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Globalization and Its Discontents Paperback – 3 Apr 2003

4.3 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (3 April 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014101038X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141010380
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,323 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Amazon Review

Readers of Globalization and Its Discontents will already be familiar with the controversy and organised resistance that globalisation has generated around the world due to massive media coverage, yet explaining what globalisation actually means in practice is a complicated task. For those wanting to learn more, this book is an excellent place to start. An experienced economist, Joseph Stiglitz had a brilliant career in academia before serving for four years on President Clinton's Council of Economic Advisors and then three years as chief economist and senior vice president of the World Bank. His book clearly explains the functions and powers of the main institutions that govern globalisation--the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization--along with the ramifications, both good and bad, of their policies. He strongly believes that globalisation can be a positive force around the world, particularly for the poor, but only if the IMF, World Bank and WTO dramatically alter the way they operate, beginning with increased transparency and a greater willingness to examine their own actions closely. Of his time at the World Bank, he writes, "Decisions were made on the basis of what seemed a curious blend of ideology and bad economics, dogma that sometimes seemed to be thinly veiling special interests ... Open, frank discussion was discouraged--there was no room for it." The book is not entirely critical, however: "Those who vilify globalization too often overlook its benefits," Stiglitz writes, explaining how globalisation, along with foreign aid, has improved the living standards of millions around the world. With this clear and balanced book, Stiglitz has contributed significantly to the debate on this important topic. --Shawn Carkonen --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


[An] urgently important new book. -- George Scialabba

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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
If you are looking for a book that rages at the evils of capitalism then you are going to be disappointed. In fact this book is not really about globalisation. It is really about how the IMF called it wrong on some key events (just about) within the broad process known as globalisation. So we are treated to a bit of an examination of how the IMF drifted away from its original mission to end up prescribing some very ideological economic measures to countries.
This takes in both the recent Asian crisis and the Russian journey to a market economy. So in that sense it is almost covering broader ground than what you might typically term globalisation. But then on the flipside it is pretty much a critique of the IMF's role rather than a general take on these issues.
As such this book is very wrongly talked about as if its part of the anti-globalisation even anti-capitalism camp. Far from it. Its very much an endorsement of market economies, but a key theme is how important the management of transition to market economies is carried out. Hence he's not against privatisation, but the process of privatisation. He's not against capital market liberalisation but how it brought about, and wants more focus on the infrastructure required before it can happen.
In this sense it's not really a call to arms, more a call to reason. It's basically a book calling for a sensible approach to dealing with markets and applying them to countries with no history of them. That might sounds much less racy than some anti-capitalist rant, but it is far far more realistic, might actually have some influence and do some good, and is part of what is actually politically achievable.
However, having said all that it has managed to be contraversial. The economic orthodoxy has been upset and that some of Stilgitz's punches must have hit home.
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Format: Hardcover
It is always better to hear things from the horse's mouth. Eminent economist (Nobel Prize Winner no less) Joseph Stiglitz has been directly involved with some of the most serious financial crises in recent times. Not limited to academia and economic theory he served in high profile policy positions including as senior VP and chief economist in the World Bank. For me, it's also important that he spent extensive time with people in the affected countries. The description of modern international economic management: "from one's luxury hotel, one can callously impose policies about which one would think twice if one knew the people whose life one was destroying..." (p. 24) does not apply to him. His case studies provide the backdrop for his analysis of globalization as well as concrete evidence for some of his critical contentions. This is not a dry economics book; it is a captivating read that offers a very accessible examination of global economic and financial systems.
To position Stiglitz up-front: he is not against globalization - in his estimation it is quality-neutral as a conception and it is here to stay. The aim of his study is to show what lessons need to be learned and applied to make globalization live up to its potential for the majority of the world's populations. The red thread of the book is the examination of the primarily negative impact that globalization has had on many developing countries and the two billion or so poor who live on less than $2/per day. His reasoning why this has been the case and what is to be done to bring about positive change makes this book an important resource for the critics and the proponents of globalization alike.
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Format: Paperback
Stiglitz is clearly a first rate economist, the arguments he makes in his book are by no means watertight, but I found most of them to be very convincing. In particular his analyses of the Asian financial crisis, and the contrasting methods of communist-to-capitalist transition are excellent, he clearly explains any jargon and highlights some key areas that are often dismissed in other non-academic economics discussions.Also Stiglitz provides lots of helpful references to other works so if you feel like digging deeper in one particular area you can.
On the other hand the book suffers from an alarming amount of repetition, many paragraphs are more or less verbatim clones of previous ones and several of the chapters are clearly redundant. That said I don't know of another book that deals with the same area with such class and as it is so short the repetition isn't too much of a problem. In short it is well worth the read, Globalization is the most important issue facing us today (try saving the environment without solving it first, ain't gonna happen), we all need to have an informed opinion.
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Format: Paperback
Most readers of "globalization and its discontents" will be campaigners rather than economists. Stiglitz manages to discuss inflation, investment, trade issues, IMF structural adjustment policies and similar without becoming boring, and explains jargon and economic concepts as necessary. This book would set up the average protestor type to demolish any stockbroker in a pub debate.
Unlike his ex-employers, the World Bank, Stiglitz carefully examines the effect of global economics on people, and to a lesser extent the environment. His inevitable conclusions are that blind pursuit of "free trade" in the developing world has been a complete disaster, and that rich countries have been rather hypocritical in applying free trade measures to their own econmies.
His suggestions for change are rather weak and cover only a few pages at the end of the book - but there are plenty of books out there to fill in that gap, such as George Monbiot's Manifesto for a New World Order.
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