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The Globalization Paradox: Democracy and the Future of the World Economy

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  1,109 ratings  ·  80 reviews
From the mercantile monopolies of seventeenth-century empires to the modern-day authority of the WTO, IMF, and World Bank, the nations of the world have struggled to effectively harness globalization's promise. The economic narratives that underpinned these eras—the gold standard, the Bretton Woods regime, the "Washington Consensus"—brought great success and great failure. ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published February 21st 2011 by W. W. Norton Company (first published December 23rd 2010)
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Jonathan Biddle
Jul 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, 2012
Rodrick's trilemma states that we cannot simultaneously pursue democracy, national determination, and economic globalization. We can hold a maximum of two factors at the same time. Holding onto democracy and economic globalization and elimination the nation state is the ideal solution. In this scenario, everything from labor to goods to capital flows would be released to move freely without barriers. A world economy functioning as the United States would be much more efficient at distributing la ...more
Zöe Zöe
Jun 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
Well written. One important point, from all the other political books, this book is outstandingly clear and to the point.
May 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Unique among academics, Rodrik writes in order to be understood and is humble in his outlook. This book is an excellent read and an essential one. We can't have complete free trade, not capital controls and expect robust democracy too. Something has to give. Rodrik offers three solutions: more modest trade, limits on capital controls and allowing for more domestic control of the rest. The other options are global governance regimes or we say good bye to democracy. Every policymaker, especially i ...more
Jul 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Rodrik configures a triangle: "hyperglobalization," democracy and national self-determination--and posits that only two of the three corners of the triangle can hold. Given the impossibility of a system of global governance, the choice is either to eliminate democracy and ignore domestic interests in favor of a global laissez-faire economic policy with liberalized trade as well as finance, or to reduce the ambitions of globalization, being content with the liberalization of trade to date and slo ...more
Rob Keenan
Wherein Dani tries to illustrate the benefits and ills of globalization. Long story short, let trade do whatever it wants, relax labour immigration laws and be super sketchy about financial globalization.
A little outdated at this stage but critical of the lack of democratic accountability in supra-national economic institutions our boy DRod makes a reasonable if not entirely convincing case for how to construct a rising tide that would indeed carry all boats.
David Donaldson
Dec 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book helps explain a lot of the hostility we've seen this year with Brexit and Trump, I think: Rodrik argues we can't have hyper-globalisation, democracy and national self-determination all at once; only two of three is sustainable. So rather than pushing for very high levels of economic integration that minimise states' ability to respond to what the people want -- restrictions of the type pushed through free trade agreements, the World Trade Organization and so on -- it's more sensible to ...more
Cyrus Carter
Sep 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A highly accessible explanation of the pros and cons of globalization. Readable and chronological, the book explores the history of our increasingly globalized world and why our current questions have been asked throughout time. Importantly, it posits that it is essential that countries maintain their own values while developing a global outlook. No matter what you may feel about globalization, you will have your eyes opened by this pivotal piece. And I recognize that neither the US nor China is ...more
Dec 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book is pretty much what my macroeconomics professor was trying to teach me, but much more interesting. The author does a nice job explaining some very complex topics in a way the lay reader can understand.
Bart Thanhauser
Dec 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
I have pages and pages of notes on this book -- not because it's dense, but rather because Rodrik has plenty of memorable passages, saying a lot with a little -- but will just go from memory.

Rodrik's basic thesis -- the paradox behind the book's title -- is that in order to strengthen globalization, we need to loosen it a bit. Take a step back from it. Allow the nation state to strengthen more. Allow diversity in industrial, regulatory, and trade policies. Throw a bit of sand in the gears of int
Ken Watari
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My quick take: I found Rodrik's book on globalization to be relevant and timely, even though it was written 8 years ago. Rodrik has studied globalization since the Asian financial crisis in the '90s, and has been recommending being cautious about globalization for a long time.

