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Globalization and Its Discontents

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  7,340 ratings  ·  354 reviews
Our world is changing. Globalisation is not working. It is hurting those it was meant to help. And now, the tide is turning...

Explosive and shocking, Globalization and Its Discontents is the bestselling expose of the all-powerful organisations that control our lives – from the man who has seen them at work first hand.

As chief economist at the World Bank, Nobel Prize-winner
Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 3rd 2003 by Penguin Group (first published 2002)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Insider Joseph E. Stiglitz's controversial exposure of what globalisation is/was doing wrong especially in regards to the Developing World. Drawing on his personal experiences under President Bill Clinton and at the World Bank, he explains how he became disillusioned with global institutions like the IMF and World Bank because of their treatment of developing countries. Stiglitz argued that their policies are based on neoliberal assumptions that were fundamentally unsound.

As a son of parents fro
Sep 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Update, 4 January 2012

I just stumbled across this Open Letter to Joseph Stiglitz by Kenneth Rogoff writing as Economic Counsellor and Director of Research, International Monetary Fund. Rogoff is also the author and researcher of the excellent This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly , to which I gave five stars.

However one swings on this debate, Rogoff's lively rejoinder to this book is, I think, essential reading. If nothing else, it's a good reminder to me to check my own
Jul 04, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up Joseph Stiglitz book in the same purchase I got Naomi Klien’s No Logo and Peter Singer's One World. Obviously there is an interest in globalization in that recipe. I’ve been reading The Economist ([]) for some years and been mildly informed on globalization and the backlash against it evident in the protests against the IMF, World Bank, G7/G8, WTO and other multinational bodies associated with it. I didn’t really develop an interest in globalization until I re ...more
Jul 11, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
A critique of the way that globalization had proceeded up to 2002, focusing largely on the East Asia Crisis and Russian Shock Therapy. Stiglitz argues that the policies enforced by the international financial institutions (the IMF takes the brunt of his criticisms) are politically, economically, and morally problematic. In their adherence to budget austerity and overemphasis on inflation, they eliminate the social safety nets that make radical economic/social reforms sustainable in the long term ...more
Jan 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good, and a must read for anyone interested in globalization from the point of view of the globalizers (albeit a dissenting one), though obviously one should read books from the point of view of the "common folk" before this. Unfortunately, this book is kind of a hit piece on the IMF (which is where it shines, Stiglitz is hardly a socialist so his critiques are more effective), but Stiglitz worked for the semi-rival World Bank, and he constantly is excusing the World Bank's misdeeds and con ...more
Joseph Stiglitz is the sort of thinker who can appeal to pretty much everyone on the political spectrum, conservative, liberal, and leftist. While those on the right will probably have a problem with his disapproval of laissez-faire economics, and those (like myself) on the left will take issue with some of his more market-oriented solutions, he is above all else, a sane, rational commentator. His thesis is quite simple: before putting forth any platform, we need to examine the economic disaster ...more
Joseph Stiglitz is a former Chief Economist of the World Bank, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Bill Clinton and also a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Economics. In Globalization and its Discontents he criticises the policies employed by the IMF and the World Bank in the 1980s and 1990s and their role in creating havoc in many developing countries as well as in the 1997-1998 financial crisis.

Although the book was first published in 2003 it is still worth a read in orde
Feb 11, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the definition of trying to reach the word count for an Essay. I saw the words 'East Asia Crisis' more than my dog ...more
Generally a good description of the way in which IMF and US Treasury policies have played out in the developing world from the 1980s to 2002. Broadly speaking, these institutions have done their best to serve US and Western financial interests, rather than seeking a benevolent and mutually beneficial globalization, despite the IMF's mandate to promote international economic stability and growth. Of course, one of the big problems with these policies is that they don't actually serve the interest ...more
Jan 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
so... last year i decided i was gonna get my feet wet in the world of economics - and specifically development economics. i read some stuff by theory types i was interested in anyway (mike davis, david harvey), i read the shock doctrine, i read the end of poverty and i looked to paul krugman (and others) as the american financial system took a nosedive into the shitter.

