An internationally renowned economist, Jagdish Bhagwati takes conventional wisdom—that globalization is the cause of several social ills—and turns it on its head. Properly regulated, globalization, he says, is the most powerful force for social good in the world.
Drawing on his unparalleled knowledge of international economics, Bhagwati dismantles the antiglobalization case. He persuasively argues that globalization often leads to greater general prosperity in an underdeveloped nation: it can reduce child labor, increase literacy, and enhance the economic and social standing of women. And to counter charges that globalization leads to cultural hegemony, to a bland "McWorld," Bhagwati points to several examples, from literature to movies, in which globalization has led to a spicy hybrid of cultures.
Often controversial and always compelling, Bhagwati cuts through the noise on this most contentious issue, showing that globalization is part of the solution, not part of the problem. Anyone who wants to understand what's at stake in the globalization wars will want to read In Defense of Globalization.
The first edition of In Defense of Globalization addressed the critiques that concerned the social implications of economic globalization. Thus, it addressed questions such as the impact on women's rights and equality, child labor, poverty in the poor countries, democracy, mainstream and indigenous culture, and the environment. Professor Bhagwati concluded that globalization was, on balance, a force for advancing these agendas as well. Thus, whereas the critics assumed that globalization lacked a human face, it actually had a human face. He also examined in depth the ways in which policy and institutional design could further advance these social agendas, adding more glow to the human face. This book therefore was unique in treating with serious scholarship and a sympathetic attitude the true concerns that animated and agitated the many critics of globalization.
By now, however, the social concerns that Professor Bhagwati addressed have been augmented in the rich countries such as the U.S., France, and Germany, by growing concerns over the economic implications of globalization, i.e., by concerns over the wages of the working and the middle classes. Thus, whereas the social concerns were prompted by altruism and empathy, the economic concerns have been the result of fear and self-interest. In his Afterword for the new edition, Professor Bhagwati addresses these concerns, showing that these are not cogent either.
The new edition therefore provides a comprehensive response to the critics of globalization, whether the critiques relate to the social or the economic implications.
A Council on Foreign Relations Book