Globalization Book Review Samples
“Globalization and Its Discontent:” Thesis and Argument
The main argument presented by Joseph E. Stiglitz in his book, Globalization and its Discontent, is that there are many negative effects of globalization. He personally takes this view in the perspective of the developing economies such as those of the Latin American countries. He laid down the perils of globalization through aspects which are usually neglected in the globalization process. He primarily cited culture as being negatively affected by globalization.
This central idea does not actually contrast with most of my understanding on globalization. In reality, it opens up a new aspect of globalization which should be emphasized. As for me, this is still within the realms of human capital and development. Human beings, as a distinct set of peoples, with varying cultures, beliefs, values, morals, among others, must also be highly regarded in the process of “homogenizing” the world through significant economic means. The book gives a new facet to the aspects of globalization in pointing this out.
The Book’s Contribution to Globalization
The major contribution of this book to the debates pro and against globalization is the human dimensions of development and progress. Actually, the author does not aim to hinder the dynamics and forces of globalization; yet, he presented a vital admonition towards losing one’s independent and distinct culture and social identity. The author considered those who sacrifice their cultures for development as losers of globalization (Stiglitz, 2002). This is a meaningful assertion in the face of poor people being robbed of their lands, resources, the dignity of labor, disintegration, etc. in the name global development.
It is a very important contribution or claim against globalization and it is justified, I believe. If peoples of world cultures do not protect their social identity and values, they will be eaten up by the system. Stiglitz’ idea is a powerful counter against the whole embracing of the forces and elements of globalization.
Another significant contribution of the book is its heed for cultural orientation and sensitivities amidst economic thrusts and initiatives. In a cautious way, the author heeds organizations and individuals that global development is not just about economic prosperity for the majority. It is also about preserving our different identities, ideas, means of livelihood, etc. Hence, the author heeds that all should be participants in the processes and formulation of globalization.
Stiglitz’ Arguments in the Book
The main argument presented by Stiglitz is the poor policymaking of the developed economies and international organizations, since they have national or organizational agenda about global development (Stiglitz, 2002). He argues on a direct causal relationship between globalization and poor policymaking and proposed adoptive policies for global economic management. Again, the author argued on good policy making which involved fairness and consensus. He said that economic policies must be drafted by a democratic process in order to preserve fairness and fulfill the national interests of even the less developed countries of the world.
His arguments make sense since it is quite obvious that the First World and developed economies are more involved in setting the rules of globalization. The developing countries, on the other hand, become mere followers and recipients of the “rules of the new game” in terms of how global development should take place. This must not be the case since the developing countries are where the real development should take place. They should not just lend their resources for the developed economies to take advantage of.
The Book’s Overall Strengths and Weaknesses
The book presented a very persuasive case against the perils of globalization. By arguing that globalization is an outcome of poor policymaking, he proceeded with different cases and anecdotes to prove his arguments. This argument goes back to the other highly affirmed generalizations on how the international agencies like the World Bank and the IMF exploit the developing countries. Being an economist, the author succeeded in explaining how bad these institutions have been relative to its policies for the developed economies.
On the negative side, his main thesis was not sustained all throughout the book. After citing various cases and example of poor international policy making, the implicit assumptions were not very much justified. For one, the author did not explicitly argue that poverty is the consequence of globalization. However, it was all over his examples and notes.
Personal Reactions and Opinions
I personally liked the book, being a simple layman and knowing the cause and effect of several things. It was plain to see (and the author achieved in explaining this) that globalization does not address the different needs of the developing world. It is obvious to recognize the trappings of instant development and dynamic growth against inherent measures like human and social development factors. Even without much economic evidences and analyses, I have fully imbibed the author’s main arguments and I perfectly understood why he is against it.
There should be a certain ethics in growth and development, especially if this is a concerted effort and planning of the global village. I am surely one with Stiglitz on this. Secondly, development does not happen overnight and hence, it should not sacrifice inherent values and principles of humanity. Economic development should be balance and this is what this book is all about.
I think that the book uplifted my understanding of the global forces involved in international development. It gives me a wider view of globalization in both economic and human and social aspects. It provides me with a more critical perspective and not just a blind acknowledgment of the seemingly positive indicators of growth and development.
I would recommend this book to other students of globalization. It is high time that globalization must be understood in the perspective of the less developed countries. It is a wake- up call for us to address the sublime effects of globalization such as the lost of ancestral lands, the persisting poverty despite the entry of multinationals and foreign direct investments, among others. We should all be wary of the negative effects of growth and development, particularly if the people and their resources are at stake. Peoples and communities should be equally involved in the processes of globalization.
Stiglitz, Joseph E. (2002). Globalization and its Discontent. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
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