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The Student Journal of Politics, Economics and Philosophy

Published termly by the Club of PEP at the University of York

Issue IX - Summer 2009



The Student Journal of Politics, Economics and Philosophy

The Club of

PEP Journal



PAGE 6 10 14









Photo credit: and

Nations are only as real as we imagine them to be; they are constructs of those who assume a common Dr Gulcin Ozkan on what makes this crisis particular national identity. and what we can learn from it (page 6).

“The scale of this still-on-going crisis clearly indicates that the minimalist approach to regulation of financial markets will be a thing of the past.�

James Hodgson on whether democracy requires the nation

by Leonie Gavria

VOX - The Student Journal of Politics, Economics and Philosophy


The Student Journal of Politics, Economics and Philosophy

__________________ VOX is a student journal that serves as a platform for insight into topics relating to Politics, Economics and Philosophy (PEP). The essence of VOX is its interdisciplinary approach to each edition’s issue. VOX is published triannually by the Club of PEP at the University of York and distributed on York’s campus as well as other universities in the UK. __________________ VOX committee: Cameron Dwyer Simon Fuchs Luke Smalley Spencer Thompson Adam Czopp Magda Assanowicz Lila Tennent Leoni Linek Thesi Herrmann Elena Villarreal Christina Dimakoulea Edmund Roberts Alexandra Aninou __________________ Contact:



or some the nation is A distant, artificial

concept: a group associated with a territory, an ethnicity, or a shared language. Standing distinct from the state, it seems hard to attach any large importance to nations. Forces such as globalization, technology and international bodies are seemingly relentless in their deconstruction of national boundaries. Yet if nations are so inconsequential, why is the right to nationality enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? Others see it as something more; the Nation is not only natural but also ubiquitous – a feature of our daily lives. It affects our behaviour. It ties us closer to some and distinguishes us from others. Our political and economic actions occur against the background of nationality. Franklin D. Roosevelt, in claiming, “A nation, like a person, has a mind…”, perceptively grasped that the Nation is not something passive, directed by politicians, but a body capable of exerting influence on the world around it. The current edition of VOX deals with many of the subjects concerning nations. There are articles evaluating the economic importance of the Nation, both its cohesive quality (p.6) and in relation to free trade (p.22). Authors have also contributed work on collective responsibility (p.18) and on the importance of considering nationality in successful intervention in conflicts (p.10). This issue is also the first VOX for the incoming First Years. I hope that you enjoy it and may even be inspired to write something of your own. If you want to get involved with VOX, email us at vox@ Details on how to contribute to the next edition can be found on the back cover. Cameron Dwyer Editor

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A nation is a totality of man united through community of fate into a community of character Otto Bauer


Rise and fall of a nation rests with every one of citizens. Chinese Proverb

Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective. Mathin Luter King Jr.

VOX - The Student Journal of Politics, Economics and Philosophy

The Modern Enquiry into the Wealth of Nations. The Nation as an Economic Force. By Jacek Musialski



tries exert much effort to meet all the demands of their time. Those countries, able to take advantage of the increased globalization and make a positive change within their state, market and the entire nation, would most probably be ones that fully develop, becoming rich and prosperous. However, there are still other factors that contribute to the prosperity of one’s country. Essentially, a country growing richer has a successful economy. This means that the state, the market as well as the community, or generally the whole nation, are functioning in a positive relationship with each other to 

most effectively address the issues of how, what and for whom to produce. The question as to what makes countries rich and prosperous, the economic force behind this process, is one of the central issues in development economics. Academics disagree about the best quantification of growth, with some suggesting that the Human Development Index (HDI), a measure that takes into account the GDP per capita, life expectancy and education attainment ranking different countries in the world, is the most suitable proxy and others claiming it is not. Despite these disputes, many academics admit that the state, the market, and the combination of these

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two organizations are responsible for optimizing the growth of developing economies. Both are necessary at the scale of the nation-state and the nationwide market - the core organizations of the modern world. The nation defined as a cultural and a social community, which has a common history, in some cases a shared race or a common language plays a very essential role in keeping up the economy of a country. The nation makes up the market forces as consumers and entrepreneurs. Consequently, as an economic force, it has the ability to generate income and be recognized and respected by other nations. The nation lies at the foundation of the economy. From the microeconomic point of view, it consists of groups of individuals that own households and firms. Taking into account another model, the nation consists of all kinds of human contributors (such as consumers, entrepreneurs and capitalists) that participate in the creation and trade of any goods or services. It owns all factors of production and utilizes natural and human resources to generate per capita income. The nation, as rightly pointed out by Adam Smith in The Inquiry of the Wealth of Nations, has become an important force through its progress in the division of labour. The advantages of this division were likely the driving force behind diversification of trade

and industry, and many countries that took advantage of this process have accumulated significant amounts of wealth throughout centuries. However, as people specialize in various activities, a system is required to coordinate them. The nation therefore gives the state the authority of oversight by introducing laws. The state provides a set of rules and policies that shall govern the people including wages, division of labour and the like. Finally, the nation also organizes itself to form a market in which goods and services are exchanged. In the market, all individuals pursue their own interests based on egoism and competition. The nation makes up the market as well as the state. According to Hyami (2005), the market is the organization to coordinate people’s activities of seeking self-interest towards increasing social economic welfare. In contrast, the state is an organization for monopolizing legitimate coercive power. This means that the state allocates the resources towards a socially desirable direction. Hyami also stresses the interdependency of the market and the state with each other as contributing factors to a country’s economical growth. He further states that the efficiency in market transactions would be greatly improved if mechanisms were established to resolve conflicts on contracts between sellers and buyers. Thus, property rights and contracts are enforced in laws stipulated

VOX - The Student Journal of Politics, Economics and Philosophy

by the state; they are administered by such state organizations as the courts and police. On the other hand, any activities of state organizations are heavily dependent on the market as the state relies upon the market for the procurement of goods and services from monetary revenue conscripted through taxation. As proposed above, the economy consists of three distinctive parts: the nation, the market and the state, which are all required to cooperate. All three parts are interdependent and cannot exist without each other. Situations in which one part fails cause a chain reaction resulting in economic failure.

