Saving ‘World Market Society’ from itself? Risk, the New Politics of Inequality and the Agents of World Market Society

Alex Nunn


Socio-economic inequality is now firmly on the international political agenda. In recent years the World Economic Forum, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, World Bank and International Monetary Fund have all produced publications lamenting increased inequality and its impact on political stability, the fragility of the international financial system and growth. This paper argues that this interest needs to be located in the emergence of an expanding ‘world market society’ (WMS) that these organisations are both representative of and have sought to promote. They are now also engaged in a complex process of identifying and seeking to manage systemic risks to WMS expansion, arising from the expansion process itself, with socio-economic inequality now seen as one of these. Several factors though suggest that their efforts may not be successful. These include the lack of capacity of international organisations to manage risk independently of their mainly state-scale allies and their inability to escape the objective of WMS expansion as they seek to manage risks to it. The paper argues therefore that there is an emergent New Global Politics of Inequality whose forlorn objective is to save world market society from itself.

Key Words: World Society; Inequality; Risk; International Organisation; World Market; International Monetary Fund; World Bank; Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development; World Economic Forum.

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The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the lessons from Eastern Central Europe for Middle East/North African Transition

Stuart Shields


This paper seeks to understand the role played by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in helping to consolidate the gains from the Arab Spring. There is little academic analysis of the EBRD in Eastern Central Europe’s (ECE) transition, let alone the Middle East/North Africa (MENA). Yet here is an institution in the vanguard of political economic change. The paper explores the mechanisms and strategies utilised by the EBRD to aid reforms in ECE, and then explores whether similar formulations can be uncovered in MENA by comparing the intellectual assistance to post-communist reformers in ECE with the current advice to MENA, in particular Egypt.

Key Words: EBRD, ECE, MENA, Gramsci, Neoliberalisation

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Contrived Civilizations The Western Eurasian Mode of Hierarchies Production and the (Geo)Political Origins of Scientia

Gennaro Ascione


In this article I expose the idea that modernity is not only a distinctive era as historical sociology uses to think, neither only a discursive formation, as anti-foundational postcolonial critique assesses. It is rather a configuration of a Western Eurasian mode of hierarchies production with global projection that first emerged as a response to the cultural, political and geopolitical challenges that the reconfiguration of power in XIII century Mediterranean space posed to dominant strata of Latin Christianity. In order to explore the conjectural emergence and reconfiguration of this mode of hierarchies production, I reconstruct the nexus of continuity and discontinuity between modern science and late medieval Scientia.
Key Words: Modernity, Circulation of Knowledge, Eurocentrism, Scientific Revolution, Aristotelianism, Averroism

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