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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Global & International Studies Program was established in 1999 and was one of the first interdisciplinary departments of its kind. Today, the Program has a highly successful Masters Program in Global Studies, a PhD emphasis in Global Studies, and anticipates implementing a PhD in Global Studies in 2014-2015.

Cover page of “THE GREAT RECESSION” OF 2008 AND THE CONTINUING CRISIS: A Global Capitalism Perspective

“THE GREAT RECESSION” OF 2008 AND THE CONTINUING CRISIS: A Global Capitalism Perspective

(2012)

This article analyzes the global crisis from the perspective of global capitalismtheory, in particular, with regard to the rise of a globally integrated productionand financial system, a transnational capitalist class, and transnational stateapparatuses. It situates the causal origins of the global crisis in a combination of over-accumulation and in contradictions of state power. This 21st century crisis is unprecedented in terms of its magnitude, its global reach, the extent of ecological degradation and social deterioration, and the scale of the means of violence. The global economy experienced a period of hyper-accumulation in the 1980s and 1990s as a result of capitalist globalization but stagnated by the turn of the century. Transnational capitalists and elites turned to two major mechanisms for unloading surplus and sustaining accumulation in the face of chronic stagnation: financial speculation and militarized accumulation. Reformist-oriented elites have responded to the crisis by calling for a neo-Keynesianism from above and mechanisms for transnational regulation while popular and working classes have resisted attempts to transfer to them through austerity, wage cuts, and unemployment the burden of the crisis.

Cover page of Global capitalism and twenty-first century fascism: a UC case study

Global capitalism and twenty-first century fascism: a UC case study

(2012)

This seminal article analyses the current structural crisis and instability in an ever more polarised world in relation to earlier systemic crises that were resolved through fascism or through Fordist-Keynesian ‘class compromise’ (the 1930s) and the emergence of capitalist globalisation (the 1970s). The authors identify three basic responses to the crisis: popular insurgency from below; reformist stabilisation from above; and, a twenty-first century neo-fascism. Looking specifically at the US, they analyse political and economic developments that demonstrate fascistic characteristics. While no simple replication of the past, the emergence of a Christian Right since the mid-1980s, the growth of certain currents within the Tea Party movement, the sharp increase in violent hate groups, the spread of a vicious anti-immigrant movement, the psychopathology of white decline, sharp militarisation and pervasive policing give some indications of the rise of fascist tendencies. But what is crucial today is the sophistication of such a project, made possible by the ideological domination of media together with new surveillance and social control technologies that allow it to rely more on selective than generalised repression. In calling for a co-ordinated fightback, both in the US and beyond, the authors see the only viable solution to the crisis of global capitalism as a massive redistribution of wealth and power downward towards the poor majority of humanity, along the lines of a twenty-first century democratic socialism.

Cover page of Globalization and the sociology of Immanuel Wallerstein: A critical appraisal

Globalization and the sociology of Immanuel Wallerstein: A critical appraisal

(2011)

By the turn of the 21st century the concept of globalization had earned its place in the social sciences and debate turned more squarely to the theoretical significance of globalization. Yet not all scholars were happy with the notion of globalization. Some claim that is merely a new name for earlier theories and concepts. Among those who reject new paradigmatic thinking on the current age is Immanuel Wallerstein, the world-renowned sociologist and ‘father’ of the worldsystem paradigm. This article is intended as an appraisal of Wallerstein’s oeuvre in the context of the debate on global transformations in the late 20th and early 21st centuries and from the vantage point of the present author’s own critical globalization perspective. The first three parts summarize and assess Wallerstein’s theoretical system and his many contributions to macro, historical and comparative sociology, to development studies and international political economy. The fourth discusses Wallerstein’s assessment of the evolution of the world capitalist system in recent decades, including his views on the concept of globalization, and the fifth focuses on earlier and more recent critical appraisals of his work, including the present author’s own, in light of the recent transformations in world capitalism identified with globalization.

