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Fat Cats and Self-Made Men: Globalization and the Paradoxes of Collective Action

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Fat Cats and Self-Made Men: Globalization and the Paradoxes of Collective Action
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  Fat Cats and Self-Made Men: Globalization and the Paradoxes of Collective ActionAuthor(s): Melani CammettSource: Comparative Politics, Vol. 37, No. 4 (Jul., 2005), pp. 379-400Published by: Ph.D. Program in Political Science of the City University of New YorkStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20072900 Accessed: 24/07/2009 16:27 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available athttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp. JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unlessyou have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and youmay use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use.Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained athttp://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=phd.Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printedpage of such transmission.JSTOR is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1995 to build trusted digital archives for scholarship. We work with thescholarly community to preserve their work and the materials they rely upon, and to build a common research platform thatpromotes the discovery and use of these resources. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. Ph.D. Program in Political Science of the City University of New York  is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize,preserve and extend access to Comparative Politics. http://www.jstor.org  FatCatsandSelf-MadeMen GlobalizationandtheParadoxes ofCollectiveAction MelaniCammettPrevailingeconomic wisdompromotesprivatesector-leddevelopmentandpresumesthat firmswilltakethepoliticalinitiativetopushfor sharedpolicyinterests. Collectiveaction, however,isneverassured. When dobusinesspeoplemobilizecollectively?Isitpossiblefor smallfirmsto exertrealpoliticalpressure?Morocco andTunisia shedlightonthesequestions.Inresponsetonearlyidentical incentives andchallengesfromglobalmarkets,anumerically large, emergingclassof smallexportersinMoroccoovercameOlson'spresumed "logicof collectiveaction"byconstructinganeffectivelobbyingmachine,while theirTunisiancounterpartsremainedpoliticallydormant.1 Neweconomicconditionscreatedbusinesscleavagesinbothcountries,but these divisionswerepoliticizedonlytotheextentthatproducergroupsmobilized. Theabilitytogenerateacohesiveclassidentity,whicharoseinresponsetoperceivedthreatsfrom otherproducerfactions,wascritical forsuccessful business collective action.Studiesofneitherglobalizationand domesticpoliticsnorbusinesspoliticsadequatelyexplorecollective action inexplaininghowglobalizationreshapesproducerpolitics.Theoriesofglobalizationoften deducepoliticalbehavior fromimputedpreferences,while studiesofproducercollectiveactionlargely ignorethe variedorganizationalcapacitiesofdifferentcategoriesofbusiness.Fewstudiesacknowledgecrucialdifferencesamongsubsets ofbusiness.Two mainvariables,thetimingofglobaleconomicintegrationand classstructurebefore tradereform,setthecontextforpostreformclassformation and class selfperceptions.Theyshapedtheprospectsfor business collectiveaction in MoroccoandTunisiainthe1990s.Incorporationinglobalmanufacturingcircuits,whichoccurredoveradecadeapartinthetwocountries,andaninflux ofproductionopportunitiesonworld markets createdanewgroupofapparelexporterswithsimilarpolicypreferencesinboth Morocco andTunisia.Butdistinctcapitalstructuresconstructedafterindependencefueled variedpatternsof collective actionamongMoroccanandTunisianindustrialists.2InMorocco,delayedeconomicopeningcementedawell-connected,protectionistelite,spurringacohesiveclassidentityamongemergingsmallexporters.Thisgroupidentitygalvanizedvigorouslobbying, enablingapparelmanufacturerstogainincreasinginfluenceoverpolicymaking.InTunisia, 379  ComparativePoliticsJuly2005wherelarge capitaldidnotoccupyapreponderantroleinthestate'straditional socialbase