The crux of his argument is this: While the political zeitgeist of recent decades has been promoting the three pillars of democracy, national sovereignty, and globalization, these pillars have inherent contradictions and in
Rishabh Kabra
This book tries to go after the following question: "if we want to increase our economic growth, should we throw ourselves open to the forces emanating from the world economy, or protect ourselves from them?" Rodrik puts forth nuanced arguments suggesting countries have lost much as they opened themselves.

I'll start with the merits of the book and the author's arguments:

1. He sets the stage well, opening with Hudson's Bay, the world's first joint stock trading company. He goes on to explain ev
Gumble's Yard
Jan 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Cited as one of the few economics books which predicted the recent upheavals such as the rise of Trump, Sanders and particularly the Brexit vote, Rodrik's Central thesis is what he calls the political trilemma of the world economy - that it is possible to have any two of hyper-globalisation, democracy and national self-determination but not all three. He concludes that global government for now is a largely utopian dream (hence ruling out the dropping of the national state).

He characterises muc
Dave Mac
Feb 14, 2018 rated it did not like it
In The Globalization Paradox, Rodrik, in time, gets to the argument that pathways to economic development should be country-specific and domestically driven. It is unfortunate he spends the better part of the book in the post-financial-crisis-blame-game muck, admonishing his economist peers for their errors in trade theory previous to the crisis, while self styling himself as one of the few rouges in the profession standing in opposition to this orthodoxy.

His caricature of the (macro) economic
Jan 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really wish I could give a 3.5 in Goodreads: I liked this book for more than a 3, but probably less than a 4.

Overall, I'm quite happy I read Rodrik's book. It's very wel written, even entertaining (I have to say that it made me laugh a lot while reading) and enjoyable. This is not often the case when it comes to this king of books.

What I iked most about it was its critical reflection of globalization. The historical perspective is very well constructed and makes a very convincing case for bein
Oct 26, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
Globalization first reared its tentative head, courtesy a revisionist package popularly known as the "Washington Consensus". The term was coined in 1989 by John Williamson and represented as its edifice three indispensable words: stabilize; liberalize; and privatize. Two and a half decades and a crippling recession later, the world is still coming to grips with the shock and awe impact caused by a rampant globalization that had its most fervent advocates fleeing for life!

In this compelling work,
Ed Terrell
Nov 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
"When domestic needs clash with the requirements of the global economy, domestic needs emerge victorious .."

So what is globalization about anyway? In three words: “Minimizing transaction costs”. Trade is accomplished basically in three ways: Long term relationships, belief systems and third party enforcement. You need something to ensure the next guy isn’t going to screw you. Contrary to what we may have thought, globalization didn’t start in the 1980s but rather has been around since steamships
Apr 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: economics
Economics isn't really my thing, but this book is important. Rodrik offers a take of globalization that more people should appreciate. Plainly, this thing has cost the world a lot over the past couple of years - the ideas of the neoliberals have not panned out the way they told us it all would. But to think global governance can be implemented to watch over the globalizers is a mistake too. Rodrik tells us to return more control to the nation-states and their people to determine for themselves w ...more
Dawei Liu
Jan 04, 2014 rated it liked it
Rodrik gives a nuanced and well researched argument into why he believes unfettered globalization in its current form doesn't make sense. He presents his argument well and overall, I supported his viewpoint. Most of the chapters in this book are well-written, however,Rodrik's biggest problem is the way in which he attacks other academics(especially fellow economists) and commits a large part of the book into a huge "I told you so". This sort of polemical argument draws away from this central the ...more
Vineet Tandon
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
The central idea behind this book that - governments need to intervene in order to optimise / balance outcomes delivered by free markets - is best presented by Hyman Minsky as brilliantly detailed by L Randall Wray in his book ‘Why Minsky Matters’ .

The shallowness of this book, which covers the ideas of various economists who have worked on this subject is best revealed by the fact that in this entire book Hyman Minsky is not mentioned even once.