Cover page of The global capital leviathan

The global capital leviathan

(2011)

The money mandarins of global capitalism and their political agents are utilizing the global crisis to impose brutal austerity and attempting to dismantle what is left of welfare systems and social states in Europe, North America and elsewhere. The budgetary and fiscal crises that supposedly justify spending cuts and austerity are contrived. They are a consequence of the unwillingness or inability of states to challenge capital and their disposition to transfer the burden of the crisis to working and popular classes. Global mobility has given capital enhanced class power over nationally based working classes and extraordinary structural influence over state managers who seek economic reactivation and macroeconomic stability. To understand the current conjuncture we need to go back to the 1970s.

Cover page of Giovanni Arrighi: Systemic Cycles of Accumulation, Hegemonic Transitions, and the Rise of China

Giovanni Arrighi: Systemic Cycles of Accumulation, Hegemonic Transitions, and the Rise of China

(2011)

This article surveys and critically assesses the life work of Giovanni Arrighi, a renowned historical sociologist and world-systems scholar who passed away in 2009. In a trilogy of books published between 1994 and 2007 Arrighi develops the master concept of his theoretical legacy, systemic cycles of accumulation, and advances an original reading of the history and dynamics of world capitalism as a succession of hegemonic episodes, each one more expansive than the previous and culminating in crises and chaotic transitions. He anticipated the rise of a Chinese-led East Asia as the emergent twenty-first century centre of a reorganised world economy and society. Arrighi is faulted for failing to develop any theory of politics, the state and collective agency in his construct, for his lack of attention to social forces from below, and for his dismissal of recent theorising on globalization.

Cover page of Rising College Premiums in Mexico: How Important Is Trade?

Rising College Premiums in Mexico: How Important Is Trade?

(2010)

The literature on wage inequality in liberalizing developing economies has largely attributed rising skill premiums to trade-induced increases in the demand for skilled labor within "sectors" (industries, occupations, or industry-occupation pairs). Although there is strong evidence from many countries of trade-induced increases in skill demand within manufacturing, we show that in Mexico, the most studied country in this literature, economy-wide increases in college premium can be explained without reference to these demand shifts. Evidence that skill premiums have increased because of within-sector increases in skill demand mostly comes from decompositions that suppress di¤erences in wages across occupations. We show that this is unduly restrictive, for example if incomes change and Engel curves for services are non-linear. Mexico’s college premiums were lifted by increased demand for professional services, many of which are not directly tradeable. This explanation also reconciles gender di¤erences in the changes in skill premium with changes in employment composition. Job opportunities in non-traded sectors may matter more for wage inequality than trade policy. [JEL: F16, O15, J21]

Cover page of Subsidized Food Distribution with Endogenous Quality: A Case Study from the Philippines

Subsidized Food Distribution with Endogenous Quality: A Case Study from the Philippines

(2010)

We argue that parastatal food-distribution organizations are less effective when their agents vary the quality of subsidized food and retail service (henceforth "quality") in response to local market conditions. These actions make assessing need from market signals difficult, hindering the effective allocation of subsidized food. In theory, policies and market conditions can affect outcomes (quality, demand, rationing and pilferage) differently, depending upon how markets for subsidized rice clear. We provide tests to reveal which market clearing mechanism is relevant. Using administrative and household survey data, we …nd evidence of quality variations, pilferage and market clearing through ad-hoc rationing of subsidized rice in the Philippines. Poorer markets and those facing higher rice prices do not receive more subsidized rice, but do appear to receive lower quality service and smaller rations. This may explain why the nationwide incidence of hunger rose with rice prices in poorer areas during 2003-2007 despite costly subsidies. We recommend explicit rationing rules, increased transparency regarding rice allotments and measured reductions in the amount of subsidized rice distributed.

Cover page of Overeducation in Developing Economies: How can we test for it, and what does it mean?

Overeducation in Developing Economies: How can we test for it, and what does it mean?

(2010)

In the absence of data measuring the number of years of schooling required to perform particular jobs, we propose a new approach to testing for overeducation. Overeducation is confirmed by rising education levels in menial jobs that offer very low returns to education. Overeducation is deemed a systemic problem if these jobs absorb a growing share of the educated labor force. Normatively, overeducation should sometimes be seen as a shortage of skilled jobs, not as a surplus of educated workers. We use a decomposition of the returns to education to clarify the distinction between equity and efficiency rationales for expanding access to education when returns to education are low. We find substantial evidence of overeducation in the Philippines, mild evidence of it in India, and none in Thailand.