The economy consists of three distinctive parts: the nation, the market and the state, which are all required to cooperate. 

The failure of the nation could take place when individuals lose trust in each other and the transactions between individuals are more difficult to finalize. This could lead to the prisoners’ dilemma, in which individuals are worse off in the situation when they do not trade for fear that the other party in the transaction will not be honour its obligations. Another example is an employee, who exerts little or no effort while at workplace expecting to be laid off anytime without notice. The employer will be then inclined to discharge the worker as soon as he discovers him or her shirking. Both examples show how the inability among people to establish cooperative relationships could be detrimental to the society as a whole, due to the absence of communication and trust. The failure of the market could take place when there are external shocks to the economy, and the demand or supply cannot be met. This

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will invariably lead to the suboptimal use of resources. The mechanism of this theory states that prices tends to go up when there is high demand but relatively low supply in products. On the other hand, prices go down when there is low demand but high supply of products. According to neoclassical economics, this equilibrium between demand and supply in the free competitive market represents an efficient resource allocation for the production of a commodity to maximize economic welfare in society. The failure occurs when this equilibrium breaks. Consequently government failure happens when the laws become unenforceable. Hyami states that if a government activity to correct a market failure entails a higher budgetary cost than social gain from the corrective measure, it represents an oversupply of public goods. The problem is that government is an organization inherently prone to oversupplying those public goods of relatively low social demand at the expense of those public goods vitally needed for economic development. However, he states that what matters to political leaders or politicians is to maximize their likelihood of staying in office. Towards this goal, budget allocations among various public goods are based not so much on considerations of their contribution to social economic welfare, but on calculations of which allocation will enhance political support. In such case, the markets fail and all individu-

als are worse off. In conclusion, the nation has become an economic force through its progress in the division of labour and accumulation of wealth throughout the centuries. It lies at the foundation of the economy, owning all factors of production and representing all individuals involved in the exchange of goods and services. The nation organizes itself to form a market in which goods and services are exchanged, while giving the state the authority to oversee it by introducing a set of laws. However, if these three key organizations do not cooperate, many imbalances might occur such as disruption in the law of supply and demand, failure of communication and trust within society, or a situation in which laws become unenforceable, leading the country into an economic downfall. Given this fact, the nation is clearly a major economic force.

References: Smith, Adam (1993): An inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press. Hayami, Yujiro (2005): Development economics: from the poverty to the wealth of nations. Oxford: Oxford University Press. _____________________________ Jacek Musialski is a third year undergradu

VOX - The Student Journal of Politics, Economics and Philosophy



HEN THE CITIZENS OF A STATE do not share a single common national identity, there is usually tension between several different communities, which may themselves have their own national identities that conflict with each other. That lack of cohesion can lead to serious conflict if some common identity is not achieved. This article will focus on the bloody and long conflicts experienced in Afghanistan, where the situation is on-going, and in Northern Ireland, where a violent conflict has apparently been resolved after more than forty years of bloodshed. It is clear from the UN charter of human rights that, where such violent conflicts occur, the international community should make a concerted effort to try and end this violence with peace keeping interventions (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948). My contention is that by accounting for the national identities of the different communities of a country, interveners can facilitate a peaceful situation. National identity is often tied to a geographical area, such as Ireland, and often contains a claim to autono10

my. In the case of Northern Ireland, separation from Ireland caused those with an Irish identity to become isolated, feeling oppressed and vulnerable to those who felt closer national ties to Britain. This also seemed to coincide with religious sentiment, as native Irish had been predominantly Catholic, while settlers from England had been Protestant. However, there can be a diaspora (Hague & Harrop, 2004:10), such as the Pushtuns in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. It has been argued that these identities are politically constructed (Slocum-Bradley, 2008; Scarritt, 2008), defined, as assumed in this article, as ‘A group, conscious of forming a community, sharing a common culture, attached to a clearly demarcated territory, having a common past and a common project for the future and claiming the right to rule itself…’ (Guibernau, 1999:14). Therefore, an important element of national identity is ‘a common project’. National identities are not simply fixed, based on territorial, historical or ethnic claims alone, but change according to political aspirations of people within a group. This is an im-

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portant consideration when intervening in a civil war, as it means that, by focusing on the projects of two different groups, an intervener can begin to create progress in negotiations between leaders of groups (Darby, 2003). Moreover, by including ‘grassroots constituents’(Mac Ginty, 2006), a more inclusive national identity can begin to be formed, as the population begin to see that there is a common project, and gradually a new national identity which can unify the state is possible.* It has been argued that the ‘erosion’ of the state of Afghanistan between 1979-1992 occurred because external intervention supporting opposing groups caused complete state collapse and citizens were forced to

turn to another political system (Goodhand, 2004). The larger national community has disappeared in Afghanistan because there is not a ‘common project’ between the tribes. In Northern Ireland, there were two communities with opposing goals. There was very little scope for compromise in Northern Ireland, and the national identities of unionists and republicans could not be reconciled to form a ‘Northern Irish’ identity, as one goal was total independence from Britain, whilst the other was not. Furthermore, the sectarian divide marked differences in cultures and past experiences. During the civil unrest in Northern Ireland, there were two separate communities holding separate national identities. By refusing to 11

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recognize that Irish nationalists wished to be part of Eire because they felt that they shared an Irish identity, Britain succeeded only in prolonging the conflict until negotiations began with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Ireland, and Northern Irish Republicans. As I have already argued, by taking ‘a common project’ as an important part of national identity, it is possible to alter this identity. In the Northern Irish case, it can be seen that with the assent into the European Union by the UK, and an increasing focus by European bodies on a ‘Europe of the Regions’ the Republican desire to assert autonomous rule against the British became less urgent (Loughlin, 2008). Furthermore, by including Sinn Fein and the IRA in proximity talks during 1998, American and British interventions were able to identify their goals and help to find compromises between nationalist and unionist parties in the form of a Northern Ireland Assembly. This, however, did not prevent resistance from the population and the major unionist party, the DUP. Threats from Westminster to cease subsidies to members of the Northern Ireland Assembly, and on water and gas supplies to Northern Ireland, while appealing less to ideological identities, did emphasise the common needs of the two groups, prompting power-sharing in May 2008. This power-sharing, by recognizing that the two groups have claim to the same territory and that they have the same projects for the so12

