On the previous book, here       

Making Globalization Work, by Joseph Stiglitz




ALLEN LANE £20 (358pp) £18

Making Globalization Work, by Joseph Stiglitz

A polite call to arms from the rebel without claws

By Paul Kingsnorth

Published: 15 September 2006

Books about globalisation are ten-a-penny these days, but all overlook one intriguing aspect of the process: its effect on publishing. The irony is that, as with this example, books slamming neoliberal economics and its damning impact around the world are becoming part of the process they attack. This latest offering from the Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz is a case in point. Penguin, originally a very British publisher, has opted to drop the English language in favour of its American variant, with "centers", "labor" and "honored". Is this the global corporate economy encouraging the homogenisation of language, or simply bad editing? You decide.

Stiglitz has become a poster boy for mainstream critics of an out-of-control global economy. Many supporters, not to mention publishers, portray him as a radical - an uncompromising critic of global casino capitalism, with uncompromising alternatives. Doubtless this is a necessary ruse to increase sales of a weighty tome about tariff regimes, debt, resource extraction and development models. It's not actually true, though, as Stiglitz admits.

Here, as in his previous bestseller Globalization and its Discontents, Stiglitz comes not to bury capitalism but to save it from itself. He is an old-fashioned, compassionate Keynesian. He believes in markets, but believes that they need regulating. He believes that poor people should be helped out of poverty, and that well-regulated economic growth can do it. He believes that big companies should be held to account. He believes that we need new global rules to make this happen. He demonstrates why, and how things might change, in precise and well-informed prose. But however right he is, his clarion call - "there are limits to markets" - is hardly "workers of the world unite!"

This book should be read not as an exciting manifesto for radical change, but as the latest contribution by a serious economist to ongoing debate. That debate has moved on since Stiglitz won the Nobel five years ago. Back then, only activists, protesters and determined radicals openly attacked globalisation. These days, the slogan of those protesters - "Another World Is Possible" - has become a chapter heading in this book, under which he politely but firmly takes apart the intellectual case for unfettered markets.

Stiglitz's argument is simple: the current model of globalisation doesn't work. It has five key flaws: the rules of the game are unfair, and designed to benefit rich countries and corporations; "globalisation advances material values over other values, such as concern for the environment"; global trade rules have undermined the sovereignty of poor countries; market-led growth does not benefit everyone, and often increases inequality; and the American model forced on the poor has caused damage and resentment.

In every case, Stiglitz is demonstrably correct and his proposed solutions are many, and detailed. They include forcing rich countries to open their markets fully to poor countries; allowing poor countries to subsidise infant industries, as rich countries once did; removing agricultural subsidies in rich nations; enforcing strict new rules on environmental protection; reforming corporate governance; and stepping up debt relief for the poorest.

It's a keenly argued yet strangely deflating list. Is this what all those protesters were tear-gassed for? Globalisation, concludes Stilglitz, is currently "a pact with the devil", but "this is not how it has to be". To prove it, he descends here as a mild-mannered avenging angel, his well-argued solutions carved on shining tablets of stone. They demand, and deserve, a serious hearing; if only they were a bit more inspiring.

Paul Kingsnorth's 'One No, Many Yeses' is published by Free Press

Books about globalisation are ten-a-penny these days, but all overlook one intriguing aspect of the process: its effect on publishing. The irony is that, as with this example, books slamming neoliberal economics and its damning impact around the world are becoming part of the process they attack. This latest offering from the Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz is a case in point. Penguin, originally a very British publisher, has opted to drop the English language in favour of its American variant, with "centers", "labor" and "honored". Is this the global corporate economy encouraging the homogenisation of language, or simply bad editing? You decide.

Stiglitz has become a poster boy for mainstream critics of an out-of-control global economy. Many supporters, not to mention publishers, portray him as a radical - an uncompromising critic of global casino capitalism, with uncompromising alternatives. Doubtless this is a necessary ruse to increase sales of a weighty tome about tariff regimes, debt, resource extraction and development models. It's not actually true, though, as Stiglitz admits.

Here, as in his previous bestseller Globalization and its Discontents, Stiglitz comes not to bury capitalism but to save it from itself. He is an old-fashioned, compassionate Keynesian. He believes in markets, but believes that they need regulating. He believes that poor people should be helped out of poverty, and that well-regulated economic growth can do it. He believes that big companies should be held to account. He believes that we need new global rules to make this happen. He demonstrates why, and how things might change, in precise and well-informed prose. But however right he is, his clarion call - "there are limits to markets" - is hardly "workers of the world unite!"

This book should be read not as an exciting manifesto for radical change, but as the latest contribution by a serious economist to ongoing debate. That debate has moved on since Stiglitz won the Nobel five years ago. Back then, only activists, protesters and determined radicals openly attacked globalisation. These days, the slogan of those protesters - "Another World Is Possible" - has become a chapter heading in this book, under which he politely but firmly takes apart the intellectual case for unfettered markets.

Stiglitz's argument is simple: the current model of globalisation doesn't work. It has five key flaws: the rules of the game are unfair, and designed to benefit rich countries and corporations; "globalisation advances material values over other values, such as concern for the environment"; global trade rules have undermined the sovereignty of poor countries; market-led growth does not benefit everyone, and often increases inequality; and the American model forced on the poor has caused damage and resentment.

In every case, Stiglitz is demonstrably correct and his proposed solutions are many, and detailed. They include forcing rich countries to open their markets fully to poor countries; allowing poor countries to subsidise infant industries, as rich countries once did; removing agricultural subsidies in rich nations; enforcing strict new rules on environmental protection; reforming corporate governance; and stepping up debt relief for the poorest.

It's a keenly argued yet strangely deflating list. Is this what all those protesters were tear-gassed for? Globalisation, concludes Stilglitz, is currently "a pact with the devil", but "this is not how it has to be". To prove it, he descends here as a mild-mannered avenging angel, his well-argued solutions carved on shining tablets of stone. They demand, and deserve, a serious hearing; if only they were a bit more inspiring.

Paul Kingsnorth's 'One No, Many Yeses' is published by Free Press



Shoulder to shoulder with the Asian tiger

Joseph Stiglitz impresses Martin Jacques with his prescription for creating a fairer world, Making Globalisation Work

Martin Jaques
Saturday September 16, 2006
The Guardian


Making Globalisation Work: The Next Steps to Global Justice
by Joseph Stiglitz
358pp, Allen Lane, pounds 20


In October 1999, at the World Economic Forum East Asia Summit in Singapore, an extraordinary event took place. The summit, which was dominated by the Asian financial crisis, proved the occasion for a gladiatorial exchange between the proponents of the Washington consensus, such as Stanley Fischer, then the IMF's first deputy managind director, and those of a very different persuasion, such as Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, who had heretically introduced capital controls. Supporting the Malaysian position was Joseph Stiglitz, chief economist for the World Bank.

Although the audience consisted largely of western executives, there was clearly much sympathy for Stiglitz and Mahathir. Predating Seattle, it was a dress rehearsal for the debates that have subsequently transformed the mood around globalisation.

Stiglitz has been a key figure in this process. His willingness - and courage - to take on the IMF during the Asian financial crisis was the beginning of his personal journey towards seeking a more just kind of globalisation: Making Globalisation Work is his third book on this theme. His experience of east Asia in many respects provides the bedrock for his belief that US-designed globalisation has largely failed and that the east Asian approach offers a far more optimistic and hopeful possibility. As Stiglitz points out, while east Asia is a stunning success story, virtually every where else in the developing world - Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and most of the former communist countries - stands in striking contrast.

While east Asia has grown annually by 5.9% over the past 30 years, Latin America and Africa have performed abysmally, with the latter's per capita income falling annually by 0.2%. Since the collapse of communism, Russia has done even worse, its income declining by 15%. The contrast between the experience of Russia, which faithfully and disastrously followed the western medicine of shock therapy, and China, which has pursued its own course, is salutary. Instead of falling for Anglo-Saxon market fundamentalism, east Asia, including China, has always understood the centrality of government, the need for the protection of infant industries, the importance of picking winners and the desirability of resisting any over-hasty liberalisation of the financial and currency markets.

Part of the power of this book lies in the dual nature of Stiglitz's authority. As former chairman of President Clinton's council of economic advisers and chief economist of the World Bank, he knows a great deal about how the real world works; and as a Nobel prize-winner, his economic credentials are beyond reproach. His authority lends enormous credibility to the admirable radicalism of his outlook and proposals. Every political movement needs intellectual leaders who help to articulate its philosophy, coherence, agenda and demands: Stiglitz has emerged as a major figure for those in both the developing and the developed worlds who are profoundly critical of the present character of globalisation.

The problem for the great majority of people is that the issues raised by globalisation are difficult and unfamiliar. It is always easier to comprehend the local and the national than the international: we enjoy an intimacy with the former that global issues manifestly do not offer. Much of the controversial meat of globalisation - trade agreements, Doha, intellectual property rights, dumping laws and the like - are to the average person obscure and arcane. Our eyes, alas, frequently glaze over when we are presented with such matters. True, they are not always easy issues to grasp, but the manner of their presentation is almost invariably designed to depoliticise and thereby render them highly technical and elusive.

But, as Stiglitz shows, these seemingly technical issues are of profound political import. There is nothing inevitable about the shape of globalisation today: the problem is that the agenda has overwhelmingly been determined by the west and Japan, the Uruguay trade round being a classic case in point. Stiglitz's achievement in this book is to explain a host of such issues - trade agreements, currency reserves, Kyoto, rules of origin - in a highly accessible manner, thereby showing the extent to which they shape our world and that another world is, indeed, possible.

Throughout, Stiglitz remains determinedly optimistic that a better world is achievable. He bases this view partly on what might be described as the force of his economic logic, partly on the rising tide of disillusionment with the present form of globalisation, partly on the growing strength of the developing world and partly on what one suspects is an innate optimism. I am not so sure. The sort of changes that he advocates would represent a revolutionary change in the nature of the global settlement between the developed and the developing world and a huge curtailment in the power and influence of the United States. It is difficult to imagine the developed world - and especially the US - relinquishing its present dominance without a massive fight. Stiglitz is surely right that American power is in decline, but I think he underestimates its willingness to resist those who want to wrest the global agenda from its clutches.

