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A tale of two narratives: economic globalisation and the informal sector, the Gambian panorama

By Abdoulie Sallah

Abstract

This thesis critically evaluates the concept, theory and process of economic globalisation, which extends the widely held belief that capitalist firms now produce the vast majority of goods and services produced in the world (i.e. the commodification thesis), by asserting that this process of commodification is increasingly taking place within an open world economy in which firms operate in a deregulated and seamless global marketplace. In this economic globalisation thesis, therefore, it is a specific type of commodified global economy that is becoming hegemonic and stretching wider and deeper across the globe, namely unregulated or 'free market' capitalism composed of hyper-mobile and homeless capital operating in a borderless world. The intention here is to investigate this belief in economic globalisation by demonstrating the influence and pervasiveness of the informal sector in Gambian society. In doing so, this thesis contests the view that economic globalisation is the only feasible future for those in the 'developing' world particularly those in Sub-Saharan Africa (The Gambia), and displays how the future is more open than suggested by its proponents. The empirical findings of this thesis are that- a) the informal sector in the Gambia forms a significant part in the day-to-day livelihood coping strategies of rural and urban households; b) the provisioning of goods and services in Gambian society is largely embedded in the informal sector rather than the commodified global market; c) and that the informal sector in the Gambia is not an opposition to the benefits and opportunities offered by economic globalisation through foreign direct investment and trade and that such benefits and opportunities can be utilised by the informal sector in creating a development pathway for the Gambia

Publisher: University of Leicester
Year: 2009
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/7871

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