Inequality, Globalization, and World Politics

Inequality, Globalization, and World Politics

Inequality, Globalization, and World Politics

Inequality, Globalization, and World Politics

Synopsis

Inequality is becoming an urgent issue of world politics at the end of the twentieth century. Globalization is not only exacerbating the gap between rich and poor in the world but is also further dividing those states and peoples that have political power and influence from those without. While the powerful shape more `global' rules and norms about investment, military security, environmental and social policy and the like, the less powerful are becoming `rule-takers', often of rules or norms they cannot or will not enforce. The consequences for world politics are profound. The evidence presented in Inequality, Globalization, and World Politics suggests that globalization is creating sharper, more urgent problems for states and international institutions to deal with. Yet at the same time, investigations into eight core areas of world politics suggest that growing inequality is reducing the capacity of governments and existing international organizations to manage these problems effectively. The eight areas surveyed include: international order, international law, welfare and social policy, global justice, regionalism and multilateralism, environmental protection, gender equality, military power, and security.

Excerpt

Andrew Hurrell and Ngaire Woods

Inequality has long been a defining feature of world politics. This volume draws together evidence that it has been increasing, both within and across states, and examines the consequences. Immense and increasing disparities of wealth, of power, and of security shape the world in which we live. Economic liberalization is exacerbating the gap between rich and poor within virtually all developing regions. At the same time, other elements of globalization are increasing the inequalities of political power and influence, as well as highlighting new dimensions of inequality. For one group of countries globalization is eroding the cohesion and viability of the state. However, other countries and actors are empowered by processes of globalization, since they are better placed to adapt and exploit its new opportunities. Equally, the disparity of power among states is becoming more marked and more visible as an increasing volume of ever more far-reaching rules, rights, and values are being asserted and imposed at the global level. New rules and norms, whether about investment, military security, environmental management, or social policy, are being made by those countries with the power to shape outcomes and to control international institutions. Less powerful states are, even more than in the past, becoming 'rule-takers'. Equally, technological advances, far from creating more equality among states and other groups, are in fact widening gaps among states and regions. In the military sphere, for example, advanced technologies and the so-called revolution in military affairs may be leading to a recentralization of military and coercive power around the United States and its core allies. Overall, then, globalization is exacerbating inequalities of resources, capabilities, and, perhaps most importantly, the power to make and break rules in the international arena.

Within weak states globalization and widening inequality are . . .

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