour of the difference principle will follow from this, through understanding the difference principle as a reaction to utilitarianism and how it fulfils Rawls’s rights-based criteria through a system of lexical priority. Secondly, two objections to Rawls’s arguments will be made, with each objection receiving a response on why it would be remedied under a Marxist set of ideals. The objections concern: (1) the pervasiveness of natural inequalities; and (2) the subsidy of leisure. This essay will conclude that Rawls’s difference principle may be reasonably rejected in favour of Marx’s maxim from Critique of The Gotha Programme, as this maxim fulfils principles lexically prior to the difference principle to a greater extent than the difference principle itself; it appeals to ideals of fairness centred in reciprocity that are decisive under the veil. Rawls, the veil of ignorance, and the difference principle The veil of ignorance is a thought experiment which aims to create a set of conditions that lead us to accept an ideal of justice based on fairness. Rawls describes the veil of ignorance as imagining a situation where: “no one knows his place in society, his class position, or social status, nor does anyone know his fortune in the distribution of natural assets or abilities, his intelligence, strength, and the like. I shall even assume that the parties do not know their conceptions of the good or their special psychological propensities.”2 In doing this, Rawls encourages us to select rules for a society which would be chosen by everyone, as no-one would want to accept that they could find themselves in an incredibly unfavourable position in the absence of a pre-existing set of principles. This is an extension of Rawls’s cake game, another thought experiment, where we are asked to find the best way to slice a cake so that everyone will receive a fair amount. 3 Given the lack of information about people’s preferences for cake slice size, Rawls suggests that we let the person slicing the cake choose their piece last. This would result in the cake being divided into equal pieces, as an acceptable outcome would be produced for all no matter the position they find themselves in. The veil of ignorance operates on the same assumptions, although instead of dividing of a cake, we now formulate 2 3

Rawls, J. (1971), A Theory of Justice, London: Harvard University Press, p.12. Nelson, W. (1980), ‘The Very Idea of Pure Procedural Justice’, Ethics, 90(4), p. 504.


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rules for society. As people do not know how they will end up, their decisions will be guided by a consideration for how they could be living under whatever rules are chosen. People begin to treat each other as equals regarding how they could be outside of the veil.4 Consequently, the veil of ignorance encourages the selection of principles which offer protections for those who would become disadvantaged. Rawls’s subsequent adoption of the difference principle is grounded in the acceptance of the need to offer protections to the worst off in society. It is important to remember that Rawls’s arguments arose in opposition to utilitarian ideals of justice.5 Whilst utilitarianism does seem attractive through its commitment to maximising overall wellbeing, it has one major flaw: this is that it allows for some people to suffer immensely if it is for the net benefit of others. Under the veil of ignorance, this would be extremely undesirable. Rawls overcomes this through adopting a set of rights which are guaranteed to everyone. In the same way that the cake is divided equally based on the uncertainty of the end result, each individual receives the same claim to a shared set of basic freedoms and liberties. This is the foundation of Rawls’s arguments, as it is lexically prior to the other principles he adopts. That is to say, other principles which Rawls adopts may only be chosen once this principle is satisfied. Fair equality of opportunity follows from equal rights to access basic goods and is in turn lexically prior to the difference principle. If there was a barrier to this, such as discrimination or socio-economic disparity preventing access to certain forms of education, this would mean that some people cannot compete fairly with others. As the veil of ignorance encourages fairness, any disparity between initial social inequalities must be eliminated. If people do compete on an equal footing, there may still be inequalities; those who are more talented in one area may be rewarded by a financial incentive to fully utilise their talent. If these inequalities worked for those who were not successful in this competition, however, they would be permissible if all benefitted from them (such as through redistribution via taxation of those who did succeed). As the inequalities are both fair and cater to those who are least favoured in society, they would be considered attractive under the veil of ignorance. To summarise, Rawls argues that we should all have access to some basic rights as this would be fair and desirable under the veil of ignorance. Anything outside of these basic rights may be allowed to be unequal, but only if there is fair equality of opportunity, and if these inequalities maximise the welfare of the least well

4 5

Swift, A. (2014), Political Philosophy: A Beginners’ Guide for Students and Politicians, (3rd edn), Cambridge: Polity, pp. 24-25. Lamont, J. and Favor, C. (2017), “Distributive Justice”, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.


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off. From a Rawlsian perspective, the difference principle would ultimately be chosen under the veil of ignorance as it offers a fair and secure foundation for the worst off, and extends this foundation to be better than – or at least equal to – any alternative. Marxism against the difference principle However, there are some key objections to the difference principle. The issue of natural inequalities is one which Rawls acknowledges, yet makes no attempt to address.6 Whilst Rawls does make the claim that any disadvantage caused by social luck is unfair, as per his principle of fair equality of opportunity, he does not extend this principle to include those who are much less fortunate through no fault of their own. Whilst this does not initially challenge our intuitions when considering smaller natural disadvantages, such as a lack of talent, it becomes problematic when we consider those who suffer greatly as a result of extreme natural disadvantages, such as severe disabilities or phobias. Even though Rawls could argue that the difference principle would still accommodate for them, as any inequality would work in their favour, his failure to compensate for natural inequalities could still prevent any given individual under the veil of ignorance from leading a satisfying life.7 An adoption of the second clause of the maxim presented by Marx, “to each according to his needs” remedies this in two distinct ways. Firstly, the explicit recognition of needs means that compensation will be granted to those who require it wherever possible, no matter what the root cause is for the need for compensation. Rawls’s lack of concern for those who have significant, disadvantages can be characterised as unfair. Meanwhile, stating that resources must be directed “to each according to his needs” offers greater protections for those worse off. It increases their ability to fairly compete and guarantees their situation will be remedied to the greatest possible extent. Secondly, the reciprocal nature of this maxim prevents a double standard that is found within the difference principle, in that the better off do not believe in the difference principle. 8 In choosing the Marxist principle under the veil of ignorance, through accepting that the worst off should be catered to in the best possible way, one must also accept that any individual could find themselves in the more fortunate position. The first clause, “from each according to his ability”, entails that one would have a duty to provide for others to the greatest extent possible if one accepts that those who are proportionally worse off should receive aid Kymlicka, W. (2002), Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Introduction, (2nd edn), Oxford: Oxford University Press, p.70. Gutmann, A. (1980), Liberal equality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 103-104. 8 Cohen, G.A. (2011), On the Currency of Egalitarian Justice, and Other Essays in Political Philosophy. Edited by Michael Otsuka. Princeton: Princeton University Press, pp. 246-247. 6 7


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to the same extent. To suggest otherwise would be hypocritical and place an unfair burden on others. Therefore, in accepting a needs and ability-based formulation of Rawls’s maximin reasoning, the better off would understand that they are assisting others in virtue of the fact that they would be receiving assistance themselves if they were in the inverse position. A reciprocal arrangement such as this is preferable under the veil of ignorance as it has a division of burden grounded in fair play and equal expectations of others. Under the difference principle, even if the inequality does work in favour of the worst off, Rawls’s conception does not totally consider the origins of any given inequality. At worst, a Marxist case guarantees that the worst off will be better off than any alternative in the same way as the difference principle. At best, it allows for an expanded system of care to remedy wrongs caused by natural inequalities which Rawls does not take in to account. It is the combination of the latter statement and the characterisation of decision making under the veil of ignorance as being risk-averse which makes the difference principle less attractive than a Marxist-oriented principle. The second objection concerns the subsidy of leisure. Kymlicka imagines a situation where there are two people with exactly the same natural abilities and resources. In this thought experiment, the resources take the form of identical pieces of land.9 One person chooses to use this land to farm vegetables and produces an abundance. The other turns their land into lawn, and leisurely plays tennis by themselves. Under the difference principle, the resulting inequality must work in favour of the least well-off person. In this scenario, this would consist of the farmer’s produce being at least partially distributed to the tennis player. Through making the conscious decision not to work and contribute to wider society, the tennis player benefits to a much greater extent as their preferences are disproportionally satisfied compared to the farmer’s. Intuitively, this seems flawed as it is not only unsustainable, but is also troubling that someone who applies less effort benefits proportionally more than someone who applies more effort. The first clause of the Marxist principle, “from each according to their ability”, remedies this; each party accepts that they should give that which they have the capacity to, to the greatest extent that they can (i.e. so that any contribution does not overextend the individual so much it infringes on their needs). Selfish acts, such as playing tennis instead of contributing to the rest of society, would be seen as unjust instead of just and in need of assistance from Rawls’s perspective. Additionally, we may critique the mechanism of the difference principle as Cohen does, arguing that those who are talented may hold society to ransom through demanding greater “incentives”.10 This is problematic, as the difference principle seeks to use inequality as a 9

Kymlicka, W. (2002), Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Introduction, (2nd edn), Oxford: Oxford University Press, p.72. Cohen, G.A. (2000), If You’re an Egalitarian, How Come You’re So Rich?, London: Harvard University Press, p. 125.

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tool for benefitting everyone, not encouraging egoistic behaviour. Under the above clause, this can be seen as unfair as a failure to comply with the demands of the talented may prevent them from contributing according to their ability to benefit the worst off. A – limited – claim on behalf of the rest of society to the labour of all individuals would satisfy the reciprocal requirements of maximin reasoning-induced protections outlined in the previous objection, as well as prevent the abuse of the difference principle by avoiding subsidy of leisure, and prevent individuals from holding society to ransom, as they have a duty, rather than an incentive, to benefit wider society. Again, the Marxist principle fulfils the veil of ignorance’s requirement of fairness and protection of the less well off to a greater extent than the difference principle. Conclusion Whilst the difference principle may initially appear attractive through its commitment to the veil of ignorance’s demands of fairness and concern for the least well off, Rawls’s original argument does not go far enough to either guarantee welfare for those suffering from significant natural disadvantages, as per the first objection, or fairness in the case of allowing some people to exploit the system, as per the second. It is ultimately these shortcomings of Rawls’s conception of fairness that, despite their solid foundations, leave much room for improvement which may come from Marxist-inspired thought. Of course, there are many legitimate criticisms of the ideas presented above, and of objections to the difference principle originating from other schools of thought; however, to agree explicitly with Rawls’s arguments would be flawed. References Cohen, G.A. (2000), If You’re an Egalitarian, How Come You’re So Rich?, London: Harvard University Press. Cohen, G.A. (2011), On the Currency of Egalitarian Justice, and Other Essays in Political Philosophy, Otsuka, M. (ed.), Princeton: Princeton University Press. Gutmann, A. (1980), Liberal equality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Kymlicka, W. (2002), Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Introduction, Second edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Lamont, J. and Favor, C. (2017), “Distributive Justice”, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Available at: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/justice-distributive, (Accessed: 28 October 2018). Marx, K. (1966), Critique of the Gotha Programme, Revised edition, New York: International Publishers. Nelson, W. (1980), ‘The Very Idea of Pure Procedural Justice’, Ethics, 90(4), pp. 502-511. Rawls, J. (1971), A Theory of Justice, London: Harvard University Press. Swift, A. (2014), Political Philosophy: A Beginners’ Guide for Students and Politicians, Third edition, Cambridge: Polity.


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A Theoretical Exploration of the Relationship between Development and Ecological Crisis

Jocelyn Gaitskell, 2nd Year Essay BA (Hons) Economics and Politics

Abstract: Contributing to increasingly relevant discussions of ecological crisis, this essay seeks to establish a meaningful link between development in its current imagination and environmental degradation. The incompatibility I posit further questions the capacity for existing structures to effectively tackle and proactively engage with necessary changes for combatting such a crisis, calling for new definitions of successful development and a reformed economic ideological consensus. Introduction In the face of an ecological crisis that is becoming increasingly irresponsible to ignore, identifying causal factors is of urgency in the pursuit of both understanding and solution construction. This essay will explore three themes to identify and explain the relationship between ecological crisis and ‘development’. Articulation of development as an expression of modernisation, capitalism and discourse will be used to highlight the dynamism of a relationship defined both by its historical precedent and its evolution. First, this essay will analyse the role of modernisation theory in the creation of an unsustainable development framework before considering its present sustenance through a revitalised ecological modernisation theory. Next, a theoretical exploration of capitalist development will highlight the accord between tendencies towards accumulation and environmental degradation. Finally discourse will be imagined as apparatus for the sustenance of development as it currently exists as well as holding the capacity to co-opt and deflect sustainability rhetoric. Whilst not claiming development should be identified as the cause of ecological crisis, the position of this essay and the construction of ensuing argument posits that development in its existing form exhibits a tendency to aggravate and contribute to ecological crisis and degradation.


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Development as Modernization Modernization dogma as formulated through development institutions complements existing strains of neoliberal capitalist economic organisation in its favour for market freedom and growth-driven policy. Modernisation theory establishes development as a linear and replicable process of progression, championing a framework that promotes economic growth as universally applicable to nations seeking modernity. Existing consensus of policy expression derived from this theoretical position is of greatest relevance when considering the link between development practice and ecological health. Seminal modernisation works such as Rostow’s ‘The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto’ identify a titular position for growth and industrialisation,1 equating these processes with ‘progress’ as sought by development. Programmes revolving around growth remain central to institutions birthed from this theoretical context, with some form of economic growth used to describe not only aims but the identities of core development institutions such as the International Monetary Fund,2 World Bank,3 Asian Development Bank4 and African Development Bank5 to list a few. Borrowing from capitalist ideologies of profit pursuit, modernisation theory and its dependence upon growth and market led economics as a development solution reiterate the existence of modernisation theory as a tangent of capitalism. Fundamentally, the belief that “self-sustaining growth...eventually will lead to the end of extreme poverty,”6 necessitates continued promotion of market freedoms to meet the purpose of development programmes. Growth is posited as the solution, and this growth is achieved within development through industrialisation and market liberalisation. However, it is this very championing of growth as the elixir of progress that has created increasingly visible environmental costs. Following the Limits to Growth report of 1972 that concluded “sudden and uncontrollable decline in both population and industrial capacity” 7 would occur in the persistence of growth, the degrowth movement has gained considerable traction. Degrowth academics warn of a symptomatic unsustainability within a paradigm of development that embodies a “denial of anything but ascent”, 8 perpetuating logics of an “unquestionable desirability of growth”9 and elevation of “economism” as infallible. 10 Limitless

Rostow, W.W., (1960), The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. IMF, “About the IMF”, International Monetary Fund. 3 World Bank, “Who We Are.”, The World Bank. 4 Asian Development Bank, “Who We Are”, Asian Development Bank. 5 African Development Bank, “Mission & Strategy”, African Development Bank Group. 6 Sachs, J., (2015), The Age of Sustainable Development, Columbia University Press, p.148. 7 Meadows, D., Meadows, D., Randers, J., Behrens III, W., (1972), The Limits to Growth, New York: Universe Books, p.23. 8 D’Alisa, G., Demaria, F., Kallis, G., (2015), Degrowth, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, p.34. 9 a., p.34. 10 Ibid., p.33. 1 2


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growth encouraged by an unending trajectory of ‘development’ and ‘progress’ cannot exist without consequence on a planet with limited space and resources. In a general sense, the relationship between economic growth and environmental strain has been established as “significant and positive” 11 with one study finding that a “10% increase in income leads to a 3.8% increase in pressure on nature”. 12 Within a development context however, further trade-offs are evident. The case of industrialisation exists as a central prescription of the linear modernisation process, articulated by Rostow as the “new modern industrial sectors essential to the take-off”.13 However the consequences of this recommendation contain a multitude of environmental discontents. Jiang, Deng and Seto find that industrialisation processes have led to the “intensification of agricultural land use”14 as arable land becomes repurposed for urban development whilst another paper identifies a “human-induced precipitation deficit”15 occurring from the building of cities upon previously vegetated land. Broader implications arise from the finding that urbanisation “alters surface energy budgets, the hydrological cycle, and biogeochemical cycles related to carbon and nitrogen” 16 extending beyond localised impacts to alter balance at a global scale. This small insight into the considerable variety of environmental damage resulting from the heavily emphasised industrialisation pattern of development reiterates the presence of ecological crisis as an accepted trade-off from modernisation prescriptions. It would appear then that environmental damage is a ‘necessary evil’ if development is to be achieved according to modernisation theory. Thus a fundamental incompatibility exists between development as conceptualised by modernization theory and the boundaries of ecological sustenance. Policy guided by ‘growth as progress’ conflicts with the capacity of natural resources and geographical space to facilitate this use. This innate conflict establishes the initial connection between existing development structures and ecological crisis by virtue of the collision between each construct’s defining characteristics. Beyond the tradition of development as modernisation, a new conception of ‘ecological modernisation theory’ (EMT) has evolved. Whilst the very existence of this adaptation points to a recognition of an existing crisis relationship, the solutions proposed remain fallible to the pursuit of growth and free market sovereignty emblematic of traditional modernisation theory. This inherently limits the capacity of EMT to

