Among the attention being paid to Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi, the jet-setting second son of the embattled Libyan president, is the 2007 PhD dissertation he wrote at the London School of Economics entitled “The Role of Civil Society in the Democratisation of Global Governance Institutions: From ‘Soft Power’ to Collective Decision-Making?”
It is chilling to read through Seif’s 429-page thesis, exploring “the problem of how to create more just and democratic global governing institutions,” as citizens are being killed in Libya’s streets. “The thesis defends the argument that inclusion of elected representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in tripartite decision-making structures could potentially create a more democratic global governing system,” writes Seif in the abstract. He continues: “Drawing on the works of David Hume, John Rawls and Ned McClennen, it elaborates significant self-interested and moral motives that prompt individuals to seek cooperation on fair terms if they expect others to do so. Secondly, it supports a theory of global justice, rejecting the limits of Rawls’s view of international justice based on what he calls ‘peoples’ rather than persons. Thirdly, the thesis adopts and applies David Held’s eight cosmopolitan principles to support the concept and specific structures of ‘Collective Management’. “
If that were not enough, Kansas State University History Professor David R. Stone has unearthed evidence that Seif may have plagiarized parts of his dissertation. Writes Stone: “I spent an hour on Google and found big chunks of plagiarized material, evidently not caught by the academics whom Saif thanks in his dissertation: Nancy Cartwright, David Held, Alex Voorhoeve, and Joseph Nye. Compared to turning combat aircraft on crowds of civilians, cutting corners on your dissertation is small beer. But it does raise important questions about what happens to scholarly standards when big piles of money are involved.” (LSE reportedly received a million dollar donation from the Qaddafis.)
To read his dissertation: Dissertation.pdf
UPDATE: On March 3, Howard Davies, the head of the London School of Economics resigned over the Qaddafi scandal.
Read more stories by Tamara Straus.