SOC236 - Notes from Readings.docx

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Elizabeth Johnson

Economic Globalization: Winners and Losers The ABCs of the Global Economy (pp. 81‐91) by Dollars and Sense Collective - Financial institutions and other global corporations w/o national ties now use govts to dissolve any national restraints on their activities World Bank & IMF - Practice structural adjustment: borrower countries unable to obtain credit from other sources must change govt policies before loans are released - The number of votes a country receives is based on how much capital it gives the institution, so rich countries like the US enjoy disproportionate voting power - World Bank loaned to Western European govts to help rebuild their countries after WWII bank turned towards “development” loans to 3 world countries & receive criticism for favouring large, expensive projects regardless of their appropriateness to local conditions - IMF: lender of last resort to member countries that can’t borrow money from other sources (prevent countries from defaulting on previous loans from private banks) - IMF conditions = structural adjustment program/austerity plan: eliminate price controls, subsidies, devalue its currency, or eliminate labour regulations like minimum wage laws (working class, poor are affected) Multinational Agreement on Investment (MAI), Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMS), and the International Movement of Capital - MAI + TRIMS would force govts to compensate companies for any losses they might suffer b/c of changes in public policy. Govts would be compelled to tax, regulate, and subsidize foreign business exactly as they do local businesses - TRIMS a blow to control of govts over the movement of capital into or out of countries – pressured govts to lift controls so that international companies can more easily move money around the globe (corporations can put in and pull out money quickly = instability) World Trade Organization - International court for adjudicating trade disputes - Corporations now have a place to complain when they want trade barriers – or domestic regulations that limit their freedom to buy and sell – overturned - At stake is a fundamental issue of popular sovereignty – the rights of people to regulate economic life (allows for little expression of the popular will) International Labour Organization - Set high standards in areas such as health and safety, freedom to organize unions, social insurance, and ending abuses - Govts send their labour ministers to the meetings - They achieve a greater degree of openness and accountability Why the Bosses Need Wal‐Mart (pp. 92‐96) by Goldstein - Low prices at Wal-Mart is possible due to low wage of workers and low wage of suppliers’ workers - Sets the stage for other companies to lower their wages as well - Fiercely against unions - When Wal-Mart moves into an area, it puts unionized supermarkets out of business. Because they have so much power and have low prices, suppliers want their products on Wal-Mart shelves. This gives Wal-Mart the power to determine the prices of the products (power over suppliers) - Necessary labour time: hours it takes a worker to earn the wages necessary to sustain herself/himself and family Global Workers Globalization and the struggle for immigrant rights in the United States (pp. 52‐58) by Robinson - Transnational capital = depends heavily on mig
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