Regions/Nations
Regions 

 

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* The End of the Chinese Dream: Why Chinese People Fear the Future. Gerard Lemos (former visiting professor, Chongqing Technology and Business U, 2006-2010; former chair of the Board, British Council from 2008-2010). New Haven, CT: Yale U Press, Nov 2013, 320p, $25pb. Lemos asked hundreds of Chinese men and women living in Chongqing, an industrial mega-city, about their wishes and fears. The lives they describe expose the myth of China's harmonious society. Hundreds of millions of everyday people in China are beleaguered by immense social and health problems as well as personal, family, and financial anxieties—while they watch their communities and traditions being destroyed. Looks at the thoughts and feelings of Chinese people regarding all facets of their lives, from education to health care, unemployment to old age, politics to wealth; their stories bring to light a broken society, one whose people are frustrated, angry, sad, and often fearful about the circumstances of their lives. China's community and social problems threaten the ambitious nation's hopes for a prosperous and cohesive future. (CHINA'S PROBLEMS * “CHINESE DREAM” BROKEN)

 

* Environmental Crime and Corruption in Russia (Transnational Crime and Corruption Series). Edited by Sally Stoecker and Ramziya Shakirova (both, George Mason U, Virginia). NY: Routledge, July 2013, 224p, $155 (www.routledge.com/9780415698702). Presents a wide-ranging assessment of the environmental problems faced by Russia, and of the crime and corruption which contribute to them. The attitude of the Russian government seems to view environmental protection as something for rich countries, or something to be postponed until Russia is on the same economic footing as wealthier Scandinavian and western European countries. Concludes, gloomily, that the problems are getting worse and that little is being done to tackle them. (ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME * RUSSIA)

* Arab Human Development Report 2012, Tenth Edition: Empowerment - The Will of the PeopleUnited Nations Development Programme. NY: United Nations Publications, March 2013, 264p, $28. The ten-year anniversary of the Arab Human Development Report series reassesses development paths of the Arab countries, identifies key trends and areas of progress and challenge, as well as lessons learned and positive examples supporting human development. Topics include peace and stability; education and values; opportunities and challenges for youth; sustainability; rule of law, integrity and transparency; poverty and social development; and the public sphere. (DEVELOPMENT * MIDDLE EAST * ARAB HUMAN DEVELOPMENT REPORT)
  

*Paying the Price: The Economic Impacts of Climate Change for Canada.  National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy.  Ottawa:  NRTEE, Sept 2011, 168p; download at www.nrtee/trnee.ca. The 4th report in the Climate Prosperity series, examining potential future costs in four sectors: 1) Timber Supply: diseases, fire, and lower productivity could cost $2-17 billion/year by the 2050s; 2) Flooding by Sea-Level Rise: flooding of dwellings could cost $4-17 billion/year by the 2050s; 3) Health Systems Costs: examines costs such as premature mortality due to warming summers and poorer air quality in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary; 4) Ecosystems: looks at impacts on fish, long-term park visits, cascading ecological effects, and ecosystem services (still difficult to price).  The overall conclusion is that costs for Canada could escalate from $5 billion/year in 2020 to $21-43 billion/year by the 2050s, and there is a small chance of costs over $150 billion/year.  “The chance of catastrophe grows with every further degree of global warming” (p.38).  If catastrophe occurs, 5-25% of GDP is expected to be lost.  Adaptation can thus save money.  “Ignoring climate change costs now will cost us more later” (p.119)   (CLIMATE CHANGE COSTS IN 2050 * CANADA: CLIMATE COSTS)

  

