The advance of ecomic globalization has led many academics, policy-makers, and activists to warn that it leads to a 'race to the bottom'. In a world increasingly free of restrictions on trade and capital flows, developing nations that cut public services are risking detrimental effects to the populace. Conventional wisdom suggests that it is the poorer members of these societies who stand to lose the most from these pressures on welfare protections, but this new study argues for a more complex conceptualization of the subject. Nita Rudra demonstrates how and why domestic institutions in developing nations have historically igred the social needs of the poor; globalization neither takes away r advances what never existed in the first place. It has been the lower- and upper-middle classes who have benefited the most from welfare systems and, consequently, it is they who are most vulnerable to globalization's race to the bottom.
Nita Rudra is an Assistant Professor of International Affairs in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh.