Making Globalization Work
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A bold new blueprint for action from the Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz, one of globalization's closest observers and toughest critics.

Customer Reviews:

  • Prescription for the Discontents
    Since the Berlin Wall fell, the fact is, the next level of globalization has produced far too many losers and not enough winners. We are continuing to poison the environment; there are too many people living on less than $2 a day; states without security have left the door for terrorists and other malcontents to run rampant. It appears to some that the West will continue to underdevelop the rest of the world for the sake of increased profits.
    Yet, there is some hope on the horizon. Joseph Stiglitz, former lead economist at the World Bank and Nobel Prize winner offers a great follow up to "Globalization and Its Discontents." Stiglitz delineates the problems that the current global economic regime has caused and offers some prescriptions to ameliorate them.
    His look into the unequal demands from the West to underdeveloped countries is especially cogent. While trade barriers, industrial subsidies and tariffs are removed from developing countries, Europe and the United States continue their archaic agricultural subsidies. These subsidies improve the lot of a few (very few) farmers in the West, yet, make prices so artificially low that it erases the comparative advantage of developing countries in the agricultural system.
    Other global issues, such as Global Warming, the debt of the developing world and the issues facing nations with only primary production are also well elaborated. As Global Warming is a global issue, it should be dealt with as such. Stiglitz' blame rest firmly on the United States for the continuing problems. Jubilee type initiatives are pushed for debt relief; and, development towards secondary industry is suggested for those nations, such as Botswana, caught in the Resource Trap.
    I did have a few problems with the work. Corruption, both corporate and national, receives only lip service from Stiglitz in this book. There are a few of his familiar jabs at the International Monetary Fund, which after reading "Globalization and Its Discontents," and "Rethinking the Asian Miracle" become trite and dull. These made the book appear to be slanted against both the IMF and his successors at the World Bank.
    But, my biggest issue involved the "global greenback." Stiglitz correctly points to the currency reserve regime as an inducer of instability and a extractor of global surplus from developing to developed countries. He also correctly assesses that we should re-make the reserve system as Bretton Woods had done in the 1940s. Yet, his method is pie-in-the-sky, at best and crazy at worst. Now I am by practice a pro-Internationalist and believe in more global governance. Yet, his "global greenback" regime to replace the holding of dollars or euros is unworkable, all the reasons for which I'm not even going to try to go into here.
    In total, Stiglitz work is very good for its purposes. His ability to take his knowledge of the global economy and put it into words is unparalleled by any other major economist. This book should be a must read in concert with his "Globalization and Its Discontents" and Sen's "Development as Freedom." Add it to your shopping cart / wish list.
    ...more info
  • Fabulous Read
    I have read 2 books from Stiglitz so far, and this book is by far one of the finest I have read on the topic ... extremely well written, clear, concise and lucid ... this book leaves no doubt about Stiglitz's excellent intellectual capacity ... although I liked reading "The World Is Flat," by Thomas Friedman, a comparision of that with "Making Globalisation Work," makes Friedman look pedestrian and lacking in depth....more info
  • Prescription for the Discontents
    Since the Berlin Wall fell, the fact is, the next level of globalization has produced far too many losers and not enough winners. We are continuing to poison the environment; there are too many people living on less than $2 a day; states without security have left the door for terrorists and other malcontents to run rampant. It appears to some that the West will continue to underdevelop the rest of the world for the sake of increased profits.
    Yet, there is some hope on the horizon. Joseph Stiglitz, former lead economist at the World Bank and Nobel Prize winner offers a great follow up to "Globalization and Its Discontents." Stiglitz delineates the problems that the current global economic regime has caused and offers some prescriptions to ameliorate them.
    His look into the unequal demands from the West to underdeveloped countries is especially cogent. While trade barriers, industrial subsidies and tariffs are removed from developing countries, Europe and the United States continue their archaic agricultural subsidies. These subsidies improve the lot of a few (very few) farmers in the West, yet, make prices so artificially low that it erases the comparative advantage of developing countries in the agricultural system.
    Other global issues, such as Global Warming, the debt of the developing world and the issues facing nations with only primary production are also well elaborated. As Global Warming is a global issue, it should be dealt with as such. Stiglitz' blame rest firmly on the United States for the continuing problems. Jubilee type initiatives are pushed for debt relief; and, development towards secondary industry is suggested for those nations, such as Botswana, caught in the Resource Trap.
    I did have a few problems with the work. Corruption, both corporate and national, receives only lip service from Stiglitz in this book. There are a few of his familiar jabs at the International Monetary Fund, which after reading "Globalization and Its Discontents," and "Rethinking the Asian Miracle" become trite and dull. These made the book appear to be slanted against both the IMF and his successors at the World Bank.
    But, my biggest issue involved the "global greenback." Stiglitz correctly points to the currency reserve regime as an inducer of instability and a extractor of global surplus from developing to developed countries. He also correctly assesses that we should re-make the reserve system as Bretton Woods had done in the 1940s. Yet, his method is pie-in-the-sky, at best and crazy at worst. Now I am by practice a pro-Internationalist and believe in more global governance. Yet, his "global greenback" regime to replace the holding of dollars or euros is unworkable, all the reasons for which I'm not even going to try to go into here.
    In total, Stiglitz work is very good for its purposes. His ability to take his knowledge of the global economy and put it into words is unparalleled by any other major economist. This book should be a must read in concert with his "Globalization and Its Discontents" and Sen's "Development as Freedom." Add it to your shopping cart / wish list.
    ...more info
  • Great book about globilization
    I was glad to read a book about globilization that was written by an economist, not a journalist. When journalists tackle the issue, the information seems superficial and based on perception. This book, written by an expert economist, shows an indepth knowledge of economic forces that are not always obvious. For instance, he often talks about the effects of raising or lowering interest rates on loans to developing countries.

