CIAO DATE: 03/05

The International Spectator

Volume XXXIX No. 2 (April — June 2004)

IAI Library Notes

By Maritza Cricorian


Think tanks

Think tank traditions : policy research and the politics of ideas / edited by Diane Stone and Andrew Denham. - Manchester : Manchester University Press, c2004. - xiv, 322 p. - ISBN 0-7190-6479-1 (pbk)

The book is an updated revisitation of the 1998 Think tanks across nations by the same publisher. With respect to the situation depicted in the earlier book, the number of think tanks in the world seem to be on the increase (above all in developing and post-communist countries) and in transition - or, in the authors’ words, “transcending”, that is going beyond the Anglo-American “exceptionalism” and the confines of the nation state through participation in international networks or activity at the regional level. The contributors to the volume, despite various disciplinary approaches, all see think tanks as a source of ideas and innovation rather than as organisational models, and investigate their influence on policy and decision making.

The first difficulty in carrying out a study of this kind lies in the terminology and the definition of the object: the term “think tanks” in the strictly Anglo-American sense implies a notion of independence - not only legal - that is not always applicable: ever more often, in fact, it is difficult to draw the line between “real” think tanks and other organisations, so that the term is now essentially associated with “a policy research function and set of analytic or policy advisory practices”. In this sense, think tanks seem to have found fertile ground for growth not only in Central and Eastern Europe but also in Central and Latin America, Eastern Asia, the Middle East, North and Sub-Saharan Africa. The factors of this growth are many, as are the differences in organisational structure from country to country, both determined by specific cultural and institutional environments. In general, the main drive has come from the demand from political parties, interest groups and the media for more, and more authoritative information, analysis and advice. More recently, there have been “waves of think tank development” as in greater orientation advocacy - partisan or ideological - and signs of an adaptation and evolution linked especially to the transnationalisation of think tanks (see EuroMeSCo). The authors are less optimistic about the direct influence and impact of think tanks on politics, except perhaps as agenda-setters (setting the terms of debate, defining problems, shaping policy perceptions) and through policy networks, that is pressure groups for which they provide intellectual resources (policy-aware advocates, researchers and other specialists). This seems to be particularly true in Italy, where the think tanks, which proliferated in the seventies and eighties, are undergoing a long transition process and seem to be moving away from academic models without, however, becoming politicised.

International finance

Democratizing Global Governance / edited by Esref Aksu and Joseph A. Camilleri. - Basingstoke : Palgrave Macmillan, c2002. - xx, 306 p. - ISBN 0-333-97123-X (pbk)

Produced as part of the Global Governance Reform Project (GGRP), which sets governance in the context of globalisation in its broadest sense, the book reduces analysis to a few basic questions: legitimisation and democracy, responsibility of international and national actors (multinationals, banks, mass media, NGOs, civil society, etc.), the need for reform of multilateral institutions. The authors, despite varied opinions, try to set an agenda of priorities. The work is divided into macro-areas: “Global governance”, “Global financial flows” and “Global peace and security”, each related to globalisation and focused on a certain number of specific questions.

The first presents the fundamental topic of the growing gap between de facto and de jure institutions, suggesting that alternative forms of legitimate governance be found. The second part analyses the principles underlying human and social development at the global level. The third focuses on the questions of conflict prevention, disarmament and peacekeeping operations and sets out the principles on which the United Nations’ agenda should be based. The fourth and final part draws some conclusions, pointing out the factors of change. It sketches out the strategic options available and provides some contents for a plausible plan for structural reform.

Financial stability and growth in emerging economies : the role of the financial sector / edited by Jan Joost Teunissen and Mark Teunissen. - The Hague : FONDAD, c2003. - xvi, 281 p. - ISBN 90-74208-21-5

Another product of the Global Financial Governance Initiative (GFGI) and a conference (“Financial stability and development in emerging economies”, Amsterdam, 3-4 June 2002) organised by Fondad. The book identifies three areas, which correspond to as many parts of the book, for promotion of financial stability and development as a financial crisis prevention measure: Latin American, the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) EU and EMU candidate countries and Asia. The last part deals with the role of market participants and financial authorities.

Part one analyses the recent developments in and weaknesses of the banking sector and possible measures for improvement and stability, proposing, among other things, the formation of independent (national) Fiscal Policy Committees. For the CEE countries, the risks run by the region are large capital inflows, excessive government involvement in banks’ credit decisions, the need to improve the legal framework, low level financial intermediation by banks, limited development of the non-bank financial sector, substantial fiscal deficits. The third part, focused on Asia, underlines the changes underway that could prelude a more assertive role on the part of the region towards the West and above all the United States. At the same time, however, the authors note the increasing penetration of Western financial institutions in the capital markets of Eastern Asia. Finally, moving on to the role of market participants, the discussion revolves around the role of central banks in the promotion of financial stability, the need to strengthen the latter while aiming for economic growth and to strengthen national financial systems and define the role and the actions of the Ministries of Finance of the advanced countries more precisely.