andcomparativelyearlyeconomicopeningundercutthebaseofthesmallimportsubstitution industrializationelite,acleavagebetweenbusinessfactions didnotemerge,and businessgroupsdidnotmobilize.Existing approachestoglobalization and businesspoliticscannotfullyaccountfor thesedistinct outcomes.CollectiveActionand BusinessPoliticsCollective actionisatthe heartofpoliticaleconomytheorizing.Yetstudiesofhowglobalizationaltersdomesticpoliticshavepaidscantattentiontocollectiveactionprocesses.Dominantapproaches,foundedonmethodologicalindividualism,neglecthowinterestgroupsform(ordonotform),insteaddeducingcoalitionsfrompresumed economic interests.3Approachesthatcontextualize interestsalsodonotadequatelydepicthowintegrationinglobal productionsystemscantransform businesspolitics.Byviewinginstitutionsasstatic,theycannotgrasphownewpatternsof collectiveactionarise.4 Theories ofbusinesscollective actionalso misskey dynamicsthatarise withintegrationinglobal productionsystems.By focusing largelyonthe differentialcapacitiesformobilization of businessversuslabororganizations,withcomparativelylittleattentiontodifferenceswithinclasses,theydonotrecognizethat businessgroups maymobilizeinresponsetoothers.Incorporationinglobalmanufacturingchainscreatesentirelynewclassesofindustrialistswithdistinct interests fromestablishedcapitalholders.Olson'sargument,whichholds thatgroupsizeisakeydeterminantoftheabilitytomobilize,is thestarting pointfor muchresearchonbusiness collective action.Numericallysmallergroups,such industriallobbies,aremorelikelytoactcollectivelythanlargergroupsbecause individual members willachievegreaterpayoffsforparticipationand face lowerorganizationalcosts.5OffeandWiesenthaluse adifferentlogictoarriveatasimilar conclusion.6Instead,business classcharacteristicsenhanceitsabilityto actcollectively.With"shared,uncontested andeasilymeasured"interests,multiplechannelstodefend theseinterests,andconcentratedmaterialpower,businessallegedlyhasanautomaticadvantage.7Butaggregating"business"distortsrealityand minimizes the obstaclestocollective action. Intense interfirmcompetitionoverfundamental issuessuchaspricedemonstratethatconflictwithin business often exceedslargerclassstruggles.8Thefact thatnotallbusinessowners orsubsets of business haveequalaccesstodecision makers introduces additionalobstaclestoeffectivegroupmobilization.Small businessis oftenunderrepresented,evenindemocraticcontexts.For thisreason,Shadlenproposesa"thirdlogicof collectiveaction" distinct from both laborandbigbusinessthat dictates that small businessreliesmoreheavilyonformalassociationstopressitsclaims.9 380  MelaniCammettExtendedtoitslogicalconclusion,Olson'sanalysis mightaddressdifferencesbetweensmall andbigbusinessby suggestingthatlargeproducersarebetterequippedtoovercomeobstaclestocollectiveactionbyvirtue oftheirmorelimitednumbersthandispersedhordes ofsmall businessowners.Indeed,Shaferarguesthatsectorswith low barrierstoentry,inwhichownershipisspreadoutamongmanysmalloperators,facemoreformidable barrierstocollective action than activitiesdominatedbyafewbig players.10Still,the factthatanalogousmanufacturersindifferentcountries behavedifferently,asinMorocco andTunisia,exposes gapsinShafer'slogic.Clearly,barrierstoentryand sectoralcharacteristicsdonotexplainthe wholestory.Moroccosupports argumentsabout theorganizational imperativesofsmallbusiness.Lackingconnectionstokeydecisionmakersinthepalaceaswellasthe material and socialresourcesto exertpressureindividually,smallexportersfoundnootherchoicebuttoworkthroughaformalorganization.However,becauseMoroccan smallgarmentexporters,relative outsidersinanelite-centeredsystem, successfullyfashioned themselvesintoavisible andeveneffectivelobbyingbloc,the "thirdlogic"cannotexplainwhenandhow small business overcomesobstaclestocollective action. Variedpatternsof collective actionamonganalogousMoroccanand Tunisianmanufacturersbegthequestion whysomesmall businessgroupsorganizethemselvesintopressures groupswhile othersdonot.Apartfromfirmstructure,studies of businesspoliticsdonotsufficientlyaddress how businessgroupsareconstituted.CulturesofProduction:GroupIdentityandCollective ActionInsightsabout