What Do We Know About Globalization?: Issues of Poverty and Income Distribution.

Author:Curtis, Mark
Position:Book review

What Do We Know About Globalization?: Issues of Poverty and Income Distribution, by Guillermo de la Dehesa. Singapore: Blackwell Publishing. 2007. Hardcover: ISBN 9781405136693, $ 29.95.384 pages.

Writers have spilled much ink over the past decade trying to define the phenomena of globalization. Indeed, a simple Amazon book search of the now ubiquitous word returns 53,538 results. With such a wide selection of books to choose from on the subject, readers could easily be forgiven for skipping over one with the rather insipid title, What Do We Know About Globalization? They should not be. In his new book, Guillermo de la Dehesa masterfully lays out the impact of globalization on poverty and inequality with an even-handedness rarely found in most literature on the subject. The message of the book is a familiar one: Globalization has lifted an untold number of people from poverty, yet there remains a large segment of society, particularly in Africa, that has suffered from the way in which it has been implemented. The solution de la Dehesa offers is a renewed and inclusive push for a more broadly defined globalization that includes not only free trade but also the free movement of capital and labor.

These ideas, while quite sensible to most economists, remain well outside the purview of the general public. On one hand, many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) clamor that globalization promotes a system in which the rich take advantage of the poor and multinationals plunder resources from around the world. On the other hand, governments pay lip service to globalization and poverty alleviation but continue to heavily distort and restrict the two markets, agriculture and labor,

whose opening would most benefit the poor. Drawing from his work as Chairman of the prestigious Center for Economic Policy Research, de la Dehesa compiles an exhaustive list of studies in an attempt to speak to the positions of both NGOs and governments and honestly seek answers to the pressing moral issues of poverty and inequality. By anchoring the book in sound research and approaching the subject with a genuinely open mind, he manages to stay above the fray of the bickering ideologues on both sides of the argument.

Chapters on technical progress, trade and development aid all lead to the conclusion that a deeper globalization is needed to solve the problems of poverty and inequality. The book's forty page bibliography speaks to the thoroughness with which de la Dehesa...

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