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2. Six central methodological problems
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He argues that the proposed replicative model is capable of accounting for genetic mutation and evolution. Campbell draw further similarities, along ontological lines, between social organization and biological organization. According to them, the dynamics of modern society can no longer be adequately understood by viewing humanity merely as a highly social species embedded in an extended planetary ecosystem. Rather, it is becoming a superorganism. An outstanding aspect of the emerging global superorganism is its ability to evolve rapidly.

This is the case because, first, it has internalized natural selection so that its component parts and systems can compete aggressively among themselves. Second, it has further honed the evolutionary process by developing the power to build abstract models and plans which compete vigorously for future implementation. He argues that in order to understand human behavior, it is important to know how the central nervous system operates.

One of the principal functions of the brain is to effect relationships among humans. In this sense, he exposes the ontological role of context or interaction for neural functioning. One of the activities of the brain, according to Laborit, involves centralizing information on the normal or disturbed operation of the cellular ensemble of the organism as well as on the environment.

In this manner, the organism learns through reinforcements. The property concept arises from reward learning and how, in the quest for dominance, this leads to competition among individuals and groups. In modern society, the symbols of dominance have become more abstract. The quest after such symbols engenders stress and its associated pathological disorders. Thus, as much as modern man eludes himself to be free, he is in fact a prisoner of fabricated hierarchical systems which push him further towards non-reflective conformity.

Popper lends his pen to the anti-Cartesian view that the world is not a deterministic clockwork. This calls for an extension of our concept of causality beyond the confines of efficient and material agencies. For Ulanowicz, this is an opportunity to show that ecosystems are chaotic, i. However, that does not mean they do not generate patterns.

Ulanowicz offers a calculus which could quantify propensities and may lay out the ground for a theory of transformation towards greater ecological ascendency. That is, it is capable of self-ordering in dynamical and organizational senses. The general principles are illustrated by means of applications to physics lasers , biology human finger movements , computer sciences parallel networks for pattern recognition , and, in particular, to sociology.

Given such common principles, he argues for the unity of the sciences. However, the observables are simpler and observer-independent in physical theories compared with biological and social theories. Also, while observables in physical theories could be separated from measurement devices, this is not the case in biological and social theories.

Pattee discusses the inadequacy of the physical model paradigm for discovering the significant biological observables and for modeling human organizations that are complex enough themselves to be observers and modelers of their world. He explains why concurrent, distributed networks now used to model cognitive activity, could prove to be complementary for modeling strongly interconnected, observer-dependent living organizations.

While Pattee sees a divide between physical and living sciences, he argues for a continuity between biological and social sciences. Theories are the fruit of the imagination in its thrust to bring order, and hence beauty, to the phenomenal world. Such order is associated with a variety of sentiments. Of course, the collection of facts engages the faculties of most scientists most of the time. However, the glimmer which sustains the thrust for knowledge is the possibility of organizing the diverse facts according to the simplest possible theoretical account.

The glimmer usually grows in intensity as scientists become capable of integrating more facts without too much backward bending of the branches of theory. Such a successful stretching of theory enhances its aesthetic quality. In the aesthetic quest after empirical comprehensiveness and theoretical simplicity, too often fine, but crucial distinctions have become neglected. In the first section, the chapter maintains that the principle of naturalism should not be confused with crude naturalism.

The second section delineates between two kinds of natural orders: the structure order of markets and ecosystems, on one hand, and the organization order of firms and organisms, on the other. Finally, the third section suggests that there are at least three distinct theoretical questions surrounding organization order. Given the synthetic character of this survey, many theses are not adequately defended. They are rather presented as signposts for further inquiry.

KHALIL take stock of the wide-ranging arena so that a detailed defense of one thesis does not take the wrong turn. However, broadly speaking, it denotes the notion of the unity of nature as including living entities as well as human purposeful action, cultural institutions, and social organizations. Etymologically, the terms nascor in Latin and its equivalent physo in Greek denote the verbs of spontaneous change Kerford, , ch. So anti-naturalism could be understood as the advocacy of the discontinuity of nature where certain phenomena—living forms for some theorists and human forms for others—are not seen as the outcome of natural spontaneity.

As put by Arthur C. Danto: Naturalism, in recent usage, is a species of philosophical monism according to which whatever exists or happens is natural in the sense of being susceptible to explanation through methods which, although paradigmatically exemplified in the natural sciences, are continuous from domain to domain of objects and events. Hence, naturalism is polemically defined as repudiating the view that there exists or could exist any entities or events which lie, in principle, beyond the scope of scientific explanation.

Danto, , p. In order to provide a greater clarity, it is argued below that there are different kinds of naturalism. If this is true, it is possible for an economist— as is the case—to hold naturalist and anti-naturalist positions depending on the specific question at hand. But before showing this, there is a need to defend naturalism on the ground that it differs from its commonly perceived crude version. The exercise here should be seen as the exploration of the contested terrain which separates science from philosophy. Naturalism vs crude naturalism The aim of the contributors to this volume, given their diverse orientations, is to shake off the specter of modeling human behavior, organization, and culture in light of the different facets of the biological sciences.

The contributors attempt to answer fundamental questions in a way which hopefully would assuage the fear harbored by many social scientists about the usefulness of naturalism as a foundation of social theory. The way to dispel misgivings concerning the naturalist agenda is to learn from new modes of thinking advocated by a new breed of natural scientists. Such modes, as detailed below, perceive the organism as purposeful or, what is taken to be the same thing, intentional and whose action is context-sensitive.

This should prove to be foreign to commonly held crude naturalist assumptions. Rather it should be whether or in what respects nonhuman animals, biological organizations, and ecosystems correspond, respectively, with humans, human organizations, and human systems. Thus, as much as there is a need to learn from the natural sciences, some maverick natural scientists, including the contributors to this volume, derive insights from the social sciences.

These insights include the attention to intentionality, cooperation, context-sensitive action, deep customs, and cumulative causation. Thus, the borrowing of metaphors, in a non-superficial sense, from the natural sciences should not necessarily entail the introduction of mechanistic, nominalist, and reductionist reasoning into the human sciences.

If the attempt is successful, it should certainly undermine the anti-naturalist tendencies prevalent in much of the modern social sciences. In order to avoid the Beatrix Potter Syndrome, we need to subject, as much as possible, any supposed human-like quality found in nature to a careful scrutiny.

