n.27 December 2009
The global economic crisis brought on by the American sub-prime collapse has accentuated debate over the appropriateness of using GDP (gross domestic product) alone in measuring the welfare of people and nations. In October, the subject was a centerpiece of the “Beyond GDP” conference held in Busan, South Korea. Attendees sought to lay the foundations for setting in motion new methodologies for calculating both the meaning of income and the resulting quality of life; east’s Donato Speroni attended the conference and compiled the Dossier we publish in this issue. We also devote ample space to the controversial Russia of President Dimitri Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, which has returned to play a major role in global affairs.
We take several vantage points. Natalija Zorkaja of Moscow’s Levada Institute probes the role of religion in post-Communist Russia; Piero Sinatti returns to the ongoing problem of corruption; Cristina Giuliano talks with the Kremlin’s anti-drugs task force, Viktor Ivanov; Alessandra Garusi interviews acclaimed writer Viktor Erofeev; Massimiliano Di Pasquale reports from Poltava, a city close to Gogol’s heart; while architect Alessandro De Magistris explains changes in Moscow’s urban architecture in terms of the city’s heritage and future.
Riccardo Perissich and György Schöpflin look at Europe following the approval of the Lisbon Treaty. On the subject of China, Claudia Astarita profiles actress Ling Bai, who has scandalized the Chinese over the years, while Alessandra Cappelletti examines at the uneasy relationship between distant Xinijang province and Beijing. Francesca Lancini interviews French Dominique Lapierre, who has long been committed to helping India’s poorest, while Nicoletta Ferro analyzes the social significance of that country’s enduring dowry system.
This issue also marks the debut of Stefano Carrer, Il Sole 24 Ore long-time correspondent in Japan and South Korea. Carrer probes the state of Japan following the historic victory posted by the Democratic Party of Japan and considers the changes afoot.
Behind some Euroskepticism is the ghost of the abiding German question. But contrary to what many seem to believe, there never was a "golden age" of German Europeanism. On the contrary, the country has always respected the idea of parity among states while at the same intransigently defending its own interests. What it can’t stand is a Europe that makes it pay for the economic shortcomings of its neighbors.
The European Union and its integration process face two central dilemmas: How to enhance its own legitimacy and ensure that the new member states match older ones when it comes to the application of democracy and rule of law. At the same time, it faces 'outside' pressure, from the development of American policy, Russia’s ambitions, and the emergence of China. Taken together, transformation within
the EU becomes both urgent and essential.