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The pace of economic globalization has increased since 1990, according to most sources. Although this increased integration of economies is celebrated by many, this volume suggests many reasons for concern. As the volume authors demonstrate, a number of problems are clearly linked to neoliberal globalization. The simultaneous prioritization of market logic and attack on state resolution of social needs are key similarities across the volume. One of the contributions of this volume is the diagnosis of shared globalization-driven problems, but the volume is further distinguished by the fact that authors’ diagnoses are matched in each case by potential policy solutions. Here, we similarly diagnose general trends in labor, environment, and global governance, and offer some general solutions as a way to help contextualize the authors’ more precise contributions.
In the neoliberal era, workers bear the brunt of increasingly polarized global inequality in wealth and income. The world of work continues to be marred by global, national, and local stratification forces that determine who gets good jobs or bad jobs, what those workers look like, and where they come from. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), 1.4 billion people, 42% of the world’s total employment population in 2017, struggle with “vulnerable employment.” Vulnerable employment, alternatively called precarious work, represents work that is informal, part-time, irregular, low-pay, lacking security and benefits, and disposable. Ninety percent of workers in India fall into this category, as does much of sub-Saharan Africa, where people toil between subsistence farming to self-employed work informality. In the Global North, work precarity is seen in the rise of part-time contract work and service-based employment. Labor intermediaries, such as temporary staffing agencies or labor brokers who recruit workers for agriculture or light manufacturing, have gained new prominence as employers prefer to outsource their employer responsibilities.
Precarity is also reflective of gender, race, caste, class, and citizenship divisions. Women continue to be numerous in occupations and sectors that are constructed as feminine and subsequently not accorded equitable compensation and treatment. Migrant workers, 150 million in 2017, are crossing the globe—pulled by political instability, poverty, and neoliberal policies—to work in jobs where their migrant status is exploited for employer economic gain. As migrant workers they embody a “precarity multiplier” that worsens all standard employment conditions. Internal migrant precarious worker status is just as jarring in many locales.
The Global Agenda for Social Justice provides accessible insights into some of the world's most pressing social problems and proposes international public policy responses to those problems. Chapters examine topics such as criminal justice, media concerns, environmental problems, economic problems, and issues concerning sexualities and gender.
The Agenda for Social Justice: Solutions 2016 provides accessible insights into some of the most pressing social problems in the United States and proposes public policy responses to those problems. It offers recommendations for action around key issues for social justice.