Hugh McDermott for Prospect


Pages tagged "United States"

Innovation for the Public Good: The Importance of Leadership in Social Innovation

by Jitinder Kohli 

Leadership Is the First Key to Unlocking an Innovation Culture in Government

“Being innovative starts with having the guts to take risks. And whenever you try new things, chances are you are going to fail some of the time.”

— New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, July 16, 2010

Public-sector leaders like talking about success not failure—but Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City is different. He helps build a culture of innovation across the city’s agencies by encouraging his staff to take calculated risks.

Leaders have a pivotal role in promoting innovation in agencies. They should give their staff permission to try new approaches even though the media are often critical when innovations don’t work out. Leaders also need to signal clearly their willingness to challenge traditional methods that have mediocre outcomes.

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Let’s end corruption – starting with Wall Street

by Mark Engler

As the #OccupyWallStreet protests continue to grow,  bankers must be held to account for their ill-gotten gains.
It’s a favourite conservative ploy in the development debate: blame poverty on corruption.

When explaining why countries in the Global South face stark levels of inequality and deprivation, you just say it’s due to a common penchant for bribery and fraud. You treat it as a cultural deficiency.

Following this approach, institutions such as the World Bank trumpet their work in ‘good governance’ and anti-corruption. No need to examine the disastrous results of neoliberal policies such as privatization, deregulation and austerity. Nor do élites in wealthy countries have to acknowledge how foreign corporations have propagated kickbacks and cronyism. Instead, they can simply regard these as endemic to the darker continents.

Since 2008, not a single senior executive in the US banking industry has faced jail time for fuelling one of the largest financial crises in history.

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The U.S. Can Kiss its Political Power in the Pacific Goodbye: Why 2012 Will Shake Up Asia and the World

by John Feffer 

The U.S. has reached the high-water mark of its Pacific presence and influence. The geopolitical map is about to be redrawn. 

The United States has long styled itself a Pacific power. It established the model of counterinsurgency in the Philippines in 1899 and defeated the Japanese in World War II. It faced down the Chinese and the North Koreans to keep the Korean peninsula divided in 1950, and it armed the Taiwanese to the teeth. Today, America maintains the most powerful military in the Pacific region, supported by a constellation of military bases, bilateral alliances, and about 100,000 service personnel.

It has, however, reached the high-water mark of its Pacific presence and influence. The geopolitical map is about to be redrawn. Northeast Asia, the area of the world with the greatest concentration of economic and military power, is on the verge of a regional transformation. And the United States, still preoccupied with the Middle East and hobbled by a stalled and stagnating economy, will be the odd man out.

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Occupy Wall Street: The Most Important Thing in the World Now

by Naomi Klein 

I was honored to be invited to speak at Occupy Wall Street on Thursday night. Since amplification is (disgracefully) banned, and everything I say will have to be repeated by hundreds of people so others can hear (a k a “the human microphone”), what I actually say at Liberty Plaza will have to be very short. With that in mind, here is the longer, uncut version of the speech.

I love you.

And I didn’t just say that so that hundreds of you would shout “I love you” back, though that is obviously a bonus feature of the human microphone. Say unto others what you would have them say unto you, only way louder.

Yesterday, one of the speakers at the labor rally said: “We found each other.” That sentiment captures the beauty of what is being created here. A wide-open space (as well as an idea so big it can’t be contained by any space) for all the people who want a better world to find each other. We are so grateful.

If there is one thing I know, it is that the 1 percent loves a crisis. When people are panicked and desperate and no one seems to know what to do, that is the ideal time to push through their wish list of pro-corporate policies: privatizing education and social security, slashing public services, getting rid of the last constraints on corporate power. Amidst the economic crisis, this is happening the world over.

And there is only one thing that can block this tactic, and fortunately, it’s a very big thing: the 99 percent. And that 99 percent is taking to the streets from Madison to Madrid to say “No. We will not pay for your crisis.”

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Five Key Elements to Promoting an Innovation Culture in Government

by Vicki Sellick

Ask a passerby to name an innovative organization and a familiar list soon appears: Apple, 3M, Google, eBay, etc. Less known are the innovative agencies in the public sector focused on finding new and better ways to tackle social issues such as crime, poverty, and educational underachievement.

