Globalization and Social Change

Globalization and Social Change

Globalization and Social Change

Globalization and Social Change

Synopsis

Globalization and Social Change challenges conventional thinking regarding the inevitability of globalization. Rather than seeing globalization as 'the end station of capitalism', it presents the development of this phenomenon as a disruptive and conflicting process.

Excerpt

The contributions to this volume are the combined result of an International Conference and a number of seminars and workshops organized by the Research Center on Development and International Relations (DIR), Aalborg University, Denmark, on the theme of Globalization and Social Change. The following topics were addressed: (1) Globalization and social change: the intellectual problem; (2) Critical perspectives on politics; (3) International political economy: crisis and transformation in East Asia; (4) Disharmony and potential conflicts in the post Cold War era; and (5) Resistance and alternatives to globalization. This book is similarly divided into five sections.

In their introductory chapter, the editors of this volume subject the globalization phenomenon and its accompanying avatar, neoliberalism, to a critical political reading. In the course of putting present-day capitalism in its historical context, they touch upon the controversy within the Marxian perspective, namely whether the global system is “simply” the manifestation of capitalism by other means or whether the transformation brought about by technological change has basically altered the modus operandi of capitalism.

Looking at the logic for resistance to the societal model offered by the dominant ideological and political framework, which has been generalized on the world scale, the projection is made that the hope of going back to the “golden age” of capitalism is based on an unrealistic conceptualization of the Keynesian welfare state. This era of political intervention in market mechanisms saved capitalism from self-destructing. Anti-systemic movements have therefore to look beyond the alternative of defensive counter-movements and must offer a fundamental rupture from the status quo while maintaining the struggle for preservation of the interests of the underprivileged.

In Part I, David Harvey takes a critical position to the Marxian approach with regard to the geographical dynamics of capital accumulation and class struggle. He views globalization as involving three major shifts: (1) financial deregulation, (2) financial revolution, and (3) reduction of the costs of moving commodities and people. This raises the issue of “What’s to be done?” in the new context What are the types of organizations and politics needed to take up the challenge that is posed by the new situation?

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