cial and economic progress of Northern Ireland, has begun to establish a common Northern Irish identity that is similar to a national identity, though not belonging to a nation-state. This has been underlined at the ‘grassroots’ level by an increase in integrated schools, which are hoped to overcome serious sectarian divides by educating a generation of Northern Irish children in a context of unification and shared culture within the school. In Afghanistan, the pre-existence of tribal loyalties over national loyalties has hindered the creation of a common identity within the state. In failing to legitimise reconstruction projects to Afghan citizens by including local actors in the rebuilding of the Afghan state, and so ignoring the projects that Afghans may have for the country, interventions have been unsuccessful (Suhrke, 2007: 1293). International interveners have missed the opportunity to encourage a common national identity, which could have more effectively unified the country and avoided further instability. However, the literature has increasingly considered the need for ‘national ownership’ in reconstruction projects. In the case of Afghanistan, this means remaining in contact with the different tribes, and engaging potential militants in the reconstruction of the state, which could help to establish an Afghan national identity. This is possible in a way that is distinctly different from Northern Ireland because the citizens of Afghanistan do not feel

between tribes, central government and interveners, into a nation-state, where its own citizens can perform the functions of government and security. To conclude, it is important for international interveners to consider the national identities of people involved in a conflict when trying to reach a state of peace from which real reconstruction can begin. By altering political circumstances and providing strategies to reach the common goals of different groups, it is possible to influence their national identities, providing internal motivation to end violent conflicts and progress toward a future of political stability.

*It must be noted that a complete unification of national identities has not been achieved in either of the states considered in this essay, and in Northern Ireland may never be achieved; however, in recognising common aims, mediators are still able to facilitate compromise and a peaceful coexistence between different groups. References: ( Online version) _____________________________ Elena Villarreal is a first year undergraduate student reading PPE at the University of York.


VOX - The Student Journal of Politics, Economics and Philosophy

CHallenging sovereignty. The future of the nation. By Alexios Mantzarlis

1648 is habitually pinpointed

as the year of birth’ of the concept of sovereignty. In that year the Peace of Westphalia brought to an end two of the bloodiest wars to ravage the already overly bellicose European continent. The treaties underpinning the Peace recognized rights to non-interference in other countries’ domestic affairs. As all main European powers recognised the principle of cuius region, eius religio (whose realm, his religion), they committed to one of the most important (and disputed) principles of international law. The notion of sovereignty appealed to the countries in the war-ravished continent as it imposed constraints on all countries regardless of their military might. It offered protection and continuity to a state, despite particular regime changes or policies. While sovereignty, like every other norm in national or international politics, has not been abided by uniformly, it has undoubtedly been the foundation for most elaborations of international order to this day. In what follows, I will


seek to analyse whether the challenges presented by the 21st century have fundamentally undermined the notion of sovereignty. Ever since the fall of the Soviet Union, numerous academics have proclaimed the demise of sovereignty, and at first sight there is no shortage of arguments in their favour. The current fiscal earthquake had a relatively constrained epicentre in Wall Street and the City of London but spread seamlessly across borders to hit countries all over the world, regardless of their fiscal policies. The International Criminal Court (ICC) further undermined the concept of sovereignty earlier this year by presenting charges against an acting head of state, Omar Bashir of Sudan. It was preceded in making a judgement on what have been traditionally considered ‘domestic affairs’ by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which in 2004 deemed Israel’s building of the Wall illegal. The ICC and the ICJ are both examples of non-sovereign bodies apparently limiting the actions of

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sovereign nations. These top-down limitations are matched by bottom-up changes which are drawing individuals to identify themselves no longer first and foremost by their nationality, but by their religion, race, language or sexual orientation. Finally, arguably the most fundamental challenge to our world, climate change, respects no borders and severely infringes upon  Holsti, K.J. Taming the Sovereigns. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Page 123

sovereignty, as the damage inflicted by the most polluting, developed, countries tends to affect developing countries and island nations the most. A rapid appraisal of the contemporary international horizon seems to support the claim that developments on the international stage, as well as sociological changes, have significantly reduced the scope of sovereignty when compared to its Westphalian inception. A more careful analysis of the current challenges to sovereignty, 15

VOX - The Student Journal of Politics, Economics and Philosophy

coupled with some historical perspective, should be enough to at least partially refute this claim. Many of the limitations of sovereignty enumerated above have (or can be found to have) counterarguments. The argument that financial interdependence is a limitation to sovereignty is put to rest when we recognize that the world before World War I was, in terms of trade and capital markets, just as interlocked as it is today. The Prussia of the Kaisers, the Russia of the Tsars and Imperial Britain epitomise our conception of sovereign states; that they were as interlocked as today’s states should be seen as a reminder that too often we recreate imaginary gilded pasts where principles are abided by comprehensively. Such pasts do not exist. Furthermore, the strong stimulus packages and nationalisation of banking and other industries sees the state achieve more, not less, control over activities within its border. If it appears that sovereignty hasn’t suffered from the economic meltdown, the changes in how individuals identify themselves also don’t pose a fundamental challenge. These are mostly sociological changes, which do not affect the authority of a state to impose upon its citizens duties and bestow upon them rights; these  Smith, David A., Dorothy J Solinger and

Steven C Topik (eds.). States and Sovereignty in the Global Economy. New York: Routledge, 1999. Page 36


rights are not superseded by individuals’ holding other identities. This is exemplified by the case of the veil in France, where (for good or for ill) the demands of laicité (secularism) imposed by the sovereign supplanted those of the non-sovereign identity – in this case, Islam. Those who reason that economic interdependence and conflicting identities are challenges to sovereignty misrepresent sovereignty as control over a state, rather than authority over it. This misrepresentation is also the flaw that undermines the argument that global warming is reducing the ambit of Pacific island nations’ sovereignty because they have to face limitations caused by other countries’ pollution. These nations might not have complete control over their islands but their authority over them is unchanged by the rising waters.

