A Feminist Perspective on the "New" International Financial Architecture
In contrast to Pharaonic times, the power structures and monuments of modernity have been designed primarily by men. For example, the profession of architecture has produced the modernist monuments that commemorate the power of the state and capital.
With respect to international finance, from the dawning of the age of modernity in thirteenth century Italy, as Braudel and other economic historians have demonstrated, the design of financial systems has been the work of men. Perhaps no area in economic theory and practice has been more gendered in terms of both its practitioners and central ideas than international money and finance. Therefore, the time is long overdue to interrogate and deconstruct the gendered language of power that is reflected in the main and politically most powerful proposals that have been made for a new financial architecture in the context of cascading financial and economic crises during the 1990s; crises that have impoverished millions and caused widespread social and economic dislocation.
This contribution will investigate the following questions: What is an international financial architecture? What kind of home does it build for those people who have to live in it, and not least, those compelled to life outside, but dominated by its long shadow?
"Free Trade" and Development
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the legal and institutional foundation of the multilateral trading system. As such, it is the primary institution empowered to enforce and implement global economic governance, and facilitate national macro-economic policy shifts to ensure “free trade” and competition. The concept of "free trade" is embedded in the work of the World Trade Organization and is an organising principle of economic globalisation at the global, regional, and national levels. However, this ideology is not merely a discursive formation, it involves specific processes and wide-ranging and uneven material effects. This is exemplified in the broad range of policies, from education to immigration, that are currently debated almost entirely in terms of the ways in which they fit in with the imperatives of the free market. This paper will interrogate the free trade ideology of the WTO, and explore its links with development.
University of Utah
Gender Inequalities, Poverty, and Globalization
This paper will provide a review of the theoretical and empirical literature on the relationship between patterns of globalization, gender inequalities, and gender relations and poverty. It will explore the implications of globalization, focusing specifically on trade and financial liberalization, and on patterns of poverty from a gender perspective using a human development paradigm. The first section will explore the general relationships between gender and poverty, discussing the gender implications of the recent shifts in the conceptualization of poverty (such as from income poverty to human poverty and shifts to rights-based approaches). The second section will discuss the impact of trade liberalisation policies on gendered patterns of work and working conditions. This discussion will be connected to the general debates on the relationship between trade patterns and income inequality and poverty within nations. The third section of the paper will explore the policy implications of a gender-aware approach to poverty using the PRSPs (Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers) as an example of an area of policy work that needs to be engendered.
University of Essex
The UN-MNC Global Compact: Part of the Solution or Part of the Problem?
In July 2000 the Secretary General of the United Nations established a ‘Global Compact’ between the UN, prominent multinational corporations, selected international NGOs, and the International Federation of Free Trade Unions. This Compact commits the corporations to post information once a year on a special website to show what they have done to improve the realisation of human rights, and labour and environmental standards. They also agree to provide material support for UN operations. For instance, Ericsson, the Swedish multinational corporation, has agreed to provide communications equipment to assist UN staff dealing with disasters and their aftermath. In turn the corporation can use the UN logo in publicising these activities.
Other UN agencies, such as UNDP and UNICEF, also have deals with MNCs on their agendas. The paper will consider how far the Global Compact and other UN-MNC agreements are part of the solution and/or part of the problem. It will ask the questions: Is the United Nations successfully harnessing the power of MNCs to promote the realisation of socially responsible human development? Or are the MNCs harnessing the power of the UN brand name to promote the marketing strategies of corporate capital?
Institute of Development Studies
Modelling the Effects of Trade on Women, at Work and Home
Foreign trade affects women’s wages and jobs, their household work, and their leisure. This paper develops a model which covers not only all the sectors of the market economy, but also social reproduction and leisure activities, for women and men separately. The model, which in other respects is a standard computable general equilibrium (CGE) model, is applied to a set of data for Bangladesh. Its use is illustrated by simulating the gendered effects of trade reforms. The experiments make clear that, to understand or predict the effects of changes in policies or other economic circumstances on women, it is important to take into account the interactions both among different sectors of the market economy and between the market economy and the non-market sphere.
