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Economic restructuring has led to an increasing proletarianization and deskilling of jobs. Although high technology is presented as the solution to many economic problems, it has not contributed to raising the standard of living of most people. Even if some jobs are being created in high-tech industries, these jobs are mostly in clerical and assembly work, which pay below-average wages and do not require high skills, or in personal services jobs. Not surprisingly, the most important category of job creation in the States in the last decade has been in the realm of personal services, including job categories as varied as physical and health trainers to private security services.

Anoter evident change is that, with the implementation of neoliberal policies, the state has withdrawn from its responsibility to administer public resources to promote social justice. This is being replaced by a blind faith in the market (i.e. in calls for increased school privatization, "choice", and vouchers) and the hope that economic growth will generate a spillover to help the poor, or that private charity will pick up what state programs leave out. Despite calls from the right to dismantle or reduce the size of the state, skeptical observers of state reduction argue that the main issue is not the state's size or its expenditures, but the type of its interventions and investments, whether promoting welfare and equality on the one hand, or subsidizing corporate growth, through tax incentives or through the rubric of "military spending" on the other. The neoliberal state, particularly in the more developed societies, and in the developing countries striving to emulate them, is characterized by drastic cutbacks in social spending, rampant environmental destruction, regressive revisions of the tax system, loosened constraints on corporate growth, widespread attacks on organized labor, and increased spending on military infrastructure.

 

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Corporations are becoming so powerful that many are creating their own postsecondary and vocational education programs. Burger King has opened "Academies" in fourteen U.S. cities, and IBM and Apple are contemplating the idea of opening schools for profit. Whittle Communications (a corporation largely owned by Time Warner and the British Associated Newspapers) not only provides satellite dishes and TV sets in exchange for advertisement to more than 10,000 schools (the "Channel One" project), but is planning to open 1,000 profit-making schools serving two million children within the next ten years. Moreover, U.S. corporations are spending upwards of $40 billion each year, approaching the total annual expenditures of all America's four-year and graduate college and universities, to train and educate their current employees. Even as early as the mid-eighties, Bell and Howell had 30,000 students in its postsecondary network, and ITT had 25 postsecondary proprietary institutions. It has been reported that AT&T alone performs more education and training functions than any university in the world.

This process of privatizing education is occuring in the context of new relations and arrangements among nations, characterized by a new global division of labor, an economic integration of national economies (common markets, free trade, and so forth), the increasing concentration of power in supranational organizations (i.e. the World Bank, IMF, UN, EU, and G7), and what we have called the "internationalization" of nation-states.

The mobilitiy of capital gives capitalists, particularly financial speculators, a great deal of leverage over the nation-state, itself a product of the industrial revolution, and one unequipped in many ways to cope with the basic demands of the postindustrial world. Speculation in national currencies and the self-fulfilling prophecy of international credit legitimacy have contributed to an ever shifting terrain for countries attempting to get their economic houses in order. The days leading up to this thread have seen serious currency crisis in Russia, the Philippines, Malaysia, and other emerging Asian economies which suddenly found the rules of the global economic game changing even as they were trying to play by them.




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As argued by some, corporate influence over the nation-state is exercised indirectly, through intellectual leadership, instilling in policy makers a new set of values and setting limits on the nation-state's range of options, which is a more effective strategy in changing policy priorities than the explicit threat of punitive sanctions. These new values, aptly reflected in the neoconservative and neoliberal agendas, promote less state intervention and greater reliance on the free market, and more appeal to individual self-interest than to collective rights. We could calim that "the internationalization of production, finance and other economic resoures is unquestionably eroding the capacity of any individual state to control its own economic future...multinational corporations may have a clear national base, but their interest is above that in global profitability. Country of origin is of little consequence for corporate strategy." Clearly, the growing the integration of the economy is pushing toward a borderless world, and provides considerable evidence for the reduced abilitiy of national governments to control their own economies or to define their own national economic aims.

In summary, there are changes at the economic, political, and cultural levels of society that tend to promote and reinforce a more global perspecitve on social policy. At an economic level, these factors include changes in trade relations, banking and the credit process, the presence of international lending agencies, changes in the factors of production that have led to the rise of new "Post-Fordist" industries, the presence of global corporations, the mobilitiy of labor and the mobility of companies, new technologies, and new patterns of consumption along with new advertising and marketing strategies.