RDGlobalizationL - Globalization, Growth, and Poverty...

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Unformatted text preview: Globalization, Growth, and Poverty Joshua Cohen & Joel Rogers * William Easterly, The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists’ Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2001): xiii, 342. Joseph Stiglitz, Globalization and Its Discontents (New York: W.W. Norton, 2002): xxii, 282. Here are two books on the world economy and the murderous poverty that separates populations of the North and South. Both books are written by distinguished economists. Both economists, in addition to making important contributions to their discipline, have years of experience in the world of international development institutions. Both are highly critical of the performance of those institutions, and of the global economy itself, which has stranded billions in destitution. And both conclude that what is most needed to improve that performance is neither more resources, nor perfected markets, but better political arrangements: in a word, democracy. * Joshua Cohen and Joel Rogers edit the New Democracy Forum, appearing regularly in the pages of Boston Review . Their most recent book together is Associations and Democracy. Cohen is professor of philosophy and linguistics and political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and editor of Boston Review . Rogers is professor of law, political science, and sociology at the University of Wisconsin Madison, and director of the Center on Wisconsin Strategy. Where they differ—as a matter of emphasis—is on what needs to be democratized. William Easterly focuses on improving government accountability and representativeness within developing countries. Joseph Stiglitz focuses on increasing the accountability and representativeness of global economic institutions. This difference in focus is less impressive, however, than the centrality of democracy to both accounts. Treated as mutual complements, indeed, their composite view comes remarkably close to one line of progressive response to globalization. The destructiveness of world capitalism owes to its indifference to humanity. Ending that indifference requires political representation for all affected interests. And such representation means more democracy. This view should be of particular interest to labor and its friends, and we conclude with a sketch of some of its implications. William Easterly served for sixteen years as a staff economist at the World Bank, before being forced out—or strongly encouraged “to find another job” (x) 1 —after publication of this book. Elusive Quest sums up his experience at the Bank, and offers a masterful narrative of how economists’ understanding of economic development has evolved over the past 50 years. Even as he is devastating in his criticism of much development practice, Easterly is at pains to emphasize the essential good-heartedness of its practitioners. He compares development economists like himself to those mythical heroes who fruitlessly searched 1 Page references to the respective books under review. for the Golden Fleece, the Holy Grail, or the Elixir of Life. Their failure hasfor the Golden Fleece, the Holy Grail, or the Elixir of Life....
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RDGlobalizationL - Globalization, Growth, and Poverty...

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