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The Globalization Paradox: Democracy and the Future of the World Economy Hardcover – February 21, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


“Although [Rodrik’s] message is nuanced and rigorous, drawing on history, logic and the latest economic data, he manages to convey it in simple, powerful prose that any reader can follow….a much-needed addendum to [Adam] Smith’s famous formulation.” (Steven Pearlstein - Washington Post)

“Simply the best recent treatment of the globalization dilemma that I've read, by an economist or anyone else….He gives us nothing less than a general theory of globalization, development, democracy, and the state. The book provides the pleasure of following a thoughtful, critical mind working through a complex puzzle. Rodrik writes in highly friendly and nontechnical prose, blending a wide-ranging knowledge of economic history and politics and a gentle, occasionally incredulous, skepticism about the narrow and distorting lens of his fellow economists.” (Robert Kuttner - The American Prospect)

About the Author

Dani Rodrik, a prize-winning economist, is the Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, and is the author of The Globalization Paradox.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; First Edition edition (February 21, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393071618
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393071610
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.3 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #145,199 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

123 of 125 people found the following review helpful By Etienne ROLLAND-PIEGUE on February 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Every student in economics is familiar with Robert Mundell's triangle of impossibility. Based on the model that the Canadian economist developed with Marcus Flemming in 1962, this trilemma states that it is impossible to have a sovereign monetary policy, free capital flows, and a fixed exchange rate at the same time--that two, and only two, of these objectives could be met. This impossible trinity came to dominate policy debates in Europe in the run-up to the European monetary union in the 1990s--a rare example when the result of a theoretical model had a direct bearing on policy choices.

Although he doesn't develop a formal model, Dani Rodrik offers his own, more ambitious version of the impossibility triangle. The political trilemma of the world economy, as he names it, is that we cannot have deep economic integration ("hyperglobalization"), national sovereignty, and democratic politics at the same time. We have to sacrifice one of the corners of the triangle. And for Rodrik, the objective that has to be abandoned is clear and straightforward. We cannot compromise on democracy, and global governance is nothing but a distant dream. We therefore have to jettison hyperglobalization in favor of a more shallow form of global economic integration, a new version of the compromise that was embodied in the postwar system laid out at Bretton Woods. In particular, unrestricted capital mobility and indiscriminate trade openness will have to go. This will make the world a safer and better place for democracy.

Dani Rodrik, who teaches at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, is a first-class economist.
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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful By DRDR on February 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Globalization Paradox adds rhetorical flair to Dani Rodrik's previous work condemning the intrusions of the WTO and IMF on the mechanisms of nation-states. Rodrik now dubs his enemy "hyperglobalization" (previously known as "deep integration") and insists that it be slayed to promote the diversity of social concerns across the world's democracies. The book augments the global economic governance chapters of "One Economics, Many Recipes" (a 2007 hodgepodge of the author's previous work) with richer historical context and topical material on the financial crisis and China's rise. I read several thoughtful reviews of Rodrik's last book in economics journals, and I am disappointed these reviews did not lead Rodrik to engage more of the recent economic literature in trade policy. Yet I still appreciate this book for asking important policy-relevant research questions that economists have often neglected.

A sizeable chunk of the book is navel-gazing: humbly defending the economics profession, while criticizing its members for unequivocally endorsing free trade in public. His most pointed barb is accusing economists of using more conditional views of free trade in the seminar room. I'm reminded of Elhanan Helpman and Paul Krugman's seminal 1989 trade policy monograph, which surveys several trade models in which government intervention is optimal. Yet the authors conclude, "The design of an advantageous trade policy requires information of a kind that is simply not available." This was not one of the seven "hand-waving arguments" Rodrik cites in support of free trade, but it's an important argument he should have engaged.

Rodrik downplays the concern from economists that much of trade policy in democracies is political rent-seeking.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By M.Perry Chapman on April 18, 2011
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Dani Rodrik gets it! Globalization of trade and finance makes sense to the extent that it can, or should, lift the economic hopes of people across the planet if it can be managed and regulated in such a way that it doesn't undermine an even more important pursuit for the future of the world, which is to strengthen civil society at the level of nation states everywhere. He argues that in our zeal to foster world trade and finance under the mantle of "hyperglobalization", we run a great risk of subordinating democracy to the interests of multi-national corporations and financial technocrats for whom accountability is to maximize shareholder profit. Profit is a perfectly appropriate goal for the world's enterprises, but Rodrik seeks to strike a balance between that goal and the capacity of individual countries to sustain their own resources, ways of living, labor laws, environmental protection, and a host of other factors that can be achieved best within the context of national governance, where democratic decision-making occurs. His analogy is that of updating the Bretton Woods accord that brought prosperity to much of the post war "free world" before organizations like WTO and others pushed the global trade structure toward a regime that subordinates the civil interests of nations to business interests of corporations. That's the big picture. The reader will find the details for a "sustainable globalism" to be thoughtfully developed in this timely book.
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35 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Herbert Gintis on July 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dani Rodrik is a gifted economist who has spent most of his professional life studying the evolution of the modern advanced liberal democratic economies. This book presents a political philosophy for the advanced countries. The audience is the interested layperson. There are no equations, tables or graphs in this book. Rather Rodrik's evidence is largely anecdotal, drawn from his vast experience.

Rodrik's message is simple. The first stage of capitalism was dominated by a hegemonic capitalist class and unregulated markets, guided by an ideology of laissez-faire. The second stage was dominated by the distribution struggle between industrial capital and industrial labor, with Keynesian economics in the ascendency. We are now in a third stage of capitalism in which globalization has thrown the supporters of labor in disarray, and in which a new set of nation-state level regulations are needed to protect democracy without losing the economic benefits of globalization.

The enemy for Rodrik is ultraglobalism, in which unregulated international capital flows prevent countries from redistributing in favor of the less well off, free trade principles prevent countries from applying their own environmental and product safety standards, and hypercompetition prevents countries from implementing desirable pay scales and occupational safety and health regulation. In short, says Rodrik, ultraglobalism is the enemy of democracy, because it prevents voters from making meaningful choices about the future direction of their own society.

Rodrik's recommendations for a healthy economic policy are far from radical. He recognizes that the prospects for "global government" are slim, so meaningful economic regulation will continue to be exercised at the nation-state level.
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