• Danica May Camacho is our 7 Billionth Baby!

    Today we reached 7 billion humans on our pale blue dot.

    Danica May Camacho of the Philippines became the U.N.'s symbolic 7 billionth baby in the world. Photograph: Erik De Castro/AFP/Getty Images

    Camacho was welcomed to our global village by camera flashes and shouted cheers at a hospital in the Philippines.  United Nations officials were on hand to congratulate her parents, Camille Dalura and Florante Camacho, and present the family with a cake.

    "She looks so lovely," the mother, Camille Galura, whispered as she cradled the 5-pound, 8-ounce baby, who was born about a month premature.

    Demographers say it took until 1804 for the world to reach its first billion people, and a century more until it hit 2 billion in 1927. The twentieth century, though, saw things begin to change very rapidly : 3 billion in 1959; 4 billion in 1974; 5 billion in 1987; 6 billion in 1998.

    However, the good news is that the world population growth rate is slowing. While growth rates have slowed in recent years, the absolute number of people being added to the global population is still increasing.  The U.N. estimates the world's population will reach 8 billion by 2025 and 10 billion by 2083.

    From care for the elderly to educating the young to healthcare for all, our global population growth rate has a dramatic effect on of number of important policy concerns.

    One significant area of concern is the "demographic divide" between the global north and global south. The "demographic divide" is the dramatic difference between the population growth rates in the global South and the global North. 

    While the rates in the North have fallen below replacement-level fertility (2.1), fertility rates average around 3.1 children per mother in the South.  High growth rates have important economic consequences for the people in the global South.

    "Overpopulation remains one of the major challenges to social and economic development," Li Bin, director of the State Population and Family Planning Commission, told the official Xinhua News Agency. He said the population of China would hit 1.45 billion in 2020.  Therefore, there is a growing recognition of the link between population and state security. China, meanwhile, which at 1.34 billion people is the world's most populous nation, said it would stand by its one-child policy, a set of restrictions launched three decades ago limiting most urban families to one child and most rural families to two.

    "She looks so lovely," Danica May Camacho's mother, Camille Dalura, whispered softly as she cradled her tiny newborn.

    "I can't believe she is the world's seven billionth."

    Discussion starters:

    1.     The UN Population Fund hopes to raise awareness about reproductive health, women's rights and inequality through this awareness campaign. What might be done to help close the "demographic divide?"

    2.     How might the ever growing population in the global south effect security concerns in the global north?


  • Communitarian and Cosmopolitan Approaches to Humanitarian and Security Concerns

    Earlier this week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged another $US100 million in food aid to drought-hit East Africa and President Obama has pledged to help with security in ridding the region of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).

    Students often ask, "Why must the United States be the world's policeman?" "Why should US soldiers risk their lives and why should US tax dollars be spent on far away lands and people?"

    The answers to these questions are never simple.

    Some see a moral responsibility, others see security concerns, and still others see no obligation at all.

    There are two starkly contrasting worldviews about "others" and the responsibility one nation has to people in another.  First, there are those who hold the "communitarian" view hold that the leaders of sovereign, territorial states have moral obligations only to those living within their borders, not to the welfare of humanity as a whole. From this perspective, humanitarian assistance is a matter of national jurisdiction. In short, borders matter to communitarians.  Communitarians assert that a shared moral responsibility extends only to the borders of each bounded political community.

    As written about below, President Obama's announcement last months that he sent 100 US soldiers to assist with the destructions of the Lord's Resistance Army, in the Horn of Africa, represents a very different point-of-view - a "cosmopolitan" approach to people in other parts of the world.

    Those who hold the cosmopolitan worldview see the world and one global village. The cosmopolitanism point-of-view emphasizes humankind rather than national communities. This view holds that all individuals, solely by virtue of being human, have rights that no state can deny and that those rights warrant global protection.

    Thus a small contingent of American troops is now based in Djibouti and another small group of soldiers has been deployed in Somalia. The U.S. traditionally has been reluctant to commit forces to help African nations to put down insurgencies. But President Obama is concerned about the escalating security risks in Africa, including terror networks, piracy and unstable nations.

    While this "cosmopolitan" move is intended to show some humanitarian engagement to lessen the impact of one of the worst protracted wars in Africa, President Obama has emphasized that his decision to send troops was in keeping with the national security interests of the United States.