Those who reason that economic interdependence and conflicting identities are challenges to sovereignty misrepresent sovereignty as control over a state, rather than authority over it. More serious challenges to sovereignty arise from those supranational bodies and treaties that directly attack a state’s authority over its domestic affairs, rather than its control over them. This is particularly the case with the growing number of human rights treaties, which override national

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legislations to impose specific rights upon citizens. This is a clear limitation to a state’s authority, as it no longer posesses absolute authority over its domestic affairs – it has to abide by international agreements, and courts. The European Court for Human Rights (ECHR), for example, allows citizens to appeal against states for violations of human rights, on a supranational level. These adjudications are theoretically binding, just as ICJ rulings can be, and the indictment of al-Bashir by the ICC is. The problem lies in how binding these decisions actually are; we haven’t seen Israel halt or reverse its course regarding the building of the Wall, and al-Bashir continues to govern Sudan, regardless of the injunctions made by the judges at The Hague. In fact, the sovereignty that these supranational bodies and treaties execute is merely the sovereignty which consenting states have pooled, rather than a sovereignty of its own. As such, individual states can and do choose to opt out of these treaties when it is against their ‘sovereign’ interests. This, however, is more the case for economic matters (the Euro zone) or security matters (the Schengen border controls agreement), rather than human rights matters. In fact, walking out of a human rights treaty inevitably risks turning the country into a pariah state, with all the diplomatic consequences that entails. Certainly a European country ignoring a ruling

by the ECHR would be ostracised from the rest of the continent. More important than the actual ultimate power supranational courts and treaties have to limit sovereignty is the increasing normative background, which implies that sovereignty carries a responsibility towards one’s citizens, the gross disrespect of which can warrant intervention from other states. This is the rationale behind the 2005 UN ‘responsibility to protect’ (R2P) clause. It gives the international community the right to intervene within states to “…protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.” While the application of R2P is highly controversial, in the same manner that the rulings of the ECHR, ICC and ICJ are, it represents an awareness that the international community has at least notionally placed upon itself as a body of sovereign states, a necessary limitation: respect for basic human rights. _____________________________ Alexios Mantzarlis is a third year undergraduate student reading PPE at the Univeristy of York

 Article 138 of the 2005 UN World Summit 17

VOX - The Student Journal of Politics, Economics and Philosophy Zbigniew rogalski. ‘Crash position’ (by Courtesy of ‘raster gallery’)



N DISCUSSING MORALITY BEWTEEN THE NATIONS, this article is going to be mainly concerned with the duties and obligations affluent western democracies have towards poor countries. In doing so, I will try to answer two different questions. First, how can we attribute responsibility to nations collectively? Second, what obligations do nations have in their conduct 18

towards other countries? David Miller (2007) gives elaborate answers to both questions. I will argue that his treatment of the first question is convincing, but that his account of what rich nations owe other countries is insufficient and ought to be amended by proposals brought forward by Thomas Pogge (2002). In establishing an account of national responsibility Miller develops

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two different models of collective responsibility, which are then applied to nations. The first concept is that of a like-minded group, i.e. of a collective whose members recognise shared attitudes and goals, and who act in the belief that their conduct is supported by the group. As a prominent example, Miller appeals to a furious mob destroying shops and buildings. In such a case, it is insufficient to speak only of the responsibility of individuals who happen to be in the same place at the same time. Taking into consideration the fact that the interactions of the group change individuals’ behaviour, it is more adequate to also speak of a certain degree of collective responsibility (Miller 2007, 114-117). The second model’s main feature is cooperative practice. An enterprise democratically governed by its employees exemplifies this. Even if a decision that led to a claim against the firm in question was not taken unanimously, the dissenting minority is responsible for contributing to compensation of the harm that was done, because they benefited from the decision in question and from the enterprise in general. As Miller says, this model is both more and less demanding than the like-minded group model: more demanding in the sense that in order to apply, the benefits of the venture in question must be distributed fairly; less demanding regarding the fact that it does not presuppose a shared identity

and common values (Miller 2007, 119). Applying these models to nations, Miller tries to define nationality through four features. A nation shares a common identity (1) and a public culture (2). In addition, members of a nation acknowledge both that they have special obligations towards each other (3), and that the persistence of the nation is intrinsically valuable to them (4). Miller comes to the conclusion that a nation can be described as a like-minded group insofar as it satisfies conditions (1), (2) and (4). The third feature can explain that a nation can also be seen as a cooperative practice group: if there is a dissenting minority that nevertheless feels itself as belonging to a nation and benefits from its institutions, one can include it in judgments about national responsibility. According to Miller, this model of collective responsibility applies particularly well in a democratic political entity where policies and decisions are discussed and decided about in a public forum. If a certain decision is not made in unison, as is often the case, one can still hold the dissenters responsible on  There are two possibilities in which a minority is not included in judgments about national responsibility. On the one hand, if benefits are not distributed fairly and a subgroup of a nation is exploited, and on the other hand, if the minority in question does not feel as part of a certain nation and rejects its public culture and identity. See Miller 2007, 132-3.


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the grounds of the cooperative practice model. Considering the global inequalities, the widespread poverty in many parts of the world vis-à-vis the affluence in western nations, one can conclude that citizens of such countries are collectively responsible for addressing certain aspects of the current global economic situation. This leads to the second question underlying this article: what do members of western nations owe to poor countries? Addressing the question of responsibilities towards outsiders, Miller considers the objection that the establishment of an In Group (such as a nation state) whose existence includes special responsibilities among its members is unjust towards outsiders, especially if the group in question is privileged in relation to other individuals or groups. Miller maintains that the force of this objection is entirely dependent on how one understands the basic ethical rule of treating all people equally. If equal treatment is meant to hold in a strong sense, this objection is valid. But if equal treatment of all people is understood in a weaker sense, i.e. as a global obligation to ensure access to a minimal set of rights and resources, then the objection loses its force, as the existence of In Groups is perfectly consistent with such a duty (Miller 2007, 41-3). In order to specify the 20

content of such a global obligation, Miller defines a list of basic human rights, which are to be protected. According to his account of those rights that are based on human needs, people are to be ensured access to the resources and circumstances of what he calls a ‘minimally decent life’. The list Miller then develops is composed so as to ensure the possibility of carrying out universal ‘core human activities’, and encompasses the rights to ‘…food and water, clothing and shelter, physical security, health care, education, work and leisure, freedoms of movement, conscience, and expression.’ (Miller 2007, 184). The global obligation to comply with and ensure observance of human rights on the side of affluent democracies includes the responsibility to compensate past injustice, to provide assistance in case of natural disasters, and to offer all countries fair terms of cooperation. Miller specifies the last of these obligations via three further duties, namely to prevent international institutions from imposing economic guidelines on poor countries, not to levy taxes in order to protect their own economy (an important topic in  Miller 2007, 181. The notion of a decent

life is, according to Miller, less demanding than that of a flourishing life, which includes an element of autonomy and choice. A decent life, on the other hand, is by definition the same for all members of a society. See Miller 2007, 181-2.

