Chapter 12, The ‘Anti-Capitalist’ Critique, deals with critics who wish to reverse globalisation to form areas of self-governing autonomous communities which may run in parallel to post-industrial capitalism. They propose justice and democracy in place of hierarchy and authority. The emphasis is on action, the ‘here and now’, a prefigurative strategy. Discussion includes the ‘occupy’ movements whose objectives are to replace the oppressive forms of capitalism with a democratic symbiotic society based on mutualism and cooperation. Many of these tendencies adopt an ‘exit’ strategy: the objectives are either to replace globalisation with autonomous economic democratic cooperative associations or to coexist with global capitalist forces. Other movements include informal networks and ‘Twitter’ revolutions which enable mobilisation. These movements are considered expressions of social and political discontent that reveal and identify important forms of oppression. Many of these movements are limited to micro changes and present alternatives forms of coexistence to global capitalism.
Global neoliberal capitalism presents the major form of economic coordination and political control in the world economy. The book distinguishes between globalisation and neoliberalism, and explains what global neoliberalism is, why it has appeal, what alternatives have been tried and why they have failed. The rise of neoliberalism is presented as a failure of 20th-century state-led economies to satisfy the aspirations of their citizens under conditions of advanced capitalism. The author provides a sociological understanding of post-industrial society on which different forms of economic and political coordination have to be predicated. He considers in detail both the strengths and weaknesses of social democracy and state socialism, and explains why and how these alternatives either disintegrated or were dismantled. He discusses developments in Great Britain, the post-socialist states of Eastern Europe and the USSR, and China. He distinguishes between globalisation and internationalism and analyses developments within states as well as the shift from a concentric geo-politics to a bi-polar world system. The author identifies key areas where embedded neoliberalism may be faulted. Replacements are considered in terms of alternative forms of capitalism and alternatives economies to capitalism. The book defines the limits and opportunities of four major challenges to global neoliberal capitalism: the reform and democratisation of global capitalist institutions; the strengthening of states against transnational interests; the reversal of globalising tendencies and the introduction of autonomous self-sustaining democratic economies; and proposals for instituting a global form of socialism. The author finally proposes something new: a system of economic and political coordination based on a combination of market socialism and state planning.
Chapter 15, The Challenge of State Capitalisms, considers state capitalism in a generic sense as an economy in which the state plays a major coordinating role in a capitalist economy. Three types of political economy in which the state has a predominant role are distinguished: state socialism, state-capitalism (with a hyphen), and state-controlled capitalism. All three present theoretical alternatives to liberal capitalism. In the light of definitions of these terms, the chapter outlines the ways scholars apply these terms to describe societies. Notably, in what sense, if any, the Soviet Union was, and contemporary China is, state capitalist. Lenin’s notion of ‘state capitalism’ as applied to Russia after the October Revolution is contrasted with later developments. Whereas earlier theoretical approaches emphasised state ownership controlled by a bureaucratic class, as a constituent factor defining state capitalism, more recent discussion has emphasised the form taken by the extraction of surplus value. The discussion highlights whether countries can move from pre-capitalism to socialism missing out the stage of capitalism. In this framework, the debate on political capitalism presented by contemporary China is distinguished from other capitalist societies.
Chapter 10, The Changing Global Class Structure and the Challenge of the Semi-Core, considers the significant shift from national to international economies and the rise and composition of a transnational political class. Governments of nation states lose powers to international organisations and to uncontrollable globalisation processes. States retain important political powers, notably over defining citizenship, raising taxes, and over military matters, including declaration of war. State sovereignty is reconstituted in the context of economics being global whereas electoral politics is focussed at the state level. The dominant classes are global, leading to the formation of a transnational social class significantly different from national capitalist classes. Changes in the economic capacity of states in the international system are illustrated by graphs showing the growth of transnational corporations (TNCs) and the increasing importance of the semi-core countries. The core capitalist states are considered to be no longer hegemonic but challenged by an ascendant semi-core led by China. Sanctions imposed on Russia and China lead to deglobalisation and to the formation of competitive regional blocs between core and semi-core. The current challenge of China presages a power transition.
