Globalization has led to wealth and income inequalities in the world. According to the world systems theory, there are wealthy nations in the world who benefit from the exploitation of other countries and their citizens. The countries that have low status on the global economy enjoy minimal benefits. The way that an individual country is integrated into the global economy plays a key role in determining its level of economic development. Core countries exert immense influence on the world’s economy due to accumulation of capital and technological advances and as a result they enjoy vast control in global trade and economic agreements. They have put up cultural centres which play a key role in attracting artists and highly skilled labour (intellectuals).
These countries have a strong middle-class workforce population. Peripheral countries play a role in provision of cheap unskilled labour and raw materials to core countries. There a high levels of social inequality due to a high poor population and a small upper and middle class population. These countries are heavily influenced by the economic policies of core nations. Semi peripheral countries are those whose status is between core and peripheral and they influence and exploit peripheral countries. They have a status of a middle income country and they normally have a burgeoning middle class with strong indicators of economic growth.
During the periods of strong economic and industrialization growth, the American workforce was characterised by strong labour and trade unions that represented the rights and interests of employees who worked in industries and factories. Due to the influence of trade and labour unions employees were well remunerated and enjoyed other work benefits leading to the growth of a burgeoning middle class in the US. Nevertheless, the influence of trade and labour unions have waned as a result of outsourcing manufacturing to China and other factors leading to the shrinking of the American middle class.
The early US policies towards worker compensation and worker rights were influenced by powerful legislations such as The Economic Growth Act of 1964 and other social welfare programs enacted by the Kennedy and Johnson administration. There were also tax cuts. The US policies were aimed at eradicating poverty that was maiming the fabric of the American society. The US policies were not exploitative and led to a well remunerated workforce that gave rise to a burgeoning middle class. The policies for those with low income tend to be exploitative as they play by the policies of the core countries and multinational corporations. The workers’ earn a meagre salary of less than a dollar a day and work under hostile environments in the factories. Majority of them live in slums where there is poor sanitation leading to disease infections and eventually death.
Wallerstein, Immanuel. “World-systems analysis.”Social theory today (1987): 309-324.