globalization and its discontents is the best of the bunch so far. it's *really* informative - not to mention level-headed, clea
Mark Lawry
Jun 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to me by someone who I had believed was against globalization. Yes, I’m a huge advocate of globalization so in the interest of reading those who I don’t agree with I read it. It turns out Stiglitz is very much not anti-globalization but wrote the book explaining why some might be. He starts out explaining that he believes globalization is a very powerful tool to improve our lives, that privatization, and market liberalization are very powerful tools. Then spends much of the rest of t ...more
Prithvi Shams
Sep 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A cogent critique of IMF's unhealthy obsession with pushing down inflation at any expense to debtor countries and the hypocrisy of developed countries in preaching free market fundamentalism to the developing world while keeping their own doors closed. The author emphasizes on initiating and ensuring democratic discoursing in international institutions, calling for an end to behind-the-doors decision-making that has been the norm so far. The case is driven home by delineation of the economic cri ...more
Adriaan Jansen
Jan 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Stiglitz probably didn't make many friends inside the International Monetary Fund (IMF) when this book was published in 2002: ''Globalization and its discontents'' at times seems like a long criticism of the IMF. No, let me rephrase that: This book is actually a character assassination of the IMF and the policies it implemented during the 1980s and 90s.

This book focuses on 2 episodes in the 1990's: the East Asia crisis of 1997-1998 and the transition from communism to market economy in Russia af
David Sarkies
Oct 27, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: politics
A rant from the President of the World Bank
27 October 2012

I guess I picked this up thinking that it would be interesting to see what a former president of the World Bank had to say about the globalisation debate. It was an interesting read but I sometimes wonder the extent of the appeal that this book would have since it is written by the former president of the World Bank. For instance if I were to hand this book to a left leaning person they would dismiss it out of hand because it was written
Prem Sylvester
This title is a bit of misrepresentation - Stiglitz spends almost the entire book focusing on the market fundamentalism of the IMF, the damage its policies do to developing countries and the US' ideological and political support of the IMF and special financial interests through realpolitik. It has much less to do with the much broader currents of globalization as we know it. 
Stiglitz is, however, still a liberal economist (partial to neo-Keynesian economics) who believes in the power of a marke
David McGill-Soriano
It is very dull. Almost feels as a history book. Some insightful information regarding the IMF, but it is catered to people who know these topics.
Dec 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The good professor has done a remarkable job here. I enjoyed going through the engaging chapters. However, it’s all about the IMF, IMF, IMF! It might as well be titled “How the IMF Screwed Up and What to Do About It” I don’t think these financial institutions alone could represent the concepts, complexity and dynamics involved in globalization. I hope he gets to publish a revised edition. Overall, well done.
Aug 27, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
I read this some time last year and I was in shock by just how heinous the IMF,World Bank and WTO were regarding developing countries. Very informative book.
Aurélien Thomas
Nov 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: economics
There's a strange paradox when it comes to the functioning of the international economic institutions born out Bretton Woods. Collective actions paid for by the taxpayers, created to prevent the potential negative effects of an unregulated 'free' market, they became indeed, over the past few decades, powerful organisations to the point of being antidemocratic, and dogmatically motivated by the free market ideology they were supposed to defend us against in the first place! Here's a paradox which ...more
Nicole Means
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interestingly, I began reading this book late one night when I couldn't sleep, but instead of becoming drowsy, I was struck with insomnia due to the issues brought up in this book. There are so many injustices in this world, and, sadly, organizations that are set up to help others often fail miserably. "Globalization and Its Discontents" is definitely a biased read, but it is quite thought-provoking. However, globalization is not a new phenomenon, as it has been around since ancient times. The i ...more
Talal Husseiny
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

We often hear how great globalization is and the abundance of wealth that it has provided to the world. This book actually addresses the reality that hundreds of millions of people face in today's economy (especially when it comes to the developing countries)