Certainly the present global regime will not persist indefinitely. And at some point in the future it is likely to be rather more favourable to the developing world. But under what political circumstances might that happen? The most likely challenger is China; but the consequence of that, as Stiglitz implies, may well be a retreat from globalisation - even in its present form - by the developed world as it seeks to hold on to as much as it can. Whatever scenario one imagines, Stiglitz has written an excellent book that can act as a lodestar for those who want to achieve a different and better world.

Martin Jacques is a visiting research fellow at the Asia Research Centre, London School of Economics.











Joe has another go

Sep 7th 2006


A Nobel prize-winner who remains an artist of the impossible


Making Globalisation Work
By Joseph E. Stiglitz
Norton; 358 pages; $26.95.
Penguin/Allen Lane; £20


THIS is Joseph Stiglitz's second bite at the topic of globalisation, but his incisors are not as cutting as they were. The passions that excited his first popular book, “Globalisation and its Discontents”, published in 2002, have faded, he writes; calm now prevails. That book featured flames on the cover; this one pictures a bird's nest (in the American edition), and a ring of hearts (in the British one).

Mr Stiglitz's earlier, angrier forays, which began while he was chief economist of the World Bank from 1997 to 2000, created a lot of intramural ill-feeling at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which was not used to such outspoken criticism from across the street. His indictment of the IMF's policies during the Asian financial crisis outraged the Fund rather less than his claim that it hires third-rank economists from first-rate universities. In his new book he makes only glancing reference to this bad blood, accusing the Fund of trying to discredit him, “rather than engage in intellectual debate”.

Here, he argues that speaking out was a duty, not an indulgence; intellectual consistency demanded no less. Mr Stiglitz still believes that the stewards of the world economy are intellectual slaves to an 18th-century metaphor (“the invisible hand”) and some mid-20th-century mathematics, which formalised Adam Smith's claim that competitive markets square private interests with the public good. Mr Stiglitz won the Nobel prize in 2001 for showing why that claim does not always hold. Economists applaud his work: they think it enriches their theory of markets. Mr Stiglitz, who has never knowingly undersold his wares, thinks it largely invalidates it.

The much-reviled Washington Consensus—with its faith in sound finances, hard money, free trade and limited government—was inspired less by theory than by history, in particular the damage Latin America suffered from deficits, inflation, protectionism and dirigisme. But economists do owe a lot of their mystique to abstract theories the uninitiated do not understand. And they play this card when it suits them. Mr Stiglitz provides a salutary reminder that the algebra does not always favour one side of the globalisation barricades over the other.

But his book does not dwell long on theory. Mr Stiglitz acknowledges the inspiration of his wife, a seasoned reporter, in helping him to see things concretely. Every chapter is leavened with well-turned anecdotes and vignettes. The invisible fruit flies Americans imagined lurking in Mexico's avocado exports illustrate the very real protectionist threat lurking behind many phytosanitary standards; the ups and downs of Baku, an oil town in Azerbaijan, exemplify the curse of natural resources; an account of a visit to Moldova serves as a prelude to a chapter on foreign debt, and a chapter on multinational companies recalls the disgrace of the Bhopal gas leak. Global warming is not just a threat to the “planet”, it is also, more vividly, a threat to Montana's Glacier National Park.

The book also discusses patents, which encourage “me-too” drugs that do not break much new ground, while doing little for research on the diseases of the poor. And it includes an ambitious attempt to describe and fix the international reserve system.

But if the writing is crisp, the arguments are a little soggy. Mr Stiglitz assumes the worst of markets, the best of governments—except, of course, his own. Too often, he wants to have it both ways: his distaste for the IMF has made him suspicious of all technocratic bodies, even to the point where he questions the case for independent central banks. But at the same time he wants to set up international tribunals to rule on unfair tax competition, for example, or health standards. He says that debt relief for the poorest countries is “simply a matter of accounting”, because they could not repay anyway. But he also wants to argue that the burden of red ink has crippled them.

Despite his years in policy circles, he remains an artist of the impossible. Among his proposed solutions, he says that every country should open its markets to any economy that is both smaller and poorer. And any nation that does not impose a carbon tax to combat global warming should face tariffs from other countries that do. He argues that the dollar's role as the world's reserve currency gives America an exorbitant privilege—the ability to borrow heavily and cheaply from the rest of the world—and that Asia's determination to hoard dollars forces America to exploit this privilege. His proposal for “global greenbacks”, an alternative reserve currency issued not by one country, but by international fiat, is inspired by Keynes's intriguing idea of an international clearing union. But if Keynes couldn't usher the idea into reality, Mr Stiglitz certainly can't.

“Making Globalisation Work” is not a bad book but it arrives after books that are better. Jagdish Bhagwati's arguments are more convincing (“In Defence of Globalisation”), Paul Blustein's reporting is more reliable (“And the Money Kept Rolling In and Out”) and Martin Wolf provides a better guide to the economic research (“Why Globalisation Works”). That Mr Stiglitz, a great and original theorist, should spend his time writing a “me-too” globalisation book rather proves his point that markets sometimes misallocate resources.



The turbulent priest, back in his pulpit

(Filed: 24/09/2006)

Martin Vander Weyer reviews Making Globalization Work by Joseph Stiglitz.

Joseph Stiglitz, the turbulent priest of global development economics, is back in his pulpit.


