вторник, 25 марта 2014 г.

Talks on TED. Ivan Krastev: Can democracy exist without trust?

   This talk was presented at an official TED Conference. Ivan Krastev is the chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia, and permanent fellow at the IWM Institute of Human Sciences in Vienna. He is a founding board member of the European Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the advisory board of the ERSTE Foundation and a member of the global advisory board of the Open Society Institute. He is also associate editor of Europe's World and a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Democracy and journal Transit – Europäische Revue. His latest books in English are The Anti-American Century , co-editors with Alan McPherson, (CEU Press, 2007) and Shifting Obsessions: Three Essays on the Politics of Anticorruption (CEU Press, 2004). He is a co-author with Stephen Holmes of a forthcoming book on Russian politics.    So from his home base in Bulgaria, Ivan Krastev thinks about democracy — and how to reframe it.
    Political scientist Ivan Krastev is watching the Euro crisis closely, fascinated by what it reveals about Europe's place in history: What does it mean for the democratic model? Will a fragmented Europe return to nationalist identity politics?
     In his latest work, Krastev places recent events on a continuum of five revolutions over the past decades:

* The socio-cultural revolution of the 1960s. 
* Market revolutions of the 1980s. 
* Central Europe in 1989 (which brought socio-cultural and market revolutions together). 
* The communications revolution. 
* And finally the revolution in neurosciences, which lays bare the irrationality and emotional manipulation in popular politics.

    As a result of these five great changes, we've become extremely open and connected, while on the flipside cementing a mistrust of elites. Can democracy flourish when a mistrust of elites is a permanent feature? This is an extremely important issue.

     So, five great revolutions have shaped political culture over the past 50 years, says theorist Ivan Krastev. He shows how each step forward — from the cultural revolution of the ‘60s to recent revelations in the field of neuroscience — has also helped erode trust in the tools of democracy. As he says, "What went right is also what went wrong." Can democracy survive? Ivan Krastev thinks yes, but democracy is in crisis.

      One of the things that Ivan Krastev wanted to question in his speech is this very popular hope these days that transparency and openness can restore the trust in democratic institutions.   

     Krastev gave an example: there is an election day in any country. People came to vote. And when the votes had been counted, three-fourths of the people have voted with a blank ballot. The government and the opposition, they have been simply paralyzed. Because you know what to do about the protests. You know who to arrest, who to negotiate with. But what to do about people who are voting with a blank ballot? So the government decided to have the elections once again. And this time even a greater number, 83 percent of the people, voted with blank ballots. Basically they went to the ballot boxes to tell that they have nobody to vote for. According to Ivan Krastev, it very well captures part of the problem that we have with democracy in Europe these days. On one level nobody's questioning that democracy is the best form of government. Democracy is the only game in town. The problem is that many people start to believe that it is not a game worth playing.
    For the last 30 years, political scientists have observed that there is a constant decline in electoral turnout, and the people who are least interested to vote are the people whom you expect are going to gain most out of voting: the unemployed, the under-privileged. And this is a major issue. Because especially now with the economic crisis, you can see that the trust in politics, that the trust in democratic institutions, was really destroyed. 
   According to the latest survey being done by the European Commission, 89 percent of the citizens of Europe believe that there is a growing gap between the opinion of the policy-makers and the opinion of the public. Only 18 percent of Italians and 15 percent of Greeks believe that their vote matters. Basically people start to understand that they can change governments, but they cannot change policies.
    Ivan Krastev asked such questions as : How did it happen that we are living in societies which are much freer than ever before -  we have more rights, we can travel easier, we have access to more information  - at the same time that trust in our democratic institutions basically has collapsed? What went right and what went wrong? 
     According to Ivan Krastev the first thing that went right was these five revolutions which very much changed the way we're living and deepened our democratic experience. Also we have the Internet. It has changed the way we are communicating and basically we are viewing politics. The very idea of political community totally has changed. There is one more revolution, and this is the revolution in brain sciences, which totally changed the way we understand how people are making decisions.
So this is what went right. But if we're going to see what went wrong, we're going to end up with the same five revolutions. For example, we have the market revolution of the 1980s and the huge increase of inequality in societies. Until the 1970s, the spread of democracy has always been accompanied by the decline of inequality. The more democratic our societies have been, the more equal they have been becoming. Now we have the reverse tendency. The spread of democracy now is very much accompanied by the increase in inequality. And I find this very much disturbing when we're talking about what's going on right and wrong with democracy these days. And when we talk about the Internet, yes, it's true, the Internet connected all of us, but we also know that the Internet created these echo chambers and political ghettos in which for all your life you can stay with the political community you belong to. And it's becoming more and more difficult to understand the people who are not like you. Many people have been splendidly speaking about the digital world and the possibility for cooperation, but have you seen what the digital world has done to American politics these days? This is also partly a result of the Internet revolution. This is the other side of the things that we like.   And when you go to the brain sciences, what political consultants learned from the brain scientists is don't talk to me about ideas anymore, don't talk to me about policy programs. What really matters is basically to manipulate the emotions of the people. And you have this very strongly to the extent that, even if you see when we talk about revolutions these days, these revolutions are not named anymore around ideologies or ideas. Before, revolutions used to have ideological names. They could be communist, they could be liberal, they could be fascist or Islamic. Now the revolutions are called under the medium which is most used. You have Facebook revolutions, Twitter revolutions. The content doesn't matter anymore, the problem is the media.
  These days it's very popular to believe that this push for transparency, this kind of a combination between active citizens, new technologies and much more transparency-friendly legislation can restore trust in politics. 
 Transparency is not about restoring trust in institutions. Transparency is politics' management of mistrust. We are assuming that our societies are going to be based on mistrust. And by the way, mistrust was always very important for democracy. This is why we have checks and balances. This is why basically you have all this creative mistrust between the representatives and those whom they represent.  
    But is this the idea of a free society? Unfortunately, not.

