An active civil society is essential for any system in which governments are held accountable. Civil society groups are the challengers and communicators in a system which permits government to be challenged. They force governance issues into the open. But civil society can easily be thwarted by regulators, administrators, and others who are intent on preserving privileges or skewing priorities away from rule of law. Civil society needs certain corresponding elements to be in place in order to be effective.
Economy and Development
On Tuesday, Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff pled for her cabinet to embrace fiscal tightening and further austerity measures aimed to conquer Brazilian stagflation and “restore business confidence and growth” as she heads into her second term.1 She wants to bring down rapid inflation, about 6.5% annually, lower interest rates and stimulate spending to boost employment and raise incomes.2 In terms of tax policy, Rousseff wants to alleviate the burden on businesses, encourage private sector investment and boost export competitiveness.1
Are poverty alleviation programs short-term solutions or do they provide vulnerable individuals with opportunities to escape long-run deprivation? This policy question has been an ongoing source of debate between economists.1 For instance, Jeffrey Sachs has defended these programs, claiming that aid generates incentives for the poor to lift themselves out of poverty. William Easterly disagrees, arguing that aid creates dependency and that policymakers should instead focus on promoting economic growth.