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32 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Atac this book
One can usually rely on a Swede to aim left on any issue, but Johan Norberg's argumentation of globalism's issues all hit dead center mass. He writes simply, clearly, and gets right to the point. He doesn't muck about with whining, moralizing and self-righteous nitpicking, or engage in any of the other intolerable nonsense characterizing global capitalism's critique...
Published on 24 Feb 2004 by RCB

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4 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Idealistic and selective
Johan Norberg's ideas seems to be OK on the surface, if you accept the ideal that Capitalism is always benevolent, however "The Corporation" by Joel Bakan, opened my eyes. Joel warns that Corporations can behave like psychopaths when uncontrolled and that Globalisation has caused a noticeable amount of evil as well as some good. We need to seriously challenge corporate...
Published on 6 Sep 2007 by Richard Perrott


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32 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Atac this book, 24 Feb 2004
By 
RCB "RCB" (Lavaux, Switzerland) - See all my reviews
One can usually rely on a Swede to aim left on any issue, but Johan Norberg's argumentation of globalism's issues all hit dead center mass. He writes simply, clearly, and gets right to the point. He doesn't muck about with whining, moralizing and self-righteous nitpicking, or engage in any of the other intolerable nonsense characterizing global capitalism's critique. He just gives you the facts, man. Just the facts.
After providing exhaustive factual data (embarassingly enough to the likes of Atac) gleaned largely from globalism's harshest critics, Johan Norberg dishes out a non-stop stream of punishingly convincing arguments. Every prickly issue is shorn of its thorns and rendered manipulable to even the clumsiest mind, and every intractable twist of illogic is unwound simply and methodically in front of an admiring audience, one that I presume will be interested in witnessing feats of logical truth rather than intellectual prestidigitation.
After reading this book carefully and honestly, anyone who dares remain opposed to global capitalism must also dare to declare his firm support for poverty, child mortality, totalitarianism, unemployment, war, genocide, environmental catastrophies, low wages, poor working conditions, and gender inequality. But after spending several hours devouring Johan Norberg's sublime work, I trust that any anti-capitalist who reads this book will at least gain the courage to award their shattered convictions the silence they deserve.
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20 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Good News, 26 May 2004
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
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In this illuminating and accessible book, Norberg offers a systematic, detailed and complete rebuttal of the claims of the enemies of capitalism and globalization. Backed up by verifiable facts from a huge variety of reputable sources, he demolishes every lie of the leftists and environmentalists. He also investigates the other side of certain half-truths and gives an optimistic assessment of how capitalism, freedom and globalization are improving human lives around the globe.
Norberg looks at certain deceptive ideas, for example the one that claims the rich are getting richer and the poor poorer, giving us the good news of rapidly diminishing poverty and pointing out that the measure should be how well one is doing, not how well situated one is in relation to others. He explores the facts concerning issues like hunger, education, freedom and equality. Improvements have been particularly spectacular in China and India since these countries started reforming their economic systems.
He shows how the walls against ideas, people and goods are collapsing with dictatorships and how women benefit from the spread of capitalism. The best cure for poverty is growth; prices and profits serve as a signalling system in the market economy whereby the worker, the entrepreneur and the investor all benefit. The importance of property rights are pointed out, with reference to the work of De Soto, and the author compares the success of the Asian Tigers with the sorry state of Africa, although even here the open societies like South Africa, Mauritius and Botswana are doing well.
Norberg dismisses the hoary old argument that western countries are rich because they stole the resources of Third World countries in colonial times. The affluent world has grown faster since shedding its colonies, many rich countries (like Sweden and Switzerland) never had any colonies, whilst some of the world's least developed countries (Nepal, Liberia) have never been colonies. Nor have countries with natural resources as a rule grown as fast as those without, for example Singapore. A brilliant example of free trade success is Estonia, which soon after independence in 1992 abolished all tariffs.
The 20 economically most liberal countries have a per capita GDP of approximately 29 times that of the economically least liberal. The uneven distribution of wealth in the world is due to the uneven distribution of capitalism and the losers of the world are those that have been left out of globalisation.
Norberg attacks agricultural subsidies in the affluent countries, showing that this ridiculous practice harms those countries themselves and the developing world. He demonstrates the absurdity of Europe's Common Agricultural Policy, a bureaucratic nightmare that channels nearly 40% of the entire EU budget to less than 1% of the population. Latin America still suffers from decades of privilege and protectionism, but Chile is a good example of how quickly a country can transform itself with the right policies, to create a high standard of living.
Norberg investigates a vast range of issues, from development assistance (It is wasteful in that it normally involves the transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries), child labour and working conditions. He argues convincingly that free trade and capitalism alleviate social problems. He also proves that prosperity is beneficial for the environment, refuting the spurious claims of environmentalists and quoting from Bjorn Lomborg's remarkable book, The Skeptical Environmentalist.
Norberg considers every angle, including issues like "cultural imperialism" and the risible notion of the "dictatorship of the market", showing how capitalism and democracy go hand in hand in creating a better world. The book includes an index and 14 pages of notes. The text is enhanced by graphs demonstrating the facts and arguments. He concludes the book on an optimistic note, i.e. that people are beginning to wake up to the fact that they aren't just the tools of society but ends in themselves and that freedom and democracy will spread and continue to improve the lives of everyone on the planet.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Europe's answer" to Canada's Naomi Klein?, 17 May 2008
By 
Nicholas J. R. Dougan "Nick Dougan" (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
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Dave O'Brien of the Winnipeg Free Press stated: "Norberg is Europe's answer to our own Naomi Klein". While I haven't been able to track down Mr O'Brien's full review, I assume that he did mean that Norberg sought to refute Ms Klein's work, as there can be no doubt that was his intent.