    Even though many Americans tend to hold the communitarian approach (we only take care of our own) US Presidents find it next to impossible to ignore the world beyond the nation's borders.  In a recent speech, former President George W. Bush warned, "the temptation of isolation is deadly wrong."

    In fact, American efforts to combat Lord's group first took place during the administration of President George W. Bush.  The Bush Administration authorized the Pentagon to send a team of counterterrorism advisers to train Ugandan troops and provided millions of dollars worth of aid, including fuel trucks, satellite phones and night-vision goggles, to the Ugandan Army.  While the Bush Administration's efforts scattered the LRA, the operation failed to eliminate senior LRA leaders, which led Joseph Kony and his army to retaliate by killing hundreds of villagers in the Congolese jungle and kidnap hundreds more.

    Discussion starters:

    1.     Do you agree with former President Bush that the temptation to withdraw from the rest of the world is "deadly wrong?" Why or why not?

    2.     While it is no coincidence that the LRA preys on villages in the most remote and underdeveloped areas Africa do you think that dealing with only the LRA is a solution to the problem?


  • Children at Great Risk in the Horn of Africa

    More than 300,000 children in the Horn of Africa are severely malnourished "and in imminent risk of dying" because of drought and famine, reports UNICEF. UNICEF says tens of thousands of people already have died in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti and has warned that the famine hasn't peaked. More than 13 million people in the region need food aid.

    "The crisis in the Horn of Africa is a human disaster becoming a human catastrophe," said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake.

    On Tuesday, Reuters news service reported more abductions of aid workers. These adductions have compounded the difficulties faced by humanitarian agencies delivering food aid to starving children in the Horn of Africa. Fighting around the capital, Mogadishu, and Kenya's military incursion in the south have made aid operations even more dangerous.

    Late last week, Doctors Without Borders suspended a measles vaccination campaign in Mogadishu because of heavy fighting. Measles, cholera and diarrhea are major killers of malnourished children in the region.

    Discussion Starters:

    1.     Should military force be used to ensure the safety and security of the humanitarian efforts in Mogadishu and elsewhere in the Horn of Africa?

    2.     With donor states contemplating cutting their aid budgets do you expect help for the 13 million people in East Africa who need food assistance?

  • Foreign Aid, Smart Power, and National Security

    Economist Jeffrey Sachs has written we all share "a common fate on a crowded planet" and our "business-as-usual policies will yield calamitous results" if eco-political issues do not move up on our policy agenda, and new, robust forms of global cooperation are not used to resolve them.

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, this week is seeking support to keep the US foreign aid budget from severe cuts. Clinton is arguing that the United States must use "soft power" or "smart power" to remain secure.

    Is foreign aid "smart power?"

    As citizens around the world contemplate the many dire and pressing needs of the poor and developing world some are calling for substantial cuts in foreign aid budgets. Three of the would-be US Republican presidential candidates are calling for dramatic cuts of the US aid budget. Mitt Romney said, "We're spending more on foreign aid than we ought to be spending." Rick Perry said, "it's time for this country to have a real debate about foreign aid." And Ron Paul has said that foreign aid "should be the easiest thing to cut."

    Interestingly, a new report (click here for the report) has found that aid from the world's richest donors continues to benefit companies from their own countries.

    Researchers estimate that $69bn - more than half of the total official development assistance - is spent each year buying goods and services for development projects from within the donor's economies. The report found that much of that aid money is "tied aid" or "boomerang aid" - funds that flow to developing countries only on the books but in reality never leave the donor countries as they are used to purchase goods and services from within the donor states.

    Aside from not understanding "tied aid" surveys show that many Americans overestimate the portion of the US budget that goes to foreign aid. According to a survey released last month (by the Program for Public Consultation, a joint program of the Center on Policy Attitudes and the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland) the average American estimates that 21 percent of the federal budget is spent on foreign aid. The average response for how much would be "appropriate" was 10 percent.

    The US allocates about $58 billion a year in foreign assistance. This pie chart shows the slice of the federal budget that is actually appropriated for foreign assistance.

    "The Pentagon is a giant while State is a pygmy in budgetary terms. Starving the pygmy will not help solve the problem," Professor Nye told Reuters. CIA Director David Petraeus (a former general who led the wars in Iraq and then Afghanistan) is calling for a US foreign policy focus beyond military operations - on "smart power" using foreign aid.  Petraeus is stressing the importance of spending money for civilian and diplomatic outreach. "This is a national security issue," Petraeus testified to Congress, "it's not just a foreign aid issue."

