Christophe Jaffrelot et Nicolas Belorgey
In 2009, India embarked on a scheme for the biometric identification of its people. This project was conceived by IT companies based in Bengaluru. The programme’s main architect, Nandan Nilekani, was in fact the head of one of these firms. The idea behind the project was to use digital technology – and the data it enables to collect – for economic ends. But to register the entire Indian population, the State had to be persuaded to be involved in the project, later named as "Aadhaar". The rationale that secured the government’s engagement was financial: using Aadhaar would help disburse aid to the poor while minimising the "leakages" caused by corruption and duplicates among beneficiaries. Yet, possessing an Aadhaar number gradually became necessary for a number of other things, too, including tax payment. When approached to rule on this matter, the Supreme Court dragged its feet and did not seek to decisively protect people’s privacy. As for the avowed aim of the scheme itself, Aadhaar did not improve the quality of the services rendered to the poor – far from it – and its economic impact, too, remains to be proven, even if operators who believe that "data is the new oil" consider benefits in a long term perspective.
Business and politics in India have been closely connected since the colonial era, when entrepreneurs financed politicians who, in exchange, spared them some of the bureaucratic red tape. This proximity has endured after independence, even if Nehru’s official socialism subjected it to some constraints. Far from mitigating corruption, economic liberalization during the 1990s actually amplified it when large investors, attracted by the opening of the Indian market, paid huge bribes to political leaders, who often became businessmen themselves and forced public banks to lend to industrialists close to them, while businessmen were elected to Parliament, increasing insider trading. As it is observed in the modern era under Narendra Modi, be it at the national level and in his state of Gujarat, crony capitalism is well illustrated by Modi’s relationship to Gautam Adani, the rising star of Indian business. Crony capitalism has a financial cost (due to the under-taxation of companies and dubious debts on the banks’ balance sheets), a social cost (due to underpaid work and a reduction of the expenditure of education or health for lack of fiscal resources) and the environment (crony capitalists disregarding the most basic standards).
Many online newspapers were created in Russia during the early 2000s, which gave rise to hopes concerning further developments of media pluralism. Their day-to-day operations differ little from those of their Western counterparts. They are subject to the same technical possibilities and to the same financial limitations. Under the increasingly authoritarian Russian regime, however, these common constraints can become political. Economic constraints on editorial boards, limitations on their sources of advertising revenue, administrative requirements, and surveillance of Internet providers are all tools used for political purposes. This article uses the examples of the major news sites that are lenta.ru and gazeta.ru, and the more specialized sites, snob.ru and grani.ru, to show how this political control is based on the diversity of ordinary constraints, which procedures and justifications are both unpredictable and dependent on the economic situation. The result is that political control is both omnipresent and elusive, constantly changing.
Richard Balme, Didier Chabanet
Ethically correct policies sometimes, even often, skeptics will say, simply reflect a good grasp of where one's interests lie. The creation of an ethical fund or involvement in a micro-finance program may only be a way of pandering to the times or improving one's self-esteem in a convoluted fashion. However, these tributes to virtue nevertheless raise a number of contemporary questions and issues. The sums invested in ethical funds are far from merely symbolic. In the United States, one out of every ten dollars is invested in "ethical" financial instruments. In Europe, they are developing quickly. As for micro-loan experiments, from Bangladesh to Bolivia, the profitable results they have yielded to all parties are proof that they warrant taking an interest in them. As the present research emphasizes, the use of ethical funds and micro-loans, although it may not bridge the gap between past and future, nevertheless shows promise for the years to come: it provides a temporal horizon that the commonly-called international civil society takes part in shaping
At a time when the use of sanctions has intensified considerably, criticism directed at embargos is gaining ground. In interpreting this significant rise in opposition, this article shows how and why mobilization against sanctions has developed, what sort of actors are involved and what forms it takes. This research brings to light the formation of networks and coalitions against both unilateral and multilateral measures. It underlines the role, status and scope of those whose business it is to fashion norms, by questioning the main analytical categories their strategies are usually based on. An expertise in embargo assessment, destined to levy judgment on a type of very specific violence, is developing in both national and transnational public spaces. This research, analyzing the emergence of this expertise, sheds light on the development of a conception of unjust sanctions and identifies the mechanisms of its construction on an international scale. This text in particular underlines the importance of traditions of just war, especially their reinterpretation by actors on the international scene and its moral norm- makers. Considering the development of these standards allows us to grasp one of the most decisive aspects of the use of force in the post-cold war world, as well as the establishment of certain international reforms.