KHALIL human and nonhuman domains on the basis of some historically deposited, presupposed divide between the natural and the social. Historically speaking, there are two fair reasons for maintaining the great divide between the social and the natural. First, most of the scientists who crossed the divide at the start of the twentieth century have used the insights derived from biology to promote social Darwinism at home and to justify Euroethnocentricism or, in some cases, racism abroad see Degler, While crude social and political agendas are not totally gone, they no longer occupy the high water in the social sciences.

However, their legacy, as detailed in the contributions in general, still lingers in crude naturalist modes of conception. Metaphors and identificational slips Most identificational slips consist of connecting disparate phenomena as the result of superficial resemblance or of conflating distinct contextual arrangements.

For example, as Philip Mirowski records, economists in the past century have been eager, in their quest for legitimacy, to borrow the conservation of energy metaphor from physics in order to discuss the maximization of the utility function. However, a careful distinction among different kinds of metaphors may help us avoid identificational slips and encourage us to disregard the well-entrenched divide between the social and the natural. There are at least four kinds of metaphors see Khalil, c, pp. The four kinds are distinguished by the criterion of the kind of resemblance which a metatheoretical statement is supposed to inform.

Given that researchers differ greatly with regard to metatheory or foundational issues, the invoking of specific metaphors engenders great controversies. Such controversies are not only the outcome of metatheoretical differences, but also the result in many cases of misunderstandings. That is, problems arise when users of metaphors are not careful in identifying in what sense they are employing the metaphor.

The first type of metaphor acts like similes which show superficial resemblance. Of course, researchers may debate whether a particular similarity is nominal or real. But such a debate is empirical and, hence, must assume that there are superficial metaphors. For instance, while the same mathematical formula expresses the speed of the wind and the speed of the car, it does not mean they have anything else in common.

Likewise, the law of entropy and Claude E. Among other things, the law of entropy is fundamentally based on the distinction between micro- and macro-states, while this is not the case with information theory Wicken, , ch. With regard to the second and third types of metaphor, the biological distinction between heterologous i. Heterologous likeness denotes a similarity arising from the resemblance of analytical functions, while the respective contexts are different.

In contrast, homologous likeness designates a similarity emanating from the resemblance of contexts even when, although it is not usually the case, the analytical functions are different. For example, the wings of a butterfly and the wings of a bat are heterologous: They perform the same analytical function of flying, but they emanate from different organizational context.

That is, there is no common descent between the limbs of the butterfly and the limbs of the bat. Likewise, the driving of an automobile to work and the driving even of the same automobile by the same agent for pleasure express a heterologous similarity: Both activities perform the same analytical function of transportation, but they emanate from different purposes or contexts. That is, in the input-output production matrix, the driving to work is an input, while the driving for cruising is a final output.

Likewise, one highlights a heterologous similarity when one likens the Algerian armed conflict in the s with the quasi-armed conflict in the s. In the earlier case it is a war of liberation from French colonialism. In the later case it is a Muslim revolutionary struggle against the nationalist secular regime.

In contrast, when a metaphor points out a characteristic in one phenomenon by referring to a corresponding phenomenon which has a similar scheme, context, or common origin, it usually shows homologous similarity. Biologists describe two organs in different species as homologous, as opposed to heterologous, when they are components of the same anatomy or scheme, i. In this light, the forelimbs of a mouse and the forelimbs of a bat are homologous: While both have different analytical functions viz. KHALIL to help the animal fly , the forelimbs emanate from the same organizational context or underpinning scheme.

One might be using, like Alfred Marshall , pp. Likewise, the autocrat of a chimpanzee troop, the leader of a hunting and gathering human band, and the modern state might be related in a homologous fashion. While they might perform different functions in detail, their activities are homologous in relation to the organization of work and the administration of political order Masters, Similarly, one might be drawing a homologous metaphor when one likens the current revolutionary agitation in Algeria with the Iranian Revolution: Both aim at changing regimes, not to mention the common ideological inspiration.

Still, the homologous metaphor is different from the fourth type, the unificational metaphor. The unificational metaphor expresses similarities when they arise from the same law. Both disparate events are regulated by the same law of gravity. Likewise, one would be using unificational metaphors when discussing the similarity of blood circulation of humans and chimpanzees as well as the likeness of energy expenditure in human production and the production activity of other organisms.

Given these different kinds of metaphors, it is easy to mismatch diverse phenomena. One would commit an identificational slip upon using a superficial metaphor to indicate a heterologous similarity, a heterologous metaphor to signify a homologous likeness, or a homologous metaphor to denote a unifictional homogeneity.

Of course, it is a double or triple identificational slip to cross a greater partition and make greater mismatches. In order to be able to distinguish the different kinds of resemblances and avoid identificational slips, one needs some metatheoretical clarifications, as attempted below. Naturalism, anti-foundationalism, and anthropologistic thinking The defense of naturalism, even of the non-crude variety, does not generally jibe with the tide of anti-foundationalism which is in vogue in the current sophistical intellectual milieu.

Such thinkers seem to lump all searches for foundation under one umbrella. It is true that much of axiomatic theorizing is motivated by the obsessive desire to find solid grounds for policy issues, or to prove that there are direct, unambiguous policy implications of the offered theory. That is, the proposed naturalism is not a rock which would alleviate what Richard Bernstein , pp. The suggested naturalist foundationalism does not claim, or even attempt to establish, a certain one-to-one relation between fundamental principles and policy decisions.

Rather, the approach advocated here presents a sponge-like foundation which could accommodate conflicting hypothetico-deductive models and their competing policy implications. For instance, in political science, a sponge-like foundation could simultaneously furnish a predictive, covering-law model showing how repression leads to political stability and another predictive model showing how it leads to greater revolutionary agitation.

Likewise, in economics, a soft foundation should simultaneously entertain the hypotheticodeductive monetarist model of how the increase of money supply leads to inflationary pressure and another predictive one showing how greater money supply might tap new hidden potential for real output growth. In this manner, the conflicting covering-law models are not pronounced useless.

Rather, each is found to be suited for a different historical context. Thus, while maintaining a thrust for foundationalism, it is acknowledged that the proposed approach cannot offer comfortable or straightforward answers to immediate and pressing policy problems. Soft foundationalism or the inability to provide solid, timeless policy recommendations should not be considered a shortcoming. On the contrary, it should be regarded as a sign of strength because it provides the hope that theoretical pursuits could account for the complexity of organization and conflicting historical processes.