    Discussion starters:

    1.     Do you think that the aid budget - which is one-half of 1 percent - of the Pentagon's almost $1 trillion budget - is an appropriate use of soft power? Why or why not?

    2.     Do you agree or disagree with former Secretary-General Kofi Annan? "The world has changed in profound ways since the end of the cold war, but I fear our conceptions of national interest have failed to follow suit. A new, broader definition of national interest is needed in the new century, which would induce states to find greater unity in the pursuit of common goals and values. In the context of many of the challenges facing humanity today, the collective interest is the national interest."


  • Climate Change and Your Morning Cup-o-joe!

    Starbucks sustainability chief, Jim Hanna, is in Washington today to brief members of Congress on global climate change and coffee. Starbucks foresees a significant problem that may effect profits - and your morning cup-of-Joe.

    Environmental degradation is very often the product of the individual pursuit of private gain. Individuals and corporations often act in their own best interest without regard to any destructive impact. The making of a "profit" is a huge incentive to produce - even at the expense of our shared environment. Interestingly, Starbucks, with an eye on long-term profits, is very concerned about the environment and climate change.  Company earnings are at stake.

    Jim Hanna, told The Guardian that climate change is threating global coffee production and is already spurring severe hurricanes and more resistant bugs that are reducing coffee yields.

    The greenhouse effect has caused global temperatures to rise nearly one degree Celsius over the past century, and the trend is accelerating. Carbon dioxide and methane are chiefly responsible for this phenomenon. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has noted that humans are partly to blame for this trend. The effects of continued increases in global temperatures will include:

    • Rising sea levels.
    • Warmer winters and more severe hot spells.
    • Increased rainfall in areas prone to flooding; dryer drought-prone regions
    • The disappearance of entire ecosystems
    • Increases in tropical diseases
    • Increased hunger and water shortages
    • And it seems fewer and fewer coffee beans!

    Developing countries such as China and India are rapidly increasing their emissions as their economies have grown.  Hanna told the Guardian the company's suppliers, who are mainly in Central America, were already experiencing changing rainfall patterns and more severe pest infestations. "What we are really seeing as a company as we look 10, 20, 30 years down the road - if conditions continue as they are - is a potentially significant risk to our supply chain, which is the Arabica coffee bean," Hanna said in the story.

    Hanna said Starbucks is part of a business coalition that has been trying, without success, to push the US Congress and the Obama administration to act on climate change. How serious is Starbucks? One answer might be in that they are planning to open juice bars.

    Discussion starters:

    1.     The Kyoto Protocol, which went into effect in 2005, attempts to limit global warming, but it has not been signed by the United States. Why has the United States refused to sign?

    2.     Many worry that without U.S. leadership, the prospects for strengthening the rules of the environmental preservation regime are dim. Does the pursuit of private gain inevitably mean the destruction and degradation of the environment? 



  • President Obama's Decision to Send Troops to Combat LRA

    The struggle with isolationist tendencies, aid fatigue (too many world problems), and, the gap between internal resources and external commitments, has bedeviled every nation of great wealth and power.

    The people of the Horn of Africa are in great crisis (see below). Their governments are weak and or nonexistent. In the midst of this great human suffering roams a band of unbelievable killers, the notorious Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The LRA is accused of a twenty-year rampage of murder, rape and kidnapping.

    The LRA's leader is Joseph Kony. Kony's army arose as a rebel movement in the late 1980s among the Acholi people of Uganda. However, Kony and his men are no longer a rebel movement with an ideological cause. They are not even in Uganda anymore. The LRA is little more than a band of ruthless and seasoned killers known for brutal tactics of terror, who roam within the very weakly-governed nexus of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, and Southern Sudan. Kony's army of bush fighters now appear and disappear across the three troubled nations, traveling in small groups, terrorizing and ravaging local communities for food, clothing, and medicine.

    The New York-based advocacy group Human Rights Watch estimates the group has abducted 700 people - a third of them children. The International Criminal Court at The Hague has put out an arrest warrant out for Kony. The Ugandan warlord has been indicted on 33 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

    On Friday, October 14, the US Congress roundly applauded President Obama's decision to deploy some 100 troops in Uganda (ultimately they will be deployed to South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo) to help stop the LRA and Joseph Kony. These troops were not deployed to enter into combat with the LRA - but rather to train and assist others with that mission.

