Globalization and its Discontents Revisited

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Globalization and its Discontents
  • In this crucial expansion and update of his bestseller (over 1 million sold), the renowned economist and Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz addresses globalization’s new discontents in the United States and Europe. Immediately upon publication, Globalization and its Discontents became a touchstone in the globalization debate by demonstrating how the International Monetary Fund (IMO), other major institutions like the World Bank, and global trade agreements have often harmed the developing nations they are supposedly helping. Yet Globalization today continues to be mismanaged, and now the harms-exemplified by the rampant inequality to which it has contributed have come home to roost in the United States and the rest of the developed world as well, reflected in growing political unrest. With a new introduction, major new chapters on the new discontents, the rise of Donald Trump, and the new protectionist movement, as well as a new afterword on the course of globalization since the book first appeared, Stiglitz’s powerful and prescient messages remain essential reading.
  • This book is a sustained and often devastating critique of the role of the IMF in globalization and is only slightly less critical of the economic policies and assumptions of the U.S. government. Stiglitz relentlessly offers example after example of situations in which the IMF’s rigid perseverance that its policies were the only correct ones to be pursued, in spite of evidence to the contrary, led to disastrous results across the globe, from East Asia to Latin America and Russia.
  • Furthermore, Stiglitz criticizes about The IMF-  created in 1944 with the task of ensuring global economic stability – Stiglitz believes that it has failed in its mission. Not only have economic crises become more frequent over the last twenty-five years, but in many cases, the policies promoted by the IMF have actually made the situation worse, especially for the poor. Nor has the IMF been successful in the task it adopted in the 1990’s, to supervise the transition to a market economy in former communist countries.
  • The basic criticism that Stiglitz makes is that the IMF is attached to a rigid ideological agenda that is not always appropriate for the situation. He calls this the “Washington Consensus.” This consensus, which emerged in the Reagan era of the 1980’s, values the free market above everything else. It emphasizes fiscal austerity, privatization, and market liberalization. According to Stiglitz, when the consensus first emerged it made considerable sense, but as the years went by it came to be applied as an end in itself rather than as a means to ensure equitable and sustainable growth in the nations concerned. The Washington Consensus was then pushed too far and too fast. Stiglitz calls this “market fundamentalism.”
  • Despite the inability of the IMF and World Bank to grow developing nations at full employment, Stiglitz doesn’t recommend dissolving these organizations. Rather, he writes that they should undergo reform to bring them into transparency and accountability so they can fulfill their original mandates. He writes that with the state of developing nations that face malaria, AIDS, and rapid population growth, as well as with environmental changes worldwide, Keynes’ original mandate is more in need than ever before.
  • Globalization and Its Discontents received positive criticism from economists, investors, and book reviewers (such as The New York Times) alike. The general consensus about this book is that not only is it a must-read, but that Stiglitz’s action points to usher in the changes he suggests are urgently needed for the good of the world, its people, and its economies.
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