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The Globalization Syndrome

The Globalization Syndrome: Transformation and Resistance

James H. Mittelman
Copyright Date: 2000
Pages: 272
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  • Book Info
    The Globalization Syndrome
    Book Description:

    Here James Mittelman explains the systemic dynamics and myriad consequences of globalization, focusing on the interplay between globalizing market forces, in some instances guided by the state, and the needs of society. Mittelman finds that globalization is hardly a unified phenomenon but rather a syndrome of processes and activities: a set of ideas and a policy framework. More specifically, globalization is propelled by a changing division of labor and power, manifested in a new regionalism, and challenged by fledgling resistance movements. The author argues that a more complete understanding of globalization requires an appreciation of its cultural dimensions. From this perspective, he considers the voices of those affected by this trend, including those who resist it and particularly those who are hurt by it.

    The Globalization Syndromeis among the first books to present a holistic and multilevel analysis of globalization, connecting the economic to the political and cultural, joining agents and multiple structures, and interrelating different local, regional, and global arenas. Mittelman's findings are drawn mainly from the non-Western worlds. He provides a cross-regional analysis of Eastern Asia, an epicenter of globalization, and Southern Africa, a key node in the most marginalized continent. The evidence shows that while offering many benefits to some, globalization has become an uneasy correlation of deep tensions, giving rise to a range of alternative scenarios.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-2369-7
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface and Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    James H. Mittelman
  5. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xv-2)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 3-14)

    The main concern of this book is the interplay between the powerful thrust of globalizing market forces, sometimes propelled by the state, and a counterthrust fueled by the needs of society. Above all, the challenge here is to discern globalization’s contents—i.e., historical transformations in world order—and the resultant discontents. Then there are specific questions within these basic issues, posed in individual chapters.

    In contrast to many of the previous interpretations of globalization, this book is an attempt to present a holistic and multilevel analysis, connecting the economic to the political and cultural, joining agents and multiple structures, and...

  7. CHAPTER 1 The Dynamics of Globalization
    (pp. 15-30)

    The manifestations of globalization include the spatial reorganization of production, the interpenetration of industries across borders, the spread of financial markets, the diffusion of identical consumer goods to distant countries, massive transfers of population—mainly within the South¹ as well as from the South and the East to the West—resultant conflicts between immigrant and established communities in formerly tight-knit neighborhoods, and an emerging worldwide (though not universal) preference for democracy. But what explains globalization? What are its causes, when did it originate, and what are its mechanisms? Moreover, where should an analysis be focused, and what conceptual building blocks...


    • CHAPTER 2 Rethinking the International Division of Labor
      (pp. 33-57)

      Today, the familiar imagery of a core, semiperiphery, and periphery no longer applies to a new structure that envelops both vertically integrated regional divisions of labor, based on the distinctive comparative advantages of different locations, and horizontally diversified networks that extend their activities into neighboring countries as part of corporate strategies of diversification and globalization. The old categories do not capture the intricacy of the integration of the world economy as well as the ways in which it constrains all regions and states to adjust to transnational capital. The global transformation now under way not only slices across former divisions...

    • CHAPTER 3 Globalization and Migration
      (pp. 58-73)

      Large-scale transfers of population are a long historical process common to all regions of the world, but in recent decades the global restructuring of production has accentuated differences between receiving and sending countries, drawing massive imports of labor primarily from Africa, Asia, and Latin America to the advanced capitalist areas. Migratory flows from the South are increasingly diverse, for they include new “birds of passage,” such as elements of North Africa’s middle strata fearing Islamic resurgence and environmental refugees propelled by natural disasters. Meanwhile, the global restructuring of power has brought an influx of migrants from Eastern Europe and the...

    • CHAPTER 4 Global Poverty and Gender (COAUTHORED WITH ASHWINI TAMBE)
      (pp. 74-89)

      In the post-Cold War era, a major normative commitment in world politics is encapsulated in neoliberal globalization. On the altar of a benevolent market rests the promise that economic gain can benefit all who are faithful to its principles. Neoliberal globalization’s normative appeal lies in the vision it offers of the opportunity to ascend the global hierarchy of power and production. This model of world order is not only a set of policies about economic well-being, but also an ethical claim with real implications for distributive justice. Implicit in this value system is the express assurance that neoliberalism will lift...

    • CHAPTER 5 Marginalization: Opening the Market in Mozambique
      (pp. 90-108)

      Mozambique is a country that lends itself to metaphor—of high ideals, of challenge to the world system, and of unfulfilled aspirations. There, questions that elsewhere are raised in academic forums have been articulated as matters of public policy: searching questions about the structures that perpetuate inequality, the ability of a mass movement to erode the basis of worldwide domination, and a striving for democracy amid pervasive poverty. In an extreme form, to be sure, Mozambique has gone the way of the continent—from lofty expectations to an increasingly marginal position in the GDLP. Whereas globalization entails the increasing integration...


