Global Inequalities


York W. Bradshaw & Michael Wallace

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  • Sociology for a New Century


    Edited by Charles Ragin, Wendy Griswold, and Larry Griffin

    Sociology for a New Century brings the best current scholarship to today's students in a series of short texts authored by leaders of a new generation of social scientists. Each book addresses its subject from a comparative, historical, and global perspective and, in doing so, connects social science to the wider concerns of students seeking to make sense of our dramatically changing world.

    • Global Inequalities York W. Bradshaw and Michael Wallace
    • How Societies Change Daniel Chirot
    • Cultures and Societies in a Changing World Wendy Griswold
    • Crime and Disrepute John Hagan
    • Gods in the Global Village: The World's Religions in Sociological Perspective Lester R. Kurtz
    • Waves of Democracy: Social Movements and Political Change John Markoff
    • Development and Social Change: A Global Perspective Philip McMichael
    • Constructing Social Research Charles C. Ragin
    • Women and Men at Work Barbara Reskin and Irene Padavic
    • Cities in a World Economy Saskia Sassen


    • Social Psychology and Social Institutions Denise and William Bielby
    • Schools and Societies Steven Brint
    • The Social Ecology of Natural Resources and Development Stephen G. Bunker
    • Ethnic Dynamics in the Modern World Stephen Cornell
    • The Sociology of Childhood William A. Corsaro
    • Economy and Society Mark Granovetter
    • People and Populations: Demography and the Human Experience Dennis P. Hogan
    • Racism in the Modern World Wilmot G. James
    • Health and Societies Bernice Pescosolido
    • Organizations in a World Economy Walter W. Powell


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    About the Authors

    York W. Bradshaw is Associate Professor of Sociology and African Studies at Indiana University. He received his Ph.D. in 1987 from Northwestern University, where he learned the value of traveling abroad to discover new cultures and ways of life. He has continued to travel, research, and teach in a variety of countries around the world. His publications focus on topics that concern the developing world, including urbanization patterns, economic development, and health and education issues. He is editor of a forthcoming book titled Education in Comparative Perspective: New Lessons from Around the World, and he is co-editor of the International Journal of Comparative Sociology. Outside of his academic work, he conducts seminars for businesses and not-for-profit organizations on how to enhance teamwork in situations of cultural diversity.

    Michael Wallace is Professor of Sociology at Indiana University. He received his Ph.D. from Indiana University. His past work has dealt with issues of labor markets, organization of work, and other topics in social stratification. He edited the book Deindustrialization and the Restructuring of American Industry and is currently editor of the annual volume Research in Social Stratification and Mobility. His current research interests include analyses of the labor movements in Canada and Western Europe.

    About the Publisher

    Pine Forge Press is a new educational publisher, dedicated to publishing innovative books and software throughout the social sciences. On this and any other of our publications, we welcome your comments, ideas, and suggestions. Please call or write to:

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    Sociology for a New Century offers the best of current sociological thinking to today's students. The goal of the series is to prepare students, and—in the long run—the informed public, for a world that has changed dramatically in the last three decades and one that continues to astonish.

    This goal reflects important changes that have taken place in sociology. The discipline has become broader in orientation, with an evergrowing interest in research that is comparative, historical, or transnational in orientation. Sociologists are less focused on “American”society as the pinnacle of human achievement and more sensitive to global processes and trends. They also have become less insulated from surrounding social forces. In the 1970s and 1980s sociologists were so obsessed with constructing a science of society that they saw impenetrability as a sign of success. Today, there is a greater effort to connect sociology to the ongoing concerns and experiences of the informed public.

    Each book in this series offers in some way a comparative, historical, transnational, or global perspective to help broaden students' vision. Students need to comprehend the diversity in today's world and to understand the sources of diversity. This knowledge can challenge the limitations of conventional ways of thinking about social life. At the same time, students need to understand that issues that may seem specifically “American”(for example, the women's movement, an aging population bringing a strained social security and health care system, racial conflict, national chauvinism, and so on) are shared by many other countries. Awareness of commonalities undercuts the tendency to view social issues and questions in narrowly American terms and encourages students to seek out the experiences of others for the lessons they offer. Finally, students need to grasp phenomena that transcend national boundaries—trends and processes that are supranational (for example, environmental degradation). Recognition of global processes stimulates student awareness of causal forces that transcend national boundaries, economies, and politics.

    Global Inequalities, by York W. Bradshaw and Michael Wallace, provides a comprehensive introduction to global inequalities between and within major world regions. The book presents general theoretical arguments and then applies them to four areas: Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. The strength of the book is that it mixes academic material with lively stories and examples from around the globe. Bradshaw and Wallace discuss global success stories as well as criticize needless patterns of inequality. In the final chapter the authors present suggestions for creating positive social changes throughout the world. Bradshaw and Wallace have given us a comprehensive, rigorous, and eminently readable treatment of an issue of global significance.