Reflections on the Juridical Aspects of Global Political Economy
Constitutions are foundation documents that are both constraining and enabling. They specify the institutional structure of a state form and the rights and obligations of its political subjects. However, until very recently, little sustained attention has been given in the field of International Studies, and specifically in Political Economy, to an emerging constitutional structure for the global political economy.
In this paper, this emerging structure - called new constitutionalism - involves law (both public and private), regulation and standardization, and a series of formal and informal practices. New constitutionalism is driven by social forces and discourses that seek to underpin and reinforce the power of capital under a regime I call disciplinary neo-liberalism. This operates at several jurisdictional scales: sub-national (federal, confederal), national, regional and international.
The central hypothesis of this paper is that new constitutionalism operates hierarchically with respect to nations and social classes, and tends to be unequal in its gender and race aspects.
Specifically, new constitutionalism serves to subordinate political communities to the most powerful forces in civil society, and to reinforce protection of private property rights and other rights and freedoms, e.g. associated with trade investment. It is also connected to neo-liberal conditioning frameworks for other economic policies. This is why new constitutionalism, exemplified in public in international agreements such as NAFTA or the Articles of the IMF, World Bank and WTO, has significant implications for domestic constitutional structures, public policy, the very nature of the state, and the existing world order.
The emergence of new constitutionalism has coincided with a period of intensifying global inequalities and the restructuring of constraints and opportunities for different political actors. So the central questions for this paper concern: (a) the degree to which global restructuring is serving to constitutionalize social and political inequalities; and (b) whether new constitutional forms may offer not only constraints, but also opportunities, for more democratic forms of citizenship on a world scale.
Male Relations of Patriarchy and Paradoxes of Development in India
Development involves the acquisition of assets. This paper models the family-firm in India and reveals the operation of patriarchy in its original sense - the control of younger men by older men. A number of paradoxes both for economic and human development - in particular for women’s life chances - posed by these gendered governance relations are explored.
Institute of Development Studies
Women’s Rights, Labour Standards and Globalisation:
Contradictions and Opportunities
The era of intensified globalisation has simultaneously been an era of 'feminisation' of the labour force. However, this has also been in a period of greater openness of countries to the forces of international competition, deregulation of all markets, strict monetarist policies and so on. The result has been 'jobless growth' in the north and 'labour-intensive growth' in the poorer countries of the south. This has led to some powerful 'losers' in the form of organised workers in the north and 'weak' winners in the form of unorganised workers, often women, in the south. It is in the context of this uneven distribution of gains and losses that we have to evaluate current controversies about labour standards and ask who is setting the agenda, in whose interests and whose voices count. I will be using this analysis to point out various kinds of tensions and contradictions in this discourse, in terms of welfare theory, human rights and women's rights and asking whether labour standards are, or could be, a tool for achieving gender equity goals.
International Public Goods and Global Governance
Changes in technology and trade have increased the importance of cross border spillovers and externalities. Addressing these cross-border externalities is an example of an international public good--a good whose benefits extend across national boundaries. This paper explores some of the principles that should govern the organisation of the supply of international public goods. It argues that despite their common features, international public goods differ greatly in their characteristics. Thus it would be a mistake to look for a single overarching global governance mechanism. The paper outlines what governance structures might look like for the supply of different types of international public goods.
Third World Network
North-South Tensions at the WTO: Why and What Next?
Problems relating to the world trading system were given the most dramatic highlight at the WTO's Seattle Ministerial Conference in November/December 1999. There were at least two discernible "tension points" at Seattle: the growing perception of civil society that the global free-market system has got out of control, with dire consequences for social development and environment goals versus the free-market proponents (including at the WTO) who want to cling to liberalisation-as-usual; and the deep divisions between the governments of developed and developed countries on what the WTO has become and what it should be. This presentation will discuss both issues, with a specific focus on the second aspect, i.e. the North-South divide in WTO.