   Regardless of how transparent our governments want to be, they're going to be selectively transparent. So when we talk about transparency, when we talk about openness, Ivan Krastev  believes that what we should keep in mind is that what went right is what went wrong. In the end, he gave the citation of Goethe: "There is a big shadow where there is much light."

    As a result of this speech, we can say that Ivan Krastev didn't give us answers, but put before us many extremely important issues that need solving. And solving these problems will bring us closer to the model of the really democratic society.

понедельник, 24 марта 2014 г.

Talks on Ted. Clay Shirky: How the Internet will (one day) transform government

The open-source world has learned to deal with a flood of new, oftentimes divergent, ideas using hosting services like GitHub — so why can’t governments? In this rousing talk Clay Shirky shows how democracies can take a lesson from the Internet, to be not just transparent but also to draw on the knowledge of all their citizens.He starts with a very simple example, showing a girl who became popular in the web by rating her school lunches everyday. During the talk, he goes into more complicated examples, followed by funny comments. 

The idea is that all the technological progress was made for one very reason - to achieve peace on Earth. But instead they've for tools for arguing and pointless debates. Latest invention - internet - may make debates and communication from pointless into something useful. He offers to combine this global tool with democratic ideas which could help the society. He says that law is chaotic as well as people communicating with each other, but they still can make an impact on society. He thinks that Internet may help people to see the government better 
- "There's no democracy worth the name that doesn't have a transparency move, but transparency is openness in only one direction, and being given a dashboard without a steering wheel has never been the core promise a democracy makes to its citizens."
The girl's website became well-known because of the internet and because it was politically oriented. Internet is a cheap, worldwide and pretty free tool anyone could use not only to argue, but also to help citizens improve any sphere in their life they think needs to be improved. 

воскресенье, 23 марта 2014 г.

Talks on Ted. Rory Stewart: Why democracy matters


 This talk was presented to a local audience at TEDxHousesofParliament 2012, an independent event. Rory Stewart — a perpetual pedestrian, a diplomat, an adventurer and an author — is the member of British Parliament for Penrith and the Border.
With his spech  Stewart sounds a call to action to rebuild democracy, starting with recognizing why democracy is important — not as a tool, but as an ideal

In his opinion, it is hard to reveal a true nature of a politician. He says it is something between a snake, a monkey and iguana. 400 years of democracy but something is going wrong. Population is disappointed. 10 years ago however the promise of democracy seemed to bee extraordinary. Jorge W. Bush said that democracy is a force. Democratic government respect it’s people and neighbors, freedom will bring peace. Democracy has a wide range of benefits- prosperity and security. However, the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan has shown none of those benefits. But we should not give up on the idea of democracy. People want to participate due to their interests, they want to vote, they want democracy and he gives examples and arguments for that. So, despite a horrible statistics of democracy, despite that 84% of population thinks that politics is broken democracy is a value for which we should be fighting. But we need to understand that the point of democracy is not instrumental, it is not about the things it brings. It should not guarantee peace with neighbors. Democracy matters because it reflects an idea of equality, liberty, the dignity of individual. Democracy is a state of mind, it is an activity. And a part of this activity is honesty.  But it is also important what the people can do, not only the politicians. If people want politicians to be honest, they need to allow them to be honest. Government can flourish only with the energy and activity of the people. He wants to say that if democracy wants to be rebuilt it is necessary not just for the public to learn to trust their politicians but for the politicians to learn to trust the public.  

пятница, 21 марта 2014 г.

Coursera - How to change the world?

How can we use the things we share in common to address some of the most challenging problems facing the world? This course examines issues concerning poverty, the environment, technology, health care, gender, education and activism to helps us understand better how to initiate positive change

About the course
How to Change the World has its origins in the Social Good Summit held at the 92nd Street Y in New York. The summit brought together some of the world's most creative entrepreneurs, writers, academics and political leaders to discuss ways innovative thinking and technology can address pressing global challenges.  Beginning from talks, panels and conversations from the summit, we will add lectures, on-line discussion groups, hangouts and readings to explore the issues in politics, technology and the environment in broader academic and historical contexts. We will then discover together what actions we can take to make a difference.    


