Another world is possible
D.S. Cheema

Making Globalization Work
by Joseph Stiglitz. Penguin Books.
Pages 358. Rs 595.

Making Globalization WorkThe book is the "next stop" in the series of great works like Globalization and its Discontent and The Roaring Nineties by the Nobel Prize-winning author Joseph Stiglitz who is considered a great thought-leader in the world of economics. With his experience as Chairman of Council of Economic Advisors under President Clinton and as Chief Economist of the World Bank, he is the best person to tell us how globalisation can work. While his earlier works showed why globalisation failed, the present book discusses how globalisation can be properly managed to the great benefits of both the developing and developed world.

The asymmetry in liberalisation of capital and labour flows always leads to further inequity amongst the developed and developing countries. The history of trade agreements, complaints against Uruguay Round and failure of Doha have clearly demonstrated the attitude of developed countries who continue to use their economic power to arm-twist poor countries. It is not surprising that the so-called "development rounds" at international fora always end up to the disadvantage of the developing nations, because the developed nations seem to have perfected the art of getting what they want at the cost of others.

The chapter Making Trade Fair gives compelling arguments why developing countries should be treated differently and how subsidies, non-tariff barriers like ‘safeguards’, ‘dumping duties’, ‘technical barriers’, and ‘rule of origin’ work against the interests of developing countries.

The author suggests reforms related with ‘patents, profits and people’, which, he feels, can make globalisation work better not only for the developing countries but for the developed as well.

He argues that what separates the developed from developing countries is not just the gap in resources but a gap in knowledge. And if the intellectual property regime is tailored to the needs of the developing countries, this gap can be closed. There is a need to do more to stop bio-piracy and protect traditional medicines and drugs based on plant-derived chemicals in many developing countries. Examples of turmeric getting a patent for its healing properties in the US and basmati rice being patented by an American company are enough to illustrate the attitude of developed countries.

In Lifting the Resource Curse, the author bares the reality of resource-rich developing countries performing badly as they keep trying to become wealthy countries with poor people. This paradox, he says, provides insights into the broader failures of globalisation and the possible remedies. If globalisation cannot work for the resource-rich developing countries, how can one expect it to work in far poorer countries?

Another major issue related to development of both the developing and developed world is the problem of saving the planet from an imminent disaster. The author feels no issue is more global than global warming, as everyone on the planet shares the same atmosphere. Big economies of the world are the largest pollutants and hence must accept their responsibility more than anyone else to reduce the evil effects of greenhouse gases by reducing emission. Working for economic globalisation will have little use if the global environment problems cannot be solved, essentially by the rich and powerful countries.

The last chapter, Democratizing Globalization, has major implications to make globalisation work and help millions across the globe realise the dream of "another world is possible". To reduce the democratic deficit, i.e., the inequality in participations of developing countries in the functioning of international institutions, the author has suggested measures like transparency, empowering the developing countries to participate meaningfully in decision-making and improved accountability.

Making Globalization Work is a rare book. The author’s unique insight into world economic affairs makes the book a reference material for research.