The lack of a solid naturalist rock makes such a presumed one-to-one correspondence unfeasible. On the other hand, in light of soft naturalism, the rejection of the naturalist fallacy would not lead to an unbridgeable and problematic divide between description and prescription. In this light, the obsession of much of social theory, like the agenda undertaken by James Coleman , with the grounding of policy proposals on supposedly solid foundations is justly criticized by the anti-foundationalists.

That is, they seem to deny the existence of any footing, even a sponge-like one. They generally regard conceptual apparatuses as, in the final analysis, arbitrarily constructed or designed sociocultural conventions. They normally distrust the attempt to make sense of nature, because such an attempt supposedly cannot escape, in the final analysis, from the culturally tainted impulse to justify social order. Put differently, the movement considers the impetus to undertake theoretical investigations as quixotic because it ultimately arises from the need to legitimize culturally fabricated i.

Such an anthropologistic thesis has influenced, in different ways, the perspective of certain economists e. It is true that the institution which defines what is a shameful transaction— like the selling of pigs in Islamic culture, cows in Hindu culture, drugs, political favors, and sex in modern western culture—is relative to environmental conditions.

However, the relativity is about the particular form, not necessarily about some possible universal processes. It could be easily shown that the diverse forms of particular instances of what is shameful arise from common biological, psychological, and political imperatives at a deeper level. That is, there is a need to distinguish between the relative forms of what could be imperative, deep processes and arbitrary conventions like the standards of measure. The failure to distinguish the relative from the arbitrary amounts to the argument that almost all institutions are arbitrary in the sense of being unrelated to the deeper biological realm.

It is true that Philip Mirowski , ch. This is so, however, because he, stated broadly, conceives the biological realm as the fabrication of sociocultural norms. Thus, he rejects the dichotomy only in order to deny the biological realm any role in social theory. In other words, his main interest is to discard the relevance of psychobiological, constitutive variables, or to object to the biological perspective in the social sciences. Mirowski would simply like to restrict the relevance of biology to medical schools. Douglas relies mainly on the Durkheim-Mauss argument, 6 put forward in , that the classification of plants and animals—i.

This is the idea of similarity or resemblance. When several things are recognized as members of the same class, what constitutes their sameness? It certainly seems circular to claim that similarity explains how things get classed together. It is naive to treat the quality of sameness, which characterizes members of a class, as if it were a quality inherent in things or as a power of recognition inherent in the mind.

Douglas, , p. This goes to undermine, according to Berlin and Atran, the anthropologistic thesis that the recognition of likeness and principles of classification are a function of potential utility or social symbolic importance. All languages keep the taxonomy of genuine classification separate from utilitarian and symbolic classification. That is, folk taxonomy of the joints of nature is not arbitrary. The promoters of the Durkheim-Mauss thesis usually view the values and visions of human organization in muscular terms, i.

Such an assumption undermines, at a higher grade of reasoning, the Durkheim—Mauss thesis. That is, the Durkheim—Mauss thesis entails an image of reality grounded in metaphor-free reasoning, i. Many critics have noted that such a circularity of reasoning besets the recent sociology of scientific knowledge. But such a circularity is no more reflexive than the Cretan liar paradox. Bertrand Russell attempted, with some success, to resolve the paradox through the theory of types.

The paintings of M. Escher are generally different forms of the Cretan liar paradox. Russell solved the paradox by simply distinguishing the set or type from its constitutive members: One should not treat the set statement as being on par with its elements. These issues cannot be explored further. For our purpose, in any case, there is no need to criticize the anthropologistic view of Douglas and Mirowski: Any critique would not be a specific defense of naturalism.

Rather, it would amount to an epistemological defense of the possibility of approximating history-free theoretical and metatheoretical propositions per se. Although the discussion here touches on epistemological issues at many points, they are generally avoided. Specifically, methodological questions concerning how human concepts related to sense-data are eschewed. This is an unusual strateg y given that epistemolog y contaminates most of the contemporary investigations of metatheoretical issues. The strategy is justified on two grounds.

First, it is not imperative to appeal to epistemology in order to justify every thesis about the joints of nature—a position which flies in the face of the anthropologistic view that the Beatrix Potter Syndrome is inescapable. This entails an anthropocentric view of the nature of knowledge. Such a view does not start with the thesis that the human mind is a natural product of evolution and, hence, it is the subject of knowledge like other natural phenomena.

Second, the obsession with epistemology, like many other intellectual movements, has started to experience decreasing returns as one could attest from the trite and repetitive debates in the past three decades between the followers of Karl Popper and of Thomas Kuhn in the social sciences. Thus, the main focus of the volume is not on epistemology. The concern is rather with the enrichment of the social sciences in light of observations about the constitution, behavior, and evolution of nonhuman entities. The remainder of the chapter would like to make some distinctions which may help in the further defense of a non-crude naturalist approach.

Examples of organization order include the division of labor at the levels of the state, the firm, the household, and even the organism and cell. It is called organization order because the order at a certain level is coordinated through some kind of organizing principles acting as a unifying or agreed set of goals shared by the members of the organization under focus. So, organization order is self-referential—the type which Dupuy this volume investigates. While units might have diverse ends, the intentionless order appears at the macro-level.

The task is simply to differentiate the phenomenon of structure order from the phenomenon of organization order. Their distinction does not mean they do not affect each other. In this volume, the contributors Karl H. Pribram, Niles Eldredge, Robert Ulanowicz, Hermann Haken, and Howard Pattee show, in different ways, how chaotic and recursive interactions, on one hand, affect organization order and, development of complexity on the other.

It is fruitful, as a first step at least, to delineate organization and structure orders. The distinction differs from many other approaches. It does not coincide, e. If this is true, mathematics could not stand on a par with the physical and biological orders. Such principles would raise questions about the origin of vita which supposedly distinguishes living from non-living, physical matter. In fact, Yates and many others, like Francisco Varela and Friedrich Hayek a, b; Khalil, a , confuse the definition of organization with one of its aspects, viz.