* OECD Environmental Performance Reviews: Germany 2012OECD. Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, May 2012, 162p, $49 (e-book). Over the last decade, Germany has continued to promote ambitious environmental policies. While experiencing robust economic growth during most of the 2000s, Germany has made further progress in reducing the carbon, energy, and resource intensities of its economy, bringing down emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases, and improving waste and water management. In some areas, such as water and air quality and biodiversity, progress has nevertheless not been sufficient to reach domestic and international objectives. Overall, Germany’s environmental policies enjoy strong public support, and citizens are relatively satisfied with their environmental quality of life. Key developments: 1) there has been a shift from sector-specific to more comprehensive and cross-cutting policies, including development of a National Sustainable Development Strategy and important initiatives on biodiversity, climate change, energy and resource efficiency; 2) Germany used taxation policy to pursue environmental objectives, and made progress in removing fiscal incentives that can encourage environmentally harmful activities; 3) Germany’s environmental innovation performance has been supported by a strong national innovation framework, a broad industrial base, a high level of participation in international trade, and strict environmental regulations; and 4) Germany managed to considerably reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions over the 2000s and will meet its target under the Kyoto Protocol exclusively through domestic measures. [Note: OECD Environmental Performance Reviews seek to improve governments’ environmental performance, individually and collectively; it is supported by a broad range of economic and environmental data and covers all OECD member countries, and selected partner countries.] (ENVIRONMENTAL GOVERNANCE * SUSTAINABILITY * GREEN GROWTH * GERMANY)

*The Europe 2020 Strategy: Can It Maintain the EU’s Competitiveness in the World?  Daniel Gros (Director, CEPS) and Felix Roth (research fellow, CEPS).  Brussels: Centre for European Policy Studies (dist. Brookings), April 2012, 125p (7x10”), $30pb.  Launched in March 2010 by the European Commission, the Europe 2020 strategy aims to achieve ”smart, sustainable, and inclusive” growth, the engines of which are a) knowledge and innovation, b) greener and more efficient use of resources, and c) higher employment combined with social and territorial inclusion.  The current strategy needs revision in several important respects: 1) R&D spending is not the best indicator of innovativeness; intangible capital would be more appropriate; 2) the quality of education is more important than the quantity (degrees); 3) employment targets would be better reached by a skills upgrade among women who have the least education; 4) reduction targets for green-house emissions are likely to have a negligible effect on global climate change, unless the EU adds a carbon import tariff; 5) institutional efficiency at the national level is very important. (EUROPE 2020 STRATEGY * SMART GROWTH: EUROPEAN COMPETITIVENESS)

* Russia in 2020: Scenarios for the Future.  Edited by Maria Lipman and Nikolay Petrov (both Society and Regions Program, Carnegie Moscow Center).  Washington: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (dist by Brookings Institution Press), Nov 2011, 704p, $19.95pb.  Despite Putin’s re-election as president, the Putin Era is over; the political and economic system he created is incapable of dealing with Russia’s rapidly changing conditions, and crises are likely unavoidable unless Russia changes and modernizes.  Chapters focus on Russia in world-systems perspective, Russia and the new “Transitional Europe,” Russia’s political economy, the evolution of the Russian political system, Russian military affairs, armed forces in 2020, civic awareness, society and state on the Internet.  [Also See “The Beginning of the End of Putin” (The Economist Cover Feature, 3 March 2012, p15) stating that “his time is running out.”]  (RUSSIA IN 2020)
 
* Climate Change and National Security: A Country-Level Analysis.  Edited by Daniel Moran (Prof of National Security Affairs, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA).  Washington: Georgetown U Press, March 2011, 320p, $29.95pb.  Sheds light on the way environmental stress may be translated into political, social, economic, and military challenges in the future.  Explores and estimates the intermediate-term security risks that climate change may pose for the United States, its allies and partners, and for regional and global order through the year 2030.  Profiles of 42 key countries and regions cover China, Vietnam, The Philippines, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Central Asia, the European Union, the Persian Gulf, Egypt, Turkey, the Maghreb, West Africa, Southern Africa, the Northern Andes, and Brazil.
(CLIMATE CHANGE * SECURITY * ENVIRONMENTAL SECURITY * REGIONS/NATIONS)
 
