“Globalisation” has three high points, each of which stands out for a different reason. First there’s Clive Crook’s self-confessed polemic in defence of globalisation. It’s a masterclass in rhetoric. Crook moves effortlessly across the range of the debate, from inequality to the power of big business, global institutions to national politics. He also blends theory (always nattily explained) with evidence (chosen well, but not too selectively). He gives ground when it is due and can tub-thump when he wants to. A one-sided contribution to the debate, certainly, but a thoughtful one. Chapter two is “Popular Myths and Economic Facts”. This is an excellent and compact survey of different facets of globalisation, from migration to transport, media to foreign direct investment. The only pity is that the statistics, almost five years old, have not been updated (at the very least, in an appendix). The third outstanding contribution is Robert Wade’s piece “By Invitation”, on inequality. Here Wade uses The Economist’s techniques: a thoughtful laying out of the evidence, followed by a clear and bold policy recommendation. But he argues for a position that The Economist would not normally take – that inequality, properly measured, probably is increasing, and furthermore poverty reduction is not enough: relative inequality is a problem even if the poor are getting richer. The rest of the book has some impressive elements but is less than the sum of its parts. There’s a survey on taxation, one on equity markets, one on international financial architecture, and some thought-provoking stuff on the uses of technology.Read more ›
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The best on globalization1 July 2003
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This book, which is a compilation of articles from The Economist, is one of the most insightful texts on the mechanics of globalization. The book is written in the refreshing style of The Economist: concise, factually precise, and opinionated. First, it makes the liberal case for globalization, tracing the benefits of international exchange and competition to the classical economists; and it supports that case with logic and numbers. Then, one by one, it discusses equity markets, tax policies, global businesses, inequality, aid, the environment, technology and international finance. In the process, this book puts together an impressive collection of facts: it asks the question "what are people saying about globalization" and then evaluates perceptions and prescriptions against data from think-tanks and academics. This balance between theory and fact makes the book appealing. Globalization could not have a more articulate advocate than The Economist, and this book includes the best articles that have appeared in the magazine; if one had to read only one book on globalization, this should be it.