Aşıcı, A., (2013), “Economic growth and its impact on environment: A panel data analysis”, Ecological Indicators 24, pp. 324-333. Ibid., p.329. 13 Rostow, The Stages of Economic Growth, p.23. 14 Jiang, L., Deng, X., Seto, K., (2013), “The Impact of Urban Expansion on Agricultural Land Use Intensity in China”, Land Use Policy 35, pp. 33-39. 15 Kaufmann, R., Seto, K., Schneider, A., Liu, Z., Zhou, L., Wang, W., (2007), “Climate Response to Rapid Urban Growth: Evidence of a Human- Induced Precipitation Deficit”, Journal of Climate 20, pp.2299-2306. 16 Seto, K. and Shepherd, J., (2009), “Global Urban Land-Use Trends and Climate Impacts”, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 1, pp.89-95. 11 12


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remedy its destructive tendencies upon the environment. To Ewing, the suggestion of the coexistence of ecological stability within a structural appendage of capitalism is dismissed as “deeply incoherent and implausible”.17 The foundational premise of EMT that environmental interests can be internalized within market systems fails to recognise the extent to which these very market structures that reward growth motivated behaviours undermines intentions of sustainability. Furthermore, the ecological rationality introduced by EMT is only proposed as viable once “environmental criteria, instruments and concepts are reformulated to mesh with the logics of modern markets”.18 This requirement reintroduces the hierarchy present within modernization contentions, suggesting “ecological rationality should be subordinated to economic rationalities” 19. This hierarchy reiterates the traditional prioritisation of economic growth. Economic growth continues to take priority. As economic and ecological prescriptions have been shown to be inherently opposing, placing growth first invokes the original relationship of destruction that EMT was conceived to counter. Thus this variance of modernisation underlines rather than reverses the structural incoherence of protecting environmental interests within a regime of development enamoured with the promotion of economic growth. Indeed Jänicke’s qualification of his endorsement of EMT “at the end of the day, governance for sustainable development cannot succeed if it does not include structural solutions” 20 identifies the success of EMT as limited, remaining transitional in its potential for success at reforming any tendencies towards ecological destruction. New fields have emerged within the schematics of modernisation theory, with environmental economics seeking new ways to ensure that externalities are internalised and accounted for within policy and market pricing. However the utility of such extensions in regards to sustainability continues to rest upon whether growth is at the fulcrum of aspiration, with such a distancing from ‘growth as progress’ unlikely to gain ground in more mainstream neoclassical strains. Moreover, the allocation of prices to account for degradation to natural goods and processes appears somewhat ill-fitting with the intention of sustainability. Whilst acknowledging that environmental deterioration is a failure within market structures is a positive recognition, framing environmental crisis as a cost problem that can be circumnavigated to allow ‘business as usual’ for the right price is a somewhat cynical engagement. Thus the identity and trajectory of modernization theory in both the historical precedent of development and its adapted form of EMT fails to address the fundamental source of inconsistency that exists within its economic structure and propositions for success. Clear divergence of consequence exists between the Ewing, J., (2017), “Hollow Ecology: Ecological Modernization Theory and the Death of Nature”, Journal of World-Systems Research 23, no. 1, pp.126-155. 18 Ibid., p.133. 19 Ibid., p.133. 20 Jänicke, M., (2008), “Ecological Modernisation: New Perspectives”, Journal of Cleaner Production, pp.557-565. 17


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economic objectives of ‘development as modernisation’ that seek growth-oriented solutions to poverty and the environmental requirement for growth frugality to promote ecological stability. These cannot coexist without structural reform and a reimagination of how success is quantified within development. Development as Capitalism The existing development paradigm operates within the broader structural context of neoliberal capitalism. Placing development strategy within any structural context alters the domains of possibility for objectives centred around the protection of ecological interests. As introduced above, particular attention has centred on the incongruence of systems defined by capitalist qualities and genuine pursuit of ecological harmony. This calls into question the ability of a capitalist development system to account for and guard against ecological crisis. Marxist theory of metabolic rift provides an articulation of the interactions between humans and the environment. Foster puts it well when defining metabolic rift as the “material estrangement of human beings in capitalist society from the natural conditions of their existence”. 21 Capitalism serves as the rift between humanity and the natural environment, dematerializing economic processes to detach human action from environmental consequence, enabling heightened and unsustainable pursuit of profit and accumulation. 22 Marx’s imagination of metabolic rift is evidenced within the case study of soil degradation visible at the time of the concept’s articulation. In the 19th century it was discovered that soil nutrients were lacking due to increasingly intensive agricultural processes. Instead of responding to signals of a metabolic imbalance, this problem was considered an obstacle to production and was resolved through the importation of nutrients from periphery countries such as Peru. Beyond this temporary solution, synthetic fertilisers were created. This contributed further to soil degradation, once more deferring the long-term threat this posed to agricultural production in favour of remedying the immediacy of produce attainment. 23 Solving ecological hazards in this way underlines the rift engendered by capitalism, favouring a continued disconnect from environmental consequence as opposed to challenging the mechanisms of production that instigated the environmental hindrance24. The conception of responsibility to the maintenance of the planet as something to be addressed

Foster, J.B., (1999), “Marx’s Theory of Metabolic Rift: Classical Foundations for Environmental Sociology”, American Journal of Sociology, pp.366-405. 22 Gindin, M., (2018), “What is Metabolic Rift?”, Medium. 23 Foster, J.B., (2002), “II. Capitalism and Ecology: The Nature of the Contradiction,” Monthly Review 54 (4), pp.6-16. 24 O’Connor, J., (1989), “Uneven and Combined Development and Ecological Crisis: a Theoretical Introduction”, Race & Class 30 (3), pp.1-11. 21


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only when conditions of production experience threat is absent of the engagement necessary to seek environmental protection. Configuration of the environment as a commodity as opposed to a life force introduces the incongruence of capitalist structures with the genuine pursuit of ecological stability, providing further basis for the relations of crisis established regarding growth-oriented development solutions and the environment. An expansion upon the metabolic rift depiction was conceived by O’Connor as the second contradiction of capitalism. The ecological Marxist enunciation of a secondary contradiction focuses on the disconnect between “capitalist production relations... and the conditions of capitalist production”25 resulting in the underproduction of capital. Conditions of capitalist production- human labour-power, the natural world and the built environment- cannot be produced by capitalism. Rather, these conditions hold the status of ‘fictitious commodities’. Polanyi first introduced this classification to refer to elements that are treated as market commodities that are not inherently created for this market purpose namely land, labour and money. 26 Capital is unable to produce these conditions, instead depending upon natural conditions of production. The capitalist economic system and its insatiability for endless accumulation places strain on natural conditions of production that exist within boundaries of scarcity. The exploitation of these processes to the point of exhaustion leads to increasing costs of production, reduced profit and an ultimate aggravation of the scarcity of capital. Persistent use of natural conditions of production beyond their capacity ultimately leads to a counterproductive result, whereby the yield of natural conditions of production becomes depleted or barren. Thus the destructive implications of natural conditions of production that lack the capacity for the endless and increasingly intensive production processes desired by capitalism lead to the damage of the very systems of production required to accumulate capital. Foster contends that the relationship between capitalism and crisis extends even further, stating that within capitalism there remains “capacity to accumulate in the midst of the most blatant ecological destruction, to profit from environmental degradation”. 27 Warning that no feedback mechanism to respond to ecological crisis exists within capitalism, Foster cautions against downplaying “the full dimensions of the ecological crisis”, 28 referencing the profit being sought in industries such as waste management, that exist by virtue of excessive growth and consumption, as an example of capitalism’s insatiability and incapacity to pursue environmental balance without profit incentive. If profit can be extracted from the results or process of ecological crisis, capitalism will seek to exploit this.

O’Connor, J., (1988), “Capitalism, Nature, Socialism a Theoretical Introduction”, Capitalism Nature Socialism 1, pp.11-38. Polanyi, K., (1944), The Great Transformation, New York: Farrar & Rinehart. 27 Foster, Capitalism and Ecology, p.11. 28 Ibid., p. 11. 25 26


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The above theoretical groundwork underpins the ecological Marxist critique of capitalism, establishing the relationship between the defining elements of capitalism and their tendency towards ecological crisis. As a construction emanating from a capitalist context, development is likely to be reflective of these crisis tendencies. Beyond this assumption, it is evident that dominant framings of development practice have promoted capitalist solutions to development problems. The heavily critiqued Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs) of development infamy have eschewed countless consequences relating to social disharmony and unequal power relations. With greatest relevance to this essay however, the ecological damage linked to fiscal strategies mandated by SAPs serves as a demonstrable reminder of the misalignment between capitalist development and ecological protection. Richardson examines the case study of Kenya in a consideration of this relationship. The package of policies of SAPs emphasise the importance of export oriented growth and the role for private market actors to counteract the inefficiencies of excessively bureaucratic governance. To achieve these ends, policies of trade liberalisation, domestic pricing reform and institutional change are used. Richardson’s29 study identifies links between these strategies and considerable environmental damage, particularly in the areas of wildlife conservation and the agricultural environment, an economic sector accounting for 70% of Kenyan employment and contributing to 30% of the national GDP. 30 Richardson’s conclusions that “Unleashing the forces of the market...has led to unintended and perverse consequences in the agricultural sector,”31 reiterates the relationship of crisis theorised above. Richardson provides evidence of chemical accumulation speeding up soil degradation as a result of development agricultural policy. This effect is reminiscent of the original environmental signalling that induced the articulation of metabolic rift and capitalist critiques in the first place. Further corroboration is quantified by the econometric study of Kahn and McDonald32 which identifies a strong positive relationship between debt and deforestation, underlining the links between the indebtedness that instigates capitalist reforms within SAPs and unsustainable resource management processes as alluded to within O’Connor’s warnings. The existence of this study, albeit focusing upon one element of a more complex web of relations, challenge the conclusions of World Bank rebuttals 33 that the relationship of crisis is evidenced solely by case studies rather than statistical evidence. Thus development as an expression of capitalism confirms the theoretical propositions of ecological Marxism, emphasising the

Overseas Development Institute (1996), Structural Adjustment and Environmental Linkages: A Case Study of Kenya, London: The Chameleon Press Ltd. 30 Ibid., p.61. 31 Ibid., p.109. 32 Kahn, J R., McDonald, J A., (1990), Third World Debt and Tropical Deforestation., Binghamton, New York: Department of Economics. 33 World Bank (2003), A Critical Review of the Literature on Structural Adjustment and the Environment, Washington DC: World Bank. 29


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disregard for sustaining natural conditions of production whilst undermining environmental protection and limiting growth in the long-run. Thus ecological Marxist theory and its expressions within development reiterate the existence of a relationship between development and ecological crisis. Foster’s warnings of a capitalism with the capacity to expand accumulation through the utilisation of products of environmental crisis underlines this further, emphasising that beyond a causal link there even exists a benefit for capitalism within ecological crisis. When applied to development as an incarnation of neoliberal capitalist ‘ideologies’ of accumulation and market liberation, the relationship established as a necessity within modernisation development can be seen to encompass the broader structure that modernisation theory emulates. Development as Discourse The permeation of discourse, both as a tool for the sustenance of a system as well as a means for the co-optation of reform and deflection of responsibility, underlines the thread of relation between ecological crisis and development. Whilst discourse operates less explicitly in the identification of this relationship, its presence serves to solidify broader agendas aligned with processes of capitalism and modernisation. Discourse in this analysis will be understood to be “the processes that construct understanding and meaning about things or issues in the world”, 34 sculpting the identity of “common sense and legitimate knowledge”. 35 Increasingly, the emphasis of analysis with regards to discourse and development is centred around its role in the co-optation of the language of sustainability and ‘green’ strategy, paired with action that lacks substantial structural reform. As asserted by Rist, the qualification of ‘development’ with the prefix of ‘sustainable’ instituted “a global slogan that all could readily endorse, […] one that was sufficiently vague to allow different, often incompatible interpretations”. 36 The value of ‘sustainable development’ as a buzzword, presupposed to be inherently positive and striving towards the elevation of environmental goods, served as a sanctification for whatever could be pitched in this vein. Indeed as observed within the analysis surrounding modernisation, novel proposals of ‘green market’, ‘green economy’, ‘green new deal’, ‘green stimulus’ 37

Wanner, T., (2014), “The New ‘Passive Revolution’ of the Green Economy and Growth Discourse: Maintaining the ‘Sustainable Development’ of Neoliberal Capitalism”, New Political Economy 20 (1), pp.21-41. 35 Ibid., p.22. 36 Rist, G., (2007), “Development as a Buzzword,” Development in Practice 17 (4-5), pp.485-491. 37 Tienhaara, K., (2013), “Varieties of Green Capitalism: Economy and Environment in the Wake of the Global Financial Crisis,” Environmental Politics 23 (2), pp.187-204. 34


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often merely repackage development theories; these reinventions remain oxymoronic in the face of established incompatibilities within the union of sustainability and development. As defined by the World Bank, green growth is purported as “economic growth that is environmentally sustainable”. 38 This advances the notion that growth driven market policy can coexist and actually accentuate environmental protection. Gramsci’s theory of passive revolution explains the maintenance of hegemony as a balance between coercion and consent, with the establishment of a ‘common sense’ discourse essential to the homogenisation of the dominant ideology disseminated throughout society. Passive revolution occurs in the face of a counter hegemonic force, co-opting the challenger’s discourse in order to neutralise its threat and regain hegemonic peace, a process Gramsci referred to as the absorption of the antithesis. 39 Wanner identifies two instances of passive revolution within sustainable development discourses, emerging to counter threatening discourses of warnings of limits to growth. The Brundtland report, 40 often thought to contain the definitive explanation of sustainable development, stresses the symbiotic relationship of growth and the environment, proclaiming the necessity to revive growth in order to effectively combat environmental concerns. Wanner describes how this report “shifted the framing”

41

from environmental harm resulting

from economic growth to one where economic growth was at risk from environmental prescriptions of limitation. Instead of presenting a trade-off, this report emphasised the need for both environmentality and economic growth, a win-win representation of a relationship previously defined by crisis. Beyond this example of passive revolution however lay another. The decoupling of growth and the environment promulgates the environmentality of economic growth, distancing descriptions of resource extraction and fossil fuels to a discourse purporting growth contributing to environmental initiatives through the growth of new ‘sustainable’ sectors and associated market solutions. Moreover, persisting rhetoric of economics talks of the capacity of declining ‘natural capital’, or environmental goods, to simply be replaced by different forms of capital. Whilst this solution neglects the reality that substitutes do not exist for every element of nature, placing excessive pressure on the human ability to innovate under pressure, the message is transmitted that ecological degradation is not an insurmountable crisis. This ensures that “nature remains a resource, or ‘natural capital’, for capitalist-driven exploitation” 42 as maintained through a veneer of sustainability. Inherent inconsistencies of capitalism and environmentality however have not been eradicated, merely obfuscated through the formulation of altered discourse. The framing of economism and growth World Bank (2012), Inclusive Green Growth: the Pathway to Sustainable Development, Washington DC: World Bank, p.30. Gramsci, A., (1971), Selections from the Prison Notebooks, New York: International Publishers. 40 World Commission on Environment and Development (1987), Our Common Future, New York: Oxford University Press. 41 Wanner, The New Passive Revolution, p. 27. 42 Ibid., p.33. 38 39


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dogma as the solution to environmental collapse once more illuminates the existence of hierarchy, proposing that growth is needed to stimulate any action with regards to the environment. Assertions such as the following from UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs that the purpose of remedying environmental risks centres around “managing the risks to growth from adverse environmental events”

