When it was first published, this national bestseller quickly became a touchstone in the globalization debate. Renowned economist and Nobel Prize winner Joseph E. Stiglitz had a ringside seat for most of the major economic events of the last decade, including stints as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers and chief economist at the World Bank. Particularly concerned with the plight of the developing nations, he became increasingly disillusioned as he saw the International Monetary Fund and other major institutions put the interests of Wall Street and the financial community ahead of the poorer nations. Those seeking to understand why globalization has engendered the hostility of protesters in Seattle and Genoa will find the reasons here. While this book includes no simple formula on how to make globalization work, Stiglitz provides a reform agenda that will provoke debate for years to come. Rarely do we get such an insider's analysis of the major institutions of globalization as in this penetrating book. With a new foreword for this paperback edition.
To most proglobalizers, globalization is a source of economic salvation for developing nations, and to fully benefit from it nations must follow a universal set of rules designed by organizations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization and enforced by international investors and capital markets. But to most antiglobalizers, such global rules spell nothing but trouble, and the more poor nations shield themselves from them, the better off they are. Rodrik rejects the simplifications of both sides, showing that poor countries get rich not by copying what Washington technocrats preach or what others have done, but by overcoming their own highly specific constraints. And, far from conflicting with economic science, this is exactly what good economics teaches.
At the same time, other norms can reduce costs and raise productivity; they should be kept in place and their enforcement improved. For example, some occupational health and safety standards lower medical costs and save lives. One may also want to keep legislation aimed at providing a minimum social insurance for unemployment, old age, sickness, and disabilities.
In practice, the most common decision that governments confront is not whether to intervene but to choose among different forms of intervention. This volume provides analysts and policymakers with useful insights on this issue. Part I addresses labor market institutions in a broader context, such as collective bargaining arrangements, minimum wages and poverty, and optimal unemployment insurance schemes. Part II analyzes labor market performance in Latin America, the links between performance and labor market regulations, and the status of labor market reform in the region. These questions are addressed for the region as a whole and in great detail for Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Colombia. The book provides a comprehensive description of the existing labor institutions in Latin America, the problems they pose, and the trends in labor market reforms as well as the difficulties encountered by the reform process in specific cases.
In addition to the editors, the contributors are Edward Amadeo, Jose Marcio Camargo, Alejandra Cox Edwards, Rene Cortazar, Enrique Davila, Marta Lus Henao, Eduardo Lora, Hugo Hopenhayn, Darryl McLeod, Juan Pablo Nicolini, John Pencavel, and Carola Pessino.