    He mentions many problems that have plagued the progress of globilization and then proposes solutions. The first chapter is mostly an introduction to the problem. He then talks about economic development in developing countries and how it has failed. He also mentions problems with trade laws, the environment, the debt of developing countries, the power of corporations, patent laws, and the global monetary system.

    This is a great book. The analysis is complex but understandable and he does not use that much technical jargin. It is comprehensive and really makes you understand the problem better. If you want to know about globilization from the perspective of an expert economist with academic and real-world experience, read this book. ...more info
  • Creating Global Democracy
    Stiglitz is the Nobel prize-winning former chief economist of the World Bank and former chairman of President Clinton's Council of Economic Advisors. He has been directly involved in most of the institutions that form global economic policy. He is an international mover and shaker. He is also one of the highest ranking voices of dissent. His previous book "Globalization and its Discontents" chronicled the world-wide pervasiveness of far less rosy consequences of corporate-driven globalization than the pure market theories of the neoliberal "Washington Consensus" would allow. That book had a huge impact in all quarters on the global debate over the significance and future course of globalization, but it was mostly an indictment of what had gone wrong. "Making Globalization Work" contains Stiglitz's proposals for what needs to be done to make it go right.

    Globalization, Stiglitz suggests, is neither inherently beneficial nor inherently harmful, but has led to devastating consequences for some due largely to gross mismanagement and manipulation by the corporate and political interests who fashion the rules of the game. Stiglitz calls for the democratic reform of global institutions such as the United Nations, World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund, and World Bank so that the vested interests which currently control the institutions (first and foremost the United States) are no longer able to monopolize agendas and secure preferred outcomes at the expense of weaker nations. The terms of trade and global commerce should not only be made more equitable, they should be biased in favor of the poor nations until they develop enough to actually be able to compete in a fair and even exchange. This, Stiglitz says, will be the most effective means toward truly universal growth, prosperity, and stability. It will be difficult to get done. The reforms will not sit well with those who benefit from the biases of the current system.

    The book is full of specific suggestions for policy reform in respect to international development, global commerce, intellectual property rights, global warming, multinational corporations, debt relief, a new global reserve system, and the democratization of global institutions. The basic premise is that, in the words of the Economic Social Forum, "Another World is Possible"-- a world in which the forces of globalization can be democratically and equitably managed to provide for a more stable, prosperous, and sustainable future for all.
    ...more info
  • Boring Read
    This book is extremely boring and very subjective. If you are looking for an objective well written easy to read book on globalization and the dynamics of our world economy then this is not the book for you. Lots of biased opinion. Also Stiglitz tends to be a master of the obvious at times regarding global economic issues. Nothing new here and no real new going forward insight....more info
  • Much Needed Work!
    In the preface to The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money John Maynard Keynes wrote `The difficulty lies, not in the new ideas, but in escaping from the old ones, which ramify, for those brought up as most of us have been, into every corner of our minds". In his timely and much needed Making Globalization Work Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz attempts to bring the market under control and proposes a myriad of innovative mechanisms which will make `globalization work.' While I admire Stiglitz's work and his profound commitment to real social justice, it is crucial to critique his methodology and his idea of fair trade. While most of his remedies are proactive and attainable, his idealism of the market needs to be questioned. In particular, many of his proposed solutions call for using the very market mechanisms that have created this markedly unjust and stratified world.