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reiterates

that the growth based economy takes priority, a conflict established to be inherently immovable. Thus once more the discourse of development alludes to persistence of economic priority, with environmental need incurring a response only when this growth is threatened. A further point of interest is the power of discourse as deflection. The construction of scapegoats distracts attention from structural relationships of crisis between capitalist manifestations and development. Fletcher, Breitling and Puleo44 identify overpopulation discourse as operating in this capacity. The spectre of the ‘overpopulation bogeyman’45 is something that can be traced throughout the history of development, from Malthusian warnings to modern development’s preoccupation with ‘family planning’ from the late 20th century. The persistent appeal of this explanation of poverty traps has led to the paper’s labelling of this narrative as a ‘hegemonic myth’46 by virtue of its unquestioned appeal and acceptance. The explicit link between environmental crisis and population was first publicized in ‘the Population Bomb’, 47 predicting dire consequences for the planet if populations were to continue growing rapidly. Environmental security fields emerging from the 1990s identified population growth as a pre-eminent risk to be addressed, defining the dangers of overpopulation as a security threat. 48 The logics of these links have since been challenged, with a political ecology perspective proving particularly sceptical. The fear promulgated surrounding population growth is challenged through this lens, with the discourse of overpopulation considered to be a distraction from the economic structures that “generate poverty, environmental degradation, violence, and migration”. 49 This deflection of responsibility is elevated through Lacanian psychoanalytic theory where the role of fantasy is identified in the process of scapegoating. “Fantasy is a means for an ideology to take its own failure into account in advance,”50 with the scapegoat “introducing corruption into the sound social fabric” 51 and becoming identified as the reason that the fantasy, in this case neoliberal capitalism as a force for ecological health,

Department for Environment, UK Government; Food and Rural Affairs (2010), Economic Growth and the Environment, London. Fletcher, R., Breitling, J., Puleo, V., (2014), “Barbarian hordes: the overpopulation scapegoat in international development discourse”, Third World Quarterly 35 (7), pp.1195-1215. 45 Ibid., p.1196. 46 Ibid., p.1198. 47 Ehrlich, P., (1968), The Population Bomb, Sierra Club/Ballantine Books. 48 Fletcher et al, Barbarian Hordes, p.1200. 49 Ibid., p.1202. 50 Žižek, S., (1989), The Sublime Object of Ideology, London: Verso Books, p.142. 51 Ibid., p.142. 43 44


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cannot be fulfilled. Thus the gap between reality and the promised fantasy is explained with the introduction of an external scapegoat to redirect dissatisfaction and blame. This exemplifies the utility of discourse as a tool to engage with the sustenance of fundamentally unsustainable systems whilst obscuring the reality of fault. This analysis identifies the role of discourse as a method of deflection and co-optation. A perceived necessity for ‘passive revolution’ and construction of fantasy underscores the awareness that a relationship has been identified between neoliberal capitalism and ecological crisis. Beyond this, discourse facilitates the continued existence of this relationship, allowing capitalism to continue to seek profit in spite of ecological damage as highlighted in Foster’s aforementioned reference to the profit emerging from sectors managing the fallout from ecological crisis. When applied specifically to development, the prefixing of ‘sustainable’ seeks to state a commitment to reform. However the lack of subsequent action aligning with genuinely sustainable endeavours, reiterates the crisis endemic within. The inclusion of sustainability rhetoric alongside unsustainable development policy illustrates that discourse operates as a device to sustain existing power regimes and disregard relationships of crisis. Conclusion Aggregate consideration of the arguments put forward in this essay demonstrates an undeniable link between development in its existing expression of neoliberal capitalism and ecological crisis. The fundamental incongruence that exists between structures built upon growth driven ideology and the moderated growth necessitated by the existing ecological state of affairs has prevented the appearance of durable capitalist solutions to environmental threat. The current position of development as an embodiment of market solutions exacerbates the symptoms of crisis predicted by theoretical warnings of incompatibility, asserting the conclusions demanding structural reform. In order to meet the rising demands of a strained planet, methods of discourse must accompany calls for rethinking methods of production and the allure of growth. Without fundamental change of global economic structures and ideology, or a shift in the ownership of development, the relationship of crisis will remain endemic. References African Development Bank, “Mission & Strategy,” African Development Bank Group, Available at: https://www.afdb.org/en/about/mission-strategy (Accessed May 1, 2019). Aşıcı, A., (2013), “Economic growth and its impact on environment: A panel data analysis”, Ecological Indicators, 24, pp. 324-333.


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Asian Development Bank, “Who We Are”, Asian Development Bank, Available at: https://www.adb.org/about/main (Accessed May 1, 2019). D’Alisa, G., Demaria, F., Kallis, G., (2015), Degrowth, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. Department for Environment, UK Government; Food and Rural Affairs (2010), Economic Growth and the Environment, London. Available at: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/23585/1/MPRA_paper_23585.pdf (Accessed May 1, 2019). Ehrlich, P., (1968), The Population Bomb, Sierra Club/Ballantine Books. Ewing, J., (2017), “Hollow Ecology: Ecological Modernization Theory and the Death of Nature”, Journal of World-Systems Research, 23 (1), pp.126-155. Fletcher, R., Breitling, J., Puleo, V., (2014), “Barbarian hordes: the overpopulation scapegoat in international development discourse”, Third World Quarterly, 35, pp.1195-1215. Foster, J.B., (1999), “Marx’s Theory of Metabolic Rift: Classical Foundations for Environmental Sociology”, American Journal of Sociology, 105 (2), pp.366-405. Foster, J.B., (2002), “II. Capitalism and Ecology: The Nature of the Contradiction”, Monthly Review, 54 (4), pp.6-16. Gindin, M., (2018), “What is Metabolic Rift?”, Medium, Available at: https://medium.com/@MatthewZGindin/what-is-metabolic-rift-632452a00860 (Accessed May 1st, 2019). Gramsci, A., (1971), Selections from the Prison Notebooks, New York: International Publishers. IMF (2019), “About the IMF”, International Monetary Fund, (Accessed May 1st, 2019). https://www.imf.org/en/About Jänicke, M., (2008), “Ecological Modernisation: New Perspectives”, Journal of Cleaner Production, 16 (5), pp.557-565. Jiang, L., Deng, X., Seto, K., (2013), “The Impact of Urban Expansion on Agricultural Land Use Intensity in China”, Land Use Policy, 35, pp. 33-39. Kahn, J R., McDonald, J.A., (1990), Third World Debt and Tropical Deforestation, Binghamton, New York: Department of Economics. Kaufmann, R., Seto, K., Schneider, A., Liu, Z., Zhou, L., Wang, W., (2007), “Climate Response to Rapid Urban Growth: Evidence of a Human- Induced Precipitation Deficit”, Journal of Climate, 20 (10), pp.22992306. Meadows, D., Meadows, D., Randers, J., Behrens III, W., (1972), The Limits to Growth, New York: Universe Books. O’Connor, J., (1988), “Capitalism, Nature, Socialism a Theoretical Introduction”, Capitalism Nature Socialism 1, pp.11-38. O’Connor, J., (1989), “Uneven and Combined Development and Ecological Crisis: a Theoretical Introduction” , Race & Class, 30 (3), pp.1-11. Overseas Development Institute (1996), Structural Adjustment and Environmental Linkages: A Case Study of Kenya., London: The Chameleon Press Ltd. Polanyi, K., (1944), The Great Transformation., New York: Farrar & Rinehart. Rist, G., (2007), “Development as a Buzzword” , Development in Practice, 17 (4-5), pp.485-491.


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Rostow, W.W., (1960), The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Sachs, J., (2015), The Age of Sustainable Development, Columbia University Press. Seto, K. and Shepherd, J., (2009), “Global Urban Land-Use Trends and Climate Impacts”, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 1, pp.89-95. Tienhaara, K., (2013), “Varieties of Green Capitalism: Economy and Environment in the Wake of the Global Financial Crisis”, Environmental Politics, 23 (2), pp.187-204. Wanner, T., (2014), “The New ‘Passive Revolution’ of the Green Economy and Growth Discourse: Maintaining the ‘Sustainable Development’ of Neoliberal Capitalism”, New Political Economy, 20 (1), pp.21-41. World Bank (2003), A Critical Review of the Literature on Structural Adjustment and the Environment, Washington DC: World Bank. World Bank (2012), Inclusive Green Growth: the Pathway to Sustainable Development, Washington DC: World Bank. World Bank (2019), “Who We Are,” The World Bank, Available at: https://www.worldbank.org/en/who-weare (Accessed May 1st, 2019). World Commission on Environment and Development (1987), Our Common Future, New York: Oxford University Press. Žižek, S., (1989), The Sublime Object of Ideology, London: Verso Books.


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The Belt and Road Development Machine: Producing Neoliberalism’s “Sublime” Bianca Getzel, 2ndYear Essay BSocSc (Hons) Politics and International Relations

Abstract: International development projects have been able to continuously create and shatter fantastic utopias via their “development machine.” Neoliberal development has thus been able to reap off of actualization shortfalls to bolster its monolithic economic ends. Yet, as current globalization processes within neoliberalism are deemed increasingly exclusive, alternatives to neoliberal development are sought. In fact, as the German Vice-Chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, states China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is “developing a comprehensive systemic alternative to the Western model” according to many spectators and international politicians. In this paper, I focus on the BRI and argue that despite its desire to be perceived as existing in contrast to current neoliberal realities, it is actually subservient to them. By analysing BRI as a State Neoliberal project rather than as a process of inclusive globalization I highlight how its ontological foundations are intrinsically connected to neoliberalism’s “development machine”. BRI’s capacity to construct “sublime” objects of desire through state implementation mechanisms and infrastructure projects in different domestic contexts highlights this reality. Through its analysis this paper hopefully contributes to existing literature by examining how ontological underpinnings of neoliberal development are recreated even through new and seemingly innovative projects. Introduction Since its inception in 2013, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has supposedly sought to restructure the dynamics of our global economy and its development initiatives according to its normatively drafted international paradigm. The BRI’s ambitions to promote new styles of development for all countries via the distribution of public goods and the facilitation of global connectivity, are all deemed postulates of an emerging development exemplar.1 Through pivotal trade hubs, its Economic Belt and Maritime Silk Road aim to connect China to Europe while covering areas that collectively generate 55% of international Gross National Product and 75% of known energy sources.2 As a 2016 UN General Assembly resolution endorsed the BRI via the unanimous decision of its 193 member states, its prominence becomes increasingly evident. Thus, this Vangeli, A. (2018), “The Normative Foundations of the Belt and Road Initiative”, in: Shan, W., Nuotio, K., and Zhang K. (eds.) Normative Readings of the Belt and Road Initiative, Cham: Springer, pp. 59-85. 2 Casarini, N. (2015), “Is Europe to Benefit from China’s Belt and Road Initiative?”, Instituto Affari Internazionali, 64(5), pp. 1-11. 1


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essay discusses whether the most ubiquitous international development project currently being championed, truly provides an alternative to neoliberal development. This study does not seek to answer whether viable alternatives to neoliberal development exist, this work will be saved for the expansive existing literature on post-3 and neo4-developmentalism. This analysis instead focuses on the BRI and contends that it does not manifest China’s own development path, but rather is best understood as state-neoliberal development, whose nuanced nature makes BRI exist both inside and outside of neoliberalism, while fundamentally relying upon it. First, I discuss why “inclusive globalization” theories, used to illustrate BRI, are not as well suited a descriptor compared to state-neoliberalism. Then, using Lacanian ontology as a base, BRI’s ideology is refocused to prove how its offering of development’s “sublime” is grounded within neoliberalism’s nature. I then access how China’s framing of the state’s role and use of infrastructure creates “sublime” development policies by comparing BRI projects in both developing states and developed EU states. This juxtaposition highlights how BRI constantly orbits around ideologies of neoliberal development despite efforts to disarrange from it. Finally, expounding on Philip Cerny’s understanding of accumulation by dispossession, BRI’s supposed development innovations are seen as a by-product of China’s desire to benefit from the economic realities that neoliberalism reproduces. Thus, the Chinese initiative is incapable of dismantling the neoliberal tendency to shamelessly reproduce itself in contexts with little regard for local realities. Once fully conceptualized along axioms of ideology, state formation, infrastructural impetus, and capital accumulation, BRI’s state neoliberal development showcases no alternative to neoliberalism- it instead proves itself existing subservient to it. State Neoliberalism and Contrasting Theories of Development Chinese academics often refer to China’s development model as one of “inclusive globalization”. They romantically describe, in a possibly propagandistic fashion,5 the Chinese state as the guiding hand and insist that “win-win” cooperations have BRI stand in contrast to Western neoliberalism.6

Davidov, V. (2013), “Mining versus Oil Extraction: Divergent and Differentiated Environmental Subjectivities in “Post-Neoliberal” Ecuador”, The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology, 18(3), pp. 485-504; Parfitt, T.W. (2002), The End of Development? Modernity, Post-Modernity and Development, London: Pluto; Shaffer, P. (2012), “Post-development and Poverty: an assessment”, Third World Quarterly, 33(10), pp. 1767-1782. 4 Gonzalez, A., and Vazquez, M. (2015), “Between “neodevelopmentalism” and “postdevelopmentalism”: towards a theory of a dispersed knowledge economy in Ecuador”, Canadian Journal of Development Studies, 37(1), pp. 47-65; Kaup, B. (2014), “Divergent Paths of Counter-Neoliberalization: Materiality and the Labor Process in Bolivia's Natural Resource Sectors”, Environment and Planning, 46(8), pp. 1836-1851. 5 van der Merwe, J. (2019), “The One Belt One Road Initiative: Reintegrating Africa and the Middle East into China’s System of Accumulation”, in Xing L. (ed.) Mapping China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ Initiative, Palgrave Macmillan: Cham. 6 Dunford, M., Gao, B., and Liu, W. (2016), “A discursive construction of the Belt and Road Initiative: From neo-liberalism to inclusive globalization”, Journal of Geographical Sciences, 28(9), pp. 1199-1214; Li, S. (2012), “Inclusive development: The inevitable choice of the development of globalization”, Productivity Research, (2): pp.6-9. 3


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However, as van der Merwe7 explicates there is an inherent naivety evident in this understanding, which leads to two dangerous conclusions. For one, this model assumes the state is a solely altruistic, passive actor guided by a benevolent ambition. Second, “inclusive globalization” is quick to assume that globalization/neoliberalism can today be practiced exclusively. Sate-neoliberalism (SN) instead avoids these problematic inferences. Despite the initially perplexing Marxist dialectics of the term itself, suggesting that divergent ideas do not exclude one another but can rather work in synthesis, SN provides a much clearer conceptualization of BRI. Neoliberal development consistently encourages countries to remove obstacles to the free market. Pushing all economic sectors to privatize, become wealth generators, and compete in the free trade system. According to neoliberal development these measures assist international progress, transcending even the needs of singular states.8 SN, instead, exists within this scope as a more dynamic process connecting market and state-oriented policies through a sovereign “strong-armed” state.9 However, SN differs from “state capitalism.”10 SN isn’t solely concerned with modes of production but recognizes how states permeate different levels of policy, via neoliberal governmentality, to achieve their goals. The reason why states can still govern the economy, in a way that is ordinarily non-neoliberal,11 is because its actions within SN still serve to expand transnational supply chains and commercial networks, propagating neoliberal realities. Therefore, China is not a post-neoliberal martyr, advocating for “inclusive globalization”, but rather an actor existing largely within its context. The Ontological Underpinnings of BRI: Continuing Development’s Utopia There is a tacit convergence in neoliberal thought which has been imperative to its project’s success. Upon all levels of the economy and society neoliberalism has been able to advertise its development projects by consolidating its economic approach. A monolithic view of neoliberalism is generated as states are dismantled according to globalization’s inexorable realities whereby economic cooperation brings developing nations into the reach of the developed neoliberal.12 This dogma shapes neoliberal development and the permanence of its rigid vision. Its thinking tangentially abides by its own teleology and deductively aims for “universality,

van der Merwe, J. (2019), “The One Belt One Road Initiative: Reintegrating Africa and the Middle East into China’s System of Accumulation”, in Xing L. (ed.) Mapping China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ Initiative, Palgrave Macmillan: Cham. 8 Harvey, D. (2005), A Brief History of Neoliberalism, Oxford: Oxford University Press; Miraftab, F. (2004), “Public-private partnerships: The Trojan horse of neoliberal development?”, Journal of Planning Education and Research, 24(1), pp.89-101. 9 Vangeli, A. (2018), “The Normative Foundations of the Belt and Road Initiative”, in: Shan, W., Nuotio, K., and Zhang K. (eds.) Normative Readings of the Belt and Road Initiative, Cham: Springer, p. 62. 10 Bremmer, I. (2009), “State Capitalism Comes of Age: The End of the Free Market?”, Foreign Affairs, 88(3), pp. 40–55. 11 Harvey, D. (2005), A Brief History of Neoliberalism, Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 2. 12 Mittleman, J.H. (1996), “How does globalization really work?”, in J. H. Mittleman (ed.) Globalization: Critical Reflection, Boulder: Lynne Rienner, pp. 229-41; Sklair, L. (1995), Sociology of the Global System, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University. 7


