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Journal articles Building Global Democracy


Saving companies worth saving: Spain pioneers a sustainable model of democratic corpora…


“The cyclical nature of capitalism reflected in the current economic crises encourages a review of the economic downturn of the 1970s and 1980s in Europe where workers engaged in sit-ins, work-ins and worker buyouts to save their jobs. Hundreds were successful and thousands of jobs were saved. Spain was at the forefront of this strategy and introduced legislation in 1986 to enshrine the worker self-managed company, Sociedades Laborales, as a policy for corporate restructuring. This article reports on the research in Spain conducted into company failure due to insolvency and the subsequent rescue by an employee-centred equity buyout. Seven firms in the metals industry are examined where workers rescued insolvent factories using the Sociedades Laborales democratic model. The research shows that sustainable democratic corporate governance was possible based on worker self-management and this was achieved by the workers making choices to overcome the conundrum of balancing democratic governance and market efficiency.”

The resurgence of German capital in Europe: EU integration and the restructuring of Atl…


“European integration is interpreted in this paper as the route by which (West) Germany, profiting from close ties with the English-speaking West, was able to restore its full sovereignty and economic pre-eminence in Europe. Yet in shaping the actual integration process, it was France which played the key role. Most of the landmark steps towards the current EU were French proposals to pre-empt Anglophone–German collusion; creating European structures in which a resurgence of Germany (politically and economically) was made subject to permanent negotiation. German unification in 1991 removed the one reason why successive governments of the Federal Republic had gone along with this. Paradoxically, sovereign Germany today finds itself bound by the dense networks of consultation and decision-making which make the EU unique in the field of regional integration. The paper shows that between 1992 and 2005, German capital has moved to the centre of the network of corporate interlocks in the North Atlantic area. This helps to explain why in the post-1991, post-Soviet era of neoliberal, finance-driven globalisation, Germany is increasingly ‘speaking for Europe’, as its corporations have become nodal points in the communication structures through which the responses to the challenges facing the EU and the West at large are being shaped.”

Andre Gunder Frank: ‘Unity in Diversity’ from the Development of Underdevelop…


“The purpose of this article is to critically review the work of Andre Gunder Frank. This is no easy task given the prolific and controversial nature of his life work. His main distinction is as a paradigm breaker and a paradigm maker. Frank is one of the founders of contemporary world system theory. He coined some memorable expressions such as the ‘development of underdevelopment’ and ‘Re-Orient’. Indeed, these two concepts highlight two distinct phases in his work. His first phase is characterised by his writings on dependency theory and his initial understanding of world system theory broadly in line with Amin, Arrighi and Wallerstein. His second phase is distinguished by what he considers to be the ‘Eurocentric’ interpretation of world system theory of Wallerstein and others as well as by his critique of his own earlier work. While some of Frank’s analyses and assertions proved to be wrong, he provided much inspiration to a new generation of scholars and activists, some of whom provided the necessary empirical evidence and theoretical rigour lacking in parts of Frank’s work. But he excelled in his mission of providing the big picture, asking the unimaginable questions and exploring hitherto inconceivable interrelationships.”

In the vanguard of globalization: The OECD and international capital liberalization – R…


“A survey of the literature on the political economy of global financial liberalization shows how little has been written on the role of the OECD, and how the Principal-Agent (PA) theory, complemented by Constructivist tools, can be applied helpfully to analyse this process. We show that the OECD’s Committee on Capital Movements and Invisible Transactions (CMIT) played an entrepreneurial role in encouraging the liberalization of capital flows. In particular, we argue that the CMIT slipped by acting beyond its core delegation roles and against the preferences of the OECD member states’ governments. This was done by discussing and seeking to expand the list of issue areas on which controls should be lifted to include short-term capital movements and the right of establishment, to adopt an extended understanding of reciprocity, and to eliminate a range of additional discriminatory measures on capital flows. Acting as institutional entrepreneurs, the CMIT members took advantage of the overlap among the networks in which they were engaged to spread their ideas to the member states. The CMIT’s work affected the member states’ willingness to make irrevocable, multilateral commitments through a combination of peer pressure and vertical institutional interconnectedness. Through the work of the CMIT, the OECD was an important actor in capital liberalization, in addition to the role played by other international organizations.”

Global Civil Society speaking in northern tongues?

civil society

“Extensive socio-ethnographic fieldwork among nongovernmental organizations, international donor agencies, and Church-related organizations in Chiapas, Mexico, suggests that global civil society—as an imagined terrain of transnational social action—can be viewed both as a site of expanded possibilities for social action and as a source of significant new constraints. It is a terrain where not all ideas and values are heard, promoted, or given legitimacy. There is, however, a transnationally resonant language into which Southern activists need to translate their issues and concerns if they wish to be heard.”

Religious Beliefs and Actors in the Legitimation of Military Dictatorships in…


“The military regimes of 1964–1989 in Chile, Argentina, and Brazil implemented a code of legitimacy that appealed to various secular beliefs rooted in civil society at the same time that they fostered a common myth of religious legitimation—that of defending “Western Christian civilization.” It was under this umbrella that military groups and religious actors faced each other and/or established alliances. In this cultural politics, religious actors that had previously been excluded from the power game sought to support and/or be recognized by the state as allies in the construction of a belief in the legitimacy of the dictatorships.”

‘Up Close and Personal’ – How does Local Democracy Help the Poor Access the S…


“The paper revisits participation and decentralization in relation to local clientelism, arguing that they share the personalization of links between residents and the state and the local possibility to adapt state policies. The line between decentralization-participation on the one hand, and clientelism on the other, is therefore easily blurred. The paper then argues that clientelism is not per se anti-democratic, some forms allow for local and immediate accountability of politicians. However, in most cases, it contributes to fragment or sedate local organizations or social movements and it prevents contestation of existing policies and dominant power structures. The paper thus challenges the idea that the promotion of decentralization and participatory institutions intrinsically leads to more democratic forms of government.”

Global citizenship and marginalisation: contributions towards a political economy of gl…


“The development of a global form of citizenship stands in a rather tense relation with the realities of vast numbers of marginalised citizens across the globe, to the extent that marginality appears to be the hidden other of global citizenship. The aim of this paper is to contribute to the development of a political economy of global citizenship by elaborating on some of these issues. The paper provides a critical discussion of the literature on global citizenship education using a theoretical approach that stems from political economy theories of globalisation. The notion of an emerging transnational class system will provide the starting point for understanding the processes and forces behind current forms of global structural marginalisation and their implications for the possibilities of a global citizenship.”

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  1. Grazia Ietto-Gillies permalink

    This is a very thoughtful and thought provoking article. I like its wide ranging views about democracy and globalization. Keep writing please Diana

  2. Dr. McClay permalink

    “Democracy has developed over time. Just as it has gone through many different stages in the past, it will continue to evolve and improve in the future. Along the way, it will be shaped into a more humane and just system, one based on righteousness and reality. If human beings are considered as a whole, without disregarding the spiritual dimension of their existence and their spiritual needs, and without forgetting that human life is not limited to this mortal life and that all people have a great craving for eternity, democracy could reach the peak of perfection and bring even more happiness to humanity.” (Fethullah Gulen)
    Fethullah Gulen
    Fethullah Gulen News

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