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Lived Effects of the Contemporary Economy: Globalization, Inequality, and Consumer Society

Lived Effects of the Contemporary Economy: Globalization, Inequality, and Consumer Society Public Culture concept of consumption and its corollary in the cultural sphere, consumerism. Many of the political effects of globalization — what is regretted, what is celebrated, what meets with passivity — that seem contradictory when viewed in either exclusively cultural or economic terms can be understood in terms of the relationship between globalization and the evolution of consumer societies. But beyond this, I will argue, the rise of consumerist identities helps explain the economic processes of globalization — most notably, the diffusion of labor-saving technologies — which in turn are responsible for much of the recent rise in inequality. These linkages do not appear in standard analyses. This essay’s reasoning is drawn primarily from economics, with elements from other disciplines brought in as needed. Although I have made every effort to keep technical language to a minimum, I have found it helpful in places to situate my analysis within this well-developed literature in order to identify the mechanisms that can link globalization and inequality. Income Inequality and Globalization Increasing Inequality Income inequality has increased in most of the major industrial countries of Western Europe and North America, as well as in most of the middle-income developing countries, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Public Culture Duke University Press

Lived Effects of the Contemporary Economy: Globalization, Inequality, and Consumer Society

Public Culture , Volume 12 (2) – Apr 1, 2000

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2000 by Duke University Press
ISSN
0899-2363
eISSN
1527-8018
DOI
10.1215/08992363-12-2-375
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Public Culture concept of consumption and its corollary in the cultural sphere, consumerism. Many of the political effects of globalization — what is regretted, what is celebrated, what meets with passivity — that seem contradictory when viewed in either exclusively cultural or economic terms can be understood in terms of the relationship between globalization and the evolution of consumer societies. But beyond this, I will argue, the rise of consumerist identities helps explain the economic processes of globalization — most notably, the diffusion of labor-saving technologies — which in turn are responsible for much of the recent rise in inequality. These linkages do not appear in standard analyses. This essay’s reasoning is drawn primarily from economics, with elements from other disciplines brought in as needed. Although I have made every effort to keep technical language to a minimum, I have found it helpful in places to situate my analysis within this well-developed literature in order to identify the mechanisms that can link globalization and inequality. Income Inequality and Globalization Increasing Inequality Income inequality has increased in most of the major industrial countries of Western Europe and North America, as well as in most of the middle-income developing countries,

Journal

Public CultureDuke University Press

Published: Apr 1, 2000

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