HKS in the News January 24, 2012

January 24, 2012


1. Google Plays Both Sides in the Web Piracy Fight (Crawford)
Bloomberg

2. International Climate Policy: The Durban Platform Opens a Window (Stavins) OUP Blog

3. The Best States to Grow Up In (Putnam) The New York Times Economix

4. FSG director dubs norm on corporate social responsibility 'flawed' (Kramer) Mail Online India


Google Plays Both Sides in the Web Piracy Fight
Bloomberg
January 20
Commentary by: Susan Crawford
Topic: The role of Google in protesting anti-piracy bills

The Internet’s watershed political moment in the U.S. arrived this week. You can Google it. The role of Google itself, however, in the so-called Web blackout is more interesting than a quick Google search would indicate.

First, some background. On Jan. 18, to protest a pair of anti-piracy bills in Congress, Wikipedia posted a blackout page on its English-language site that was seen by more than 162 million people. Google, meanwhile, gathered 7 million signatures against the bills. These tactics worked, at least temporarily: At the beginning of the great day of Internet wrath, there were 80 members of Congress who supported the legislation and 31 opponents. Afterward, those numbers were 63 and 122, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had announced he was postponing this week’s scheduled vote on the issue.

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International Climate Policy: The Durban Platform Opens a Window
Oxford University Press’s Blog
January 24
Commentary by: Robert Stavins
Topic: Climate change negotiations: past, present, and future

In late November and early December of last year, some 195 national delegations met in Durban, South Africa, for the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP-17) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the latest in a series of international negotiations intended to address the threat of global climate change due to increased concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHSs) in the atmosphere, largely a consequence of the worldwide combustion of fossil fuels, as well as ongoing deforestation.

Any assessment of the Durban climate negotiations needs to take note of the three major outcomes from the negotiations: (1) elaboration on several components of the Cancun Agreements; (2) a second five-year commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol; and (3) a non-binding agreement to reach an agreement by 2015 that will bring all countries under the same legal regime by 2020. This package–in total–represents something of a “half-full glass of water,” that is, an outcome that can be judged successful or not, depending upon one’s perspective.

But an unambiguous outcome of the Durban talks is the fact that third element–the “Durban Platform for Enhanced Action”–has opened an important window. To explain why I say this requires a brief review of some key points from twenty years of history of international climate negotiations.

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The Best States to Grow Up In
The New York Times Economix
January 23
Cited: Robert Putnam
Topic: The importance of regional differences

Newborn children can’t choose the states in which they grow up any more than they can choose the size of their parents’ bank accounts. But voters in every state choose how much to spend on public programs benefiting children, with telling results….

But levels of trust and concern for others also affect willingness to pay taxes, just as they affect people’s willingness to contribute to charities or tithe to a church. Unfortunately, as the political scientist Robert Putnam asserts, racial and ethnic diversity tends to weaken social solidarity….

But some institutions – and political jurisdictions – do a better job of coping with these stresses than others do. Professor Putnam points to the success of policies adopted by the United States armed forces to bring recruits together and build their trust for one another.

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FSG director dubs norm on corporate social responsibility 'flawed'
Mail Online India
January 24
Quoted: Mark Kramer, Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative
Topic: Corporate Social Responsibility

The co-founder and managing director of social impact consultant group, FSG, Mark Kramer, has dubbed the government directive that mandates companies to set aside two per cent of their net profit on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as structurally flawed….

'Creating shared value means closely examining the linkages between economic and social progress, he said. 'It compels firms to view social progress as a key factor in the development of their business strategy.'

So how different is CSV from CSR? 'It is a concept that overlaps with CSR,' said Kramer who is also a Senior Fellow in CSR at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

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This selection of media appearances is compiled by the Office of Communications and Public Affairs.

To submit an item please email bryan_galcik@harvard.edu.


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