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conformity, and consistency.”13 BRI partially departs from this neoliberal rigidity by governing via experimentation. BRI does not attempt to reframe the world according to Chinese expectations. In fact, even geographical outlines of its map have been malleable, just like the different policies it uses to account for national idiosyncrasies. Unlike Western neoliberal ideals, it prioritizes flexibility and chooses to act based on the idea of “rule by law” instead of “rule of law.” 14 By practicing direct state-to-state relations, through SN, BRI advertises itself as championing the public good according to necessities of each state it contracts with. Its notorious “win-win scenario” only exists insofar as the Chinese state seeks mutual benefits for the other state as well.15 An underlying respect for sovereignty is ideated. The state, not the market, becomes the foci of discussion. Consequently, flexibility is bestowed instead of adherence to economic ideology. The divergence in how neoliberal development projects are administered, in comparison to BRI, showcases how certain ontological bases of Chinese SN separate themselves from the current standard. The ontological foundations explicated above have been considered by various academics as a by-product of Chinese normative reimaginations of development.16 They suggest a clear and pre-conceptualized ideological separation from neoliberal development. However, I contend that the ontological underpinnings of BRI are based in Lacanian ideology rooted in the imaginations of capitalism which have also allowed neoliberalism to thrive. Lacanian ideology is rooted within an ontological plane that demarks political hegemony possible through a socio-symbolic order which is inherently lacking in substance and thus seeks to find a signifier to fill its void.17 Žižek18 states that all ideology, neoliberal ideology included, is almost impossible to productively step away from. This is because ideology exists in an ambiguous field between our imagination and our reality. Yet, as ideology becomes entrenched with our understanding of reality, we are left with no clear demarcation of what exists as ideology alone. However, as Žižek argues, basing his theorization on Lacan, reality is defined by the intersections of the “real”, the symbolic, and the imaginary. Unveiling the “real” to dissent ideology becomes impossible considering our perverse tendency to fit the "real” into an existing symbolic order which confuses reality. Unbeknownst to us, a void is formed as the “Real” is excluded from our universe. We subconsciously fill this emptiness by establishing objects as the cause of our desire.

Vangeli, A. (2018), “The Normative Foundations of the Belt and Road Initiative”, in: Shan, W., Nuotio, K., and Zhang K. (eds.) Normative Readings of the Belt and Road Initiative, Cham: Springer, p. 76. 14 Castellucci, I. (2007), “Rule of law with Chinese characteristics”, Annual Survey of International & Comparative Law, 13(1), pp. 30-35. 15 Xiao, H., Cheng, J., and Wang, X. (2018), “Does the Belt and Road Initiative Promote Sustainable Development? Evidence from Countries along the Belt and Road”, Sustanability, 10(12), 4370. 16 Vangeli, A. (2018), “The Normative Foundations of the Belt and Road Initiative”, in: Shan, W., Nuotio, K., and Zhang K. (eds.) Normative Readings of the Belt and Road Initiative, Cham: Springer, pp. 59-85. 17 Glynos, J. (2001), “The grip of ideology: a Lacanian approach to the theory of ideology”, Journal of Political Ideologies, 6(2), pp.191214; Laclau E. (1991), “The impossibility of society”, Canadian Journal of Political and Social Science, 15(1), pp. 24-27. 18 Žižek, S. (1989), The Sublime Object of Ideology, London: Verso. 13


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We compensate for our deprivation of the “real” by having a “sublime” object offer us something that can easily satisfy that which we seek. Žižek19 theorises that despite the irresistible fantasy the “sublime” creates, our quest for it unproductively qualms our “real” critiques of ideology. By inviting the “sublime”, we propagate existing systems. This account of ideology is said to explain the neoliberal project “which endlessly invents new theoretical innovations and social interventions in order to sustain its fundamental ideological coordinates.” 20 Thus, neoliberal development is a constantly reinvented social fantasy which seeks to satiate hunger for a new “sublime” to continue its economic utopia. Development programs in non-Western developing states frame these states as failures, legitimizing neoliberal interventionism.21 Once initially implemented, a continued desire for development, in recipient states is due to actualization shortfalls. Subjects continuously want something more, something “other than” what they have. Fantastic utopias are continuously shattered and created via the “development machine.”22 Yet, its capacity to generate “objects of the other”, which operate as the “sublime”, has allowed neoliberal development to prosper. BRI successfully capitalizes on this understanding, whether subconsciously or not. BRI propagates neoliberalism by mitigating for its lack and provides, through its own “development machine”, “sublime” objects which fulfil inevitable desires for more. By comparing how BRI’s SN in developing States and in European developed states this research now looks to showcase how its mandate coexists/diverges from neoliberal development. The State, The Donor, and The Recipient Thus far, notions reiterating the authoritarian impetus behind Chinese development have contorted BRI’s vision of the state.23 Yet, this section contends that the state is not the goal itself, but is rather the driver of economic cooperation under a neoliberal order. During the financial crisis, as market collapse and government avoidance of prevention mechanisms became a global phenomenon, China was able to provide stimulus packages and resolutely keep its economy undamaged. Following this success, China now uses state action to deviate from typical Western development offerings and assumes the “sublime’s” role to compensate Ibid.; Žižek, S. (1997), The Plague of Fantasies, London: Verso. Wilson, J. (2014), “Verso Five Book Plan: Neoliberal Fantasy”, Verso. 21 Duffield, M. (2001), Global Governance and the New Wars: The Merger of Development and Security, London: Zed Books; Duffield, M. (2002), “Social reconstruction and the radicalization of development: aid as a relation of global liberal governance”, Development and Change, 33(5), pp 1049-1071. 22 de Vries, Pieter (2007), “Don't compromise your desire for development! A Lacanian/Deleuzian rethinking of the anti-politics machine”, Third World Quarterly, (28)1, pp. 25-43. 23 Vangeli, A. (2018), “The Normative Foundations of the Belt and Road Initiative”, in: Shan, W., Nuotio, K., and Zhang K. (eds.) Normative Readings of the Belt and Road Initiative, Cham: Springer, pp. 59-85. 19 20


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for missed encounters with the “real”. In its attempt to hack growth generation in a neoliberal economy and reap its benefits, China proposes “win-win” agreements and advertises public goods as new objects of desire. However, considering many countries along the BR religiously practice neoliberalism China has reframed the way it practices SN development to fit these instances. Comparing developing/developed states this research showcases how BRI’s flexibility exits and enters the neoliberal space.

Fig 1.0 (Adapted Fig 10.1 and 10.4)24 Developing states largely abide by Chinese SN as their development projects consistently make the state the subject responsible for implementation. SN seeks as a prerequisite of successful development a strong state whose authority is defined by political stability and manoeuvring power.25 With this pretext China has successfully reshaped development through the Donor Agent/ Recipient relationship. Unlike in neoliberal development projects,26 the Chinese government acts as both the donor principal and donor agent. In this sense, state owned companies are not solely contractors, they both represent the country and interact with local communities (Fig 1.0). In fact, BRI’s government invests in Afghanistan via infrastructure packages which largely assist the country in securing bids. “Chinese companies in Afghanistan are the brainchild of the Chinese government.”27 Similarly, according to the Chinese-Pakistan Economic Corridor Plan28 the BRI is to “support the two countries' enterprises and financial institutions in carrying out direct financing for CPEC projects.” As SOEs implement activities that are usually carried out by governments, their closeness score as

Downs, E.S. (2013), “China Buys into Afghanistan”, SAIS Review, 32(2), pp. 65–84. Ibid. 26 Downs, E.S. (2013), “China Buys into Afghanistan”, SAIS Review, 32(2), pp. 65–84; Murrell, P. (2004), “The Interactions of Donors, Contractors, and Recipients in Implementing Aid for Institutional Reform”, in Martens, B., Mummert, U., Murrell, P., and Seabright, P. (eds.), (2004), The Institutional Economics of Foreign Aid, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 27 Downs, E.S. (2013), “China Buys into Afghanistan”, SAIS Review, 32(2), pp. 65–84. 28 CPEC, People’s Republic of China National Development & Reform Commission, Government of Pakistan Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform (2017), CPEC, Long Term Plan China-Pakistan Economic Corridor 2017-20130. 24 25


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donor agent increases.29 This increased proximity, integral to SN, allows development recipients to clearly identify the raqueteer which is elevating them from neoliberally created voids. It is thus more appealing to keep pursuing the “sublime”, as its distributor renders themselves increasingly available. BRI reaped off the lamentations of neoliberal implementation failure and restructured them. However, by doing this it has paradoxically neared itself to the banalization of neoliberal promises as it could not completely exist outside neoliberalism’s very design. Considering the clear differentiation in how Chinese development aid is disbursed it becomes instinctive to assume that it departs from neoliberal systems. However, comparing its procedures in developing states to European states, we see that this is a by-product of the adaptability BRI needs to offer the “sublime” and propagate neoliberal mechanisms. The Donor Agent/ Recipient Relationship is in fact starkly different within Europe. Since the establishment of the China-EU Joint Investment fund, showing support for project shareholding, joint-contracting, and co-financing is the foundation of EU development operations. The Budapest-Belgrade high speed rail was financed by a €2.2 Billion project of soft loans from China’s ExportImport Bank to the state-owned China Railway Construction Corporation.30 Yet, this project could not be implemented under BRI’s Donor/Recipient mechanism since China was forced to open up a tender. Similarly, in Greece’s Piraeus port China could not simply utilize COSCO as a buyout it had to win the privatization tender.31 Additionally, China has had to adapt to neoliberal European economic traditions and take the continent by investment. The State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) – has invested €3.5 billion+ on stakes of about 2% in 10 leading Italian companies, making it the 10th largest investor in Italy’s stock exchange. It should thus be noted that China is not solely interested in permeating into Europe to reduce shipping times and offset rising production costs, it also aims to enter the lucrative European market. China wishes to foster monetary links with European central banks through currency swaps and the establishment of yuan bank clearing – “offshore renminbi hubs” within EU Banks.32 As BRI expands to Europe it reshapes its offering of the “sublime.” In developing states, it is a win-win cooperation where public goods are given from Donor to Recipient on terms established primarily by the Donor. However, the neoliberal origins of European states, make expansively establishing the state as the sole “development machine” difficult to fathom. In these cases, development planning increasingly adheres to the terms of the recipient and its econ-

Downs, E.S. (2013), “China Buys into Afghanistan”, SAIS Review, 32(2), pp. 65–84. Vangeli, A. (2018), “The Normative Foundations of the Belt and Road Initiative”, in: Shan, W., Nuotio, K., and Zhang K. (eds.) Normative Readings of the Belt and Road Initiative, Cham: Springer, pp. 59-85. 31 Casarini, N. (2015), “Is Europe to Benefit from China’s Belt and Road Initiative?”, Instituto Affari Internazionali, 64(5), pp. 1-11. 32 Casarini, N. (2016), “When All Roads Lead to Beijing. Assessing China’s New Silk Road and its Implications for Europe”, The International Spectator, 51(4), pp. 95-108. 29 30


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omy’s neoliberal foundations especially due to the explicit benefits China expects to reap from these neoliberal financial realities. Furthermore, BRI’s inception into Europe uncoincidentally followed neoliberal failing’s post-Euro crisis which witnessed decreased international investment into Europe. China’s EU development initiatives are contextualized just as they are in developing states. China has thus solely adapted in order to remain the “white knight” who arrives to increase development by fillings gaps of the “real” so it can continue benefitting from it. However, recurrent hole-patching fails to present new alternatives. The Sublime Object of Infrastructure Continuously Reimagined Revealing how state projects adhere to Lacanian ontology and the provision of the “sublime” is not an instinctive conceptualization. Seeing how the Chinese state actualizes infrastructure projects along the lines outlined above, provides a clearer physical metaphor to unveil the inter-neoliberal mechanisms of BRI’s SN. In fact, rather than be banalized by neoliberal discourse its fantasies of development are maintained via infrastructure itself. The port, the road, the irrigation canal, the school, all become realizations of the impossible.33 By receiving something which is “real” thanks to its material order, a void is satiated. Infrastructure allows recipients who have been previously subject to neoliberal failings to “not compromise on [their] desire.” 34 BRI’s infrastructure thus fits within the ontological practices of neoliberalism. Comparing design further shows how much BRI seeks to provide the perfect version of the “sublime” for each of its recipient subjects. The entrance of a Chinese Mall in Harare, Zimbabwe is fully ornate with Chinese decor. The red lanterns above one’s head while entering subtly remind how the Mall’s administration is composed by Chinese managers. Consequently, many Zimbabweans in the area have begun speaking Mandarin. 35 They hope to reap off the benefits they believe this “sublime” offers, but unbeknownst to them is how this serves to ethereally reinvent the “real”. To Zimbabweans the physical presence of the Chinese state can contrast previous Western colonizers which they blame past failures upon. The intentions of the “benevolent Chinese hand” to adhere to neoliberal goals are hidden. Unsurprisingly, former Zimbabwean President Mugabe asserts “China has developed its economy without plundering other countries. The Chinese miracle is a source of inspiration.” 36 This discourse affirms the Chinese state as the saviour and the provider of the “sublime.”

de Vries, Pieter (2007), “Don't compromise your desire for development! A Lacanian/Deleuzian rethinking of the anti-politics machine”, Third World Quarterly, (28)1, pp. 25-43. 34 Žižek, S. (1993), Tarrying with the Negative: Kant, Hegel, and the Critique of Ideology, Durham: Duke University Press. 35 Alao, A. (2014), “China and Zimbabwe: The Context and Contents of a Complex Relationship”, South Africa Institute of International Affairs, Paper 202, pp. 1-28. 36 Bezlova, A. (2009), “China: latest Africa foray: altruism or hegemony?”, Inter Press Service News Agency (IPS). 33


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Yet, Greece’s port of Piraeus bears vastly different imageries. A journalist tracking BRI’s route provides a descriptive summary of the Port’s entrance: “It provides a fitting reminder of the architectural legacy passed down from a Western civilisation and the associated values, and institutions… the European Union still enshrines today.”37

The entrance’s respect of European institutions is also reflected by its operational division as Piraeus is divided into two ports. The Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) manages one pier, and the Piraeus Container Terminal (a subsidiary of the Chinese shipping giant COSCO) PCT manages the other piers. China conceded to Greek/European Authority for one of the piers. It understood from an announcement by the new Syriza government saying that it was cancelling all imposed privatization deals. 38 Greece’s image of the “sublime” was crystalized here allowing China to successfully fulfil Greece’s void as it planned its infrastructure project. Furthermore, unlike what it plans for ports in other countries, like Pakistan, COSCO did not mostly import its own labourers to work on the pier. China does not seek to have Piraeus become a zero-sum game. In fact, PCT’s moto could be “build it- they will come”;39 COSCO’s initial investment reportedly generated 10,000+ Greek jobs, and in 2014 20 agreements worth $7 billion were signed for Chinese investment into Greece. Therefore, BRI recurrently sought to use infrastructure projects as mechanisms of effective adaptation. Analysing how China adapts to the different necessities of recipient countries showcases how BRI uses infrastructure to continuously reimagine the “sublime”. The Goal of Accumulation and the True Neoliberal Fantasy Thus far I discussed how BRI mitigates for neoliberalism lacks. Yet these voids could hypothetically be used towards non-neoliberal ends. By contextualizing the impetus behind its methods, we see how BRI’s raison d’être also exists through neoliberalism. BRI’s goal adheres to processes of accumulation by dispossession (ABD) whereby “land and other resources are enclosed, and their previous users dispossessed, for capital accumulation.” 40 BRI’s ABD creates an international conveyor belt through domination of “manufacturing/industrial complexes, SEZs, and spatial development initiatives.”41 Chinese authority locks countries together into one trade network or “spatio-

37

Stevens, C. (2018), “Along the New Silk Road – Piraeus: China’s gateway into Europe”, The Geographical.