He differentiated innovative activity carried out by entrepreneurs, which he called development, from adjustment activity carried out by optimizing agents who take 11 ELIAS L. While learning and innovation allow the economic organization to proceed along a developmental trajectory, the arbitrage-kind of activity permits the system to approach equilibrium states. The two temporal operations are not alternative. They are rather superimposed on each other—much as the business cycle is superimposed on the unidirectional process of the development of the organization.

It seems that chaotic or dynamic interaction, regulated by some equilibration forces, may fail to account for the most salient feature of complexity, viz. If the proposed way of cutting the cake is a close approximation to the actual joints of nature, there are two radically different kinds of positive feedbacks, differentiated along the proposed divide between natural system and natural complex, which Yates and others e. Khalil, b neglect. A natural complex could be a non-living entity like an atom.

In contrast, a natural system—like the market or ecosystem—could be made up of living entities of people and other organisms, or—like the market and temperament rhythms—appear as an aspect of a living entity like the polity or organism. For Skarda, living matter like slime mold exhibits adaptive behavior in the sense of seeking survival in a biofunctional or teleonomic manner, while storms and waves are not adaptive. The divide certainly invites the charge of anti-naturalism and maybe even vitalism. That is, the thesis that the adaptive behavior of bacteria cannot be found in abiotic nature raises the question, from where did adaptive behavior arise?

It must be pulled out of a hat either as an unprecedented emergent novelty or as an extra-natural vital force. In his analysis of the vehicle for carrying primary genetic information, he argues that the relation of this sub-system of observables to the entire molecule in which it is embedded…is an example of a sub-system which is not fractionable from the molecule. In a sense, the above considerations support… [the view that] enzyme is active site, not entire molecule, but the site is not fractionable from the molecule in which it is embedded.

However much these modes of system description differ technically among themselves, they all share a fundamental dualism, which can be thought of as a separation between states and dynamical laws. In some sense, the states represent what is intrinsic about a system, while the dynamical laws reflect the effects of what is outside or external. As he puts it, a simple system is one to which a notion of state can be assigned once and for all; or more generally, one in which the Aristotelian causal categories can be independently segregated from one another.

Any system for which such a description cannot be provided I will call complex. Thus, in a complex system, the causal categories become intertwined, in such a way that no dualistic language of states plus dynamical laws can completely describe it. Complex systems must then process mathematical images different from, and irreducible to, the generalized dynamical systems which have been considered universal.

Rosen, , p. This invites the problem of anti-naturalism—although in a milder form than others. To elaborate, while firms, tribes, states, organisms, or cells typify organization order, each one also manifests structure order or non-ergodic dynamics. However, the structures of storms, ecosystems, or stock markets typify only structure order. But such a structure order arises from the chaotic interaction of separate molecules, complexes, or organizations. That is, structure order is merely a macroscopic description of the association of organizations which are not cohesive enough to form a higher level organization.

Furthermore, one may object to the characterization of the stock market as equally chaotic as the ecosystem, noting that the stock market is regulated by informal and formal rules, some of which are geared to facilitate the pooling of capital funds.

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However, the goal intended by these rules makes sense only insofar as the stock market is embedded within a sociopolitical community. That is, the stock market in itself has no goal, but has a goal in reference to the wider sociopolitical community at large. Thus, as long as it is viewed from its level, one could safely say that the stock market, or any other market for that matter, expresses purely structure order. In summary, structures are either facets of organizations or arise from the chaotic interaction of independent, lower level organizations.

For example, James Miller examines society mainly from the organismic standpoint, while Kenneth Boulding examines society mainly from the ecosystem aspect. In his examination of social organization, as detailed in the final chapter of his magnum opus, Miller locates nineteen fundamental functions which are paralleled at the levels of the organism, organ, and cell.

In contrast, Boulding likens social dynamics to the self-feeding mechanisms found in ecosystems. We start with A. In this manner, no conceptual distinction is made between cells and organisms, on one hand, and ecosystems and ecosphere, on the other. Even if such a likening is merely metaphoric, it signifies that Lovelock makes no distinction between the configuration of the organism and the configuration of the ecosystem.

Although achieved differently, the distinction between the organism and ecosystem is also obliterated by Jeffrey Wicken and Bruce Weber et al. Unlike Lovelock, who views the ecosystem as a superorganism, they conceive the organism as ultimately a miniature ecosystem. The main qualification is that the supposed miniature ecosystem is regulated by genetic information. The likening of the ecosystem and the organism entails that the interdependency of organisms within an ecosystem follows the same canons of organic cooperation observed within an organism.

Stochastic interaction involves the pursuit of self-interest without regard to any common purpose. In contrast, organic interaction involves the pursuit of self-interest which is harnessed as part of a common goal of the organization. The conjectured common goal explains why command and authority within organizations are, generally speaking, accepted by the members. Of course, such authority could also be explained in terms of contracts e. However, such an explanation is weak in light of the fact that most contracts are incomplete i.

Even when authority is questioned by members, what is at dispute is not usually the function of authority per se. Rather, what is challenged is either the content of the directives or the manner in which they are commanded. The acceptance of authority does not appear to be merely the outcome of socialization or enculturation processes: No one has discovered a society without the asymmetrical distribution of power.

It is true that chaotic interaction in a market, which as a whole has no purpose, could be solidified by relations of trust underpinning incomplete contracts. But such trustful relations or incomplete contracts usually concern the strengthening of contingent arrangements of mutual interests on more dependable grounds; i.

Even associations like industrial cartels or a league of sovereign states, that could be founded on some relations of trust, are not typified with organic interaction and, hence, they do not form organization order. The binding force of cartels and associations is the coincidence of interests rather than loyalty or commitment to a common goal.

The market, hence, resembles in a homologous sense the ecosystem since neither is imbued by a common purpose. In this light, structure order arises from the coincidence of interests. The interests do not even need to be mutual as in the case of the food web in the ecosystem. Structure order simply expresses the interdependency among diverse actors within a region or even over a period of time. In contrast, organization order expresses cooperation insofar as it is based on the interpenetration of goals as each agent undertakes a specialized task within the whole organization of labor.

Rather, the member could be acting according to a set of tastes which includes the commitment to organizational goals. However, the firm is basically conceived as a vehicle for the reconciliation of mutual interests which affords less transaction cost than inter-firm trade. Stated generally, while such a transaction cost theory of organization highlights valuable market aspects of the firm, it tends to neglect common goals which define organization order.

