Cerebral Shangrila

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Globalization -- a bookish journey

I owe my nomadic existence to Globalization .Its the most talked about word these days. Everyone has an opinion on Globalization . Some rave about it while the others rant. But how many of them completely understand the underlying issues? When emotions run high the economics takes a back seat.

I have been reading a lot of books on Globalization in the last few months and thought would write a quick review on some of them . This list might be a good place to start if you want to know the underlying fundamentals and issues surrounding the big "G " word :

1. Commanding Heights by Daniel Yergin & Joseph Stainslaw : This book is a must read. Its a fascinating tale of how the world economies have changed in the 20th century. The author devotes individual chapters to most big nations and analyzes their transformation. The Reagan years in US,Thatcher in UK, Indian reforms in '91, China's reforms under Deng Xiaoping,Japanese deflation ,French socialists, German welfate state, Latin american inflation all find detailed analysis in this book. It best explains how worldwide, countries have switched from centrally planned economy to free markets .

The only negative point of this book (IMHO) is that its not forward thinking and also its very supportive of the absolute free markets ( Perhaps because of Univ of Chicago connection) ignoring keynesians.

2. Globalization and its discontents by Joseph Stiglitz (Nobel Prize winner) : This book is a must read too. Not just because Stiglitz is a nobel winner and a gifted writer but also because he was the chief of economic advisors to Bill Clinton & Chief economist at World Bank. He has been there , seen it all. This book is a damning indictment of IMF and its disastrous poilicies which have caused ruin in several countries.He also makes veiled reference as to how IMF's policies reflect Wall street's agenda rather than what is good for that country.

But some of the criticism should be taken with a pinch of salt. Afterall Stiglitz is a known keynesian and hence is always suspicious of absolute free markets (Though he is right most times).

3. Why Globalization works by Martin Wolf : The author is the editor of FT, and thus puts forth eloquent arguments in favor of free markets. The book is refreshingly apolitical (Its really tough to write on Economics/Globalization without taking a political stand !) and a fast read.

4. In defense of Globalization by Jagdish Bhagwati : This book was highly recommended and perhaps that was why I felt a little disappointed after reading it. Bhagwati is a famous academic at Columbia and one of the fierce defenders of Globalization. I somehow felt the book asked all the right questions but somehow didn't answer them too well.

5. Confessions of an economic hit man : This book is a shocking expose of the greed and politics behind Globalization. The author was a supposed "economic hit man" whose role was to dupe and plunder innocent nations so that rich corporations could exploit them. The book is too vague at times but makes up with a "Le carre" like suspense.

6. The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman : I had reviewed this book already a few weeks ago. Its hugely popular,stylishly written but do not look for too much economics in it. Its one of those "good to read" books.

Would be glad to hear from others about good books in this genre. Happy reading till then !


  • Three books that look at globalization from a more personal, less macro, pov are:

    - Global Soul, by Pico Iyer
    - The New Barbarian Manifesto, by Ian Angell
    - Hub Culture, by Stan Stalnaker

    They are all a few years old now, but continue to inspire me.


    By Blogger Bogatyr, at 11:51 PM  

  • Good list of books, i will try to grab them


    By Blogger peace092677, at 2:38 PM  

  • A few more to an already credible list:
    1. The lexus and the olive tree - tom friedman
    2.The best democracy money can buy - greg palast

    By Blogger Abhishek Chatterjee, at 2:35 PM  

  • Carp -- Thx

    peace -- pls do

    abhi -- I have read "Lexus" .Its a great book combining business and foreign policy..

    By Blogger Cogito, at 11:12 PM  

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