Configuring the World

A Critical Political Economy Approach

Content

This book is a tool-box that allows you to take apart the world as you know it, examine its component parts and then to reassemble it in a more meaningful form. In other words, it allows you to configure the world. It introduces you to differences between countries, regions and continents and it encourages you to explore the underlying data that purported to represent, and ultimately to explain, those differences. The elements that have been chosen all lie at the intersection between politics and economics, or between states and markets. They all have profound societal consequences.

CHAPTER

1

Configuring the World

This chapter will begin by explaining what the book is about, starting with the title. It will explore the meanings behind the words ‘configuring the world’, and it will then untangle the subtitle.

CHAPTER

2

Population

Population size provides the base line of human beings requiring food and shelter and other basic needs. It also determines the human resources available for providing these necessities, which also depends on the technology and capital available.

CHAPTER

3

National income

National Income is the means by which we measure the output of an economy at a specific point in time, and changes in that output over time.

CHAPTER

4

Poverty

Although a country may seem poor, it does not necessarily follow that everyone in that country is poor, or that poor people do not live in slightly more prosperous countries.

CHAPTER

5

Trust

‘Trust’ is the word we use to define a relationship between individuals and between social groups.

CHAPTER

6

Inequality and Fragmentation

Since country averages do not necessarily tell the whole story, in this chapter we will look at the range of experience within a society in terms of its coherence or homogeneity, both economic and cultural.

CHAPTER

7

Governance

In this chapter I will limit the concept to governments. Governance is a concept that describes the processes by which governments, markets or networks decide upon goals and deliver the goods and functions expected of them.

CHAPTER

8

Development Assistance

The chapter will look at the various phases in development aid strategy that preceded the World Bank’s focus on good governance. We will look at the motivations, and direction of aid-giving

CHAPTER

9

Small Sates

Small states are obviously different, but in which respects? We will also turn to the question whether these differences constitute disadvantages, and whether these disadvantages are insuperable.

CHAPTER

10

Globalisation

Globalisation is the kind of term that everyone claims to understand but where no two strangers will agree on a definition. What does it mean, and what are the drivers of the process?

CHAPTER

11

The Locus of Control

Some claim that national states are losing the ability to shape events due to the forces of globalisation. This chapter will examine alternative sources of potential power capable of exercising some control over the international economy.