From the Fall 2013 edition – Editorial
With the spread of democracy and the advent of digital recordkeeping, transparency has become a hot concept in international politics. It suggests that people now have an easier time learning about the ways they’re being governed. In a perfectly transparent world, there wouldn’t be any legal or technical barriers to accessing that kind of information.
Not only does transparency refer to openness, it’s also the subject of an open debate. According to one perspective, greater disclosure helps with exposing corruption and it keeps public officials accountable. But it’s equally the case that personal privacy has eroded along with state secrecy. Governments are under increased scrutiny, at the same time as they’re finding it easier to monitor citizens through their virtual activities.
We at The Paris Globalist chose transparency as this issue’s theme well before it dominated the headlines. The controversy around whistleblower Edward Snowden has brought new attention to the issue of whether governments have a right to collect sensitive data, as well as a duty to inform people of its own behavior.
This issue of The Paris Globalist contains various articles relating to transparency—and some that don’t—in different national contexts. A recurring point is that governments ought to consider
alternative forms of data, in addition to making data available. Our writers have connected this idea to a blend of topics spanning the world, from African land sales to Chinese air quality.
Finally, by showcasing these articles, The Paris Globalist intends to encourage transparency within the Sciences Po community. Typically our research doesn’t get communicated to a wider public, in ordinary rather than academic language. This student magazine exists to challenge this tendency and, ideally, to spark conversations about the global trends we study in isolation.
We see The Paris Globalist as a platform for addressing each other, through the problems we each hope to address in society. You might feel compelled to share your interests or perspectives in the next issue. Meanwhile we thank you for reading the work of your classmates and perhaps deciding to engage with it, even after you close this magazine.