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Book review: Globalisation and Its Discontents – Joseph Stiglitz (2003)



Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz looks at the consequences of economic policy and offers up solutions in Globalisation and Its Discontents. As the former senior vice-president of the World Bank, the author offers a unique insight into the workings of institutions and markets.

Rather than taking a negative view of globalisation in general, Stiglitz argues that lessons should have and need to be learned from past mistakes. If regulations were implemented and businesses and organisations were held to account he suggests the globalisation can bring benefits. The negative impact economic policy has had in the past, particularly in developing nations, is assessed with potential solutions considered.

The case studies used, such as the Asian financial crisis, are particularly useful and provide a backdrop and some context for analysing globalisation.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is critiqued for often implementing policies that have exacerbated problems rather than solved them. The book argues the IMF has moved away from its original mandate of aiming to provide global stability and uses a one size fits all approach that does not work. The World Bank and World Trade Organisation are also discussed.

The book is well written and accessible despite the complex nature of the topics discussed. Stiglitz clearly explains jargon, clarifies polices and points out references to other works for further information and research.

Globalisation and its future is one of the important issues we face today and Globalisation and Its Discontents provides an excellent summary of the policies and impacts involved allowing readers to form a knowledgeable opinion.