therelationshipbetweenperceivedgroupidentityand collectiveaction havereceivedshort shrift indiscussionsofbusiness mobilization.Instead,analyseshavestressedcommonmaterialinterestsand havedownplayedtheprocessofgroupformation.Thisemphasisseemsreasonable,sinceboostingprofitsisarguablythe ultimateobjectiveofbusinesslobbying.However,itisproblematictoassumethattheindividualprofitmotiveautomaticallycreatescollegialityamongproducersand inturnfacilitates collective action.Businessownersoften haveconflictinginterests,confoundingcollaborativestrategies,and facestrongincentivestofree riderather thanactively joinlobbyingefforts.Moreover,evenif it isassumedthatmutualeconomic interestistheprimarybasis forgroupformationamongmanufacturers,a senseof cohesionmustprecedeoratleastaccompanyrecognitionofshared materialconcerns.Notallproducerswho sharethesameinterests choosetoworktogethertowardscommongoals.Insightsfromstudies ofsocialmovementscanhelpexplainthe internalmechanisms ofbusinesscollaborationinthepoliticalarena.Scholars ofsocialmovementshave concentratedonthreedistinct focitoexplainmasscollective action:political 381  ComparativePoliticsJuly2005opportunities,notablysufficientpoliticalopennesstopermitsocietalexpression;organizationalstructuresconducivetogroupmobilization;andideologicalorcultural"frames" thatforgeorcementgroupidentity.11Studies ofbusinesspoliticshavepointedtotheroleofpolitical opportunitiesandorganizationalstructuresbut havenotemphasizedgroupidentityinspurringcollective actionamongproducers.12Itistemptingtoconclude that structural and institutional factorsprovideacompleteexplanation. Macropoliticalconditions associatedwithspecificregimetypesprovideorforecloseopportunitiesforgroupmobilization.Accordingly,different MoroccanandTunisianpatternsof business collectiveactionmightbeattributedtotherelativelyrepressivepoliticalenvironmentinTunisia,whereasinglepartystatetolerateslittleopposition,andgreaterspaceforpoliticalpartiesandavocalpresstodissentinMorocco,althoughthemonarchyisunquestionablythe realseatofpower.Relativepoliticalopennesscertainly permittedgreateropportunityforproducercollectiveactionin MoroccothaninTunisia,yetcollective action isneverautomatic.Asaresult,macropoliticalexplanationsreveal little about how manufacturers mobilized.Theuseofregimecharacteristicstoexplainbusinesspoliticalbehaviorassignsexcessiveexplanatorypowertothestate.Theclassstructureofbusinessitselfplayedanequally importantroleinsustainingdistinctpatternsofMoroccanand Tunisianbusiness-governmentrelationsand,byestablishingthecontextfor the rise ofoppositionalgroupidentities,shapedthecollectivepoliticalresponsesofproducerfactionstoeconomicopening.Candifferencesinorganizationalresourcesexplainvaried businesspoliticalbehaviorinMoroccoand Tunisia? Formalorganizationssuchasbusiness associations,aswellasinformal networks suchasfamilytiesand socialrelationships,areundoubtedly importantvehicles for collective action.13InMorocco,whereemergingexporterslackedunifyingsocialnetworks,formalorganizationgreatlyfacilitatedcollective actionamongmanufacturerswithdiversesocial andgeographic srcins. However,theassociationwasmorethanasite forpursuingsharedmaterialconcerns. Italsohelped sociallyandgeographicallydisconnectedentrepreneurstoestablishagroupidentity.Beforeseizingtheopportunitytoengageincollectivepolitics,otherwisedisparateindividualsmustviewthemselvesas acollectivity.14 Theymustdomorethanjoinanorganization;theymust constructa commonidentity,oftenforgedinoppositiontoothersthroughareactiveprocessofgroupdifferentiation.Indistinctways,studies of class formationand socialmovementshaveemphasizedtheimportanceof"groupness."15AsThompsonargues,classes donotautomaticallyemergefrom thestructureofproduction.16Howmembers ofaclassperceivetheir classpositionisacriticalinterveningstep.Nonmaterial factorsshapehowindividuals formulatetheirunderstandingsofclass,whether theirown orothers' classpositions,influencinghowclassesemergeand behavepolitically.17Forclasstotakeonsocialandpoliticalmeaning,itmustbemorethanacategorydefinedbythemeansofproduction. Throughthedevelopmentofashared culturalidentity,individ 382
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