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Field Guide to the Global Economy Paperback – February, 2000
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This is a position statement "to enhance solidarity for people sharing a vision of justice and democracy" that is decidedly antibusiness and anti^-free markets. It fuels what the authors contend is growing speculation that corporate-driven globalization, in its quest for stockholder value, hinders the welfare of the majority of people around the world. Although valid points are made, the spin put on them, as well as errors or misleading details, prompts skepticism; the authors do not attempt a balanced view. However, they offer a history and status of global flows of goods and services, giving their explanation of the current form of globalization. They examine 10 common claims of the pro-globalization camp with their rebuttal and describe the major institutions and policies driving globalization. They conclude by highlighting efforts to slow down or change globalization. Although this book presents a negative account of globalization, these voices may have something to teach. Yet read this book with care. Mary Whaley
This book offers a clear map. Read it, learn, and engage. -- William Greider, author of One World, Ready Or Not
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This alarmist "Field Guide" features loose reasoning and selective statistics. Here's a howler: "In the US, NAFTA supporters argued that the deal would lead to a net increase of high-quality US jobs, as rapidly expanding exports created massive trade surpluses with Canada and Mexico. Just the opposite has happened. Between 1994 and 2003, US imports from the NAFTA partners grew far faster than US exports to those countries. As a result, the US trade deficit with Canada and Mexico ballooned from $13b to $92b" (p. 91). That's a non-sequitor: the authors begin talking about jobs, but slyly shift to trade, as if the latter statistic somehow proves the authors' point. What happened to jobs? The authors neglect to mention that under NAFTA from 1993 to 2001, US employment grew from 120M to 135M. Five years after NAFTA started, US unemployment hit a historic low of 3.8%, a level once considered unachievable (Smick 222).
Unfortunately this tedious "Field Guide" presents only the negative side of globalization, and its biased use of statistics harms its own cause by diminishing its credibility. Try instead try Friedman's _The World is Flat_ or Smick's _The World is Curved_.
Unfotrunately, the book is introductory (almost to a fault) as you can guess from the fact that the jacket brags about the book's cartoons. It is extremely one-sided, and its blatant pro-union propaganda can be annoying. Facts and statistics are presented but I got the feeling that many of the book's arguments could be undermined if the "whole story" were revealed (simply throwing in a citation should not take the place of complete presentation within the text). Finally, there are many completely unsupported statements of opinion inappropriately stuck into otherwise fact-based paragraphs, giving these opinions apparent legitimacy.
Despite its shortcomings, this is an interesting book, and presents an easy way to learn about the World Bank and the IMF as (probably) seen by Third World people. After reading, I agree that the corporate-driven globalization we are now experiencing is flawed, but some of the alternatives promoted by this book (blanket amnesty to illegal aliens, total cancellation of poor-country debt, weakened protection of intellectual property rights, ...) appear equally ill-considered.