Globalization and Neoliberalism Pros and Cons Essay

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In Social Problems, Coleman & Kerbo (2009) discuss ways globalization and neoliberalism have impacted global inequalities and disparities. Global inequalities are not caused by singular policies but are tremendously complex, requiring nuanced perspectives and points of view. Economists, sociologists, and scholars frequently debate whether neoliberalism and global capitalism are causing or exacerbating global inequalities, or whether the ideologies and practices of the free market may be used to promote global equality instead. Martin Hart-Landsberg (2006) and Norberg (2004) weigh in on the debate. In “Neoliberalism: Myths and Reality,” Hart-Landsberg (2006) claims that globalization and the neoliberal policies that support unbridled capitalism worldwide are harmful to the working classes—the majority of people worldwide. Essentially, Hart-Landsberg (2006) claims neoliberalism and globalization increase global inequalities. Norberg (2004), on the other hand, claims that globalization is leading to less inequality. In “Three Cheers for Global Capitalism,” Norberg (2004) claims free enterprise and deregulation lead to higher standards and quality of life for people around the globe, as well as more robust democratic institutions. Both authors make a strong case for their respective points of view.

The anti-globalization perspective espoused by Hart-Landsberg (2006) rests on the assumption that “corporate profit making opportunities” have a deleterious effect on the working class (p. 1). However, Hart-Landsberg (2006) fails to provide any empirical evidence to support this claim, instead offering the reader an abundance of theory.

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An angry tone and a lack of concessions detract from the author’s overall argument, but the author makes some sound points. The main points of the anti-globalization perspective center on the notion that almost all neoliberal policies that sustain globalization and free trade are designed to benefit corporations and centralize capital accumulation rather than distribute profits equitably to achieve goals of global equality. Capitalism and neoliberalism also undermine the power of governments to provide sustainable growth policies domestically, as governments collude with multinational corporations and international financing groups like the World Bank. Hart-Landsberg (2006) offers some specific examples from China, India, and Southeast Asia, and also provides some quantitative measures to substantiate the primary claims.

In “Three Cheers for Global Capitalism,” Norberg (2004) takes the polar opposite approach to the globalization debate, focusing on the net benefits of neoliberalism. As optimistic as Hart-Landsberg (2006) is pessimistic, Norberg’s (2004) article has about the same methodological weaknesses as Hart-Landsberg’s (2006) in that neither offers original quantitative research and both are biased towards their own point of view. Nevertheless, Norberg’s (2004) focus on the positive impacts of globalization does include statistics and data about how countries with liberal trade agreements do have higher standards….....

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Coleman, J.W. & Kerbo, H.R. (2009). Social Problems. 10th Ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education

Hart-Landsberg, M. (2006). Neoliberalism: Myths and Reality. Monthly Review (April 2006).

Norberg, J. (2004). Three cheers for global capitalism. The American Enterprise 15 (June). 20-27

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