    Discussion starters:

    1.     What specific security interest might the United States have in stopping the LRA's terror?

    2.     Should past military deployments, such as operations in the 1990s in Somalia, and the resultant tragedies shape policymaker's decisions regarding the LRA?


  • Occupy Wall Street: Spreads around the World

    By Sunday 16 October 2011, there were more than 950 "Occupy Wall Street" protests held in over 80 countries around the world - some large, others small.

    The protests have been inspired by the "Occupy Wall Street" movement in New York and have spread to cities around the world. Tens of thousands have marched in New York, Berlin, London, Frankfurt, Madrid, Rome, Sydney and Hong Kong.

    The protesters say that they see many different problems with capitalism, corporate greed, and policies. While protesting for many different specific reasons most seem to want to call attention to policies that seem to favor the extreme wealthy, polities that allow the rich to gain at the expense of the working poor, the environment, and the disadvantaged.

    Why is this movement spreading around the world?

    In London yesterday, more than 2,000 protesters assembled in front of St Paul's Cathedral (click here for video).

    In Rome, the police turned teargas and water cannon on "Occupy" crowds.

    In Germany, about 4,000 people marched through the streets of Berlin, with banners calling for an end to capitalism.

    In Sarajevo, marchers carried pictures of Che Guevara and old communist flags that read "Death to capitalism, freedom to the people."

    In Stockholm, more than 500 people gathered at a peaceful rally, holding up red flags and banners that read, "We are the 99%" - a reference to the richest 1% of the world's population who control its assets while billions live in poverty.

    In Madrid, tens of thousands of people took a part in a demonstration in Puerta del Sol square.

    Discussion starters:

    1.     What conditions do you think allow political protests to take place?

    2.     Do you think that these political protests are symptomatic of larger social problems? If so, what might those be? If not, why are these people protesting?


  • Medecins Sans Frontieres workers kidnapped in Horn of Africa

    The people who live in Horn of Africa are in dire need. The United Nations has estimated that $2.5bn in aid is needed for the humanitarian response to the ongoing crisis.  The crisis is being made worse by the political instability of the region.

    Turkana women wait in line to receive medical treatment for their babies at Outpatient Therapeutic Center supported by UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund) and ECHO (Humanitarian Aid Department of the European Commission) at Kakuma refugee camp in Kakuma town, Turkana District, northwestern Kenya, 08 August 2011. Photograph: Dai Kurokawa/EPA

    Today, the UN announced that all non-life-saving activities have been suspended. Aid operations near the Kenya-Somalia border have been scaled back and some international staff evacuated after the abduction of two aid workers. Only the distribution of water, food, and critical medical services is continuing, a UN spokesman said.

    The abducted pair were Spanish women (Montserrat Serra i Ridao, 40, from Girona in northeast Spain and Blanca Thiebaut, 30, from Madrid) who worked for Doctors Without Borders - Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF). MSF has withdrawn all its foreign workers from Dadaab camp (see below blog for more information on Dadaab). Nearly half a million people have fled drought and conflict in Somalia to seek assistance in Dadaab. Kenyan police say they believe the women have been take to Somalia.

    A Kenyan driver working for the Care charity was abducted from Dadaab on 21 September. Also last month, a 56-year-old Briton woman (Judith Tebbutt) was kidnapped along with her husband (David) who was killed. On October 1st, a 66-year-old French woman was seized by an armed gang on Kenya's island of Manda and is thought to have been taken to Somalia. 

    Discussion starters:

    1.     Should donor states use military force to provide safety and security in the Horn of Africa?

    2.     Is the Horn of Africa a place in which only "hard power" can make difference and help establish governments where they have otherwise failed?



  • The Killing of an American: Anwar al-Awlaki

    The 911 attacks on the United States demonstrated that terrorists are capable of executing catastrophic attacks almost anywhere. Those attacks also featured a new type of enemy - an enemy that lacks a specific geographical location, state, or even a hierarchical structure and is loosely tied together through cell phones and the Internet.

    The current war on terror has forced policymakers, courts, and scholars to consider and rethink the laws, rules of war, and the policies of action and intervention.  What actions and policies are legal, appropriate, and best?

    What laws might protect a US citizen who engaged in terrorism from US government action?