The focus on the status of common goals might shed light on the internal processes of development of firms. The conception of organization qua market is not limited to the firm. Orthodox economists tend to conceive the economic society at large exclusively in terms of structure order. While neoclassical equilibrium or structure order of the market could occur in abject poverty, the organization order of Adam Smith must engender prosperity. Put broadly, the question of equilibrating supply and demand concerns the natural-system facet of the economy, while the issues of the rate of investment, innovation, and prosperity, involve the natural-complex aspect of the economy.

He employs the two wills to distinguish two types of social organizations which could be traced to, inter alios, Plato, Aristotle, and Ibn Khaldun. We encounter the same typology of societies in anthropology as early as in the work of Sir Henry James Summer Maine, who makes a radical distinction between contract—characterizing modern societies—and status—typifying nonmodern societies.

This is reflected in one major theme in the sociology of Herbert Spencer who distinguishes between two types of society: the military, which is based on status, and the industrial, which is based on contract. Rather, any human formation, as well as biological entities, seems to exhibit simultaneously system- and complex-like behavior. This does not mean that the discourses about the two facets of a phenomenon should be merged.

It would be more fruitful if we approach the phenomenon by two distinct discourses. With respect to economics, the two discourses would amount to the distinction between the formation of prices in relation to price controls and regulations imposed by the government, on one hand, and the degree of public prosperity with respect to entrepreneurship including the state as entrepreneur , on the other.

While price controls attempt to regulate the outcomes of structure order, the action of the state as an entrepreneur attempts to inform organization order. The distinction between organization order and structure order or, more generally, natural complex and natural system certainly needs further defense Khalil, a. It should prove to be useful as an entry point to the identification of the Janus-like character of natural order. In the rest of the chapter I focus only on problems which arise from studying organization order through the naturalist window, ignoring structure order.

They are usually confused in many theoretical debates. Or does human behavior basically lack intentionally or purposefulness —i. Or is the scheme—as neoclassical economists and adaptationist biologists put it—the outcome of optimization and, hence, easily malleable? Or are social phenomena reducible to the pre-constituted strategy of its members, whose behavior could but not necessarily be further reduced to the preconstituted strategy of genes?

The three problems are not an exhaustive list of the issues surrounding organization order. Specifically, although related, I disregard naturalist epistemology, as opposed to the anti-naturalist kinds such as objectivist and relativist epistemologies see Bernstein, Naturalism advocates the conception of human purposes, institutions, organization, epistemology, and ethics as part of nature in the sense that there is no need to appeal to extra-natural principles or separate qualities like scientific reason, intentionally, or spirituality to account for the human phenomenon.

Naturalism simply completes the Copernican dethroning of man from any meta-natural position. This issue seems to be the exclusive axis according to which Roy Bhasker classifies the anti-naturalist tradition, stretching from Vico and Dilthey to Weber and late Wittgenstein, against the naturalist tradition, which includes positivist philosophy of science. There is definitely an epistemological aspect to the question, viz. The concept of purposeful action has been the subject of discussion and development by G.

Shackle , and Austrian economists. It is true that John Maynard Keynes and many postKeynesians like Hyman Minsky , ; see also Sethi, attend to the role of expectations and money in setting off economic instability and even depressions. But the Keynesian notion of expectation differs from the Austrian one in one important regard, namely, the Keynesian project is interested in studying how speculative financial markets could derail real economic variables, i.

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This might be appropriate for the study of the business cycle and other economic structures; in contrast, the Austrian project focuses on how expectations form the real world ranging from the organization of division of labor to the process of evolution. The idea of purpose employed here is closer to the Austrian project in the sense of relating entrepreneurial action to the tempo of economic development. Such a sense of action which does not mean all actions are purposeful is contrary to the adaptationist agenda of neo-Darwinism. According to the adaptationist approach, any useful trait is not the result of directed mutation and creativity on the part of the organism Khalil, a.

Rather, it is the outcome of nature not favoring successful differential reproduction of individuals that have less favorable traits. In this fashion, intentionality is not introduced by humans from nowhere; there is no supranatural phenomenon emerging with the appearance of humans. With regard to the metaphysical sense of naturalism, crude naturalism amounts to the proposition of the continuity of purposeless mechanisms.

So that humans, unlike all animals and plants, behave according to intention and purpose. Such a position certainly introduces a discontinuity in nature insofar as the metaphysical question is concerned. Interestingly, the crude naturalist and anti-naturalist stands assume that nature has no room for purposeful behavior.

That is, they presume, without empirical evidence, that nonhuman organisms lack intentionality. Such an assumption is problematic on two grounds. First, it is based on a dubious opposition between humans and nonhuman organisms. It amounts to the lumping of bacteria, pine trees, slugs, honey bees, and chimpanzees around a nominal criterion. It is nominal because it could only be made valid with reference to the human observer: Since humans cannot tell if birds and bees act purposefully, they must not act purposefully.

But human ignorance cannot justify any positive assertion. Second, there are enormous new findings, suggested by some of the contributors here, that organisms do not act according to efficient causality only Khalil, a. Organisms behave differently according to opportunities in the environment. Thus, they must process the information and make judgments about the best strategy of behavior.

This might not suggest creativity, but their behavior is not restricted to reacting to the given environment. They act purposefully when they create their own environments. Organisms in general do not take the environment as given. The amount of nutrients in the environment is a function also of the way in which they define them in light of their potential capability.

The creativity encompasses the collection of food, selection of mating partners, and protection of the self. A non-crude naturalist position would be ready to entertain the idea of continuity of action across species, without a priori denying that such action may involve intentionality. One might want to specify differences among species in the way their respective organisms make judgments and make use of their potential, but these differences cannot be a priori posed as about radical jumps in nature.

They may turn out to be differences in emphasis and gradation, rather than in kind. The phenomenist problem The phenomenist question deals with whether traits, taxonomic and institutional schemes of behavior, and surface appearances are regulated by deep essences or universals Khalil, b. To simplify, the crude naturalist position—which is unrelated to the position stated with respect to intentionality—maintains that the shared scheme of traits among individuals, or the particularized scheme of traits i.