* Russia: The Challenges of Transformation (The Possible Futures Series).  Edited by Piotr Dutkiewicz (Prof and Director, Centre for Governance and Public Management, Carleton U, Ottawa) and Dmitri Trenin (Director, Carnegie Moscow Center).  Foreword by Craig Calhoun (University Prof of Social Sciences, NYU; President, Social Science Research Council).  NY: NYU Press and SSRC, July 2011, 464p, $45 (also e-book).  Leading Russian intellectuals and social scientists join with top researchers from around the world to examine the social, political, and economic transformation in Russia.  Authors show that neither politics nor economics alone holds the key to Russia’s future and explore how global order – or disorder – may develop over the coming decades.                                            (RUSSIA)
 
* Nations in Transit: Democratization from Central Europe to Eurasia (14th Edition).  Freedom House.  Lanham MD: Rowman & Littlefield, June 2010, 592p, $74.95pb.  Since 1995, the Nations in Transit Series has monitored the status of democratic change in the region and pinpointed its reform challenges and opportunities.  The 2010 edition covers 29 countries and administrative areas and comparatively analyzes electoral processes, civil society, independent media, national democratic governance, local democratic governance, judicial framework & independence, and corruption.  Bottom line: scores have declined for 14 of the 29 countries, and 10 countries have regressed in media independence, half of them in new EU member states.
(REGIONS/NATIONS * DEMOCRATIZATION * EUROPE * EURASIA)
 
** Freedom in the World 2011: The Annual Survey of Political Right and Civil LibertiesFreedom House.  Lanham MD: Rowman & Littlefield, Jan 2011, 446p, $49.95pb (also e-book).  Published annually since 1972, this comparative assessment provides survey ratings and narrative reports on 193 countries and a group of 15 select territories.  This is “the fifth consecutive year in which global freedom suffered a decline”.    The report also highlights “increasing truculence of the world’s most powerful authoritarian regimes.”  [Note: A very detailed survey, dividing countries into categories of Free, Partly Free, and Not Free.  Each 3-8 page country report describes population, income per capita, life expectancy, religious and ethnic groups, political rights, and civil liberties rated on a 1-7 scale, with a ratings timeline for the past 10 years.  Also see the Freedom of the Press annual survey by Freedom House, which reports stagnation and declines worldwide over the past 10 years. 
(WORLD FUTURES * FREEDOM IN THE WORLD REPORT * HUMAN RIGHTS)
 
* Countries at the Crossroads 2010: An Analysis of Democratic GovernanceFreedom House.  Lanham MD: Rowman & Littlefield, April 2010, 712p, $89.99 (also e-book).  Evaluates government performance in 70 strategically important countries from across the globe, including emerging markets and at-risk states.  Examines accountability and public voice, civil liberties, rule of law, and anticorruption and transparency.  Finds “troubling signs of regression in the quality of demogcratic governance in a number of states,” especially as regards media freedom and freedom of association.                        (REGIONS/NATIONS * DEMOCRATIZATION REPORT * GOVERNANCE)
 
** As China Goes, So Goes the World: How Chinese Consumers Are Transforming EverythingKarl Gerth (fellow at Merton College and Prof of Modern Chinese History, Oxford U).  NY: Hill & Wang (Farrar Straus & Giroux), Nov 2010/258p/$26.  China’s leaders have shifted from the export-led growth model of the late 1980s to pushing their population to consume more as key to long-term economic growth.  China is learning how to spend, with total consumer spending now close to that of the EU and a core consumer middle class of some 430 million.  Chapters discuss the growth of personal loans, soaring demand for autos (China now has >35m cars and will have >150m in 10 years), extensive road-building, the massive tourist industry, the new luxury market, fakery and counterfeiting due to lack of regulation, extreme markets, and environmental consequences.  [For a longer review, see GFB Book of the Month for Dec 2010.  Also see Cover Feature on China’s transition to a consumer economy as a needed boon to the world economy, The New York Times Magazine, 28 Nov 2010, 56-71.]     
                                                                     (CHINA *  CONSUMERS IN CHINA)
 
