18th Annual Global Studies Association
of North America Conference, co-sponsored by Loyola University Department
& Technology: The Impact on Work & Class
Philip H. Corboy Law Center
25 East Pearson, Chicago
to the United Nations, globalization is widening the income gaps within
and between countries, and increasing the precariousness of employment,
with reductions in wages, jobs, and labor rights. Companies take advantage
of fluid borders to cut not only supply costs, but labor costs as well.
Technological advances once meant an end to blue-collar work as factory
workers were replaced with robots that could do the work faster and more
efficiently at a much lower cost, but now it also means white-collar,
office-based workers and professionals are at risk of losing their jobs
as well. Now robots can do everything from building cars to cleaning floors,
mowing lawns, and cleaning swimming pools, as well as performing intricate
medical operations and providing high-tech security. Computers can perform
calculations and move money around the globe in nanoseconds. And as global
assembly lines have increased, workers’ incomes have stagnated,
inequality has risen to astronomical levels, and the middle class has
been splintered as jobs have disappeared. All of this has created a worldwide
backlash, especially in developed economies, as many voters say they are
losing out or seeing little of the benefits that globalization supposedly
brings. This conference will explore employment and wage problems created
by globalization, and the impacts it is now having on every economic class.
is facing a pivotal moment in history. Since the economic crisis of 2008
it has faced serious turbulence, challenged for its vast economic and
social problems, as well as its environmental destruction. New political
movements have appeared to displace or upset long-ruling traditional parties
in the West. And women, constituting a large sector of the new labor force
for global manufacturing, continue to struggle for an equal place at home
and in society. Traditional Western globalists have offered no strategy
except to continue their failing model of development. But new roads have
emerged that propose radically different possibilities. "The Future
of Globalization" will analyze and debate various models of globalization
and its alternatives.
alternatives to consider are the following:
danger of populism with mass appeal to reactionary nationalism, militarism,
misogyny and racism. Such a future is evident in the rise of right-wing
movements in Europe, as well as the ascent of Donald Trump. An important
character of this trend is accumulation by militarization, disposition,
(2) A re-balancing
of political and economic globalization to a multi-polar transnational
order. This would encompass a greater role for China in world affairs
through its One Belt One Road Initiative for global development. It would
also encompass deeper integration into the transnational economy of the
global South, and consequently the rise of their influence in world affairs.
(3) A new
round of transnational accumulation based in green sustainable technologies,
the development and application of AI technologies, robotization (automation),
and the deepening of bio-technological innovations. A significant sector
of the transnational capitalist class is making large commitments in these
areas, including both private and state sectors in the US, Europe and
China. The global capitalist market is promoted as the developmental model
for these technologies.
(4) A transformation
of capitalism based in socialist, feminist and environmental ideologies
and social movements. An international order based on state sovereignty,
equal exchange, common efforts to confront the planetary crisis of environmental
destruction, as well as gender and economic inequality.
Jerry Harris, National Secretary of the Global Studies Association/North
America, Chicago, USA
In 2004 Brandeis University hosted the
third North American GSA conference on Globalization, Empire and
Resistance. It was a progressive conference embracing a variety
of critical, and radical perspectives on globalization. Many leading
scholars from all over the world explored the many effects of globalization-as
well as alternative visions. Featured speakers included:
Seymour Melman - One of America?s most respected
scholars on capitalism and U.S. militarism from Columbia University
spoke on ?The Permanent War Economy?.
Leo Panitch - Canada Research Chair in Comparative
Political Economy at York University, Toronto, co-editor of the
Socialist Register, and co-author of Global Capitalism and American
Empire spoke on ?Global Capitalism and American Empire?.
Sam Gindin - Packer visiting Chair in Social
Justice at York University, Toronto, former head of research and
assistant to the President, Canadian Auto Workers? Union, and
co-author of Global Capitalism and American Empire spoke on ?Labor
Resistance in the Era of Globalization".
William Tabb - Professor of economics at Queens
College, New York, Monthly Review contributor and author of "The
Amoral Elephant" spoke on "The Global State and Economic Institutions".
Jose Maria Sison - Former senior research
fellow and professor at the University of the Philippines, co-founder
of the Communist Party of the Philippines spoke via video satellite
from Holland on ?War, Imperialism, and Resistance from Below?.
Leslie Sklair - From the London School of
Economics, and author of "The Transnational Capitalist Class"
spoke on ?Globalization, Imperialism and the International System?.
Edna Bonacich - Professor of sociology at
the University of California, San Diego, and co-author of "Behind
the Label: Inequality in the Los Angeles Apparel Industry" spoke
on ?Labor, Immigration and Global Production?.
University of California - Santa
May 1 - 4, 2003
Towards a Critical Globalization Studies: Continued Debates,
New Directions, and Neglected Topics
In May of 2002 the very first annual conference of
the North American GSA was held at Loyola University in Chicago.
Jointly sponsored by the GSA and the department of sociology at
Loyola University, the conference theme was ?Globalisation and Social
Justice?. It proved to be a highly successful event with over fifty
papers and workshops, covering a broad spectrum of themes concerning
issues of global social justice. The keynote speakers were also
excellent and included Leslie Sklair, one of GSA/UK?s vice presidents,
who played a prominent role at the conference as a whole.
The quality of the papers was extremely high and they generated
many hours of intensive and exciting discussion and argument. Academics
from an impressively wide range of disciplines and research areas
came from far and wide across the United States. However, there
were also a number of speakers and participants who were political
activists, such as current or former trade union organizers or people
presently involved in various fair trade campaigns linked partly
to student protests around the campuses of the US.
Despite the clearly focused sense of realism among the conference
participants concerning the vast problems of social division, social
exclusion and conflict that are currently only too evident in the
world at the present time and the anxieties about the quality of
world political ? and especially American ? leadership, an encouraging
atmosphere of guarded optimism in relation to the real possibility
of increasingly effective alliances and political struggles against
global poverty was also quite evident.
It was gratifying to encounter quite a number of GSA members who
managed to attend the Chicago conference including three from Britain,
one from Canada and three from the USA. One of the key events scheduled
at the conference was the inauguration of the North American
chapter of the GSA. The first GSA branch or chapter to be established
outside the UK. More than twenty people attended this special meeting
and after some discussion the new branch was duly set-up. What was
particularly encouraging was the number of postgraduate students
who were prepared to become involved in helping to establish the
new North American branch of the USA and, moreover, presence among
these postgraduates and other participants who were people living
in the USA but who had strong links with countries in Central America
and South East Asia. They quite rightly insisted that right from
the outset the new branch must concern itself as deeply as possible
with the problems and themes of Southern peoples and countries if
be a truly global association are to have any meaning.
From the Global Studies Association Newsletter, Issue 2, July
Paul Kennedy, GSA Secretary