In the last two decades public policies have reflected a drive
for accelerated global economic integration ("globalization"),
associated with greater economic liberalization. The outcomes have
been largely disappointing, even in the estimate of their
designers. Rural livelihoods have become more insecure, and the
expected growth has rarely materialized. Insecurity is also etched
into the growth of informal economies across the world. Yet the
economic policy agenda that has been so adverse to many people
around the world has also provided new opportunities to some social
groups, including some low-income women. In response to widespread
discontent with the liberalization agenda, more attention is now
being given to social policies and governance issues, viewed as
necessary if globalization is to be "tamed" and "embedded." The
contributors to this volume address key issues and questions such
as whether states have the capacity to remedy the social distress
unleashed by liberalization in the absence of any major revision of
their macroeconomic policies and whether the proposed social policy
reforms can redress gender-based inequalities in access to
resources and power.
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