He is a both a uniquely authoritative figure – having been ejected from the innermost court of the Washington economic establishment to become its most relentless critic – and a slightly absurd one, labelled a rock-throwing Stankoist by one close observer, Sebastian Mallaby, in The World's Banker. 'Stankoist' takes some explaining, but let us return to it after hearing more of Stiglitz himself.

Having served as chairman of Bill Clinton's council of economic advisers, he was chief economist of the World Bank and subsequently special adviser to its president, James Wolfensohn, until he was ousted in 2000 for being devastatingly rude in public prints about the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank's sister organisation.

Mallaby's account suggests that Stiglitz's love of sounding off, and his irritation that the IMF took little notice of his economic ideas, were deployed by Wolfensohn for his own ends as a weapon in a battle of Washington egos, notably against treasury secretary Larry Summers. But when Stiglitz became too hot to handle – perhaps even a threat to Wolfensohn's reappointment for a second term at the Bank – he was unceremoniously dumped.

Whatever the internal politics, getting the push from the Bank seems to have been the best thing that ever happened to Stiglitz. He collected a Nobel prize in 2001, and Globalization and its Discontents, his analysis of the alleged failings of free-market doctrines urged on the developing world by the IMF and self-serving western governments, sold a million copies.

This was the first serious intellectual framework to be built around the mishmash of incoherent ideas and slogans of the anti-globalisation movement; it turned Stiglitz from an obscure, argumentative Washington functionary into an alternative hero - and a mosquito on the backside of the Bush administration. Now he's back for another bite, with his recipe for 'next steps to global justice'.

And it's pretty startling stuff – not so much, perhaps, to British readers, who will recognize in it a familiar core of Guardian-columnist anti-big-capitalism and distrust of America, but certainly to innocent Americans brought up on the idea that what the poor of the world need are Coca-Cola, Halliburton and monetary discipline.

On trade reform and the failure of the Doha round, for example, Stiglitz has this to say: 'Rich countries should simply open up their markets to poorer ones, without reciprocity and without economic or political conditionality. Middle-income countries should open up their markets to the least developed countries, and should be allowed to extend preferences to one another without extending them to the rich countries.'

As to the debt burden of poorer countries, he has no truck with the idea that perhaps some of their governments should not have borrowed so much in the first place and should not have corruptly diverted the proceeds. If a loan goes bad, he says, 'there is at least a prima facie case that the lender is as guilty as the borrower. In fact, since lenders are supposed to be sophisticated in risk analysis, they should perhaps bear even more culpability.'

From there he develops the concept of 'odious debts' – those incurred by bad regimes and thereby, under Stiglitz rules, ineligible to be reclaimed by lenders from democratic successor governments. As to the sins of multinational corporations, he wants to change the rules of limited liability so that corporate villains cannot escape justice by operating through local companies in which they hold only minority shareholdings.

Like many writers from the centre-left (passages of this book are strongly reminiscent of Will Hutton in The World We're In) Stiglitz is not wrong in his description of much that is inequitable in the modern world, but he is wrong-headed in the extreme interventionist solutions to which his choice of examples leads him.

He is not wrong, for example, to castigate the IMF for its ill-judged interventions in Thailand and Russia in the late 1990s, though few non-specialist readers will be fascinated by his long list of proposed reforms to make the institution more responsive to poorer members. He barely acknowledges the positive gains in living standards and opportunities that globalisation has brought to billions of people in Asia and the former Soviet bloc, while many of the rules and penalties he proposes in order to 'make globalization work' would in fact deter entrepreneurs, investors and lenders from ever setting foot in the developing world again.

'Stanko', incidentally, was a fictional Bulgarian pastry chef, in whose support a low-budget film-maker managed to persuade a Washington anti-globalisation mob in April 2000 to wave placards, instantly willing to believe that Stanko must be a hero of their cause. Stiglitz is a far more substantial figure than that, but you can't help feeling that he has been carried away from practical, real-world debate by the adulation of the crowd.




Making Globalization Work

Economic globalization has outpaced the globalization of politics and mindsets – it's time for change.


Joseph Stiglitz


The Guardian, 8 September 2006


I have written repeatedly about the problems of globalisation: an unfair global trade regime that impedes development; an unstable global financial system that results in recurrent crises, with poor countries repeatedly finding themselves burdened with unsustainable debt; and a global intellectual property regime that denies access to affordable life-saving drugs, even as AIDS ravages the developing world.

I have also written about globalisation's anomalies: money should flow from rich to poor countries, but in recent years it has been going in the opposite direction. While the rich are better able to bear the risks of currency and interest-rate fluctuations, it is the poor who bear the brunt of this volatility.

Indeed, I have complained so loudly and vociferously about the problems of globalisation that many have wrongly concluded that I belong to the anti-globalisation movement. But I believe that globalisation has enormous potential - as long as it is properly managed.

Some 70 years ago, during the Great Depression, John Maynard Keynes formulated his theory of unemployment, which described how government action could help restore full employment. While conservatives vilified him, Keynes actually did more to save the capitalist system than all the pro-market financiers put together. Had the conservatives been followed, the Great Depression would have been even worse and the demand for an alternative to capitalism would have grown stronger.

By the same token, unless we recognise and address the problems of globalisation, it will be difficult to sustain. Globalisation is not inevitable: there have been setbacks before, and there can be setbacks again.