    • CHAPTER 6 The “New Regionalism”
      (pp. 111-130)

      The central questions that frame this chapter are: Is regionalism merely a way station toward neoliberal globalization, or a means toward a more pluralistic world order in which distinct patterns of socioeconomic organization coexist and compete for popular support? What forms does this dialectic take? What is the analytical key to understanding the evolving linkages between these multifaceted processes?

      Following its decline in theory and practice in the 1970s, regionalism both revived and changed dramatically in the 1980s, gained strength in the 1990s, and today is emerging as a potent force in globalizing processes. Regionalism may be regarded as one...

    • CHAPTER 7 Global Hegemony and Regionalism (COAUTHORED WITH RICHARD FALK)
      (pp. 131-146)

      Hegemony is a recurrent feature of regionalism, contributing to polarization and resource imbalances. Not to be confused with its non-Gramscian meaning of a preponderance of power, the concept of hegemony is used here in the Gramscian sense of a mix of coercion and consent, in which consent is the dominant element. In this usage, neoliberal hegemony is instituted under global leadership to mediate between an oligopolistic market and domestic sociopolitical forces. Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has played this central role—as the phrase “the Washington consensus” suggests—in conjunction with its partners in different...

    • CHAPTER 8 Subregional Responses to Globalization
      (pp. 147-162)

      Taking note of the upsurge of the new regionalism, observers have largely focused on the most conspicuous sign of this trend: the rise of, and relations among, the three macroregions of the Asia-Pacific, the EU, and NAFTA. This chapter will, rather, center on another and neglected question: What are the major interactions that constitute the dialectic of globalization and subregionalism? In the main, this interplay is both shaped by and constitutive of neoliberalism’s drive to open economies and societies to global markets. In other words, the dominant subregional response to globalization is to accommodate this set of processes, to embrace...


    • CHAPTER 9 Conceptualizing Resistance to Globalization (COAUTHORED WITH CHRISTINE B. N. CHIN)
      (pp. 165-178)

      Assessments of resistance to globalization are necessarily influenced by the manner in which one conceptualizes resistance. Too often, this term is used promiscuously, sometimes as a synonym for challenges, protests, intransigence, or even evasions. Hence, we seek to juxtapose alternative explanations of resistance and highlight the complexities of theorizing it. The purpose of this chapter, then, is to explore the question, What is the meaning of resistance in the context of globalization?

      One way to approach this issue is with the proposition that a major asymmetry in the globalization trend is between its economic and political levels. Although it would...

    • CHAPTER 10 Environmental Resistance Politics
      (pp. 179-202)

      Not all types of environmental degradation are of recent origin or global in scope—some are long-established and local. Even so, unsustainable transformation of the environment under globalization differs from environmental harm in previous epochs. Although contemporary environmental abuses have their antecedents in earlier periods of history, globalization coincides with new environmental problems such as global warming, depletion of the ozone layer, acute loss of biodiversity, and forms of transborder pollution (e.g., acid rain). These problems have emerged not singly, but together. Moreover, some ecological problems are clearly the result of global cross-border flows, as with certain kinds of groundwater...

      (pp. 203-222)

      Organized crime groups may be best understood as both embodiments of certain features of neoliberal globalization and, at the same time, resistance movements, insofar as they operate outside neoliberal structures of legitimate authority and power and undermine what are generally regarded as the licit channels of the market. To be sure, organized crime has become a rapidly growing transnational phenomenon; it has spread exponentially, though unevenly, throughout all world regions, tunneling deeply to the roots of civil society. The magnitude of this problem has assumed huge proportions, with annual earnings from global organized crime reaching $1 trillion in 1996 (Boland...

    • CHAPTER 12 Conclusion: Contents and Discontents
      (pp. 223-250)

      Seemingly, the sponsors of globalization seek to create a global market in which the peoples of the world increasingly relate to each other only as individuals. In this process, society is being undermined and subordinated to the market. Putting it baldly, Margaret Thatcher declared, “There is no such thing as society, only individual men and women and their families.” From this perspective, globalization is an attempt to achieve the utopia of freeing the market from social and political control. It is a utopia in the sense that this condition has never existed.

      Not only is the utopia of a free...

  11. Appendix: Interview Questionnaire
    (pp. 251-252)
  12. References
    (pp. 253-276)
  13. Index
    (pp. 277-286)