Norberg was a Fellow of Swedish think-tank Timbro and also, now, of the American Cato Institute, which published his book. You may say that this is semantics, but Norberg is therefore identifiable as an (economic) libertarian, not a (political) liberal.

This is an excellent statement of the principles of economic libertarianism on a global scale. The principle of free capitalism is not undermined by the odd example of how unrestrained businesses may exploit individuals, although that does indeed happen. Even where it does, however, more people become more wealthy more quickly than in any other model for economic activity.

This is a brilliant riposte to Ms Klein and the economic left. My only major concern about globalism, and this book, is that it does seem to me that conducting economic activity globally will inevitably consume more energy - and produce more CO2, etc - than more locally based economic activity. Until businesses' economic calculations take into acount "exogenous" costs (i.e.those costs not sufferred directly by the parties to the transaction) it will, for example, remain sensible to fly mange tout from Kenya to England. Climate change is not listed in the index to this book! While I personally think that some of the MMGW "consensus" theories are alarmist (as you may deduce from some of my other reviews!), it did seem to me surprising that a book written in 2001 would ignore the issue altogether.

Despite this, well worth the read.
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4 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Idealistic and selective, 6 Sep 2007
By 
Richard Perrott (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Johan Norberg's ideas seems to be OK on the surface, if you accept the ideal that Capitalism is always benevolent, however "The Corporation" by Joel Bakan, opened my eyes. Joel warns that Corporations can behave like psychopaths when uncontrolled and that Globalisation has caused a noticeable amount of evil as well as some good. We need to seriously challenge corporate lobbying for less restrictions and pro-corporate laws, to prevent ugly distortions of social, legal and corporate government policy, and the resulting loss of property, reasonable protection and liberty.
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7 of 32 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Problematic, 20 April 2004
By 
Mr. N. D. Jones "sheeeep" (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Norberg a self-confessed liberal here talks up the benefits ofglobalisation. He suggests that if we encouraged trade we'd have lesspoverty and more democracy. Norberg raises some interesting points insupport of his theory, poverty certainly has by some measures declinedduring a period of accelerated globalisation however Norberg seems to onlyskim the surface of some of the problems this can cause. While he devotesthe early sections of the book to quoting statistics from neo-conservativegroups supporting his claims that globalisation means democracy, hedoesn't spend as much time discussing the often inept injustices of thesenew "democracies", nor the irony of advocating increased democracy via agroup of unelected [though very powerful] institutions like the IMF andWTO. Norberg seems to sweep aside those issues that don't quite fit inwith his ethos. The United Nation statistics that suggest a rise inpoverty in Europe, the problems "transitional democratic" governments havefaced in fighting poverty, child labour and the increase in those livingon less then an equivalent of $1 either seem to either become trivialinconsistencies or are ignored.
In Defence Of Global Capitalism is a very interesting book, I woulddefiantly suggest reading it in though in conjunction with books that willanalyse the problems as well as the benefits of Globalisation in moredepth.
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In Defense of Global Capitalism
In Defense of Global Capitalism by Johan Norberg (Hardcover - 1 Sep 2003)
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