Unequal Partners: A Primer on Globalization

Overview

We know that globalization has sent labor from industrialized countries to the Third World, where workers are paid far less. But do we know the effect of the global market on education, the spread of AIDS, and the costs of basic medicines? In clear detail, Unequal Partners shows how the merger of corporate and governmental interests has sacrificed public health and the environment for profits. The book also provides a blueprint for resistance by describing “globalization from below”: the coalition of movements ...

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Overview

We know that globalization has sent labor from industrialized countries to the Third World, where workers are paid far less. But do we know the effect of the global market on education, the spread of AIDS, and the costs of basic medicines? In clear detail, Unequal Partners shows how the merger of corporate and governmental interests has sacrificed public health and the environment for profits. The book also provides a blueprint for resistance by describing “globalization from below”: the coalition of movements that has been increasingly effective in influencing corporate and governmental behavior worldwide. Unequal Partners is for anyone who wants to understand how to keep the escalating forces of globalization in check.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The world is heading toward "corporate globalization," according to Queens College economics professor Tabb. Multinational entities use unrestrained economic power to decide political, social and ethical questions. Like the global justice movement, the loose coalition of protesting groups whose exploits Tabb reviews in the opening chapter, the book itself conveys a deep, energetic opposition to unbridled corporate power, but isn't always able to articulate clear policy positions. It comes out against many things, e.g., AIDS, environmental destruction, cultural homogenization, poverty, money laundering and exploitation. These problems are described only in broad strokes, without a discussion of solutions. Also absent is the admission that choices have to be made: labor unions often disagree with environmentalists, for example, and standard-of-living issues sometimes conflict with the survival of indigenous cultural practices. Tabb's discussion focuses entirely on enemies: governments that don't stand up for justice, corporations and multinational entities that are accountable only to an undefined elite, and individual decisions (as represented in elections and free market choices) that are antithetical to the idea of civil society. This is a book for energizing people who believe in good guys and bad guys and already know who's who. (May 1) Forecast: There's no strong selling angle for this book. The author's The Amoral Elephant covers the same ground, and Marjorie Kelly's The Divine Right of Capital offers a stronger argument of Tabb's position. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
In this tepid polemic, economics professor Tabb (Queens Coll.; The Postwar Japanese System) focuses on the "unequal" relationship between powerful multinational corporations expanding their reach around the earth and the disparate antiglobalization forces that he portrays as seeking global social justice. In six chapters, Tabb reviews Third World debt, colonialism, labor rights, the environment, AIDS, and unfair taxation, as well as many tangential issues that he believes globalization either causes or exacerbates. He believes that the central issue of the 21st century will be the political struggle for grassroots social justice against the forces of transnational corporations. Libraries need an intelligent review of the issues of globalization, but this isn't it. Polemics should be forceful and dynamic and carry the reader along, even if one doesn't agree with the argument. This is too scattershot and poorly written to sustain interest, though Tabb does eventually cover the main issues and raise some valid concerns. Not recommended. Patrick J. Brunet, Western Wisconsin Technical Coll. Lib., LaCrosse Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A deconstruction of globalization that veers toward manifesto. The increasing tendency of modern corporations to invest and conduct business without regard to national boundaries (and preferably with minimal interference from national governments) is controversial, but seldom viewed as an unequivocal evil. Most people balance moral qualms about sweatshop labor or environmental decay against arguments that globalization offers needed jobs to the third world and is a necessary first step to development. Tabb (Economics/Queens Coll.; Political Science/CUNY Graduate Center) seeks to dispel such ambivalence. Globalization, he argues, is little more than covert imperialism. Transnational corporations have taken advantage of legal loopholes, corrupt rulers, and an ignorant public to rob the developing world of its wealth. This process has been facilitated by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, both of which act as agents of the developed world and, more specifically, the US. Neither the IMF nor the World Bank, Tabb claims, can "point to any part of the world to show an example of policy success." Worse, they have actively promoted policies that have exacerbated the AIDS epidemic, increased debt, and damaged the environment. These statements contain much truth, but Tabb is so vehemently partisan that he's difficult to take at face value. He considers no arguments that do not support his point. For example, he simply dismisses out of hand the possibility that pollution and income inequality are painful first steps toward socialized democracy. On the other hand, his view of World Trade Conference protestors is decidedly optimistic, despite their noteworthy lack of a clear agenda andtheir inclusion of racist and violent groups. It all becomes a bit hard to swallow. As a critic once said of British historian Lord Macaulay, Tabb fails to give his readers credit enough to reach their own conclusions. Preaching to the choir.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781565847224
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 5/1/2002
  • Pages: 273
  • Product dimensions: 8.52 (w) x 7.94 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

William K. Tabb is professor of economics at Queens College and professor of political science at the Graduate Center of the City of New York.

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Table of Contents

1 Corporate Globalization and the Global Justice Movement 1
2 Economics and Political Economy 44
3 Debt, AIDS, and Today's Colonialism 84
4 Labor Rights and the Meaning of Democracy 121
5 Protecting the Planet 159
6 Taxation, Public Provisioning, and the Good Global Society 212
App.: Internet Resources 251
Notes 260
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