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November 16, 2007

Comments

Brenda Castillo

Stigletz offers very good points as the people in this discussion have stated. I think that Stigletz did follow through with detail but I found that some of his solutions that he requests are so challenging that he cannot state a possible answer. For example, he states that rich countries should “should simply open up their markets to poorer ones, without reciprocity” and to ensure that all market laws are followed, there should be an international tribunal. How would this tribunal be elected? And how would the international tribunal go about controlling trade throughout the WHOLE world? I think these are answers that should have been stated to make his suggestion stronger. In a way, this reminds me a little about Stern’s way of making suggestions to find a solution to end terrorism but they are only weak because she does not provide how her solutions would be implemented and guarantee success.
I agree with Stigletz proposed solutions to some of the problems of globalization, such as liberalizing further the markets in order to help undeveloped countries, and I am glad someone took the time to really look for new solutions (I really think that many of his solutions are ‘new’ because what makes them new is the way Stigletz goes through the process of how most of his ideas could work unlike what Shane had previously mentioned) But what is the purpose of having doctors go through years of studying and finding cures when their patients will not follow through with their recommendations? How often do we hear in the news that country officials meet to find agreements in order to reduce pollution and yet no one seems to follow through their ‘agreements’?
Another point that Stigletz makes is that the rich countries should reduce their trade tariffs that they impose on the poor countries. He states that studies have shown that the rich countries charge 3 times more on their tariffs to poor countries than to their rich counterparts. Doesn’t this sound familiar…at home? taxes. I think we should consider changing our ‘idea’ of fairness and charge those with the most means the part that they could definitely contribute and less to those who can barely survive.

Sam Iverson

Like several others, I found that Stiglitz’s discussion on “Creating the Institutions for a Market Economy” was simply a mimic of arguments held by critics to the Washington Consensus in support of more social-democratic strategies to the development of poor countries. In repudiating the idea of a “one size fits all” model for development, Stiglitz has merely reiterated arguments from authors in the past weeks that criticize the negative consequences to development brought on by the western-influenced neoliberal reforms of institutions such as the IMF and World Bank. The idea that less developed countries need to construct their independent models for development based upon their own history, social context and objectives brings no new insight into the struggle to more evenly spread wealth throughout the world. Additionally, as Zack mentioned earlier, the hope that rich countries will lend money to poorer countries without payment back resembles strikingly the international institutions already in order today, such as the United Nations.

As an economist, I found Stiglitz argument for developing a New Model for China to be very innovative and economically promising. In recognizing that global economic development doesn’t follow a single model, it was insightful to read about a strategy that could set China apart from export-based economies, which grow dependent upon the resources of other competing states, and bring a new goal into view, to raise the standard of living rather than simply income. I found this economic approach to his argument very interesting, as he offered a legitimate solution for one country to further develop and compete with the western world while withdrawing from an absolute free-market system for greater state planning and management.

Ada Tso

As a few classmates have pointed out, some of Stiglitz’s observations and opinions are points that others have made before. Regardless, however, I think Stiglitz does a good job of really capturing the nuances of the debates and providing a great deal of insight from his unique set of experiences from the Clinton Administration and the World Bank. He rightly praises the European Union for having grasped and handled globalization better than many areas in the rest of the world and for being more than an economic union. I also feel that, more so than the other authors we’ve read in this course, Stiglitz writes about specific economic issues (like interest rates, inflation, etc) in a manner that lends credence to when he opines about the more political issues, and that strengthens the validity of all his arguments.

Much of what Stiglitz said in “Achieving More Equitable Globalization” reminded me of what Scott wrote in “Seeing Like a State” – that it is important to acknowledge that all countries are different and thus will respond differently to different measures. Real and effective recommendations can only be made after extensive dialogue between different parties. It is also interesting to consider Stiglitz in contrast to Fukuyama; Stiglitz essentially points out Fukuyama’s faulty assumption when he writes, “The problem today with globalization is that economic globalization has outpaced political globalization.” Fukuyama posited that one would naturally follow the other, and Stiglitz spends a good deal of time contemplating and explaining why this hasn’t been true in practice.

Richard Parra

I agree with other classmates who make the point that Stiglitz is proactive in acknowledging that bad management is one of the main fallacies concerning equitable distribution in the globalization issue. I believe Stiglitz has merit in calling the United States, the European Union, and Japan in taking advantage of underdeveloped nations through various tariffs on imports, monopolies and as “dollar sanctuaries”. However I do have to disagree with Stiglitz that Washington, especially, using the ‘right ideas’ or with the ‘right intentions’ (social justice) will be able to set things right in the world. Surely, completely opening trade to the third world, curtailing monopolies, and somehow find a way to convince creditors, like the IMF, to forgive millions of dollars in debt, will actually help the underdeveloped world in more ways than one. However, to make the globalization process an equitable one, I think Stiglitz should admit that in order to reduce corruption in these nations, “setting an example” does not work. This will be seen when the high ranking officials pocket all the benefits from the helping hands of G7. I think that besides an “international tribunal” in addition to other methods to at least try to have a more “fair share” in the world like Stiglitz calls it, should be done and should have been implemented already. But for individual nations to escape the ‘stepping ground’ they have become, the nations should be governed differently, but the road to a more fair government needs to begin internally. We can say things like through education, or enforcing the laws but ultimately if the nations were more economically stable; raw, uninhibited corruption would not exists (at least not as damaging to the national economies as they currently are). Therefore, some other way needs to be thought/implemented in order for underdeveloped nations to take advantage of international ides in making the world a more “fair” place.

Lisa Xu

I think the most important aspect of globalization that Stiglitz addresses in “Making Globalization Work” is the fact, implicit in the title, that globalization is, or at least can be, a managed process. Most of his chapters describe the consequences of the mismanagement of this process (for example, patent laws which increase the price of live-saving drugs for people in developing countries), or the apparent lack of any management at all (for example, the absence of environmental or labor regulations). The systemic reason for this mismanagement or lack of management lies in the political economy of globalization, as multinational corporations, which drive much of globalization, are represented by rich countries which inevitably have the upper hand in bargaining processes.

Nowhere is this fact more evident than in the chapter on trade. “Making Trade Fair” is about fairness of opportunity, at the least; Stiglitz illustrates the different ways in which rich countries have constructed multilateral treaties to provide their own companies with a decided advantage when trading with poor countries. The negative consequences of increased trade for developing countries often stem from the asymmetric nature of trade agreements, under which rich countries often preserve agricultural subsidies, structure tariffs in such a way that they discourage industrial development, liberalize services which would benefit only skilled labor, and enact all sorts of other nontariff barriers that make it hard for poor countries to use trade as a way to achieve economic growth and improve the welfare of its citizens. Stiglitz also notes that the negotiation process itself is skewed towards rich countries, a clear sign that global governance needs to be more fair and transparent.

Better management of trade, and the issues attending increase economic integration, would make Fukuyama’s vision of a world at ideological peace with itself more likely, but it would require the sort of political will that rich countries can rarely muster on even a domestic level. Globalization’s belief in its own inevitability (that is, rich countries’ confidence in exporting capitalism) is the very thing that invites backlash against globalization. Stiglitz is clearly against that, and instead encourages rich countries to adopt a long-sighted view with regard to how the world economy should be run.

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