Monthly Archives: September 2002

Globalization's Contentious "Consensus"

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It is 1989. The Wall comes down, the Cold War is ending, and capitalism is on a roll. Economist John Williamson writes an influential paper describing what he calls “The Washington Consensus: the notion that free trade, deregulation and privatization can drive a ‘one size fits all’ economic agenda for developing countries.”

Flash forward, this past weekend, the IMF and World Bank met in Washington amid growing misgivings about the way these institutions and the U.S. work the globalization gears. Economies are spiraling in places like Argentina, once poster-child for the Consensus prescription, now the face of failure.

As more establishment economists join street protesters and poor countries, calling for a new kind of globalization, what’s happened to the Washington Consensus?

Guests:

Moises Naim, editor of Foreign Policy magazine

Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize and author of “Globalization and Its Discontents.”

Graham Ingham, of the Economist magazine.

The Bush Doctrine

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Consider it a superpower survival guide. Weighing in at some 30 pages, the Bush administration’s new National Security Strategy is a manifesto for U.S. foreign policy in the post-Cold War, post-September 11 world. It is both philosophy and threat, call it the Bush Doctrine.

At its center, the concept that Cold War tactics of containment and deterrence are finished, that in a world filled with rogue states and terror, U.S. might and the willingness to use it are the keys to global security.

Critics call the strategy an unseemly flexing of military muscle in a world of 90-pound weaklings. Others say it’s high time the U.S. shook off its “superpower shame” and started making good on the promise of democracy and dignity for all.

Guests:

Thomas Donnelly, fellow at the Project for A New American Century

Joseph Nye, Dean of John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and author of “The Paradox of American Power”

History on the Pedestal

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Moscow’s mayor sparks a passionate debate over the statue of Felix Dzerzhinsky, the father of the KGB. Dzerzhinsky, as one of the architects of the October Revolution was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.

The statue stood in front of the infamous Lubyanka prison as a reminder that big brother is watching. Then in 1991, thousands celebrated as “Iron Felix” was toppled, the naked pedestal left to remind that communism didn’t prevail.

But in a country now under the leadership of a KGB colonel, the debate over Dzerzhinsky is a measure of how far they have left to go.

Guests:

Svetlana Boym, Professor of Slavic Languages and comparative literature at Harvard University. Author of “The Future of Nostalgia”

Boris Kagarlitsky, senior researcher fellow at the Institute for Comparative Political Studies, Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia

Fred Weir, Christian Science monitor correspondent in Moscow.

U.N. Weapons Inspectors and Iraq

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Weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? Saddam Hussein says no. Iraq, he says, “is clear of all nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.”

His acquiescence to new inspections was enough to break George Bush’s momentum towards an attack, at least for a time. And Saddam Hussein continues to vow Iraq will allow inspectors to do their job. He qualifies that now, saying, they can go anywhere they want except his palaces.

Bush and Blair aren’t buying and at this moment, their diplomatic teams are scrambling to get France, Russia, and China to accept a resolution that would hold Baghdad’s feet to the fire. At issue: “unfettered access,” a 60-day deadline, and a specific threat of military action.

Guests:

Scott Ritter, former U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq, now antiwar activist

Terence Taylor, former U.N. weapons inspector, now director, International Institute for Strategic Studies-US.

The Soundscape of Modernity

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Is it live or is it Memorex? The famous ad campaign raised the question, do you trust your ears? Well, in today’s world of digital editing and special effects the fact is, you can’t.

The relationship between sound and space is tenuous at best. Not so 100 years ago. You sat in a music hall and listened to live musicians playing within the room, a room that was a kind of instrument itself, reverberating, echoing, weaving together the sounds of the instruments and the presence of the audience into a glorious pastiche, a soundscape.

But as technology progressed, the marriage of sound and space crumbled. Engineers learned to love inert space, cold, characterless, and used electro-acoustic toys to emulate sonic environments. The sound of space, sound IN space.

Emily Thompson will be reading from her book “The Soundscape of Modernity” at 6:00 pm tonight at MIT Press Bookstore, 45 Carleton Street, in Cambridge See related links for a map.

Guests:

Emily Thompson, senior fellow at the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology at MIT and author of “The Soundscape of Modernity”

Leo Beranek, world renowned acoustical design consultant

Kenneth Kaunda

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Africa is known for a brutal political climate, civil wars, and economic stagnation. Amidst the detritus of colonialism and tribal strife, there have been ruthless dictators, and also men like Kenneth Kaunda.

The one-time schoolteacher led Zambia for 27 years. He, along with Nyerere, Mandela, and Mugabe, defined African independence. And theirs is a mixed record to be sure. But in 1991, Kaunda stepped aside, making way for a democratically-elected leader, and he now spends his days advocating for AIDS awareness, visiting world leaders. Last week he sat with Saddam Hussein, and he is about to begin a year at university, lecturing on African politics. Back where he began, as a teacher.

Guests:

Former president of Zambia – Kenneth Kaunda.

Medical Marijuana

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The haze of battle hangs over the “war on drugs” increasingly obscuring the clean legal lines over what’s right and what’s wrong. The latest skirmishes over medical marijuana pit law against law, and raise heated accusations of hidden agendas.

A note from your doctor means it’s OK to smoke pot in California, the grass roots have spoken. Eight other states are onside. But the feds still say no, pointing to the primacy of federal statutes. People arguing for a loosening of the law range from doctors and cancer patients and city politicians to stoners and, perhaps even dealers.

On the other side, more doctors, parents, and even preachers. Where there’s smoke and fire, the front lines of medical pot.

Guests:

Bruce Mirkin, the Marijuana Policy Project

Sue Rusche, co-founder and executive director of Families in Action

Steve McWilliams, runs the club “Shelter from the Storm”

Christopher Krohn, mayor, Santa Cruz, CA

War and the U.S. Wallet.

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Guests:

Chris Varvares, Macroeconomic Advisors

and Fareed Mohamedi, chief economist,

War and the U.S. Wallet

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Open your wallets ladies and gentlemen, this won’t hurt a bit. President Bush’s lead economic advisor puts the price tag of an attack on Iraq somewhere between $100 and $200 billion, pricier than the first Gulf War but a bargain compared to Vietnam or World War II.

Lawrence Lindsay went so far as to say “The prosecution of the war would be good for the economy.” But with consumer confidence and the stock market down, with poverty rates and unemployment up, others are asking whether this is a war the U.S. can afford, win or lose.

The recovery, by all measurements, is fragile, one analyst calls it “a wobbly bicycle,” and that even a little war could be a nasty bump in the road. Steering the economy, rattling the saber.

Guests:

Fareed Mohamedi, chief economist, Petroleum Finance Corporation

and Chris Varvares, economist with Macroeconomic Advisors.

Chilean Writer Ariel Dorfman

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Ariel Dorfman has spent his adult life “obsessed with problems of pain and justice and redemption.” Each is a Rosetta Stone, and the bilingual Chilean writer has sought to decipher them in Spanish and English, poems and plays, chiseling deep into scarred humanity, good and evil.

Lurking in the margins of each of his texts is General Augusto Pinochet, the man whose violent regime sent Dorfman into exile in 1973. For years, the writer imprisoned the General in the shadows of his work, a dark undercurrent in every victims’ story. Now Dorfman is “trying to draw close to Pinochet, to close in on him. But,” he writes, “there is a danger in that closeness.” The perilous quest for literary justice.

Guests:

Ariel Dorfman, author of “Exorcising Terror” and the collection of poetry, “In Case of Fire in a Foreign Land.”