PSR 2(174)/2011

PSR174

Janine R. Wedel

Beyond Conflict of Interest: Shadow Elites and the Challenge to Democracy and the Free Market

A new breed of power broker debuted with the diffusion of global authority, the growth of privatization, and new information technologies in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. The success of these „shadow elites” stems from their ability to break new ground with regard to conflict of interest. They conflate official and private interests without violating the law. They test both governments’ rules of accountability and businesses’ codes of competition. Moving nimbly between official and private spheres, and sometimes erasing the distinction, these players can wield more power and influence than lobbyists, interest groups, „kitchen cabinets,” and other influencers in democratic society. Largely beyond public input, they challenge the principles that have defined modern states, free markets, and democracy itself. Conventional categories are ill-suited to describe these operators and conventional means of holding them to account are also ill-equipped to do so.

Ken Roberts and Gary Pollock

Politics and Trust in the South Caucasus and in East and West Europe

Trust in political actors is currently low in all parts of Europe and the former Soviet Union. This paper proceeds by presenting recent evidence from the EU27 and the South Caucasus, and explores differences in levels of trust towards different political actors, between socio-demographic groups, and between countries. The differences are around generally low levels of trust. It is argued that this lack of trust needs to be set in the contexts of economic globalisation having widened inequalities while disempowering national politicians, and the absence of effective political checks on politicians’ actions. Throughout the analysis, contrasts are drawn between the relatively mature democracies of the west and the new democracies of Eastern Europe. The paper concludes by suggesting why, in certain regions, trust has been most easily maintained or restored in relatively undemocratic political systems and actors.

Georg P. Mueller

Coping with Low-Trust Situations in Eastern and Western Europe: On the Role of Justice and Corruption as Buffers of Interpersonal Distrust

This article focuses on the impact of interpersonal distrust on the perceived locus of control of the concerned person. It is argued that distrust triggers a psychological shift of the perceived locus of control towards distrusted others-a process, which may however be slowed down or even stopped by appropriate subjective or objective buffers. E.g. reliable law enforcement may have this buffering effect as well as the instrumentalisation of the state by corrupt practices. On the bases of interview data form the European Values Study, the article first shows for a great number of Eastern and Western countries the existence of the postulated negative impact of distrust on the degree of perceived internal control. In a second step, the article also investigates the buffering effects of trustworthy law enforcement and corruption. The statistical analyses demonstrate that in Central and Eastern Europe, corruption has a much stronger buffering effect than law enforcement, whereas in Western Europe, the strengths of the two types of buffers are just the reverse.

Tetiana Kostiuchenko

Central Actors And Groups In Political Elite: Advantages Of Network Approach

 

Studies conducted in CEE states by a number of social and political scientists within the elite theory paradigm focus mainly on issues concerning elite circulation and recruitment, struggles between governing and non-governing (contra-) elites. Although, it is still an open question what relational structures, or networks, exist within power elites. This issue becomes even more important when ‚interest groups’ become the basis for creation of internally circulating ‚ruling class’ whose members periodically seize key positions in different institutions and collectively capture the decision-making process at the state level.

In order to define how elite members co-operate, to identify central individuals and key decisionmakers, one needs to understand the structure of political elite network. This paper contains an attempt to explore political elite networks formation and functioning in Ukraine 20 years after the regime change.

Main research questions are: what ties and to what extent are important for political elite members; what clusters exist within Ukrainian political elite network; to what extent the concepts of social capital and interpersonal trust can be employed to explain the formation of joint legislative initiatives. In addition, model of elite network functioning allows the depiction and verification of the role of central players taking into account their relational patterns.

Sample included members of the Parliament,Government, and the Presidential Secretariat (almost 500 biographies). Biographical method and in-depth interviews were applied for collecting both quantitative and qualitative network data. Specific software enabled applying various SNA tools and procedures for hypotheses testing and network modeling.

Joanna Szalacha

Interlocking Directorates and Possible Conflict of Interests .

The aim of this paper is to explore the concept of interlocking directorates in a context of possible misuse of power, especially such as conflict of interest (COI). The paper presents some results of current research made on interlocking directorates. Next it analyzes connections between this phenomenon and COI. One of a basic assumption for this paper is that COI is generally dangerous for a processes of industrial and market development of regions like CEE and therefore all phenomena COI-related (as interlocking directorates) must be well recognized by regional social sciences. The article will refer to such issues as threats to free market rules, violation of trust and formation of industrial elite.

Aleksandra Lis

Negotiating the European Union Emission Trading Scheme: Re-constructing a Calculative Space for Carbon

Re-organization of the European Union Emission Trading Scheme-the European carbon market-is a strategic moment when actors come onto the European arena to voice their claims, represent their interests, propose alternative policy solutions and open up controversies for a public debate. By problematizing rules of the carbon market, actors engage in re-drawing boundaries between economics and politics. This paper adopts a constructivist perspective on the studies of markets and examines strategies adopted by the European Commission and the European industrial federation to inscribe their interests into the ETS rules in 2008. Actors provided justifications for their alternative proposals of the European carbon market by constructing an objective market quality-the market efficiency.

Martin Mendelski

Rule of Law Reforms in the Shadow of Clientelism: the Limits of the EU’s Transformative Power in Romania . .

This study examines the role of theEuropean Union (EU) and domestic actors in the development of the rule of law (judicial quality) in Romania between 2000 and 2009. This study offers an empirical analysis of rule of law development across two key dimensions (1. judicial capacity, 2. judicial impartiality). The findings of the study show that, while the reform actions of domestic change agents and the EU led to improvement on the judicial capacity dimension of the rule of law (efficiency-related aspects), there was considerable persistence on the judicial impartiality dimension (power-related aspects). The limited transformative power of the EU is explained by the strong resistance of clientelistic veto players, who captured the reform process and undermined the creation of de facto rule of law.