38

Ibid.

Ibid., p. 7. Hall, D. (2013), “Primitive Accumulation, Accumulation by Dispossession and the Global Land Grab”, Third World Quartlerly, 34(9), pp. 1582–1604. 41 van der Merwe, J. (2019), “The One Belt One Road Initiative: Reintegrating Africa and the Middle East into China’s System of Accumulation”, in Xing L. (ed.) Mapping China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ Initiative, Palgrave Macmillan: Cham. 39 40


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temporal fix” to increase profit and compensate for crises.42 BRI hopes to use ABD to move outwards and thus unquestionably benefits from capitalist mechanics. Yet, BRI’s accumulation strategies, which China successfully administers via varied “sublime” offerings, transcend an existence from capitalism into neoliberalism. As Cerny contends in his Marxist/ nonMarxist study of accumulation,43 accumulation is not the first cause, but rather a by-product of seeking economic growth in the current globalized space (2006). Actors are forced into competition, once they succeed within their sphere and their markets become institutionalized “actors in other settings emulate behaviour.” The “demonstration effect” created here according to Cerny, 44 has actors experiment with their own versions of pro-market regulation while locking their advantages into (inter)dependent relations. This effect parallels mechanics of neoliberal orthodoxy, making BRI’s goal of ABD one actually inspired and dictated by neoliberal dreams. BRI is conditioned to reap off the benefits neoliberal projects have religiously aspired towards. In turn, the supposedly innovative development initiative places itself at the epicentre of the neoliberal ecosystem, surviving off of it, working towards the “sublime” that it offers.

Conclusion This essay has studied the ways in which neoliberal development is sustained through projects that feed off its very own fantasy. After establishing the validity of state- neoliberalism as the normative basis of our discussion, this paper used Lacanian ontology to understand how the “real” and the “sublime” exist within the scope of neoliberalism. Using these foundations, I furthered a discussion regarding the true possibility of neoliberal alternatives. Analysing how BRI has constantly reframed the state and reimagined infrastructure to both offer perfect “sublime” alms while benefiting from globalization, highlights its existence in a neoliberal context. Finally, revealing this development project’s true goal via ABD further locks BRI into its neoliberal cage. Thus far, post-developmental academics have focused on how proposed projects denounce the core aims of neoliberal development.45 This paper hopefully provides this literature with another framework of study by examining how ontological underpinnings of neoliberal development are recreated through new projects and allows a new

Harvey, D. (2005), A Brief History of Neoliberalism, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Cerny, P. (2006), “Restructuring the state in a globalizing world: capital accumulation, tangled hierarchies and the search for a new spatio-temporal fix”, Review of International Political Economy, 13(4), pp. 679-695. 44 Ibid, p. 685. 45 Gonzalez, A., and Vazquez, M. (2015), “Between “neodevelopmentalism” and “postdevelopmentalism”: towards a theory of a dispersed knowledge economy in Ecuador”, Canadian Journal of Development Studies, 37(1), pp. 47-65. 42 43


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vessel through which to analyse the neoliberal tendency to shamelessly reproduce itself in spite of differing local contexts. The BRI specifically showcases how this neoliberal trademark is able to persists via the use of different masks. I have herein questioned BRI’s reputation as the dominant alternative to Washington Consensus style development, yet, my research only begins an analysis which transcends Chinese borders and is global in scope. Conclusively, the largest development project being globally championed builds development utopias which are not new figments of an international imagination, but rather an ideological contradiction which sustains the continuation of a dogmatic system. No one in this story truly wishes to wake up from their dream. References Alao, A. (2014), “China and Zimbabwe: The Context and Contents of a Complex Relationship”, South Africa Institute of International Affairs, Paper 202, pp. 1-28. Bezlova, A. (2009), “China: latest Africa foray: altruism or hegemony?”, Inter Press Service News Agency (IPS). Available at: http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews1/449191, (Accessed: 5 May 2019). Bremmer, I. (2009), “State Capitalism Comes of Age: The End of the Free Market?”, Foreign Affairs, 88(3), pp. 40–55. Castellucci, I. (2007), “Rule of law with Chinese characteristics”, Annual Survey of International & Comparative Law, 13(1), pp. 30-35. Casarini, N. (2015), “Is Europe to Benefit from China’s Belt and Road Initiative?”, Instituto Affari Internazionali, 64(5), pp. 1-11. Casarini, N. (2016), “When All Roads Lead to Beijing. Assessing China’s New Silk Road and its Implications for Europe”, The International Spectator, 51(4), pp. 95-108. Cerny, P. (2006), “Restructuring the state in a globalizing world: capital accumulation, tangled hierarchies and the search for a new spatio-temporal fix”, Review of International Political Economy, 13(4), pp. 679-695. CPEC, People’s Republic of China National Development & Reform Commission, Government of Pakistan Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform (2017), CPEC, Long Term Plan China-Pakistan Economic Corridor 2017-20130, Available at: http://cpec.gov.pk/brain/public/uploads/documents/CPEC-LTP.pdf, (Accessed 4 May 2019). Davidov, V. (2013), “Mining versus Oil Extraction: Divergent and Differentiated Environmental Subjectivities in “PostNeoliberal” Ecuador”, The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology, 18(3), pp. 485-504. de Vries, Pieter (2007), “Don't compromise your desire for development! A Lacanian/Deleuzian rethinking of the antipolitics machine”, Third World Quarterly, (28)1, pp. 25-43. Downs, E.S. (2013), “China Buys into Afghanistan”, SAIS Review, 32(2), pp. 65–84. Duffield, M. (2001), Global Governance and the New Wars: The Merger of Development and Security, London: Zed Books. Duffield, M. (2002), “Social reconstruction and the radicalization of development: aid as a relation of global liberal governance”, Development and Change, 33(5), pp 1049-1071. Dunford, M., Gao, B., and Liu, W. (2016), “A discursive construction of the Belt and Road Initiative: From neo-liberalism to inclusive globalization”, Journal of Geographical Sciences, 28(9), pp. 1199-1214. Glynos, J. (2001), “The grip of ideology: a Lacanian approach to the theory of ideology”, Journal of Political Ideologies, 6(2), pp.191-214.


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Gonzalez, A., and Vazquez, M. (2015), “Between “neodevelopmentalism” and “postdevelopmentalism”: towards a theory of a dispersed knowledge economy in Ecuador”, Canadian Journal of Development Studies, 37(1), pp. 47-65. Hall, D. (2013), “Primitive Accumulation, Accumulation by Dispossession and the Global Land Grab”, Third World Quartlerly, 34(9), pp. 1582–1604. Harvey, D. (2005), A Brief History of Neoliberalism, Oxford: Oxford University Press. The Herald (2017), “Soul Train comes to Bar Rouge”, The Herald, 02 September 2017. Available at https://www.herald.co.zw/soul-train-comes-to-bar-rouge/ (Accessed: 2 May). Kaup, B. (2014), “Divergent Paths of Counter-Neoliberalization: Materiality and the Labor Process in Bolivia's Natural Resource Sectors”, Environment and Planning, 46(8), pp. 1836-1851. Laclau E. (1991), “The impossibility of society”, Canadian Journal of Political and Social Science, 15(1), pp. 24-27. Li, S. (2012), “Inclusive development: The inevitable choice of the development of globalization”, Productivity Research, (2): pp.6-9. Meunier, S. (2015), “A Tale of Two Ports: The Epic Story of Chinese Direct Investment in the Greek Port of Piraeus”, Council for European Studies, 14 December 2015. Available at: http://critcom.councilforeuropeanstudies.org/reimagining-the-silk-road-chinese-investments-in-the-balkans (Accessed: 4 May 2019). Miraftab, F. (2004), “Public-private partnerships: The Trojan horse of neoliberal development?”, Journal of Planning Education and Research, 24(1), pp.89-101. Mittleman, J.H. (1996), “How does globalization really work?”, in J. H. Mittleman (ed.) Globalization: Critical Reflection, Boulder: Lynne Rienner, pp. 229-41. Murrell, P. (2004), “The Interactions of Donors, Contractors, and Recipients in Implementing Aid for Institutional Reform”, in Martens, B., Mummert, U., Murrell, P., and Seabright, P. (eds.), (2004), The Institutional Economics of Foreign Aid, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Parfitt, T.W. (2002), The End of Development? Modernity, Post-Modernity and Development, London: Pluto. Shaffer, P. (2012), “Post-development and Poverty: an assessment”, Third World Quarterly, 33(10), pp. 1767-1782. Sklair, L. (1995), Sociology of the Global System, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University. Stevens, C. (2018), “Along the New Silk Road – Piraeus: China’s gateway into Europe”, The Geographical. Available at: https://geographical.co.uk/people/development/item/2866-silk-road-pir (Accessed: 1 May 2019). Xiao, H., Cheng, J., and Wang, X. (2018), “Does the Belt and Road Initiative Promote Sustainable Development? Evidence from Countries along the Belt and Road”, Sustanability, 10(12), 4370. van der Merwe, J. (2019), “The One Belt One Road Initiative: Reintegrating Africa and the Middle East into China’s System of Accumulation”, in Xing L. (ed.) Mapping China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ Initiative, Palgrave Macmillan: Cham. Vangeli, A. (2018), “The Normative Foundations of the Belt and Road Initiative”, in: Shan, W., Nuotio, K., and Zhang K. (eds.) Normative Readings of the Belt and Road Initiative, Cham: Springer, pp. 59-85. Wilson, J. (2014), “Verso Five Book Plan: Neoliberal Fantasy”, Verso. Available at: https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/1623-verso-five-book-plan-neoliberal-fantasy (Accessed: 25 February 2020). Žižek, S. (1989), The Sublime Object of Ideology, London: Verso. Žižek, S. (1993), Tarrying with the Negative: Kant, Hegel, and the Critique of Ideology, Durham: Duke University Press. Žižek, S. (1997), The Plague of Fantasies, London: Verso.


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From settler-colonial economy to one of the world’s most developed nations: Explaining Australia’s rapid development from the 19th to the 21st century and its associated implications

Tyler Hodgkinson, 3rd Year Essay BA (Hons) Economics and Politics

Abstract: This paper traces the modern history of Australian development. Firstly, it attributes Australia’s rapid development to the industrialisation of natural capital under colonialism. Production of wool and gold fuelled economic growth, while a commitment to the Gold Standard facilitated investment. A second reason for development was high wages and subsequent immigration. Labour scarcity drove up wages to accommodate a ‘good life’ for the employee. Intense immigration followed, which created a functioning labour market. The final reason for Australia’s rapid development is recognized as the diversification and innovation, originating from knowledge spill overs, which improved all sectors of the economy and encouraged institutional strengthening. The limitations of these factors include Australia’s dependence on natural resources. In fact, a failure to utilise resource rents could lead to intergenerational economic uncertainty and catastrophic environmental damage. Moreover, this Eurocentric economic growth has excluded the Indigenous population, creating one of the world’s longest running contemporary social crises. Introduction In the 21st century, Australia certainly has a place among the countries presently categorised as developed. However, Australia’s path to development was remarkably different to those of other developed nations. Upon discovery in 1770, Australia was seen as a barren piece of land that would be of little use for its European colonisers. At a time where the industrialisation of Europe was just taking off, it was believed that Australia’s geographical location and primitive development would fail to rear any economic gain; because of this, Australia became a place of exile for British convicts. However, after the initial dismissal of Australia’s economic potential, the country unintentionally became one of the British Empire’s most successful projects. This essay seeks to make sense of how a vast, isolated country with no experience of modern economic growth became one of the most developed states in the world in just over two centuries. The


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Europeans disregard for the Indigenous Australian population and bloody methods of colonisation prove unjustifiable and can be unequivocally condemned. That said, the focus here is to understand how Australia became a developed state, and how the process of that development brought with it significant repercussions. In the first section of this paper, it will be argued that Australia’s rapid development was due to the industrialisation of natural capital under colonialism. The production of wool and gold fuelled economic growth, while a commitment to the gold standard facilitated ensuing investment. Here, how the abundance of natural resources made Australia profitable for its European colonisers will be illustrated. In the next section, Australian development will be explained as a result of high wages and subsequent immigration. Labour scarcity drove wages up to accommodate a ‘good life’ for the employee, and from this intense immigration followed, which created a functioning labour market. In the third section, Australia’s rapid development will be justified through diversification and innovation, which improved all sectors of the economy and encouraged institutional strengthening. The fourth section will discuss the limitations associated with the development of Australia, in particular how natural resource dependency can lead to temporally uncertain economic growth and significant environmental degradation. Furthermore, Australian development proved to be another project of European liberalism, which undermined the Indigenous population of Australia, creating vast inequalities between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations. Overall, this paper will explain how Australia truly became ‘something from nothing’ by understanding how European discovery - and the economic mind-set that came with it - forcibly set Australia on the path of rapid development, while recognising the limitations that development brought with it. Industrialising Australia’s natural capital, the Gold Standard and commerce A major factor contributing to Australia’s rapid development was the industrialisation of natural capital in the settler-colonial economy. Intensive production of wool coupled with the Gold Rush created immense growth, especially in the period between 1860 and 1889, as noted by Seltzer.1 Upon arrival in the late 18th century, European settlers noted the abundance of natural resources. These resources would be crucial for global trade, and contribute to the growth of the Australian and British economies.

Seltzer, A. (2014), “Labour, skills and immigration”, in S. Ville, G. Withers (eds.), The Cambridge Economic History of Australia, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 178-201. 1


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The fruitful and productive land discovered after the crossing of the Blue Mountains in 1813 had the perfect conditions to rear sheep. This led to Australia developing a comparative advantage in wool production.2 The development of the wool-spinning wheel during the Industrial Revolution in Britain created a demand for wool, and Australia supplied this demand in vast quantities. Cheap production and transportation costs made wool a profitable source of income for those exploiting land in Australia, Australian entrepreneurs, and for those manufacturing it in Britain. Cheap shipping costs were also vital for initial Australian growth as they created a larger profit margin for the Australian entrepreneurs and made trade easier with Britain. Hannah notes that European integration, and subsequent commerce, relied heavily on cheap transportation costs.3 This reinforced the appeal of Australian trade to the European market, as the focus on the production of wool ensured cheap transportation costs due to its lightweight properties. Exploiting the abundance in land to rear sheep and subsequently provide Europe with much needed wool, Australia managed to overcome its geographical disadvantages and became integrated into the European market. In addition to wool production, gold was also an important natural resource that encouraged Australia’s rapid development. Its discovery in the early 1850’s sparked an Australian Gold Rush and created an intense boom in the Australian economy, most notably in 1852 where Greasley highlights that Australia had the world’s highest GDP per capita.4 The discovery of gold made Australia a place of opportunity, despite initially being a place for exiled convicts. The British government could now no longer ignore Australia’s potential as a functioning market as the discovery of gold gave wealth to the land. Australia in the mid-19th century proved to have a profitable set of natural resources that were to be industrialised for the benefit of European commerce and Australian growth. Australian economic development could be seen as lucky in the sense that demand for commodities was largely due to the Industrial Revolution spreading across Europe. However, Australian growth would not have been possible without a pastoral economy (1820 to 1850), followed by intensive natural resource reliance (1850 to 1890). Importantly, Australia’s adoption of the Gold Standard in 1852 demonstrated a commitment to future international trade, and encouraged ensuing European investment. Bordo and Rockoff emphasise that peripheral countries that adhered to the gold standard were the only ones to have interest rates “generally

2

Meredith, D. and Oxley, D. (2014), “The convict economy”, in S. Ville, G. Withers (eds.), The Cambridge Economic History of Australia, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 112. 3 Hannah, L. (2008), “Logistics, market size, and giant plants in the early twentieth century: a global view”, The Journal of Economic History, 68(1), pp. 47. 4 Greasley, D. (2014), “Industrializing Australia’s natural capital”, in S. Ville, G. Withers (eds.), The Cambridge Economic History of Australia, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 159.