They rather stress that traits are superficial features used for convenience efficiency reasons. Thus, as circumstances change, they are dispensable insofar as not obstructed by relatively high transaction costs. The phenomenist question is not, as is the case with the ontological problem concerning reductionism, whether a behavior or a preference at the level of the firm could be reduced to the preferences of the members. Or is it nominal in the sense of being superficial and the product of optimality calculation or convention as anti-essentialists i.

The Platonic, crude naturalist perspective views the trait as deeply embedded in the identity of the agent. This is taken to the point of making the agent oblivious to new circumstances which necessitate the revision of the trait or institution. This view is propagated in economics by the followers of Thorstein Veblen e. The anti-naturalist approach with regard to the phenomenist question is deeply distrustful of ideas about deep essences. The nominalist, anti-naturalist viewpoint emphasizes that traits and institutions are the product of optimization calculation either made by agents or made for them by the Darwinian natural selection mechanism.

But how can one explain the persistence of inefficient traits or institutions? The nominalist view maintains that it must be high transaction costs which hinder agents from changing the inefficient schemes. Such a view informs much of what is currently dubbed as neoclassical or new institutional economics Hodgson, A non-crude naturalist stand would make a distinction between origin and existence Khalil, b. With respect to origin, it might be true that some taxonomic and institutional schemes have arisen because they afford greater efficiency measured in terms of maximizing output per unit of effort.

However, with regard to existence, many schemes persist because they have become, through time, part of the identity of the agent. They become so because they do not only afford efficiency, but also inform the agent on how to perceive the environment and divide it into resources and opportunities. As part of identity, it might be easier for the agent to perish and an organization to become extinct than to change its identity in order to adapt to new circumstances. New schemes which afford greater efficiency could only be adopted by taking older and deeper grades as given.

The agent always takes a certain grade of identity as inflexible when he reviews more recent grades. The agent cannot simply step outside millions of years of evolution and maximize. But the fact that they have originated from optimization does not mean they cannot persist beyond what is justified by transaction costs. The ontological problem The ontological question deals with whether a trait at a higher level of individuality—like nation, tribe, firm, or troop of organisms—could be traced, almost exhaustively, to the traits of the constitutive components Khalil, f.

If so, such a reductionist practice or ontological individualist approach should not be confused with methodological individualism. As Steven Lukes , p. The starting point may not be packed with a theoretical proposition about the origin or determination of the preferences, capabilities, and traits of the individuals. Thus, methodological individualism may not present a position on how to conceive the phenomenon under focus.

In contrast, the ontological question, as differentiated here, deals with the more substantive issue of reductionist vs functional-holist perspectives of the phenomenon at hand: Are social organizations like households, firms, tribes, and nations constructed structures by preconstituted individuals—like the construction of marked networds and industrial cartels by agents?

Or are such organizations naturally engendered individuals, i. Such an ontological question is certainly the most debated subject in metatheoretical discussions in social and biological sciences. To be clear, the ontological question about the context-sensitivity of organization is independent of the previous issue of the universalism vs the nominalism of the scheme of traits and institutions. The two are commonly confused in the theory of the firm and large-scale social organizations like the state Khalil, c.

If it could be explained, the firm would, in fact, be a structure order, rather than an individual in the sense of being indivisible without the loss of goals. With regard to the ontological problem, the crude naturalist position would like to explain the behavior of the firm as the result of the behavior of members at the lower level of organization. In comparison, the anti-naturalist position presents the firm as a hegemonic individual, i. However, this should not lead us to a crude naturalism which reduces the objective of the organization to the separate goals of the members.

If one adopts the view that individuality is a complex hierarchy of levels Pribram in this volume; Khalil, f , it would be possible to show how higher level group individuality could be entertained without denying that the lower level, constitutive components are also individuals. The contributors to this volume show, in diverse and concrete ways, how naturalist viewpoints could avoid the pitfalls of crude naturalism without appealing to anti-naturalist arguments. Ramifications of the three-way distinction The distinctions among the three problem areas pose a challenge as well as an opportunity to decipher any complex theoretical tradition—such as Marxian theory, neoclassical economics, institutional economics, behaviorism, structuralism, functionalist sociological theory, neo-Darwinism, and so on— according to these diverse issues.

However, in light of the essay by the neurologist Karl H. Pribram in this volume , Skinner would be considered an anti-naturalist with respect to the third question on which many of the contributors focus : Skinner does not explain 25 ELIAS L. With respect to the second question, orthodox neoclassical economists and orthodox neo-Darwinists as well should be viewed, in general, as anti-naturalists: They broadly conceive individual differences not as deviations from some Platonic essence or common nature; rather, the differences are seen as stochastic variations which express the uniqueness of the individual.

That is, individuals are presumably not connected by some common nature. Such a position is antinaturalist because it denies that there is an underpinning reality behind the phenomena. With regard to the third question, however, neoclassical economists and orthodox neo-Darwinists also should be judged as crude naturalists: They see the firm or organism as merely a structure or a vehicle for the pursuit of the pre-given interests of the constitutive members.

That is, firms or organisms are supposedly social associations which could be ultimately reduced to lower level entities. Such a position is crude naturalist because it does not recognize higher level or social organization as an individual in its own right. If we consider the second and third questions as distinct, the orthodox orientation towards them as anti-naturalist and crude naturalist, respectively should not be considered inconsistent.

In general, the distinctions among the three problem areas make it easier to understand different touching points among diverse traditions. Also, they shed light on why it is not inconsistent for a social theory as well as a biological theory to adopt a naturalist position with regard to one question, but an anti-naturalist attitude towards the other two. The second section attempted to differentiate structure order and organization order.

With respect to organization order, the third section tried to draw distinctions, on one hand, between the metaphysical and phenomenist questions and, on the other, between the phenomenist and ontological areas of research. The contrasts are proposed on the basis that the advocacy of the continuity of nature and the unity of science would not otherwise be specified sufficiently. There are many ways to cut the cake and present the complexity of the joints of nature. However, if the purpose is to encompass greater numbers of phenomena within the simplest explanatory apparatus, the naturalist approach seems to be a fertile field to plant the seeds.

I also acknowledge the technical help of Carole Brown and Patricia Markley. But they should not be blamed for any remaining errors. Thus, he also should be recognized for not upholding the pseudo opposition between evolutionary thought and what came to be called later structural-functional analysis Levy, In fact, once the employed taxon trait is narrowed, biologists regard the wings of a bird and the wings of a bat as heterologous. Another example, the hindlegs of a kangaroo a marsupial mammal and the hindlegs of a rat kangaroo a placental mammal are homologous.

