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Globalisation, Inequality and Climate Change: What Difference Does China Make?

Kaplinsky, R

Geography Compass   2 (1) 67-78

January 2008   (First published online November 2007)

The deepening of globalisation in the late 20th century saw accelerating climate change, growing inequality and obstinate levels of poverty, not just in low-income economies, but also in the European Union and the rest of the high-income world. These outcomes can be traced directly to the workings of the global economy. Three developments suggest a limit to deepening globalisation. Global production systems are environmentally unsustainable; global excess production capacity is leading to a race to the bottom in wages for many, not just in the developing world. China's access to the global economy, with its overwhelming resource hunger and large and educated labour force, exacerbates these developments. Indian development is around the corner. What can be done? Global production systems need to be truncated and growth needs to become more local. China, India and other newly emergent Asian economies need to be drawn into the discussions and institutions of global governance.