    According to the New York Times, the Obama administration spent many months considering the legal implications of drone killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen (born in New Mexico) who was killed in Yemen in September 2011. In a recent speech President Obama said Mr. Awlaki, a radical Muslim cleric, had taken "the lead role in planning and directing the efforts to murder innocent Americans." The administration said Awlaki had inspired several planned terrorist attacks, including the attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Dec. 25, 2009. US officials have said Mr. Awlaki's role went beyond inspiration into operational planning of attacks.

    Obama administration prepared a detailed and cautious memorandum to justify the decision to kill Mr. Awlaki (click here for more information) and found that it would be lawful only if it were not feasible to take him alive, according to the New York Times.  The lawyers for the administration considered many possible legal obstacles to killing Mr. Awlaki, rejected each in turn, and the Administration waited until Mr. Awlaki was away from civilian and killed him in a drone attack. These types of changes in the interpretation of the right of individuals, terrorists, and combatants suggests that domestic and international law develops and changes most rapidly when problems arise that require immediate solutions and legal remedies.

    Discussion starters:

    1)        Should the existing executive order that bans assassinations have prevented the killing of Mr. Aslaki? Why or why not?

    2)        Should the federal statute that prohibits Americans from murdering other Americans abroad apply to this case? Why or why not?

    3)        Might the Fourth Amendment or Fifth Amendment's guarantees that the government may not deprive a person of life "without due process of law" apply to Mr. Awlaki? Why or why not?



  • Fighting in Libya continues - Gadhafi wanted by the International Criminal Court

    The battle for Sirte, Libya continues between Libya's revolutionary fighters and loyalists to former leader Muammar Qaddafi. The revolutionary fighters made some progress in capturing new territory in the city that is one of the final holdouts of Qaddafi loyalists. 

    CNN is reporting that a commander on the frontlines for Sirte said the fight has reached its "final stages." CNN also reports that Libyan commanders told US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta Friday that Sirte would be under their control within a few days.

    Gadhafi is wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, for alleged crimes against humanity, has not been seen in public in months.



  • Girls Grow: A Vital Force in Economic Development!

    Imagine you are working with the Maasai people in the village of Narok, 100 miles west of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.  You are working hard every day to educate and allocate resources that you hope will reshape the chain of poverty in the village. 

    Your job is to work side-by-side with the Maasai people in the dusty fields, just outside their village, teaching them how to construct small, semi-circular barriers of earth that control the flow of water, slowing its run-off.  After working for months with the village leaders and young men you wake on day to find that most have left the village.  They have gone to Nairobi looking for work - taking with them all the farming knowledge you shared and leaving the actual farming to be done by the women and girls of the village.

    Unfortunately, this is a common frustration in rural areas of Kenya and South Sudan, as the men seek work in the towns and cities, they leave the women to tend to their families and crops. Today in Kenya, most small farmers are women.

    Where should international development dollars be focused?

    The role of women and adolescent girls is detailed in a report released today by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Girls Grow: A Vital Force in Rural Economies (Click here for the pdf file). The report finds that adolescent girls and women are the key to unlocking the full potential of agricultural development in poor countries and ensuring food security.

    "If the world is to meet the challenge of feeding 9 billion people by 2050, we must invest in the human capital of those with the potential to transform agricultural economies - adolescent girls," said Catherine Bertini, the report's lead author.

    "Already, they carry much of families' burdens; with opportunity, they can be major change agents for rural communities and nations. As nations are rediscovering the importance of agricultural development, we want to ensure that the new definition of rural economies' strengths includes the critical role of adolescent girls."

    The report makes a strong moral and economic case for strengthening the role of adolescent girls in agriculture. If women farmers were given the same access to resources such as finance, the results could be significant: women's agricultural yields could increase by 20% to 30%; national agricultural could rise by 2.5% to 4%; the number of malnourished could be reduced by 12% to 17%.

    Yet despite their enormous potential, rural adolescent girls are often the most disadvantaged, says the report: "The challenges of location, age and gender often combine to create a triple disadvantage. Girls are frequently undervalued within their societies - their existence, their contributions and their potential often given little credence. They often fulfill their duties while suffering from malnutrition. They may have little or no tie or opportunity for even the most basic education. The doors to productive economic livelihoods are often closed to them."

    The report authors say, "An adolescent girl stands at the doorway of adulthood. In that moment, much is decided. If she stays in school, remains healthy, and gains real skills, she will marry later, have fewer and healthier children, and earn an income that she'll invest back into her family. But if she follows the path laid down by poverty, she'll leave school and enter marriage. As a girl mother, an unskilled worker, and an uneducated citizen, she'll miss out on the opportunity to reach her full human potential. And each individual tragedy, multiplied by millions of girls, will contribute to a much larger downward spiral for her nation."

