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Concealing and Revealing Torture in Literature

Arabic Literature (in English)

A few days ago, the New York Times ran an op-ed from a creative-writing instructor and confessed torturer:

cia“I was an interrogator at Abu Ghraib,” Eric Fair writes. “I tortured.”

But when Fair discusses his creative-writing class at Lehigh University — in conjunction with his experience as a torturer — he writes not about investigating Mahmoud Saeed’s “Lizard’s Colony” or perhaps scenes from Elias Khoury’s Yalo, but Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried.” He writes about showing his students a cigar box filled with stuff he bought at the Baghdad International Airport.

Fair seems focused on keeping the issue of torture at the forefront of the American imagination, which is good. But in effect, by reading his essay, we are asked to sympathize exclusively with the torturer. We know about Eric Fair, and about his black fleece coat, and about his son, who rides a bus to school.

We don’t know about any…

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How multinational corporations help in areas of limited statehood

The GOVERNANCE blog

  We don’t ordinarily think of multinational corporations as providers of collective services in areas of limited statehood.  But Jana Hönke and Christian Thauer report in the current issue of Governance that this isn’t always the case.  They examine multinationals in the South African car industry that help with the fight against HIV/AIDS and mining firms in South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congro that are trying to improve public security.  Two factors are critical to the success of such initiatives.  They must have validation from domestic authorities.  And they must be highly institutionalized.  Read the article.

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Born Global or Die Local – Building a Regional Startup Playbook

Steve Blank

Entrepreneurship is everywhere, but everywhere isn’t a level playing field. What’s the playbook for your region or country to make it so?

playbook

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Scalable startups are on a trajectory for a billion dollar market cap. They grow into companies that define an industry and create jobs.  Not all start ups want to go in that direction – some will opt instead to become a small business. There’s nothing wrong with a business that supports you and perhaps an extended family. But if you want to build a scalable startup you need to be asking how you can you get enough customers/users/payers to build a business that can grow revenues past several $100M/year.

With 317 million people the U.S. has a large enough market that most U.S. startups ignore the rest of the world until they scale in their own country. Outside the U.S. a rough rule of thumb for scale is…

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Talking about Governance

The GOVERNANCE blog

On the World Bank’s CommGAP blog, Sina Odugbemi discusses Governance’s special issue on limited statehood.  “It is an excellent issue of the journal and worth reading,” says Odugdemi.

On the Global Integrity blog, Alan Hudson references Matt Andrews’ 2010 Governance article in a discussion about the need to move “beyond the ‘good governance mantra.'”

In a paper on deliberative negotiation, Mark Warren and Jane Mansbridge draw on Governance articles about transparency by Jenny De Fine Licht et al and Monika Bauhr and Marcia Grimes.

And the World Bank’s iChallenge workshop, held in Paris on October 29-30, says that Francis Fukuyama’s 2013 commentary in Governance has “spurred the debate” about how to measure the effectiveness of public institutions.

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Book review: Controlling tobacco around the globe

The GOVERNANCE blog

In the current issue of Governance, Paulette Kurzer of the University of Arizona reviews Global Tobacco Control: Power, Policy, Governance and Transfer by Paul Cairney, Donley Studlar and Hadii Mamudu.  The book examines two topics, Kurzer says: Why did it take governments so long to recognize the health consequences of smoking?  And why did policy action vary if the problem is the same across the globe?  The book “is a superb examination of an important question . . . [A] first-rate account of tobacco control that will be a standard text for years to come.”  Read the review.

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Fighting corruption: You need pressure from below

The GOVERNANCE blog

The southern Caucasus, Tanja Börzel and Vera van Hüllen write in the current issue of Governance, is “one of the most corrupt regions in the world.”  And European Union anticorruption programs have had mixed effects: some success in Georgia, but none in Armenia and Azerbaijan.  What accounts for the difference?  “One factor,” Börzel and van Hüllen argue, “legitimacy.”  In Georgia, societal outrage against corruption meant that there was pressure on political elites to take anticorruption measures seriously.  EU initiatives failed when they were not accompanied by “pressure from below.”  Read the article.

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Can transnational P3’s deliver basic services?

The GOVERNANCE blog

Transnational public-private partnerships are transboundary alliances between public and private actors that are aimed at providing food, sanitation and water in countries like Bangladesh, India and Kenya.  In the current issue of Governance, Marianne Beisheim, Andrea Liese, Hannah Janetschek and Johanna Sarre examine when these partnerships will work.  Emphasizing community participation helps to build legitimacy, which increases the likelihood of success.  Effective projects also allow room for tailoring of projects to local needs.  Close monitoring is critical as well.  Read the article.

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