[Excerpt] Putting it differently, I inquire, then: why did countries that elected to act similarly globally turn out to vary so strikingly internally, at the domestic level, when it came to resultant interactions between unions and the state? That the book focuses on three very dissimilar states serves to demonstrate the wide sweep of countries that, rather comparably, were compelled to confront the global economy in new ways at a critical historical moment. By picking pioneers and an outlier, it also deals with unlikely cases.
Thus, the book sets out to explain this concurrent asymmetry at different levels of analysis after 1980 in France, China, and Mexico, drawing on features of the domestic political economies of three countries that, counterintuitively—given all their apparent variation—had much in common at the outset but then diverged so much in the end. The first half of the book sets up the similarities, inspecting these states and exploring their predicaments and their leaders' choices in the late-twentieth-century world economy; the second half tackles the tale of these same states at home, as they encountered their own angry workers. In short, the work takes countries that began, as of 1979, by sharing traits, experiences, and inclinations, and then pits comparison of relative behavioral sameness (an unexpected sameness) at one level, the global one, against contrast at another level, the domestic one.