Globalization and its Discontents

Globalization and its Discontents

Stiglitz had a ringside seat for most of the major economic events of the last decade, including stints as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers and chief economist at the World Bank.

Particularly concerned with the plight of the developing nations, he became increasingly disillusioned as he saw the International Monetary Fund and other major institutions put the interests of Wall Street and the financial community ahead of the poorer nations.

While this book includes no simple formula on how to make globalization work, Stiglitz provides a reform agenda that will provoke debate for years to come.

Rarely do we get such an insider's analysis of the major institutions of globalization as in this penetrating book.

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However one swings on this debate, Rogoff's lively rejoinder to this book is, I think, essential reading. Original Review It's not a great book, but Stiglitz provides a very useful history of the last 30 years from the perspective of how the IMF dealt with (or rather failed to deal with) financial crises as they erupted around the world. Nevertheless, four stars for the following points that Stiglitz makes: The IMF is not some conspiring beast in bed with grasping financiers to make them richer. And don't think businesses are any better. That's kind of what the IMF thinks can be done. The workings of banks, the NYSE, the insurance companies, the businesses, all of these are culturally embedded in social mores and beliefs, culture in other words. What Others Thought NYRB: Stiglitz has presented, as effectively as it is possible to imagine anyone making it, his side of the argument, including the substantive case for the kind of economic development policies he favors as well as his more specific indictment of what the IMF has done and why. It is now important that someone else-if possible, someone who thinks and writes as clearly as Stiglitz does, and who understands the underlying economic theory as well as he does, and who has a firsthand command of the facts of recent experience comparable to his-take up this challenge by writing the best possible book laying out the other sides of the argument. What is needed is not just an attempt to answer Stiglitz's specific criticisms of the IMF but a book setting out the substantive case both for the specific policies and also for the general policy approach that the IMF has advocated.

Ive been reading The Economist ( for some years and been mildly informed on globalization and the backlash against it evident in the protests against the IMF, World Bank, G7/G8, WTO and other multinational bodies associated with it. Palasts book wet my appetite but Stiglitz, who was President Clintons economic adviser before joining the World Bank, really lays on the blame. More specifically he claims that a shift away from the Keynesian ideas that the IMF and World Bank were founded on is to blame. Stiglitz acknowledges that the goals of the IMF, the goals of Globalization, are not inherently bad, and need not lead to the problems that we have seen. Rather it is the way the IMF uses its political power and money to force these ideas on countries that are not ready for them that has lead to so much suffering and poverty.

Stiglitz argues that the policies enforced by the international financial institutions (the IMF takes the brunt of his criticisms) are politically, economically, and morally problematic.

But, I mean, if we're talking about globalization you've got to talk about the whole thing.

stiglitz is a nobel-prize winning economist who once worked for the world bank, and he pissed a lot of people off when he published this book. on the whole, he treats globalization as something neutral, choosing instead to examine the ways its name has become synonymous with the free market fundamentalism of the "washington consensus," and what to do to alter its course, accordingly. stiglitz touches on some big issues towards the end, mostly in regards to medical discoveries (bio-piracy, etc.) and the environment.

Yet, he himself treats the IMF as though it sincerely believes its prescriptions are in the best interests of its clients in the developing world, and its persistent denialism in the face of its unremitting failures is merely its foolhardiness.

Thirty years ago, analysts of the left and right often seemed to agree that the improvement in the efficiency of resource allocation and the increase of supply of capital were at the heart of development.

David Harvey points out that Stiglitz assumes that the inequalities and the poor management of economic globalization under the auspices of neoliberal ideology are a byproduct of poor choices. While I have no evidence to back this up because I don't know enough about Stiglitz, he seems to spend a suspicious amount of time repeating that he, the World Bank, and the Clinton administration weren't behind the imposition of neoliberal policies, and tried to stop the diabolical IMF and US Treasury from implementing these policies.

He also chairs the University of Manchester's Brooks World Poverty Institute and is a member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

  • English

  • Economics

  • Rating: 3.85
  • Pages: 304
  • Publish Date: 2003 by W. W. Norton
  • Isbn10: 0393324397
  • Isbn13: 9780393324396