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Weekly wire: The global forum

Roxanne Bauer's picture

World of NewsThese are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

The Practice and Craft of Multistakeholder Governance: The case of global internet policymaking
Global Partners Digital

In recent years, multistakeholderism has become something of a catchphrase in discussions of Internet governance. This follows decades of attempts to identify a system of governance that would be sufficiently flexible, yet at the same time effective enough to manage the decentralized, non-hierarchical global network that is today used by more than 3 billion people. […]In this paper, we contribute to this ongoing discussion by examining current and actual instances of governance and governance bodies that at least approximate the ideal of multistakeholderism. Part I, below, examines seven institutions and fora that serve as real-world examples of multistakeholder governance on the Internet. In Part II, we assess these examples to present a number of lessons learned and more general reflections that can help us better understand the state of—and prospects for—multistakeholder governance of the Internet today.

Facts We Can Believe In: How to make fact-checking better
Legatum Institute

New media and the information revolution have not only empowered access to information but also fuelled the spread of disinformation. Such is the scale of the problem that the World Economic Forum has defined  misinformation as one of the world’s most urgent problems. Corrupt, neo-authoritarian rulers have become skilled at using disinformation to confuse their opposition, break down trust and fracture civil society. Increasingly, disinformation is used as a weapon by closed societies to attack more open ones. Inside democracies whole segments of society are pulled into alternative realities which are manipulated by violent extremists and dominated by conspiracy theories. Some commentators have even speculated that we are entering a “post-fact” age where political candidates reinvent reality on a whim. This poses a serious danger to deliberative democracy and good governance: if we cannot agree on the facts, debate and decision-making break down.

Is globalization bad for the global poor? This study ran an experiment to find out.

In the past several decades, manufacturing jobs have fled the developed world for the developing world. Obviously, that’s profoundly reshaped the economies of developing countries like China and Bangladesh. But what does that mean for the ordinary people who are doing the work — often for incredibly low wages? Answering this question can be tricky. Large-scale data — like a nation’s poverty rate or GDP — can help give us a general sense of trade’s effect on growth and the poor. The problem is it can often be tough to figure out what low-wage manufacturing, specifically, adds to a country’s economy. It's even harder to drill down and measure the impact on those employed in the factories. Enter economists Chris Blattman of the University of Chicago and Stefan Dercon of Oxford University. They came up with an interesting way of answering this question: Run a random, controlled experiment.

Survey of social enterprise activity in South Asia and Ghana

The British Council has published a landmark ODI survey which provides a rich and fascinating trove of data on social enterprises in Bangladesh, Ghana, India and Pakistan, including about their operations, turnover, impact, beneficiaries, challenges and number.  The report finds that social enterprise is growing in all four countries and is creating jobs for disadvantaged groups, empowering women, and addressing social exclusion.  Social enterprises are businesses which trade for a social purpose, re-invest surpluses into their social objective, and make themselves accountable for their actions, rather than simply maximising profits for owners and shareholders.

Report of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Leval Panel on Access to Medicines
UN Secretary General High-Level Panel on Access to Health Technologies

Whether it’s the rising price of the EpiPen, or new outbreaks of diseases, like Ebola, Zika and yellow fever, the rising costs of health technologies and the lack of new tools to tackle health problems, like antimicrobial resistance, is a problem in rich and poor countries alike. According to a High-Level Panel convened to advise the UN Secretary-General on improving access to medicines, the world must take bold new approaches to both health technology innovation and ensuring access so that all people can benefit from the medical advances that have dramatically improved the lives of millions around the world in the last century.

Free Trade's Critics Were Once Its Champions
Bloomberg View

Globalization is clearly under attack, whether we look at trade flows or foreign direct investment. Part of the backlash against free-market policies that followed the 2008 financial crisis, protectionism has been on the rise. The irony is that the very forces that are now attacking globalization were historically its fiercest advocates. And the early pioneers of free trade would never have seen the conflict with social justice that today’s opponents claim exists. The free-trade movement was born some two centuries ago in the very parts of Britain that voted Brexit -- areas such as the cotton-mill towns surrounding Manchester. In those days, the working classes helped lead the way to openness. Protectionism was seen as something that benefited established elites, such as rich landowners, and restricted opportunities for new businesses and their employees. From the consumer’s viewpoint, protectionism meant higher prices for basics such as food and clothing.  Not only were the working classes and new industrial business leaders in favor of international openness, so too were left-leaning economists such as John Maynard Keynes.


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