New America Policy Papers: 2002

Papers and other formal publications from our policy programs are available below. To jump to another year in the archives, please use the links at right.

The Role of Regulation in Mitigating the Impact of International Capital Flows on the Environment

  • By Tim Gulden
October 23, 2002

The large scale movement of capital in the form of financial flows and foreign direct investment is a relatively recent phenomenon despite the fact that international trade has been an important part of commerce throughout the industrial era. Such flows have constituted a major and perhaps defining part of the process of globalization over the past two decades. At the same time, the environmental problems created by industrialization have also grown to have global range, particularly as they are replicated around the world, largely as a result of international capital and technology flows.

International Financial Institutions, Environmental Standards and Foreign Direct Investment

  • By Harvey Himberg, Deputy Vice President for Investment Policy and Director, Environmental Affairs, Overseas Private Investment Corporation
October 15, 2002

The ongoing debate over the environmental impacts of private foreign direct investment (FDI) has focused primarily on the role of multinational corporations (MNCs) in implementing diverse standards in countries at varying levels of social, economic and political development. Since the international debt crisis of the late 1980s foreign investment flows have become increasingly important, financing current account deficits as well as sustaining economic development.

Open Spectrum

  • By Kevin Werbach
October 1, 2002

For nearly a century, radio frequency spectrum has been treated as a scarce resource that the government must parcel out through exclusive licenses. Licensing may have been the only approach in the 1920s, but it certainly isn't in the first years of the 21st century. Today's digital technologies are smart enough to distinguish between signals, allowing users to share the airwaves without exclusive licensing.

Auction and Lease Fees Paid for Public Assets

  • By
  • Michael Calabrese,
  • New America Foundation
September 13, 2002

The nation’s airwaves are the most precious natural resource of the Information Age, highly sought after by a range of commercial firms—from broadcasters to cell phone companies and taxis—that use them as an input to production. The airwaves, more technically called the radio spectrum, are also a publicly owned asset like the navigable waterways, the atmosphere and the mineral wealth under federal land. As with these other public resources, policymakers need to find a way to ensure that citizens receive a fair return from the private use of this public resource.

Untangling the Knots of Protectionism

  • By Alex Greenbaum
September 1, 2002

In the months leading up to the votes on Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), President Bush had to buy off powerful domestic constituencies with tariffs on steel and, more recently, increased subsidies for agriculture. Now that he has TPA, the President has wisely reversed course and proposed a far-reaching plan to use the Doha round of trade talks to eliminate the majority of world-government support for agricultural products by 2010. The agricultural proposal, in conjunction with TPA, will hopefully enable the administration to undo years of European Union and U.S. protectionist policy.

America's Consumption Trap

  • By
  • Sherle R. Schwenninger,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Robert Dugger
September 1, 2002

This week's positive reports showing rising consumer confidence and manufacturing activity have raised hopes that a solid economic recovery is now taking hold. But Washington should not expect its tax coffers to overflow anytime soon or for the economy to return to 1990s-level growth rates. In the short term, the economy still faces an uphill struggle to overcome the excesses of the 1990s -- too much consumption, too much debt, and wildly inflated asset prices -- that are now depressing economic growth.

Reply Comments to FCC Spectrum Policy Task Force

  • By
  • Michael Calabrese,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Harold Feld, Media Access Project; Andrew Jay Schwartzman, Media Access Project; Cheryl Leanza, Media Access Project
July 22, 2002

NAF, et al. observe that wide support exists for all the points raised in the initial comments, although not from all commentors. Indeed, many commentors agree with NAF, et al. on one substantive point (e.g., increasing the availability of unlicensed spectrum) but not on others (e.g., allowing greater flexibility).

The Case for Free Air Time

  • By Paul Taylor, President, Alliance for Better Campaigns; Norman Ornstein, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute
June 1, 2002

In our democracy, speech is free but communication is expensive -- and never more so than during the campaign season. As the cost of political communication keeps rising, the competitive playing field of campaigns keeps tilting toward candidates who are wealthy or well-financed. The most effective way to make campaigns more competitive is to ensure that the less well-financed candidate at least has the seed resources to get a message out by creating a system of free air time on broadcast television.

An Information Commons for E-Learning

  • By Thomas Kalil, Assistant to the Chancellor for Science and Technology, UC Berkeley
June 1, 2002

Even amidst the burst of the "dot com" bubble, many believe that new information technologies are having a dramatic impact on the way we live, work, learn, and communicate with each other. One of the applications of information technology that has attracted the most attention is "e-learning." Technology has the potential to transform education and lifelong learning.

The Myth of 'Free' TV

  • By
  • J.H. Snider,
  • New America Foundation
June 1, 2002

Beginning in the 1950s, local TV broadcasters have argued that because they provide a "free" (i.e., ad-supported) product to the American people, the government should treat them more favorably than other commercial businesses that charge consumers for their products. In the name of preserving free TV, the government has transferred from the public to broadcasters control over assets (spectrum) worth at least $100 billion in the last decade alone -- despite the fact that fewer than 15% of U.S.

Saving the Information Commons

  • By
  • David Bollier,
  • Tim Watts,
  • New America Foundation
May 1, 2002

Sweeping changes in our nation’s communications infrastructure and markets over the past twenty years have radically changed the topography of the public sphere and democratic culture. But the mental maps which many people use to conceive “the public interest” in communications hark back to circa 1975, a time when the traditional broadcast model dominated and there were only three commercial television networks, cable TV consisted of “community antennae” to reach rural areas and even the VCR had not yet been unleashed.

The Five Percent Solution

  • By
  • Tim Watts,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Henry Geller, former General Counsel, FCC
May 1, 2002

In the emerging information economy, there is no more valuable public asset than the airwaves, or electromagnetic spectrum. Unfortunately, the prevailing regulatory model for allocating spectrum is grossly inefficient and inequitable to both the business sector and the public who own this valuable resource. Commercial broadcasters are the biggest beneficiaries of this policy failure. Broadcasters originally were granted free spectrum on the condition that they act as "public trustees" of the airwaves and deliver quality educational, civic, and other informational programming.

Trouble on 'The Endless Frontier'

  • By
  • Seth Shulman,
  • New America Foundation
May 1, 2002

At the dawn of the 21st century in the United States, our culture and economy are so steeped in an unqualified belief in the power of entrepreneurial innovation that, ironically, we tend to disregard the enormous investment previous generations have made toward the nation’s shared research infrastructure. We like to think that the inventions upon which we increasingly rely have sprung up like weeds. But the truth is that these inventions owe more than we often acknowledge to cultivation and the careful preparation of a seedbed.

Why the Public Domain Matters

  • By
  • David Bollier,
  • New America Foundation
May 1, 2002

For the complete document, please see the attached PDF version below.

Who Owns the Airwaves?

  • By
  • J.H. Snider,
  • New America Foundation
April 1, 2002

For the complete document, please see the attached PDF version below.

Making Markets Pay for Stewardship

  • By John Shilling, Senior Advisor and Trustee, The Millennium Institute; and Jennifer Osha
February 10, 2002

Executive Summary

Some of the most promising ways to bring about rural poverty alleviation and conservation around the world involve innovative ways to increase the control that the rural poor can exercise over their natural resource base and to pay them for their sustainable stewardship of environmental functions and services.

Internet2 Backbone

  • By
  • Michael Calabrese,
  • New America Foundation
January 31, 2002

For the complete document, please see the attached PDF version below.

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