    Coming out boldly against Thomas L. Friedman's The World is Flat, Stiglitz asserts that `Not only is the world not flat: in many ways it has been getting less flat'(57). All of the issues Stiglitz champions are vital and indeed, some, such as climate change, threaten our very survival as humans. Nevertheless, Stiglitz's chapters on multinational corporations and the resource curse seem to be the most misguided and lack a complete understanding of the powerful forces that will not allow such `new ideas' to be accepted. As an internationalist, I believe his recommendations are fair and just. Yet, I see very little hope in core states willingly giving up their hegemony over the periphery, even if it is for their own good.

    Stiglitz comes out strongly against multinational corporations, hereafter MNCs. As he puts it, they `have come to symbolize what is wrong with globalization' as they are seen by many as the `primary cause of the problem' (187). The problem is not that MNCs are powerful, it is the fact they are often more powerful than nation states. Strong MNCs challenge the autonomy of periphery states, and as is the case, the core states support them in their endeavors. Capitalism, by its very nature, is destructive to those who lack capital. Stiglitz proposes `limiting the power of corporations' (199) but their power is most dangerous in poor states, which lack the ability to limit MNCs. Yet, he neglects to show how this control will be implemented.

    The United States, as chief imperialist after the Second World War, has continually come to the defense of its corporations. No where is this more evident than in Latin America. In 1954, Guatemalan president Jacobo Arbenz sought to limit the power of United Fruit Company, than the largest land owner in the country and was overthrown in a C.I.A orchestrated coup d'¨¦tat. To escape taxation--another ubiquitous problem with MNCs--United Fruit had declared the land to be forth a little more than half a million dollars. When the Arbenz government sought to buy the land at that price, the company asked for $16 million dollars. Arbenz refused their demand and was ousted and neither the United Nations nor the Organization of American States came to his rescue. In more recent times, the Venezuelan government nationalized it petroleum industry. Because the previous contracts had been negotiated with governments of the past, who lacked the mandate of the people, President Hugo Chavez sought to renegotiate with the MNCs, such as Exxon-Mobile. While some companies took the governments offer, Exxon successfully took the Venezuelan government to court and $12 billion of state assets are currently frozen. What can we make of this? How can corporations such as Exxon be controlled and their power limited? Add to the mix the fact that prominent government officials sit on the board for many of the same MNCs who are accused of having the worst policies, lacking oversight and causing the most economic and social destruction. How do we reconcile this?

    Corporate crime inflicts far more damage than corruption or for that matter, anything else. To take one example, the savings and loan fraud - which former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh called "the biggest white collar swindle in the history our nation" - cost us anywhere from $300 billion to $500 billion. That is just one case! Stiglitz understands this, but is hopeful that the corporate social responsibility movement will step in and put pressure on MNCs to reform. While this is certainly possible in some sectors, and many companies have in fact made strides in becoming more socially responsible, what should be done about the Exxons of the world? People are concerned more about the high price of gasoline they must pay than the increased price of milk in the slums of Caracas. Holding these companies accountable is an imperative, but so far, there is no large movement to limits the power that MNCs have on other states. Furthermore, Stiglitz seems to contradict his own argument.

    While global warming and its attendant consequences are having a drastic effect on the world's poor, Stiglitz cannot make the connection that perhaps it is capitalism and MNCs that have produced such conditions. Even if corporations were more socially responsible, they would continue to pollute the environment. To bring in a case from my own research, the example of Bolivia's water wars perfectly illustrates this contingency. The Bolivian government has argued for years that Western nations should compensate periphery states for the effects of global warming. The Andean nation of Bolivia, which is by far the poorest country in Latin America, has in recent decades seen the melting of its glaciers high in the Andes. These glaciers provide drinking war to much of the countries poor, especially those in La Paz and El Alto. At the same time, efforts have been made, most notably by U.S. firm Bechtel to privatize Bolivia's drinking war. Even collected rain water! This affront to civility and decency failed not because of a corporate responsibility but rather by protests initiated by poor compesinos who eventually drove the firm out.
    In chapter 5, Stiglitz discusses the `paradox of plenty' where countries `richly endowed with natural resources' have `lower growth and higher poverty rates than other countries not so endowed' (134). To Stiglitz, the problem is two fold. First, countries do not get full value for their natural resources. This is a problem inherent in international trade. It is agreed that countries get shafted but the real question is why? As Raul Prebirsh demonstrated in the 50's, periphery states do not grow when they join the Western economic system because the system is inherently flawed and created in such a way as to make periphery states dependent on core states.

