The Politics of Globalisation and Polarisation

The Politics of Globalisation and Polarisation

Maurice Mullard

This book deals with the nature of contemporary globalisation. Maurice Mullard aims to show that globalisation is not an inescapable, unstoppable process somehow beyond human control, rather that it represents, and is being shaped by, a series of deliberate policy choices and policy decisions. The emphasis of this fascinating work is on how these policy choices are creating new forms of economic inequalities and also political elites that distort the democratic process.

Chapter 8: Globalisation by Whom and for Whom?

Maurice Mullard

Subjects: politics and public policy, international politics, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, economics of social policy


INTRODUCTION The focus of this chapter is the relationship between globalisation and the distribution of income. Who is getting what shares from the rewards of the global economy? Does economic globalisation contribute to a better re-distribution of income or is there is still a role for government and social policy interventions? Advocates of globalisation have argued the case that increased openness of economies; the commitment to free trade and economic growth represented the means for eliminating world poverty. It seems therefore appropriate to ask how the fruits of the world economy are being distributed and who is getting what from the expansion of trade and economic prosperity? Such advocates point to the alleviation of poverty in China and India. However, does the study of per capita income growth provide a sufficient indicator of prosperity and income distribution? Many advocates have argued the case that economic growth would lift all boats and that economic growth is to be celebrated because there will always be trickle down factors that ensure some of the fruits of prosperity will eventually reach the poor. The poor are more likely to benefit from a context of economic prosperity rather than economic stagnation and decline. But is this assumption ‘right’? Has there been a trickle down of prosperity? Have the poor benefited from globalisation? Commenting on the shape of the world economy, the UNCTAD Report (2001) came to the conclusion that the developing economies were in worse shape in 2000 than in 1970. In the poor countries,...

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