- Globalization, the Nation-State, and Imperialism:A Review Essay1
Alex Dupuy is Professor of Sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. He is the author of Haiti in the New World Order: Limits of the Democratic Revolution (Westview Press, 1997) and of Haiti in the World Economy: Class, Race, and Underdevelopment Since 1700 (Westview Press, 1989). His most recent article is "The New World Order, Globalization, and Caribbean Politics," which appeared in New Currents in Caribbean Thought: A Reader, edited by Brian Meeks and Folke Lindahl (University of West Indies Press, 2001).
1. I would like to thank Khachig Tölölyan for his comments and suggestions for revisions.
2. Thanks to Khachig Tölölyan for suggesting this sentence.
3. Sexism, Wallerstein also points out, performed similar functions in the division of labor (79).
4. The degree of concentration and polarization in the world economy, however, is remarkable and noteworthy. Most of the capital, finance, investment, technology, research and development, production, trade, markets, and employment are concentrated in the core economies of North America, the European Union, and Japan, with some going to a small number of NICs. Of the 45,000 parent multinational corporations (MNCs) in the 1990s that controlled about 280,000 affiliated organizations, 37,000, or 82%, were based in the fourteen major developed economies classified under the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and 90% of the headquarters of the MNCs were in those countries. Within the OECD, however, the vast majority of direct foreign investment (DFI) flows occur among the bloc of countries of North America, Western Europe, and Japan, Japan being a net exporter rather than a major recipient of DFI. To look at it another way, about 16% of the world's population received between 54 and 70% of global DFI flows, which effectively means that one-half to two-thirds of the world's population is excluded from such investments (Hirst and Thompson 2, 68-74). In 1988, 73% of the world's manufacturing production occurred in the OECD countries and the NICs. Other key determinants of competitiveness, such as technology, skills, and informational infrastructure, were even more highly concentrated in the OECD countries, which in 1990 controlled about 91% of high-technology manufacturing in the world and 80% of computing capacity. To put it another way, whereas in 1985 there was an average of 23,442 per million scientific and technical personnel in the world, the average was 8,263 for the developing countries; 70,452 for the developed countries; and 126,200, or more than fifteen times the average for developing countries, for North America. And whereas Latin America and Africa combined spent less than one percent of the world's total on research and development, North America accounted for 43% of that total (Castells 108).
5. There is also no reason to believe that globalization and openness to the international economy necessarily require the dismantling of the welfare state, as Bamyeh argues. To be sure, governments with strong welfare systems face a variety of pressures and demands for services that increase public costs and make such systems harder to sustain. But, as Hirst and Thompson argue convincingly for the case of the European Union, openness and competitiveness per se are not the issue; domestic policy responses to them are. Hirst and Thompson show that both small and large states in the European Union have been able to reform and sustain their welfare systems while managing to remain open and competitive in the world economy (17, 163-90). In the United States, on the other hand, the welfare reforms of the 1990s have reduced the number of years a welfare recipient can remain on welfare, thereby increasing competition for low-wage, unskilled, unstable jobs that keep such workers at or below the poverty level (Handler).
6. Bamyeh argues that the last clear exercise of the logic of the "old imperialism" may have been in 1973 when the US government supported the overthrow of Salvador Allende in Chile, primarily to protect the interests of capital...