Category Archives: Volume 8, no. 1 (2013)

Practising what they Preach: Did the IMF and Iceland Exercise Good Governance in their Relations 2008-2011?

Between September 2008 and August 2011, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Iceland were engaged in cooperation under a stand-by agreement involving a loan from the IMF to Iceland of over 2bn USD. The IMF is one of a number of major international institutions that has been increasing its emphasis on good governance over the past two decades, in particular, emphasising the need for improved governance in debtor countries. In this paper, the authors review the extent to which principles of good governance were exercised in the interaction between the IMF and Iceland within the context of the stand-by programme.

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The Security Aspects in the Arctic: the Potential Role of NATO

This paper addresses military security issues in the Arctic region and assesses in particular NATO’s Arctic agenda by giving a historical retrospective on the militarization of the High North. Also, it provides a theoretical background to understand the contemporary strategic situation and analyze how the enduring nuclear-weapon-based security strategies can influence the future international relations in the Arctic.

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Responsibility and Capitalism. A Phenomenological Way to Approach the Economic Crisis

The Western world is presently afflicted by a huge economic crisis, started in 2007 in the United States, with the collapse of the subprime mortgage market, and exploded in 2008 with the breakdown of Lehman Brothers[1]. Even if its most critical stage seems to be finished, capitalist countries find it difficult to recover. Globalization exported the effects of the crisis everywhere, but those that suffered the greatest damages are Europe and North America. The collapse of some financial companies is only the top of a huge iceberg. The crisis has roots in something deeper, in the principles and mechanisms of capitalism itself. The Western part of the world is still paying not for the mistakes of a few executives, but for a general lack of ethics in the whole system.

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The 2008—2013 Crisis as Metastasis. A Preview of the 2nd edition of The Cancer Stage of Capitalism by Pluto Press

The cancer stage of capitalism is not a metaphor. It is a diagnosis of a world-system disorder which becomes cumulatively worse the longer it is unrecognised.[1]

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Juha Manninen and Friedrich Stadtler (eds.), The Vienna Circle and the Nordic Countries. Networks and Transformations of Logical Empiricism (Vienna: Vienna Circle Institute Yearbook vol.14, Springer, 2010)

This volume on the Vienna Circle’s influence in the Nordic countries gives a very interesting presentation of an almost forgotten landmark.

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Giulio Tremonti, Uscita di sicurezza (Milan: Rizzoli, 2012)

A professor of fiscal and tributary law, Giulio Tremonti served in Berlusconi’s governments as Minister of Economy and Finance in 1994-5, 2001-4, 2005-6, and 2008-11. An active participant in high-profile policy-making and trend-setting meetings within European institutions, the G7 and G8, as well as the Aspen Institute, Tremonti has been the promoter of the Global Legal Standard, which the OECD adopted in 2009. 

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Helle Prosdam and Thomas Elholm (eds.), Dialogues on Justice: European Perspectives on Law and Humanities (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2012)

This recent volume is the result of an outgrowth of the Nordic Network of Law and Literature. It is structured around four themes: Law and Humanities, History, Memory and Human Rights, Forgiveness and Law, and Justice, Culture and Copyright. Each of these themes attracts contributions from two distinguished authors, and there is a further Prologue and Epilogue that adds to the discussion on the four themes.

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Federico Sollazzo, Totalitarismo, democrazia, etica pubblica. Scritti di filosofia morale, filosofia politica, etica (Rome: Aracne, 2011)

The book comprises three parts, entitled respectively “Moral philosophy”, “Political philosophy” and “Ethics”. An appendix concludes the volume, containing an essay on the issue of techno-science in Martin Heidegger’s thought.

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Maurizio Tani, La chiesa di Akureyri: Guida storico-artistica alla parrocchiale luterana della «capitale del nord» (Grafarvogur: Snorri Sturluson, 2010)

This booklet is about Akureyri’s main Lutheran church Akuureyrarkirkja (hereafter Akureyri church), its history and artwork, and it is written in Italian.

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Brian Lucey, Charles Larkin and Constantin Gurdgiev (eds.) What if Ireland defaults? (Dublin: Orpen Press, 2012)

Various parts of the world have been in financial turmoil since 2008 because of the international banking crisis that started then. It soon turned into a fiscal crisis for a number of governments in Europe and developed into the Euro crisis that is wreaking havoc in Euroland and might be breaking up the EU, if bad comes to worse.

