Received 26.01.2021. The article investigates the role of new digital technologies during a crisis period on the example of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Considering the methods used by different states to prevent the spread of the virus and its consequences, the author analyzes the advantages of the impelled rapid digitalization, scrutinizes its negative aspects, and discusses perspectives. Although the digital transformation had already been taking place before the pandemic actually started (2019), the current crisis facilitates the unprecedented digitalization breakthrough in all life spheres, which will have delayed consequences. The short-run effects are already obvious: deepening of virtual communication; advancement of electronic document flow systems and online-services (including E-Government, public health service, etc.); virtualization of education, culture, sports, leisure activities; transformation of labour market towards distance employment, an outburst of electronic commerce and services, robot automation in economy; virtualization of political life (online-meetings, online-debates, online-summits, etc.), and, moreover, a transfer of power struggle and geopolitical struggle itself to digital platforms. Greater convenience and effectiveness are the most vivid advantages of digital technologies development, which plays the key role in crisis periods. Better access of disabled persons and people living in geographically remote places to medical aid, education, cultural objects, etc. also belongs to important achievements of the rapid digitalization. At the same time, there are significant negative aspects of this process, both general and specific. The violation of democratic rights and freedoms (primarily, of personal data security and individual privacy) is unavoidable in the light of the necessary “digital control” from the state to contain the spread of infection. Private IT companies participating in the process of the virus spread control due to their products (mobile applications, Internet platforms, etc.) also benefit from access to personal data. Whereas this issue is not central in authoritarian regimes like China, it becomes very challenging for democratic societies of the West. The digitalization of services gives wide room for irregularities and fraud in general. A growing “digital exclusion” is another concern: the greater dependency on technical means excludes certain parts of the population unable to use them for different reasons. An increasing individualization and solitude amid the lacking real-life communication gives rise to complicated psychological issues and mental disorders. Among specific negative side-effects of digitalization there are obstacles in personal electronic verification, worsening in the quality of remote medical assistance and online-education, unemployment growth and smashup of offline-businesses in economy, and some other. The most complicated question of the current crisis and the next “post-COVID” period is how serious the above-mentioned negative consequences of the rapid digitalization will be, to what extent they may devaluate its advantages, what sacrifice will be made by humanity to pay for comfort and effectiveness. Acknowledgements. The article was prepared within the project “Post-Crisis World Order: Challenges and Technologies, Competition and Cooperation” supported by the grant from Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation program for research projects in priority areas of scientific and technological development (Agreement № 075-15-2020-783).
Key characteristics of e-governance strategies 7. ICTs should be used in democratic processes and public-service provision alongside other channels (multi-channel access).
The paper thoroughly examines the ideological essence, political goals, structure, electoral achievements and international protest activities of the Pirate Movement, consisting of national Pirate Parties worldwide and the Pirate Parties International. The Pirate ideology arose in mid-2000s in response to information society biases, and is paying special attention to the freedom of non-commercial information exchange in the Internet, individual privacy, transparency of state politics and direct citizens' involvement with flexible Internet-tools (Liquid Democracy concept). This relatively new political force has made a vivid progress in electoral field within a short time (since 2006 till present). The representatives of the most successful Pirate Parties (in Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Switzerland, France, Spain, Croatia and Iceland) hold deputy's seats in municipal, regional, national and supranational state agencies, including the European Parliament. In many other countries of the world the "Pirates" are also registered officially and participate in elections; in some countries the Pirate Parties are active, though not yet registered. Except for electoral activity, the Pirate Parties organize joint protest campaigns against national laws/state programs and international agreements that violate the information freedom and civil rights (i.e. PRISM, ACTA). These campaigns also serve for unification and growth of the international Pirate Movement. The Pirate Parties have quickly transformed from populist groups into a political force aspiring to equitable participation in political process along with traditional political parties, challenging them in a certain way. The Pirate ideology will be in demand as long as it will give a resultative solution for specific problems of a post-industrial society in the context of democracy.