Globalisation's advocates are right that it has the potential to raise everyone's living standards. But it has not done that. The questions posed by young French workers, who wonder how globalisation will make them better off if it means accepting lower wages and weaker job protection, can no longer be ignored. Nor can such questions be answered with the wistful hope that everyone will someday benefit. As Keynes pointed out, in the long run, we are all dead.

Growing inequality in the advanced industrial countries was a long-predicted but seldom advertised consequence of globalisation. Full economic integration implies the equalisation of unskilled wages everywhere in the world, and, though we are nowhere near attaining this "goal," the downward pressure on those at the bottom is evident.

To the extent that changes in technology have contributed to the near stagnation of real wages for low-skilled workers in the United States and elsewhere for the past three decades, there is little that citizens can do. But they can do something about globalisation.

Economic theory does not say that everyone will win from globalisation, but only that the net gains will be positive, and that the winners can therefore compensate the losers and still come out ahead. But conservatives have argued that in order to remain competitive in a global world, taxes must be cut and the welfare state reduced. This has been done in the US, where taxes have become less progressive, with tax cuts given to the winners - those who benefit from both globalisation and technological changes. As a result, the US and others following its example are becoming rich countries with poor people.

But the Scandinavian countries have shown that there is another way. Of course, government, like the private sector, must strive for efficiency. But investments in education and research, together with a strong social safety net, can lead to a more productive and competitive economy, with more security and higher living standards for all. A strong safety net and an economy close to full employment provides a conducive environment for all stakeholders - workers, investors, and entrepreneurs - to engage in the risk-taking that new investments and firms require.

The problem is that economic globalisation has outpaced the globalisation of politics and mindsets. We have become more interdependent, increasing the need to act together, but we do not have the institutional frameworks for doing this effectively and democratically.

Never has the need for international organisations like the IMF, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization been greater, and seldom has confidence in these institutions been lower. The world's lone superpower, the US, has demonstrated its disdain for supranational institutions and worked assiduously to undermine them. The looming failure of the Development Round of trade talks and the long delay in the United Nations Security Council's demand for a ceasefire in Lebanon are but the latest examples of America's contempt for multilateral initiatives.

Enhancing our understanding of globalisation's problems will help us to formulate remedies - some small, some large - aimed at both providing symptomatic relief and addressing the underlying causes. There is a broad array of policies that can benefit people in both developing and developed countries, thereby providing globalisation with the popular legitimacy that it currently lacks.

In other words, globalisation can be changed; indeed, it is clear that it will be changed. The question is whether change will be forced upon us by a crisis or result from careful, democratic deliberation and debate. Crisis-driven change risks producing a backlash against globalisation, or a haphazard reshaping of it, thus merely setting the stage for more problems later on. By contrast, taking control of the process holds out the possibility of remaking globalisation, so that it at last lives up to its potential and its promise: higher living standards for everyone in the world.

Joseph Stiglitz is University Professor at Columbia University. In 2001, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics.



September 3, 2006

Off the Shelf

Aiming to Level a Global Playing Field



IF a prize in politics were awarded for self-righteousness, Joseph E. Stiglitz, despite stiff competition, might be near the top of the list. In 2001, he shared the Nobel in economic science for seminal work in the economics of uncertainty, particularly for what happens when parties to a transaction possess unequal information, as they invariably do. Economists measure impact by citations, but many of his papers are so fundamental that the results are no longer even cited. They’re part of the ecosystem. From these brilliant heights, Dr. Stiglitz, a professor at Columbia University, has been fulminating about other people’s blind spots.

During President Bill Clinton’s first term, Dr. Stiglitz served as a member and then as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. Then he became chief economist of the World Bank, and blasted the policies of its sister institution, the International Monetary Fund. He also emptied his hip holster at the next level up the chain of command, the Treasury Department. Lawrence H. Summers, the former Treasury secretary, helped to ease Dr. Stiglitz, after seven years in Washington, back into academia.

Dr. Stiglitz’s new book, “Making Globalization Work” (Norton, $26.95), is billed as a sequel to his “Globalization and Its Discontents” (2002). It reads like an unacknowledged reply to a searing review in The Economist of that previous best seller. Gone is the innuendo about colleagues in Washington doing the dirty work of Wall Street in their capacity as public servants charged with lifting up the poor. New are The Economist’s requested chapters on trade and growth, market forces and the environment, the multinational monopoly — in short, on globalization, the advertised subject.

Two notions still animate the author. The first is that neoliberal economics — derided as “market fundamentalism” or the “Washington consensus” — vandalized the developing world. This supposed reign of neoliberal economic terror (privatization, open capital markets) has become a bogeyman of political liberalism (social justice, environmentalism), in whose ranks Dr. Stiglitz enjoys cult status globally. The second is that smart people in Washington and New York with the correct ideas can help set the world right. This supposition — even when cast in terms of promoting democracy rather than proffering special expertise — is an occupational hazard, and it enthralls many conservatives, too.

Dr. Stiglitz’s vision for more equitable globalization — with caveats about the toughness of the task — entails freer trade (no more loopholes for rich countries or corporate lobbies), curtailed intellectual property rights (“monopolies”) and green accounting (factoring resource depletion and ecological damage into G.D.P.). It also means more transparency in international finance (to curb corruption), debt forgiveness (foolhardy creditors must take responsibility, too) and democracy (less secretive procedures opened to nongovernmental organizations and others).

