Globalization, Inequality & International Economic Law
2. The Global Context for Addressing Inequality
3. The Global Inequality Problem
4. A Paradigm Shift for Addressing Inequality
Conflicts of Interest
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See, e.g., (Garcia 2006), “Trade, Justice and Security” explores impact of trade law on domestic inequality, and impact of trade-related inequalities on security and other policy concerns.
See (Boas and Bull 2010), “The main lesson from the first 60 or so years of development theory as a field of study is that any sweeping, general argument about processes as complex and involving as many facets of human life as development will be refuted at one point or the other.”
See, e.g., (Jones 2010) “While the United States and EU blamed primarily each other for the collapse, it was clear that India, in particular, was also unwilling to negotiate further without major cuts in U.S. farm subsidies.”
The principle of national treatment prohibits discrimination in taxation or regulation between domestically produced and imported goods. There are several factors that undermine the unconditional commitment by WTO members to the principle of national treatment for goods, including regional trade agreements, and exceptions for subsidies and government purchases (Lloyd 2010, pp. 80–81). Further, the market for services, which is within the WTO’s purview, is not as completely integrated as the market for goods (Lloyd 2010, pp. 78–79). However, the WTO’s virtually universal membership is itself a testament to states’ commitment to global economic integration. See generally (Allee and Scalera 2012).
Between 1970 and 2014, FDI as a percentage of global GDP has risen continuously, from 0.5% in 1970 to 2% in 2014 (The World Bank 2017a).
Global value chains allow firms to “do” the part of the process they are best at, using intermediate goods and services from elsewhere without having to develop a whole industry (OECD 2013b).
One way to view globalization is as the world-wide extension of the transition to market society that European culture went through in the 17th to 19th centuries. See (Giddens 2000) (citing globalization as the global spread of modernity, with all of its characteristic features and complications).
Global market society could be seen as a regressive development if confused with current neoliberal market ideology, but I think this is a mistake. This complaint is more a normative judgment about the global spread of under-regulated capitalism than a judgment on the global economy per se. (Hopkins 2003) (dangers posed by weakened regulatory power over capitalist system). For our purposes here, it is the ubiquity of the market itself that is significant from the perspective of shared understandings and practices, not its shifting regulatory ideologies.
Warning that transnational economic activity can also thin out economic ties and the cultural embeddedness of economic activity.
See, e.g., (Slater and Tonkiss 2013, pp. 92–116) (surveying the range of institutions which markets require and/or are embedded in).
This does not mean, of course, that there is agreement on the nature of such institutions or on what ideology should guide their market regulation. See, e.g., (James 2012).
For one thing, it shifts the frame through which we try to understand relations between advanced market societies and societies still transitioning from traditional to market principles, such as most Middle Eastern societies.
Global inequality stands at 70 Gini versus 40s for US, 20s and 30s for Europe (Bourguignon 2016).
The top 1% of global wealth holders started the millennium owning 48.9% of all household wealth but have ended up owning half of all household assets in the world as of 2015 (Credit Suisse 2015). Data on global income shares show that interpersonal income inequality is extremely high and that between 1988 and 2011, 46% of overall income growth accrued to the top 10 percent of the world population (Oxfam International 2016).
These questions have prompted theological as well as legal and philosophical reflection, and are if anything even more complicated when one includes the varying theological interpretations of the meaning and causes of inequality. See e.g., (Rieger 2013).
See (Keeley 2015, pp. 42, 50). The growing importance of skill-biased technological progress for growth and rising demand for higher skills will lead to continued polarization of the wage distribution.
See (Keeley 2015). The labor share has declined in nearly all OECD countries over the past 30 years and in two-thirds of low-and middle-income countries between 1995 and 2007. (Oxfam International 2016, p. 12) A declining labor share reflects the fact that improvements in productivity and growth in output do not translate into a proportional rise in earnings for workers, thereby severing the link between productivity and prosperity.
See (Kotz and McDonough 2010), documenting the hollowing out of the modern welfare state under neoliberalism.
See generally (Schlozman et al. 2016), on file with author.
(Aisch et al. 2016), graphically demonstrating the rise of nationalistic politics across Europe.
See (UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs 2013), UN inequality poses serious threats to wellbeing of people at all levels of the income distribution; (The World Bank 2015), inequality one of three top challenges to development today. See generally (Piketty 2014; Stiglitz 2015; Anderson 1999).
See, e.g., (Stiglitz 2007), discussing the anomalies created by liberalizing capital flows while resisting freer movement by labor, especially unskilled labor.
(United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) 2014), hereinafter UNCTAD; (Gallagher 2011), WTO and US trade and investment regulation leave little room for policy space.
The justifiability (or not) of inequality is also central to theological reflection on the problem of inequality (see footnote 18), for example within Catholic social thought. See, e.g., (Christiansen 1984) (surveying post-Vatican II Catholic social thought on inequality on the 20th anniversary of the Papal Encylical Pacem in terris).
See, e.g., (Garcia et al. 2015), discussing reform of investment treaty framework.
See, e.g., (Waddock 2008), surveying the emerging institutional infrastructure for ensuring responsible corporate activity in the face of formal regulatory gaps.
See footnote 35.
For example, the IMF has recently begun recommending that client governments implement policies to facilitate better access to education, improved health outcomes, stronger labor laws and redistributive social welfare policies to help raise the income share of the poor and the middle class irrespective of the economic development of a country. See (Dabla-Norris et al. 2015, p. 27; UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs 2013, pp. 103–5). However, it is important for the IMF to avoid past mistakes and recognize that such policies should be implemented in a manner cognizant of local needs and conditions, not as one-size-fits-all programming. See (Dabla-Norris et al. 2015, p. 28).
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Garcia, F.J. Globalization, Inequality & International Economic Law. Religions 2017, 8, 78. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8050078
Garcia FJ. Globalization, Inequality & International Economic Law. Religions. 2017; 8(5):78. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8050078Chicago/Turabian Style
Garcia, Frank J. 2017. "Globalization, Inequality & International Economic Law" Religions 8, no. 5: 78. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8050078