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Globalization and Its Discontents by Joseph Stiglitz offers an insider’s view of the role played by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in the economic crises of the 1990s. Stiglitz argues that the so-called Washington Consensus, a set of economic principles typically applied to nations facing crisis, were imposed on numerous developing countries with little regard for local conditions. Contrary to the expectations of most policymakers, this approach actually exacerbated crises, meaning that globalization ended up hurting the nations it was supposed to help. In the book, Stiglitz lays out a set of recommendations to harness the immense potential of globalization so that it can benefit everyone, not just a small coterie of financial elites.
This book review and analysis is perfect for:
• Students of economics and international development
• Anyone who wants to understand the inner workings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank
• Anyone with an interest in the true causes of recent global economic crises
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AN INSIDE LOOK AT HOW THE IMF AND THE WORLD BANK PLAYED A PROMINENT ROLE IN PROPAGATING THE THIRD WORLD CRISES OF THE 90S
Globalization and Its Discontents recounts the story of Joseph Stiglitz’s time in the World Bank during some of the most economically turbulent times of the past decades. Stiglitz recounts how policymaking by both the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank actively caused and exacerbated the crises engulfing countries in South-East Asia and Latin America during the 90s.
Far from being dispassionate technocratic institutions, the IMF and the World Bank actively uphold certain ideas and practices and force them upon countries around the world, leading to economic chaos. Stiglitz discusses these ideas and their flaws when applied to the real-world economic conditions in the countries that were eventually affected by economic crises.
Stiglitz’s discussion goes against the widespread narrative that the post-Communist era would make all Third World countries and their inhabitants better off through the ever-increasing process of economic globalization.
KEY INFORMATIONReference edition: Stiglitz, J. (2002) Globalization and Its Discontents. London: Allen Lane.1stedition: 2002Author: Joseph Stiglitz (American economist, born on 9 February 1943)Fields: economics, politics, history, developmentKey words:Globalization: the process of economic interconnectedness between countries that has been accelerating since the fall of Communism. Stiglitz argues that the potential benefits of this process of globalization are outweighed by the mismanagement of it by international institutions such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization.East Asian Miracle: the name given to the rapid economic development of a number of countries in East Asia during the final quarter of the 20th century.Neoliberalism: the name commonly used to describe the collection of ideas that gained a foothold in institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF and led them to adopt the policies Stiglitz holds responsible for the crises hitting the East Asian countries.International Monetary Fund: organization founded after World War II to assist countries economically in times of need and to manage certain international aspects of economic policymaking more effectively after the perceived failure of national economic policies in preventing the outbreak of the Great Depression.World Bank: another international organization founded after World War II with the stated goal of reducing global poverty. It provides countries of the world with funds for capital projects.
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