Carnegie Ethics Online is a monthly column featuring short, prescriptive contributions from writers who examine ethical dilemmas in current policy issues.
Carnegie Council provides an open forum for discussion. Views expressed are not necessarily those of Carnegie Council.
Rethinking the Prevention Mandate of Peace NGOs: An EastWest Route | 04/07/2015 How can peace NGOs be more effective, both at preventing conflict and maintaining peace? Greg Austin of the EastWest Institute looks at the record of the last two decades with special reference to the International Crisis Group and EastWest Institute. He analyzes NGOs' strengths and weaknesses, and proposes a way forward.
Killing and Cartoons | 03/02/2015 This year Paris and Copenhagen learned that there are still people willing to kill for cartoons. The dilemma of what to think about their publication remains. What to do? Moral philosopher David Rodin tackles the difficult questions surrounding free speech in liberal societies.
Examining the Potential for an American Truth and Reconciliation Commission | 02/05/2015 The deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner catalyzed discussions nationwide over race relations in the United States. Surely it's time for some kind of Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). But how would it work? This essay examines other TRCs--including two in the U.S.--and proposes a solution tailored to fit America in all its diversity.
Global Inequality is Falling. So what? | 01/07/2015 Inequality is rising within countries, but falling for the world as a whole. What are we to make of this? This essay tackles the knotty moral and empirical questions involved in weighing global against domestic inequality.
Do Celebrity Humanitarians Matter? | 12/11/2014 Celebrity humanitarianism is alternately lauded for drawing media attention and fostering popular engagement and criticized on a number of ethical grounds. What can actor Ben Affleck's Eastern Congo Initiative teach us about the pros and cons of celebrity involvement?
Hashtags and Human Rights: Activism in the Age of Twitter | 11/12/2014 It's very exciting when an activist social media campaign goes viral. But what if all that energy is misdirected, or merely "slacktivism"? This essay examines five campaigns, including #bringbackourgirls and the Ice Bucket Challenge, to think about how to harness social networking to work towards real engagement and positive change.
Security Threats in Africa: A Critical Perspective | 10/10/2014 The U.S. is still seeing Africa from a Cold War perspective rooted in political realist thought, writes Africa security expert Metelits. But characterizing non-Western institutions as having a lack of governance and generalizing about political violence can lead to grave errors in assessing the threat environment.
The Central American Child Emigration Crisis: Facts, Figures, and Root Causes | 09/24/2014 Beginning in early 2014, news reports noted the rising number of unaccompanied minors attempting to cross the U.S. border with Mexico. Soon, it was described as a crisis. What made this flow of migrants a crisis? Who are these unaccompanied minors? What caused their migration? Did the United States play a role in it?
Modern Europe's Roma: Still Denied Social Justice | 08/02/2014 Despite sustained EU efforts to develop a vigorous Roma inclusion policy, the vast majority of the 10–12 million strong European Roma remain severely marginalized, frequent targets of violence, and mired in entrenched poverty. How can we ensure that the EU does indeed become a fierce defender of human rights for all those who live within its borders?
It's Time for the United States to Ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child | 07/07/2014 America is one of only two countries that has not yet ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The other is Somalia. As the 25th anniversary of the CRC approaches this November, isn't it time the United States finally ratified it?
The Intergenerational and International Justice Dilemmas of Multinational Nuclear Waste Repositories | 06/06/2014 Despite Fukushima, the use of nuclear power is increasing worldwide. What about the growing mountain of nuclear waste? It has already been accumulating for over 50 years and will remain highly radioactive for many thousands of years to come. Safe disposal presents a massive challenge to humanity and one that still has to be addressed.
The Lower Aguán in Honduras and the Deadly Battle Over Land Rights | 05/06/2014 The tumult in the Lower Aguán calls for a more thorough examination of the nature of land rights conflict and its role in making Honduras the murder capital of the world. Each side claims ownership of the land based on agrarian reform measures undertaken in different eras. And both the U.S. and the World Bank have played an important part.
Climate Change Mitigation, Peacebuilding, and Resilience | 04/10/2014 How are our efforts to reduce the impact of climate change affecting post-conflict societies? Drawing on his empirical data on micro hydropower development in post-conflict Nepal, Florian Krampe investigates whether climate change mitigation contributes to peacebuilding there. The results are nuanced and rather unexpected.
Redrawing the Map of Global Knowledge: from Access to Participation | 03/13/2014 It's tempting to think that more money and machines will solve the problems of knowledge production inequality between the global North and South, writes Laura Czerniewicz. Yet values and practices shaped by the Northern agenda contribute just as much to global imbalances as material disparities do, and this must be confronted head on.
From Dehumanization to Rehumanization | 02/14/2014 "Rehumanization is the restoration of human dignity and the reassertion of the priority of humans above the systems originally intended to serve humanity. If we are to achieve rehumanization, we need to domesticate the techno-economic complex and quell its divisive forces," writes philosophy professor Laura Rediehs.
Secrets and Allies: UK and U.S. Government Reaction to the Snowden Leaks | 01/08/2014 Is Edward Snowden a whistleblower, a traitor, or a mixture of both? How should he and the media that published his leaks be treated? Journalist Alexa van Sickle analyzes the different approaches taken by the UK and the U.S., explaining their historical, legal, and cultural underpinnings.
Jeffrey Sachs: Idealist or Extreme Pragmatist? | 12/16/2013 Nina Munk's book about economist Jeffrey Sachs portrays his defense of the global poor as an act of faithful idealism. She could not have it more wrong.
Passionate Conviction and Inclusive Community | 11/19/2013 "Convictions matter. At least our own convictions—the affirmations, commitments, and practices that are central to our personal and social identity—matter to us. Yet because we live in an era of unprecedented global interaction, the convictions of people everywhere also matter to all of us whether we know it or not."
Chile's Opportunity to Eradicate Violence Against Women—and Set an Example for the Region | 10/21/2013 If Michelle Bachelet regains the Chilean presidency in the 2013 election, she has the opportunity to create a lasting legacy for women. What's needed is a multi-pronged approach that properly funds and enforces regulations, but even more importantly, goes to the root of the problem by bringing about cultural change.
The Fate of Cultural Property in Wartime: Why it Matters and What Should Be Done | 09/17/2013 Cultural property protection in conflict is often neglected as people argue that the lives of individuals in warzones are far more important than old buildings, pots, and books. However, it is not a question of prioritizing. We must not dismiss cultural property protection in conflicts as secondary to humanitarian tragedy, but as part of the effort to save humanity.