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Position:Making Globalization Work - Book review

Making Globalization Work

By Joseph Stiglitz

[pounds sterling]20 Allen Lane

ISBN 0-713-99909-8


Joseph Stiglitz might not be aware of the fact, but he currently holds the record as the most frequently reviewed author in African Business' monthly books' pages. It is no mystery why the work of this Nobel Prize-winning economist should receive so much attention both in this magazine and the press in general--he may be a senior economist but he is also an excellent writer. Furthermore, his understanding of the follies and foibles of those that control the international economy is second-to-none, particularly with regard to the developing world and the challenges it faces to secure equity and justice for its peoples.

Stiglitz's first book was Globalisation and its Discontents, a powerful indictment of the financial and economic establishment--an establishment busy attempting to persuade the world that their version of the 'globalisation' dream was the key to universal prosperity.

What Stiglitz revealed was an insider analysis, as a former chief economist at the World Bank, of where this dream had gone wrong and how we should try to put it right.

In that book he reserved most of his criticism for the World Bank's Washington neighbour, the IMF, and won many hearts and minds with his coolly rational argument for the international lending institution to take a new approach towards fostering development in the majority world.

He counselled policies that would see the rich world treating the developing world more fairly, not simply because it was, morally, the right thing to do--a good enough reason in itself--but that such a course of action would be ultimately of enormous benefit to the developed world.

Four years later, Making Globalization Work takes that argument forward.

In the preface of his latest book, he makes an important point. He tells us that he wants to show that while the critics of the globalisation process are indeed right that it imposes a very questionable set of values, this does not have to be the case. "Globalisation does not have to be bad for the environment," he writes, "[nor] increase inequality, weaken cultural diversity and advance corporate interests at the expense of the wellbeing of the ordinary man."

Many critics of the globalisation process might beg to differ. But Stiglitz insists that while there remain strong incentives and ample opportunities for perpetuating economic systems and political...

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