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In Defense of Globalization: With a New Afterword Paperback – September 4, 2007

55 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195330939 ISBN-10: 0195330935 Edition: Reprint

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this elegant book, one of the world's preeminent economists distills his thinking about globalization for the lay reader. Bhagwati, a former adviser to the U.N. on globalization, sets out to show that "this process has a human face, but we need to make that face more agreeable." Armed with a wit uncharacteristic of most writing on economics and drawing on references from history, philosophy and literature as well as some "state of the art econometric analysis," he sets out to prove that the antiglobalization movement has exaggerated claims that globalization has done little good for poor countries. For example, supported by statistics from the Asian Development Bank, he argues, astonishingly, that in China the "aggressively outward economic policies" that characterize globalization reduced poverty from 28% of the population in 1978 to 9% in 1998. Nevertheless, Bhagwati does not advocate total laissez-faire economics and recommends that continued globalization should be "managed," prescribing policies he believes will "reinforce and ensure" its benign effects, such as taxing skilled workers who leave poor countries for jobs abroad, using nongovernmental organizations as corporate watchdogs, slowing financial liberalization and loosening intellectual property safeguards. This book might be seen as a companion piece to 2002's bestselling Globalization and Its Discontents by Joseph Stiglitz, Bhagwati's colleague at Columbia University; it should reach as broad an audience, if not broader. Don't be deceived by its relative brevity: this is a substantial study that is as about as enjoyable—and reassuring—a work of economics as may be possible to write in this uncertain age.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review


"An outstandingly effective book.... Until further notice In Defense of Globalization becomes the standard general-interest reference, the intelligent layman's handbook, on global economic integration."--The Economist


"Once again, Columbia University economist Jagdish Bhagwati has weighed into the increasingly partisan and ideological debate over trade, offshore outsourcing and globalization. And once again, it is worth listening to.... what's most important about this book is its caution about globalization --namely, that it has to be managed, both in terms of how quickly it proceeds and what policies are put in place to reduce its unpleasant economic and social side effects."--Washington Post


"Bhagwati combines the hard-nosed perspective of a liberal on trade and investment with the soft-hearted sensitivities of a social democrat on poverty and human welfare. He thus has an admirable ability to address patiently and sympathetically globalization's well-meaning but wrong-headed critics.... A cogent, erudite, and, indeed, enjoyable discussion of economic globalization and its discontents."--Foreign Affairs


"One of the world's leading international trade theorists.... Bhagwati takes on many antiglobalist arguments, showing them to be overblown or groundless. The lot of women and children improves with the opening of markets, and the environment too, not to mention the chances for democracy.... Accessible and clearly argued. There is, one might say, a wealth of material on every page."--Bruce Bartlett, The Wall Street Journal


"An important contribution to an often incoherent debate. As we expect of Mr. Bhagwati, it is cogently argued and well written. It sets out a persuasive case in favor of globalization. And because of Mr. Bhagwati's impeccable credentials, there is a better chance his book will be given a fair hearing than might be the case with some other authors. Put simply, Mr. Bhagwati has 'street cred'."--Anne Krueger (Acting Director of the IMF), Financial Times


"Critics of globalization will find a few things to admire in Bhagwati's outlook. He limits his defense of globalization to trade, direct investment and migration. The book's short chapter on capital markets echoes many of the concerns of globalization's critics. Bhagwati forcefully denounces 'the Wall Street-Treasury Complex' that cajoled developing countries into eliminating capital controls. His charming cosmopolitanism will also allay the fears of critics convinced that economists are incapable of appreciating non-economic values. Literary references flow from the pages, from Lady Murasaki to King Lear to Woody Allen."--Daniel W. Drezner, New York Times Book Review


"In this elegant book, one of the world's preeminent economists distills his thinking about globalization for the lay reader.... Armed with a wit uncharacteristic of most writing on economics and drawing on references from history, philosophy and literature as well as some 'state of the art econometric analysis,' he sets out to prove that the antiglobalization movement has exaggerated claims that globalization has done little good for poor countries.... This is a substantial study that is as about as enjoyable and reassuring a work of economics as may be possible to write in this uncertain age."--Publishers Weekly


"Mr. Bhagwati slams through fact after fact, statistic after statistic, demolishing those who claim the poor are worse off because of globalization. He warns that many problems of poor countries are self-inflicted, such as trade barriers against one another. If Mr. Bhagwhati doesn't get a much deserved Nobel Prize for economics, he should get one for literature. His writing sparkles with anecdotes and delightful verbal pictures."--Mike Moore, New York Sun


