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. (Mar.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Globalization is a buzzword that has no precise definition. It takes on many meanings, drawing both fervent support and fervent opposition. Indeed, the term is so imprecise that it is possible to be simultaneously for and against globalization.
"In Defense of Globalization" focuses on its economic dimension, defined by Bhagwati as "diverse forms of international integration such as foreign trade, multinational direct foreign investment, movements of 'short-term' portfolio funds, technological diffusion, and cross-border migration." His main thesis is that economic globalization is an unambiguously good thing, with a few downsides that thought and effort can mitigate. His secondary thesis is that globalization does not need to be given a "human face"; it already has one. A thoughtful and objective evaluation, Bhagwati believes, will make this clear, and that is what he sets out to do.
In this thought-provoking work, Bhagwati (economics, Columbia Univ.) defends globalization against its many critics. He divides his analysis into the following: Part 1 describes the antiglobalization movement and its concerns; Part 2 analyzes the social implications of globalization; Part 3 concerns various facets of economic globalization, including short-term capital flows and the movement of people across borders; and Part 4 analyzes the changes, both domestic and international, that are necessary to make globalization more beneficial. Countering the current popular rhetoric that globalization needs a human face, which he calls a dangerous clich , Bhagwati argues that globalization already "has a human face, but we can make that face yet more agreeable." He offers a history of globalization and explains why some people oppose it, including anticorporate and anti-American attitudes. Bhagwati convincingly refutes misconceptions about globalization and offers sound recommendations for governing it properly. Including extensive bibliographic footnotes for further research, this is a highly engaging work that belongs in all academic libraries.-Lucy Heckman, St. John's Univ. Lib., Jamaica, NY Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
"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