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Customer Review

on July 9, 2009
Majid's book was required reading in my graduate level class, and we actually had a chance to talk with him over a webcam. I will give him credit for being a very likable and pleasant person. But there the credit ends.

His thesis is elegant, beautiful and is very appealing to Westerners, particularly in that it strikes a chord that is harmonious with our ingrained belief best represented by the quote, "While I may disagree with what you say I will defend to death your right to say it." Tailored to his experience, he states we need to listen to the criticisms of the "heretics", or else we shall cease to progress. It appeals to secularists. But in defending his thesis he actually does more to convince us that we should ignore the heretics rather than to embrace them.

He most certainly is no economist, though he presumes to have the knowledge of one. His first flaw is in utterly refusing to acknowledge that globalization has had a positive influence on society, in any way. And it unequivocally has. Along this note, he ignores the fact that in the past decade, over 200 million people have been lifted out of poverty in SE Asia alone as a result of increased globalizing forces (mainly due to China accepting free-market reforms ). Truth be told, globalization has benefitted enormously most nations in the world, with the exception of Sub-Saharan Africa and Central Asia. The true study must thus be on these regions and how or why they have fallen behind while the rest of the world has benefitted, and to determine any negatives associated with globalization. But Majid never once mentions the China example or these 2 regions. He doesn't analyze substantial UN data which suggests a strong correlation between globalization and prosperity. These are glaring oversights, and represent very wide research gaps.

His methodology is also flawed. He states a perspective, without actually arguing it. For example, he mentions the Argentinean economic collapse of the early 2000's and suggests that it was caused by globalization. In point of fact, it was caused by a lack of monetary discipline by the government (causing their exchange-rate regime to implode). Even more critical, is that Majid ignores the fact that the Argentinean recovery was so quick because of their globalized markets - hence, globalization did not cause it, it in fact helped significantly in their economic recovery. But Majid never discusses any of this - he simply states it as though it is self-evident or universally recognized, in which case both are flatly false. He does this throughout the entire book - making claims without truly substantiating them or even discussing them with much depth. The danger is that the reader will not be as well-versed on these issues and will therefore be led to erroneous conclusions (I, for example, would not have known how bad a hijacking it was of the Argentina example if I had not studied it beforehand).

This is simply not a sophisticated analysis of these issues. He is given to making ridiculous claims without providing any real evidence to support them. The one or two good points that he makes are thus drowned out by this fact. Furthermore, he confuses and does not recognize the distinction between globalization and capitalism, which hinders him in the book. A well-versed reader will recognize that he is criticizing one thing, but in actuality is talking about the other. The fact that I can recognize these egregious short-comings casts certain doubt on the subjects of which I am less-informed (Islam, instead of economics for example).

If you want a thoughtful and well-reasoned critique of globalization, America or Islam, I STRONGLY RECOMMEND you go elsewhere. This book will mislead more than it will inform.
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