One of the greatest benefits of studying at LSE has been to attend public lectures by world leaders and academics. So far my highlight had been the 3-day “tour de growth” with Philippe Aghion. After last night I feel that the most (academically) stimulating experience has been Andrew Moravcsik’s lecture on the “European Constitutional Settlement”.
As a committed federalist I have often found it difficult to agree with Moravcsik’s analysis of the process of European integration. Since his landmark studies in the early 1990s he has long been the defender of the intergovernmental method – acknowledging continuing control in the hand of EU member states. My experience working in and around EU politics over the last 9 years has been different but I have always valued Moravcsik’s contribution as a valid intellectual and academic challenge to any federalist.
Yesterday’s speech of Andrew Moravcsik at the LSE was in many ways interesting and inspiring. I shall blog more about the substance in the forthcoming entry but thought I share his final remarks first.
When the chair Damien Chalmers intended to close the debate, Moravcsik asked to make a final statement. As a regular professor of politics and international relations at Stanford University he had spent his last year researching in China. As much as he loved the country and was inspired by its politics, he pointed to us, students of Europe, and made this really interesting statement:
After having talked to a Chinese leader for five minutes, he will acknowledge that China is still very far away from a global super power. At this moment, China is at most a middle power like Britain and will remain to be one at least for our generation. Therefore, studying the US and Europe, the two only global super-power, is as fascinating as it can be to study international relations these days.
Now this was warm words in everybody’s ears I guess. And it is so different from “Prof” Joschka Fischer who claims that the real balance of power is quickly shifting towards the US, India and China.
The current issue of the Economist (June 21st 2008) has an excellent article in Economic focus on the question of “carbon tariffs”. Apparently there has been very little study so far on the effects of introducing emission caps unilaterally in certain developed countries. Based on a first study by the MIT and a book by the Peterson Institute for International Economics the Economist article argues that there are (only) neglectable effects on a country like the US if it introduces CO2 capping systems without China and other emitters following on equal footing.
According to the analysis only few industries would be affected (metals, paper, chemicals, cement) and here either the share of energy costs is very little or all of its production can be sold at world markets due to production shortages in any case. But read the well-written article for the full argument.
I am very happy to read that first studies hint in this direction because it is high time to move forward in CO2 capping – both in the US and the EU. Secondly, I haven’t yet heard of any reasonable system that would be a fair way of calculating eventual carbon tariffs. So, luckily the economic evidence suggests that we can stop thinking about it and focus our efforts on convincing the US to finally introduce a cap-and-trade system.