Asset egalitarianism is a new agenda but an old idea. At its root is the notion that every citizen should be able to have an individual property stake, and it has recently been revived in Britain and in the U.S. in a number of proposals aimed at countering the huge and growing inequality in the distribution of assets. Such asset egalitarianism is fed from many streams; it has a long history in civic republican thought, beginning with Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson, but has also featured in the distributist theories of G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc; the guild socialism of G.D.H. Cole and the ethical socialism of R.H. Tawney; the market liberalism of the Ordo Liberals and some of the Austrian School, particularly F.A. Hayek; and more recently the market socialism of James Meade, A.B. Atkinson and Julian Le Grand, and the market egalitarianism of Michael Sherraden, Samuel Bowles, Herbert Gintis, Richard Freeman and Bruce Ackerman. There are also important links to the proponents of a citizens’ income as a different approach to the welfare state (White 2002) as well as to the ideas of stakeholding (Dowding et al. 2003).
Andrew Gamble and Rajiv Prabhakar
Flawed 'participatory' and other poverty assessments from northern Orissa
Alan Rew and Martin Rew
The 'qualitative' pole of (Q-squared) combined methods has been defined in mainly residual ways as 'non-numerical' or 'noneconomics'. There is need, instead, for a critical social theorization of qualitative methods. Evidence from a development program for chronically poor, tribal, northern Orissa is used to examine the communicative action of 'participatory assessment' (PA). PA assumes that 'group' and 'visual' synergies can challenge the power relations that restrict communication and poor people's emancipation. The authors' ethnographies show that participants sequestered information from PA village seminars. Although well trained, the PA organizers increasingly ignored cultural context and substituted universalized techniques that produced only quantities of noncontextualized attitudes. The core PA routines therefore gave misleading results; they mistakenly replaced substantive accounts of communication in relation to lifeworlds with abstract seminar techniques. To obtain more reliable results, methods of 'embedded' economic anthropology were used instead to assess poverty.
A Word on Life as Biological Asset
Jennifer E. Telesca
Why have sea creatures plummeted in size and number, if experts have at their disposal sophisticated techniques to count and predict them, whether tuna, cod, dolphin, or whale? This article conducts a literature review centered on a native category that dominates discourse in marine conservation—stock—by emphasizing the word’s double meaning as both asset and population. It illuminates how a word so commonplace enables the distancing metrics of numerical abstractions to be imposed on living beings for the production of biowealth. By tracking the rise of quantitative expertise, the reader comes to know stock as a referent long aligned with the sovereign preoccupation of managing wealth and society, culminating in the mathematical model recruited today as the principal tool of authority among technocratic elites. Under the prevailing conditions of valuation, the object of marine conservation has become not a fish as being but a biological asset as stock.
Otto Habeck, Anna Bara and Oxana Zemtsova
Adam Johann von Krusenstern, Georg Heinrich von Langsdorff, Otto von Kotzebue, Adelbert von Chamisso: Forschungsreisen auf Kamtschatka: Auszüge aus den Werken by Marie-Theres Federhofer and Diana Ordubadi, eds. Review by Otto Habeck
Frozen Assets: British Mining, Exploration, and Geopolitics on Spitsbergen, 1904–53 by Frigga Kruse Review by Anna Bara
In the Lands of the Romanovs: An Annotated Bibliography of First-Hand English-Language Accounts of the Russian Empire (1613–1917) by Anthony Cross Review by Oxana Zemtsova
Books Available for Review
What impact did the so-called Vatileaks scandal have on Italian politics? And how deep were the connections between the Vatican and the Italian transition of political assets in 2012? This in-depth analysis shows that the problems of the Church in relation to the state came much before the 2012 crisis, namely, during the time of the reluctant submission of Catholic hierarchies to Berlusconism.
The Judeo-Spanish Ballad Tradition of Morocco
The Spanish Jews who fled to North Africa from the 1391 pogroms were joined a century later, in 1492, by a larger wave of exiles, the thousands of Jews who had chosen to leave Spain rather than convert to Christianity. These fellow Jews, the megorashim or expelled Jews, had been forbidden to take 'gold and silver or minted coins' out of Spain (Edwards 1994: 52). They did, however, take with them invisible assets: their Spanish language and culture. This Iberian presence in Morocco was further reinforced by the arrival of a third group of Spanish-speaking Jews fleeing the forced conversions imposed by Portugal in 1497.
Keynes and Marx, Merchants, and Poets
This article is a history of liquidity presented as interaction between metaphors and theoretical concepts in social contexts. While taking note of Zygmunt Bauman’s metaphor “liquid modernity,” the study instead surveys the wider conceptual field. The text turns around mercantile liquidity (liquidity as clarification) and liquidity in modern economics (characteristic of all assets), as well as older metaphors, notably the famous phrase of the Communist Manifesto, “all that is solid melts into air” (Alles Ständische und Stehende verdampft), which is revealed to have resonance in texts by poets, notably Heinrich Heine. The main result is the historical consistency of the field, where liquidity is a promise of knowledge and clarity.
Unpacking Gender Images across Angela Merkel’s Four Campaigns for the Chancellorship, 2005-2017
Joyce Marie Mushaben
Angela Merkel’s four national election campaigns offer a unique opportunity to explore the salience of gender in defining “competent leadership” in unified Germany. Women-friendly themes were deliberately avoided by the candidate and her party during her first two campaigns, but Merkel’s personal popularity rendered gender a positive asset during her third run for the Chancellorship in 2013. The 2017 campaign accorded new salience to gender as an electoral variable, albeit with a twist. The new dilemma for Germany’s first female leader was rooted in the need to win back alienated, if apolitical conservative men, attracted to an increasingly xenophobic Alternative for Germany. Although the GDR gender regime actively supported working women, eastern men appear to feel particularly threatened by the concrete advances towards gender equality witnessed across Germany since unification.
Israel and BDS
This article examines the securitization of delegitimization as a national security threat in Israel. The article contains three elements. First, theoretically, it analyzes legitimacy as a national security asset and delegitimization as a risk to ontological security. Second, it traces the Israeli response to delegitimization, providing an empirically rich account of this approach. Finally, it seeks to provide an assessment, albeit preliminary, of the effectiveness of the Israeli response. It concludes by discussing policy implications, emphasizing the benefits and counterproductive outcomes of an otherwise successful securitization process. Although Israel has had success curbing delegitimization with regard to political elites at the state level, it continues to lose ground with both the grassroots and Western liberal audiences.
Economics and finance ministries are among the most important
departments of modern governments. Their overall purpose is to
plan, finance, and co-ordinate public expenditure along a sustainable
long-term trajectory. That role has several dimensions: assessing
departmental spending proposals; ensuring that spending delivers
value; delivering financial resources to meet spending; maintaining
a sustainable balance between fiscal revenues, asset disposals, and
borrowing; managing financial flows across a fiscal year; and ensuring
that these processes are compatible with sectoral policies and
with overall economic targets. The authority to do all this depends
on complex factors: the political backing the ministry gets from other
parts of the government from the prime minister down; the status of
the minister in charge; the compliance of the legislature and of subnational
authorities; the effectiveness of the fiscal, forecasting, authorization,
and inspection machinery; and the ministry’s own capacity
to develop, modernize, and improve the planning and management of
public expenditure programs generally.