This article analyzes the concept of the so-called uncivil society. It argues that the concept of uncivil society should be strangled in the crib because in its various guises, it contributes to needless conceptual proliferation while adding little of analytic value. It explores the different meanings of uncivil society and suggests that they are related to the three primary ways in which civil society is defined: as associational life, the good society and the public sphere. It also explains the organizational, the normative, and the tactical definitions of uncivil society.
This article examines the relation between civil society and civil liberties. It outlines some of the recent problems that civil societies have faced, both in dealing with their own liberties to operate and in representing and advocating for the broader liberties of citizens. It describes the pattern of widely encompassing restrictions on the space and freedom accorded to civil society groups in China and Vietnam and then explains the dangers of prosecution and overregulation in restricting civil society as in the case of the U.S. It highlights the advantages of quasi-independent regulation and monitoring of civil society in Great Britain.
Nina M. Serafino and Eleni G. Ekmektsioglou
Congress may not be seen as a major player in U.S. national security, but it is congressional action that sets the foundation on which national security policy is constructed. Congressional legislation empowers the actions of federal departments and agencies, authorizes and appropriates funds, and defines the roles and missions of different offices (and who can occupy them). Yet Congress’s role in national security can vary based on the president’s ability to respond quickly to set the national security agenda; the president’s acumen, political skills, and popularity; and structural and political limitations on how the legislature can impose its preferences on the executive branch. Congress finds it harder to prevail when the president responds in a crisis using preexisting powers and authorities, but it can constrain the executive branch using constitutional prerogatives along with informal means such as influencing public opinion.
Mark Lynas and Sarah Davidson Evanega
The development and rapid adoption of genetically engineered, virus-resistant papaya for Hawaii was an early, rare successful case of a small-scale horticultural crop improved for farmers of mostly modest means by the public sector. Demand was potentially great because the technology addressed a crop-destroying disease for which there were—and are—no alternative solutions. The developers of the technology promoted diffusion with a philanthropic spirit of public-sector universities and personal commitment. Success in Hawaii demonstrated that the technology could benefit papaya growers world-wide. To replicate that success, Thailand was among the first countries to work to adapt the technology. The greatest challenge facing those charged with introducing virus-resistant transgenic papaya into Thailand turned out not to be a technical but political one as Greenpeace targeted virus-resistant papaya as the likely first GE crop to be grown in the country and thus, a gateway for other GE crops. The subsequent anti-GE papaya campaigns foiled biotechnology in Thailand and throughout Southeast Asia, which is puzzling because many biotech crops being developed in that region have similar potential to benefit smallholder farmers, impact the environment positively, and address major nutritional challenges. Many are developed by the public sector. Had Thailand successfully promoted transgenic papaya despite opposition from Greenpeace, governments and scientific agencies across Southeast Asia might have been encouraged by the success story and continued to use the tools of biotechnology in their own agricultural sectors to confront rapidly mounting global agricultural challenges. That this best-case scenario for biotechnology—a pro-poor papaya developed in the public sector without multinational property claims—has not reached resource-poor farmers in the developing world almost twenty years after its release in Hawaii offers lessons larger than a minor crop. The case aids in understanding the reasons for the limited spread of biotechnology for small farmers globally and the dimensions of opposition and reasons for success of opposition to all transgenics technologies.
Solomon Benatar, David Sanders, and Stephen Gill
This chapter analyses the political influences that shaped reform of healthcare service provision and financing during four decades of neoliberal capitalist dominance, with its emphasis on individualism, consumerism, competitiveness, and the capitalist market in determining social needs and healthcare priorities. New financing sources and market competition, which shaped adoption of reforms, are contrasted with earlier reform efforts that were premised on the socialisation of risk and the universalisation of healthcare provision on an equitable basis for all. Transformation of state forms promoted the market and substantially weakened capacities to provide for basic needs. Controversy over these outcomes has coincided with astounding increases in global inequality, particularly since the 2008 global financial meltdown, with devastating and unequal effects on the health of populations. The chapter concludes by returning to the quest for universal health coverage by reaffirming the “Health for All” principles of social justice and solidarity within a ‘post-Washington consensus’.
Richard Freeman and Heinz Rothgang
This article focuses on the public aspects of health systems, on the ways in which concerns for health and health care are expressed in politics and policy. It first reviews the origins and development of health policy in the modern state, pointing to the different ways that development has been understood by welfare state scholars. It then discusses the different standard forms of health system, describing the ways health care is paid for, provided, and regulated in advanced industrial countries, and comments on the emergence of a new domain of international and global health. It takes the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States as archetypes of respective systems in regulation patterns. International health issues are interesting not least because they cut across the logic of comparison.
Tony Fahey and Michelle Norris
This article summarizes the mass of detailed change in housing policy and housing outcomes. It presents the nature of housing provision in modern societies and a brief overview of the policy instruments that states have utilized to intervene in housing markets and sub-markets. This is followed by an evaluation of the distributional impact of the state's role, keeping in mind the distinction between vertical and horizontal distribution at the household level and also the existence of a distinct axis of distribution that operates at the spatial level. It concentrates on the rise of owner occupation through the lens of the three-sided model of the welfare state and assesses its significance in terms of the interaction between state, market, and household. It is noted that the state role in housing continues to remain very large. Additionally, the household economy must be recognized as having a particular significance for housing.
This article concentrates on the experience of high-income Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. It summarizes the problems linked with estimating the impact of policy on inequality and poverty, while the one which follows describes the measures and data used to establish and compare cross-national impacts. This article then reviews the main findings produced by studies of outcomes and impacts in the areas of inequality and poverty, respectively. It addresses how cross-sectional inequality is influenced by social policies by analyzing vertical inequality and redistribution between rich and poor. Comparing inequality and poverty outcomes across countries with differing policy regimes and varying spending levels provides a basis for understanding observed differences and relating them to policy differences.
Law is at the center of policy and political issues concerning water. Yet, until relatively recently, water law has often been either sidestepped or considered only through limited lenses in international policy debates. This is changing rapidly, in part because increasing economic, social, and physical scarcity of water is fostering increasing conflicts over access to water. This has led to increasing attention to water law and to significant water law reforms. This chapter provides an overview of the basic structure of water law and analyzes recent reforms, with a focus on developments in India where legal reform has been a central part of water-sector reforms. It highlights some of the most contentious issues surrounding legal reforms, in particular the tension between equity and justice, on the one hand, and efficiency and willingness to pay on the other hand, as well as the broader issue of privatization.
Thomas Bahle, Michaela Pfeifer, and Claus Wendt
This article presents an overview of social assistance programmes in the broad sense. It briefly describes their development and maps different types of assistance in Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries based on the seminal study by Eardley et al. The salience and generosity of minimum income schemes, and the political conflicts and debates are discussed. It further reviews new policies that have changed the character of assistance programmes, most notably welfare-to-work. This analysis largely focuses on OECD countries. It finally takes a global perspective looking at social safety-nets in developing and transition countries. The overall salience of minimum income systems has not generally grown in spite of worsening labour market conditions and welfare retrenchment policies. The way in which social assistance schemes are institutionally embedded in overall social policies, education systems, and labour markets is highly important.