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the face of the current global economic downturn) and to stabilise the prices of goods that are central to the economies of poor countries (Miller 2007, 251-3). Though the duties Miller assigns to western nations to change the current global economic order are quite far-reaching and certainly necessary, I do not believe that they are sufficient in establishing an order that might approach justice. This scepticism is due to the widespread existence of autocracies - one of the biggest problems in the Third World today. As I share most of the premises and conclusions of Miller’s argument, I am correspondingly sceptical of cosmopolitan concepts. One of the most prominent examples was brought forward by Thomas Pogge. However, this does not prevent me from strongly supporting two measures he believes to be effective in curtailing dictatorships and poverty in the Third World. Pogge emphasises the causal role of financial incentives in the occurrence of coups d’états in poor countries. He proposes that these incentives can be disposed of by the developed world by abolishing two privileges for undemocratic rulers that are generally held by governments, namely, the borrowing privilege and the resource privilege. With the first notion, Pogge denotes the fact that governments can take loans in the name of their countries, the

debts of which will have to be paid back by succeeding governments with money that might be badly needed for other purposes. The latter term describes the fact that ownership rights and goods transferred by autocratic heads of states are regarded as valid by western governments and need to be acknowledged by subsequent governments of the same country (Pogge 2002, Ch. 6). Miller is sceptical of these proposals on the grounds that he believes that the causes of poverty must be concretely evaluated before assigning responsibility for it to the west and because he does not share Pogge’s conclusions about the crucial role of the global economic order in the explanation of poverty in the Third World (Miller 2007, 260). In turn, I doubt that the task of assessing responsibility for global poverty precisely can actually be fully accomplished, given the vast range and complexity of the factors involved. However, even without such a clear allocation of responsibilities, undermining the financial bases of Third World autocracies and protecting future generations of such countries from huge debts could be seen as a practical step in alleviating poverty in the Third World. _____________________________ Martin Hasler is a first year MA student reading PPE at the University of Berne in Switzerland. 21

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N THE CURRENT ECONOMIC CLIMATE, free trade is at risk. The assumptions of specialisation and comparative advantage accompanying the free exchange of goods and services are threatened by the incentive for politicians to please their disgruntled electorates. All types of markets – capital, labour and goods – are at peril; capital protectionism has already been enforced in many countries, Gordon Brown has specified that ‘British jobs’ will be for ‘British workers’, and recent EU conferences have focused on disputes involving French desires to retract their firms’ Czech-based operations. Advocates of free trade would claim that such measures are distortions, which impede the necessary adjustments to an efficient equilibrium. By restricting trade, countries essentially free ride - they benefit whilst others suffer. Moreover, once one country acts in such a way, others will accordingly follow suit, leading to successive rounds of trade


restrictions until equilibrium is reached. This is inefficient, in that all countries would be better off by being open, and stable, in that no country would find it profitable to deviate. Although competition is the crux of the free trade argument, when we depart from myopic perceptions of economic efficiency by distinguishing between international and national markets, the concept of the nation introduces a level of complexity. Competition between nations to industrialise does not necessarily entail competition between firms; on the contrary, national projects to catch-up with or outpace rivals have historically embraced import-substituting measures. Indeed, the East Asian growth miracles can largely be attributed to the strategic implementation and gradual reversal of protectionist policies. The parts of the world that are already developed can likewise thank national trade barriers for their current economic dominance. Political competition, there-

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fore, can replace market competition, as competition occurs between nations as well as firms. The resultant obstruction in free trade can yield preferable results in the long run. If a national sentiment exists, the drive for growth will involve cooperation within the nation and cooperation between state and nation, to become competitive. Markets may stimulate superior quality of existing products, but the fixed investment costs required for upgrading necessitate a degree of coordination that markets lack. A state can capitalise on the desire to supersede comparative advantage by implementing policies that move beyond a static concept of

efficiency to a dynamic equilibrium of enhanced competition. It is possible to envisage a world without political competition, resembling a monopoly, plagued by all the inefficiencies associated with such a market structure. A case in point is the European Union. Membership is conditional on countries first improving the efficiency of their economic and political systems. Once a country is a part of the larger entity, a type of ‘organisational slack’ may settle in as the incentive to improve is replaced by moral hazard. The EU, in its attempts to attain characteristics commonly associated with nationhood, also resembles a firm and so demonstrates 23

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table 1.

table 2. how nations can achieve economies of scale by acting as a conglomerated organisation rather than as a fragmented collection. The fundamental point is that national markets affect international markets and the nation gives us a place to draw the line; the nebulous character of the EU means that delineations are confused. The success of the whole depends on the unity of its parts. Each member knows this and hence has the incentive to free ride. This is similar to the precarious separation between ownership and control, which has proved to be devastating for the world’s financial system. The result is often a degree of internecine trade disputes, such as that between France and the Czech Republic, or distor24

tions, such as the Common Agricultural Policy. Once external political competition inevitably assumes precedence, regional trade agreements may hamper trade further by creating a common external tariff, which means that trade is internally free but externally encumbered. In these cases, globalisation sows the seeds of its own destruction. Game theory can shed light on the issue. The traditional free trade assumptions may yield a game similar to that in ‘table 1.’ Efficiency through comparative advantage means that all countries will be better off by trading. The incentive to protect in order to reap advantages of free trade whilst avoiding the pains of competition will