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quite close to the consol rate”.5 A country that commits to the gold standard is therefore seen as a safe investment because expansionary monetary policy is limited, thus reducing the risk of inflation in that country. This eliminates the issue of asymmetric information, particularly moral hazard, because the British government can have confidence in the recipient’s ability to pay the loan back over time. Aghion and Morduch emphasise that if the lender has more trust in the borrower, through the elimination of asymmetric information, then the interest rate charged on a loan will be smaller. 6 This implies that those who successfully adopted and adhered to the Gold Standard had a greater chance of receiving a long-term bond from the British government that didn’t have excessively high interest rates. This commitment solidified Australia’s position in the global economy. From then on, Australia benefited from British investment and was able to expand the primary sector, particularly in the mining industry. The industrialisation of natural capital and the commitment to the Gold Standard certainly facilitated European commerce, which resulted in the rapid development of Australia in the 19th century. However, it is important to note that export trading was present prior to colonisation despite having limited potential to ignite significant economic development. Hunter draws attention to the fact that native trade existed prior to colonisation, and Aboriginals and Macassans arguably set up Australia’s first export industry. 7 This is particularly pertinent, as there is arrogance in assuming that European colonialism brought with it “new ideas” that supposedly “enlightened” populations. In reality these ideas existed long before colonialism, though on a much smaller scale. However, to achieve the rapid economic growth observed in Australia, large-scale developments were essential. Colonialism sparked this rapid growth. As Feyrer and Sacerdote reiterate, colonisation had a positive effect on countries’ current income levels.8 Therefore, colonialism sparked the industrialisation of natural capital, created an international commitment and facilitated commerce, which contributed towards rapid economic development in 19th century Australia. Here, one can observe how Australia started to be Europeanised and industrialised thus instigating the process of transition from an untouched, native land mass to an interconnected, profit driven economy.

Bordo, M. D., Rockoff, H. (1996), “The Gold Standard as a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval”, The Journal of Economic History, 56(2), pp. 401. 6 Aghion, B. A., Morduch, J. (2005), The Economics of Micro Finance, Cambridge: The MIT Press, pp. 37-43. 7 Hunter, B. (2014), “The Aboriginal Legacy”, in S. Ville, G. Withers (eds.), The Cambridge Economic History of Australia, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 83. 8 Feyrer, J. and Sacerdote, B. (2009), “Colonialism and modern income: islands as natural experiments”, The Review of Economics and Statistics, 92(2), pp. 245-262. 5


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Labour scarcity, high wages and immigration A second reason for Australia’s rapid development were the high wages offered and the following intense immigration of the late 19th century. Australia’s labour scarcity in its early years of development meant high wages for employees and prosperous opportunities for European capitalists. The foundation of Australia’s labour force was comprised of convicts that, for a time, represented free labour and subsequently higher profits for the European or Australian capitalist. Although a convict economy seems unproductive, many brought with them skills and insights learnt in industrialised Britain, thus creating a fruitful labour market. Meredith and Oxley illustrate that pardoned convicts and many free migrants began to enjoy high wages and better conditions compared to Britain.9 This accommodated the “good life” for the European exconvict or migrant, and provided a committed workforce for the Australian capitalist. Allen reinforces the importance of high wages in relation to low capital and energy costs.10 If Allen suggestion that Britain needed these pre-requisites to spark the Industrial Revolution is correct, then we can see a parallel in the ignition of Australian growth and the driver of the Industrial Revolution. Drawing from the previous point regarding the low costs of industrialising natural capital and transportation, Australia also had very high wages, which encouraged intense production and gave new opportunities to the Australian labour market. High wages made Australia extremely appealing and an influx of immigration followed in the second half of the 19th century. Assisted migration was important to address the issue of labour scarcity and spurred on subsequent migration. Seltzer emphasises how assisted migration reduced the cost of migration and importantly enabled population growth as “gender imbalance impeded economic development by creating a barrier to natural population increase”.11 The reduction of migration costs and the cutting of the man-towoman ratio not only encouraged exodus but also created the foundations for population growth that would expand Australia’s society. It is important to consider how colonial socialism in the second half of the 19 th century contributed to the allocation of resources. Ergas and Pincus demonstrate how many utilities came into public hands, contrasting with the ideology of British capitalism.12 However, the government needed to match the influx of workers with the resources available, thus it was necessary for Australia to take on a system of colonial socialism in the second half of the 19 th century. This ensured that the right number of Meredith, D., Oxley, D. (2014), “The convict economy”, in S. Ville, G. Withers (eds.), The Cambridge Economic History of Australia, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 109. 10 Allen, R. C. (2011), “Why the Industrial Revolution was British: Commerce, Induced Innovation, and the Scientific Revolution”, Economic History Review, 64(2), pp. 358. 11 Seltzer, A. (2014), “Labour, skills and immigration”, in S. Ville, G. Withers (eds.), The Cambridge Economic History of Australia, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 180. 12 Ergas, H., Pincus, J. (2014), “Infrastructure and colonial socialism”, in S. Ville, G. Withers (eds.), The Cambridge Economic History of Australia, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 223. 9


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migrants entered specific industries and regions to satisfy labour shortages and population demands. As a result, Australia came to represent a place where you could acquire a job and start a new life, further demonstrating how the country was leaving its native roots behind to become immersed within the project of liberalism. Australia was a place of opportunity in the late 19th century, which created a functioning labour market and set Australia on the path to become a fully developed state. Diversification, innovation and institutions A third reason for Australia’s rapid economic development over the centuries is the combination of diversification, innovation and institutional development – both operating under colonial rule and during Federation. A discussion of all three, and how they intertwine, will follow. After economic slowdown in the 1890s, Australia had to diversify its primary sector in order to sustain its GDP. Greasley cites the example of Queensland’s expansion of the meat market; Queensland capitalised on the rising demand for Australian meat in respect to the falling demand on wool. 13 This demonstrates how the economy became more varied and expanded into different avenues of production and trade. Furthermore, Magee argues that Australia’s dramatic diversification not limiting itself to agricultural inventions and adopting foreign technologies from the secondary and tertiary sectors.14 The broadening of sectors set Australia on the path of economic diversification and created the strong economic infrastructure observable today. This diversification was vital to Australia’s continuation on the path of development. As Pritchett emphasises, Europe and its off-shots had sustained growth since 1870, and developed countries often converge in their growth patterns. Pritchett shows that Australia grew at an average rate of 0.90% per annum from 1870 to 1960 and then an average of 2.43% per annum from 1960 to 1980.15 This highlights Australia’s sustained and improved growth throughout the 19 th and 20th centuries. This sustained growth was largely down to Australia’s ability to diversify and expand its economy, despite the many extreme shocks it faced in the first 40 years after Federation. Australia managed to ride out the waves of economic troughs and continued to expand every sector of the economy to become a developed nation with high standards for public and private services. Diversification was important to adapting to global demand. However, it was often slow in early years. Australia’s social capacity influenced how fast it could diversify; as Abramowitz argues, certain countries are slow to adapt to European technology, thus making the diversification of industries initially lack

Greasley, D. (2014), “Industrializing Australia’s natural capital”, in S. Ville, G. Withers (eds.), The Cambridge Economic History of Australia, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 164. 14 Magee, G. (2014), “Technological change”, in S. Ville, G. Withers (eds.), The Cambridge Economic History of Australia, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 141. 15 Pritchett, L. (1997), “Divergence. Big time”, The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 11(3), pp. 5. 13


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pace.16 Australian diversification may have lacked pace in the late 19th century, but there is evidence to suggest it came considerably faster in the late 20th century. Innovation is made possible through effective diversification and vice versa. Therefore, it can be assumed that innovation also significantly contributed to Australia’s rapid development. The development of the patent spurred on innovation, as argued by Magee. Magee’s paper proves an increase in technological changes at the when patents became universally adapted in Australia. 17 Patent agencies encouraged innovation and diversification. This conclusion, contradicts Mokyr in some respects as he argues that “open science” is the best way to encourage the spread of useful knowledge and encourage innovation in a way that “the person who created this knowledge could not extract the rents it created”.18 This indicates that Australian entrepreneurs wanted the resource rents through the establishment of the patent. Although the patent encouraged innovation in Australia, it could be argued that Australia inadvertently learnt from European Enlightenment, as skilled workers from Britain brought with them Baconian ideology. Magee further demonstrates how foreign patents dominated Australia, but how Australian entrepreneurs learnt from them. 19 The inventions of Fredrick York Wolseley, who was prominent for sheep shearing technology, were one of many spills of useful knowledge to aid Australian development. This is evidence of Australian capacities of integrating useful knowledge which then brought about innovation. The Australian entrepreneur learnt from European insights to then invent or adapt technologies that functioned effectively in Australia, and the knowledge of patent support encouraged Australian innovation. Diversification and innovation thus proved to be two essential factors for institutional strengthening. Strong institutions promoted economic growth and development both during and after British Colonial rule. Early 19th century expansions of scientific institutions aided economic growth, particularly in the field of understanding crop disease and sugar refining. The importance attached to the development of human capital is demonstrated by Australia’s fast paced development of primary education. By the end of the 19 th century in NSW, 98% of adults could read and write.20 This emphasises Australia’s commitment to strengthening educational and social institutions. Before Federation, Australia had expanding trade unions that demanded better conditions for workers. Huberman and Meissner demonstrate Australia’s lead over Canada and the Abramowitz, M. (1986), “Catching up, forging ahead and falling behind”, Journal of Economic History, 46(2), pp. 396. Magee, G. (2014), “Technological change”, in S. Ville, G. Withers (eds.), The Cambridge Economic History of Australia, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 129. 18 Mokyr, J. (2005). “The Intellectual Origins of Modern Economic Growth”, Journal of Economic History, 65(2), pp. 310. 19 Magee, G. (2014), “Technological change”, in S. Ville, G. Withers (eds.), The Cambridge Economic History of Australia, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 125-149. 20 Seltzer, A. (2014), “Labour, skills and immigration”, in S. Ville, G. Withers (eds.), The Cambridge Economic History of Australia, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 193. 16 17


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USA in the 19th century in numerous workplace regulations.21 Australia was now enhancing conditions for workers, which highlights that the economy was growing at a rate that could finance such legislative improvements. This demonstrates Australia’s commitment to strengthening economic institutions throughout the 19th century. The property rights established for “squatters” in the pastoral stage of development (1820 to 1850) further made the allocation and industrialisation of natural capital easier, especially considering strong institutions facilitate growth.22 It is important to note how the nature of Australia’s colonial experience influenced institutional development and economic growth. Australia’s colonisation was settler-colonial in character, which encouraged the institution of private property rights, and subsequently saved Australia from more extractive institutions. Acemoglu reinforces the importance of the colonial experience, highlighting that those countries that experienced extractive institutions are less wealthy today in comparison to those that experienced institutions with private property rights.23 Australia is currently a rich, developed country whose success can be partly attributed to the strong institutions implemented in the settler-colonial phase and sustained through Federation. Furthermore, Acemoglu emphasises that the type of colonialism largely depended upon the mortality rates of settlers. If settler mortality was high, more extractive institutions would be observed in comparison to if settler morality was low – settlers created institutions of private property.24 This improves the internal validity of their findings, as the natural experiment eliminates most extraneous variables and demonstrates how the implementation of institutions of private property rights was a result of the ability to survive and inhabit that area. From this, the growth of Australia can largely, and more causally, be attributed to the successful application of strong institutions upon European settler arrival. When British Colonial rule ended in 1901 and Australia became a sovereign nation, institutions in Australia continued to grow. By the 1910s, many of the world’s top 100 non-financial firms were located in Australia.25 This shows that economic institutions were flourishing, demonstrating Australia’s expanding state capacity. After colonialism, Australia proved that it could continue to dominate as a world export leader without British colonial rule. This emphasises that Australia was developing an effective means of governance, Huberman, M. and Meissner, C. (2010), “Riding the Wave of Trade: The Rise of Labour Regulation in the Golden Age of Globalisation”, The Journal of Economic History, 70(3), pp. 660. 22 North, D. C. and Weingast, B. C. (1989), “Constitutions and commitment: The evolution of institutions governing public choice in seventeenth-century England”, Journal of Economic History, 49(4), pp. 803-832. 23 Acemoglu, D., Johnson, S, Robinson, J. A. (2002), “Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution”, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 117(4), pp. 1279. 24 Acemoglu, D., Johnson, S., Robinson, J. A. (2001), “The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation”, The American Economic Review, 91(5), pp. 1395. 25 Ville, S. (2014), “Colonial Enterprise”, in S. Ville, G. Withers (eds.), (2014), The Cambridge Economic History of Australia, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 211. 21


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it could further operate independently as a sovereign nation. The withdrawal of British governance draws attention to Australia’s ability to create successful political institutions that would sustain economic success. Considering the growth of Australia through the 19th, 20th and 21st century, one can conclude that Australia’s ability to innovate and diversify has created strong institutions that allowed for modern democracy, public goods and entrepreneurship. The combination of diversification, innovation and institutional strengthening illustrates the progression of Australia: from a country once isolated from modern economic growth to one that can now aspire to be one of the world’s largest developed nations. Associated implications However, natural resource dependency, an implication of Australia’s rapid development, brings about three central limitations. Firstly, to sustain natural resources one must utilize natural resource rents and Australia has often failed to do so effectively, which led to inconsistent reinvestment into the primary sector. Greasley argues that Australia was expanding its pastoral sector into less fertile lands during the 1870s, which needed significantly more irrigation.26 Australia’s pastoral expansion proved to be less profitable, as expansion into arid lands needed extensive irrigation which ate away at the entrepreneur’s profit – resulting in limited development in the second half of the 19th century. Secondly, natural resource dependency is often reliant on non-renewable sources, such as gold or coal, which is an unsustainable approach as the economy’s success depends on the supply of that resource. Mineral extraction remains Australia’s main export today, and its economic projects majorly rely on it. This creates intergenerational uncertainty with regards to economic growth, as the supply of these natural resources will eventually be exhausted. Finally, catastrophic environmental damage often derives from the intensive extraction of natural resources. Australia has relied on the industrialisation of natural resources from its first days as a nation and it still does today, with the Adani mines in Queensland being approved for further expansion in early 2019. Numerous environmental protests object to these plans, yet their authorisation shows a refusal by the Australian government to let go of their natural resource dependency thus emphasising a failure to move forward in a more environmentally friendly manner. Australia’s high wage environment and subsequent immigration created an expanding market. However, some critics would argue that immigration pushed native wages down and increased native unemployment. Pope and Withers find no evidence to support that assumption and conclude that immigration had no

Greasley, D. (2014), “Industrializing Australia’s natural capital”, in S. Ville, G. Withers (eds.), The Cambridge Economic History of Australia, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 162. 26


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effect on native wage and unemployment.27 Despite this, one must not downplay the impacts settler-colonialism had on Indigenous wellbeing. This brings us onto the most important implication of Australian development. The associated implication with innovation, diversification and institutional strengthening is that the process is Eurocentric in character and leaves the Indigenous population profoundly disadvantaged. Innovation and diversification reflect the characteristics of a settler-colonial economy, as Europe’s hegemonic economic thought of industrialisation and market expansion undermines Indigenous sovereignty and identity. Colonisation coupled with new liberalism has left the Indigenous population behind and created the “close the gap dilemma”, still unresolved to this day, which results in many Indigenous peoples being disadvantaged in modern society. Haebich argues that assimilation during modern economic development destroys Indigenous identity,28 while Fredricks emphasises the disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous health.29 Perhaps the biggest implication of Australia’s rapid development is its failure to be inclusive. Its inability to proactively “close the gap” and eliminate one of the longest standing social crises in the world proves to be the ultimate social failure of Australian development. Conclusion To conclude, after the colonial discovery of Australia in the late 18 th century, it was observed that Australia had an abundance of natural resources that would prove to be profitable. The 19 th century brought with it the extensive industrialisation of natural capital, which was largely categorised by two stages. Firstly, pastoral economic development (1820 to 1850) gifted Australia with a comparative advantage in wool, which encouraged international commerce through cheap transportation and production costs. Secondly, the extraction of gold (1850 to 1890) provided Australia with significant wealth, which created the economic booms observed in the 1850s. Australia’s commitment to the Gold Standard then made it a worthy investment, and British bonds enabled Australia to expand its industries and capital. The industrialisation of natural capital, a commitment to the Gold Standard, and the subsequent commerce created rapid Australian development in the 19th century. Furthermore, labour scarcity pushed wages up to accommodate for the “good life” for the Australian employee. Ex-convicts and many assisted migrants began to enjoy the new possibilities Australia had to offer and from this, a functioning labour market began to emerge, setting Australia on the path to development.

