Although the literature on globalization has increased exponentially over the last decade, the term is still poorly defined and its many facets and complexities are under-appreciated. A major problem is the way the effects of globalization on social welfare have been reduced to simplistic, rhetorical statements that either condemn all aspects of globalization or uncritically extol its benefits. In reality, however, globalization has complex and paradoxical consequences for human well-being. For example, international trade is widely viewed by many progressive observers as being exploitative and unequal and many are appropriately critical of the way neo-liberal writers wax lyrical about its purportedly positive impact. On the other hand, it cannot be denied that some countries have benefited from export led development, and that incomes and standards of living for many of their citizens have improved as a result of the increased rate of employment generated through trade.

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