The article deals with the environmental ideology evolution and the Green Movement political development – from groups of activists and ecological non-governmental organizations to influential political parties, at both national and international level (mainly in the Western Europe). The overlook covers the period from early 1970s to present. The mass political Green Movement arose in early 1970s in the Western Europe, USA and Australia in response to vivid ecological threats and the inability of national and international authorities to offer effective solutions. From the very beginning, the Greens declared their commitment to the principles of environmental responsibility, global sustainable development, inclusive democracy, consideration for diversity, personal freedom, gender equality and non-violence. In the political field, the Greens meet two main challenges: formation of political agenda with regard to environmental issues; promotion of effective political decisions and economic mechanisms to protect the environment from an anthropogenic impact. Ecological NGOs, especially large international organizations (like Greenpeace) perform public protest actions against the transnational and state corporations’ economic activities violating the environment (f.e. Arctic oil extraction, radioactive waste storage, gene engineering in agriculture etc.). But beyond the active political lobbying and drawing of wide public support to acute environmental issues, NGOs are not able to involve into political process directly. Within 1970s–1980s (and also later on) ecological political parties were formed in most Western European countries, with a target to participate in official parliamentary elections at local, regional, national and supra-national level. Many of them succeeded and became influencing in their countries. Political methods used by the Greens are thoroughly analyzed in the paper. Special attention is paid to political strategy and tactics of the German ecological party Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, as well as to participation of the European Union Green parties in work of the European Parliament. German Greens count for the most successful ecological party not only in Europe, but also worldwide. Using flexible tactics of parliamentary coalitions, they managed to facilitate a general turn of the German policy toward ecologization (renunciation of the atomic energy development in Germany, conservation of energy and renewable energy sources programs, ecological taxes implementation, prohibition on gene engineering in agriculture etc.). Being a part of the governing coalition, the “Bündnis 90/Die Grünen” were also involved in many other sociopolitical and international issues. Since 1984, many European ecological parties are present in the European Parliament. In 2004, the European Green Party was created to consolidate electoral efforts of the Greens at the European level. Almost all EU ecological parties are also members of the international Global Greens organization. Owing to activities of the Green Movement as a whole, state authorities of many countries (primarily in the Western Europe) adopted environment friendly legislation and state programs. Despite short periods of reverse, the general development of Greens is progressive and prospective.
Cool it Cleaning up the old act IN TWO decades the industrial countries have made extraordinary progress in curbing energyrelated pollution from conventional fuels, using a variety of policies. For instance, leaded petrol has been phased down or out by bans (eg, in Canada), by differential taxes (eg, in Japan, and more recently several European countries) and, in the case of the United States, by an ingenious trading arrangement that set refineries a time limit for phasing out lead. Those that beat the timetable were allowed to sell their quota to those that were slower. In the 1970s the OECD countries began serious efforts to cut sulphur dioxide and, more timidly, nitrogen oxides from factory and power-station chimneys. Japan and America led the way in the early 1970s: the Europeans straggled after them in the 1980s. Japan's power plants cut their output of sulphur dioxide from almost seven grams a kilowatt-hour in 1970 to less than one gram by 1980. America's Clean Air Act was passed in 1970, setting deadlines for reaching airquality standards. Although they were frequently waived, sulphur-dioxide output fell while the amount of coal burnt increased. Germany, having dawdled through the 1970s, suddenly noticed in 1980-81 that its forests were dying;; it imposed limits for sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides so tough that only the most modern wet scrubbers (for SO2) and selective catalysts (for NOX) could meet them. Under the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution, signed in 1985, 21 countries promised to cut sulphur dioxide to at least 30% below 1980 levels by 1993. The EC states agreed on their own targets in the Large Combustion Plants directive, passed in 1988. This set different targets for different countries. That reflected mainly political muscle, but some sound economics: for some countries, the costs of success will be higher than for others.
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