In Search of the Good Life: The Ethics of Globalization

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9780826416209: In Search of the Good Life: The Ethics of Globalization

Rebecca Todd Peters examines the phenomenon of globalization and debates about whether it is helpful or harmful to society. Peters identifies and explores four competing globalization theories that are essential to the issue: the neo-liberal, development, earthist, and post-colonial theories. Within each chapter, Peters points out ideological underpinnings, primary constituencies, and moral visions of each theory by exploring its ideologies of “the good life.”Peters’ book also argues that these four moral visions of our world are not morally equivalent. As an alternative, she offers a set of normative criteria that should guide all sectors of society as the creation of a new globalization continues.

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About the Author:

Rebecca Todd Peters is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Distinguished Emerging Scholar at Elon University, North Carolina. She has published The Future of Globalization: Seeking Pathways of Transformation in the Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics and contributed a chapter to Body and Soul: Rethinking Sexuality as Justice-Love. She also co-edited the book Justice in the Making: Feminist Social Ethics, a collection of Beverly Harrisoni's work to be published later in 2004.

Review:

"During the decade between the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the Al Qaeda attack of 2001, globalization seemed to have triumphed completely. Whatever its faults, there seemed to be no alternative to it. Since 2001, the cheering has died down, the mood of inevitability has faded, and a recognition has dawned that globalization entails a range of fateful, even perilous choices. How these choices can be wisely and ethically made is Rebecca Todd Peters’s subject in this cogently argued, quietly passionate, and, not least, perfectly timed little book." -Jack Miles, Senior Fellow, Pacific Council on International Policy, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of God: A Biography (Jack Miles)

"This book is the best treatment of the complex debate on globalizationby a religious ethicist now available. It is indispensable for those whocare about public life here and the good life for all." -Cornel West, Professor of Religion, Princeton University (Cornel West, professor, Princeton University)

"Despite common sense talk about the world being a global village and abstract theories on the earth's oneness, massive confusion abounds. Ifyou want the most comprehensive typological explanation of globalization todate — one with intellectual sophistication, reader friendly sensitivity, and moral values of empowerment — buy this book!" -Dwight N. Hopkins, author of On Being Human: Black Theology, Looks, Culture, Self, and Race (Dwight N. Hopkins)

"With passion, a sophisticated yet engaging analysis, and a keenawareness of the complexities, scope, and interpretations ofglobalization, Rebecca Todd Peters invites us into a powerful discourseon social responsibility and theological stewardship, towards a relatedmoral vision/praxis. Her inquiry recognizes our own complicity as theso-called "first world" in the related economic oppression affecting thevast majority of the world's peoples, and seeks to shift the realitiesand constructs between the shrinking class of haves and the growing,deafening, cacophony of the have-nots." -Cheryl Kirk-Duggan, Professor of Theology and Women's Studies, Director of Women's Studies, Shaw University Divinity School, and an ordained minister in the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. (Cheryl Kirk-Duggan)

"As a newcomer to the discourse of globalization, I am thrilled to findRebecca Todd Peters' In Search of the Good Life. This wonderfullylucid, well-written book makes the intimidating topic of globalizationtheory accessible to a non-specialist. And considering the enormouscontemporary significance of this subject, hers is quite an impressiveaccomplishment. Equally as valuable is Peter's uncovering of the moralassumptions and commitments that each globalization theory brings withit. The differences between the moral vision of neoliberalism and thatof social equity liberalism or global solidarity movements are asimportant to know about as their correspondingly different accounts ofwhat globalization is. A challenge to live justly, this book is also afirst rate primer on the necessary conditions of a just world." -Mary McClintock Fulkerson, Associate Professor of Theology, Duke University Divinity School; author of Changing the Subject: Women's Discourses and Feminist Theology (Mary McClintock Fulkerson)

"Rebecca Todd Peters refuses to give in! She engages reality with thesharp critical eye of a committed scholar for whom justice is not a theoryto elaborate but a reality for which to struggle. As she so aptly putsit, working for justice gives rise to 'a democratized understanding ofpower, care for the planet, and the social well-being of people.' This triadis the moral criteria that guides her analysis and critique of thedifferent understandings of globalization which, because it is of our own doing, we have the responsibility to define and to shape. I wlecome and applaud Peters's contribution to shaping a feminist liberation standpoint from which marginalized and minoritized voices are not excluded." (Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz, Professor of Ethics and Theology at Drew University)

At last a clear and illuminating guide through the vast literature on the global economy! This book not only clarifies the alternative approaches but makes a vigorous constructive proposals for moving ahead both theoretically and practically. It does all of this with scholarly responsibility embodied in a style that is accessible even to those who have little past familiarity with the topic. May it galvanize many people of good will and especially the churches to recognize that the fate of the world is at stake.—John B. Cobb, Jr, Professor Emeritus, Claremont School of Theology (John B. Cobb, Jr)

"This is a much needed book as we struggle to understand the impact of globalization on our lives, nation, and planet earth. Writing as a Christian feminist ethicist Rebecca Todd Peters gives globalization a human face. She shows us how people understand and encounter it in different ways and asks which approaches to these economic, political and social forces contribute to justice and human flourishing."—Letty M. Russell, Professor Emerita of Theology, Yale Divinity School (Letty M. Russell)

In Search of the Good Life makes a substantial contribution to the literature seeking a just, sustainable paradigm of globalization. Its typology of four different positions on globalization—neoliberalism, social development, earthism, and neocolonialism—is clear, thorough, well-written, and insightful. I intend to use this fine book in my courses as it is an exceptionally helpful overview of the state of the issue at the present time in a form available to students." —Sallie McFague, author of Life Abundant: Rethinking Theology and Economy for a Planet in Peril, and Distinguished Theologian in Residence, Vancouver School of Theology (Sallie McFague)

“Praised by Cornel West, Pulitzer author Jack Miles.” –Today’s Books (PNS), 12/15/04

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