* Europe 2030: Territorial Scenarios (Special Issue).  Edited by Simin Davoudi (School of Architecture and Planning, Newcastle U) and Ed Dammers (Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving, The Hague).  Futures:The Journal of Policy, Planning, and Futures Studies, 42:8, Oct 2010, 779-855.  Presents findings of a scenario project funded by the European Spatial Observation Network.  Papers focus on approaches to scenario construction (the model approach, the design approach, Shell’s strategic conversation approach), demographic scenarios of an aging Europe (very limited immigration vs. open borders), scenarios on spatial and economic development (a 2x2 matrix based on strong vs. weak cohesion and strong vs. weak competitiveness), energy scenarios (substantially higher prices vs. post-peak oil), contronting climate change (awaiting events vs. timely preparation), territorial futures (trends vs. competititon vs. cohesion), and Wild Cards of European futures (e.g., Global Ocean Conveyor shutdown cools NW Europe by 5 degrees C, the Euro becomes the de facto reserve currency by 2020, an era of energy scarcity as Iraq is plunged into civil war).
(REGIONS/NATIONS * EUROPE 2030 SCENARIOS)

 

* Europe 2030. Edited by Daniel Benjamin (director, Center on the US and Europe, Brookings). Washington: Brookings Institution Press, May 2009/150p$18.95pb. Essays on the EU’s current strengths and weaknesses, the idea and reality of Europe in 2030, US-EU relations, how Europe plays on the world stage, how the large and growing Muslim minority will change EU societies, the EU constitution, the fate of the EU economic model, terrorism, and EU boundaries.    
(REGIONS/NATIONS * EUROPE)
 
* Europe’s Promise: Why the European Way is the Best Hope in an Insecure Age. Steven Hill (Political Reform Program, New America Foundation). U of California Press, Jan 2010/400p/$24.95pb. Shows how Europe’s bold new vision offers a viable development model for the world, and how Europe’s leadership manifests itself in five major areas: economic strength (as the world’s wealthiest trading bloc), the best health care and other social supports for families and workers, widespread conservation and use of renewable energy technologies, the most advanced democracies in the world, and multilateralism and regional networks of trade and foreign aid.                                 (REGIONS/NATIONS * EUROPE)
 
* Apocalypse in IslamJean-Pierre Filiu (Assoc Prof, Institute for Political Sciences, Paris; former Visiting Prof, Georgetown U).  Translated by M. B. DeBevoise. Berkeley CA: University of California Press, Jan 2011/272p/$29.95.  Observes the fast-growing belief in Muslim countries that the end of the world is at hand, and stresses the importance of this conviction, especially for those who are preparing for apocalypse.  The overwhelming majority of Muslims, however, still remains unpersuaded. Identifies 1979 as the decisive year in the rise of contemporary millenarian speculation and shows how subsequent events in the Middle East have been incorporated into apocalyptic propaganda, seen as a form of anti-globalism disguised as anti-Semitism.  The widespread fear of Christian Zionist domination is viewed as an impetus to jihad.(ISLAMIC APOCALYPSE * MIDDLE EAST * APOCALYPSE IN ISLAM)
 
 * Emerging Africa: How 17 Countries Are Leading the Way. Steve Radelet (senior adviser, office of US Secretary of State; former senior fellow CGD).  Washington: Center for Global Development (dist by Brookings Institution Press), Sept 2010/125p/$18.95pb. 
Describes too-often-overlooked positive changes in much of Africa since the mid-1990s: rise of democracy, stronger economic management, end of the debt crisis and engagement in a more constructive relationship with the international community, spread of new technologies (mobile phones and the internet), emergence of a new generation of leaders in 17 countries: Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Ethiopia, Ghana, Lesotho, Mali, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, São Tomé and Principe, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
(DEVELOPMENT * AFRICA * REGIONS/NATIONS)
 