Pope, D., Withers, G. (1994), “Wage effects of immigration in late-nineteenth century Australia”, in T. Hatton, J. Williamson (eds.), Migration and the International Labour Market: 1850-1939, New York: Routledge. 28 Haebich, A. (2002), “Imagining Assimilation”, Australian Historical Studies, 118(1), pp. 61-70. 29 Fredericks, B. (2007). “Australian Aboriginal Women’s Health: Reflecting on the Past and Present”, Health and History, 9(2), pp. 93113. 27


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With immigration rocketing in the late 19th century, Australia now had to diversify its economy through a series of expansions in the secondary and tertiary sectors. This was followed by innovation, as British knowledge spills led to “Australian learning” and the development of the patent encouraged future innovation and diversification. Strengthening of institutions was essential for the continuation of Australian development. Australia’s settler-colonial history created strong institutions of private property rights. In its independence, Australia continued to strengthen these to create solid political, economic and educational institutions, which certainly contributed to its growth. Overall, Australia’s rapid development can be attributed to the industrialisation of natural capital coupled with a commitment to the Gold Standard and international trade, high wages and subsequent immigration and finally, the diversification and innovation experienced across economic sectors which encouraged institutional strengthening. Australia certainly experienced rapid development throughout the centuries, becoming one of the most developed nations in the contemporary world. Through the imposed European ideology of industrialisation and market expansion, Australia encapsulated the idea of becoming “something from nothing” after starting off as a primitive piece of land to become one of the world’s leading developed nations. However, it is important to keep in mind the limitations attached to Australia’s rapid growth. Natural resource dependency can lead to intergenerational uncertainty and devastating environmental damage. Perhaps the biggest implication to arise out of Australia’s process of development however, is that of the failure to “close the gap” between Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals. This has led to stark inequalities and bipolar experiences of Australia’s economic development. The Indigenous experience amidst the economic development certainly provides a fruitful avenue for future research. References Abramowitz, M. (1986), “Catching up, forging ahead and falling behind”, Journal of Economic History, 46(2), pp. 385-406. Acemoglu, D., Johnson, S. and Robinson, J. A. (2001), “The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation”, The American Economic Review, 91(5), pp. 1369-1401. Acemoglu, D., Johnson, S, Robinson, J. A. (2002), “Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution”, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 117(4), pp. 1231-1294. Aghion, B. A. and Morduch, J. (2005), The Economics of Micro Finance, Cambridge: The MIT Press. Allen, R. C. (2011), “Why the Industrial Revolution was British: Commerce, Induced Innovation, and the Scientific Revolution”, Economic History Review, 64(2), pp. 357-384. Bordo, M. D. and Rockoff, H. (1996). “The Gold Standard as a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval”, The Journal of Economic History, 56(2), pp. 389-428. Ergas, H. and Pincus, J. (2014), “Infrastructure and colonial socialism”, in S. Ville, G. Withers (eds.), The Cambridge Economic History of Australia, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 222-244.


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Feyrer, J. and Sacerdote, B. (2009), “Colonialism and modern income: islands as natural experiments”, The Review of Economics and Statistics, 92(2), pp. 245-262. Fredericks, B. (2007). “Australian Aboriginal Women’s Health: Reflecting on the Past and Present”, Health and History, 9(2), pp. 93-113. Greasley, D. (2014), “Industrializing Australia’s natural capital”, in S. Ville, G. Withers (eds.), The Cambridge Economic History of Australia, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 150-177. Haebich, A. (2002), “Imagining Assimilation”, Australian Historical Studies, 118(1), pp. 61-70. Hannah, L. (2008), “Logistics, market size, and giant plants in the early twentieth century: a global view”, The Journal of Economic History, 68(1), pp. 46-79. Huberman, M. and Meissner, C. (2010), “Riding the Wave of Trade: The Rise of Labour Regulation in the Golden Age of Globalisation”, The Journal of Economic History, 70(3), pp. 667-685. Hunter, B. (2014), “The Aboriginal Legacy”, in S. Ville, G. Withers (eds.), The Cambridge Economic History of Australia, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 73-96. Magee, G. (2014), “Technological change”, in S. Ville, G. Withers (eds.), The Cambridge Economic History of Australia, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 125-149. Meredith, D. and Oxley, D. (2014), “The convict economy”, in S. Ville, G. Withers (eds.), The Cambridge Economic History of Australia, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 97-122. Mokyr, J. (2005). “The Intellectual Origins of Modern Economic Growth”, Journal of Economic History, 65(2), pp. 285351. North, D. C. and Weingast, B. C. (1989), “Constitutions and commitment: The evolution of institutions governing public choice in seventeenth-century England”, Journal of Economic History, 49(4), pp. 803-832. Pope, D. and Withers, G. (1994), “Wage effects of immigration in late-nineteenth century Australia”, in T. Hatton, J. Williamson (eds.), Migration and the International Labour Market: 1850-1939, New York: Routledge. Pritchett, L. (1997), “Divergence. Big time”, The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 11(3), pp. 3-17. Seltzer, A. (2014), “Labour, skills and immigration”, in S. Ville, G. Withers (eds.), The Cambridge Economic History of Australia, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 178-201. Ville, S. (2014), “Colonial Enterprise”, in S. Ville, G. Withers (eds.), The Cambridge Economic History of Australia, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 202-221.


Kilroy, Climate Change Colonialism: Control Development Mechanisms and Colonial Land Grabs

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Climate Change Colonialism: How Control Development Mechanisms (CDMs) are used to justify a colonial land grab and sustain a manifestly unsustainable global order

Orla Kilroy, 2nd Year Essay BA (Hons) Economics and Politics

Abstract: This paper assesses the different ways that Control Development Mechanisms (CDMs), an instrument ostensibly designed to mitigate the effects of climate change through the marketization and promotion of sustainable development in developing countries funded by the West, has resulted in colonial practices. These include the removal of indigenous people from their land and a disregard for their more comprehensive and effective knowledge of carbon storage in favour of Western ideals. This paper applies these theories to a case study in Uganda, where a Norwegian company, Green Resources, has implemented such a programme. It analyses the discourse surrounding the project and the ways in which the implementation of a CDM has failed to not only offer any significant boost in climate change mitigation but has also impeded the development progress. The paper hopefully sheds a more critical light on CDMs and in doing so highlights crucial changes to be addressed. Introduction The current ecological crisis, specifically climate change, is used as a legitimising factor for the West to impose on countries development programmes which are colonial in nature. This paper will explore the relationship between development and climate change through the use of Control Development Mechanisms (CDMs), specifically those in Uganda sold by Green Resources (GR), a Norwegian-registered plantation forestry company. This case helps to illustrate how colonial development practices are being justified under the guise of benefiting the environment. In the first section I will clarify climate change as an ecological crisis, before giving an outline of CDM as an attempt to mitigate the crisis. I will then offer a critique of development theory through a postcolonial perspective to justify the theoretical framework used in the rest of the essay. I then give context to the Ugandan case study before the next two sections, which demonstrate the colonial nature of the project. The first of these sections describes how CDM is used to justify a colonial land grab in Uganda. Initially I discuss how this land grab has marginalized populations, and then go on to discuss how


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postcolonial discourses further perpetuate this marginalization. The next section discusses how discourse and western infatuation with knowledge and science leads to disregard of indigenous knowledges. The first two paragraphs demonstrate how this inhibits development and the following two paragraphs explain how this reduces the effectiveness of the environmentally-sound aspect of the programme. I then discuss how CDM is damaging to development more generally, as it reinforces an unequal, unsustainable world order, while the majority of finance from CDM goes to corporations in the already industrialized world. Finally, I conclude the essay by summarising the postcolonial aspects of CDM and how the carbon market itself curbs development. What is ecological crisis and how is it being tackled? Climate change is the result of human influence on the climate from the release of anthropogenic greenhouse gases, the most harmful being CO2. Approximately 75% of this is from burning fossil fuels, and the rest from deforestation.340 This has caused the warming of the atmosphere and ocean, diminishing amounts of snow and ice, and a rising sea level. The global response to this was initially the Kyoto Protocol, signed in 1992 and which currently includes 191 countries. The core aim of this protocol was to reduce emissions to a concentration level that would prevent unsafe influence on the climate. 341 One of the mechanisms to combat this was a ‘carbon market’. This was touted as a ‘win-win’ solution, beneficial for both the environment and development. One of the ways carbon is traded in this market is through the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The idea is to save costs on ‘climate change mitigation’, by offsetting the carbon released in the North in developing countries where the carbon-cycling capacity is more productive. 1

Clients wishing to offset their carbon emissions buy up ‘carbon credits’ and invest in the developing

world.2 This is often done by buying up land in developing countries and planting monoculture plantations, which theoretically absorb CO2. They can then sell each tonne of CO2 absorbed as a carbon credit. This market system is allegedly more politically convenient and CDM’s profit making capacity carries with it the benefit that the financial sector will throw its weight behind it, which it is argued will encourage the energy revolution.3 It is also claimed to be beneficial to the development of communities living in these carbon credit

Bachram, H. (2004), “Climate fraud and carbon colonialism: the new trade in greenhouse gases.” Capitalism nature socialism, 15(4), p.6 341 United Nations. (1998), “Kyoto protocol to the united nations framework convention on climate change”, Article 2 1 Lohmann, L. (2011), “The endless algebra of climate markets”, Capitalism Nature Socialism, 22(4), pp.93-116. 2 Bumpus, A.G. and Liverman, D.M. (2010), “Carbon Colonialism? Offsets, greenhouse gas reductions, and sustainable development”, In: Global Political Economy by Peet, R., Robbins, P. and Watts, M. (ed), Routledge Ltd., pp.203-224. 3 Lohmann, L. (2011), “The endless algebra of climate markets”, Capitalism Nature Socialism, 22(4), pp.93-116. 340


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areas, as they supposedly receive an influx of foreign investments, and many companies set up their own development schemes in the areas. What is ‘development’? In order to justify the theoretical framework of the rest of the paper, in this section I will offer a postcolonial critique of the concept of development touted by the World Bank and other leaders in carbon trading. Development is driven by the allocation of capital to areas which are identified as under-resourced, and is focused on economic growth, trade and security.4 Development itself, however, has to be understood in the context of the North-South power relations that define it. This relationship is one that allows economically advanced countries to consider the needs of poor countries in ways which directly benefit themselves. Maintaining this relationship often leads to those involved with the development process dismissing the voices of those they wish to represent.5 Western forms of knowledge are considered superior, and so local knowledges, as well as cultural and political diversity in developing countries, are not acknowledged as useful but seen as an obstacle to development, where the ‘homogenization of the western model [is] the implicit and explicit objective’.6 These development practices often ignore the voices of the marginalized, reinforcing racist concepts and further perpetuating their marginalization. It is necessary to analyse development through a postcolonial perspective as the power relations which underpin the development process are vital in understanding how knowledge is constructed in a way which asserts its Eurocentric genealogy and marginalizes other knowledges,7 leading to the needs of the majority being systematically ignored by colonial powers. The following sections will explore how the discourses surrounding ‘sustainable development’ in particular are colonial in nature. Case study background This section will provide the necessary context to the Green Resources (GR) CDM operation in Uganda. GR has bought 50-year licences from the Ugandan Government in two central forest reserves in which to plant and maintain forests. These forests absorb CO2, creating ‘carbon credits’, which GR can therefore sell in the carbon market. GR, which is 100% Norwegian owned, 8 currently holds contracts valued

Strongman, L. (2014), “Postcolonialism and international development studies: a dialectical exchange?”, Third World Quarterly, 35(8), pp.1343-1354. 5Kothari, U. (2001), Development Theory and Practice: Critical Perspectives, Palgrave Macmillan 6Simon, D. (2006). “Separated by common ground? Bringing (post) development and (post) colonialism together”, Geographical Journal, 172(1), pp.14. 7 Said, E.W. (1979), Orientalism. Vintage 8 Norad. (2010), “Evaluation of Norwegian Business-related Assistance Uganda Case Study” (pdf) Norway 4


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at $4 million. The forest reserves, the Bukaleba forest reserve and the Kachung forest reserve, make up 11,864 hectares total of land. GR’s aim is to “contribute to mitigating climate change … and contribut[e] to sustainable environmental management, community development and poverty alleviation in Uganda”. 9 However, this is land that villagers historically had access to. Between 8000 and 40000 people have had their lives disrupted through forced evictions and denial of access to lands necessary for growing food, grazing animals and cultural practices.10 Villagers trying to regain access to this land are often arrested by the police, harassed, jailed and subjected to violence. The following two sections will explore how this mechanism, which is designed to mitigate the effects of climate change while simultaneously encouraging a neoliberal concept of development, has led to the implementation of colonial practice and discourse. Land Grabbing The use of CDM permits a colonial land grab which facilitates industrialized States’ continued high carbon emissions, while simultaneously impacting the lives of the people living in these areas and limiting their development opportunities. This is especially true in the GR case, where 28 villages have been disrupted under the guise of carbon offsetting.11 In order to enclose land and common resources in this way there must be a mechanism that enforces control.12 The way the law is applied to property means that the state and private owners have the power to exclude indigenous populations that have settled on that land for years. This is reminiscent of the colonial era where powers would violently take land during their obsession with plantations.13 These land grabs for the carbon market reinforce those same long-standing exploitative relationships, and act as an occupying force in rural communities. The creation of ‘quasi-sovereignties’14 which replicate colonial features, deepen the unequal exchange historically at play between the Global North and South. The ‘disassembling of national territory’ 15 and denial of rights by Governments and Land Grabbers, neither of whom are willing to accept responsibility for those populations displaced, has led to Ugandan villagers feeling ‘isolation and fear’ and describing themselves as ‘non-citizens’.16 They feel as though they are

Green Resources cited in Lyons, K. and Westoby, P. (2014), “Carbon colonialism and the new land grab: Plantation forestry in Uganda and its livelihood impacts”, Journal of Rural Studies, 36, pp.13-21 10 Lyons, K., Richards, C. and Westoby, P. (2014), “The darker side of green: Plantation forestry and carbon violence in Uganda”, Oakland Institute 11 Ibid. 12 Peet, R., Robbins, P. and Watts, M. (2010), “Global Nature” In Global Political Economy by Peet, R., Robbins, P. and Watts, M. (ed.), Routledge Ltd., pp.1-48 13 Bachram, H. (2004), “Climate fraud and carbon colonialism: the new trade in greenhouse gases.” Capitalism nature socialism, 15(4), pp.5-20. 14 Carmody and Taylor, (2016) 15 Sassen, (2013) 16 Lyons, K., Richards, C. and Westoby, P. (2014), “The darker side of green: Plantation forestry and carbon violence in Uganda”, Oakland Institute 9