Trade policy makers in the North wish to both use the WTO to further pry open the markets of the South for their corporations, and prevent new competitors from the South from becoming effective. The rules of the WTO were drawn up without adequate understanding of the Southern governments, who nevertheless signed on. Many of these Southern governments now want a revision of the rules, and a moratorium on their being brought to court in the WTO for not complying with rules that they perceive can damage their development opportunities. Reform of the substance of WTO is thus high on their agenda.
However, the North does not want the rules changed as these are to their advantage. Instead they want to further expand the mandate and powers of the WTO to take on more issues and areas, such as investment, government procurement and labour standards. Many developing countries are resisting these new issues coming in through a proposed New Round. The South is also unhappy with the decision-making processes in WTO, which they find manipulative and against their interests.
This North-South divide is taking place amidst academic debates on the real nature and effects of liberalisation on development. The WTO and the multilateral trading system is thus at a cross roads. Which turn it takes will have very important implications for the future of development and of humanity.
Global Tensions: the Debate over Biotechnology and Food Security
This paper examines the association between biotechnology and food security, situating the debate on world hunger in the contested politics of globalisation. The core issues include the construction and reconstruction of food choices on a world scale, the discursive struggle over the definition of hunger, the movement to institutionalise private solutions to development and food security, and the question of intellectual property rights to genetic resources.
Huda Nura Mustafa
Gendered Strategies: Parallel Trade, Economic Restructuring,
and New Elites in (1990s) Senegal
Critical analyses of economic restructuring policies have forcefully demonstrated that they have resulted in the intensification of both global and national socioeconomic inequalities. In the case of women, indicators of health, education, income and labor depict a scenario of devastation for the vast majority. While this is indisputable, this paper argues that we need to also examine the way that elite women are positioned, and position themselves with respect to the broader conjuncture of restructuring, globalization of trade, and collapse of national bourgeosies.
During the 1990s in Senegal, de-industrialization and collapsed export markets resulted in the expansion of parallel transnational trade circuits organized through powerful, transnational Islamic brotherhoods. New commercial elites have emerged with an unprecedented sector of women traders as crucial arbiters of the articulations of local/ transnational processes. These processes include the formation of local markets for global manufactures and the redefinition of class and status identities. By attending to women capitalists' strategies we can discern how the intensification of parallel trade, a result of national crisis, also enables local agents to subvert certain relations of power while reproducing others. These processes have consolidated the place of Dakar as a regional trade center. They have also secured an unprecedented place for Senegalese women entrepreneurs as leaders among regional elites in the Sahelian, Islamic region of West Africa. In sum, transnational trade, economic restructuring and class transformations are gendered processes which are both disabling and enabling for women in locally specific ways.
University of Chicago
Women's Capabilities and Social Justice
Women in much of the world lack support for fundamental functions of a human life. They are less well nourished than men, less healthy, more vulnerable to physical violence and sexual abuse. They are much less likely than men to be literate, and still less likely to have pre-professional or technical education. Should they attempt to enter the workplace, they face greater obstacles, including intimidation from family or spouse, sex discrimination in hiring, and sexual harassment in the workplace - all, frequently, without effective legal recourse. Similar obstacles often impede their effective participation in political life. In many nations women are not equal under the law: they do not have the same property rights as men, the same rights to make a contract, the same rights of association, mobility, and religious liberty. Burdened, often, with the "double day" of taxing employment and full responsibility for housework and child care, they lack opportunities for play and the cultivation of their imaginative and cognitive faculties. All these factors take their toll on emotional well-being: women have fewer opportunities than men to live free from fear and to enjoy rewarding types of love -- especially when, as often, they are married without choice in childhood and have no recourse from a bad marriage. In all these ways, unequal social and political circumstances give women unequal human capabilities.
the Gene Campaign
WTO/TRIPS: Areas of Concern
The framework of TRIPS, within which the demand for Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) on biological materials has arisen, is the emergence of biotechnology as a key economic sector. Armed with patents, this technology is controlled by the multinational corporate sector which is in a position to facilitate or deny the use of this technology to others. For developing societies like India, this has critical significance for vital sectors like food and health.
