Winners without Losers: Why Americans Should Care More about Global Economic Policy
Edward Lincoln and Sam Natapoff engage in a discussion of how international economic ties can help establish political stability and lessen military friction worldwide. Twentieth century technological changes, paired with communist collapse and the end of imperialism, greatly accelerated the global economy, but extreme poverty persists, especially in Africa. We need to "draw poor countries onto the escalator of economic development," Lincoln said at this Global Policy Innovations lecture on Feb. 12, 2008.
Lincoln's remarks came while U.S. President George W. Bush was preparing for a tour of Africa. During the trip, Bush promoted several aid programs, including plans to establish AFRICOM, the Pentagon's new command headquarters for Africa. The initiative has drawn fire from critics who say the project is overly militaristic and misdirected in its attempts to bring health, education, and development to the continent. They question whether AFRICOM is a genuine effort to promote stability and development in Africa or merely a belated strategy to compete with Chinese influence and access to African oil.
Lincoln, author of Winners without Losers: Why Americans Should Care More about Global Economic Policy, urges the United States to take a more active role in improving the economic prospects of Africa. "I don't think we should say, 'Well, it doesn't work. The poor will always be a mess. Nigeria will always be a mess. The Sudan will always be a mess," Lincoln said. "It doesn't have to be that way."
When it comes to securing peace and prosperity, Lincoln says, the role of the military is becoming less important. Multilateral institutions such as the World Bank and the World Trade Organization, while imperfect and still dominated by big powers, nevertheless represent a more democratic evolution than imperialism and have provided a structure where nation-states can interact on a more equal setting. He favors their gradual improvement rather than wholly discarding them to create new institutions.