“It seemed terribly unfair,” he writes, “that in a world of richness and plenty, so many should live in such poverty.”

Unfair it is.

Designing a new global trade regime is a snap for Dr. Stiglitz. But how might it be put into place? He is dead right that the current configuration of globalization is political. But then, a different incarnation could be brought about and sustained only by politics — and not periodic protest, however effective at times. Dr. Stiglitz identifies some “special” interests opposed to change, but he offers less sense of the powerful stakeholders who will level the field for all.

Often, he exhorts. “Rich countries,” he writes, “should simply open up their markets to poorer ones, without reciprocity.” As for global enforcement of rules, “what is needed is an international tribunal.” Would its judges be appointed or elected? Would there be some disincentives, too, for global class-action suits? Details omitted.

There is another catch. Developing countries, after getting their “fair share,” must “use the money well,” he writes. So they’ll need nonkleptocratic governments, uncensored media, enforced property rights, the rule of law. How to acquire them? He wants “developed country governments to provide role models,” and to inhibit the collusion in malfeasance abroad.

Intent on championing regulation over an “unfettered” market, he turns to postwar Japan and South Korea as examples of how governments can pilot an economic boom, though this view has been undermined on empirical grounds. He commends China for go-slow liberalization, without noting that the late-70’s dismantling of peasant communes was a liberalizing big bang or that critics inside China today accuse the central government of abandoning economic liberalization, under the guise of gradualism, to gorge on the spoils of office. The rigor and nuance of his economics work are not as evident in his handling of recent world history.

FAITHFUL to post-Soviet legend, Dr. Stiglitz conflates I.M.F. advice and Russian rhetoric about shock therapy with what actually took place in the 1990’s. Some prices, but far from all, were instantaneously liberalized. Much property was privatized, though often by management theft before any government program; privatization of land had to wait more than a decade. Dr. Stiglitz spotlights Ukraine’s 3,300 percent inflation, neglecting to add that Ukraine had even more fitful liberalization and limited privatization, just as he advocates. Arguing that liberalization is right, but that it must be done slowly, he fails to note that for most states, Russia and Ukraine included, rapid neoliberal reform is beyond their capacity. But never mind. The talking point that neoliberalism wrecked Russia is too valuable to yield to facts.

Attacking the idea of free-for-all markets in a superfluous debate with conservative purists only overshadows Dr. Stiglitz’s practical suggestions, like adding labor and environmental ministers to trade negotiations. Boasting that his many critics now see the light, thanks to him, is not a technique of persuasion. From a thinker of such stature, readers might appreciate more of the nimble acuity he displays in praising while devising flexible ways to supersede the Kyoto Protocol to win over the key polluter, America.

In his most intriguing chapter, Dr. Stiglitz explains how the United States benefits from other countries holding vast quantities of dollars, while those countries incur substantial costs, from depressed growth to instability — the very condition that such foreign reserves are meant to forestall. He observes that in Asia — which drives globalization more than Washington does — an alternative reserve system may be emerging. Dr. Stiglitz imparts his spin to this issuing of money substitutes, calling them “global greenbacks,” which could be used to finance global public goods like health vaccines. “This single initiative,” he suddenly concludes deep into the book, “could do more to make globalization work than any other.”

And instead of waiting for the United States to act in the interests of global humanity, he says, a coalition of Asian countries could move to this new reserve system even if America objected. Here is the new global economy already upon us.



Making Globalization Work

By Sebastian Mallaby

Monday, February 28, 2005; Page A17


If globalization were a stock, it would have been shooting off the charts recently.

Five years ago, the anti-globalization street protests were pumped up with crazy momentum. Today the demonstrators are gone, or at least in hibernation.

Five years ago, well-meaning folk doubted that trade was good for poor countries. Today I hear more people complaining about the barriers erected in the rich world that stifle poor countries' exports.

In the 1990s, the terms of the debate were set by the likes of Lori Wallach, a committed globophobe. Today they're more likely to be set by Bono, who campaigns for trade along with aid and debt relief.

It's risky to gloat, but this could be a lasting victory. Anti-globalization arguments were for the most part so flimsy that they've been thoroughly demolished. One World Bank study showed that "globalizing" poor countries, those whose trade grew as a share of gross domestic product, recorded gains in income of 5 percent per year in the 1990s, 2 1/2 times faster than the advance in rich countries. By contrast, non-globalizing poor countries had no income gains whatsoever. It's hard to argue against that sort of evidence.

So much for the left-wing critics. But globalization has also survived the shock of Sept. 11. In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, there were dire predictions. Terrorists had used the very openness and connectedness of our societies to mount their attack. The response to terrorism would require new airport checks, new customs checks, new visa checks. "The era of globalization is over," wrote John Gray, a prominent British commentator.

It hasn't happened. A largely coincidental economic slowdown lent the pessimists some early plausibility. Trade stagnated in 2001 as a share of GDP, and foreign direct investment fell to half its previous level. But even though counterterrorist security concerns have thrown some sand into the gears -- notably, by keeping out visa-seekers the United States ought to welcome -- globalization has resumed its forward march. We've even discovered a whole new frontier -- the globalization of services such as tax accounting and medical diagnostics.