In agriculture, biotechnology has made it such that genes conferring advantageous traits can be brought into food and cash crops from any source. In conventional plant breeding, genes (traits) could only be transferred within related species. This new technology has also revolutionized production of those drugs that were originally obtained from animal and human tissues, such as insulin.
The tussle for institutional control over genetic resources is for a simple reason. The developed world has the technological tools needed to convert genes to products. It does not have the raw materials, which are concentrated in the tropical developing countries. In order to overcome this limitation, a harmonized IPR regime for genetic resources has been introduced into the WTO, with its threats of trade sanctions against countries that do not comply.
For India there are three major areas of concern pertaining to IPRs on biological/ genetic resources as contained in WTO/ TRIPS.
The protection based on Geographical Indication is to be found in Section 3 of TRIPS. Articles 22, 23 and 24 also deal with the protection of goods that are geographically indicated. So far the protection is offered only to wines and spirits. The efforts of India and developing countries to have the protection extended to other ( agricultural ) produce like Basmati rice and Darjeeling tea, have been opposed by the developed countries. So far they have managed to keep such agricultural products of interest to us, out of TRIPs protection.
Patents on Micro Organisms
There was never any choice offered on this. The GATT negotiation ended with all member states accepting that they would provide patent protection for micro-organisms. Patents on micro-organisms like bacteria, algae, fungus and virus will have far reaching consequences for developing societies. Self -reliant, sustainable agriculture will be adversely affected if our ability to develop biofertilisers and biopesticides, both based on micro organisms, are hindered by foreign patents.
Apart from agriculture, privatization of micro-organisms will have an impact on the domestic pharma industry. Since India amended its patent Act in 1970 to allow only process patents in the pharma sector, Indian industry has grown phenomenally. Cheap Indian drugs became available and India emerged as an exporter of generic drugs. Now with patents on micro-organisms and the imposition of a product, instead of a process patent regime, the setback to the Indian health care system could be significant .
Sui Generis System for Plant Varieties
The WTO/TRIPS regime requires every member country to provide either a patent or an effective sui generis system to protect newly developed plant varieties. India and most developing countries have chosen the sui generis system. Developed countries are pushing for a narrowing of the sui generis option to the model provided by the Union for the Protection of Plant Varieties (UPOV). This is unfair and unnecessary. UPOV is not mentioned in the TRIPS Agreement. Developing countries must ensure that there is no strengthening of the TRIPS Agreement, as some developed countries are pushing for in the upcoming reviews.
Developing countries must provide themselves an alternative to UPOV since it does not serve their interests. Gene Campaign and CEAD have drafted an alternative treaty to UPOV to provide a forum for developing countries to implement their Farmers and Breeders Rights. This treaty, called the Convention of Farmers and Breeders or CoFaB, has an agenda appropriate for developing countries. It reflects their strengths and their vulnerabilities. It seeks to secure their interests in agriculture and fulfill the food and nutritional security goals of their people.
University of Chicago
Globalisation and the Geography of Centrality
The multiple circuits through which economic globalization is constituted take place both in digital networks and actual places. The strategic types of place for these circuits are cities and metropolitan regions, rather than national economies as a whole. An important proposition in this kind of analysis is that the global economy to a large extent materializes in concrete economic complexes, infrastructures, built environments and labor markets. The global economy is not simply a set of "global" markets that exist outside (inevitably national) territories. Focusing on the actual circuits through which economic globalization is constituted allows us to specify a geography of strategic places at the global scale, each with its own specific features and mode of articulation to the various cross-border networks. I refer to this as a new geography of centrality, and one of the questions it engenders is whether this new transnational geography also is the space for a new transnational politics. I argue that we are seeing elements of such a new transnational politics both among those with power--global corporate capital--and those who lack power but have today gained presence-disadvantaged people, such as immigrants, refugees, and cultural minorities.
