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Globalization and inequality: issues of conceptualization and of explanation

This paper refers to three sets of fundamental issues which are still controversial and unsettled among social scientists. Two are basically conceptual or theoretical, one is both conceptual and empirical. First, what is globalization? How should it be conceptualized? Second, what kinds of inequality can be distinguished, and what are the most pertinent? Third, what kinds of processes produce the global outcomes of inequality that we are observing and experiencing? None of the three questions above has, and can be expected to get one straight answer. The aims of this paper are to conribute to a clarification of alternatives and their implications, to argue a certain conceptual-analytical viewpoint, and to provide some empirical arguments for a multi-faceted approach to the production of inequality in the world. Globalization and inequality are two crossroads of the social sciences and of social philosophy. This writer is reaching them from a background as a sociologist and as a political scientist.

Globalization; inequality; capability

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