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The Globalization and Development Reader

Perspectives on Development and Global Change

Second Edition


Edited by

J. Timmons Roberts, Amy Bellone Hite, and Nitsan Chorev

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Preface and Acknowledgments

You may wonder, “Why do we need yet another book about globalization and development?” “Globalization” – the spread of economies, cultures, and power across national borders – has become a buzzword which is usually evoked unquestioningly. It is used so sloppily that it often produces little illumination. Because it is widely seen as inevitable and nearly inalterable, globalization is often presented as a force that must be embraced without reserve, but doing so benefits some people while putting others at grave risk. The term “development” is loaded enough to turn off thoughtful people of many ideological stripes. Leonard Frank once called development “a whore of a word,” since it hid within its rosy and altruistic-sounding exterior the selfish interests of imperialistic governments, expansionist firms, careerist professionals, and international “humanitarian” agencies that benefit from the neediness of poor nations. So do we simply throw these terms in the rubbish bin?

We don’t believe so. These terms, when used carefully, are useful not only to policy wonks, corporate visionaries, academic types, or empire-builders, but to everyone concerned about the world’s future, and their own. Our goal in compiling the selections for this book and its previous edition has been to demystify the social impacts of large-scale global economic change by offering non-specialist audiences carefully selected and manageable excerpts of both classic and current path-breaking scholarship. We hope these provide readers with tools to understand globalization and development better, to clarify the scope of this field, to question the causes and consequences of these processes, and to rethink their inevitability and direction.

The Globalization and Development Reader, published in 2007, was actually a substantial revision of our 2000 Reader, From Modernization to Globalization. We compiled both of those volumes to give students and other interested readers a taste of the best readings in the field – broadly social science perspectives on international development and global change. As we considered the request from Wiley-Blackwell for another update, we envisioned substantial changes and sought new and fresh perspectives on the field by inviting Nitsan Chorev as an additional editor. This volume is the fruit of this latest collaboration, offering a major revision and something of an expansion: of the book’s 33 selections, 21 are new.

First of all, we’ve maintained most of the classics from the previous editions, even restoring one from the first volume, the controversial 1968 Lewis piece about slum culture and development. The first two sections maintain the great foundational pieces and thinkers, like Marx and Engels, Weber, Rostow, Huntington, Frank, Cardoso, Wallerstein, and Gereffi, while adding the classic 1962 Gerschenkron piece on economic backwardness in Part I and three new pieces in Part II. Those are Amsden’s 1979 analysis of Taiwan’s state-led approach to development, an evaluative summary of scholarship on gender and development by Pearson and Jackson, and an innovative 2004 article by Ramamurthy that attends to gender in the “commodity chain” approach, which studies supply chains of products from extraction to producer to marketer and consumer.

We almost entirely revamped the latter three sections, with large numbers of new and recent pieces. Just four of the 20 pieces in Parts III, IV, and V appeared in the first edition (Fröbel, Heinrichs, and Kreye; Norberg; Friedman; and part of the original Keck and Sikkink). For several selections, we include more recent work by key scholars: McMichael, Sassen, Harvey, Sklair, Rodrik, and Evans. Several of these and the other new readings are already classics; some we believe should be a part of core development studies canons. Many build upon each other in useful ways or take opposing views that allow the reader to contrast their positions.

In addition to updating the selections by leaders in this field, we selected the new 21 pieces based on suggestions from reviewers and readers, as well as the global social changes affecting the world in the last half-decade. We include more focus on India and China, whose rise has reshaped the global economic and geopolitical systems. We have added a series of pieces that seek to capture the reshaped globe after the 2008–10 “Great Recession” in the global North, and what it has meant for developing countries. We have added pieces on gender, on the role of cities, on agriculture, and on the governance of pharmaceuticals and climate change politics. We finish the volume with some new classics.

The need for a globally sophisticated generation of students, scholars, and practitioners has never been greater. We have sought to make this Reader useful for teaching and learning about critical and rapidly changing global issues. However, we must remind readers of the limitations of such a text. First, we always sought pieces accessible to upper level undergraduates and early graduate students, and our introductions and abridging were completed with them in mind. Second, in spite of careful abridging and succinct introductions, page limitations inevitably result in the exclusion of many great pieces. We thank our many reviewers of the previous editions and our proposed revisions for this one, who alerted us to important omissions and possible additions. We were unable to include all the important work suggested, and we had to shorten some pieces more than might have been ideal: we hope readers will take up these authors’ work more fully. We hope the discussions that result from teaching these works are exciting, and that emerging scholars in this field will find inspiration in what is here as well as in what is missing.

In addition to the authors of the selections we present here, many individuals contributed to this volume. At Blackwell, we owe special thanks to Justin Vaughan and Ben Thatcher. Their patience and support for the project were invaluable. Ann Bone did the most thorough and extremely competent copy editing work we have ever seen. Given her ability to improve stylistic and substantive elements of the manuscript, we’d grant her an honorary degree if we could. Zeb Korycinska came in with a wonderfully thorough and useful index that creates a whole new perspective on the volume. We’re grateful for all their work, and for that of the typesetters. Finally, we owe many, many thanks for the love and support our families have offered as we pored over this manuscript during hours that were rightly theirs.

Timmons Roberts, Amy Bellone Hite, and Nitsan Chorev
Providence, New Orleans, and Princeton