Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ Free Shipping
Globalization and Its Discontents (Norton Paperback) Paperback – April 17, 2003
|New from||Used from|
Featured business titles
Sponsored by McGraw-Hill Learn more.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Due to massive media coverage, many people are familiar with the controversy and organized resistance that globalization has generated around the world, yet explaining what globalization actually means in practice is a complicated task. For those wanting to learn more, this book is an excellent place to start. An experienced economist, Joseph Stiglitz had a brilliant career in academia before serving for four years on President Clinton's Council of Economic Advisors and then three years as chief economist and senior vice president of the World Bank. His book clearly explains the functions and powers of the main institutions that govern globalization--the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization--along with the ramifications, both good and bad, of their policies. He strongly believes that globalization can be a positive force around the world, particularly for the poor, but only if the IMF, World Bank, and WTO dramatically alter the way they operate, beginning with increased transparency and a greater willingness to examine their own actions closely. Of his time at the World Bank, he writes, "Decisions were made on the basis of what seemed a curious blend of ideology and bad economics, dogma that sometimes seemed to be thinly veiling special interests.... Open, frank discussion was discouraged--there was no room for it." The book is not entirely critical, however: "Those who vilify globalization too often overlook its benefits," Stiglitz writes, explaining how globalization, along with foreign aid, has improved the living standards of millions around the world. With this clear and balanced book, Stiglitz has contributed significantly to the debate on this important topic. --Shawn Carkonen --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize winner and Columbia University economics professor, sees globalization's unrealized potential to eradicate poverty and promote economic growth. In recent years, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization have promoted world financial stability, prosperity and free trade, yet Stiglitz wonders why so many revile these organizations' programs to the point of rioting in the streets. Casting a dispassionately analytical eye at East Asia's and Russia's financial turmoil, he argues that the IMF imposed austere policies that only exacerbated each area's problems. When he finds a similar policy pattern for other countries in crisis, Stiglitz asks how a public institution can ignore growing evidence of a flawed policy and not take action or be held accountable. In answering his own question, Stiglitz blames the "market fundamentalism" that endorses the view that a "free" market solves all problems flawlessly. As Stiglitz authoritatively indicates, one-size-fits-all economic policies can damage rather than help countries with unique financial, governmental and social institutions. He calls for public institutions to reform and become more transparent and responsive to their constituents. Stiglitz shares inside information from cabinet meetings when he served on Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers and from his years as chief economist at the World Bank, divulging debates in Washington's conference rooms, naming names and raising his eyebrows at those who refuse to question certain IMF policies' repeated shortcomings. This smart, provocative study contributes significantly to the ongoing globalization debate and provides a model of analytical rigor concerning the process of assisting countries facing the challenges of economic development and transformation.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
I think that there are two main points that Stiglitz makes. The first is that standard IMF policy has tended to approach countries in financial crises with the same rather crude economics as that used on Wall Street, which leads them to think like bank managers rather than economists. If you force a country with a fiscal deficit to reduce government spending, then this will reduce aggregate demand, which will reduce government income, and make the deficit worse, inflicting more pain on the population. The reason that the IMF does this, is that it is meant to restore confidence in the markets, but once a crisis starts, foreign investors tend to bail out anyway, so all it buys you is breathing space. You should accept that the foreign investors are gone, and focus on growth.
The other thing that I got from the book is the hypocrisy of the US administration, which forced policies on emerging markets, which it would not itself accept. In fact, the IMF more or less took instructions from the US Treasury during the 1990s, and certainly my sense at the time was that the actual IMF staffers were very frustrated at the policies that the US government forced them to follow. The point though, is that while the US government was battling the balanced budget amendment at home, on the reasonable grounds that it limited their freedom to manage demand, they were essentially forcing a balanced budget amendment on the emerging markets via IMF conditionalities. I remember attending a Paris Club meeting, where the Fund said that they were aware that budget deficits could be beneficial - this was never reflected in the lending policies that the Treasury forced on them. Other examples are forcing central banks to focus only on inflation, and forcing emerging markets to open their markets, while protecting US farmers from imports.
The above is an oversimplification of the whole book, and others may get a lot more on other subjects, such as the political process of crisis management, and the specifics of the East Asian economies, which are less of a priority for me. When you are a specialist in a subject, you always find that non-specialist books tend to be wrong about your own subject. I certainly found plenty to disagree with in the sections on Russia, which is my special subject. However, the arguments were cogent (he is a Nobel prize winner, after all) and I found myself looking at my own subject in a new way, and it was interesting to read a broad brush view, which helped me to ignore the trees, and look at the wood.
I'm reading Skidelsky's biography of Keynes, and to some extent, Stiglitz's book reads like WWJMKD (What would John Maynard Keynes do?). What this means is that Stiglitz is a virtuoso economist, and this is a set of well-known events, reinterpreted by someone who is really good at it.
One criticism of the book is that I would have liked to have seen more raw data to support Stiglitz's arguments - he tends to just refer to studies supporting his argument, without showing as much data as I would have liked, but there is a decent bibliography. Another criticism is the veiled suggestion that Rubin (US Treasury secretary), Fischer (deputy head of IMF) and Summers (deputy Treasury secretary) were merely serving their masters in Wall Street, and were subsequently rewarded. This is a little ignoble, as these people were following their convictions, however wrong, and the political climate at the time supported them. But these criticisms should not detract from a really excellent book of popular economics.
What worries me more is Stiglitz' lack of attention to a couple of notorious facts about the WB and IMF. He mentions them and then goes on to other things. First, these agencies have routinely supported the most unspeakably brutal and murderous dictatorships: Marcos in the Philippines, Mobutu in Zaire (now Congo), Rios Montt in Guatemala, the thugs of Sudan, the military junta in Indonesia, and on and on. They continued to do this for years after it became general knowledge that these regimes were using the loans, and other aid, to line their pockets and to buy weapons to suppress their own people--and then they ran down their countries' health and education systems to pay back the loans. This wasn't economic theory at work and it wasn't ignorance. We still need a serious study of this. The notorious lack of accountability, stressed by Stiglitz, has to be remedied.
Second, the World Bank in particular, and now the WTO also, have routinely gone up against the environment--though they know perfectly well that everyone, and especially the poor in the Third World, depends on the environment for survival. A highly-placed World Bank researcher (necessarily unnamed here!) told me some time ago that the World Bank's own studies show that all their big-dam projects cost more than they produce in benefits. The costs are born by the poor (especially those displaced by the reservoirs). The benefits largely go to the rich. The WTO's policies on "free" trade are notorious; they tolerate without protest the enormous subsidies that First World governments give their farmers (as pointed out by Stiglitz) but they won't bend a millimetre to protect forests, fish, and wildlife that are vital to the survival of Third World poor. We need a much better study and account of all this.
Whatever is going on in the non-transparent boardrooms of these agencies, the effect has been to keep the Third World in its classic position: an impoverished supplier of raw materials to the First World. The worst thing about the WB-IMF-WTO policy mix is that it routinely leads to the sacrifice not only of the environment but also of long-term investments like education. Without an educated workforce, the Third World is doomed to permanent poverty and backwardness. Everybody knows this, but the policies go on.
I wish Stiglitz, or someone, would take all this on.
Why not to give 5 stars?
*It did not contain the academic rigor I was expecting from such insightful economist.
*Some parts of certain chapters the conversation gets repetitious.