In Defense of Globalization
The riot-torn meeting of the World Trade Organization in Seattle in 1999 was only the most dramatic sign of the intensely passionate debate now raging over globalization, which critics blame for everything from child labor to environmental degradation, cultural homogenization, and a host of other ills afflicting poorer nations.
Now Jagdish Bhagwati, the internationally renowned economist known equally for the clarity of his arguments and the sharpness of his pen, takes on the critics, revealing that globalization, when properly governed, is in fact the most powerful force for social good in the world today. Drawing on his unparalleled knowledge of international economics, Bhagwati explains why the "gotcha" examples of the critics are often not as they seem, and that in fact globalization often alleviates many of the problems for which it has been blamed. For instance, when globalization leads to greater general prosperity in an underdeveloped nation, it quickly reduces child labor and increases literacy (when parents have sufficient income, they send their children to school, not work). The author describes how globalization helps the cause of women around the world and he shows how economic growth, when coupled with the appropriate environmental safeguards, does not necessarily increase pollution. And to counter the charge that globalization leads to cultural hegemony, to a bland "McWorld," Bhagwati points to the example of Salman Rushdie, a writer who blends Bombay slang and impeccable English in novels touched by magic realism borrowed from South American writers. Globalization leads not to cultural white bread but to a spicy hybrid of cultures.
With the wit and wisdom for which he is renowned, Bhagwati convincingly shows that globalization is part of the solution, not part of the problem. Anyone who wants to understand what's at stake in the globalization wars must read In Defense of Globalization.
Oxford University Press
New York, NY
"An outstandingly effective book.... Until further notice In Defense of Globalization becomes the standard general-interest reference, the intelligent layman's handbook, on global economic integration."
"Once again, Columbia University economist Jagdish Bhagwati has weighed into the increasingly partisan and ideological debate over trade, offshore outsourcing and globalization. And once again, it is worth listening to.... what's most important about this book is its caution about globalization – namely, that it has to be managed, both in terms of how quickly it proceeds and what policies are put in place to reduce its unpleasant economic and social side effects."
"Bhagwati combines the hard-nosed perspective of a liberal on trade and investment with the soft-hearted sensitivities of a social democrat on poverty and human welfare. He thus has an admirable ability to address patiently and sympathetically globalization's well-meaning but wrong-headed critics.... A cogent, erudite, and, indeed, enjoyable discussion of economic globalization and its discontents."
"One of the world's leading international trade theorists.... Bhagwati takes on many antiglobalist arguments, showing them to be overblown or groundless. The lot of women and children improves with the opening of markets, and the environment too, not to mention the chances for democracy.... Accessible and clearly argued. There is, one might say, a wealth of material on every page."
—Bruce Bartlett, The Wall Street Journal
"An important contribution to an often incoherent debate. As we expect of Mr. Bhagwati, it is cogently argued and well written. It sets out a persuasive case in favor of globalization. And because of Mr. Bhagwati's impeccable credentials, there is a better chance his book will be given a fair hearing than might be the case with some other authors. Put simply, Mr. Bhagwati has 'street cred'."
—Anne Krueger, (Acting Director of the IMF), Financial Times
"Critics of globalization will find a few things to admire in Bhagwati's outlook. He limits his defense of globalization to trade, direct investment and migration. The book's short chapter on capital markets echoes many of the concerns of globalization's critics. Bhagwati forcefully denounces 'the Wall Street-Treasury Complex' that cajoled developing countries into eliminating capital controls. His charming cosmopolitanism will also allay the fears of critics convinced that economists are incapable of appreciating non-economic values. Literary references flow from the pages, from Lady Murasaki to King Lear to Woody Allen."
—Daniel W. Drezner, New York Times Book Review
"In this elegant book, one of the world's preeminent economists distills his thinking about globalization for the lay reader.... Armed with a wit uncharacteristic of most writing on economics and drawing on references from history, philosophy and literature as well as some 'state of the art econometric analysis,' he sets out to prove that the antiglobalization movement has exaggerated claims that globalization has done little good for poor countries.... This is a substantial study that is as about as enjoyable and reassuring a work of economics as may be possible to write in this uncertain age."
"Mr. Bhagwati slams through fact after fact, statistic after statistic, demolishing those who claim the poor are worse off because of globalization. He warns that many problems of poor countries are self-inflicted, such as trade barriers against one another. If Mr. Bhagwhati doesn't get a much deserved Nobel Prize for economics, he should get one for literature. His writing sparkles with anecdotes and delightful verbal pictures."
—Mike Moore, New York Sun
"Does the international market economy worsen poverty in developing countries? Does it erode democracy? Hurt the cause of women? Trash the environment? Exacerbate the exploitation of child labor? Bhagwati's answers to all these questions make for a supremely worthy read."
—Business 2.0 Magazine
"...an excellent and even-handed analytic description of globalization and its side-effects for economists and even non-economists."
—Eastern Economic Journal
Economics | Growth and Development | International Economics | International Law | Law | Social and Behavioral Sciences
Bhagwati, Jagdish, "In Defense of Globalization" (2004). Books. 191.