The Centre for American  Progress has analysed the tenacious leadership of New York City’s mayor, new funding streams created by the US Department of Education’s Office of Innovation, and incentives deployed by the United Kingdom’s Greater Manchester area to ensure that only the most successful programs addressing criminal justice are adopted.

As we explored how these agencies and others have promoted a culture of innovation, there emerged five ingredients necessary for an innovation culture in the public sector:

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The four habits of highly successful social movements

by Ezra Klein

(On Monday, I asked Rich Yeselson for his thoughts on Occupy Wall Street. Yeselson, a research coordinator at Change to Win, is a skilled organizer and a thoughtful historian of social movements in America and Europe. On Tuesday, he sent over some notes, and I think they’re worth publishing in full. All opinions expressed here are his own. -- Ezra)

The Wall Street protests seem to be gathering strength and expanding beyond the geographic limits of downtown Manhattan. The media, too, is finally amplifying the story. Whether they will grow larger and sustain themselves beyond these initial street actions will depend upon four things: the work of skilled organizers; the success of those organizers in getting people, once these events end, to meet over and over and over again; whether or not the movement can promote public policy solutions that are organically linked to the quotidian lives of its supporters; and the ability of liberalism’s infrastructure of intellectuals, writers, artists and professionals to expend an enormous amount of their cultural capital in support of the movement.

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership — Its Economic and Strategic Implications

by Joshua Meltzer

While the challenges of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Round have been the focus of attention recently, real trade policy action has been happening in the Asia-Pacific region. Already the Asia-Pacific accounts for about 50 percent of trade and 60 percent of global GDP and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that by 2030, the GDP of Asia will exceed that of the G7.

One of the key trade negotiations currently underway in the Asia-Pacific region is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a regional free trade agreement (FTA) that comprises the United States, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. These countries represent about 26 percent of global GDP and approximately 17 percent of world trade.

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9/11 – A Duty to Remember, but What?

By Bradley Evans and Simon Critchley

The violence witnessed ten years ago was spectacularly horrifying. Mass death quite literally broadcast “live”. Many images of that fateful day still linger. We still recoil at the moment the second plane impacted, the point at which we knew this was no accident. Our memories can still recall that frozen transience, the same experienced shared by President George Bush who in a room full of children cut a powerless figure. And still we are traumatised by the thought that any one of us may have faced that terrifying predicament, whether to jump or not as the searing heat became too intense to bear. Such an impossible decision thankfully most of us will never have to face.

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Financing terrorists and terrorism post 9/11

As the 10th anniversary approaches of the ‘9/11’ terror attacks on the United States in 2001, a law enforcement  academic at Charles Sturt University (CSU) says terrorists have shown adaptability and opportunism in meeting their funding needs.

Dr Hugh McDermott, senior lecturer in law enforcement at the CSU Australian Graduate School of Policing in Manly, says that while the direct costs of mounting individual attacks have been low relative to the damage they can yield, financing is required not just to fund specific terrorist operations, but to meet the broader organisational costs of developing and maintaining a terrorist organisation, and to create an enabling environment – infrastructure - necessary to sustain their goals and activities over time.

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Wisconsin’s recall election: Voters react to anti-union Republicans

by Dr Scott Denton

For Republicans, Wisconsin is steeped with tradition. A little white school house in Ripon, Wisconsin, is the equivalent of the Australian Labor Party’s ghost gumtree in Barcaldine, Queensland: they are both foundational images of the Party’s past. It was in Ripon where the Republican Party was founded in 1854. While notionally over time a ‘red’ state, Obama won there in 2008 with 56 per cent of the vote and Bush only just lost there in 2004 (only by 11 000 out of almost three million voters). In November 2010 voters elected Republican Scott Walker as Governor of Wisconsin.

In July and August, voters in Wisconsin again went to the polls in recall elections that will determine the fate of Walker and his fellow Republican Senators. Walker has been a controversial figure in Wisconsin politics since he was elected and this recall election, pushed by the Democrats, aimed to see them defeated in the state senate. Prior to the recall election, the Senate was held by the Republicans by a margin of 19 to 14. With six Republican Senators facing recall elections, Democrats hope to regain control of the chamber by winning three Senate districts.

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