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In Defense of Globalization: With a New Afterword

In Defense of Globalization: With a New Afterword [Kindle Edition]

Jagdish Bhagwati
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Description


Bhagwati pulls together the various aspects of the case in a compact volume aimed at the general reader. (TLS ) is comprehensive, well-argued and very well written. Highly recommended. (The Business Economist )

arguably the best book yet on the great issue of our time (New Scientist )

an outstandingly effective book...a refreshingly straightforward approach...Balanced, compelling and thorough in its use of evidence. (Economist )

New Scientist

"arguably the best book yet on the great issue of our time"

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 811 KB
  • Print Length: 348 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0195330935
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (27 July 2007)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195330935
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195330939
  • ASIN: B004VV9L86
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #350,077 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good book and an important one indeed 6 Aug 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In rather readable style - I just love his sense of humour - Professor Bhagwati (JB) sets out his case in favour of globalisation.

Part One sets out the arguments of the anti-globalisation movement. It would appear that a whole load of other issues not connected to globalisation found a home in the anti-globalisation movement, anti-Americanism being one of them. JB also notes that students of economics tend to be in favour of globalisation and that those opposed to globalisation rarely know anything about economics. Perhaps that situation could be remedied by spreading more knowledge of economics amongst the "anti-globalisationists".

In Part Two, JB examines the effect of globalisation on a number of issues including poverty, child labour, women and their treatment of, democracy, culture, wages and labour standards, the environment and multi-national corporations. He finds that globalisation is not a threat but rather beneficial to any of these subjects and that multi-nationals are not thriving by playing economies against each other or exploiting countries by abusing their corporate might.

