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Why Globalization Works

3.46  ·  Rating Details ·  224 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
A distinguished international economist here offers a powerful defense of the global market economy. Martin Wolf explains how globalization works, critiques the charges against it, argues that the biggest obstacle to global economic progress has been the failure not of the market but of governments, and offers a realistic scenario for economic internationalism in the post- ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published June 10th 2005 by Yale University Press (first published July 11th 2004)
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I really tried to read this book and listen to what Wolf was saying, but I struggled with it too much. And when I say 'struggled' I don't mean I had a hard time understanding it (this book was a further reading rec for an economics module that I completed, so most of the material and groundwork had already been covered etc). I had a hard time getting past the author's irritating and arrogant tone, as well as the sheer amount of repetitiveness that he uses, which is why I ended up skimming some p ...more
J. Dunn
This book addresses globalization almost exclusively from an economic standpoint. Viewed within those bounds, it seems pretty good, though I had a hard time telling how much to take at face value since I didn’t feel like I had enough of a grasp of macroeconomics, trade, and finance to really engage and argue with it. He seemed to be making every effort to be even-handed, in that sober British-empiricist sort of way, but it’s hard to tell if that’s genuine or just a rhetorical strategy.

But, I’ve
Feb 20, 2017 Kate marked it as to-buy
Recommended by Larry Summers former US treasury secretary and Harvard professor on

Jul 06, 2008 David rated it liked it
Unfortunately, this book is nowhere near as good as it needed to be. That globalization works, meaning that it helps raise the wealth of a majority of people (including poor countries; China would not be where it is today, and likely much nastier, without globalization), is a fact that needs far more voice today. The problem with this book is that it preaches to the choir instead of trying to convince the people who actually need convincing.

The main issue I have is that the author treats his opp
Sep 01, 2007 Jet rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Stiglitz fans
I was being ironic with the recommendations bit, by and by. Wolf, I reckon, is a classical economist: it's the invisible hand - and if the economy/market isn't working, blame the interference of politics. This is a writer after Ben's heart: he argues that the very existence of the nation-state prevents progress - not that it is a complex argument, anyone could have told you that a truly integrated economy is made impossible by the concept of territorial integrity and sovereignty.

For all my poli
Apr 14, 2010 Ivan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Summary: Free markets lead to free societies. Cool.

The only problem (that the author glosses over) is that the rich countries are in the business of holding down poor countries with tariffs, subsidies, the WTO, the IMF and all kinds of other impediments. The solution is more regional economic integration a la the EU. Except the EU is vulnerable to destruction right now because Germans don't like to bail out Greeks (at least when I bailed out Citigroup, I still bailed out Americans) and because B
Sep 08, 2008 Tommy rated it it was ok
Shelves: economy, non-fiction
Wolf has a lot of good and bad points.

Often uses data to back up beliefs
Tries to pre emptively argue against his detractors

He is incredibly arrogant
He writing and thought oozes with confirmation bias and unintellectual thought
Most of the "arguments" he refutes are straw men arguments that aren't taken seriously by anyone
He dismisses many genuine arguments because they "obviously" aren't the case or are "irrelevant"

Opinion: Wolf thinks he is more insightful/intelligent than he is and wou
Serge Boucher
Jan 03, 2012 Serge Boucher rated it it was amazing
I bought this when it came out, as a counterpoint to books by Joe Stieglitz and Jean Ziegler I had just read. I only got to it now, and I'm sorry I waited. It is a remarkable book, deeply researched, comprehensive in its scope, unafraid to address all arguments in the debate, whether it's a pro- or anti-globalization, coming from the right or from the left. Very highly recommended. (As, by the way, is Stieglitz's "Globalization and its discontents".) The section on finance is especially prescien ...more
Jul 07, 2007 Kathryn rated it did not like it
I tend to disagree with worship at the altar of economic liberalism, however, there are far better books deifying globalization. The book seemed slapped together and overly repetitive. I try not to judge books on the basis of whether or not I agree with their core themes; however, the lack of evidence throughout the book just makes Wolf seem like a big globalization apologist.
May 25, 2007 Tim rated it really liked it
The author is somewhat narrow-minded in his view of environmental protection and "comparative advantage", but overall, the case he makes for globalization is enough to convince a fervent liberal.
If you don't have a background in econ and you don't want to have to read sentence three or four times, this may not be the book for you.
Feb 14, 2009 Mel rated it it was ok
A laborious and detached endorsement of neoliberal policies and strict adherence to free market ideals. Insulting in its generalizations and short on acknowledgment of the shades of gray that define our world, Wolf's book is a good reason to be repulsed by economic liberals and unregulated markets.
Oct 27, 2012 Bucket rated it did not like it
according to my pol. econ. professor, this is the most well-articulated argument FO globalization out there. that tells you something, because its terrible. i recommend reading it, however, to get a taste for the counterargument. that way you can look smarter at cocktail parties.
Chanon Jeimsakultip
Mar 14, 2009 Chanon Jeimsakultip rated it liked it
Oct 14, 2013 Deena rated it really liked it
A Powerful argument!
Alice Zhang
Apr 25, 2013 Alice Zhang rated it it was amazing
Clear and compelling data and analysis of the net positive impacts of globalization. Concise and intriguing, especially relevant to 21st century global affairs.
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Alan Fogelquist
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Apr 22, 2012
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Aug 28, 2016
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“A country with secure property rights, scientific inquiry and technological innovation will become richer. But, since division of labour is limited by the size of the market, it will also benefit from trade, not just in goods and services, but in ideas, capital and people. The smaller a country is, the greater the benefits. Trade is far cheaper than empire, just as internal development is a less costly route to prosperity than plunder. This was the heart of Angell's argument.” 2 likes
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