    Trade between a core and periphery state invariably benefits the former and despite any short term gains, hurts the latter. Here, he has some of his brightest moments. He writes `Wealth generates power, the power that enables the ruling class to maintain that wealth' (137). This is true within countries but it is also true at the macro level, where states that have considerable political, economic and most importantly, military power, are able to accumulate even greater wealth. He also laments unfair privatization (which his friend Jeff Sachs contributed to in Russia.) but I don't believe he sees privatization as inherently unfair. As for his agenda towards solving the situation, Stiglitz misses some important facts. In order to reduce arms control, the biggest arms producers must be reigned in. Unfortunately, these same producers come from the worlds most powerful countries, and are in fact, MNCs. Furthermore, certification has come under a lot of scrutiny. The Kimberly Process essentially gave monopoly power to the world's largest diamond manufacturers by taking out secondary suppliers. This is anti-competitive, which Stiglitz seems as very harmful. While one can easily constructive examples of certification, who should implement it and how is the issue at hand decided? This seems like another area where the geopolitical goals of unilateral nation states will become more important.

    Writing a critique of Stiglitz is no easy feat, and in fact, I do not really hold Stiglitz accountable for the holes in his argument because of the magnitude of the issue he is dealing with. He makes many generalizations and even if 99% of them are correct, critics can point to a single anomaly to try to disprove him. While Stiglitz is a committed socialist, he puts too much trust in the market mechanism which has never proven to be fair....more info
  • Insightful
    Stiglitz provides insight as well as information to enhance understanding of the economic globalization process, its weaknesses, strengths and potential for great good for all humans. His work is mature in perspective, contrasting with the "gotta have it now" attitude urged by the Bush Administration. This work has maintained its timeliness and the ideas are relevant in understanding today's economic options....more info
  • excellent
    The product arrived in a timely fashion and in the condition described. Excellent seller. Would do business again....more info
  • an important contribution to the debate
    "Making Globalization Work" is a worthy follow-up to "Globalization and its Discontents". In fact, it is a more interesting read than the other book because it explores a broader array of issues. Here are some of its notable points.

    Chapter 3 ("Making Trade Fair") documents the discrepancy between the rhetoric and the practice of developed countries that preach the virtues of free trade and push for greater trade liberalization in the developing countries while in the meantime broadly engaging in protectionism in areas that could benefit the developing countries. Erik Reinert would probably put it like this: Jeffersonian rhetoric, Hamiltonian practice. Although Stiglitz recognizes the damage of such a discrepancy, his proposal is not all out liberalization. His "extended market access proposal" would open the markets of the richer countries to the poorer countries without requiring reciprocity (he also argues for cutting agricultural subsidies in the rich countries and other such reforms). That means that the poor countries would be allowed to use certain policy tools (infant industry promotion) to assure development. Thus, Stiglitz holds a positions similar to that of Ha-Joon Chang, or Friedrich List and the German Historical School, for that matter: free trade trade has to be well-timed and the developing countries have to be given time to catch up.

    Chapter 4 ("Patents, Profits, and People") provides a very good discussion of intellectual property. Stiglitz emphasizes that intellectual property protection is a means to an end: it is supposed to foster innovation. Thus, incentives for innovation (monopolistic rents) should be balanced against the inefficiencies that come from restricting the use of information, i.e. a public good. The author spends quite some time on patents in medical research. In case you read this book and become interested in the issue, Dean Baker's "The Conservative Nanny State" (provided online for free by Dean Baker himself) includes another interesting discussion of patents and copycat drugs.

    Chapter 5 ("Lifting the Resource Curse") is about the problems that resource rich countries face. This includes abuses by private companies that exploit the resources, a potentially predatory state, and currency appreciation that imposes enormous costs on other export industries (the "Dutch disease"). Among many other things, Stiglitz proposes a way to combat currency appreciation: reserve of foreign currencies that could be used when the economy needs stabilizing.

    These several chapters are just a taste of things found in the book. Other chapters address other important issues such as global warming (Chapter 6), country debt problems (Chapter 8), and the instability of the global reserve system (Chapter 9). Students fresh out of introductory economics courses should find themselves engaged as well: market failures (market power and all sorts of externalities), appropriate incentives, and public goods are some of the more frequently recurring themes.

    If "Globalization and its Discontents" had the problem of being somewhat self-congratulatory, "Making Globalization Work" has a different flaw: its tone sometimes turns naive. For instance, these words can be found in the last chapter: "America's standing in the world has long been based not just on its economic and military power but on its moral leadership, on doing what is right and fair". Stiglitz thus treats certain unfair trade practices as a temporary aberration from the usual moral leadership. People who are quick to remember, among many other things, the CIA-led coups of democratically elected leaders in Iran (1950s) and Chile (1970s), the support for Latin American death squads or Indonesia when it invaded East Timor, will probably not take such remarks about "moral leadership" too seriously. There are other examples but I believe this one suffices for illustration.

    Luckily, there is enough substance and interesting ideas in this book to make one overlook this one flaw. "Making Globalization Work" is a very important contribution to the debate and should be read by anyone interested in globalization and related issues....more info