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Viorella Manolache (ed.), Centru si margine la Marea Mediterana. Filosofie politica si realitate internationala (Bucharest: Editura ISPRI, 2009)

The collective volume entitled Center-Margin at the Mediterranean Sea (Political Philosophy and International Reality) was conceived as an ampler echo and also as a complementary dimension to the laboratory work of the journal of the Institute of Political Science and International Relations of the Romanian Academy, Romanian Review of Political Sciences and International Relations.

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Oana M. Oprean, Romania’s Accession to the European Union and Its Impact on the Roma Minority (Saarbrücken: LAP Lambert Academic Publishing, 2012)

This book can be seen as a powerful personal manifesto, with interesting subjective reflections (see the personal experience from the author’s grandmother’s village, Palos, pp.25-26), also with regard to the well-known assertions or stereotypes that follow around the Roma ethnic minority group. 

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Joseph V. Femia and Alasdair J. Marshall (eds.), Vilfredo Pareto: Beyond Disciplinary Boundaries (Surrey, England and Burligton, USA: Ashgate, 2012)

The introduction of this edited volume on Vilfredo Pareto opens with the following sentence: “This volume explores Pareto’s astonishingly varied intellectual contribution from a range of disciplinary perspectives, the main intention being to show why it remains relevant and should not simply be consigned to the history of ideas” (p. 1).  I believe the book did fulfill its goal of showing the intellectual breadth of Pareto and his relevance today.

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Giuseppe Cossuto, Tracce turche in Europa medievale. I popoli delle steppe in Europa dalla comparsa degli Unni alla nascita della Turchia (Rome: Aracne, 2009)

Turkish culture, history and language are still quite an exotic subject both in academia and the media outside those regions where Turkish, or Turkic peoples, represent the majority of the population. In general, very little is known about Turkish history, except from few subjects like the Ottoman Empire or the establishment of the modern Republic of Turkey by Ataturk.

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Sigurður Árni Þórðarson, Limits and Life: Meaning and Metaphors in the Religious Language of Iceland (Peter Lang: American University Studies, 2012)

“How did the people think, pray and make their lives meaningful in an isolated, underground sod farm in Iceland some centuries ago? In the summer everything enjoyed the bliss of creation in an endless bosom of light nights. Even the roofs turned green and yellow in response to the gentle strokes of the bright winds in a world of pulsing restlessness. Too soon the decay of fall set in. As prey to thundering storms of winter, the inhabitants of the small houses were left to some uncertain destiny. Above, the threats hovered in the sky. All around the forces of natural evil came closer. The world of myths creped into the minds and bones. Like a beast awakened from a summer trance, a precarious world suddenly echoed its appearance in the stories, the nannies’ warnings, the poems recited, and the religion practiced.” (p.51)

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T. Kue Young (senior ed.) and Rajiv Rawat, Winifred Dallmann, Susan Chatwood and Peter Bjerregaard (eds.), Circumpolar Health Atlas (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012)

The Circumpolar Health Atlas is one of the latest in a long line of worthy publications emerging out of the International Polar Year. Much of the data on which it is based has been published in the solemn Health Transitions in Arctic Populations (2008) by two of the same editorial team but the figures have all been updated in this much more accessible volume.

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Jesús Ballesteros, Encarnación Fernández Ruiz-Gálvez, Pedro Talavera (eds.), Globalization and Human Rights: Challenges and Answers from a European Perspective (Ius Gentium: Comparative Perspectives of Law and Justice, Vol. 13, Leiden: Springer, 2012)

Globalization and Human Rights: Challenges and Answers from a European Perspective is a thought-provoking collection of essays emerging from two Spanish-led research projects from 2007 until the present day. Spanning international law, human rights law, political theory, economics and modern history, these essays provoke the reader to assess and reassess the interplay between the European Union, human rights and human dignity.

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Jonathan Schlefer, The Assumptions Economists Make (Cambridge, Mass., and London: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2012)

As we approach the sixth year of grave financial and economic uncertainty, capitalism keeps calm and carries on. The ideology’s most influential temples and high priests (the central banks, ratings agencies, regulators, media and universities, the traders, bankers, politicians, journalists and academics) neither prophesied nor avoided the 2007-08 economic crisis.[1] Nevertheless, they continue preaching the same creed and using the same economic models to drive ‘post-crisis’ policies.[2] It seems the believers have not questioned their beliefs, at any fundamental level.

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Páll Björnsson, Jón forseti allur? Táknmyndir þjóðhetju frá andláti til samtíðar (Reykjavík: Sögufélag, 2011)

The book Páll Björnsson has written entitled President Jón in Full? Icons of a National Hero From His Death to the Present, deprives the Icelandic people of the icon of president Jón Sigurðsson (1811-1879) qua omnipotent father of the nation. This is done elegantly.

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