Agyeman, Opoku. Power, Powerlessness and Globalization: Contemporary Politics in the Global South.

Author:Nti, Kwaku
Position:Book review

Agyeman, Opoku. Power, Powerlessness and Globalization: Contemporary Politics in the Global South. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2014.

The pervasiveness of globalization among contemporary societies in the world is indisputable. It is, therefore, worthwhile that Opoku Agyeman's Power, Powerlessness and Globalization aids our understanding of the nuances and nature of this phenomenon. The author employs the dialectical correlation between power and powerlessness to expatiate on the complexities of the globalization phenomenon. Agyeman argues that in the aftermath of the Cold War transnational or multinational companies have gone amok opening up markets and spreading their influence and operations around the world. He agrees with other scholars that international financial institutions and trade organizations have occasioned a power shift of stunning proportions that obliterated any semblance of real economic and political sovereignty inherent in national, state, local governments, and communities at the expense of democracy, fairness, and the natural world. Tracing this hegemonic ascendancy to fifteenth century European global exploration, Agyeman recounts a litany of consequent atrocities in the Americas, Africa, and Asia. The monumental inequalities created as a result of this system go against the grain of a free, just global social order and the supposed incremental reforms in the structure of capitalism. According to Agyeman, the stark facts of the inevitable consequences of the dialectics of power and powerlessness reify moralistic pleas on behalf of the still less fortunate parts of the world.

The issue of Western duplicity underlying the general claim that globalization should be seen as an inevitable natural development proffering a positive-sum international economic transactions with mutually rewarding exchanges for all countries is presented. The realities of the capitalist world economy, as well as the operations of global economic institutions of governance, smacks of hypocrisy and double standards. Quoting authoritative sources, Agyeman asserts that Western countries have pushed poor countries to eliminate trade barriers while officiating a rigid barrier regime for the benefit of their economies; a kind of protectionism that among other things accounts for their wealth and power. The United States and European Union maintain domestic farm subsidies worth more than $300 billion annually, while IMF structural adjustment program...

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