*China in 2020: A New Type of SuperpowerHu Angang (Prof of Economics, Tsinghua U, Beijing). Foreword by John L. Thornton (chairman of board of trustees, Brookings Institution; Prof of Global Leadership, Tsinghua U). Introduction by Cheng Li (director of research, China Center, Brookings Institution).  Washington: Brookings Institution Press, Nov 2010/320p/$32.95.  China is now the world’s largest exporter and the third-largest economy. It has become the world’s largest carbon emitter and second-largest consumer of energy.  Forecasts that China will become a “mature, responsible, and attractive superpower” that will contribute, alongside the European Union, to the “end of the unipolar era dominated by the United States”. Looks at three major dimensions of China’s rise: 1) its economic and social development; 2) advances in education, science, and technology; and 3) the likely complications posed by resource scarcity, environmental degradation, and climate change. 
(WORLD FUTURES * CHINA)

 

** The Beijing Consensus: How the New Chinese Illiberal Order Is Outpacing the West. Stefan Halper (Senior Fellow in Int’l Relations, U of Cambridge; Distinguished Fellow, Nixon Center, Washington). NY: Basic Books, April 2010/312p/$28.95. China’s vision is rapidly replacing the so-called Washington Consensus: instead of promoting democracy through economic aid, China offers no-strings-attached gifts and loans. The autonomy China offers, along with the appeal of its illiberal capitalism, have become the dual engines for the diffusion of power away from the West.
(WORLD FUTURES * CHINA * BEIJING CONSENSUS)
 
* The End of the Free Market: Who Wins the War Between States and Corporations?  Ian Bremmer (president, Eurasia Group risk consultancy).  NY: Portfolio (Penguin Group), May 2010/221p/$26.95 (e-Book, $12.99).  Details the growing phenomenon of state capitalism, where governments drive local economies through ownership of market-dominant companies and large pools of excess capital.  China has become the global model, boosted by the recent financial crisis.  Other nations using state companies to shore up power at home include Russia, Iran, Venezuela, and the Arab states of the Persian Gulf.  This new hybrid has led to a changing balance of power between the state and the market.   This trend threatens America’s competitive edge, the conduct of free markets everywhere, and the entire global economy.  [Also see interview with Bremmer (The Futurist, May-June 2010, 29-31) and The Beijing Consensus by Stefan Halper (Basic Books, 2010).]
 (STATE CAPITALISM * CHINA * GLOBAL ECONOMY * BUSINESS)

* Region Building.  Vol 1: The Global Proliferation of Regional Integration.  Ludger Kuhnhardt (director, Center for European Integration Studies, Bonn U).  NY: Berghahn Books, June 2010/512p/$120.  The world has entered an era of region-building in search of cohesion and economic development, and nations involved in regional structures are deepening their ambitions, with Europe’s integration as the model.  Vol 1 provides a global survey of Latin America and the Caribbean (MERCOSUR, CARICOM, SICA), Asia (ASEAN, GCC, SAARC), Africa (AU, ECOWAS, SADC), the Pacific Islands Forum, de-integration in Eurasia (CIS), and non-integration in regions with geopolitical tensions (Middle East, Northeast Asia).  Vol 2 (June 2010/384p/$120) provides documents that show the evolution of region-building.                                   (REGIONS/NATIONS * REGIONAL INTEGRATION OVERVIEW)

* Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia (Updated Edition). Ahmed Rashid (BBC Online, Washington Post, etc.) New Haven, CT: Yale U Press, April 2010, 320p, $17.95pb (also eBook). Correspondent and author of Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia (Yale UP, 2001) describes the new face of Islamic fundamentalism and explains why Afghanistan has become the world center for international terrorism. The first edition sold >1.5 million copies worldwide. This edition has a new introduction and new final chapter, explains the current Taliban revival, why the Taliban has spread across Central Asia, how it has helped al Qaeda spread into Europe and elsewhere, and why Afghans feel the US is losing the war. (REGIONS AND NATIONS * TALIBAN * AFGHANISTAN * CENTRAL ASIA * ISLAMIC RADICALISM)

 