Low wages, less rights, and less spending power create a world that is hostile to globalization. Exploitation and market power comping from huge multinational companies is a reality that needs to be addressed. Governments, people, and entrep
Wendy Cheong
Jun 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stiglitz presents a compelling case for the idea that globalization has been mismanaged. It's an eye opening read that makes you realise that globalisation unchecked is causing injustices and inequalities that could very well be avoided with a little more care. ...more
Feb 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I've read this one for my classes on global political problems, but I really liked it!
Makes me think twice about what we hear from news and politicians.
Really a thought-provoking book.
Nov 09, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a dope when it comes to economics, but my impression is that this book has been hugely influential among the anti-corporate globalization crowd. It came out shortly after the Seattle WTO protests and soon popped up on the bookshelves many of my development-minded friends.

It's easy to see why: Stiglitz is about as prestigious a development economist as you are likely to find--Nobel Prize winner, former chief economist at the World Bank, by some metrics the most cited economist working today.
Jul 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stiglitz writes in a no-nonsense, straightforward fashion. His prose is almost surprisingly facile, for an academic of his stature. It totally works. It's a great and easy read.

As a non-economist, I easily got his points:

1) Globalization is not working for the developing world, because the international economic institutions that were created to ensure global stability in the early 20th century (the World Bank & IMF) have been overtaken by ideological slaves to the ideal of the free market, and
Susan Steed
Aug 19, 2018 rated it liked it
So, this is one of those books that I've been meaning to read for so long, and heard so many arguments around the same topic, that I almost thought I had read it. But I finally made the time to read it, and I'm really glad I did.

I can see why this book was popular, because it's an insider from the IMF saying some of the things that many people from outside had been saying was the problem. That they made the problems of the countries they were trying to help, much worse. And all the countries do
Brian Moriarty
Good read. The IMF, World Bank & WTO set the rules of the game in a way that serves the special interests of the advanced countries rather than those of the developing world. Big bailouts are the safety net to ensure the western money lenders get their money back when things collapse. Also strong regulation basically doesn't exist. This was written in 2002 and still the same problems he mentions exist...

I feel no matter what Stiglitz(and others)says in their books and interviews it has no effect
Sep 01, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fine, Stiglitz writes well on a subject that is hot with the developing world, and he is a writer after my own heart, especially as he argues on how the free market and the wonderful hypocrisy of IMF and WTO (And by that stroke, the developed economies) cripple the southern hemisphere. But honestly, how many books can he write with the same contents, contexts and examples? The argument is good, I am periodically bored with his historical narrative, and all in all, if you have to read a Stiglitz ...more
Nov 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I suppose that this book contains essential criticism of globalization after the 1980s. Nonetheless, it has a wrong name for the contents of the book. The book actually criticized the neoliberalism, unrestricted privatization and the IMF since they led to disorganization and inequality in the developing countries. The book was written before the crash of 2008 and the financial crisis proved that he was right to the discontents of the global financial system.

You should take this book examine the
I liked this book but from the title I expected something different. I thought it was going to be an exploration of globalization and how it has adversely impacted some countries more than others. Including things like cultural homogenization, environmental damages, urbanization, human trafficking, etc. Instead I got a examination of the IMF, the World Bank, and the WTO and their role in the inequities of globalization, from a very broad and macroeconomic perspective. While this isn't a bad thin ...more
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Joseph Eugene Stiglitz, ForMemRS, FBA, is an American economist and a professor at Columbia University. He is a recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (2001) and the John Bates Clark Medal (1979). He is also the former Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank. He is known for his critical view of the management of globalization, free-market economists (whom h ...more

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The winter holiday season tends to be a busy one in the romance aisle. To assist you in finding your next hot read to warm up a cold night,...
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“...decisions were often made because of ideology and politics. As a result many wrong-headed actions were taken, ones that did not solve the problem at hand but that fit with the interests or beliefs of the people in power.” 8 likes
“La globalización actual no funciona. Para muchos de los pobres de la Tierra no está funcionando. Para buena parte del medio ambiente no funciona. Para la estabilidad de la economía global no funciona” 0 likes
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