Globalization and Its Discontents Hardcover – 19 Jun 2002
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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.
"Penetrating, insightful... A seminal work that must be read."
"Accessible, provocative and highly readable.... Brings an insider's insights into the crises of the 1990s and beyond."
"Entertaining, insightful, and well-written.... Makes a compelling case."
"Penetrating, insightful....A seminal work tht must be read."
"Accessible, provocative and highly readable....Brings an insider's insights into the crises of the 1990s and beyond."
"Entertaining, insightful, and well-written....Makes a compelling case."
[An] urgently important new book.--George Scialabba
[An] urgently important new book. --George Scialabba"
[Stiglitz's] rare mix of academic achievement and policy experience makes Globalization and Its Discontents worth reading. --Michael J. Mandel"
Penetrating, insightful.... A seminal work that must be read.--George Soros
Provocative, readable, and sure to earn Stiglitz persona non grata status in certain corridors of power.
Accessible, provocative and highly readable... Brings an insider's insights into the crises of the 1990s and beyond.--Alan Cowell
A great tour of the complexities of economic policymaking. Getting a top economist to subject the US Treasury and the IMF to withering scrutiny... is good for the long-term health of the system.--William Easterly
Entertaining, insightful, and well-written.... Makes a compelling case.
[A] smart, provocative study... Impassioned, balanced and informed... A must-read.
A war story from inside the halls of the White House and the World Bank, the confession of a powerful economist with a political conscience and a healthy degree of common sense.--Lenora Todaro
Development and economics are not about statistics. Rather, they are about lives and jobs. Stiglitz never forgets that...--Frank Bures
[W]ill surely claim a large place on the public stage.--Benjamin M. Friedman
This book is everyone's guide to the misgovernment of globalization. Stiglitz explains it here in plain and compelling language.--James K. Galbraith, The University of Texas at Austin
He is one of the most important economists of modern times.--Nicholas Stern, Chief Economist and Senior Vice President, World Bank
Whatever your opinions, you will be engaged by Stiglitz's sharp insights. A must read.--Juan Somavia, Director-General of the International Labor Organization
A fresh, much-needed look at how these institutions-primarily the International Monetary Fund-affect policy... Stiglitz has done important work...--Anna Lappe
[Stiglitz] is not a global pessimist, but a realist--and instead of placing him in a neat box labeled 'important contribution to the debate, ' we should listen to him urgently.--Will Hutton
Top customer reviews
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.
It is primarily an argument against the strict monetarist policies enforced by the IMF. Stiglitz argues that the 'one size fits all' approach used, actually fits none. In purely economic terms, this is perhaps an argument that is best left to the economists. However, Stiglitz is insistent that the social and political consequences of the pursuit of these policies cannot be ignored.
It would be easy to dismiss this as an attempt to discredit the instruments of capitalism. However, the authors background within, and widespread support for those instruments discounts this.
In summary, this is an excellent book which, despite the complex nature of the economic theories involved is very readable and easy to follow throughout.
Stiglitz criticises most heavily the International Monetary Fund (IMF), an organisation that was created to enhance global economic stability but has been all too often used as a tool to promote elite U.S. business and finance interests. The problem, as Stiglitz articulates it, is this: "Market fundamentalists dominate the IMF; they believe that markets by and large work well and that governments by and large work badly. We have an obvious problem. A public institution created to address certain failures in the market but currently run by economists who have both a high level of confidence in markets and little confidence in public institutions."
Stiglitz suggests that the IMF's behaviour does not have intellectual coherency when analysed within the framework of its original charter but that its behaviour does make sense if approached from the perspective that the IMF represents elite financial and banking interests within the dominant economies, most obviously, the United States, which has an effective veto over IMF policy. Therefore, when a country such as Indonesia or Russia is in financial turmoil, the IMF arranges that Western creditors (ie banks) get their money back first; in contemporary dogma this is referred to as 'bailing out' a country. The Fund arranges that Western banks get their billions of dollars back but that the poor people of the targeted country, those that have been worst affected by the Fund's policies of capital market liberalisation and structural adjustment, have their food subsidies reduced or removed, their health and unemployment safety nets cut. The population of the target country then also has to shoulder the burden of repayment. Understandably, this behaviour breeds resentment and discontent.
Stiglitz convincingly argues his case from a position of credibility. He is no anti-establishment radical and his book provides solutions as well as plentiful criticisms. For a non-economist like myself, the book was a stimulating read that never got bogged down in pages of statistics; Stiglitz keeps it readable and he never lets you forget that despite the billions of pounds sloshing around in the system, the policies advocated have a real impact on people's lives. For an insider's account of the global machinations of organisations like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, Joseph Stiglitz has written an invaluable guide, one that should be read by protestors and economists alike.
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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Book itself is a revelation, I always considered the IMF to be full of second rate economists and headed by self promoting...Read more
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