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Globalization and Inequality: Neoliberalism's Downward Spiral

John Rapley
Globalization and Inequality: Neoliberalism's Downward Spiral
ISBN: 978-1-58826-245-5
ISBN: 978-1-58826-220-2
2004/193 pages/LC: 2003023327
A related title: Development and Underdevelopment edited Mitchell A. Seligson and John T Passé-Smith.

"A compelling account of the foremost contribution neoliberalism has made to global instability."—Simon Springer, Journal of Peace Research

"An outstanding and provocative work. Rapley makes an original and convincing argument, supports it with evidence from an impressively diverse literature ... and writes beautifully."—Edward S. Greenberg, University of Colorado, Boulder

"This is an exciting, thoughtful, and extremely well written book.... Rapley's penetrating analysis of the multiple global forces producing both marginalization and resistance is a must read."—Randolph B. Persaud, American University


Has the far-reaching experiment in creating a new world order along neoliberal lines succeeded? John Rapley answers with an emphatic no, contending that the rosy picture painted by neoliberal proponents of globalization was based on false assumptions.

True, Rapley acknowledges, neoliberal reforms often have generated economic growth—but at a price. The resulting increase in inequality has led to political instability and spawned tendencies ranging from right-wing populism to renewed ethnic and Islamic militancy.

Rapley offers a range of cases to illustrate how neoliberal globalization has helped to destroy regimes in the developing world by profoundly altering patterns of income distribution and resource allocation. The political tensions unleashed by these regime crises, he argues, are now being manifested around the globe, with the negative consequences still to be fully realized.


John Rapley is academic visitor at the Centre of Development Studies, University of Cambridge. He is author of Understanding Development: Theory and Practice in the Third World (now in its third edition) and Ivoirien Capitalism: African Entrepreneurs in Côte d'Ivoire.


  • Inequality and Instability.
  • The Material Formation of Regimes.
  • Regime and Culture.
  • Neoliberal Globalization and the Crisis of the State.
  • Manifestations of the Crisis.
  • The Crisis Comes Home.
  • Epilogue.
  • Appendix: Neoliberalism and Corporate Globalization.
No rights in South Asia.