New book calls for urgent action on globalization

01 March 2012


Globalization has provided immense benefits, but the systemic risks and rising inequality it causes require urgent action. The failure to arrest these developments is likely to lead to growing protectionism, nationalist policies and xenophobia, which will slow the global recovery and be particularly negative for poor people. These are key conclusions of Professor Ian Goldin’s latest book, “Globalization for development,” published this month by Oxford University Press.

Co-authored with Professor Kenneth Reinert, the book examines the evidence on globalization and proposes policies in the areas of finance, trade, aid, migration and innovation that will mitigate the risks and make globalization work for poor people. “We wanted to reinvigorate the debate, and provide clear evidence regarding globalization’s role as a catalyst for alleviating global poverty,” explains Prof Goldin. “But urgent action is needed to get the appropriate national and global policies in place for globalization to realise its positive potential,” he adds.

Globalization for development” addresses the failure of the polarised globalization debate to appreciate the extent to which good or bad outcomes are determined by decisions taken at the local, national and global levels. Weak and ineffective policies have frustrated the potential benefits of globalization to reach the world’s poorest people. These policy failures have exacerbated the associated risks that now threaten to create a more systemically unstable, unequal and fragmented world.

The book fills a space in the globalization debate where terms are often ill-defined and opinions ill-informed. The authors highlight the yawning gap between the existing fossilised global governance system and the building pressures of global issues such as finance, pandemics, climate change, terrorism, cyber-security and other systemic risks. Better management of our global commons is urgently required, they argue, along with clear policies that create a more inclusive outcome. The current failure of policy poses the severest risk not only to globalization and to poor people but also to our collective future.

History has taught us that global integration can be a powerful force for reducing poverty and empowering people. And yet its positive reach remains uneven, and increasingly at risk due to an accelerated pace of change in the world’s global systems. “This accelerated rate of globalization has created new systemic risks that outpace the capacity of global and national institutions to respond,” explains Goldin. “If the globalization train is to pull all citizens behind it, policies that ensure the poor people of the world share in its benefits are required.”

For anyone wanting to understand the mechanisms of globalization and how they can best be made to work for the world’s poor, this book is a ‘must-read’. It is a call to policymakers in national and global institutions, political advisors, lobbyists and leaders in civil society that now is the time to design policies at the global, regional, national and community levels to reach the billion and more people who are currently excluded from globalization’s benefits. Failure to act means that systemic risks will overwhelm the gains of globalization.

Globalization for Development: Meeting New Challenges” by Ian Goldin and Kenneth Reinert is published by Oxford University Press.

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