* Abu Dhabi: Oil and Beyond. Christopher M. Davidson (fellow, Inst. for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, Durham U). NY: Columbia UP, Sept 2009/256p/$35.  Author of Dubai: The Vulnerability of Success (Columbia, 2008/320p/$19.50pb) argues that Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, has begun to eclipse Dubai in terms of wealth and cultural/infrastructural development, and is poised to become a major player in the fortunes of both First and Third World countries; Abu Dhabi owns >8% of world oil reserves and has close to $1 trillion to invest. 
(REGIONS/NATIONS * CITIES * ABU DHABI)
  
* The Emerging States: The Wellspring of a New World Order. Edited by Christopher Jaffrelot (director, Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches Internationales, Paris). NY: Columbia UP, April 2009/320p/$39.50. The balance of global power is undergoing a tectonic shift, with “developing” countries such as India, Turkey, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, and South Africa now asserting their influence, and redefining our notion of “strong” and “weak” economies; identifies probable challenges that might arise as they enter the world stage.                                                     (WORLD POLITICS * REGIONS/NATIONS)
 
* Latin American Economic Outlook 2010. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Dec 2009/253p. On economic trends in the region, with special focus on the role of international migration and remittances, found to have very positive effects in both sending and receiving countries. Every country in the region has suffered from the global economic downturn, with overall GDP expected to shrink 3.6% in 2009; but Latin America is rebounding from the shock more rapidly than the majority of developed economies, with substantial recovery expected in 2010.
(REGIONS/NATIONS * LATIN AMERICA: ECONOMIC OUTLOOK)
 
* Mexico: Narco-Violence and a Failed State? George W. Grayson (Prof of Govt, College of William & Mary; senior associate, CSIS). Transaction Publishers, Aug 2009/275p/$34.95. Savage narcotics-related decapitations, castrations, and other murders have destroyed tourism in many Mexican communities, and this mayhem is now crossing into the US. Grayson explores how this spiral of violence occurred, the diaspora of drug cartels, emergence of new gangs, impact on the US and Mexico, prospects for managing the problem, and the possibility that Mexico may become a failed state despite an aggressive but sofar unsuccessful crusade against illegal substances.
 (REGIONS/NATIONS * MEXICO: DRUG WARS * DRUG WARS: MEXICO)
 
* Brazil as an Economic Superpower: Understanding Brazil’s Changing Role in the Global Economy. Edited by Lael Brainard (VP and director, Brookings Global Economy and Development program) and Leonardo Martinez-Diaz (Partnership for the Americas Commission). Long seen as an economic backwater, Brazil now occupies key niches in energy, agriculture, services, and high tech; authors focus on the likely future of Brazil’s economy, agribusiness, trade, social investment, and MNCs.                                                                                          (WORLD ECONOMY * BRAZIL)
 
* The New BrazilRiordan Roett (Prof of Latin American Studies, John Hopkins U).  Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, June 2010, 175p, $29.95.  Author or editor of 18 books on Latin American and Brazil  describes the nation’s evolution from a remote Portuguese colony to a regional leader, and an increasingly important partner for the US and the EU.  Prudent fiscal and monetary policies have yielded high levels of foreign direct investment, Brazil is emerging as an energy powerhouse, and its policymakers are increasingly confronting the challenge of reducing poverty.  “As an important player on the world stage, Brazil is here to stay.”  [Also see Brazil as an Economic Superpower? edited by Lael Brainard and Leonardo Martinez-Diaz (Brookings, 2009/2910/$24.95pb). 
(BRAZIL’S EVOLUTION  * REGIONS AND NATIONS) 
 
* The Future History of the Arctic. Charles Emmerson (London; Associate Director, World Economic Forum; head WEF Global Risk Network). NY: Public Affairs, Jan 2010/336p$26.95. Long at the margins of global affairs, the Arctic has found its way to the center of 21C issues which will challenge and define our world: energy security, climate change, the return of great power competition, and the remaking of global trade patterns.                                                    (REGIONS/NATIONS * ARCTIC FUTURES)
 
 
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