In our conclusions, we discuss how knowledge alchemy is embedded in transnational administration and global policy making through numerical tools, imaginaries and narratives used across multiple policy domains and sectors. To further understand conventional power in contemporary national and transnational governance, this book has uncovered the mechanism that maintain and reinforce a generic process of knowledge alchemy, as well as its limitations. Global knowledge governance is increasingly travelling on digital train tracks, where its direction is set by the existing data and metrics shared by the indicator producers. These digital train tracks seem rather resistant to disruptions and alternative worldviews. We argue that the critical examination of global models and scripts and their changing nature also allows critical reflection over them, marking an opening for agency.
Chapter 7, The Conversion of Social democracy to the ‘Third Way’, considers how traditional social democratic parties responded to Margaret Thatcher’s neoliberal alternative. Continual electoral failure precipitated the rise of a left-wing type of liberalism, defined in terms of individual rights, diversity promotion and equality of opportunity, a system of values compatible with neoliberalism. Left-wing marginalised class analysis and focussed on the duality of hierarchy and democracy. The chapter turns to an analysis of identity, diversity – which defined the liberal new left, and class – which no longer appealed to the socialist left. The chapter relates how changes in the social structure prompted a shift from class rights to social rights (of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, rights to abortion). A new post-capitalist society had arrived and a convergence took place between right-wing and left-wing forms of neoliberalism. The chapter outlines discussion in academia and the media where the fundamental causes and remedies were identified, and in the Party which focused on the policies and images which would further victory at the ballot box. In place of the dualism between capitalism and socialism, the political antithesis was now defined as being between ‘democracy’ and ‘authoritarianism’. The chapter details how New Labour policy was put into effect by the Party’s leadership under Tony Blair. It concludes with the fall of New Labour and poses the question of whether the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn presages a return to socialist policies.
In the immediate post-Second World War period, Western European countries introduced coordinated welfare societies, exemplified by the British Labour Party. The reforms sought to promote social equality and social justice, and they were accompanied by significant nationalisation of key industries, high levels of taxation, a full employment policy and the introduction of comprehensive social services. The chapter discusses the decline of Labour’s socialist policy and electoral failure followed by Margaret Thatcher’s turn to neoliberalism. The chapter explains her success. Like the Eastern European societies, industrial and commercial developments had led to the rise of a non-manual middle class. There arose a new spirit of capitalism and a post-industrial political culture. Concurrently, capitalism became global in character accompanied by de-industrialisation and the decline of the nation state. Social democracy failed as an alternative to the neoliberal moral and economic order which, from the 1980s, became a potent international force, Neoliberalism provided feasible answers to the inadequacies of post-war forms of economic and political coordination.
Chapter 13, Ecological ‘Catastrophe’, considers the toxicities that are destroying the environment, the extent to which they are caused by human action and how they may be remedied. The chapter outlines the environmentalists’ critique of the exploitation of nature by industrial development, which is considered a threat to human life. The extent and geographical spread of environmental hazards are described, and Marxist and environmentalist approaches are contrasted. The former considers that industrialisation is positive, the threat lies with the capitalistic nature of globalisation, whereas environmentalists question the role of an urban-industrial civilisation and advocate convivial degrowth policies. Market and statist policies promoting sustainable development are contrasted in the light of the unequal geographical effects of convivial de-growth policies.
Globalisation is defined as a spatial and temporal set of relationships involved in and between networks and transactions embedded in different political systems. For different countries and regions, charts are used to illustrate the political, social, personal, cultural and economic growth of globalisation. Distinctions are made between internationalisation, globalisation and glocalisation. Globalisation is considered part of a movement from national industrial based capitalism to post-industrial capitalism underpinned by neoliberalism. The hegemony of the USA and the rise of transnational corporations (TNCs) are outlined. Various graphs show changes in world national income by continents over a 200-year period. Losers and winners are defined in terms of countries and social groups. Significant changes are identified between different groups of countries, notably the rise of China, and social groups in different countries. The author discusses the dilemma of democracy, organised on the basis of the nation state, and economic coordination, taking place on a global level.
In this chapter, we examine the knowledge alchemy involved in transforming academic mobility as a familiar act of academic travel to a commodified activity in today’s global competition for talent. In contemporary policy making, the assumed practices of the medieval scholar often inform the common image of an academic today. A visual that emerges is one of free flow of knowledge even though the actual practices of scholarly mobility – especially in medieval times – are hardly without incident. So why is this image so enduring and how does it affect our contemporary debates concerning the global competition for talent? For policy makers at multiple governance levels – university, national, regional and international – this image is ever present because a mobile scholar generates seemingly untold benefits, not least in scientific terms, and, more recently, economic competitiveness gains and cultural diversity.