'incommunicado' is a weblog that focuses on the spread and reappropriation of ICT across the 'Global South'. The idea of being (held) incommunicado - to be in a liminal state vis-a-vis multiple regimes of information as well as human rights - serves as point of departure for analyses, critiques, and projects beyond the standard agenda of ICT-for-Development. Currently, 'incommunicado' emphasizes five (research) areas: ICT for Development, WSIS, NGOs and Civil Society, ICT and Environment, and Post-Development (click here for an overview). In the spirit of a “research commons” and an open editorial process, you are welcome to comment and/or create your own weblog. Once you register and login, you can post to any of the five topic areas or submit calls and other announcements.

Abrahamsson, Linking Global Security and Human Development (June 2004)

Abrahamsson, Hans. "Linking Global Security and Human Development: The Role of International Development Cooperation in the 21st century." WIDER Conference on Making Peace Work (4-5 June 2004). http://www.wider.unu.edu/conference/conference-2004-1/conference2004-1.htm>. 

Picciotto, Aid and Conflict: The Policy Coherence Challenge (June 2004)


Picciotto, Robert. "Aid and Conflict: The Policy Coherence Challenge." WIDER Conference on Making Peace Work (4-5 June 2004). http://www.wider.unu.edu/conference/conference-2004-1/conference2004-1.htm>. Also see http://www.globalpolicyproject.org/>

Klingebiel & Roehder, Development-Military Interfaces (2004)


Klingebiel, Stephan, and Katja Roehder. „Development-Military Interfaces: New Challenges in Crises and Post-conflict Situations.” Reports and Working Papers No. 5 (2004). Bonn: German Development Institute (GDI). http://www.die-gdi.de/>

Stiglitz, Globalization, Technology, and Asian Development (2003)


Stiglitz, Joseph E. “Globalization, Technology, and Asian Development.” Asian Development Review 20.2 (2003).  

Hayami, From the Washington Consensus to the Post-Washington Consensus (2003)


Hayami, Yujiro. “From the Washington Consensus to the Post-Washington Consensus: Retrospect and Prospect.” Asian Development Review 20.2 (2003).  

The past two decades have witnessed major changes in the paradigm of international development assistance. During the 1980s the import-substitution industrialization strategy (ISI) advocating for government market interventions to promote large-scale modern industries gave way to a new paradigm referred to as the Washington Consensus, which identified the market as a universally efficient mechanism to allocate scarce resources and promote economic growth. Scarcely a decade later, in the mid-1990s, the Washington Consensus was replaced by a contrasting paradigm called the Post-Washington Consensus. It emphasized the need for different institutions in different economies and recognized cases in which government market interventions can play a positive role. The post-Washington Consensus focused on poverty reduction, emphasizing the need for delivery to the poor of social services, such as education and health care, by government and civil society. Sustainability of this approach is questioned, however, because of its relative neglect on the provision of production-oriented infrastructure and services needed to supply profitable work opportunities for poor people.

Quijano, Colonialidad del Poder y Clasificacion Social (2000)


Colonialidad del Poder y Clasificacion Social par Aníbal Quijano. Journal of World Systems Research 6.2 (Fall 2000). http://jwsr.ucr.edu/archive/vol6/number2/pdf/jwsr-v6n2-quijano.pdf>

UNRISD, Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Regulation (March 2004)


Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Regulation. UNRISD Research and Policy Brief 1 (01 March 2004). http://www.unrisd.org/>

“Thinking and policy on corporate regulation have been in flux during recent decades. Whereas the neoliberal discourse of the 1980s emphasized deregulation and corporate rights, the corporate social responsibility (CSR) agenda of the 1990s stressed corporate self-regulation and voluntary initiatives involving, for example, codes of conduct, improvements in occupational health and safety, environmental management systems, social and environmental reporting, support for community projects and philanthropy. As the limits of self-regulation became apparent, and as the regulatory capacity or willingness of developing country governments, international bodies and trade unions continued to decline, alternative regulatory approaches have emerged. These have centred on coregulation, in which a combination of government, multilateral, civil society and business interests engage in public-private partnerships (PPPs) and multistakeholder initiatives (MSIs) associated with standard setting, reporting, monitoring, auditing and certification. More recently there have been increasing calls for corporate accountability and a renewed interest in international regulation of transnational corporations (TNCs). From the perspective of development and good governance, how effective are these different approaches?”

