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Globalization: Homogenization or Newfound Diversity?

Sabine O'Hara and Adelheid Biesecker

Review of Social Economy, 2003, vol. 61, issue 3, 281-294

Abstract: The ongoing expansion of global markets and their concomitant global rules and value systems appears to be unavoidable as international agreements and institutions like the WTO, IMF, World Bank and EU support previously unknown levels of global market liberalization and free trade. National policies and institutions are rendered increasingly powerless in the process. Is the result of the expanding global market and one of its most far reaching regional example, the European Union, a growing loss of national and regional identity and homogenization or are there renewed opportunities for smaller scale, context specific economies and diverse institutions? These are the questions this special issue seeks to examine. It does so by assessing the impact of globalization and European Integration on five Western European economies that exemplify particular social-economic types—the Anglo-Saxon model (Ireland), the Mediterranian model (Italy), the social market model (Germany and France) and the Scandinavian model (Denmark). The introductory chapter starts with a brief discussion of (1) the relevance of globalization to social economics, (2) institutional considerations of globalization pressures and 'pressure-free' spaces and (3) a brief summary of the five contributions to this special issue and their assessment of recent developments in individual member countries of the European Union. While the chapter concludes that the answer to the question “homogenization or diversity” is still out, it observes that much of the answers to the apparent economic efficiency challenges given by the five European economies discussed, resemble each other. The homogenization of the new global reality may, paradoxically, lie in its diverse, yet common solutions. The real challenge may thus well lie in finding ways for these specificities to persist without resorting to the aggressive defense of regional and national identities.

Keywords: globalization; European integration; social economy; social capitalism; diversity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2003
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DOI: 10.1080/0034676032000115787

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