Seva Gunitsky argues that waves of regime change are driven by the aftermath of cataclysmic disruptions to the international system. These hegemonic shocks, marked by the sudden rise and fall of great powers, have been essential and often-neglected drivers of domestic transformations. Though rare and fleeting, they not only repeatedly alter the global hierarchy of powerful states but also create unique and powerful opportunities for sweeping national reforms—by triggering military impositions, swiftly changing the incentives of domestic actors, or transforming the basis of political legitimacy itself. As a result, the evolution of modern regimes cannot be fully understood without examining the consequences of clashes between great powers, which repeatedly—and often unsuccessfully—sought to cajole, inspire, and intimidate other states into joining their camps.
In this book, Gavin Kitching is not interested so much in providing new information about globalization as an economic and social process as he is in clarifying how globalization is to be understood and evaluated as a "good" or "bad" thing. Central to his argument is that a proper evaluation requires historical self-awareness, both of the historical background of globalization itself and of the historical origins of the very norms by which such evaluations are made.
Unusual for a book written from a leftist perspective, Seeking Social Justice Through Globalization argues that those who care for social justice should seek more globalization, not try to prevent its development or roll it back. In his "modified Ricardian" analysis, Kitching warns especially about the constraints that the inherited discourse of economic and cultural nationalism places on the full potential of globalization to improve the welfare of poor people, which is his principal concern.