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subjects rather than citizens, as they lack the basic human rights, respect, and services that are provided to other Ugandans.17 This is especially true for the four villages which are located inside Bukaleba. Neither GR nor the government recognise responsibility for them, and so in many ways these villages ‘literally don’t exist’.18 The discourse surrounding this colonial land grab enables further marginalization of local people and hinders their development. The conflict arising from these reserves is framed as a product of ‘extremely high population growth’.19 However, it is necessary to understand how the parks themselves are complicit in the conflict and poverty in the area. The colonial land grab has denied the indigenous population their only food and income source, and when trying to use the land they are subjected to police violence.20 This is perpetuated by the fact that plantations themselves have their own destructive qualities such as water table disruption and pollution from herbicides and pesticides.21 The Ugandans found that even plants and animals that weren’t inside the enclosures often died as a result of the chemicals used for the monoculture plantations by GR. 22 The ideal that we can somehow mitigate climate change from the devastating effects of mass consumption in the North through essentially dumping our carbon in bounded areas in the South, is reminiscent of Neumann’s analysis of the ‘National Park Ideal’.23 This is the colonial, Anglo-American concept that nature can be conserved through bureaucratic control over contrived bounded areas. These areas therefore are not, as GR and NORAD claim, under threat from land-hungry populations, but are ‘socio-political forces in their own right’.24 Discourse is a political tool. It ‘favours certain descriptions of reality’ and consequently ‘empower[s] certain actors while marginalizing others’.25 Discourse is inconceivable without agents to interpret or reproduce stories compatible with their favoured discourses, and it is this control of the conversation that gives rise to political power. Bäckstrand and Lövbrand call knowledge harnessed in this way ‘knowledge regimes’.26 Ibid. Ibid. 19 Norad. (2010), “Evaluation of Norwegian Business-related Assistance Uganda Case Study” (pdf) Norway 20 Lyons, K., Richards, C. and Westoby, P. (2014), “The darker side of green: Plantation forestry and carbon violence in Uganda”, Oakland Institute 21 Bachram, H. (2004), “Climate fraud and carbon colonialism: the new trade in greenhouse gases.” Capitalism nature socialism, 15(4), pp.5-20 22 Lyons, K., Richards, C. and Westoby, P. (2014), “The darker side of green: Plantation forestry and carbon violence in Uganda”, Oakland Institute 23 Neumann, R.P. (1998), Imposing wilderness: struggles over livelihood and nature preservation in Africa (Vol. 4). University of California Press 24 Ibid., p.9 25 Bäckstrand, K. and Lövbrand, E. (2016), “Climate Governance Beyond 2012: Competing Discourses of Green Governmentality, Ecological Modernization and Civic Environmentalism”, In: The Social Construction of Climate Change by Pettenger, M. E. (ed.) Routledge 26 Ibid. 17 18


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The rhetoric of selfish indigenous villagers is apparent throughout the whole report, and gives legitimacy to the political elites while denying agency to those on the ground. For the park rangers and GR, the conflict stems from ‘squatters… which are considered a burden for GR as a private investor’.27 Following initial signs of conflict from the villagers, and in order to comply with certifications for entry into carbon markets, GR used the excuse of ‘squatters’ and ‘trespassers’ to tighten their borders and sponsor police, who routinely subjugated villagers to violence.28 The former colonial powers have the ability to shape and set the terms of the discourse; their ‘knowledge regimes’ create a legal framework to justify what Lyons et al. refer to as ‘carbon violence’. Through discourse control they manage to adapt policy in a way that further marginalizes indigenous people. Locals do it better Postcolonial and neoliberal ideas of knowledge lead to the overlooking of indigenous expertise and insight that doesn’t fit into the Western ideal, which can restrict development opportunities further. As already described, CDM was set up both as a way to encourage development and mitigate climate change. However, despite being located in developing countries and often surrounded by indigenous people and their wisdom, this knowledge is generally ignored and replaced by western scientific logic and management. To help the development process, Green Resources committed 10% of their profits to a ‘community development and social programme’.29 This includes, among other things, healthcare in the form of a dispensary and medical equipment for certain villages; HIV awareness programmes; water supplies; and seedlings for village residents to plant.30 However, this is a far cry from any sort of comprehensive development plan. In 2013, to tackle opposition from residents who were claiming just this, GR established community-based organizations.31 The goal was to work with these organisations to consolidate both GR’s and the community’s ideas for development. However, many villagers complained that this supposed inclusion had no real effect on

Norad. (2010), “Evaluation of Norwegian Business-related Assistance Uganda Case Study” (pdf) Norway (Accessed 12th May 2019) Lyons, K., Richards, C. and Westoby, P. (2014), “The darker side of green: Plantation forestry and carbon violence in Uganda”, Oakland Institute 29 Norad. (2010), “Evaluation of Norwegian Business-related Assistance Uganda Case Study” (pdf) Norway, p.31 30 Ibid. 31Lyons, K., Richards, C. and Westoby, P. (2014), “The darker side of green: Plantation forestry and carbon violence in Uganda”, Oakland Institute 27 28


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GR’s agenda, with one member saying ‘we attend meetings, but our requests fall on deaf ears’. 32 This encapsulates the postcolonial tendency of the West to only pretend to engage with the knowledges and opinions of the ‘others’, when in fact they are only interested in hearing their own voice. 33 hooks,34 in her autobiographical approach to development practices, argues that despite the margins being a site of ‘radical possibility’, she was never met in that space but met ‘in the centre’ of Western institutions of power and knowledge such as aid agencies, universities and modern medicines. Her argument, that the experiences of the marginalised are used by the West, but they do not wish to use the wisdom that comes with it, is a powerful one. They tell the marginalised ‘I want to know your story. And then I will tell it back to you in a new way’.35 Pretty argues that modern science only sees opinions as legitimate when they are defined in the same terms as science. 36 This language is likely inadequate to explain the various issues experienced by the Ugandan villagers. For the villagers the crucial issue is the lack of food. They ask ‘“What is the use of medicine if we have no land to grow food and no schools to ensure there is a future for our children?”’. 37 Because GR is only willing to listen to the voices and knowledges of the indigenous population at an artefactual level, their ostensible development goals are not met. The following paragraphs explore how this postcolonial dismissal of local knowledges extends to the management of the forests themselves. I identify how involving communities and valuing local knowledges and beliefs can benefit climate change without the failings explored above. There is reason to question the sustainability and environmentally beneficial effects of GR and their use of western ‘knowledge’. GR destroys indigenous trees in the forest reserves to make way for few varieties of non-native species, of which many local environment officers and villagers question the sustainability. Paired with the extensive use of chemicals in the forest and surrounding areas, this has a devastating effect on the ecosystem as a whole.38 The indigenous trees destroyed are labelled as ‘degraded’ by CDM agencies, as this label allows the plantation of new trees to be used for the creation of carbon credits.39

Ibid. Briggs, J. and Sharp, J. (2004), “Indigenous knowledges and development: a postcolonial caution”, Third world quarterly, 25(4), pp.661-676. 34 hooks, B. (1990), “Marginality as a site of resistance”, In Out there: Marginalization and contemporary cultures by Ferguson, R., Gever, M. and González-Torres, F. (ed.), MIT Press. pp.341-343. 35 Ibid., p.343. 36 Pretty, J.N. (1994), “Alternative systems of inquiry for a sustainable agriculture”. IDS bulletin, 25(2), pp.37-49. 37 Lyons, K., Richards, C. and Westoby, P. (2014), “The darker side of green: Plantation forestry and carbon violence in Uganda”, Oakland Institute 38 Lyons, K., Richards, C. and Westoby, P. (2014), “The darker side of green: Plantation forestry and carbon violence in Uganda”, Oakland Institute 39 Ibid. 32 33


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This designation is often as a result of complex historical factors which may not even relate to the levels of forest cover,40 yet it retains its legitimacy thanks to the homogeneity of Western science in climate change discourses. The rhetoric of ‘degraded’ lands, for example, is argued to be merely the application of scientific logics in order to enable green forms of development, which ‘can then be taken up by the project just as they marginalise communities in the process’.41 Additionally, indigenous knowledges are consistently side-lined, despite their efficacy, as they are not considered as reliable as those possessing the almost arbitrary label of ‘science’. Chhatre and Agrawal,42 for example, investigated 80 forests in 10 countries over 15 years, finding that community management of forests is often much more effective than the state or market, and that carbon storage in particular improves through the incorporation of local knowledges. Western institutions do recognise that some indigenous knowledge is effective at carbon storage. For example, the 2010 World Bank report which examines in depth the use of CDMs, acknowledges that a technology used by indigenous peoples in the Amazon can ‘sequester carbon on a huge scale while improving soil productivity’.43However, this is one of the only mentions of local knowledges in the 439-page report. This demonstrates the points made by hooks and Pretty, who argue that Western institutions are only able to understand local knowledges when they fit in with their already conceived discourses. The Amazonian technique has been analysed by the World Bank and so can be described using scientific languages, and therefore understood. The neoliberal approach to local knowledges is demonstrated even further in this report. The World Bank appreciates that ‘enhancing indigenous peoples’ land rights and ensuring their role in management has resulted in more sustained and cost-effective management’.44 This suggests that the Bank sees no inherent value to indigenous rights or knowledges, but merely recognises them as a way to increase CDM profits. As in hook’s encounters, experts look for experiences to study but, unless easily incorporated into standard development practice, are not concerned with the voices or insight of indigenous peoples.

Ibid. Nel, A. and Hill, D. (2013), “Constructing walls of carbon–the complexities of community, carbon sequestration and protected areas in Uganda”, Journal of Contemporary African Studies, 31(3), p.433. 42 Chhatre, A. and Agrawal, A. (2009), “Trade-offs and synergies between carbon storage and livelihood benefits from forest commons”, Proceedings of the national Academy of sciences, 106:42, pp.17667-17670. 43 World Bank. (2010), Development and Climate Change: World Development Report 2010, Washington DC: World Bank p.17. 44 Ibid., p.106. 40 41


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What does this mean for carbon markets in general? Only by examining the relationships between the polluter in the North and reducer in the South can the ‘environment-development implications for offsets [be] understood’.45 This section analyses this relationship in order to determine the effect of carbon markets on the environment and development more generally. Carbon markets have meant that the responsibility for the detrimental effects of mass-consumption in richer states has been pushed onto the poor, which, it is argued, has turned the South into a carbon dump for the developed world and reinforced the current, unsustainable world order. 46 The concept of carbon markets has clear colonial elements. Implicit is the assumption that peasants should be responsible for the emissions of the rich and that they should alter their lifestyle so that the emitter in the North does not have to. Bachram further argues that the market itself gives more power to already industrialized countries, as the property rights regime created at the Kyoto protocol and credit allocation based on past emissions have given a controlling interest to the worst polluters.47 This privatisation of the environment and development is demonstrative of the wider global components and relationship that enabled it.48 The carbon market is the latest stage in the neoliberalism process driven by the World Bank, the World Trade Organisation, and other neoliberal institutions. This privatisation and liberalization of the atmosphere, a global resource, best serves the needs of those who emitted the most greenhouse gases and who have the most to lose from a resolution of climate change. 49 The lion’s share of the profits generated by CDM goes to ‘corporate bad hats’ rather than the ordinary people in the developing countries that the programmes operate in and are ostensibly trying to help. 50 CDM therefore simultaneously inhibits the development of countries who are dumped with the responsibility of carbon mitigation while strengthening the current unequal world order. Conclusion This paper has demonstrated how climate change is used as a justification for colonial development projects. Projects such as the Clean Development Mechanism are an illusion which in principle mitigates the Bumpus, A.G. and Liverman, D.M. (2010), “Carbon Colonialism? Offsets, greenhouse gas reductions, and sustainable development”, In: Global Political Economy by Peet, R., Robbins, P. and Watts, M. (ed.), Routledge Ltd., p.212. 46 Bachram, H. (2004), “Climate fraud and carbon colonialism: the new trade in greenhouse gases.” Capitalism nature socialism, 15(4), pp.5-20. 47 Ibid. 48 Sassen, S. (2013), “Land grabs today: Feeding the disassembling of national territory”, Globalizations, 10(1), pp.25–46. 49 Bachram, H. (2004), “Climate fraud and carbon colonialism: the new trade in greenhouse gases.” Capitalism nature socialism, 15(4), pp.5-20. 50 Lohmann, L. (2011), “The endless algebra of climate markets”, Capitalism Nature Socialism, 22(4), pp.97. 45


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effects of climate change whilst providing development opportunities, but in fact enables a colonial land grab which serves to marginalize the communities they purport to help. Green Resources and other Western institutions’ control of the discourse surrounding CDM facilitates this abuse. Additionally, the neglect of indigenous knowledges in favour of Western science not only prevents any coherent development plan but can also impede the ecological process. However, there is evidence to suggest that listening and responding to local communities can both mitigate climate change and respect the development views of local people. Overall, attempts to mitigate climate change through a marketization of nature and the atmosphere have led to an oppression of developing countries while enabling those more industrialized to profit. References Bachram, H. (2004), “Climate fraud and carbon colonialism: the new trade in greenhouse gases”, Capitalism nature socialism, 15(4), pp. 5-20. Bäckstrand, K. and Lövbrand, E., (2016), “Climate Governance Beyond 2012: Competing Discourses of Green Governmentality, Ecological Modernization and Civic Environmentalism”, In M. E. Pettenger (ed.), (2016), The Social Construction of Climate Change, Routledge, Ch. 6. Briggs, J. and Sharp, J., (2004), “Indigenous knowledges and development: a postcolonial caution”, Third world quarterly, 25(4), pp. 661-676. Bumpus, A.G. and Liverman, D.M., (2010), “Carbon Colonialism? Offsets, greenhouse gas reductions, and sustainable development”, In: R. Peet, P. Robbins, and M. Watts, ed. (2010), Global Political Economy, Routledge Ltd, pp. 203-224. Carmody, P. and Taylor, D. (2016), “Globalization, land grabbing, and the present-day colonial state in Uganda: Ecolonization and its impacts”, The Journal of Environment & Development, 25(1), pp. 100-126. Chhatre, A. and Agrawal, A. (2009), “Trade-offs and synergies between carbon storage and livelihood benefits from forest commons”, Proceedings of the national Academy of sciences, 106(42), pp. 17667-17670. hooks, B. (1990), “Marginality as a site of resistance”, In: Ferguson, R., Gever, M. and González-Torres, F (eds.), (1990), Out there: Marginalization and contemporary cultures, MIT Press, pp. 341-343. Kothari, U. (2001), Development Theory and Practice: Critical Perspectives, Palgrave Macmillan. Lohmann, L. (2011), “The endless algebra of climate markets”, Capitalism Nature Socialism, 22(4), pp. 93-116. Lyons, K. and Westoby, P. (2014), “Carbon colonialism and the new land grab: Plantation forestry in Uganda and its livelihood impacts”, Journal of Rural Studies, 36, pp. 13-21. Lyons, K., Richards, C. and Westoby, P. (2014), “The darker side of green: Plantation forestry and carbon violence in Uganda”, Oakland Institute. Nel, A. and Hill, D. (2013), “Constructing walls of carbon–the complexities of community, carbon sequestration and protected areas in Uganda”, Journal of Contemporary African Studies, 31(3), pp. 421-440. Neumann, R.P. (1998), Imposing wilderness: struggles over livelihood and nature preservation in Africa (Vol. 4), University of California Press. Norad, 2010. “Evaluation of Norwegian Business-related Assistance Uganda Case Study” (pdf). Available at: https://norad.no/globalassets/import-2162015-80434-am/www.norad.no-ny/filarkiv/vedlegg-til-publikasjoner/evaluation-of-norwegian-business-related-assistance-uganda-case-study.pdf, (Accessed: 12 May 2019).


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Peet, R., Robbins, P. and Watts, M. (2010), “Global Nature”, In: Peet, R., Robbins, P. and Watts, M. (ed.), (2010), Global Political Economy, Routledge Ltd, pp. 1-48. Pretty, J.N. (1994), “Alternative systems of inquiry for a sustainable agriculture”, IDS bulletin, 25(2), pp. 37-49. Said, E.W. (1979), Orientalism. Vintage. Sassen, S. (2013), “Land grabs today: Feeding the disassembling of national territory”, Globalizations, 10(1), pp. 25–46. Simon, D. (2006). “Separated by common ground? Bringing (post) development and (post) colonialism together”, Geographical Journal, 172:1, pp. 10-21. Strongman, L. (2014), “Postcolonialism and international development studies: a dialectical exchange?”, Third World Quarterly, 35(8), pp. 1343-1354. United Nations. (1998), “Kyoto protocol to the United Nations framework convention on climate change” (pdf) Available at: https://unfccc.int/resource/docs/convkp/kpeng.pdf (Accessed: 4 May 2019) World Bank. (2010), “Development and Climate Change: World Development Report 2010”, Washington DC: World Bank.


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