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Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. In Defense of Globalization by Jagdish N. In the passionate debate that currently rages over globalization, critics have been heard blaming it for a host of ills afflicting poorer nations, everything from child labor to environmental degradation and cultural homogenization. Now Jagdish Bhagwati, the internationally renowned economist, takes on the critics, revealing that globalization, when properly governed, is i In the passionate debate that currently rages over globalization, critics have been heard blaming it for a host of ills afflicting poorer nations, everything from child labor to environmental degradation and cultural homogenization.

Now Jagdish Bhagwati, the internationally renowned economist, 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 and development economics, Bhagwati explains why the "gotcha" examples of the critics are often not as compelling as they seem.

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. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

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Mar 01, Sara rated it liked it Shelves: empire. Defending asymmetry? Intellectual property and labor require compensation. Unable to see the wood for the trees, he concludes that globalization is good, but has to be managed. The most revealing moment of the book is when it quotes a conversation between two economists, and one says: "Tommy, the difference between your socialism and mine is that when you think of yourself as a socialist, you think of yourself as behind the counter ; when I think of myself as a socialist, I think of myself being in front of it " p.

The author exposes many of the asymmetries that trigger activism around the globe better than any NGO: the introduction of intellectual property protection into the WTO, to prevent developing countries from freely trading pharmaceuticals; the disasters brought about by the 'bottom of the pyramid' marketing of baby formula, and the refusal of multinationals to comply with WHO regulation; the catastrophic outcomes of free capital movements in the Asian financial crisis. Every time, the West wants to be the one behind the counter, and the rest are forced to stay in front of it.

In Defense of Globalization

There are of course laugh out loud moments scattered throughout the book, as when the author posits that one billionnaire is better than a thousand millionaires because the billionnaire will spend a higher share of its riches on philanthropy. In conclusion, can globalization be managed? This is to ask, can the artful or violent maintenance of power asymmetries by the West be tweaked to generate positive spillovers for the rest?

Clearly, this a question not worth answering. Apr 24, M. Originally read for a class in International Aspects of Economic Development. As the title suggests, Bhagwati's aim is to defend the march of globalisation against its detractors. Just as the interest groups that protest at WTO meetings seemed varied and with disjointed aims sharing little in common except a distrust for the internationalisation of trade and its spillover effects so too is Bhagwati's book. It is a book without focus and I believe that ultimately hinders the author's ability to Originally read for a class in International Aspects of Economic Development.

It is a book without focus and I believe that ultimately hinders the author's ability to make his argument in an effective manner. Every writer must begin by asking who is his audience.

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If Bhagwati really asked that question, I see only hints of it. It is not written for the economist.


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There is a lack the depth required for a good discussion on the topic. Is it then written for the average person? That certainly seems what he was attempting. His tendency, however, after complaining about such tactics is then to counter with his own anecdotal evidence. Or to blithely dismiss the arguments against as wrong without explanation as to why. Some parts are argued well. Some are controversial and interesting. But too many times--even in parts where I agreed with his ultimate point--I found his evidence lacking and his arguments weakly put forth in what was an attempt I believe to water it down for a more mainstream audience or just an unintended contempt for his opponents.

He postulates that to perform this make over, globalization needs to come under more international and governmental scrutiny, complete with controls -- safety nets if you will -- to prevent harmful market forces associated with fluctuating commodity prices and lost market share. He advocates adjustment assistance programs to appease labor unions for trade agreements. He contends these interventions are necessary to reduce the asymmetry between developing countries.

If this is the antidote, I prefer the poison. Anytime a governing body creates economic law or institutes a policy, a new special interest is born. Multinational corporations move to countries of asymmetry to enhance profits, avoid burdensome taxes and the demands of organized labor and special interest groups. There is no reason to move globally if the constraints of government and international bodies are there to shackle production and pray on the profits. The real tragedy here is underdeveloped countries lose opportunities to employ their people and raise their standards of living; unwarranted constraints on multinationals will bar developing countries from the global market place, denying them entry into the world economy.

With all due respect to Mr. Bhagwati, from a literary standpoint I found this book very easy to put down and walk away from.

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At times it reads like creative non-fiction, but those moments are few. Overall the writing stuck me as academic. I wouldn't recommend this book to a lay person who hasn't previously read Milton Friedman and Adam Smith. Comprehensive From Amazon I must say it took me a bit to get through the book - however here are a few pointers 1.


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This is a comprehensive overview of Globalization as we know and understand it. The book is chock-a-block with references - extremely well researched 4. This book is not for beginners - it is fact based, slightly dense at times but then again, much much easier to understand than a standard text book : 5.

It doesn't build up to a euphoric end - there is a steady pace of revelations, detailed cross referenced understanding of the concepts and all points are re-iterated at various stages, in different contexts.