How to Change the World examines how we can develop “social goods” and use them to create networks of progressive change. Classes will explore the meaning of “social goods” and then address the following topics: Poverty and Philanthropy; Climate Change and Sustainability; Women, Education and Social Change; Social Networks, Education and Activism. Each week will be structured along the following questions: 1. What do we know?  2. Why should we care? 3. What can we do?
At the end of the class students should have a clearer understanding of these global issues, and they should develop strategies for working with others to begin to address them. Our aim is simple and bold: to put together the facts, the energy and the actions to make a real difference in addressing some of the major problems confronting the world today.
Course Syllabus
Week 1: What are Social Goods? What is the Commons?
Week 2: Poverty and Development
Week 3: Climate Change and Sustainability
Week 4: Disease and Global Health Care
Week 5: Women, Education and Social Change
Week 6: Looking Back, Looking Forward

понедельник, 17 марта 2014 г.

Political Participation and Interest Groups. Simulation Task

Environmental Group Activism Simulation

You are the head of a large, national environmental group with a long history of activism in favor of environmental causes. Now, you are eager to prove that your group can be influential and capable of producing policy. Your membership is spread across the country. Currently, there is a Republican in the White House, and the Democrats have a slim majority in both the House and Senate. The next presidential election is two years away. Your organization is in favor of environmental policy that would impose tighter pollution restrictions against polluting the nation’s rivers, lakes, and oceans. There is a general agreement for this policy within Congress, yet the president has announced his opposition to the policy. You must develop a strategy for your group in hopes of getting something passed into law. Do you choose to:

1.      Advocate a sweeping environmental bill that would impose stiff penalties on polluters and that finds support among most of your group's members.

2.      Push for a more modest bill that allows for some pollution to continue while further cleaning up the nation’s water. This bill might be attractive to the president

Group-Government Linkages TEST

Before taking the test read chapter 7 on Interest Groups from “The Challenge of Democracy”

  1. 6: Lobbyists are paid their salary by
    1. Their Constituents
    2. Interest Groups
    3. Members of Congress
    4. Government agencies


  1. 6: Protectionism refers to
    1. the movement to create a series of protective tariffs in the U.S.
    2. the notion that women must be sheltered from life's harsh realities
    3. the idea that the Constitution should protect all citizens equally
    4. the concept that affirmative action exists to protect minorities


  1. 6: The idea that each person is guaranteed the same chance to succeed in life is
    1. freedom of opportunity
    2. freedom of outcome
    3. equality of opportunity
    4. equality of outcome


  1. 6: What is the Free-Rider Problem?
    1. A situation where people who don't contribute to an organization or activity can still benefit from the organization or activity
    2. A situation where an amendment which the majority of Congress opposes is placed on a bill the majority of Congress favors
    3. Low voter turn out
    4. How much freedom should citizens give up for order?


  1. 6: All of the following are part of tactics lobbyist use to influence the government except for:
    1. Personal contact with the policymakers.
    2. letter-writing campaigns and protests pushing an interest group's rank-and-file members.
    3. Providing the legislators with financial assistance to influence their vote.
    4. banding several organizations together in coalition building.


  1. 6: Grassroots lobbying does NOT include which of the following
    1. letter-writing campaigns
    2. periodic lunches with policy makers
    3. boycotts
    4. public demonstration


  1. 6: An example of direct lobbying is:
    1. meeting with a policy maker to deal with an issue
    2. staging a letter writing campaign
    3. funding a Television campaign to inform the public of your agenda
    4. protesting a bill directly in front of the Capitol


  1. 6: Interest groups can be characterized by all of the following except:
    1. people in a particular interest group share political goals
    2. interest groups influence public policy decisions
    3. interest groups nominate candidates
    4. the strength of an interest group depends largely on its resources


  1. 6: The roles of lobbying groups include all the following except:
    1. representing political interests
    2. nominating candidates
    3. endorsing candidates
    4. forming political action committees


  1. 6: PACs (political action committees) generally give more money to the political campaigns of
    1. incumbents.
    2. challengers.
    3. Incumbents and challengers are usually given the same amount of money.
    4. the candidate that best represents the ideals of the PAC.


  1. 6: The most common method of grassroots lobbying is
    1. protests
    2. letter writing campaigns
    3. direct lobbying
    4. legal advocacy


  1. 6: Which of the following is NOT a function of interest groups?
    1. political agenda building
    2. testifying in Congressional hearings
    3. introducing legislation to Congress
    4. monitoring government programs


  1. 6: Which of the following does NOT support the majoritarian model of democracy?
    1. a referendum
    2. an amicus curiae brief
    3. a centralized government system
    4. an initiative


  1. 6: In what way are interest groups and political parties similar?
    1. They both influence policy decisions.
    2. They both back candidates for the sake of winning an election.
    3. They both have a narrow policy focus.
    4. They both nominate candidates.


вторник, 4 марта 2014 г.

Презентация по теоретической части исследования: план - цель и задачи, предмет, объект, гипотеза исследования, проанализированные источники по теме, представление теоретической модели (theoretical framework) исследования, попытка формулировки теоретической  значимости работы