So globalization looks healthy. But although globalization brings prosperity, albeit with winners and losers, it brings challenges at the same time; we face globalized terrorist gangs, drug cartels and money-laundering networks, not to mention global diffusion of contagious diseases and transnational environmental problems. We don't have adequate institutions to deal with all this stuff: Economic globalization isn't matched by the necessary political globalization. What's more, we know this to be true -- but our efforts to respond are mostly half-hearted.

If we want to wrestle with transnational threats, we need to do something about the failed states where such threats tend to fester. Because we know this to be true, official development assistance has jumped since Sept. 11. But the jump is simply not enough. Measured as a share of our economies, the recent aid increase only partially makes up for the big fall in the 1990s.

Equally, we know that weak states will have a better shot at getting strong if they can export into rich markets. It's an outrage that the least-free areas of world trade are agriculture and textiles, precisely the goods in which poor countries have an advantage. Because we know this to be true, we have the Doha Round of trade talks, which is supposed to be about development. But the negotiators missed last year's deadline for completing their work. Nobody's betting on a quick breakthrough.

Beyond stronger governance in failed states, we need stronger global institutions. There is no shortage of proposals to accomplish this: Think tanks, statesmen and high-level panels generate a steady stream of blueprints. But while the blueprints demonstrate that we know what we should do, we're more likely to veer off in the opposite direction. We're better at complaining about global institutions -- the United Nations, the World Bank -- than we are at sustaining them.

Consider the United Nations. Washington has just lost its mind over an oil-for-food "scandal," in which the biggest scandal has been the scandalmongers' unfairness. Iraq's oil-for-food program was conceived and overseen by the United States and other members of the Security Council, not by the U.N. staff. It's true that some money did leak, but this is inevitable in any sanctions regime, and most of the leaks were recognized and accepted by the program's U.S. designers. Yes, at least one prominent U.N. official may have been corrupt, but corruption is not unheard of within the U.S. government.

Or consider, equally, the World Bank. Last Tuesday the world's rich donors concluded negotiations on new money for the bank's kitty; Treasury Secretary John Snow gave a speech emphasizing the U.S. commitment to the institution. But the U.S. contribution to the bank, which goes to support grants and subsidized loans to the world's poorest countries, has been cut in inflation-adjusted terms. What sort of commitment is that to the management of globalization?

In the late 19th century, the world experienced Globalization Mark I. New technologies -- the telegraph, the steam ship, the telephone, electricity, the train -- combined with the free-trade outlook of the British empire to produce a dramatic expansion in international commerce. But Globalization I was brought to an end by the unmanaged political tensions that ushered in world war. New tensions lurk now, and we need to get serious about dealing with them.



The TLS n.º 5409     December 1, 2006


Harold James


Joseph Stiglitz
The next steps to global justice
358pp. Allen Lane. £20.
0 7139 9909 8
US: Norton. $29.95. 0 393 06122 1

Frederic S. Mishkin
How disadvantaged nations can harness their financial systems to get rich
310pp. Princeton University Press. £17.95.
(US $27.95).
0 691 12154 0

Are the big debates about globalization now over? The massive demonstrations that disrupted the 1999 WTO meetings, or the 2001 Genoa summit, or the annual meetings of the World Bank and the IMF, or of the Davos World Economic Forum (WEF), now seem part of a rather distant past. Many former critics now see at least some advantages of globalization, and the more intelligent insist that they always wanted a “better globalization” rather than looking for out-and-out confrontation with economic modernity (in the style of, for instance, Islamic fundamentalists). In particular, the dramatic economic growth of India and China seems to indicate that opening to the world market is a way of producing growth but also of alleviating poverty. Third World activists want more, not less, globalization, and a dismantling of the trade barriers of the industrial countries.

At the same time, many of the former advocates of globalization in the business and political world of the advanced industrial countries are now deeply worried, because in their countries globalization seems to be responsible for job losses and pay reductions. The consequence is not only a political backlash, but also an intense populist concern with corporate governance, corporate abuses and the excesses of executive pay. Whereas, until recently, the most dramatic effects were seen in the market for unskilled labour, and consequently most policy thinkers simply saw better training as an answer, it has become clear that skilled service jobs (most famously in computer software, but also in medical and legal analysis) can also be “outsourced”. Consequently, the gigantic Western middle class – the great winner of the twentieth century – is now alarmed. Such responses naturally terrify business leaders, who want to devise some appropriate response that will not hurt them too much. Events such as the WEF, formerly parodied as the fiesta of pro-globalization fanatics, are now packed with presentations by globalization critics and choruses about corporate social responsibility.

Probably the leader of the now triumphant caucus of intellectual globalization critics is Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prizewinning economist for work on the economics of information. He became famous as a result of his previous book, Globalization and Its Discontents, which sold over a million copies. He starts Making Globalization Work with the observation that “the passions evoked by the global financial crises and the difficult transitions from communism to a market economy have now faded”, and he even goes on to claim that there “is an emerging consensus that resembles the ideas put forth in Globalization and its Discontents”.

The core of his analysis concerns the harm done by the excessive degree of financial globalization: the vast capital flows that are not matched by a similar ability of other factors of production (goods and, above all, labour) to move freely across the boundaries of states.

