How Academia Resembles a Drug Gang | Alexandre Afonso

From: How Academia Resembles a Drug Gang | Alexandre Afonso.

With a constant supply of new low-level drug sellers entering the market and ready to be exploited, drug lords can become increasingly rich without needing to distribute their wealth towards the bottom. You have an expanding mass of rank-and-file “outsiders” ready to forego income for future wealth, and a small core of “insiders”  securing incomes largely at the expense of the mass. We can call it a winner-take-all market.

 

The academic job market is structured in many respects like a drug gang, with an expanding mass of outsiders and a shrinking core  of insiders. Even if the probability that you might get shot in academia is relatively small (unless you mark student papers very harshly), one can observe similar dynamics.

Latest from the “UCSD School of biopolitics”: “Red Brain, Blue Brain”

More evidence our politics may be biologically determined. I personally find this to be a fascinating area of research. My favorite line from the abstract:

conservatives show greater sensitivity to threatening stimuli.

PLOS ONE: Red Brain, Blue Brain: Evaluative Processes Differ in Democrats and Republicans.

Noted: Cats are on the side of the rebels in Syria

Cute Cat Politics
Ethan Zuckerman posted this piece about how the Free Syrian Army might be utilizing “cute cat politics” in their cause. Follow the link to see Yasmeen the cat on sniper duty and hear how the rebels sleep with abandoned kittens.

Linked: “How The American University was Killed”

Saw this on a friend’s Facebook post. I’m not sure the American University has been killed yet, but it is definitely having problems. I can think of some other problems that rank up with those mentioned here, but these points are worth a conversation on their own.

How The American University was Killed, in Five Easy Steps | The Homeless Adjunct.

Noted: Acemoglu on the Future

We all do it even though we probably shouldn’t . Daron Acemoglu offers his predictions for the world his grandchildren will inherit. Apparently war will go away, which might leave a number of IR scholars without a job!

Daron Acemoglu’s Predictions – Business Insider.

The original NBER Paper

Course Notes – IL: Philippines v. China and the Law of the Sea

China has a long history of disputes with other nations regarding their sovereignty over islands. Japan and China are currently at odds over some islands in the East China Sea (owned by a private Japanese individual). Vietnam recently sent six Buddhist monks to lay claim to the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. And this, coupled with the even more serious contestation between China and the Philippines, amounts to what some (including Walter Russell Mead) are calling “the Great Game”.

Map of the Spratly Islands:
wpid-China-claims-Paracel-Spratly-Islands-11-2012-04-18-13-33.jpg

The biggest contest in recent days seems to be between China and the Philippines, again near the Spratly Islands which are also desired by Vietnam (Business Insider). Philippine warships reportedly threatened Chinese fishing vessels, raided ships, and faced-off with Chinese surveillance vessels. China has deployed ships and aircraft to the region. Of course, the Philippines is a strategic ally for the United States, so it may come as no surprise that all of this is happening just as their annual joint American-Filipino military exercises began in the South China Sea (Washington Post). However, as Julian Ku notes over at Opinio Juris, it is unlikely that the Philippines will win this dispute with military force.

Could this be resolved using international law? The Philippine government seems to hope so. They have brought the case to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS). Their Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary, Albert del Rosario:

At day’s end, however, we hope to demonstrate that international law would be the great equalizer…The purpose of the exercise will be to ascertain which of us has sovereign rights over the waters surrounding Scarborough Shoal. (ABS-CBN News).

However, China may have its own sovereignty claim which, Ku notes, may make it difficult for ITLOS to have jurisdiction without China’s (unlikely) consent. And apparently China is not too keen on using ITLOS as a forum. Chinese embassy spokesperson Zhang Hua, in response to these developments, reportedly wrote:

We urge the Philippine side to fully respect China’s sovereignty, and commit to the consensus we reached on settling the incident through friendly consultation and not to complicate or aggravate this incident, so that peace and stability in that area can be restored.(Zambo Times)

So, using ITLOS is an aggravation?

Even if they cannot get ITLOS to settle the matter, they might be able to get an advisory opinion (along with Vietnam) from ITLOS on China’s claims, which could lend support for their cause, argues Ian Storey (Thanh Nien News). A case study at American University does a nice job of briefly and neatly summarizing what I believe are the key legal claims here:

The Law of the Sea Convention — an international law/standard agreed to by the countries of the world — is involved in the claims of Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines. These three countries claim that all or part of the islands are a part of their continental shelf. According to the Law of the Sea, the countries have legal right over the area of their continental shelf.
In 1987 China claimed that the Hainan Island–the closest recognized Chinese territory to the islands–was a separate province that would be developed as a special economic zone and declared a new law on its territorial waters in 1992. These laws gave China a greater basis for claiming control over the Spratlys as a “contiguous zones” for territory.

What is at stake here?

The islands are significant for their geographic location (shipping and military interests), fishing rights, guano, and possibly oil, natural gas and mineral resources.

Noted: Charli Carpenter on IR and New Media

This video from a presentation by Charli Carpenter has been posted a number of places. I first saw it over at the Monkey Cage. She poses a number of questions about how “new media” – facebook, blogs, twitter, youtube, etc. – and its use by IR scholars might be changing the relationship between IR scholarship and the world, and the nature of IR scholarship.

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One thing she discusses is how new media “flattens” some of the hierarchies in our discipline, making it easier for a broader range of scholars to have their voices heard. And, via such mechanisms as comments on blogs, it may also internationalize and diversify the audience for our scholarship. As an Africanist, I have some doubts as to whether the flattening she discusses applies much to African scholarship and voices… but it might be that the new media is better than the previous status quo.

Noted: Random bits

Business Insider reports that “Rich People are More Likely to Cut Off Other Drivers and Run over Pedestrians.” They link to a study out of UC Berkeley and U Toronto, published in PNAS that has this abstract:

Seven studies using experimental and naturalistic methods reveal that upper-class individuals behave more unethically than lower-class individuals. In studies 1 and 2, upper-class individuals were more likely to break the law while driving, relative to lower-class individuals. In follow-up laboratory studies, upper-class individuals were more likely to exhibit unethical decision-making tendencies (study 3), take valued goods from others (study 4), lie in a negotiation (study 5), cheat to increase their chances of winning a prize (study 6), and endorse unethical behavior at work (study 7) than were lower-class individuals. Mediator and moderator data demonstrated that upper-class individuals’ unethical tendencies are accounted for, in part, by their more favorable attitudes toward greed.

Does the fallacy of division preclude us from thinking that the average American is less ethical than.. well, than most of the rest of the world? I hope so! I would like to think that such factors make us no more or less ethical…

Tom Devriendt at Africa is a Country linked to this terrific bit of “Soweto Soul”, the Baninzi music video by The Soil.
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