Globalization and its Discontents by Joseph Stiglitz
8 September 2003


This is a socially crucial book about corruption, misinformation and economic incoherence in the global institutions to which we delegate the concerns of the developing nations. It centres on the IMF, with incidental discussion of the World Bank and WTO, and its 250 pages formulate and deliver a damning expose of these institutions’ practices and policies. The text is economically literate, as is to be expected from a former member of Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisors, but designed to be comprehensible to the layman. The argument is thoroughly supported in all cases with specific examples from countries in which the author has often had first-hand experience, including Botswana, Argentina, Indonesia and Russia. At the end of the book the IMF emerges as possibly the greatest criminal on the world stage today, portrayed – and not, I think, without sound reason – as being responsible for such diverse calamities as the East Asian Crisis, poverty in Russia and the stockpiling of depleted uranium by international terrorist organisations.

With particular relevance to the current "development round" of trade negotiations in Cancun, Globalization and its Discontents has something of value for everyone from the Managing Director of the IMF to the high school economics student. Everyone and anyone with the remotest interest in economics, finance, trade or development should read this book. Then when the WTO collapses in the face of irreconcilable differences of interest between its member countries, all those well-informed readers will be able to say, "we knew".


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