Part Three deals with legal and illegal movement of labour and the challenges arising from it and the perils arising from the move of international capital where he also looks at the 1998 Asian crisis. Whilst I agree with JB that the reason for the crisis was not an end of the economic miracle experienced in the 30-odd years before the crisis I think that these countries' economic mismanagement played a large part in it. But you are of course free to read JB's book and make up your own mind.
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55 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant and terribly important 25 Feb 2004
I heard Bhagwati speak on this book at LSE and was terribly impressed. The point to make is that he's not one of those free trade at all cost types. He believes, and has evidence to prove, that free trade helps the very people that most anti-globalization activists purport to be helping. At the same time, he emphasizes the need to control the speed at which markets liberalise, as well as for serious safety nets to cope with downsides.
This is a must read for everyone who cares about raising the standard of living in poorer countries.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Rolf Dobelli TOP 500 REVIEWER
Jagdish Bhagwati is a true believer in the righteousness of international trade, and in this pro-globalization work, he takes a tone of nearly evangelical fervor. This tactic is likely to please those who agree with him, but it's unlikely to win over sceptics. Bhagwati makes no attempt to hide his disdain for the patchouli-scented protesters who disagree with him, and he spends much of this book serving up their flimsiest arguments and then knocking them down. Of course, he also offers plenty of persuasive points, such as a review of research showing that multinationals that set up shop in poor nations pay more than their workers would receive from other employers. At his worst, Bhagwati makes the reptilian argument that mothers who leave behind their children for jobs in rich countries are simply making a logical choice, never mind the wrenching emotions that accompany such a move. At his best, he advocates for a safety net in poor nations and for a kinder, gentler form of globalization. getAbstract recommends this book to readers seeking an in-depth study of the pro-globalization mind-set.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars timely and topical 26 July 2006
Professor Bhagwati is a well-known economist and here offers timely discussions on the pros and cons of globalization. In short, he sees that globalization will bring more benefits to the world. By this nature, his discussions go a long way "in defence of globalization." Worth read, but his discussions are somewhat rigid and bit too long, though a very important work. This book should go with another brilliant book: China's global reach: markets, multinationals, and globalization (the revised edition) by a Chinese journalist, which offers much more info and analysis, especially on a changing world production, investment and trade map -- all under globalization and capitalism. Furthermore, the book is very critical about the abusive Chinese bureaucratic power.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.6 out of 5 stars  54 reviews
53 of 57 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In defense of this book 6 May 2004
By Eric J. Lyman - Published on
Aside from a small handful of real Luddites, I don't think there are many people left who are against all forms of globalization, nor can there be many who are completely in favor of it, warts and all. But you'd never know that based on most of what's written on the subject: most literature on the subject tends to treat discussions of the global economy in black-and-white terms. Authors, essayists, and columnists too often rely on gimmicky strategies that pull on the heartstrings but do little to examine the real pros and cons of an increasingly global world, focusing more on what's wrong than on what can be done. And discussion I've seen too often takes too narrow a view -- life in a particular village, the impact on a specific industry -- for a well-rounded debate to take shape.
In Defense of Globalization is the first effort I've seen in a long time that manages to avoid most of those pitfalls, relying on objective and unemotional discussions of evidence rather than anecdotes, and presenting its arguments in a straightforward and gimmick-free way. It is full of important information and still eminently readable.
Opponents of globalization usually base their arguments against the international market economy on a few strong points: that it encourages child labor, that it erodes democracy, that it weakens the plight of women in the developing world, that it kills local cultures, and that it harms the environment. In this book, scholar and author Jagdish Bhagwati addresses each of those issues in a series of chapters that make up the heart of the book.
But globalization proponents will not find in In Defense of Globalization a blind defense of their views. Mr. Bhagwati takes the anti-globalization points seriously. He goes so far as to show that he shares many of the anti-globalists' views and values (especially regarding poverty), and he points out many areas where unchecked global capitalism has the potential to do more harm than good. This makes the book much more effective than it would have been otherwise.
But despite all that, Mr. Bhagwati still sees free trade as the best was to raise incomes and speed up the long-term development of the world's poorest economies, and he compellingly illustrates why any kind of trade protection -- no matter how noble its intent -- in the end leaves the protected and the protected against worse off. And unlike many efforts of this kind, it doesn't simply stop at pointing out what's wrong -- it offers many options for improving the current situation.
In the end, In Defense of Globalization is not aimed at partisans on either side of the globalization debate if what they are looking for is information to back up what they already believe. This is a book will make anyone who thinks much about globalization think again ... and perhaps realize they share more than they thought with the opposite side.
43 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The new benchmark for books on globalization 7 Jun 2004
By N. Tsafos - Published on
How can one resist a book that begins with the phrase, "does the world need yet another book on globalization?" To this saturated topic, Jagdish Bhagwati does not try to force a radical new outlook; rather, he surveys the evidence against each accusation levied by the critics of globalization and ends up producing one of the most elegant, eloquent, and persuasive books in favor of globalization.
One problem that any such book faces is that the anti-globalization movement is rather amorphous, bringing together all sorts of groups that make all sorts of accusations; to get around this, Mr. Bhagwati divides his book into the major themes (the link of economic growth to poverty, of trade to the environment or labor rights, etc), and looks at what the various NGOs are saying against globalization. To his credit, Mr. Bhagwati has considered most of the subtleties, nuances and variations of the NGO arguments.
Having done this, Mr. Bhagwati explains whether and why the NGOs are wrong. Predictably, the NGO fears usually prove exaggerated or simply untrue. To their polemic rhetoric, Mr. Bhagwati answers with anecdotes, news reports and econometric studies. Whether one agrees or disagrees with him, no one can accuse Mr. Bhagwati of brushing aside the critics.
Refreshingly, the book is not an unconditional acceptance of globalization. "In Defense of Globalization" is a defense, but it is not blind to what is wrong about globalization; Mr. Bhagwati is cautious, for example, about uninhibited capital flows; he is also critical about the invasion of intellectual property rights into trade agreements; he is also suspicious of businesses that bribe politicians to alter trade agreements to their favor. And so on.
Yet, his verdict is staunchly pro-globalization. He urges against using trade-curtailing answers to economic problems; he also alerts us that many of the ills identified by NGOs have little to do with globalization ("What has globalization got to do with that?" he writes more than once). More importantly, he offers ideas about how to make globalization better, from managing immigration, to rethinking the trade sanctions, to the role that NGOs ought to play, and many more. Nothing here is new; but he assembles the various ideas that he has pronounced over the years in books, op-ed pieces and academic journals.
There is no doubt that "In defense of globalization" will be the book to beat from now on. No anti-globalization treatise should be published without being able to refute Mr. Bhagwati's arguments. For having elucidated this debate even further, Mr. Bhagwati deserves to be read and to be thanked.
79 of 95 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a readable masterpiece in international economics 15 Mar 2004
By Gaetan Lion - Published on
This is an excellent book that takes a subject [Globalization] that has become increasingly emotionally loaded and politically intense. As the U.S. experiences a rising Current Account Deficit, there is a strong perception that Globalization is like a scorpion who has turned its own deadly sting on itself. Everyday, one sees articles in the press mentioning how the U.S. is loosing its manufacturing jobs to China and its programming jobs to India.
Bhagwati, as any classical economists, views Globalization as the manifestation of the competitive advantage of international trade. In other words, whatever we can obtain from overseas at a lower cost than we can obtain locally will boost the demand for our own products (due to lower costs). With higher demand comes higher economic growth, higher productivity, and rising living standards. On the other hand, ill fated protectionist policies, contrary to their humanistic intent, completely annihilate this economic virtuous cycle.
However, Bhagwati is not your usual unrestrained free trader. He feels that governments have to better address the dislocation in labor that is directly affected by international competition. He states the U.S. should spend more resources on research and on education. This is so our labor force remains most productive in being engaged in cutting edge industries that have not yet become commoditized.
Bhagwati, an Indian, focuses much energy on the benefit of Globalization for all emerging markets. Contrary to all the anti Globalists demonstrators in Seattle, Cancun, and elsewhere, Bhagwati makes a forceful and well documented case that Globalization is a very positive force that lifts countries out of poverty. It causes a virtuous economic cycle associated with faster economic growth. He dismantles the concerns and myths perpetrated by anti-Globalists chapter by chapter. Thus, chapters are titled: "Culture: Imperiled or Enriched?," "Corporations: Predatory or Beneficial?," and "Environment in Peril?" In each cases, Bhagwati armed with irrefutable historical data comes on strongly on the side of Globalization and breaks one anti Globalist myth after another.
Bhagwati states that in many cases, Globalization is blamed for whatever goes wrong within a country. But, that this is a politic of deflection used by corrupt and ineffective political leaders. Instead of implementing more effective domestic policies and international policies, many government leaders prefer to blame all ills on Globalization, which indirectly means on the U.S.
Bhagwati makes an eloquent case that any economic ills in emerging markets is not all the U.S. fault just as U.S. job losses are not all China and India's faults.
During this Presidential election year with the loss of U.S. jobs as one of the main Democratic themes, this is a very important book to read. It would be crucial for Kerry to read it too, otherwise he may fight a loosing campaign pinned on protectionist policies. By now, even though Globalization and international economics are complex matters, too many voters intuitively understand these subjects to vote in a President on a campaign of protectionism and international economic isolation. Bhagwati rules!
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mandatory Reading 15 Feb 2004
By Watt - Published on
Jagdish Bhagwati's IN DEFENSE OF GLOBALIZATION takes on several important tasks. First, it responds to globalization's critics, both the screaming in Seattle types and the NGOs. He then goes through the areas that concern those who care about development in poor countries, including women's rights, the environment, employement conditions, etc. And finally, he shows that while globalization has an overwhelmingly positive affect on the issues discussed, there are some downsides that need to be anticipated and dealt with.
What I like about this book is that it uses fairly complex economics in an accessible fashion. I also like that Bhagwati seems to be arguing not to win points but because he genuinely cares about the lives of people in developing countries. He is essentially offering a challenge to those on the left whose goals he shares to defend their positions.
If I have one complaint, it's that the humor is occasionally a little corny. Bhagwati is too quick to tell jokes at times when we want him to be serious. But I suspect that this may in part be a matter of taste. Judge for yourself. In the end this is an extremely entertaining and very important book.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An essential handbook but not a definitive piece. . . 22 Feb 2006
By Thompson - Published on
The true worth of this book will be known a decade or so from now, as statistics are accumulated and interpreted for those countries who are just now opening their economies to trade, investment, and technology flows. After all, this globalization phenomenon remains, at the present time, relatively new, and most people, though they have a loose understanding of it, do not fully understand its implications for life at home or abroad. In fact, Bhagwati's book is worth buying solely for his explanation of, in addition to, his pronouncements on globalization.

