Five forum responses two subjects: International Relations and Anthropology 3

Five forum responses two subjects: International Relations and Anthropology 3

Please separate the two topics in separate word documents (international relations and anthropology)

Post 1 International Relations International Organizations

Whom are IFIs, such as the IMF, World Bank, and WTO, accountable to? In preparing an answer to this question, analyze whose interests are represented through the work of these IFIs and some of the accountability challenges they face.

Copelovitch (2010), writes that, “……Fund’s largest shareholders—the G5 countries exercise de facto control over the Executive Board (EB)” (pp. 49). Copelovtichs’ point here, which he demonstrates empirically, is that the five largest economies in the world (the G5: United States, Japan, Great Britain, France and Germany) constitute a majority voting bloc on the International Monetary Fund’s Executive Board whereby these countries are able to decide matters of policy and lending decisions. To demonstrate the power of the G5 countries, the United States constitutes over 16% (Copevich, 2010), of the EB’s total vote count, which, because of the EB’s desire for consensus constitutes an overall veto authority.

Copelovich (2010, pp. 54), however also provides the alternative argument that, “On the other hand, scholars in the ‘‘public choice’’ tradition argue that bureaucratic politics, rather than powerful states’ interests, is the key political factor in IMF lending (Vaubel 1991; Willett 2002; Dreher and Vaubel 2004b). These scholars view the Fund not as the servant of its shareholders, but rather as a highly independent actor in its own right”. I don’t find the evidence to support this conclusion.

While Copelovich should be commended for offering an ulterior perspective his Common Agency Theory demonstrates how the G5 countries, who make up the bulk of the IMF Executive Board, typically have similar interests that lead them to support similar policies. These similarities are the epitome of the term Convergence, where, sovereign states will work together to achieve mutually beneficial results.

I would take this convergence a step further and explain these aligning or priorities/policies as being in the realist tradition, where, states will act in their own self interests. There is nothing inherently wrong with this type of thinking. That powerful states with advances economies have similar ambitions is not unusual. Still, it does provide fodder for the argument that the IMF serves the interests of the powerful via the terms and conditions that it imposes on borrowers.

The field of international relations banking then is not wholly dissimilar to personal banking, The lender gets to set the terms to the borrower and if the borrower doesn’t like the terms then they don’t have to take the loan. States who don’t want to abide by what they may perceive to be onerous IMF conditions then are free to seek unilateral funding on the world market. However, all loans come with strings attached, there is no free lunch.

Post 2 International Relations

Whom are IFIs, such as the IMF, World Bank, and WTO, accountable to? In preparing an answer to this question, analyze whose interests are represented through the work of these IFIs and some of the accountability challenges they face.

In principle and theory, both the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank are cut from the same cloth. Virtually identical in their management and affiliations, they should have, in theory, both adopted similar policies on accountability and transparency – but they did not. The governing framework of each of these organizations is made up of what is referred to as the “G5” (Copelovich, 2010). These countries – the United States, Great Britain, Germany, France, and Japan – maintain the five most profitable economies and therefore have the loudest voice with regard to the policies and procedures of both the IMF and World Bank. One would ascertain that with all the similarities between the IMF and the World Bank that their policies on accountability and transparency would also be similar. However, that is entirely untrue. Over the last several years, the World Bank has taken significant steps towards pulling back the curtain and providing the international community a better look at the inner workings, lending practices, and policies of this institution (Gartner, 2013). The call for greater transparency among all international institutions is being heard at every level – not just with lending. Those organizations that provide more clarity typically are held more accountable as well (Copelovich, 2010). The question just remains; who do these institutions remain accountable to?

The history of transparency, accountability, and access to information in the world of governance began to gain more traction after the end of World War II as more and more people began to adopt the ideology that transparency was not just a part of sound government, but a right of the citizens that had been largely ignored (Gartner 2013). Through the course of numerous Senate hearings and legislative measures, the World Bank was leveraged into providing more transparency or risk losing both financing and support from the United States. This quickly changed their tune and as a result, several directives were published establishing policies for information disclosure and “public access” (Gartner, 2013). They have also established a network which can be used to search an enormous cache of documents as well as a process by which customers can appeal information release denials. The IMF on the other hand, has been much slower in assuming such a position. They have not progressed from their original Articles of Agreement which simply required publication of an annual report summarizing their operations and a synopsis of their current holdings (Gartner, 2013).

With the vast majority of the executive decisions being made by only five nations, it is incredibly reasonable to assume that the interests of those countries are represented first and foremost. This practice is not completely unheard of either. At the most rudimentary level, think about our own government. The majority party has their interests served first, and everyone comes in second (or third…) place. This is not to say that the IMF and World Bank only exist to serve the G5, but I would surmise that their interests do not characteristically fall on deaf ears.

Post 3 International Relations (answer this question)

How do IFIs hold member states accountable?

Post 4 Anthropology

Does your language determine how you think? It is an interesting question that I do not believe has a correct or incorrect answer. Looking at the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis which hypothesizes that a person’s language determines how they can or cannot think. To me this could be possible if in a completely isolated society that never has outside influence so you would have no other connection than the language and culture you were raised in. On the other side of the spectrum you have the thought that language does not affect your thoughts at all. To me this is not possible. By learning a language, you gain insight to that society or culture and these lessons can influence your thoughts. This question is often put on the same level of “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”.So, does my language limit how I think? I feel that the answer is somewhere in between in the sense that it can influence but does not necessarily dictate how we think. If our language dictated fully how we thought then would it be possible for a person to be bi-lingual? What about understanding things that do not have words? The Linguistics Society of America uses colors to prove this point. Betty Birner wrote, “There are an infinite number of colors, and they don’t all have individual names…The color spectrum is continuous but our language isn’t.”. At the same time our thoughts can be restricted by our language as pointed out in required reading section “Language and Culture tutorial”. Specifically, it pointed out the use of particular words that bring up strong feelings that can impact how we think in a one society but the same word in a different society may be perfectly acceptable and used every day.

Post 5 Anthropology

Direct contact is necessary for an anthropologist to effectively gather and conclude their research. It is important to receive the information first hand, as opposed to gathering minor bits and pieces and assume what they could possibly mean. It is important for the research relayed to the public is accurate and precise. If an anthropologist is only experiencing the culture of the society as an outsider or from hear say, and not a direct participant, they are not getting all the details and emotions that are involved. Ethnocentrism I can see to be a large part of ethical issues for the anthropologists. Sometimes an anthropologists may decide that their beliefs are the correct form, and decided that the society they are observing is inferior to the anthropologist. These views can ultimately have a negative impact on the quality of research as well as the way that research is viewed on society. Respectfulness when observing religious groups or practices, as with any other anthropology research project is very important. It is important when observing anyone to listen to what is truly happening When an anthropologist dismisses a culture due to the anthropologists own beliefs they are comprising the integrity of the research. Perhaps the presence, of an anthropology observer within a religious group may change the way the group conducts normal business. They may either over exaggerate or under exaggerate their religious practice. They may also change the way they do somethings within their group. To be a participant observer means that the anthropologists is included in the surrounding enviorment.