Shocking !!!
Ami Iida
Apr 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: interested in finance ,globalization,national sovereignty
Shelves: finance
Political trilemma of the world economy

Can not be achieved at the same time , taking any two can not be achieved one or any remaining

1. " globalization ( international economic integration ) "
2. " national sovereignty ( independence of the state ) ."
3. " democracy ( personal freedom ) "

Dec 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: economics-etc
It took me more than two months to finish this short-ish book, so I wouldn't call it a pageturner, but it did me teach me a lot about international economics, trade agreements and sovereignty issues. I would recommend it to anyone trying to make sense of the whole CETA-TTIP affair and the current backlash against hyperglobalization.
Dave Peticolas
May 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Rodrik presents economic globalization as a trilemma: amongst democracy, high-levels of globalization, and nation states, you can pick any two. And since we're unlikely to see the end of the last, and we don't want to give up the first, globalization in its more extreme forms will have to go.
Ivan Kreimer
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook
A fantastic book for liberals and socialists alike. Globalization has been a topic discussed everywhere since the early 90's. So far, most economists — particularly the liberal ones — have bee talking wonders about the benefits of opening up to global financial, trade, and labor markets. Globalization, it seems, benefits everyone, both in first-world and in third-world countries, both rich people and poor people alike.

The proof hasn't shown such positive results, however. There are a lot of ben
Tayler Smith
Jun 03, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed his book though I admit global trade is way out of my depth and understanding at the moment. So take that in consideration if you ever stumble upon this review. First things first, the authors prose is light hearted and endearing. He’s funny at times and you can tell he’s comfortable with himself without being overly dramatic, which is refreshing for an economist. This book approach’s the subject of global trade not as black and white as the argument appears in various pockets of discu ...more
David Chappell
A very compelling book. Rodrik traces the history of modern globalisation and the complimentary ideologies expertly. Throughout this narrative he highlights successes, failures and other features of each phase. This allows to him to deliver compelling concluding arguments relating to his globalisation trilemma (a choice of two between sovereignty, democracy or globalisation). It also makes it incredibly readable, even to a non-academic audience. I do think that some of the arguments are a bit un ...more
Yalman Onaran
Jun 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Reading it seven years after it was published, I still thought this was just written because it's so prescient. Rodrik makes a great case for why globalization in its current format isn't sustainable, or even the best scenario for the world anyway. He predicted the trade wars we're in years earlier as well as offer solutions to avoid them long ago. I've generally been in favor of globalization but also been bothered by some negative consequences it has brought on to bear. After reading this book ...more
Graham Clark
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was written in 2011, but it's a fair bet that no-one who backs Brexit has read this. Rodrik explains that with the menu of Hyperglobalisation (total openness to all trade), National Sovereignty (control over borders, immigration etc) and Domestic Politics (legislating for human rights, working practices etc), a country can have at most two of these three. Unfortunately Brexit politicians have promised all of them because they are profoundly terrible and ignorant people. Anyway this book is ...more
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: study
Rodrick presents the globalization paradox, or trilemma, that we cannot simultaneously pursue democratic politics, self-determined states, and economic hyper-globalization. Therefore, he calls for a "smart," rather than a "maximum," globalization, where a thin layer of international rules leaves substantial room for maneuver by national governments.
The book presents a well structured argument and informative explanations about the pros and cons of globalizations for both developed and developing
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good book. The author does a really good job showing why there is a tradeoff between hyper-globalization (i.e., the post-Bretton Woods world of the Washington Consensus) and democracy (and also national determination - but I'm highly doubtful that any country will willingly sacrifice their sovereignty). The last two chapters of the book on prescriptions for the global economy try to take in a bit too much in a short space and can be skipped, but the rest of the book is excellent. Highly recommen ...more
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Dani Rodrik is the Rafiq Hariri Professor of International Political Economy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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