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📙 Global Economy, Global Justice: Theoretical and Policy Alternatives to Neoliberalism by George DeMartino — download pdf


The book begins with a thorough critique of the underlying assumptions that predicate neoclassical prescriptions. For anyone familiar with Dr. Ramstad's ECN 305 class at the University of Rhode Island, there is nothing new here. However, DeMartino does make some sophisticated conceptual contributions here that are not easily come across in such an easy to read format. 1. We get a good discussion of the whole multicultural trade debate (a debate that really is not much more sophisticated than an oft-mentioned Star Trek gimic, the Prime Directive): between the, 'leave developing countries alone doctrine' and the 'intervention is good because of development doctrine.' DeMartino helps to break down the whole notion of growth by building on some concepts developed by Amartya Sen, which is essentially an ethic by which we can measure the effects of trade and so determine whether they are 'good' or 'bad.' This is, again, nothing especially new, but it is done in a novel way, and if this is the first time you come across these ideas, they stick to you pretty well. And for me, the debate was pretty much over at this point. Similar studies that provide alternatives to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for other variants that measure social development are worth seeking out. 2. The last major contribution that stuck with me - I read this book 4 years ago - is a newly conceptualized trade regime that was actually co-developed with Stephen Cullenberg. Some of the details are a little fuzzy now, but here's what I remember. First, DeMartino concedes that there are benefits to competitiveness. However, he is unwilling to simply then conclude that all competition is good for everyone, or that competition is not a malleable concept. In a section entitled, 'taking the x out of competition,' he then goes on to show that some competition can be destructive, others constructive, and that some variables within a competitive framework can effectively be removed so that only the constructive elements remain. This discussion becomes a little complicated at this point, as he begins to develop a variable that measures social provions / capability to provide such provisions. In short, these variants can be used to adminster a tax and tariff system that reward and punish countries for participating in these destructive trade practices. This system, then, would take the 'x' (destructive trade incentives) out of competition. I know this review is coming across muddled - I'll have to review the text again. Regardless, if you are a reader interested in (1) understanding the neoliberal argument and its value-laden prescriptions, (2) formulating a critique of these values and prescriptions, (3) looking for alternatives to the dominant ideology - then you should not pass on this book. After reading it, in almost every imaginable encounter, the so-called debate surrounding these issues has been pretty much resolved in favor of DeMartino's ideas. Two Caveats: 1) This is not an empirical document. This is a theoretical critique and conceptual contribution. For something more mathematical, you'll need to go see some of the Analytic Marxists. Robert Brenner has a new book coming out in June that is supposed to be excellent. 2) How should I say this...this book is not cynical. While reading, you should keep in mind that the destructive forms of competition that DeMartino seeks to remove are quite possibly (and most likely) the exact forms of competition that capital enjoys. A trade regime that actually worsens labor standards or destroys environmental regulatory bodies is in the interest of a firm looking for a high turnover labor force or a firm that has outsourced its harmful production facilities. So, we have ot be careful to not be barred down in conceptual battles when in fact the battles to come will be fought against capital. Still, until then, we'll need allies and those allies are won on the field of values.

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