The paper "Globalization: Economic and Social Integration" is a good example of business coursework. Globalization is an extremely contested expression whose recurrent usage has masked a lack of accord with a view to what it entails, details of how it operates and the path(s) in which it is heading. At the heart of what may be termed "globalization studies" lie the problematic nature, status and powers of the national state in the contemporary world political and economic order. A number of related questions stand out. One set of questions has focused on whether, and the extent to which, the balance of power between states and capital has shifted to the benefit of capital and global capital in particular.
Another set has focused on how significant the national state is like a sphere of social activity and how effective governments can be in economic management. States are locked into an unprecedented scale and depth of both interdependence and competitiveness, but their capacity to effectively manage both the global, "borderless" economy and their own "national" economies is said to be diminished.
The third set of questions has focused on whether the state is being hollowed out, is withering away, or is "in retreat". Few predict the actual demise of the state, and the debate has focused more on the retreat of the state relative to other forms of authority in the global political economy and the extent that this will cause it to undergo transformation and adaptation. Globalization: Economic and Social Integration INTRODUCTION One's position on the issue of the consequences of globalization for the state and for the welfare state is likely to hinge on the acceptance of a qualitative shift from the "old" international order based on international relations primarily between nation-states, to a "new", globalized order characterized by "global relations between organized capitals" under which relations between national states are subsumed (Teeple 2007). Thus, Robinson argues that "transnational capital [is] being liberated from any constraint on its global activity" (2007: 13-14), while Meiksins-Wood argues that globalization is "another step in the geographical extension of economic rationality and its emancipation from political jurisdiction" (2007: 553).
Closely associated with the supposed "uncontrollable" powers of transnational corporations is the notion that globalization represents a new stage in the development of capitalism: The history of capitalism has ceased to be defined by and limited to national boundaries.
It would be wrong to draw the conclusion that the world has entered a post-capitalist era. Rather, it is between a weakening of all aspects of a society founded on national capitalism and the growing power and dynamic of global capitalism. (Petrella 2007: 68) Overall, "strong" globalization theories stress the primacy of global forces over national or "local" ones and the primacy of economic forces over political ones.
A principal criticism has focused on the way in which "globalization" is depicted as something "new" and uncontrollable. Gray argues that "much current debate confuses globalization, a historical process that has been underway for centuries, with the ephemeral political project of a worldwide free market" (2008: 215). Indeed, much of the discussion on the contemporary world economy has "emphasized the complete 'globalization' of economic relations, so much so that there is sometimes an unquestioning certainty about the existence of a truly global economy" (Axford 2007: 94).
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Esping-Andersen, G. (ed.) (2007), Welfare States in Transition: National Adaptations in Global Economies, London: Sage.
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Gray, J. (2008), False Dawn: The Delusions of Global Capitalism (2nd edn), London: Granta.
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Hallerberg, M., and Basinger, S. (2008), Internationalization and changes in taxation policy in OECD countries: the importance of domestic veto players, Comparative Political Studies, 31, 3: 321-52.
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Hirst, P., and Thompson, G. (2007), Globalization in Question: the International Economy and the Possibilities of Governance, Cambridge: Polity Press.
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Meiksins Wood, E. (2007), Modernity, postmodernity or capitalism?, Review of International Political Economy, 4, 3: 539-60.
Mittelman, J. H. (2007), How does globalization really work? In J. H. Mittelman (ed.), Globalization: Critical Reflections, London: Lynne Rienner.
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Petrella, R. (2007), Globalization and internationalization: the dynamics of the emerging world order. In R. Boyer and D. Drache (eds), States against Markets: the Limits of Globalization, London: Routledge.
Rhodes, M. (2007), Globalization and West European welfare states: a critical review of recent debates, Journal of European Social Polity, 6, 4: 305-27.
Sanger, M. (2008), MAI: Multilateral Investment and Social Rights. Paper presented to the GASPP seminar on International Trade and Investment Agreements and Social Policy, Sheffield, December.
Stryker, R. (2008), Globalization and the welfare state, International Journal of Sociology and Social Polity, 18, 2/3/4: 1-49.
Teeple, G. (2007), Globalization and the Decline of Social Reform, Toronto: Garamond Press.
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