Book Review: “Justice in Conflict? The ICC and Peace Processes”,

icc.jpgWe will be analyzing international law next week upon our return from spring break. The recently established International Criminal Court (ICC), an independent (i.e., it has no linkn to the United Nations, unlike the International Court of Justice–ICJ) international court located in the Hague, has in its short existence (it came into force in 2002) been the subject of heated debate between those who view it as a bold and necessary step in the fight for international justice, and those who view its powers as undermining to a dangerous degree state sovereignty.

This week’s weekly letter from the International Crisis Group (ICG) contains a book review of Nicholas Waddell and Phil Clark’s “Justice in Conflict: The ICC and Peace Processes. The author of the review, Nicholas Gronko, writes:

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is now investigating or prosecuting individuals involved in three of the most devastating conflicts in Africa – Darfur, northern Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In each case, the ICC has been forced to confront the challenges inherent in pursuing peace and justice simultaneously. What happens – and what should happen – when efforts to prosecute perpetrators of mass atrocities coincide with a peace process? What is the best approach when the price of a peace deal may be a degree of impunity for those most responsible for such abuses? One common and convenient response is to hide behind truisms and make general statements of principle to the effect that no trade-off is required because peace and justice are inextricably linked. Clearly peace and justice are complementary in that justice can deter abuses and can help make peace sustainable by addressing grievances non-violently. But good things don’t always go together, and to present peace and justice as invariably mutually reinforcing is misleading and unhelpful when the difficult reality of peacemaking often proves otherwise. We review below arguments surrounding the ICC’s impact on prospects for peace in Uganda and go on to offer some general considerations that international policymakers should heed when seeking to balance peace and justice demands.

Here is a look at the 106 (most recent count) signatories to the Statute of Rome (which established the ICC).  States in green are signatories to the statute.


Comparative Welfare States in Advanced Industrial Economies

In a couple of weeks, we–in PLSC240–will address the topic of political economy.  We’ll compare states around the world with respect to institutions such as tax regimes, openness of borders to goods and services imported from abroad, and also with respect to welfare state spending.  Andrew Gelman has posted on his blog a review–which will be published in Political Science Quarterly–of a new book by Clem Brooks and Jeff Manza, titled Why Welfare States Persist.  Not surprisingly, the answer is that they are publicly popular.  What is more interesting, though, is why the size of the welfare state differs amongst countries with relatively similar income levels.  Can you can think a cultural explanation?  Institutional?  Rational Choice?

Rich capitalist democracies around the world differ widely in their welfare states—their systems of government-provided social support–despite having comparable income levels. Brooks and Manza report that welfare state spending constituted 27% of GDP in “social democratic countries” such as Sweden and 26% of GDP in “Christian democratic countries” such as Germany, but only 17% in “liberal democracies” such as the United States and Japan. These differences are correlated with differences in income inequality and poverty rates between countries.

In their book, Brooks and Manza study how countries with different levels of the welfare state differ in their average policy preferences, as measured by a cross-national survey that asks whether respondents think the government should (a) provide a job to everyone who wants one, and (b) reduce income differences between rich and poor. Brooks and Manza find that countries where government jobs policies and redistribution are more popular are the places where the welfare state is larger, and this pattern remains after controlling for time trends, per-capita GDP of the country, immigration, women’s labor force participation, political institutions, and whether the ruling party is religious or on the left.

Next week, you will have a chance to test this hypothesis when we comparatively analyze public opinion attitudes around the world using the World Values Survey.   Is this relationship real?  Does it apply to states that are not advanced industrial economies?  We’ll find out next week.