Did Bhagwati write this himself? I ask because I wasn't aware that economists wrote with the wit and charm that the affable Bhagwati exudes here. His book is peppered with colorful tales (such as the one about Indian car manufacturers who, protected from foreign competition in the 1960-80s, built cars of such legendary worksmanship that the only component in the car that didn't make a noise was the horn!) and hilarious one-liners.

Here, briefly, are the book's strengths:

1. He describes globalization's opponents. Bhagwati commences the book by describing two separate groups of people who attack globalization, each with different motives and ferocity. The hard core group often includes those who are, at a deeper level, anti-capitalist and anti-American. This group perceives the spread of globalization as the spread of American-style capitalism and, perhaps, American exploitation of weaker governments and countries. Bhagwati notes that this group is rarely able to back up its impassioned rhetoric with concrete evidence or economic thinking/models. Unequipped to focus on any topic for long, they resort to their loud anti-American and anti-corporate slogans.

2. Certain chapters are very strong, while others give readers the suspicion that Bhagwati either A) doesn't have any persuasive arguments to offer, or B) does but lacked the enthusiasm to lay them out. In the weaker chapters, one pictures the aging economist slipping on his bed clothes, packing his notes and models away, and yawning something about a promise to make amends in later chapters.

In particular, I felt his chapters on poverty and culture were his best, while his declarations on child labor and women's issues were lacking.

Bhagwati explains the correlation between economic growth and poverty reduction, and he is superb at explaining the underlying economics for the layperson. The reader cannot help but be convinced that outward-oriented economies do better (much better) because they gain from trade, improved resource allocation, foreign investment, and technology transfers. I doubt that Bhagwati uses the economic literature selectively, so it appears that the performance of India, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, and others robustly back up the economic theory.

But, as I said, other chapters scream for more evidence and discussion. As far as I can tell, Bhagwati's defense against those who charge globalization with perpetuating and enlarging child labor is a single study done in Vietnam. This study found that when Vietnam opened itself more to trade, the prices received for a few Vietnamese commodities rose, allowing Vietnamese parents to substitute increased income for their children's labor. I would have liked to hear more.

There are other highlights and lowlights I might mention, but won't. Bottom line is that the book is sound and it's an essential piece for those wanting to understand globalization better. His scope is broad and he concludes with some policy recommendations, which was nice. His treatment of globalization is fair, and he seems aware of its downsides and opportunities for improvement through better governance and institutional design. Ok!
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