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In Defense of Globalization

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In Defense of Globalization

Oxford UP,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

A true believer in globalization cheers his adherents but may not win over the nonbelievers.

Editorial Rating



  • Hot Topic


Jagdish Bhagwati is a true believer in the righteousness of international trade, and in this pro-globalization work, he takes a tone of nearly evangelical fervor. This tactic is likely to please those who agree with him, but it’s unlikely to win over sceptics. Bhagwati makes no attempt to hide his disdain for the patchouli-scented protesters who disagree with him, and he spends much of this book serving up their flimsiest arguments and then knocking them down. Of course, he also offers plenty of persuasive points, such as a review of research showing that multinationals that set up shop in poor nations pay more than their workers would receive from other employers. At his worst, Bhagwati makes the reptilian argument that mothers who leave behind their children for jobs in rich countries are simply making a logical choice, never mind the wrenching emotions that accompany such a move. At his best, he advocates for a safety net in poor nations and for a kinder, gentler form of globalization. getAbstract recommends this book to readers seeking an in-depth study of the pro-globalization mind-set.


Globalization and Its Discontents

Economic globalization – the increased interconnectedness of the world’s economies – is a topic that’s guaranteed to inflame passions. Proponents see globalization as a force for positive change throughout the world. Skeptics invariably use phrases such as “unfair trade” and blame profit-hungry corporations for spreading poverty and pollution. When antiglobalization activists mobilize to rail against globalization, they invariably win significant media attention. Any time there’s an international free trade meeting, you can count on seeing a throng of youthful protesters who perform for the cameras. Intriguingly, rich nations, not poor countries, are the most likely to engage in hand-wringing over the spread of economic globalization.

That’s not to say globalization is perfect. International trade’s economic shifts often create unintended fallout. Consider the example of the shrimp farms that sprang up in India, Southeast Asia and Latin America to create livelihoods for the poor. These farms released chemicals that harmed surrounding mangroves and damaged the ability of traditional fishermen to catch fish in nearby waters. Imposing...

About the Author

Jagdish Bhagwati is a professor at Columbia University and a senior fellow in international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations.

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