A visionary approach so daring that it could actually work.

ONE LAND, TWO STATES

ISRAEL AND PALESTINE AS PARALLEL STATES

A coterie of bold, open-minded international academics offers a fresh paradigm for Israeli-Palestinian coexistence.

The free movement of people and goods over one shared area, while governed by one Israeli state structure and one Palestinian, offering common economic and security policy, and equal (if separate or harmonized) political, legal and civil benefits for all? Proponents of the Parallel States Project, organized by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Sweden’s Lund University, reached out to Israeli, American and Palestinian academics for some thoughtful ways of breaking out of the countless failed models for Israeli-Palestinian coexistence. A two-state solution is considered dead in the water, according to Alvaro de Soto (former UN special envoy), while the apartheid structure of Israeli occupation is not feasible. Neither side is willing to give up its territory or sovereignty—but what is “sovereignty,” Jens Bartelson (Lund Univ.) asks in an excellent historical overview, but an outmoded notion of the modern nation-state that has eroded since the pressures of globalization? Indeed, many of the contributors look to the once-utopian structure of the European Union as an effective new way of “dovetailing the sovereignty claims of individual states within an institutional framework.” What would this parallel sovereignty with integrated resources look like? Peter Wallensteen (Uppsala Univ.) lays out a graduated concrete plan starting in 2017, delineating everything from the safeguarding of human rights to taxation and property rights. Crucial concerns of security are hashed out in two separate essays, one from the Israeli side (Nimrod Hurvitz and Dror Zeevi) and one from the Palestinian (Hussein Agha and Ahmad Samih Khalidi), though the general consensus seems to be that by mixing the populations, hostility and terrorism are eliminated, encouraging other Arab countries to ease their animus of Israel. Also important: empowering the Palestinian economy and allowing refugees right of return.

A visionary approach so daring that it could actually work.

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-520-27913-1

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Univ. of California

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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