From Fellow Tim Bartley:  My entry point has become “rules.”  I’m not sure if I chose it or if it chose me. I think it was more the latter, in that I came to realize that a lot of the dynamics I am interested could be described as what I call the “puzzle of rules.”

The basic idea is that the global economy is both “unruly” and generative of many new rule-making projects.  In the past, we’ve tended to see the process of globalization through one of the other of these frames.

Key Terms

Neoliberalism:  A set of ideas stressing the power of so-called “free markets” to increase general welfare and a related political project to tear down barriers to international trade and investment.

The Double Movement of Capitalism:  The idea, famously theorized by Karl Polanyi, that the expansion of capitalism involves, first a commodification of “fictitious commodities”—land, labor, and money, and second, de-commodifying reactions that re-embed markets in society.

Discussion Questions

1) In what other settings can you see evidence of the expansion of transnational rule-making?

2) To what extent is unruliness, as discussed in the chapter, generated by national and sub-national dynamics versus global and transnational dynamics?

Supplemental Readings

Bartley, T., Koos, S., Samel, H., Samel, Setrini, G. and Summers, N.  (Forthcoming).  Consuming Alternatives?  Global Production and the Dilemmas of Conscientious Consumerism. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

Auld, G. (2014).  Constructing Private Governance: The Rise and Evolution of Forest, Coffee, and Fisheries Certification. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Djelic, M.L. and Quack, S. (2010).  Transnational Communities: Shaping Global Economic Governance. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Polanyi, K. (1944). The Great Transformation. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.

Quark, A. (2013).  Global Rivalries:  Standards Wards and the Transnational Cotton Trade. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Seidman, G. (2007). Beyond the Boycott: Labor Rights, Human Rights and Transnational Activism. New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation / ASA Rose Series.

Streeck, W. (2009). Re-forming Capitalism: Institutional Change in the German Political Economy. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Can be taught with these Framing the Global chapters 

  • Miraftab/Displacement
  • Gille/Materiality
  • Kumar/Genealogies
  • Harvey/The Particular
  • Perullo/Rights
  • Mascarenhas/Sovereignty

Further Teaching Resources:

Business and Human Rights Resource Centre

Commodity Histories

Worker Poisoning in the Electronics Industry in China

Related Films or Television Programs

Documentary: Last Train Home

Documentary: Who Pays the Price? The Human Cost of Electronics

Showtime Reporting Series: Years of Living Dangerously

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver: The Problems of Fast Fashion

Other Complementary Materials

Google Site for Tim Bartley and co-authors