University of California, Los Angeles
Urban Tensions: Globalisation, Industrial Restructuring,
and the Postmetropolitan Transition
New urbanization processes have been working to transform the modern metropolis over the past three decades. Two major frameworks have developed to explain these changes, one looking at the city from the outside-in or top-down (the globalization discourse) and the other taking a more internal or bottom-up perspective (on economic restructuring, especially the changing relations between urbanization and industrialization). In recent years, efforts have been made to bring these frameworks together, especially in conjunction with what has been called the “new regionalism” and the redirection of the debates on “global cities” to a discussion of the growing importance of “global city-regions.” I will review these developments briefly and focus in on: (a) the major effects of these new urbanization processes, especially increasing social polarization/inequality and the development of what Davis calls security-obsessed urbanism; and (b) the beginnings of new urban spatial movements aimed at improving the conditions of the working poor.
International Labour Organisation
Global Insecurity: Restructuring Social Income
The 20th century was the century of the labouring man. It was also the century when the working class scared rulers almost everywhere, was twice decimated by world conflagrations, trudged out in support of two competing socio-economic systems ostensibly dedicated to its interests, and ended the century by splintering in disarray. One cannot reconsider social policy and development without taking the history of labourism into account.
There is another, classical way of looking at what has happened. Recalling Karl Polanyi’s The Great Transformation, and risking the appearance of functionalism in presenting the process in brief, industrial capitalism has evolved through eras of stability and upheaval. An era of stability is when the economy is embedded in society, that is, when the state legitimises and facilitates mechanisms of redistribution. The distributive system, and the state regulations associated with it, gradually over decades lead to “rigidities” which choke economic dynamism. Then there is an era of upheaval, when the economy is disembedded from society, when new forms of production and work organisation spread, and new forms of inequality and insecurity emerge. After a while, those become so great that they threaten the sustainability of the economic system. At that point, if economic progress is to resume, the state acts to re-embed the economy by introducing new forms of redistribution and means of ensuring enough economic security for those near the bottom of society to ensure legitimacy and sustainability.
With that imagery in mind, it is not too fanciful to see the 20th century as dominated by two labourist models, by which states attempted to embed the economy -- state socialism and welfare state capitalism. Both, in different ways, made labour the fulcrum of their development strategy. In order to try to facilitate analysis of the challenge before us during “the second great transformation” (globalisation), this note briefly considers relevant characteristics of the welfare state development model, the factors that undermined it, and the subsequent contextual trends which, it is suggested, should shape a vision of distributive justice on which to build.
Boserup’s Multi-faceted Insights on Global Socio-economic Changes
Ester Boserup’s path-breaking volume, Woman’s Roles in Economic Development, is more often quoted than read, a frequent occurrence for classics. Her work provided legitimacy for women challenging development practice in the 1970s. At that time, most less developed countries were primarily rural and agricultural. Boserup’s theories on how agricultural systems change as a result of technologies that were a response to population pressure resonated with priorities of the time. Efforts to place women within development programs were similarly focused. Her insights on family formation and urbanization, which speak to many contemporary issues, have been largely neglected. This paper presents a multi-faceted overview of Boserup’s thoughts about the on-going global transformation.
