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Handbook of the International Political Economy of Production

Handbook of the International Political Economy of Production

Handbooks of Research on International Political Economy series

Edited by Kees van der Pijl

This Handbook provides a state-of-the-art overview of the changing world of global production. Chapters cover the geography of why and where jobs are moving in both manufacturing and services. The authors discuss topics relating to the human and natural basis on which production rests, from the consequences of exploitation and marginalization on body and mind, to sex work, biotechnology, and the prospects for ecological re-balancing. This Handbook will appeal to academics at all levels interested in political economy, international studies and politics, as well as trade unionists and NGO activists.

Chapter 11: Look back in hope? Reassessing Fordism today

Radhika Desai

Subjects: economics and finance, political economy, politics and public policy, political economy, social policy and sociology, labour policy


The recent financial and economic crises have landed the world in unknown territory. Old maps no longer work. The crises have discredited not only neoclassical economics and neoliberal policy prescriptions (Independent Evaluation Office 2011), but also (as I argue, Desai 2013a) recently dominant conceptions of the capitalist world order, like ‘globalization’ and ‘empire’, which assumed a single world economy. For the crises were neither ‘global’ nor ‘imperial’, neither imposing the same misery on all economies nor imposing more on the peripheral economies than the core ones. Instead, they widened the divergence between the stagnating advanced industrial world and the still fast-growing emerging economies even more. If the world is ‘not in Kansas anymore’, if it needs to find new political and policy bearings, one promising line of inquiry is to investigate the ‘golden age’ (Marglin and Schor 1990), the two postwar decades that created greater and more broadly based welfare in the advanced capitalist world than ever before or since.

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