[URBANTH-L] REV: Mughal on Day and Masciulli, Globalization and Political Ethics

Angela Jancius jancius3022 at comcast.net
Fri Nov 7 11:24:31 EST 2008

Anthropology Review Database. BOOK REVIEW

Day , Richard B. & Joseph Masciulli. 2007 Globalization and Political 
Ethics: International Studies in Sociology and Social Anthropology. Leiden; 
Boston: Brill.

Reviewed 24 Oct 2008 by Muhammad Aurang Zeb Mughal <zebi_anthro at yahoo.com>, 
Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund, Islamabad, Pakistan.

Richard B. Day (University of Toronto) and Joseph Masciulli (St. Thomas 
University), introduce Globalization and Political Ethics as a demonstration 
of the subjectivity of the term "globalization" with reference to the 
underlying political ethics and evaluate it in normative terms rather than 
as an objective prospect or in the language of economic science, where 
"value" has a "price" (p.ix).

     Globalization and Political Ethics comprises fifteen essays that 
examine the crucial issues of a globalizing world such as terrorism, 
institutional change, the configuration of the world economy, the role of 
the United Nations and international financial institutions, the regimes of 
international trade and technology transfer, the effects of regionalism in 
the European Union and Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the failure 
of Russia, and genocide and state-induced famines in Africa, all under the 
microscope of political ethics. Day and Masciulli look into the connection 
between globalization and ethics within a culture facing globalization 
elucidating the link between ethics and market through philosophical tools 
like Aristotle's arguments on ethical life in the city-state, state-centered 
Hegelian ethics, and the universal-cosmopolitan claims of Kantian morality. 
The book not only searches the prospects for global governance but also 
explains why there is a great need to institutionalize the markets at 
various levels of social organizations, as Habermas thinks, so that people 
can define market and society in their own terms.

     The authors are of the opinion that there are asymmetrical implications 
of the so-called universal economy due to the dominance of developed 
countries over the developing countries. They try to convince the reader 
that the trade and technology policies of the World Trade Organization (WTO) 
and its agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights 
(TRIPS) exist just to gratify the interests of Western powers and that both 
of these are hurdles in the way of development of the third world (p.129). 
The book argues that globalization has played havoc with Russia because its 
post-communist global economy is largely dictated by the West, and rejects 
the neo-liberal economists' claim that globalization provides economic 
efficiency and human enlightenment (p.175).

     Globalization and Political Ethics, while discussing regionalism, 
stresses it is unclear whether the foundation of the European Union has 
ended barriers to the movement of labor, goods and capital across borders, 
as Europe has been in the front line of favoring "globalization", or whether 
it aims to protect Europe's cultural identity and to save itself from the 
destructive pressures of globalization (p. 185). On the other hand, there 
are some who claim the EU is an ethical undertaking and a denial of market 
fundamentalism (p. 212) choosing the market economy instead of market 
society (p.210). Quoting ASEAN, the book stresses that humanitarian 
intervention, even if well intentioned, has a mammoth potential to be abused 

     The book presents open criticism of the genocide and state-induced 
famine in Africa blaming the West especially for colonial genocide in 
South-West Africa and Congo, and asks for more attention to such issues in 
Africa as part of our global ethics (p.242). It admires the role of the UN 
in security related issues beyond interstate relations (p.267 & 288) and 
also encourages cooperation and understanding in the fight against 
terrorism, conferring certain theoretical issues like relative universality 
of human rights and the prospects for global governance, keeping in view the 
shared risks to humanity.

     The selection of these topics narrows the book's focus to issues that 
are controversial from an ethical point of view and might have undermined 
the positive and moral aspects of globalization. For instance, a world 
without international unions and organizations could reflect a different 
situation as far as political ethics are considered, and that is why the 
volume markedly evaluates the impact of globalization, concluding, not 
always positively, on social justice, and judges the forces bringing 
globalization using political and historical facts to balance the 
philosophical ideals, and suggests models for the implications of political 
ethics in practice under the umbrella of globalization through the dialogue 
of political theory and international relations (p.391).

     At the end, the book gives hope for a better future for humanity 
through global governance fulfilling moral needs. It is a precious work that 
may help research and academic endeavors in the international politics and 
those interested in the moral aspects of change. 

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