Globalization and Collective Action

Deborah Yasher wrote an interesting article on the link between globalization and collective action. If you are on campus, here is a link to a pdf version of the article. A well-known phenomenon in the field of social movements and collective is the so-called “free-rider problem”. From the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

In many contexts, all of the individual members of a group can benefit from the efforts of each member and all can benefit substantially from collective action. For example, if each of us pollutes less by paying a bit extra for our cars, we all benefit from the reduction of harmful gases in the air we breathe and even in the reduced harm to the ozone layer that protects us against exposure to carcinogenic ultraviolet radiation (although those with fair skin benefit far more from the latter than do those with dark skin). If all of us or some subgroup of us prefer the state of affairs in which we each pay this bit over the state of affairs in which we do not, then the provision of cleaner air is a collective good for us. (If it costs more than it is worth to us, then its provision is not a collective good for us.)

Unfortunately, my polluting less does not matter enough for anyone — especially me — to notice. Therefore, I may not contribute my share toward not fouling the atmosphere. I may be a freerider on the beneficial actions of others. This is a compelling instance of the logic of collective action, an instance of such grave import that we pass laws to regulate the behavior of individuals to force them to pollute less.

Review Article

Globalization and Collective Action

Activists beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics

Margaret E. Keck; Kathryn Sikkink
Has Globalization Gone Too Far?

Dani Rodrik
Limits of Citizenship: Migrants and Postnational Membership in Europe

Yasemin Nuhoğlu Soysal
Review author[s]: Deborah J. Yashar
Comparative Politics, Vol. 34, No. 3. (Apr., 2002), pp. 355-375.


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