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danps's picture

Want to protest working conditions at Foxconn? Wait six months

The NYT had a big article on Foxconn a couple weeks ago, and it really started a conversation. (Note: "had an article" and not "broke a story." The story was being broken at various places throughout last year, but until the Paper of Record reported on it, it couldn't get any traction.) Read more about Want to protest working conditions at Foxconn? Wait six months

okanogen's picture

Department of absolutely terrifying facts

This year a projected 16-17 million automobiles were sold in China. That exceeds the largest annual number ever sold in the United States (which occured in 2007). Projected annual automobile sales in China are expected to be as high as 40 million by 2020. Read more about Department of absolutely terrifying facts

letsgetitdone's picture

Take A Hike!


It looks like we're approaching an inflection point of great danger in working through problems in creating Economic Recovery. The inflection point is coming because there has been little economic recovery both internationally and domestically, with some nations continuing to run large deficits, and a growing chorus from many, calling for austerity and Governmental budget balancing even though it's well known that the consequences of these policies will be economic contraction and further hardship for all of us but the rich. Read more about Take A Hike!

Mandos's picture

Luddism as such

Brad DeLong has, this morning, put up a rather oblique post citing the lyrics of a classic song ( Chumbawumba song link) about Nedd Ludd. And immediately after, one about Swing. I can hardly imagine the motivation for it at this moment.

Wikipedia has this interesting comment about the Luddites that may put Brad's post into a certain perspective:

Thompson argues that it was the newly-introduced economic system that the Luddites were protesting. For example, the Luddite song, "General Ludd's Triumph":

Mandos's picture

The bailout as epiphenomenon; or, how globalization kicked my puppy

So I was planning to write a long, witty song-and-dance about a theme to which I've occasionally alluded lately: the importance of globalization in this bailout crisis. But then I decided I'd spare the words and write it out as a few easy and very approximate steps.

1. American wages rise with unionization. Capital is captive and cannot go on strike, must actually innovate. Read more about The bailout as epiphenomenon; or, how globalization kicked my puppy

DCblogger's picture

Health Insurance parasites are a burden to American business

Why Uncle Sam is Dr No of healthcare

US health costs are at least twice as high as in countries like France, Britain and Germany with better systems. (Many Americans have an unshakeable belief that these systems are inferior, but no data on longevity or success in handling major diseases supports that prejudice.).

The massive cost disadvantage is a major drag on economic competitiveness.

FrenchDoc's picture

Book Review - The Rise of the Global Imaginary - Part 2

RGI Here is the second part of my review of Manfred Steger's The Rise of the Global Imaginary (part 1 here). In the last part of the book, Steger focuses on the sometimes conflicting ideologies derived from the global imaginaries.

Starting from the collapse of the USSR, Steger argues (correctly, I think) that the first winning ideology in the decontestation game was market globalism, the ideology that managed to decontest "globalization" in the limited sense of deregulated markets on a global scale.

To explore the tenets of market globalism, Steger reviews the writings of one of its main proponents and popularizers: Thomas Friedman. Needless to say, this is painful to read as is anything related to Thomas Friedman (hence no links), however he is indeed a central figure in the promotion of market globalism. He is also a good representative of the way this ideology was promoted by the political, economic and corporate elites in the 1990s (or the transnational capitalist class as Leslie Sklair calls this group, Friedman belongs to the ideological sub-group of the TCC).

Read more about Book Review - The Rise of the Global Imaginary - Part 2

FrenchDoc's picture

How To Rob an African Nation

Cross-posted from The Global Sociology Blog.

What happens when a small island African country discovers oil in its territorial waters? (Via Der Spiegel) In a perfect world, it should be the way out of poverty and to development and higher living standards for all. But this is not a perfect world. And this is not a hypothetical situation. It is the story of what happened to Sao Tome and Principe (See the BBC country profile for Sao Tome and Principe for general background information on this country.).

And it is a textbook example of how power differentials and resource curse combine to create a situation where a few will benefit tremendously and the many will be left in the same abject poverty as they were before and where transnational corporations and richer and more powerful countries can throw their weight around with the help of corrupt officials.

Read more about How To Rob an African Nation

FrenchDoc's picture

The Caucasus as New Cold War Theater?


Cross-posted from The Global Sociology Blog.


It is pretty clear that Russia and Georgia are at war (see excellent background article here). It is not like there were no warning signs that Russia did not enjoy having its power challenged, as happened with the independence of Kosovo where the UN ignored Russia's opposition and went ahead with support for the new republic over its objections. Then, a few weeks ago, I posted on the fact that it seemed that Russia was engaging in a new Cold War in an attempt to reclaim some global military leadership. The invasion of parts of Georgia in support of independent movements in Southern Ossetia and Abkhazia should be read in that context.

As usual, I find Michael Mann's conceptualization of different forms of power useful to understand what is going on here. As Jonathan Steele puts it in the Guardian, this is not just an economic war, a "pipeline war", but a war of political influence. Political power, more than economic, might be at work here:

Read more about The Caucasus as New Cold War Theater?

FrenchDoc's picture

The Brave New World of Work - Precarious Work, Insecure Workers

Cross-posted from The Global Sociology Blog.

This session by ASA President Arne Kalleberg (website) deserves a post of its own, because I thought it was so good and important. The title says it all: when it comes to the meaning of work, socio-economic forces have made work more insecure, unpredictable, and risky. In other words, in the brave new world of work, the French concept of précarité is the name of the game: work has become more precarious.

Kalleberg divided his presentation into four sections:

  • The causes of growth of precarious work as global challenge
  • The consequences
  • Rethinking the employment relationship
  • Challenges for public policy and sociology
FrenchDoc's picture

To Suck or Not To Suck - Part of a Series

Cross-posted from The Global Sociology Blog.

Progress!! I managed to get Japanese food AND utensils, which avoided my having to resort to the same creative, yet shameful, solution as I did yesterday.

Things that suck

Please, my fellow sociologists: do NOT bring a goddamn infant to a presentation... believe it or not, it'll end up crying (no way??!!)... and you may be used to your spawn wailing, but it annoys the rest of us (especially me, which is all that matters).

CLIQUES!! Star sociologists hang out together and with the few non-stars that managed to latch on to them and ignore the rest of the vulgum pecus.

Things that do NOT suck

Being reminded why sociology is great and important and why I majored in it in the first place.

Panel 1 - Public Sociology

Ok, so, on to business. The first panel I attended was a panel on public sociology regarding sociology and the media.

[Disclaimer: I'm a big supporter of public sociology, which is why I blog... duh.]

Read more about To Suck or Not To Suck - Part of a Series

FrenchDoc's picture

Illusions of Leadership and Democratic Impotence

Jeremy Seabrook has a very pessimistic but, I think, powerful column in the Guardian in light of Barack Obama's world tour. It centers on Obama but has wider implications for the way we consider political leadership in the global context. For those of us who regularly read Seabrook, it is a well know fact that he is vehemently opposed to corporate globalization (he writes for the New Internationalist as well) and is a subscriber to the Habermasian school of Crisis of Legitimacy in the political sphere. This column is no departure from this.

His starting point here is the focus on personality politics: Read more about Illusions of Leadership and Democratic Impotence


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