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lead to an inefficient Nash Equilibrium as each country expects the other to act rationally and so acts accordingly. This necessitates intervention of entities such as the World Trade Organisation to change the rules of the game. However, the reality is that countries are not identical. A comparative advantage in a low value-added agricultural industry will leave it in a (statically) efficient equilibrium of poverty. If the rest of the world has an open economy, then the developing country is better off protecting higher value-added industries. This yields the following game: ‘table 2.’ As in the first game, if the entire world acts in a protectionist way, all will be worse off. To move into the efficient equilibrium in the first game, however, the developing country must be given preference in order to catch up, to make free trade actually beneficial. Even if the world initially loses out, developing country protectionism will yield a ubiquitous benefit once the developing country has progressed to a position that makes free trade consistent with its basis of competition: the long-run efficient equilibrium in the first game is only possible if the developing country temporarily closes itself from the rest of the world. Hence, protectionism in this case should not merely be seen as a distortion of free trade, but rather as a temporary fix to allow the assumptions of free trade to hold.

The competition entailed in nationhood can embrace free trade. The success of Poland’s postcommunist liberalisation was largely made possible by the presence of a national project to return to Europe. Russia, on the other hand, had no reference point for the political justification of its market reforms, which invariably resulted in a distorted version of liberalisation whereby political competition within the nation served to undermine the economic unity of the nation - by granting unprecedented power to a select group of oligarchs. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, there was no unifying national sentiment to align their interest with that of the country. The idea of a nation contrasts with that of a country, and this has implications for economic development. African countries, chalked up arbitrarily in colonial times, lack nationhood, which jeopardises statehood. A government may occupy a given territory but has no legitimate monopoly of force, because loyalty lies in a ‘primordial public’ rather than a ‘civic public’. The state then has no ability to harness the economic capacity of the country. Contrast the failure of many African countries to grow with the success of India, a country which was  Peter Ekeh, `Colonialism and the two

publics’, Comparative Studies in Society and History, 17(1) (1975)


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also artificially constructed, but by criteria consistent with nationalism, whether by way of a religionist backlash against the critique of Hindu polytheism or through the secular narrative endorsed by the Congress Party.

A government may occupy a given territory but has no legitimate monopoly of force, because loyalty lies in a ‘primordial public’ rather than a ‘civic public’.

More philosophically, selfidentity relies on the ability to perceive an ‘other’. Indeed, this is the root of competition. ‘Comparative advantage’ relies on divisions, because it does exactly what it says – it compares. This idea can be extended to the political realm. It is no coincidence that wars are responsible for so much of the world’s industrialisation. The imperative to mobilise troops and resources synchronizes the interests of the state and the nation to economic development, whether the motivation is taxation and healthy soldiers or simply standard of living. Furthermore, war serves economic development by creating a sense of nationhood that can politically justify initially painful reforms. Indeed, the  Robert Bates, Prosperity and Violence: The Political Economy of Development (New York: Norton, 2001)


imperative of national defence facilitated much of the East Asian growth miracle. Hence, the nation is necessary not only for ‘free trade’ to function as a static theory, it also allows for the political identity required for the theory to move to a more dynamic process. In conclusion, free trade as a dogma incorrectly delineates the world. The model works for ‘Planet Earth plc’ or for ‘Firm A plc’, but not for ‘Country A plc’. Nations divide the world, whilst their respective states harmonise firms. The world is not one big firm, nor can it be reduced to a locus of competing firms. Even multinational firms such as Samsung, which depart from the nation to achieve greater economies of scale, are hatched fledglings who have learnt to fly; they were conceived and incubated in their national nests. A national will to develop, and the state capacity to do so, will enhance the potential of competition, even if it involves a short term compromise. This is a purely rational extension of economic decision-making, and is efficient on many levels. _____________________________ Spencer Thompson is a second year undergraduate student reading Economics and Politics at the University of York

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HE IDEA OF THE NATIONSTATE AND THE IDEAL OF DEMOCRACY are the two most prevailing political concepts of modern times. We accept as commonsensical the notion that individuals belong to particular social groups called nations; likewise, we intuitively grasp that, for a society to be basically fair and just, it must sustain the institutions of democracy. There remains, however, a general level of uncertainty about these basic political concepts. What is a ‘nation’ exactly? Perhaps more urgently, what is ‘democracy’ supposed to mean? What institutions does it entail? And most importantly, what is the relationship (if any) between these two facts of modern political life? Do democratic institutions require that participants share a national identity in order to be sustainable? Before we can answer these questions, we need a clear idea of what we mean by the concepts involved. What, then, is a ‘nation’? As

David Miller has observed, “…nations are not things that exist in the world independently of the beliefs people have about them…” (Miller, 1995: 17) Nations are only as real as we imagine them to be; they are constructs of those who assume a common national identity. This rests on two foundations: individuals must embrace the common identity as a part of their own personal identity and there must be reciprocal recognition between co-nationals as such. However, these foundations by themselves do not make a nation; they also hold true for common identities of ethnicity, religion, class etc. We can reasonably say, therefore, that what makes a national identity unique is that it is a distinctively political conception. Co-nationals must share in a “common public culture” (Miller, 1995: 25), which constitutes a shared set of social and political norms, and is usually influenced by the ‘national story’ – a common social history influenced by events that are 27

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history influenced by events that are said to be definitive of the ‘national character’. Co-nationals are not necessarily ethnically or religiously homogeneous (although this is not to deny the importance of ethnic identity in the formation of bonds of solidarity between co-nationals). Moreover, national identity derives its distinctively political dimension from the idea that a nation must have the capacity for political autonomy – in order to be a nation, a social group must be capable of self-government. We can etymologically define democracy to mean ‘rule of the people’, that is, a community (a demos) which is self-governing and sovereign over its own affairs. It implies that those who are members of the demos, and therefore citizens of a democracy, must necessarily be active in the decision procedures of 28

the government, for that is what it means to be self-governing. In other words, in a democracy the business of government cannot be surrendered to any one individual or class of individuals. To be truly self-governing, a demos must actively decide on issues of importance by means of collective deliberation which aims at building a consensus; the delegation of executive power to any minority of the demos must be a last resort and on grounds of practicality. Therefore, we can say that to be a citizen of a democracy necessarily means being an active citizen. However, a necessary link between the institutions of democratic government and the public culture and common identity of the nation is not immediately apparent. How could the nation provide support for the kind of active citizenship that demo-