Foreign direct investment in Central and Eastern Europe / edited by Svetla Trifonova Marinova, Marin Alexandrov Marinov.- Aldershot : Ashgate, c2003. - xii, 339 p. - (Transition and development). - ISBN 0-7546-3026-9

The book gives an account of the different attitudes of the Central and Eastern European countries towards the application of FDI strategies and policies. It is composed of four parts: the first an overview, the second an analysis of the main investors, the third of the impact of FDI on the countries in question; the fourth of the various forms that FDI has taken in the CEE countries.

The five chapters of the first part respectively analyse macroeconomic trends, the factors of FDI attraction, the models and consequences of FDI from 1990 to 2000, the motives for and strategies of investment in the region, the relationship between FDI and trade flows in Ukraine.

The second part of the book studies the characteristics of Russian, Japanese and Turkish FDI inside and outside the CEE countries. The third part examines the supply-side strategy for productivity, competitiveness and convergence for the EU and CEE countries, the role of international trade and FDI in the globalisation of the Polish economy, the impact of foreign capital on the Hungarian economy and of FDI as a driving factor in the Slovak economy. The fourth and final part analyses the orientation, motives and approach of Finnish investors in Russia, the question of organisational learning as a solution for partner conflict resolution in Russian/foreign joint ventures, the characteristics of the commercial expansion of Finnish companies in the Visegrad countries.

Restructuring sovereign debt : the case of ad hoc machinery / Lex Rieffel. - Washington D.C. : Brookings Institutution Press, c2003

This book is a contribution to the debate, which first arose around 1995 (with the financial crisis in Mexico) on what kind of “machinery” is needed to restructure bond debt, whether ad hoc or “permanent”. The author is clearly in favour of ad hoc solutions with incremental improvements, as are the Paris and London Clubs. The first three chapters provide an introduction for non-experts to fundamental concepts, legal and economic aspects, a glossary, statistical sources and the main actors. The fourth deals with the fundamental aspects of the “workout business”. The next two chapters are on the origins and operations of the two Clubs. Chapters 7 to 9 outline the three major debates of the Bretton Woods era: North-South dialogue; the 1980s debt crisis, the debt of the poorest nations and the “highly indebted poor countries initiative” (HIPC). The current debate on debt is analysed in Chapters 10 and 11 which go over the financial crises between 1994 and 2002, the approach of the G7 and the IMF to private sector involvement and the response of the private financial sector. The last chapter seeks to indicate some remedies - political rather than technical - to the shortcomings of the current system, also by involving private capital.

Sustaining global growth and development : G7 and IMF governance / edited by Michele Fratianni, Paolo Savona, John J.Kirton. - Aldershot : Ashgate, c2003. - xxiv, 339 p. - (Gobal finance series). - ISBN 0-7546-3529-5

This book presents the results of four research projects and a conference (Calgary, 22 June 2002) carried out by the Associazione Guido Carli, Rome, and the G8 Research Group, Toronto. The main topics are global governance, global development and international finance. In particular, the volume looks at the role and action of the G7, up to the summit in Kananaskis (2002), with particular attention to the instruments for sustaining global growth (productivity, ICT and trade), the IMF and the challenge posed by international finance, and development in Africa.

The first topic is dealt with in part one of the book, which looks at the questions of Europe’s competitiveness vs. the United States, the production and use of information and communications technology and its contribution to global growth, the decline of the WTO, relations between international trade and foreign aid. The second subject, development in Africa, is the focus of part two. Special attention is turned to the prospects offered by the implementation of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). The third part, dedicated to international finance, traces the evolution and the possible reforms of the IMF, analysing the causes and solutions of Japan’s structural problems and the monetary separation/unification of China and Hong Kong. Part four, made of up 13 chapters, gives a final assessment - substantially positive - of the outcome of the Kananaskis summit on these matters.

Turbulent waters : cross-border finance and international governance / Ralph C. Bryant. - Washington, D.C. : Brookings Institution Press, c2003. - xvi, 503 p. - ISBN 0-8157-0071-7

The author offers the lay reader a key to understanding globalisation and the risks and benefits of financial activity within national borders. The intent is eminently educational, above all in the first part of the book. The second provides some concise political recommendations, referring the reader to a “companion” volume for more technical and in-depth treatment. In straightforward language and using an approach defined by the author as “pragmatic incrementalism” (a series of continuing small steps for strengthening international governance), the author introduces the fundamentals of financial intermediation, the institutions and procedures of collective governance, the national aspects of the global economy, increasing integration, the need for international infrastructure for collective governance, the functions of intergovernmental financial cooperation (chap. 1-8). Chapters 9-12 look to the future and put forward suggestions for improving supranational surveillance and lending intermediation, prudential financial oversight and crisis management and offer an “interim” vision of the evolution of collective governance. The author urges a strengthening of intergovernmental cooperation and of international financial organisations, in particular the IMF. The appendix provides a historical and functional background of the IMF.

