Hart, Keith, ed. Economy For and Against Democracy. New York: Berghahn Books, 2015. vi + 272 pages. Hardcover, $110.00.
When did the world economy become democratic? Does the economy thrive on the politics of democracy? How does the concept of political ideology influence the world financial market? To answer questions such as these, one needs to understand the global or international political economy, which is broadly seen as an academic discipline that evaluates the economics of countries and their political interactions with one another. When doing so, one discovers that political democracy does not, in fact, guarantee economic democracy which is a system designed to respect the voices and economic activities of all citizens.
Unfortunately, in the global economy, it is the policies of a few economic institutions, powers, and markets which determine the world's financial environment to the neglect of the billions of people who directly or indirectly contribute to the global economy. Capitalism and socialism as political ideologies do not fully address global economic activities as the former promotes economic inequality while the latter falsely affirms financial equality for all. For political/economic analysis, other factors must be selectively combined with citizens' initiatives to promote a more democratic world society. Thus, financial analysts should "cease--viewing the global economy in predominantly national terms" (p. 5).
Despite this impasse, the authors of this edited book, through their various rich independent fieldworks, show that financial analyses should not only be done through the use of quantitative approaches. It is essential that human factors enter the equation through the addition of qualitative research studies. As Coase and Wang note in the book, isolating economics from the ordinary business of life is unfortunate. In addition, a common theme of this eleven-chapter book is advocating that global financial analyses must include the business activities of the people in third world countries. Admittedly, most of the global financial analyses, historically, have utilized data from the mainstream economic institutions of the north, leaving the south neglected or marginalized. The three sections of this book--'Economy Versus Democracy,' 'The Struggle For Economic Democracy,' and 'Visions Of Human Economy And Democracy'--cover in-depth analyses of African countries south of the equator as well as Argentina and a few...