Alternatives to Neoliberal Globalisation: Studies in the Political Economy of Institutions and Late Development, Palgrave: London, 2012; 197 pp: 9780230347182, 60 [pounds sterling] (hbk)
Globalisation and development are vital issues that affect lives of millions of people, and they have always been among the primary problems that have demonstrated the bankruptcy of mainstream perspectives in the social sciences, and the power of critical and radical political economy. Alternatives to Neoliberal Globalisation, by Dic Lo, is a welcome contribution to this field.
In the first half of the book, Lo provides a solid critique of a number of mainstream economic perspectives on global development ('new institutional economics', 'new political economy', etc.) as well as an assessment of some heterodox approaches ('new international division of labour', the variety of dependency theory, regulation theory, etc.).
Lo's intention is to reconcile technological and institutional dimensions of development. Building on the regulation approach to dynamics of capitalist development and the Schumpeterian approach that considers the technological underpinning of long-term change, he develops a techno-economic paradigm. It is the main notion of this book, and is defined as a combination of 'a generic technology that affects a major part of the economy' with 'the particular form of industrial (intra- and interfirm) organisation plus the demand regime that matches the comparative efficiency attributes of particular organisational form' (p. 67). Developing the taxonomy of what he describes as three main theoretical paradigms of explanation of the market system (Walrasian, neo-Hobbesian and Marxian), as well as Marxian and Smithian notions of the division of labour, he provides a description of three stylised techno-economic paradigms. These are Paradigm I (based on the social division of labour, markets and steady-state growth path), Paradigm II (based on the detailed division of labour, hierarchies and transitory multiple growth path), and Paradigm III (based on the social division of labour, networks and non-converging multiple growth paths). These distinctions and the very notion of techno-economic paradigms sound quite abstract, but fortunately, the second half of the book provides some clarifications for these notions and taxonomies.
This consists of applications of the theory developed, and a discussion of conceptual perspectives on selected important...