    Forty years ago, there would have been little demand for this book in the United States. Colleges offered few courses on international studies, and the general public did not know or care very much about global issues. Aside from concerns over communism and war, few people were even interested in what happened around the world. And there was virtually no interest in poor countries and where they fit into the global puzzle.

    The situation is much different today. Savvy college students can select from a variety of courses in international economics, politics, and cultures, and they may learn a foreign language or two. Students can take specialized courses in Asia, Africa, Europe, or Latin America, and they may even volunteer for the Peace Corps upon graduation. Business students, and businesspeople in general, are also taking a greater interest in global issues as financial markets stretch far beyond U.S. borders. Moreover, students, businesspeople, and the general public are traveling more today than ever before, generating considerable interest in other cultures and countries. Without broad knowledge of global issues, people will miss out on a wide array of career, educational, and travel opportunities.

    This book offers a general introduction to important issues throughout today's world. We examine a wide variety of topics, from global economic trends to ethnic conflicts, in four major regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Our primary goal is to introduce people to these areas, providing a theoretical framework that helps readers understand the regions better. Every region has its unique features, but each also exhibits features that are common across regions, countries, and cultures. By studying all of these characteristics, people can learn more about other countries while also learning more about their own nations.

    Our principal focus throughout the book is on inequality at several different levels. Two points are important in considering inequality. First, there are substantial economic and political inequalities between and within different regions and countries. For instance, Asia is widely viewed as an emerging economic giant, certainly more powerful than Africa and threatening to surpass both Europe and the Americas. Such inequalities have implications for each region as well as for the countries and individuals within the regions. Second, inequalities change over time, reshuffling the economic and political fortunes of regions, countries, and communities. Brutally racist regimes turn democratic (for example, South Africa), leading global powers lose strength (Britain), superpowers break up and face economic crisis (the Soviet Union), and communist giants open their markets to capitalist development (China). Change is an enduring feature of the world, and it is a constant theme throughout this book.

    This book presents a combination of academic works, lively stories and examples, and reports from newspapers and other popular press outlets. An understanding of current events is essential for anyone interested in global issues. At the same time, academic models and theories help us make sense of current events and place them in an appropriate context. Stories and examples not only illustrate major points, they are also fun to read and fun to tell. We enjoy relating the many examples and stories that we have gathered in years of research around the world.

    Although this book covers a lot of territory, we do not try to cover every country, every issue, or every theoretical model. To the contrary, we are selective in each respect, trying to present a variety of major issues and topics. Readers can use our presentation as a starting point and then focus on additional countries, issues, and theories that interest them. The world is so dynamic and diverse that we will never run out of topics to investigate and ponder.

    We have benefited enormously from the assistance of many people while writing this book. Bruce Heilman and Julie Kmec were the primary research assistants throughout the project, and they did a truly outstanding job. We are very grateful for their efforts. Ophra Leyser, David Brady, John Gnida, Suzanne Goodney, and Carla Shirley also provided able research assistance at different points in the project. Stephen Ndegwa (College of William and Mary), Jie Huang (Ohio State University), Cynthia Woolever (Midway College), Jeanne Hurlbert (Louisiana State University), and Craig Jenkins (Ohio State University) read the manuscript and offered superb suggestions for revision/The book would not be nearly as coherent without their insightful comments. A group of wonderful graduate students also read and commented on the book draft, including Claudia Buchmann, Njeri Gikonyo, Rita Noonan, Sabine Rieble, and Agostino Zamberia. Their excellent suggestions made us rethink, revise, and reconsider our arguments. One of the true pleasures of being a professor is to work closely with graduate students and to watch the students become the teachers. Faculty and student participants in Indiana University's Program in Comparative International Studies also provided an enthusiastic and critical audience for many of our early ideas.

    Where would international researchers and teachers be without maps? Many maps in this book were drawn by John Hollingsworth. His precision, careful attention to detail, and overall dedication are much appreciated.

    Special thanks are reserved for a few people. Larry Griffin read several versions of our manuscript and provided his “usual”set of comments, which, quite frankly, were nothing short of extraordinary. Larry has commented on much of our work through the years, and it is always a privilege to learn from him. He has the rare ability to make unusually incisive comments in a very constructive and supportive manner. Victoria Nelson offered excellent suggestions about how to reorganize an early draft and to make the overall manuscript more readable. Steve Rutter of Pine Forge Press is the best publisher that one could possibly hope to encounter. He has read several versions of the manuscript and done a superb job of synthesizing comments from other reviewers and then offering his own suggestions. Moreover, Steve has shown great patience and encouragement throughout the project, as we tried to finish this book amid too many other deadlines. We are extraordinarily grateful for his efforts. Finally, we express our gratitude to Charles Ragin and Wendy Griswold for editing the Pine Forge series along with Larry Griffin.

    In Chapter 1 we discuss an African proverb: “It takes a whole village to raise a single child.” Reflecting on the generous support and assistance that we have received while writing this book, we might paraphrase that statement as “It takes a whole village of scholars to write a single book.” Using the most widely spoken language in Africa, Swahili, we say Asante sana. (Thank you very much.)

    York W.BradshawMichaelWallace
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