However, once the employed scheme or trait is narrowed to the hopping hindlegs of the two mammals, the similarity is heterologous: The hopping trait in both animals is merely the result of convergent evolution homoplasy.

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That is, the hopping features in both animals do not emanate from a common scheme; they have evolved independently. KHALIL 5 6 7 8 9 10 With regard to the second issue, all the examples mentioned so far involve cladistic comparison, i. However, we employ patristic comparison when we invoke temporal contrast between a feature in an animal with an antecedent feature in a supposed ancestor. These are intricate issues. The point is to show that metaphors could give rise to misunderstandings as much as to illuminations. I owe the detailing to Mark Ronan.

That is, the mere denial of a realm the social or the biological by one approach or another does not mean necessarily the denial of the dichotomy. See David Bloor for a modern defense the Durkheim-Mauss postulate drawn from the study of the history of physics and especially corpuscular philosophy.

Thus, for isolated systems, i. For instance, a hurricane forms a structure order with a center, but an isolated chamber of gas has no such pattern. What we have in isolated systems instead is static order. Static order typifies phenomena like a crystal of salt which is more statically orderly than liquid salt; similarly, ice is more statically orderly than liquid water, which is, in turn, more statically orderly than vapor.

Static order is ignored here. It is mentioned only in order to clarify that it is a subspecies of structure order. With regard to Hayek, his position is more intricate because his most fundamental entry point is the distinction between natural order and artificial order— not the two kinds of natural order organization and structure as proposed here. Hayek classifies any kind of organization within the realm of artificial order—while it is proposed here that organization order is one kind of natural order. This interpretation of Hayek needs some defense.

Hayek draws a radical distinction between two kinds of order which in actual phenomena could overlap somewhat : spontaneous order of cosmos and organization or taxis: [T]he first important difference between a spontaneous order or cosmos and an organisation arrangement or taxis is that, not having been deliberately made by men, a cosmos has no purpose…. A cosmos will result from regularities of the behaviour of the elements which it comprises. Hayek, , pp. Thus, nomos is an end-independent kind of canon: By nomos we shall describe a universal rule of just conduct applying to an unknown number of future instances and equally to all persons in the objective circumstances described by the rule, irrespective of the effects which observance of the rule will produce in a particular situation….

They lead to the formation of an equally abstract and end-independent spontaneous order or cosmos. Hayek, , p. Thesis is a canon concerning a particular task applying to specific persons. Thus, thesis is an end-dependent kind of rule: In contrast, we shall use thesis to mean any rule which is applicable only to particular people or in the service of the ends of rulers. Though such rules may still be general to various degrees and refer to a multiplicity of particular instances, they will shade imperceptibly from rules in the usual sense to particular commands.

They are the necessary instrument of running an organisation or taxis. In these cases, the actor is not part of the designed orchestration. But where the task involves using knowledge dispersed among and accessible only to thousands or millions of separate individuals, the use of spontaneous ordering forces cosmos will be superior. KHALIL So, for Hayek, the goal which the organization is commanded to pursue is not a common purpose consented to by the members of the organization—much as the furniture which is arranged cannot consent to the goal of the arranger.

Hayek simply confuses the intentional manipulation of things to attain a goal like building a chair with the intentional deliberation among members to sustain a purpose like an organization. While both differ from the intentionless market order, they are not equal.

But human Gesellschaft is conceived as mere coexistence of people independent of each other. We know that diverse forms of labour exploitation are embedded in Apple's supply chains and those of other electronics producers, not least from a steady flow of revelations about the use of forced labour, unpaid student intern labour and child labour in supplier factories for Apple, Samsung, HP, Dell and other firms. Exploitation and forced labour are also rife way down the value chain in the production of raw materials.

We are used to focusing on conditions in garment factories in Bangladesh, electronics factories in Taiwan, horticulture in South Africa or the cut flowers industry in Ecuador. Yet, particularly in retail, the dynamics of GVCs extend to geographic and social locations that are not generally included in this literature, in North America or Europe, where they bring about parallel trends associated with offshoring strategies, labour practices involving pressure on wages, contracts and conditions, and an appreciable incidence of forced labour.

All of these phenomena shape patterns of inequality in these contexts, both in terms of how existing inequalities facilitate these practices, and in terms of the inequalities that their outcomes act to produce or reinforce. We must nevertheless beware of excessive generalization. It is important to recognize that these patterns of exploitation and abuses of labour rights are not uniform or universal in global production, and that a great deal of contingency attaches to the nature and structure of the value chain, patterns of ownership, the type and condition of the labour market, the political environment and institutional context, the form that public and private governance initiatives take, the nature of end consumer markets, and the possibilities for labour agency.

Impressive empirical research has sought to document these patterns of contingency, and develop propositions about where, when and under what circumstances labour rights and standards are more likely to be protected, and where, when and under what circumstances they are more likely to be violated. At the same time, these inequalities are not simply outcomes, as they are often understood to be in debates about labour standards.

Rather, echoing an insight well established in classical theories of political economy, the advance of production depends on a set of prior enabling conditions of inequality—and this brings us to the second dimension of the triangular structure depicted in figure 1. How do these enabling social asymmetries come about, and what forms do they take? There are three aspects that deserve attention. Across the world, as much in the United Kingdom and United States as in India, Argentina, Mexico or South Africa, new laws were passed to dismantle previous regimes of worker protections and to provide employers with maximum flexibility in handling labour.

In a contribution in , Robert W. This expanding population is largely comprised of the global working poor—a category that orthodox economic and development policy thinking has long struggled to accommodate, as work is envisaged in this thinking as the route out of poverty and the key to poverty reduction. The question of marginality in this sense has never been more pronounced or pressing; but the marginality stems as much from the terms of in clusion in global economic activity as from conditions of ex clusion. The third aspect of particular relevance relates to the inequalities which stem from migration.

Migrant labour was identified above as one of the most important constituencies in this new global labour force—and here, obviously, our interest is in the low-paid, low-skill segments of the labour force, which are also significantly feminized in many sectors. The dynamics of precarious employment and adverse incorporation are magnified by the particular vulnerabilities of migrant workers, especially where they are working in the informal economy. Migrant workers lack the power to engage in political action around wages and conditions, and they lack the rights and entitlements associated with citizenship or residency.

