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Challenging the Anti-Corruption Consensus

The world has been bombarded in recent years with images of the luxurious lives and wealth of corrupt oligarchs and kleptocrats, amassed at the expense of ordinary people. Such images exploit our feelings of injustice, are taken as indicative of moral decay and inspire a desire to purge our economies of dirty money, objects and people.

But why do anti-corruption efforts routinely fail? What kind of world are they creating? Looking at luxury art, antiquities, superyachts and populist politics, this book explores the connection between luxury and corruption, and offers an alternative to the received wisdom of how we tackle corruption.

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Food, Heritage and Trade in Post-Authoritarian Environments
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Post-Soviet Latvia and post-apartheid South Africa are far apart geographically and yet have endured a similar history of colonial and authoritarian rule before transitioning to democracy at the end of the 20th century. This book examines these two nations in an unusual comparative study of post-authoritarian efforts to decolonize production and trade.

The book combines an analysis of political economy and ecocultural heritage to unpack alternative trade formations. It also connects world systems thinking with Indigenous knowledge to articulate a decolonial theory of development and change over the longue durée. Conclusions and insights drawn are timely and important for a planet confronted by crises such as authoritarianism, laissez-faire capitalism, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Central Europe’s Illiberal Revolt
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Since the ‘migration crisis’ of 2016, long-simmering tensions between the Western members of the European Union and its ‘new’ Eastern members – Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary – have proven to be fertile ground for rebellion against liberal values and policies.

In this startling and original book Ivan Kalmar argues that Central Europe illiberalism is a misguided response to the devastating effects of global neoliberalism which arose from the area’s brutal transition to capitalism in the 1990s.

Kalmar argues that dismissive attitudes towards ‘Eastern Europeans’ in the EU as incapable of real democracy are a form of racism, and connected to recent racist attacks on migrants from the area to the West.

He explores the close relation between racism towards Central Europeans and racism by Central Europeans: a people white, but not quite.

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