GLOBAL INEQUITIES

 

 

Dependency Theory: This theory tries to explain global inequality in terms of a process of “the exploitation of weaker, poor nations by wealthy, more powerful ones” (Hoynes and Croteau 2013:244). Modernization theory paints a picture of global inequality being the result of traditions and their relation to production, whereas dependency their illustrates a procedure of international capture. “Rather than voluntarily opting out of development, poor countries were prevented from developing by powerful colonizers who became wealthy by exploiting their natural resources and cheap labor” (Hoynes and Croteau 2013:244).

 

 

Colonialism (Hoynes and Croteau 2013:244)

 

 

Neocolonialism (Hoynes and Croteau 2013:245)

 

Former colonies become neocolonies, and previously implanted dependence is reinscribed (restimulated? exacerbated? intensified?).

 

 

World Systems Analysis (Hoynes and Croteau 2013:245)

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Race to the Bottom (Hoynes and Croteau 2013:245)

 

 

Capital Flight: this refers to the process in which corporate investors can quickly withdraw funds from a factory or country in response to poor countries’ workers or governments trying to improve working conditions or environmental regulations, which drive up costs for 1st World corporations and investors (Hoynes and Croteau 2013:245).

 

 

Global Financial Institutions: these are the organizations (mainly the IMF, WTO, and World Bank) that write “he rules of the global economy” and that regulate the international domination practice of neocolonialism. (Hoynes and Croteau 2013:245-246)

 

 

Structural Adjustment Programs: loans given by global financial institutions which involve the increase in the poverty of the indebted countries, the shift in the purpose of production from domestic use to foreign use (export), and the cutting of public services in order to repay these loans (Hoynes and Croteau 2013:246).

 

 

Deindustrialization (Hoynes and Croteau 2013:247)

 

 

Global Interconnected Worker: the outsourcing that became standard in the ’70s deindustrialized the U.S. economy, which increased the gap between the rich and the poor not only only in the U.S. but also between the U.S. and the poorer countries it outsourced to (Hoynes and Croteau 2013:246-247). This has lead to a growing obviousness of the connection between workers in all countries and a corresponding hypothesis: if all workers around the world protect each others’ working conditions, environmental regulations of business activities, and wages, then outsourcing (if not made less attractive) would increase neither transcontinental nor global inequality.

 

 

WOMEN IN THE GLOBAL FACTORY

 

 

3rd World Worker + 2nd Class Woman = Cheapest Labor: Because of women’s second-class status, they are paid less than men for the same labor, which makes them a more attractive source labor for a multinational corporation that is already employing overseas workers in order to cut costs. (Fuentes and Ehrenreich 2010:433)

 

 

Anti-Maternal Employment: Women workers, having the capacity to become pregnant, are given pregnancy tests and are, in some places, encouraged to get sterilized—all part of a corporate attempt to escape paying maternity benefits. (Fuentes and Ehrenreich 2010:433)

 

 

Structurally Adjusted Women: International financial organizations like the IMF and the World Bank have ‘advocated’ economic development plans to 3rd World countries, which have destroyed their rural economies and dispossessed people of their land. And with the de-ruralization of these territories, the vital role of women thereof has been likewise obliterated. As a result, 3rd World women have been funneled from the rural life to the assembly line. (Fuentes and Ehrenreich 2010:433)

 

 

Threatened 3rd World Woman: 3rd World women are provided with ‘partially bad’ working conditions because of a scarcity of alternative, safer jobs elsewhere. Of course, this ‘scarcity’ or ‘lack’ appears to have been imposed upon these 3rd World countries through ‘development plans,’ structural adjustment policies, or ‘austerity measures.’ (Fuentes and Ehrenreich 2010:434)

 

 

Family-Factory Controlled Female: For 3rd World women, family and factory fuse as families biologically and socially reproduce workers and control female workers, in addition to their paychecks. Meanwhile factories control and wrench value from these females and return to them a pitiful paycheck in comparison to their actual labor, resulting in an economic reproduction of the family. E.g., with a paycheck, a worker can feed their family and pay bills that benefit and keep their family going. The female worker is caught and passed between two control structures: family and factory. As Cynthia Enloe puts it ““the emphasis on family is absolutely crucial to management strategy….Factory life is, in general, constrained and defined by the family life cycle.”” (Fuentes and Ehrenreich 2010:435)

 

 

WHY THE BOSSES NEED WALMART

 

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Labor Theory of Value: Goldstein (2012: 95) describes the process whereby owners and bosses exploit workers. Bosses seek “to increase “surplus value, i.e., to increase the unpaid labor of the workers and thus increase profits…” The labor theory of value contains a number of components that one can use to better understand economic exploitation.

 

 

Absolute surplus value: increase the length of the working day w/o increasing wages

 

Relative surplus value: decrease wages while holding the working day length constant

 

Means of Subsistence (MoS) = wage to keep alive worker and family

 

Necessary Labor Time = Time it takes to earn MoS

 

Price of Necessary Labor = the bottom limit of wages (w/o rebellion) for majority of workers

 

Unpaid Labor Time = value added to product or service during the time the worker goes unpaid, which the boss gets for free

 

 

The basic idea behind the labor theory of value, which to a large degree is a simplified teaching tool for understanding something fundamental about economic exploitation, is that workers “wages come to only a fraction of the value they [i.e., workers] add to products with their labor. Otherwise, there would be no profit.” And with Wal-Mart in the picture, the means of subsistence cheapens for many workers, and so bosses can intensify the exploitation of their workers without them rebelling due to insufficient pay because these workers can always go to Wal-Mart and get the gist of what they need for immediate survival at everyday low prices. All the while, workers are increasingly exploited at home and abroad, and, as a result, the rich of the world get richer and gain a corresponding increase in political power.

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