Book Review – The Rise of the Global Imaginary – Part 2

RGI Here is the second part of my review of Manfred Steger‘s The Rise of the Global Imaginary (part 1 here). In the last part of the book, Steger focuses on the sometimes conflicting ideologies derived from the global imaginaries.

Starting from the collapse of the USSR, Steger argues (correctly, I think) that the first winning ideology in the decontestation game was market globalism , the ideology that managed to decontest "globalization" in the limited sense of deregulated markets on a global scale.

To explore the tenets of market globalism, Steger reviews the writings of one of its main proponents and popularizers: Thomas Friedman. Needless to say, this is painful to read as is anything related to Thomas Friedman (hence no links), however he is indeed a central figure in the promotion of market globalism. He is also a good representative of the way this ideology was promoted by the political, economic and corporate elites in the 1990s (or the transnational capitalist class as Leslie Sklair calls this group, Friedman belongs to the ideological sub-group of the TCC).

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Women and Politics – Cutting Through the Nonsense

Echidne has a great article over at Alternet regarding the non-sensical and stupid thesis that there are few women in politics because they do not have the ambition, drive and thick skin to face the political world. In other words, states the stupid thesis, they have an inner glass ceiling. This is idiotic, of course, Echidne lists all the relevant arguments, so, just go read, ok? Then come back and read some of the background I have to offer on this.

According to Paxton and Hughes (2007), women represent approximately half of the world’s population but only 16% of national parliaments. Of 190 countries, only 7 have women as head of the government. Women are 9% of ambassadors to the United Nations, 7% of the world’s cabinet ministers and 8% of the world’s mayors. In politics and government, the gender gap is extremely wide and well represents the global persistence of patriarchy.

In addition, in no country do women make half of the parliament even though a few countries come very close (See table). Interestingly, some countries of the global South seem to do a better job than some Western countries when it comes to promoting women in politics. After all, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Indonesia and Chile have or have had female presidents; in contrast, France and the United States have not.

World Rankings for Women in Parliament in Select Countries, 2005

Rank

Country

% Women

1

Rwanda

48.8

2

Sweden

45.3

3

Norway

38.2

4

Finland

37.5

5

Denmark

36.9

6

Netherlands

36.7

7

Cuba

36.0

7

Spain

36.0

8

Costa Rica

35.1

9

Mozambique

34.8

10

Belgium

34.7

15

Iraq

31.6

19

New Zealand

28.3

20

Vietnam

27.3

21

Namibia

26.9

26

Australia

24.7

27

Mexico

24.2

41

China

20.2

42

Poland

20.3

52

United Kingdom

18.1

61

United States

15.2

72

France

11.1

128

Kuwait

0

Source: Paxton & Hughes (2007:17)

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