Brazilian Public Transportation Association
Urban Transport and Structural Tensions in Developing Countries
Major cities in developing countries have been experiencing profound physical, social and economic transformations brought about by the globalization of the economy and related processes. Changes in economic investments, income distribution, the labor market, labor relations, and access to land and urban services have been at the center of such processes. Increasing unemployment or under-employment, persistent (and sometimes aggravated) poverty, occupation of peripheral areas lacking basic services, poor public transport supply, and increasing congestion, pollution and accidents – mostly related to the increasing and irresponsible use of the automobile – are common consequences found in most large cities.
A social analysis of urban transport must evolve around actual mobility and accessibility conditions, their distribution among social groups and classes, how road space is used, and what sort of externalities are generated and experienced. On general grounds, mobility and accessibility are constrained by disposable income, gender and age, the individual level of education and employment condition, the family division of tasks, and the location of working sites and urban services. They are also affected by the supply of sidewalks, roads and transport means, especially with respect to the share of public and private ones. In addition to historically constructed conditions, actual mobility and accessibility to urban space and services may be severely affected by the mentioned structural changes, deepening still further inequity, and social and environmental unsustainability in cities of developing countries.
The paper deals with cities in developing countries in general, however it focuses in detail on the case of the São Paulo metropolitan region (17 million inhabitants), which has been experiencing profound structural changes and comprises a broad array of transport-related tensions. Firstly, it summarizes the main structural factors and tensions that are currently challenging large urban areas in developing countries. Secondly, it analyses the ways in which such factors and tensions are related to actual urban transport conditions, emphasizing mobility, accessibility, and social and equity issues. Four types of tensions are scrutinized: (i) political tensions (institutional conflicts at the metropolitan and local levels, and class and group interests); (ii) supply tensions (financing of infrastructure, deregulation and/or privatization of public transport services and related conflicts, illegal transport and the informal sector, mobility and accessibility); (iii) economic tensions (expenses and family income); and (iv) equity tensions (production of externalities - the use of road space, pollution, accidents). Thirdly, the paper analyses the tendencies that may be related to current tensions and the patterns of urban transport supply and use. Finally, it discusses the obstacles to be faced and the actions that may be adopted to minimize or overcome current transport-related tensions and problems.
Howard M. Wachtel
Tax Distortion in the Global Economy
Globalization has contributed to the distortion of tax burdens between labor and capital. The tax share of total taxes from labor has been sharply increasing, while the share on capital has been declining in the advanced economies. In the EU, half of all tax receipts in 1980 derived from capital; in 1994 it had fallen to 35 per cent, while the share of taxes collected from labor rose from 35 per cent to over 40 per cent. The United States, which has always had a lower capital share of total taxes, shows a similar pattern; the tax share on capital fell from 27 per cent in 1965 to only 17 per cent in 1995.
The source of this change can be explained by globalization and the differing elasticity consequences of the mobility of labor and capital. Capital is more mobile and can escape taxes by moving to low tax havens in the Third World. By manipulating their books through transfer pricing, corporations show low profits in the high tax jurisdictions in advanced economies and high profits in the low tax jurisdictions in the Third World. The differing mobilities reconfigure the relative policy and economic power relations between labor and capital in advanced economies and expose Third World economies to a competitive race to the bottom.
Existing tax policy was designed for defined borders and tax jurisdictions that coincided with nation state boundaries. The global era has changed this. This paper takes up this problem and offers several new tax policy systems that address the globalization of tax structures.
Social Movements and the WTO
From the outset the increased scope of the WTO as the institutional nexus of the multilateral trading system attracted criticism from social movement representatives. The aim of this paper is to explore social movement activism directed at the WTO. The argument will proceed in three main stages. The first section of the paper will sketch the WTO as an international organization. It will assess the extent to which the creation of the WTO transformed the world trading regime. In this section, I will examine the extent to which the WTO, as an institutional venue, transformed the politics of the global regulation of trade and environment. The second part of the paper assesses the criticisms made of the WTO by social movement activists. In this section I will be concerned with demands for procedural reform, and substantive policy issues. In the third section I will examine the impact of social movement activity on the WTO.