Turkey Can Teach Israel How To Make Peace

Standard

Our headlines have been filled with an overwhelming amount of violence and conflict lately – Ukraine, Gaza, Syria, Central America. Fortunately, this week, Turkish journalist Mustafa Akyol has published a New York Times Op-Ed about how we can build peace.

The article is titled Turkey Can Teach Israel How To End Terror. To me, that headline exemplifies our cultural focus on war and violence at the expense of focusing on the outcome we want – peace. Terror gets more clicks than peace.

But regardless, Akyol makes several salient points. Continue reading

Fewer wars and less peace? What to do about it.

Standard

Last month, the Institute for Economics and Peace released the 2014 Global Peace Index. The results are frustrating: the world has been getting less peaceful for the last several years. And at the same time, the number of wars between countries is also declining. How is that possible? Read my analysis of the 2014 Index report on Pacific Standard:

In short, the nature of peace is changing. Breakdowns in peacefulness are becoming more decentralized, and peacefulness relies more heavily on social structures and non-state actors as opposed to exclusively governments and formal militaries. Peace is becoming more democratic, if you will. Given the severity of organized, inter-state conflict in the 20th century, the trend of declining militarization and international war implies that we have made progress in solving 20th-century problems.

The rise of internal conflict, in all its forms, demonstrates that people are unsatisfied with their governments, economies, and social structures. We don’t need complicated econometrics to tell us that—the Arab Spring movements, the anti-austerity protestors, and even ISIS have made their dissatisfaction abundantly clear. Meanwhile, violent markets—like the drug trade—are growing as opportunities in formal, non-violent markets disappear.

Click through for the full article.

The Pacific Standard site doesn’t do comments, but I’d love to hear your thoughts and questions here or on social media. Do you think this analysis makes sense? Are we doing the right things to address our 21st century problems? Do you have an innovative idea for building peace?

Support. Don’t Punish.

Standard

A global advocacy campaign to raise awareness of the harms being caused by the criminalization of people who use drugs.

If you’ve been following along, you already know that I stand against the War on Drugs. Fortunately, the failures of meeting economic activity with a militarized law enforcement response are becoming more recognized, and several movements for drug policy reform are growing. Support. Don’t Punish is one of them.

From their website, the Support. Don’t Punish campaign aims to:

  • Change laws and policies which impede access to harm reduction interventions for people who use drugs.
  • Raise awareness about the need to stop criminalising (‘punishing’) people for using drugs.
  • Raise awareness about the need for greater funding and attention for essential health services and other ‘support’ for people who use drugs.
  • Promote respect for the human rights of people who use drugs.
  • Engender public support for drug reform.

This Thursday afternoon, Support. Don’t Punish is hosting a global day of action for drug policy reform.

June 26 is the United Nations’ International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, and also the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. On this day, governments around the world celebrate their contributions to the global war on drugs, in some cases even commemorating this day by holding public executions or beatings of drug offenders.

NYC is helping to reclaim this day by becoming involved in the 2nd annual Global Day of Action, along with over 80 other cities around the world.”

Join us at the United Nations Headquarters (Corner of 1st Ave & E 47th St) at 2pm for a rally for smarter, more effective drug policy. Find more information on the event Facebook page.

How Much Is Peace Actually Worth?

Standard

An excerpt from my recent publication on Pacific Standard:

Economists are not new to the study of war. Many in the U.S. have argued that war is good for the economy, and those in Washington have seemed eager to believe them. Indeed, war is an ideal economics topic. It’s very expensive, and the numbers involved—money spent, weapons used, casualties—can be easily counted and crunched.

There is, however, a more challenging topic that has recently caught the eye of economists: peace.

In the last decade, researchers and economists from all over the world have made great gains in the nascent field of peace economics. They’re finding that violence and war are terrible for the economy, but also that we can use economics to prevent them.

. . .

Read more at www.PSMag.com.

Visit the Center for Theory of Change, Tuesday 3/18 in NYC

Standard

A few weeks ago, Theory of Change was discovered by the Center for Theory of Change, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting quality standards and best practice for the development and implementation of the Theory of Change model, especially in international development, sustainability, education, human rights and social change. I’m really glad to be in touch with the folks there, as developing and sharing knowledge about how we can most effectively change the world is a particular passion of mine.

So, I’m pleased to share an opportunity for those of you in New York City to meet the team at CTOC and join them on the evening of Tuesday, March 18th for the launch of a new Corelab report, “9 Ways to Change the World?: Theories of change for engaging people on global issues.” If you’re in the city, check out the event details below. (If you’re not, you can still access the report and the great learning from both orgs online.)

I won’t be able to make it – I’ll be over at the Yes Lab that evening – but if you get out to the event, let me know how it went, who you met, and what you learned!

Corelab and the Center for Theory of Change  are delighted to invite you to the:

Launch of 9 Ways to Change the World

A Corelab Briefing on Theories of Change for Engaging People on Global Issues

When: Tuesday 18th March
Time: 6:30-8:30 EST
Where: CUNY Graduate Center
365 5th Ave,  6th floor, Room 6304.01
New York  10016

Featuring
May Miller-Dawkins, Head of Research at Corelab and Author of 9 Ways to Change the World
Peggy Hicks, Director of Global Advocacy, Human Rights Watch
Jose Luis Diaz, Head of Amnesty International’s New York Office
Hannah Weitzer, Program Manager, Global Nomads Group

Join us for the launch and an evening of discussion and debate about theories of change to engage people on global issues.

