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Global Decisions, Local Collisions: Urban Life In The New World Order

David Ranney

Publication Year: 2003

The politics of the past must be rethought. They were designed for a world where the U.S. manufactured at home, and where portions of U.S.-based labor had traded social stability for high wages. In this thought-provoking work, David Ranney shows how our world has changed and offers a plan for remaking progressive politics to meet the crises brought about by what George H. W. Bush first termed "the new world order. "Drawing from his experiences in Chicago politics, first as a factory worker and later as an activist and academic, Ranney shows how the increasing mobility of capital, the easy availability of credit, and a changing government policies have reshaped the urban world where U.S. workers live their everyday lives. This is not the story of the interconnectedness of modern business, but rather the need for self-respecting people who bring home a weekly paycheck to see the common, global problems they face, and to work together to bring about meaningful change.Showing how globalization has led to specific local consequences for cities and the workers that inhabit them, David Ranney presents a means for taking stock of the effects of globalization; a look at these changes in labor markets; economic development politics; housing policy; and employment policies; and an organizing strategy for this new economic and social era.

Published by: Temple University Press


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pp. v

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pp. vi-vii

The reader will see that this book is the product of work I have been doing for nearly twenty-five years. It is based not only on my academic research but also on my association with a variety of people through my courses and seminars over the years and work in several Chicago area factories, community organizing activities, popular education workshops with labor unions and...


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pp. viii-ix

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-12

The history of people living and working in the global capitalist system since the fourteenth century can be divided into distinct periods or eras. These periods are defined in part by the broad strategy used by the system as a whole to accumulate a social surplus that is used to keep the system going. They are also defined by the social struggles of ordinary people who find the specific...

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2. Philosophical Perspectives

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pp. 13-33

Philosophy is the method through which we comprehend the world around us. It is also a basis for action. Often the philosophic premises of both thought and action lie beneath the surface and go unexamined. This is a mistake. There are many different philosophic premises that underlie how we try to understand and comprehend the world we live in and how we act on this understanding....

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3. The Evolution of a New World Order

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pp. 34-70

The history of global capitalism is marked by a number of distinct eras or periods that are defined by the way the system as a whole accumulates surplus value. Shifts from one era to another have been occasioned by crisis. The specific nature of each crisis is beyond the scope of this book, but the topic has been the subject of much debate.1 The mechanisms for accumulation in...

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4. Manufacturing Collapses in Chicago

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pp. 71-90

There can be no doubt that part of the income and wealth polarization of the present period is rooted in the collapse of unionized manufacturing jobs in the United States during the 1980s. In Chapter 3, I attributed that collapse to the systemic strategy, which former President Bush called a new world order. But others have offered conflicting explanations. The mainstream view...

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5. The New World Order and Local Government: Chicago Politics and Economic Development

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pp. 91-121

One response to deindustrialization and the destruction of jobs and communities in Chicago was to call upon local government to defend Chicago's workers and communities. The workplaces, which had been the center of efforts to improve the lives of those who toiled there, could no longer serve this function. They were rapidly being dismantled. Similarly, community-based organizing...

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6. Where Will Poor People Live?

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pp. 122-163

Shortages of affordable housing are nothing new. But the nature of the housing problem (and hence potential solutions) takes different forms in different eras. The previous chapter touched on this. The first Mayor Daley implemented housing policy in the Fordist era. The post-World War II deal with U.S. labor, which was a key aspect of that era, included housing. Simply stated, the U.S. government...

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7. Jobs, Wages, and Trade in the New World Order

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pp. 164-197

It has been more than two decades since Chase Manhattan Bank security guards traveled from New York to Chicago in the dead of night and locked the gates at Wisconsin Steel, ushering in a decade of plant closings. During the 1990s, the United States began one of the longest periods of sustained economic growth in its history. By the end of that decade, official unemployment...

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8. Organizing to Combat the New World Order

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pp. 198-215

At the end of the previous chapter, I argued that ideological, theoretical, and political shifts as well as changes in the nature of the time-space-place context of production that encompass the new world order necessitate a change in the nature of organizing. Generally, previous chapters have demonstrated that the new world order has imposed inequalities throughout the world. The question...

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9. Implications and Directions

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pp. 216-234

Previous chapters have demonstrated that the political, economic, and ideological factors that have generated global institutions and rules for a new world order are the same as those that are generating local collisions in areas like housing and employment. Both global decisions and local collisions are an integral part of a new world order. For that reason, an effective movement to...


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pp. 235-253


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pp. 255-262

E-ISBN-13: 9781439906781

Publication Year: 2003