Bendell, A Contemporary History of the Corporate Accountability Movement (June 2004)

NGOs and Civil Society

Barricades and Boardrooms: A Contemporary History of the Corporate Accountability Movement by Jim Bendell. UNRISD Paper PP-TBS-13 (06 June 2004). http://www.unrisd.org/>

In the context of a growing debate about the impacts of and resistance to globalization, this paper argues that world development is being undermined by corporate power, yet we are on the cusp of significant changes as societies respond to the challenge. It examines the reaction of civil society in Europe and North America to corporate power, and the emergence of a new corporate accountability movement.  The paper discusses the origin of the modern corporation, and the way that it has shaped various dimensions of modern life through influence over governments and the media. The current notion of world development is argued to have been shaped by corporate power, and thus a critique of it has major implications for development policy and research.

The paper chronicles the failure of various national and international attempts to restrict the growth of this power during the twentieth century, in order to locate a discussion of recent events. It argues that the growth of a global civil society in the last decades has created a new context, and a new opportunity to address the problem of corporate power. A range of relations between corporations and civil society groups are analysed, including the way these have created a renewed emphasis on corporate social responsibility. Bendell looks at the limitations of voluntary corporate initiatives in addressing the systemic problems in the global economy. However, he argues that the emphasis on voluntary corporate responsibility could be an opportunity if it can lead to the re-channelling of corporate power to address those systemic problems.

The various dimensions to this movement are described, including an analysis of various perspectives on corporate power, and a description of a range of corporate accountability initiatives, as well as the possibilities and paradoxes of engaging with corporations to transform the global political economy.

The paper identifies other challenges facing proponents of corporate accountability, including the problematic role of intergovernmental mechanisms and courts in delivering corporate accountability. The growing relationship between voluntary and mandatory rules is described, with one being crucial to the effectiveness of the other in delivering true corporate accountability, defined as the ability of people affected by a corporation to regulate the activities of that corporation. Other challenges include weak relationships between movement participants in the North and their intended beneficiaries in the South, as well as traditional social movements. This weakness is important to address, Bendell argues, as there is a growing backlash to the movement's initial successes.

The paper concludes with a discussion of whether accomplishing greater corporate accountability would address the systemic problems with world development. It introduces a new concept that looks beyond the corporation and to the accountability of capital itself. This concept of capital accountability provides an opportunity for common ground to be found among progressives working in the quite separate arenas of corporate accountability, corporate social responsibility and anti-globalization. To help, the development studies academy and the international community—including the United Nations—is invited to re-engage with fundamental questions about the nature of progress, economic democracy and the role of each individual and organization in transforming capitalism for the benefit of world development.

Jem Bendell is a consultant on globalization and sustainable development issues for the private, voluntary and intergovernmental sectors, as well as being an activist. He has written on corporate responsibility and relations between the voluntary and corporate sectors.
For more information, visit www.jembendell.com>.”

Ziai, Post-Development as a Project of Radical Democracy (2003)


Ziai, Aram. “Post-Development as a Project of Radical Democracy.” Transforma (2003) http://www.transforma-online.net/transforma2003/papers/ziai.html>

Developer Declaration of Independence (2004)

ICT for Development

Developer Declaration of Independence (2004) http://www.opengroup.org/declaration/declaration.htm>

The information technology industry has a potential future characterized by universal and affordable access to technologies, free flow of information through interoperability, and the liberation from dependence on proprietary or legacy software. Central to realizing this promise is the concept of "open standards," meaning, in part, technology standards that are documented, available for all to use, and free of charge. Widespread adoption of this concept by corporations, businesses, organizations, and individuals will promote a fair competitive marketplace - thus allowing all parties to compete equally from the basis of a shared technology foundation and framework. For the first time in the history of the industry, IT infrastructure will be based on open standards rather than closed, proprietary architectures controlled by a single organization.

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