RSVP now (to reserve your spot) to:  Zabi Rahat of Center for Theory of Change

azrahat@theoryofchange.org
212-817-8763
Hosted by Actknowledge

Download and Review the Briefing Here

Feminist Economics Syllabus

16501553-abstract-word-cloud-for-feminist-economics-with-related-tags-and-terms
Standard

Talia Lynn Hagerty:

A brilliant resource from the Lady Economists blog. It can seem hard to find alternative perspectives in economics (although there are many if you look closely…) and so here’s a whole list on feminist economics.

Originally posted on Lady Economist:

16501553-abstract-word-cloud-for-feminist-economics-with-related-tags-and-terms Feminist economics is a thing, which some non-economists are incredulous about when I tell them that is what I do. I’ve written about it a little bit on Lady Economist, but it’s always worth expanding on. Many economists might also write it off as fringe or not serious enough, but this is a whole other can of worms. When I describe it to people, I usually say that it is twofold. First, feminist economics seeks to understand the way in which gender shapes the economy and people’s economic experiences. A classic example of this would be the study of the gender wage gap . And second, feminist economics also explores the way in which gendered thinking influences the study and methodology of economics itself. Economics tends to be very masculine, not only the proportion of men in the field , but also in the way “good” economic theory is judged…

View original 1,001 more words

It’s Time to Talk About the TPP

The map from the U.S. Congressional Research Service shows the countries involved in the TPP and their trade balances with the U.S.
Standard

Today is an international day of action to protest the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-country free-trade deal, in the works for over a year, that is being negotiated by national representatives and over 600 corporate lobbyists but the text of which has not been shared with the American people. In 40+ cities in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, activists will publicly make known their opposition to this trade agreement. But a great many more of us are at our desks today, or at home with our kids, and will be relying on our news organizations and our politicians to tell us the pros and cons of the TPP.

The trouble is, the TPP isn’t being discussed in Congress, President Obama didn’t mention it in his State of the Union Address, and it’s getting very little mainstream media coverage. For two reasons: first, the negotiations are being held in secret (although a number of drafts have been leaked); second, the Obama administration has requested “fast track” authorization to conclude the deal, meaning that he could sign the agreement without giving Congress any opportunity to debate its contents.

Over 50 organizations serving different missions – from environmental groups to farmers to open internet activists – have come out against fast track, and 151 Democrats in the U.S. House have pledged to vote against it. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he doesn’t support it, and so likely won’t be calling a Senate vote on it any time soon, and even the Wall Street Journal reports that both Democrats and Republicans object to giving the President such unilateral power in an area the Constitution delegates to Congress.

At a moment when our executive is known to be spying on us and our neighbors and has launched more drone strikes and authorized more deportations than any prior president, we would do well to remember the checks and balances that have previously served us.

Opponents of the TPP itself site a number of objections. In general, opponents of free-trade agreements argue that they disproportionately harm the middle and working classes, such as the Mexican agricultural workers and U.S. manufacturing laborers who lost their jobs in the wake of NAFTA. Environmental groups say the TPP harms the planet in several ways, and Doctors Without Borders is concerned that the TPP will further prevent those in developing countries from accessing critical medicines. But possibly most troubling in the post-Citizens United, corporations-are-people world is the way the agreement privileges corporations over actual people and the planet and alters the mandate of our governments.

“The investment portion of the TPP creates something called ‘investor-state dispute settlement.’ What this means is that foreign investors are allowed to sue governments over lost prospective profits. A corporation can sue a country if it feels that nation’s regulations — environmental, worker protection — might impede its ability to make a profit,” writes journalist Andy Douglas.

The trade that would be governed by the TPP represents approximately one-third of all global trade and 40% of the gross world product, NRDC’s Jake Schmidt told National Geographic. That’s not nothing. We can’t afford to ignore the effects of 40% of the world’s economic activity. In a world where the 85 richest people have the same wealth as the 3.5 billion poorest, where “climate change is a fact“, where we’re running out of oil, and fish, and water, we are in no position to be so cavalier.

So we need to talk about the TPP. It’s time to debate the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and the rest of our trade agreements, out in the open. President Obama gave a very moving, and relatively progressive, State of the Union address this week, but I think we should be concerned when he asks for unilateral power to enact something so massive but doesn’t bother trying to convince us it’s a good idea.

The piece of legislation that would enact fast track authorization is officially called the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014, and you can track it here. (This so-called bipartisan bill currently has only two Republican sponsors; President Obama has not been able to find a member of his own party willing to co-sponsor.)

I realize that our current Congress has been called the least-productive in history, and they’re grating our nerves and wasting our money with government shut-downs and endless arguments about why we shouldn’t have health care or reproductive rights. But they remain our representatives, sent to Washington to do a job as outlined by our Constitution. Let’s hold them accountable to doing that job, and let’s not allow an over-powered Executive take it away from them. Call your representatives in the House and Senate and ask them to publicly oppose the Trade Priorities Act of 2014. And don’t be afraid to remind them that 2014 is an election year. It’s time for our elected officials to demand Congressional debate and talk about the TPP in Washington, or to talk about it at home.