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Is globalization a driver of economic growth and social development?


  • Arno Tausch

    () (Corvinus University of Budapest Budapest Hungary, Innsbruck University Innsbruck Austria)


This article starts from the assumptions that the world can learn a lot from the empirical and theoretical debates and research results of dependency and world systems research. The European ‘political class’ seems to react more slowly to the implications of the global economic crisis. The policy package currently offered by the Commission still relies on open economies as pillar number 1 of any conceivable strategy. A rediscovery of this radical ‘dependency perspective’, first introduced by the Argentine economist Raúl Prebisch and other Latin American thinkers during the Great Depression of the 1930s, and more fully developed in the so-called Latin American ‘dependency debate’ of the late 1960s and 1970s; and the current empirical ‘world systems theory’ mean a fundamental break with the existing dominant thinking on the subject of economic and social convergence. Continuing critical perspectives, initiated by Polanyi, and developed in Hungary by Andor, Inotai and Szentes, and above all in the quantitative investigations by the Swiss sociologist Volker Bornschier and his associates, we show that on a global cross-national scale, very important indicators of the future and well-being of our continent, ranging from the famous ‘European social model’ to tertiary educational enrolment, infant mortality, rule of law, female survival rates, economic growth, inequality, unemployment, and environmental security are significantly being determined by our models, and all the explanations point in the direction of the penetration of multinational corporations (MNCs) and its growth over time as constituting a major and important development bottleneck. Our dependency approach thus re-iterates the substantial findings, proposed by the Bornschier sociological school. A thorough re-thinking of basic premises of policy-making in Europe is thus necessary. In our opinion, European policy-making finally should dare to take the globalization-critical organizations of ‘civil society’ seriously.

Suggested Citation

  • Arno Tausch, 2011. "Is globalization a driver of economic growth and social development?," Society and Economy, Akadémiai Kiadó, Hungary, vol. 33(3), pages 505-524, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:aka:soceco:v:33:y:2011:i:3:p:505-524
    Note: Opinions expressed by the author in this contribution are exclusively those expressed in his capacity as adjunct professor at Austrian Universities and do not or do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Austrian government.

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    More about this item


    Lisbon process; European Union; Latin America; dependency theory;

    JEL classification:

    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General
    • O52 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe
    • O54 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • P50 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - General


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