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cratic institutions require if they are to prove durable? We must first consider what motivations exist for participating in the processes of democracy. In answering this, we must be sensitive to the thought that the social and cultural circumstances into which the individual is born act to shape his personal identity. In response to the question ‘Who are you?’ he is likely to include his national identity as a constituent part of his personal identity. (Miller, 1995) But how is this account of personal identity linked to democratic participation? In a nation, this constituent of identity would be common to many of those (if not all) who would be considered the demos. It is this shared identity which ties the fortunes of individuals to the fortunes of the demos as a whole. There is a feeling of common ownership of political institutions. There is an idea of a common good. It is precisely this feeling of a common identity, ownership and a shared project that is the engine of democratic participation. Without such a common identity a society would become socially atomized and it is unclear what else would provide an impetus for participation; if it were only a case of self-interested behaviour, then in a vast multi-national electorate it would be quite irrational for individuals to participate at all, as their one vote would in aggregate be inconsequential. Moreover, if we remain out-

side a perfectly consensus-achieving deliberative framework, the procedures of democracy require that some participants’ preferences will not be satisfied all of the time. In a majority-voting scheme, a minority would necessarily lose. Therefore, democracy requires that some people be willing to lose for at least some of the time. (Festenstein, 2005) Our account of a common identity allows for this proposition to be practicable. For why should we accept a loss of personal interest to people with whom we feel no affinity? Individuals require some assurance that there is some merit in their participation in politics, even when they lose. As we feel a common ownership of our political institutions through the personal and social autonomy that a democracy provides, we feel that it is worth observing the rules of democratic ‘fair-play’, even when the outcome is not in our favour.

It is precisely this feeling of a common identity, ownership and a shared project that is the engine of democratic participation.

My last point is purely practical. So far we have considered democratic participation at a minimum: a vote in momentary elections. Democratic institutions, however, 29

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require a more extensive amount of participation. In a deliberative model of democracy, citizens play a role in the formulation of government policy by coming together and deliberating over an issue until a consensus-based solution is agreed upon. An obvious problem which this raises, when considered in a multi-national democracy, is that there will often be a barrier of language. Moreover, there may well be a cultural barrier as to the values which are given priority (e.g. utility, efficiency, liberty). While the former problem may be resolved by means of rapid translation, these can quickly become impractical. (Kymlicka, 2001) In the case of the latter, it is a large question as to whether democratic deliberation can take place in a crossnational, and therefore cross-cultural, setting. It is one, however, that I will not attempt to answer here. In sum, we can see how the institutions of democracy are best facilitated by the bonds of solidarity which the nation engenders, and by the norms of public culture which the nation implies. In an increasingly globalized world the boundaries of national identity have proven a surprisingly durable environment for participation towards the democratic ideal, and it remains unlikely that we will see their disappearance any time soon.


Bibliography: Festenstein, M. (2005) Negotiating Diversity: Culture, Deliberation, Trust (Polity Press) Held, D. (2006) Models of Democracy (Polity Press) Held, D. (1999) ‘The Transformation of Political Community: Rethinking Democracy in the Context of Globalization’, in Ian Shapiro and Casiano Hacker-Cordon (eds.) Democracy’s Edges (Cambridge University Press), pp. 84-111. Kymlicka, W. (2001) Politics in the Vernacular (Oxford University Press Miller, D. (2000) ‘Bounded Citizenship’, in Citizenship and National Identity (Polity Press) Miller, D. (1995) On Nationality (Oxford University Press)

_____________________________ James Hodgson is a third year undergraduate student reading PPE at the University of York

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HE CONSERVATIVE PARTY TIONS OF GREAT BRITAIN has made the case for an English Parliament. It is clear that to make a statement for English nationalism one must compare it to the case for pan-Celtic nationalism, which corresponds with territory and economy in England, contrasted with the Welsh/Scots call for cultural identity. This desire for an English chamber has come about mainly as a result of devolution, but has also

been encouraged by what Jamieson identified as ‘globalization’ driven by representation of identity in the post-modern environment. Post-modernity is the representation of a particular style or argument in the light of, and rooted in, the development of new technology of visual and auditory hue. The union of Great Britain is high Tory, and as such represents a logocentric presentation of governance taken from the idea of a higher core31

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periphery basis. Devolution tore apart our perceptions of Thatcher’s centralised Westminster governance, bringing to a standstill arguments that those regions were being ignored. As Jamieson states, it is economics that propels the political agenda, and it is the crux of the post-modern, where we see culture, economics and politics become intertwined and dependent (Jamieson, 2000). The core element of the Conservative argument is the justification for English identity. It seems to be founded in representations of wealth, Protestantism and capitalist symbols of success – now shared in all regions. It is as distinct in Cardiff as in London. It is apparent that the Conservatives dislike the anarchic tendency of a shift in power away from Westminster, and a tendency to solidify separation through specific governance methods. One could wonder whether it really is anything to do with West Lothian or a last ditch attempt to bring core Conservatism back to England. From here, we must attend to the meaning of West Lothian. Allowing Scots and Welsh MPs to sit at two chambers included voting on allocation of spending in England, whilst it has been decided that English MPs are to be excluded from Scottish health policy decisions. The contemporary solution provided by David Cameron is to have a Grand Committee concerned with education 32

and health for England. This appears to coincide with what Jamieson refers to as postmodernism or millennialism, indicating a crisis of the nation state. Here, post-modernity makes the once ugly task of atomising the union presentable. The union can now be depicted as a unity of separations, debarred by culture. Moreover, the idea that England needs to have an ‘interests chamber’ or ‘grand committee’ of its own is an interpretation of ‘new realism’, or a form of political argument hegemony to solidify conservative politics. From Jamieson’s interpretation of globalization or the postmodern, we can derive some of the answers to the West Lothian Question through cognitive mapping. When fathoming Jamieson’s path, we cross Althusser’s notion of the ‘representation of the subject’s Imaginary relationship to his or her Real conditions of existence’ (Jamieson, 2003), aligned clearly with political notions of cultural and economic independence in the periphery. It is precisely the new notion of representation and cognitive mapping of the nation in alignment with the global economy that has brought about this new realism and interest in a union of separations. More than anything, this discourse brings to the fore our confusion and insecurity with ‘global cognitive mapping’ and that of our locality. We can view the Scots and the Welsh as the ‘post-colonial victim’

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(During, 1997) and the new phased nationalism (or gradualist devolution) as an expression of the unity of will, delivering the promise of progress through structural precedent. Devolution might then be cultural pessimism that is turning against the negativity of the union, embracing a positive formation in micro-cultures that promise equal economic freedoms through global investment with the political promise of free religious and linguistic dominance.