"Does the international market economy worsen poverty in developing countries? Does it erode democracy? Hurt the cause of women? Trash the environment? Exacerbate the exploitation of child labor? Bhagwati's answers to all these questions make for a supremely worthy read."--Business 2.0 Magazine


"...an excellent and even-handed analytic description of globalization and its side-effects for economists and even non-economists."--Eastern Economic Journal


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (September 4, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195330935
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195330939
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.9 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,159 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Eric J. Lyman on May 5, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Aside from a small handful of real Luddites, I don't think there are many people left who are against all forms of globalization, nor can there be many who are completely in favor of it, warts and all. But you'd never know that based on most of what's written on the subject: most literature on the subject tends to treat discussions of the global economy in black-and-white terms. Authors, essayists, and columnists too often rely on gimmicky strategies that pull on the heartstrings but do little to examine the real pros and cons of an increasingly global world, focusing more on what's wrong than on what can be done. And discussion I've seen too often takes too narrow a view -- life in a particular village, the impact on a specific industry -- for a well-rounded debate to take shape.
In Defense of Globalization is the first effort I've seen in a long time that manages to avoid most of those pitfalls, relying on objective and unemotional discussions of evidence rather than anecdotes, and presenting its arguments in a straightforward and gimmick-free way. It is full of important information and still eminently readable.
Opponents of globalization usually base their arguments against the international market economy on a few strong points: that it encourages child labor, that it erodes democracy, that it weakens the plight of women in the developing world, that it kills local cultures, and that it harms the environment. In this book, scholar and author Jagdish Bhagwati addresses each of those issues in a series of chapters that make up the heart of the book.
But globalization proponents will not find in In Defense of Globalization a blind defense of their views. Mr. Bhagwati takes the anti-globalization points seriously.
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43 of 48 people found the following review helpful By N. Tsafos on June 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
How can one resist a book that begins with the phrase, "does the world need yet another book on globalization?" To this saturated topic, Jagdish Bhagwati does not try to force a radical new outlook; rather, he surveys the evidence against each accusation levied by the critics of globalization and ends up producing one of the most elegant, eloquent, and persuasive books in favor of globalization.
One problem that any such book faces is that the anti-globalization movement is rather amorphous, bringing together all sorts of groups that make all sorts of accusations; to get around this, Mr. Bhagwati divides his book into the major themes (the link of economic growth to poverty, of trade to the environment or labor rights, etc), and looks at what the various NGOs are saying against globalization. To his credit, Mr. Bhagwati has considered most of the subtleties, nuances and variations of the NGO arguments.
Having done this, Mr. Bhagwati explains whether and why the NGOs are wrong. Predictably, the NGO fears usually prove exaggerated or simply untrue. To their polemic rhetoric, Mr. Bhagwati answers with anecdotes, news reports and econometric studies. Whether one agrees or disagrees with him, no one can accuse Mr. Bhagwati of brushing aside the critics.
Refreshingly, the book is not an unconditional acceptance of globalization. "In Defense of Globalization" is a defense, but it is not blind to what is wrong about globalization; Mr. Bhagwati is cautious, for example, about uninhibited capital flows; he is also critical about the invasion of intellectual property rights into trade agreements; he is also suspicious of businesses that bribe politicians to alter trade agreements to their favor. And so on.
Yet, his verdict is staunchly pro-globalization.
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79 of 95 people found the following review helpful By Gaetan Lion on March 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book that takes a subject [Globalization] that has become increasingly emotionally loaded and politically intense. As the U.S. experiences a rising Current Account Deficit, there is a strong perception that Globalization is like a scorpion who has turned its own deadly sting on itself. Everyday, one sees articles in the press mentioning how the U.S. is loosing its manufacturing jobs to China and its programming jobs to India.
Bhagwati, as any classical economists, views Globalization as the manifestation of the competitive advantage of international trade. In other words, whatever we can obtain from overseas at a lower cost than we can obtain locally will boost the demand for our own products (due to lower costs). With higher demand comes higher economic growth, higher productivity, and rising living standards. On the other hand, ill fated protectionist policies, contrary to their humanistic intent, completely annihilate this economic virtuous cycle.
However, Bhagwati is not your usual unrestrained free trader. He feels that governments have to better address the dislocation in labor that is directly affected by international competition. He states the U.S. should spend more resources on research and on education. This is so our labor force remains most productive in being engaged in cutting edge industries that have not yet become commoditized.
Bhagwati, an Indian, focuses much energy on the benefit of Globalization for all emerging markets. Contrary to all the anti Globalists demonstrators in Seattle, Cancun, and elsewhere, Bhagwati makes a forceful and well documented case that Globalization is a very positive force that lifts countries out of poverty. It causes a virtuous economic cycle associated with faster economic growth.
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