Institutional Choices Under Globalisation
New Perspectives on the Modern Corporation series
Edited by Silvia Sacchetti and Roger Sugden
Chapter 1: Introduction
Silvia Sacchetti For the purpose of economic science the process of cumulative change that is to be accounted for is the sequence of change in the methods of doing things, – the methods of dealing with the material means of life. Veblen ( 1998, p. 410) 1. UNEVEN DEVELOPMENT, COMPETITIVENESSRELATED ‘HABITS OF THOUGHT’ AND ECONOMIC INSTITUTIONS If we had to frame the context of this book, we could evoke concerns about economies, the loss of critical capacity within them and, more broadly with respect to society. The decay of critical thinking in society is, in a sense, the decline of democracy. What we mean is that if we do not exercise our critical thinking and we renounce imagining and possibly pursuing different ideas, different worlds, we lose our interest in participating in a process where objectives are already given. With these issues in mind, this book aims at providing a specific perspective on the role of knowledge for the analysis of economic development issues. In particular, we emphasise knowledge, creativity and critical thinking as forces in processes of change, including those transforming the rules governing economic systems. A treatment of the scope for change, in those terms, is rooted in a concern for economic governance and the enduring imbalances related to the economic system and its institutions. An earlier analysis of uneven development within the global economic system was provided by Hymer (1972), pointing to the world economy dominated by transnational corporations as a system based on inequality of income, status...