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UNU-WIDER Global Capitalism Theory and the Emergence of Transnational Elites

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A teenager wears torn rubber boots in a muddy local market in Bac Ha, Viet Nam. As of 2005 figures, half the world population—more than 3 billion people–is estimated to live on less than USD 2.50 a day. Bac Ha, Viet Nam. UN Photo/Kibae Park.

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WP/02 Global Capitalism Theory and the Emergence of Transnational Elites

The class and social structure of developing nations has undergone profound transformation in recent decades as each nation has incorporated into an increasingly integrated global production and financial system. National elites have experienced a new fractionation. Emergent transnationally-oriented elites grounded in globalized circuits of accumulation compete with older nationally-oriented elites grounded in more protected and often state-guided national and regional circuits. This essay focuses on structural analysis of the distinction between these two fractions of the elite and the implications for development. I suggest that nationally-oriented elites are often dependent on the social reproduction of at least a portion of the popular and working classes for the reproduction of their own status, and therefore on local development processes however so defined whereas transnationally-oriented elites are less dependent on such local social reproduction. The shift in dominant power relations from nationally- to transnationally-oriented elites is reflected in a concomitant shift to a discourse from one that defines development as national industrialization and expanded consumption to one that defines it in terms of global market integration.
Publisher:
UNU-WIDER
Series:
WIDER Working Paper
Volume:
2010/02
Title:
WP/02 Global Capitalism Theory and the Emergence of Transnational Elites
Authors:
William I. Robinson
Publication date:
January 2010
ISBN 13 Web:
978-92-9230-237-5
Copyright holder:
© UNU-WIDER
Copyright year:
2010
Keywords:
Elites, development, globalization, transnational, capitalism, crisis
JEL:
F01, F54, F59, P16
Project:
The Role of Elites in Economic Development
Sponsor:
UNU-WIDER gratefully acknowledges the financial contributions to the project by the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and the financial contributions to the research programme by the governments of Denmark (Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Finland (Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs), Sweden (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency—Sida) and the United Kingdom (Department for International Development).
Format:
online and printed copies

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