Spring 2022 | Mediterranean Exploration

POLS 462 - Globalization, Sustainability, and Justice

Overview of Course

The term “globalization” commonly refers to the globalization of national economies into an international economy. In political science, we refer to this as neo-liberal economic globalization. But just as economic neoliberalism has social, environmental, and ecological consequences at the national level, so it does at the international level. Social action and political pressure in democracies led to policies that regulate neoliberal capitalism to mitigate some of its negative consequences. Examples include child labor laws, overtime compensation, occupational health and safety regulations, anti-discrimination in employment laws, and some environmental regulations. But there are few regulations in place internationally to do the same at the global level. International agencies and international treaties and conventions that do address these issues suffer from weak enforcement mechanisms and a lack of political will to strengthen those mechanisms.

Additionally, the logic of neoliberal capitalism, absent interventions, is to concentrate wealth in fewer and fewer hands and thus exacerbate inequalities rooted in a history of stratification and marginalization based on colonialism, ethnicity, race, class, and gender. This course will critically examine these forces and conditions by focusing on the relationship between globalization, sustainability, and justice. We will look at how these impacts have affected the countries we visit in our “Semester at Sea: and what these countries have (or have not) done to address these impacts both nationally and internationally.