The globalisation hypothesis has altered many of the common-sense ‘truths’ around which the social world is organised.* In particular, globalisation is thought to restrict the parameters of the politically and economically possible. Indeed, the notion of constrained choice is so pronounced that we are increasingly confronted with the image of globalisation’s ‘logic of no alternative’; an image which is predicated on the assumption of perfect capital mobility. Capital is considered to be sufficiently rational to take advantage of enhanced exit options from the national economy in circumstances in which its interests are served by moving off-shore. Moreover, global markets are also assumed to have exploited contemporary technological developments to such an extent that they now clear instantaneously; consequently, allowing capital to further its interests wherever in the world new profit opportunities arise. Thus, we are presented with the fundamental ‘reality’ of globalisation as currently narrated throughout much of the west: unless the market can be allowed to restore a competitive global equilibrium, capital will exit high-wage, high-cost western economies and re-locate in lower-wage, lower-cost, newly industrialising economies. Under the auspices of ever more hostile wage competition from the newly industrialising economies, globalisation is commonly presumed to act as a trigger for an ‘inevitable’ job displacement effect as capital deserts the advanced industrialised economies
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