    Discussion starters:

    1.     Will investing in girls help solve pressing development problems? Optimists see girls and women as providing the structure and resources to fuel human development.  Pessimists are afraid that such an investment is unlikely to foster much change. Is this investment overrated?

    2.     Why does education of girls have the potential to address so many concerns and problems in developing nations?



  • Soft Power: Barbie Goes Green (is now back with Ken)!

    Many argue that the information age is changing the nature of global interactions and the basic structure of power.  Organizations (NGOs, IGOs, MNCs) and governments around the world now compete with each other to enhance their own credibility and to tell their stories.

    Today, the MNC toy giant Mattel announced that it has stopped buying paper and packaging linked to the Indonesian rainforest destruction following a global campaign by the NGO Greenpeace.  Indonesia has one of the fastest rates of forest destruction in the world. The Indonesian government estimates that more than one million hectares of rainforests are being lost every year to companies like Asia Pulp and Paper - a paper supplier for Mattel's packaging.

    The soft-power battle between Mattel, the world's biggest toy company, and Greenpeace, one of the world's largest environmental NGOs, was waged in the world of social media. More than 500,000 people have now viewed a spoof video of Ken breaking up with Barbie over rain forest destruction (Click here for the video).  The video, featured on various nations' Greenpeace websites as well as on YouTube, was translated into 18 languages and seen all around the world.

    Professor Joseph Nye writes, "Politics has become a contest of competitive credibility. The world of traditional power politics is typically about whose military or economy wins. Politics in an information age may ultimately be about whose story wins."  In short, the source of power is less dependent on military might (hard power) than other factors such as information, technology and credibility.  The information about Asia Pulp and Paper (which Greenpeace investigators have shown to be involved in widespread rainforest clearance in Indonesia) and Mattel discovered and broadcast by Greenpeace changed behaviors.

    Greenpeace has had a significant and important victory using its credibility, social media (technology), and information.  With soft power Greenpeace forced change where governments have failed.  Asia Pulp and Paper lost a very significant customer for the wood from the rainforest of Indonesia today.  As part of its new commitments, Mattel is instructing all of its suppliers to avoid wood fiber from companies "that are known to be involved in deforestation."

    Discussion starters:

    1.     Are Realists correct that governments must continue to focus on hard power - military expenditures?

    2.     Might the high cost of hard power erode national welfare?

    3.     Does the success of Greenpeace underscore the importance of intangible sources of soft power - the ability to influence through one's values and culture - or is this a soft victory in an otherwise hard power world?



  • Greek Debt Crisis: Economic Strategies for and Interdependent World

    On October 3, 2011, the Euro currency fell to a 9-month low against the dollar after officials in Greece admitted that they would not be able to meet budget deficit forecasts. A failure of the Greek economy will likely send shock waves all across all economies of our interdependent world.

    Greece is closer to default than previously thought.  Athen's officials revealed yesterday that they are in even more dire straits than envisioned when countries around the globe agreed to a €110 billion ($146 billion) bailout deal this past summer.

    Should the governments around the world proceed with a second planned bailout? Will be enough to contain the European debt crisis - and thus avoid plunging the world into another global recession?

    In the long shadows of the Great Depression and after World War II, the economic leaders created the Bretton Woods System. To avoid repeating the mistakes that countries made between World War I and II, the Bretton Woods System established the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help states maintain stable currencies.  The IMF now seeks to help countries in times of crisis.

    Today, the world's finance ministers met in Luxembourg to address the debt crisis in Greece.  At that meeting the IMF Chairman Christine Lagarde of France proposed a plan to stabilize the Greek debt crisis: a €2 trillion ($2.7 trillion) rescue fund that could act as a giant safety net for any European economy in trouble. Such a large fund, she argues, would shore up investor confidence around the globe and thus guard both Europe and the world against future debt crises.

    Discussion starters:

    1.     What does the interdependence of economic relations mean for the the future of global economic governance and institutions like the IMF?

    2.     There are many factors that will define the boundaries within which the global economy is likely to vary in the years ahead. What rules do you expect the major economic powers will choose to support in trade and monetary policy? Will they support the liberal "hands-off approach" or a more participatory approach?