European Union

L’Europa e il mondo : la politica estera, di sicurezza e di difesa europea / Marco Clementi. - Bologna : il Mulino, c2004. - 222 p. - (Contemporanea ; 148). - ISBN 88-15-09620-5

An analysis of the developments in European integration in the fields of foreign, defence and security policy in an attempt to determine the reasons for the Union’s absence on the international scene and the possibilities of remedying it. It seems as though the process of integration in the security field has been influenced by international pressure and that, again, it is a combination of international pressure and public opinion that has been pushing for greater cooperation in the sector. Thus Europe could find itself faced with a difficult choice: to turn into an efficient civilian power or into an effective “plural superpower” (made up of different and formally independent countries). In the first case, it would act using peaceful instruments and renounce defence of its own interests if the use of force were required; in the second, it could play a greater role in the international system but would have to be ready to take the dramatic choice of going to war. The latter option would put a new slant on and consolidate relations with the United States, which would not be challenged in its role as world leader, but would become an “off shore balancer” for European policy. In order to do this, Europe would have to strengthen its military dimension, increasing capabilities, tasks and spending, defining a common strategy and tackling its institutional problems.

L’Europe des commissaires : réflexions sur l’identité européenne des Traités de Rome au Traité d’Amsterdam / par Bertrand Rochard. - Bruxelles : Etablissements Emile Bruylant, 2003. - xiv, 503 p. - (Organisation internationale et relations internationales ; 55).- ISBN 2-8027-1723-5
These two books, both the result of PhD theses, are broadly on the same subject and share the critical assessment of the effectiveness of the EU’s Mediterranean policy, but have different conceptual approaches.

Based on primary sources, this original and weighty study retraces forty years of EC history and European identity - meaning the ideological and cultural affinities of the European peoples, a feeling of belonging to “something” that transcends them and of political institutional identity - through the first hand experience of members of the European Commission.

It is above all the political/institutional identity, triggered by the fusion of certain sectors of national competence, that takes up most of the commissioners’ work and therefore a large part of the book, in an attempt to define the ideological bases of community policies in the three constituent phases of the European Union: the phase of the launching of the European Communities (1958-1969), which laid the fundamental principles for future development; the management phase (1970-1986) defining the second generation community policies; the phase of change (1986-1997) not yet concluded in which the commissioners have tried to concretise the European identity in an urban Europe and to reaffirm the personality of the Union in international relations. All documents have been subjected to thematic content analysis and are classified into categories and sub-categories.

The European finality debate and its national dimensions / edited by Simon Serfaty. - Washington: The CSIS Press, c2003. - xiv, 297 p. - (Significant issues series). - ISBN 0-89206-427-7

This book provides a good representation of the debate that has taken place in the European Union and its member states on the European constitutional process. More specifically, the contributions to the book present the national perspectives of some member states on the future of the Union and its institutional finality. The focus is above all on what remains to be done to make Europe more democratic, transparent and efficient, with particular attention to the Union’s external role, a matter with strong transatlantic implications.

Unfortunately the study, begun in 2001 and terminated in 2002, was unable to take account of the more recent developments in Iraq.

All the main actors in the finality debate are represented in the volume. As for Italy, it fears an exclusive alliance between France and Germany and marginalisation in European defence, where national interests, at least those perceived by a large part of the public opinion and political forces, coincide with an interest in ever stronger European integration.

The European Union, Mercosul and the new world order / editors Helio Jaguaribe, Alvaro de Vasconcelos. - London : Frank Cass, c2003. - xx, 247 p. - ISBN 0-7146-8338-8

The book is part of a research project on the current (post-Cold War) international system and the prospects for the rise of a new world order, promoted by the Instituto de Estudos Politicos e Sociais in Rio de Janerio and the Instituto de Estudos Estrategicos e Internacionais (IEEI) in Lisbon. The contributions analyse the respective positions of the European Union and the major Western European countries, and of Mercosul and Argentina and Brazil with respect to possible alternatives for a future world order. The central focus is on multilateralism (vs multipolarity), seen as a desirable option to which the United States should also conform. The authors agree on the need to strengthen Mercosul’s internal unity and the alliance between Brazil and Argentina, overcoming structural and institutional shortcomings in order to be able to counter more effectively the United States and the imposition of the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas. In the current state of affairs, the final outcome of the matter is not yet clear: much will depend on the will of Europe and the United States to remove certain non-tariff barriers.

Multi-level governance and institutional change : the Europeanization of regional policy in Italy / Enrico Gualini. - Aldershot : Ashgate, c2004. - (Urban and regional planning and development). - ISBN 0-7546-3626-7
This study, conducted between 1999 and 2001, is part of a broader project on the “Europeanization of territorial policies”, promoted by CEVIPOF in Paris. A case study of Italy and the reform of regional policies in the nineties aims to shed light on new trends and models in domestic policy and the role of state actors. Experimental, based mainly on interviews with government and ministerial officials, the study reveals links between the EU and the process of local institutionalisation, caught between exogenous factors and endogenous models for change. The analysis is broken down into three parts: the first provides a conceptual introduction, the second centres on the three phases or dimensions of the Italian reform (Europeanisation of regional policy, intergovernmental relations and multi-level governance); the third draws the conclusions, warning of the persistence of contradicting and conflicting factors.