Prof Robert A. Issak is a professor at the Henry George University of International Management. He has been doing research in this realm of globalisation and its impacts on the people across the globe especially the developing and the underdeveloped world.
The perennial debate of the ways and means of globalisation in the increasingly polarised world that we all live in has been presented in a very coherent manner by the author of this book.
The debate between the developed world’s policies that are based on tearing down trade barriers and the developing world struggling to maintain its nascent industries has been coined as the speed trap, this the author feels is responsible for most of the desensitisation that we see all around manifesting in various forms all around us.
The author raises the point that the same industrialised countries began with protectionist policies so that their industries don’t die early, today history is being repeated in the sense that the developing world is pleading for a similar arrangement but as Napoleon rightly put it , that history never repeats itself, the time it does its a tragedy.
With the developed world paying no heed to the cries of the developing and the underdeveloped world, a tragedy in the form of a death kneel for the local industries is ready to strike a final blow. This author feels is the age of diffused uncertainty where information and technology are diffused so fast that there is little time to think.
Not much has changed in character ever since The Treaty Of Versailles or the official end of colonialism as the tendency of the winner takes it all syndrome is a deep rooted one.
What has however changed has been the clinical precision in the way the developing world is being gradually emasculated to the extent that it continues to provide only the goods that the developed world wants them to produce. The book does talk of the outsourcing of pollution to the developing world as well among others.
In a way the notion of globalisation as perceived from a developing countries people’s perspective has been presented. The current model of globalisation being thrust on the world makes an inherently faulty hypothesis of free trade eliminating inequalities in the world. What has been conveniently forgotten however has been the fact that only those in an economically and politically better off position would be able to bargain in such a state while the poor continue to stare at an endless abyss of misery.
The author gives several examples to substantiate all these arguments.
The role of the IMF and the WB has also been brought under the scanner for serving as agents of the neo liberal model that the west wants to propagate, here the case of the miserable and faulty practises of the WB to revive the Argentinean economy has been put forth and seen in retrospect as a classical case of how a procrustean approach is bound to fail.
Institutions like the IMF and the World Bank are like sprinklers in a desert as they spread their resources too thin and do little to raise long term self sufficiency of poor countries in fact they end up creating assets that further economic dependence.
The author then discusses the way modern day democracy has evolved has little in common with the course that was set by our forefathers. Democracy, the author feels has denigrated and become a form of corporatocracy or where plutocrats call all the shots.
The primary sufferer of this course of metamorphosis has been the common man who has been rendered voiceless despite being the majority.
While lot many would feel that this is the ranting of a critic of globalisation, its means, ways and the impact the author goes one step further to suggest strategies to bridge the divide in a way that resources move from the rich countries to the poor to help develop a basic degree of sustenance and develop institutions of excellence in these regions where education is the biggest void that has to be filled.
I would recommend this book to all those who view world events from the impact that it has at the grass root level, a smooth read and a perspective only a Stieglitz could share.
A must read for all Stieglitz fans….