This revolution is clearly a post-colonial notion, removing England as the oppressor and revealing the potential for economic freedoms that parallel with the free

market ideology of neo-liberalism. An explosion in music and cinema has allowed a Celtic rebirth through proven enclaves of home grown talent, fostered through political and social rationalization (During, 1987). This is where Lyotard effectively supports Jamieson, arguing that the atomisation of the historical community is bolstered by money as the dominant form of exchange. I do not agree that this creates ineffective political institutions, rather, it bolsters demand for greater forms of representative democracy. With greater exposure through technology, it is important that Britain is presented well in a global setting, leading to the post-modern political entrenchment of democratic fairness. Indeed, it is recognised that there is an imbalance or lack of proportionality between Westminster and devolved institutions. Beyond indulgence through cultural aesthetics, there is a worthwhile case for multicultural nationalism within Jamieson’s terms and the articulation of cognitive mapping allowed by the explosion of the economy in the last 30 years. These regions have been ‘Americanised’ with the introduction of the shopping mall in all regions, discount outlets and symbols of global empire, allowing us to pinpoint our national location in a common language of a safe consumer economy (Jamieson, 2003). Moreover, this gentrification of the periphery has coincided with Labour’s political

* Rawls, J. (1999) A Theory of Justice (Harvard University Press, Cambridge) 2nd ed. pp. 328-9]


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intentions, by bolstering a proportionate approach to economic inequality and focusing on education along with infrastructure. Phased nationalism is a case of confidence. England, through its new post-colonial, benevolent expression of good will has discovered it might be losing out to its Celtic neighbours in terms of articulating the ‘representable condition of being’. It is hugely important not to stray into nationalism with subtle fascist (without leader) undertones, the argument for an English Parliament needs to be backed solidly with philosophical arguments based on strengthening devolution, rather than turning away from its liberal hue. As Jamieson states in his article on ‘Future City’, space becomes the hegemonic language of the new moment of history; the importance of this statement in with respect to England is the validity of the argument in relation to an ‘interests chamber’. This is a commodity fetish, very much like culture and tradition itself, just the personification of a specific aesthetic, preference of existence or ontology within a mapped space. Now we can shop like the Americans. With this consumer package tied to postmodernity, it is almost inconceivable that devolution is a ‘de-linking’ from globalization, it has propelled the atomisation of the union, in tandem with demand for more global invest34

ment – the mall has witnessed a ‘delinking’ from British politics. It is John Gray, in his eulogy to globalization, who provides the best summary: “The growth of the world economy does not inaugurate a global civilization, as both Smith and Marx thought it must. Instead it allows for the growth of indigenous kinds of capitalism, diverging from the ideal free market and from each other. It creates regimes that achieve modernity by renewing their own cultural tradition” (Jamieson, 2000).” The Welsh and Scottish decisions to refute the free market tuition fees in education express their dedication to distinctive cultural interpretations of how state ought to be governed, supporting the idea of mutual kinship in overcoming the evils of neo-liberal competition (Jamieson: 2000). The endless repetition of shopping and work brought to us by the mall has to an extent been overcome by the assertion of identity – giving Wales and Scotland social purpose. In conservative England, it is truly unimaginable that there will be a serious ‘de-linking’ from the free market. However, it is the Jamieson/ Gray articulation of community or social ‘collectivity’ in crafting national identity that allows Ulster, Wales and Scotland to operate their own version of modernity one step away from the fierce gust of global hegemony in

fierce gust of global hegemony in wealthy England, particularly specific education and health goals. Taking the notion of the nation-state from Hannah Arendt, it is important to note the importance of collective memory. We are forced to recognise that Britain, rather than England is the whole of the constituent parts and that devolution has been brought about foremost through neglect, rather than an urgent call for separation. England’s position at the heart of the British state, must not refute the union but reform the imbalance by giving attention to an ‘interests chamber’ that reflects more clearly the economic and political interest. This can be fairly achieved through a referendum to reflect true sentiment relative to the state of the

constitution. Then England can be sure that the regions grievances have been truly addressed. As Jean-Jacques Rousseau states in his contractarian enunciation of state, equality is the worthwhile objective for any government. By looking to the philosophy of the ‘coming community’, the English might see the true incentive for constitutional pessimism by honing a community where we participate democratically without consuming a commoditised, free market political product. Bibliography: ( Online version) _____________________________ Robin Alec Hazzard is a graduate student reading Politics at the Universsity of York.



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Call for Papers

VOX Autumn Issue 2009 Theme: Future Realities VOX - The Student Journal of Politics, Economics and Philosophy - is calling for the submission of articles for the Autumn Term Issue 2009, which will be on the wide theme of the “Future Realities” (see list below). The article should be between 1000-1500 words. If you want to write, please let us know by emailing a short outline of your proposed article to by 4 September 2009. You might want to pick an article idea from the following list or suggest your own topic: • • • • • • • •

Ethics and technology (Bioethics) Could a machine think? (Philosophy of the Mind) Intergenerational accountability Changing moral/economic status of human beings Emerging economies Market speculation: Effects of future expectation on todays markets The future of ideology (End of History) ___________ (your own article idea.)

Note: Undergraduates, graduates and academics from any degree programme are welcome to contribute. Back issues are available at:

Vox Issue 9 - The Nation  

For some the nation is a distant, artificial concept: a group associated with a territory, an ethnicity, or a shared language. Standing dist...