Globalization: Social & Geographic Perspectives

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March 7th, 2011 · 6 Comments


Martin Wolf, a former economist for the World Bank, attempts to use statistics to justify globalization’s positive effects on poverty and inequality throughout the world. Robert Wade, on the contrary, uses similar figures and cites┬áthe lack of figures, and especially, the lack of reliable figures, to contest the positive results of Wolf. While Wade concedes that world-wide poverty may be declining, he strongly believes that income inequality, throughout the world, is widening. Wade also uses the available, and again, somewhat questionable statistics to justify his claims.

While the arguments for and against globalization are many, I have to believe, from my reading, especially from the article by Chrystia Freeland, that the divide between rich and poor, is widening. In the U.S., the middle class is slowly being reduced in numbers, while the richest 2% control government legislation, and only increase their wealth. Meanwhile , the rest of the nation suffers with unemployment, and a future of budget cuts, which will only further destroy the middle class, in the name of deficit reduction.

One further issue I would like to challenge, is the statement by Wolf about the western hysteria over DDT. Yes, malaria is a dreadful disease, but DDT was a destroyer of nature, whose great harm to the environment, had to be stopped. Hopefully scientists will develop a more environmentally friendly way to combat and eliminate the mosquito that spreads malaria.

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6 responses so far ↓

  • 1    Prof. Hala // Mar 8, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Nice work comparing and then contextualizing Wolf & Wade in more general debates about the effects of economic globalization. You note perhaps the most critical aspect of the their different perspectives on globalization, and the reason there are so many different perspectives in general: reliance on different metrics and focus on different countries.

  • 2    temimahz // Mar 8, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    I agree with you, professor. Every country is so separate not only geographically but by culture and norms. Comparing them and using the same metric seems almost impossible. Every nation-state must be looked at separately and in accordance with their needs, commodities…etc. It is safe to say, though, that although exact statistics may be lacking, there are MANY countries who need help they are not receiving.

  • 3    anthonymunozjr // Mar 8, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    Meanwhile , the rest of the nation suffers with unemployment, and a future of budget cuts, which will only further destroy the middle class, in the name of deficit reduction.

    A notion that the middle class has brought their destruction upon themselves is brought up by Freeland. If the rich do believe this to be true, they see no problem with budget cuts. It wouldn’t be surprising if the plutocrats think the budget cuts are a well deserved wake up call to America

  • 4    astein102 // Mar 9, 2011 at 12:08 am

    I don’t remember where Freeland indicated that the middle class brought on their own destruction, but when people see teachers, for example, in the ” rubber rooms, ” defended by their unions, the unions lose credibility. If the plutocrats do believe the budget cuts are a solution to the deficit, without raising their taxes, they are not as smart as we give them credit. Maybe it’s just plain greed on their part.

  • 5    Prof. Hala // Mar 9, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Interesting exchange. Like Alex, I’m not sure where or how Freeland argues that the middle class has brought on their own destruction. I think it’s a plausible inference, but it’s not clear from your comment, Anthony, what part of Freeland’s argument might have implied this.

    This question is definitely worthy of more discussion, as is the related issue of trade union credibility.

    There’s no question that if one relied solely on local newspapers (like the NY Post) or even most network news, when they think teachers union, they think “rubber rooms,” public employees, they think of pension scammers at the LIRR or some other local or state agency. However, post-Wisconsin this may be changing…

  • 6    astein102 // Mar 12, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    Unions did great things for this country in the early to mid 20th century. unfortunately, like every big entity, they all got too greedy and too power hungry. now there is a big backlash against them. this could set the middle class back even further.

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