Capitalist Globalization: Consequences, Resistance, and Alternatives

Capitalist Globalization: Consequences, Resistance, and Alternatives

Capitalist Globalization: Consequences, Resistance, and Alternatives

Capitalist Globalization: Consequences, Resistance, and Alternatives

Synopsis

"Globalization," surely one of the most used and abused buzzwordsof recent decades, describes a phenomenon that is typically considered to be a neutral and inevitable expansion of market forces across the planet. Nearly all economists, politicians, business leaders, and mainstream journalists view globalization as the natural result of economic development, and a beneficial one atthat. But, as noted economist Martin Hart-Landsberg argues, this perception does not match the reality of globalization. The rise of transnational corporations and their global production chains wasthe result of intentional and political acts, decisions made at the highest levels of power. Their aim – to increase profits by seeking the cheapest sources of labor and raw materials – was facilitated through policy-making at the national and international levels, and was largely successful. But workers in every nation have paid the costs, in the form of increased inequality and poverty, the destruction of social welfare provisions and labor unions, and an erratic global economy prone to bubbles, busts, and crises.This book examines the historical record of globalization and restores agency to the capitalists, policy-makers, and politicians who worked to craft a regime of world-wide exploitation. It demolishes their neoliberal ideology – already on shaky ground after the 2008 financial crisis – and picks apart the record of trade agreements like NAFTA and institutions like the WTO. But, crucially, Hart-Landsberg also discusses alternatives to capitalist globalization,looking to examples such as South America's Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) for clues on how to build an international economy based on solidarity, social development, and shared prosperity.

Excerpt

Times are tough in the United States. Unemployment is high; those with jobs suffer real wage declines and ever greater demands to work harder and longer. Household debt is up and wealth is down. Homelessness is growing. Health care is becoming a luxury. In sum, people are hurting, scared, and increasingly angry. Unfortunately, tough times do not automatically produce a clear understanding of the causes of these problems and the appropriate responses to them.

I wrote this book for three reasons. First, I wanted to show how and why the capitalist drive for profit has shaped a globalization process that is largely responsible for both our current problems and the dire future we face if state policies and corporate patterns of economic activity continue unchanged.

Of course, people talk about globalization all the time, and even economists admit that it has its costs. Still, the phenomenon is generally presented as both irreversible and overwhelmingly beneficial. In fact, most economists believe that the best way to respond to the costs of globalization is to embrace the process and improve our ability to compete more effectively against our national rivals. This requires, above all, greater freedom for market forces, which translates into further liberalization, deregulation . . .

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