Laws governing immigration or internal movements also often act to strip these workers of labour or welfare protections, constrain their ability to seek satisfactory working conditions by changing employers, and provide mechanisms that employers can use to manipulate them, particularly perhaps when the worker is undocumented, such as the threat of denunciation to immigration authorities.

Forced labour and child labour are strongly, although not exclusively, associated with the inequalities which attach to the migrant labour force.

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These existing social inequalities provide the environment in which the commercial dynamics within GVCs outlined in the previous section can flourish. Conversely, where labour is scarce, employers are more likely to raise wages and improve conditions in order to attract and retain workers. A final layer in our discussion relates to the asymmetries of social power which come into play in generating these patterns of exploitation and inequality.

It is through these mechanisms that inequality, in Tilly's phrase, becomes durable, and often intergenerational: exclusion from access to value-producing resources and arenas of opportunity is perpetuated by the consequences of exploitation in GVCs, perhaps particularly in those forms associated with forced and child labour. Let us then take the argument on to the third point of the triangular scheme in figure 1 , returning to our starting-point of the geographic fragmentation of global production.

We have explored the business case for this kind of model and its social foundations, but now need to incorporate a more explicit recognition of the asymmetries of political power which underpin it. These asymmetries take many forms across diverse arenas of governance and policy, some of which such as the governance of immigration and mobility we have already touched on. Given constraint on space, this final section will focus on the politics of global business and regulation. We have established that the geographic fragmentation of production is driven in large part by the search of many firms in many sectors for permissive regulatory and political environments, particularly in relation to labour and environmental standards.

However, it is not simply that these conditions exist and firms take locational decisions on that basis. Rather, lead firms mobilize vast political power to create those conditions and ensure that they are maintained. In the competition to attract foreign investment and to increase their exports, many developing countries have incentives to be the low-cost point in GVCs. Similarly, enforcement mechanisms remain either underdeveloped or unimplemented. For many states, these outcomes emerge from the significant asymmetries of political and bargaining power that exist between their governments and transnational and some local firms.

For others, the pressures of compulsion are less pronounced, but the competitive dynamics of the global economy and the demands of economic development push in the same direction, given additional impetus by the political power of transnational business. Evidence of these political dynamics abounds. China's Labour Contract Law of , for example, increased wages and protections for workers. A large number of big firms responded by moving their operations to sites in countries such as Vietnam or Cambodia where the regulatory environment remained even more permissive and labour costs even lower.

Arguments about political incentives against regulation are just as relevant to the more advanced economies as in the so-called developing world, where political dynamics between governments and big business, as well as ideological affinities between them, have substantially the same outcomes in terms of a retraction of regulation. As indicated above, it is firms, not states, that now play the major role in determining what will be produced, where and on what terms, and what will be traded internationally. Specifically, firms also play a major role in determining how production will be regulated, including through labour and environmental standards.

In consequence, the debate has recently shifted to an important and fascinating consideration of what kinds of governance initiatives, under what conditions, can make a difference in improving labour and other standards in the global economy, and what kinds of effective regulation can be conceived in the context of a world dominated by powerful business actors and the competitive dynamics of GVCs.

At the same time it must not be forgotten that there are plentiful examples of firms that have engaged in meaningful responsibility and accountability initiatives with some positive outcomes, and that not all firms are engaged in strategies of continually seeking to circumvent or undermine public regulation. It is interesting that in Britain, during the process of drawing up the Modern Slavery Act of , some businesses agitated for at least an element of government regulation inasmuch as they perceived a need for a level playing field in relation to labour practices.

At the same time, the relentless pressure on electronics firms from media and NGOs, noted above, has led to some significant initiatives to address the problem of labour abuses in their value chains. A final caveat is in order. Some states are more politically willing than others to challenge big business, through regulation or other means. Similarly, intense political contestation occurs between states and firms, as they tussle for control over the terms of production and the value created in the global economy.

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Tax scandals represent one case-study of this contestation. Another is the tension between business and government in relation to immigration policy and its consequences for labour supply. In relation to labour standards, there has emerged a politics of blame, where firms are apt to place responsibility on state regulation and blame its deficiencies, states are apt to insist that these are supply-chain issues, consumers receive appeals from each side, and workers continue to labour in conditions of systematic exploitation.

Asymmetries of political power thus form a critical part of the picture of how inequalities are produced and reproduced in a GVC world. Governance and politics matter, in short, and political power—both public and private—fuses in dynamic ways with market power and social power to produce the patterns of inequality in the global political economy that have been so amply observed over recent years.

At the time of writing in early , public discourse had renewed its focus on inequality in an attempt to understand seismic events such as the UK's referendum vote to leave the European Union, the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States, and the rise of the populist right in several countries. Questions of disadvantage, alienation and exclusion are all critical to this conjunction of events and trends.

Yet a focus on those people and sections of society alienated from globalization and crushed by its distributional dynamics cannot capture the full complexity of the political moment in which we find ourselves. Equally relevant is the question of for whom the system works: how, politically, the opportunities are protected for the massive concentration of wealth, power and advantage that we have explored here, and how economic, social and political inequalities can be manipulated and created afresh for that purpose.

Whether this means that we are seeing a significant crisis of capitalism, of an order which could usher in a substantively new order, remains an open question and one which deserves continued careful attention. To this extent, the inescapable conclusion is that incremental change will not be sufficient to address the distributional implications of the GVC world. The nationalistic, nativistic response of the political right in this context is deeply unpalatable and alarming to many, but has not yet been met with a coherent challenge from the centre or the left.

A compelling vision is needed of a progressive, internationalist politics that is capable of addressing the issues of power and inequality in the global political economy which have led us to this juncture, and capable of producing a foundation for significantly more equitable and inclusive forms of growth and development. Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

Sign In or Create an Account. Sign In. Advanced Search. Article Navigation. Close mobile search navigation Article Navigation. Volume Article Contents. Asymmetries of market power. Asymmetries of social power. Asymmetries of political power. Power and inequality in the global political economy Nicola Phillips. Oxford Academic. Google Scholar. I am sincerely grateful to the Martin Wight Memorial Trust and the LSE for their invitation and generous hospitality, and to International Affairs for the opportunity to publish this revised version.

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