EvansPolEc - C HAPTER Pol itical Economy Emmit B. Evans,...

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CHAPTER Pol itical Economy Emmit B. Evans, Jr. We face a global economic slowdown and a food security crisis, both ofuncertain magnitude and duration. Global warming has become more apparent. These developments affect our efforts to reduce poverty: the economic slowdown will diminish the incomes ofthe poor; the food crisis will raise the number ofhungry people in the world and push millions more into poverty; climate change will have a disproportionate impact on the poor. BAN KI-MOON 1 The global systems of economic production and distribution that determine the allocation of the earth's resources have created and maintain a world of gross disparities. The 85 percent of the world's population living in the Other World of the Global South possess only 20 percent of the planet's wealth, while 80 percent goes to the 15 percent living in the industrialized Global North; these disparities in wealth translate into related inequities in food, health, shelter, and life expectancy.2 And current world trends are toward rapidly increasing inequality: As United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon observes above, the global economic crisis that began in 2008 is widening the separation between the very rich and most of the world's peoples, while climate change driven by global warming is unleashing devastating environmental transformations being felt immediately and most severely in the Other World. 47
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48 Part I • Global Issues in the Other World Chapter 2 described how the global systems of production and distribution that have determined the contrasting lifestyles of the citizens of the industrialized West and the Other World were initiated 500 years ago. The first voyage of Columbus in 1492 marked the beginning of patterns of Western domination that have evolved through a series of stages to the globalization of today. This chapter traces the evolution of the global political economy from mercantilism to capitalism to globalization, and explores the challenges and opportunities before us as we realize our common future with the peoples of the Other World in a rapidly evolving global society. POLITICS, ECONOMICS, AND POLITICAL ECONOMY Politics is commonly defined as the authoritative allocation of values, or who gets what, when, and how. The political process, in other words, determines how those things people value most (such as survival, material goods, wealth, and status) are distributed among a society's, or the world's, peoples. Analysts of the political process have long noted that power is the primary factor that de- termines who gets what and when; an even more concise definition of politics is that it is simply the exercise of power. Power, in turn, is defined as the capac- ity to control other people's behavior. There are three types of power: violence, knowledge, and authority. In
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This note was uploaded on 10/24/2011 for the course POLS POLS 333 taught by Professor Evans during the Winter '11 term at Cal Poly.

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EvansPolEc - C HAPTER Pol itical Economy Emmit B. Evans,...

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