The Elgar Companion to Social Economics, Second Edition
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The Elgar Companion to Social Economics, Second Edition

Edited by John B. Davis and Wilfred Dolfsma

Social economics is a dynamic and growing field that emphasizes the key roles social values play in the economy and economic life. This second edition of the Elgar Companion to Social Economics revises all chapters from the first edition, and adds important new chapters to reflect the expansion and development of social economics. The expert contributions explain a wide range of recent developments across different subject areas and topics in the field, mapping out possible directions of future social economic research. Social economics treats the economy and economics as embedded in a web of social and ethical relationships. It considers economics and ethics as essentially connected, and adds values such as justice, fairness, dignity, well-being, freedom, and equality to the standard emphasis on efficiency. This book will be a leading resource and guide to social economics for many years to come.
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Chapter 4: Contesting the ‘globalization thesis’: an ethical imperative

George DeMartino


This chapter explores a set of controversies in political economy that emerged during the 1990s and that continues to attract immense attention today. These controversies relate to the broad and heterogeneous debate over ‘globalization’. From the start this debate was normative in a particularly high-profile way. Demonstrators against the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Bank and related institutions emphasized what they took to be deep ethical failures of the neoliberal world order that had been maturing rapidly during the final quarter of the twentieth century. Many argued that this new global regime threatened to deepen inequality, undermine economic security, destroy cultural autonomy, exacerbate the dependence of the weak on the powerful, degrade environmental integrity and weaken democratic governance. Originating as it did among politically engaged civil-society actors rather than among academics, it is hardly surprising that the critique engaged notions of justice and fairness, equality and freedom. And it is certainly the case that the power of the resistance to globalization depended very much on these normative indictments. These matters have by now been contested at length. But the debate over globalization entails other important elements. My goal in this chapter is to explore some of these. In this connection, I will pursue a set of themes that relate in one way or another to the ‘strong globalization thesis’.

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