In comparison with the earlier book, which offered very similar diagnoses, Stiglitz shows slightly more nuance and slightly less alarm over global poverty, and much more concern about environmental threats, and in particular about global warming. His presentation is filled with brilliant analyses of a wide range of issues, which become most compelling when he writes about corporate interests distorting the current international-trade and intellectual-property regimes so that they work against developing countries and poor people in general.

Stiglitz’s principal ambition is to offer not just critique, but a very concrete reform agenda, which involves a reassertion of political will to harness an otherwise destructive process, and to limit the one-sidedness of financial globalization. “Economic globalization has outpaced political globalization”, and the imbalance needs to be corrected. In his view, such global governance as currently exists in the UN, the IMF, the WTO, the G8, etc, is chaotic and uncoordinated, and though there are existing mechanisms to deal with each particular problem, they cannot be effective because all the problems are interrelated.

The most moderate and reasonable of the Stiglitz proposals is for a new synthetic international reserve currency, which could kill two birds with one stone. It might end the spiral in which Asian exporters build up claims on US dollars, which may be vulnerable to a financial panic. Secondly, in place of the US government issuing securities (Treasury bills) which are spent in the propagation of American interests, but bought by the rest of the world, an international authority might spend money on global public goods, such as curbing environmental damage or ameliorating poverty. This kind of proposal is not new: the synthetic currency was part of Keynes’s proposals at Bretton Woods; and was revived again in debates in the 1960s which led to the creation of the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights (SDRs); and again, in the face of the dollar weakness of the late 1970s, when the IMF proposed a so-called Substitution Account. Since then, advocates of developing countries have been calling for special issues of SDRs to fund developing countries or to write off debt. None of these proposals has ever been realized, in each case because of the opposition of the United States. Short of a major financial disaster, it is impossible to see circumstances in which the US would accept such a scheme, and after a major financial disaster it would be too late, and the scheme would be pleasing but redundant. In other words, very major political changes would be needed for even the mildest and most rational of the remedies to be feasible.

Almost all the solutions Stiglitz offers are staggeringly ambitious and massively interventionist, although it is never quite clear who should do the intervening. All that is certain is that such interventions cannot come from the US. Thus, for example, he rightly thinks that a decade or so of lecturing from international financial institutions about the damage done by corrupt governments in poor countries is hypocritical (because there is corruption and abuse of corporate governance in rich countries, too) and ineffective.

Legislation is needed on the model of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which makes the bribing of foreign officials illegal. But what happens if countries do not agree? They might be shamed by revelations of the outrageous practices of their business community. But in the last instance, they may need to be forced. Who will exercise that force? The answer is not at all clear.

There is a graphic description of the dangers posed by global warming, and the need for action on carbon emissions. But the story of the US resistance to the Kyoto Protocol is also narrated, and in answer to the question what can be done, Stiglitz suggests that other countries should apply unilateral penal tariffs on US goods. “Any system, whether of targets or taxes, will require enforcement – including action against countries that refuse to cooperate.” Again, there is a considerable lack of clarity about the body that would decide on this sort of enforcement.

A fundamental theme is thus that regulation as currently practised is fundamentally flawed. But on what principles should it be reformed? The issue becomes clearest in the discussion of how the global intellectual-property regime has been distorted by the prominence of corporate interests that mould the WTO’s TRIPs (Trade Related Intellectual Property) regime. But when summarizing his criticism, Stiglitz complains that the basic flaw is that TRIPs “attempts to impose a single standard for intellectual property law on the world”. There is a similar complaint both about the power of American corporate interests and about the “one size fits all” approach of the IMF.

In the course of offering his prescriptions, Stiglitz again and again emphasizes that there cannot be any simple cookie-cutter or one-size-fits-all remedies. This is at the heart of his critique of institutions such as the IMF, which allegedly offer such simplistic solutions. But there is a deep contradiction at the heart of his proffered solutions, which require a more tailor-made approach. Who is the tailor? The more complicated remedies become, the less they are really subject to democratic oversight, and the more they can be moulded by special interests. Trade law has become so complex because it begins with the premiss – which Stiglitz endorses – that some interventions are needed to stop abusive or damaging trade practices. Once that premiss is accepted, a whole industry cranks up to influence the process, with the resulting prevalence of the big corporate interests that much of the book attacks. A better solution might really be a general one-size-fits-all liberalization, which would not permit of exceptions and hence would shut out the abusive interests.

There is another oddity about Stiglitz’s demand for more democratic accountability. It is striking that his critique of a democracy, the United States, for opening itself to massive corporate pressure, is especially severe; while the countries that have solutions that Stiglitz admires – Mahathir bin Mohamad’s Malaysia or the People’s Republic of China – are more authoritarian. The logic of the argument calls for a benevolent but authoritarian hegemon.

In the middle of his exposition, Stiglitz offers the observation that “Capital markets are highly imperfect, with interest rates in developing countries at a much higher level that those with which even the best of entrepreneurs in the developed world could cope”. It is not clear that any of the policy prescriptions he goes on to offer addresses this fundamental problem. His preference is to control capital flows, because of their potentially destructive effects. In this sense, his book, like the previous one, is shaped by his interpretation of the 1997–8 Asian financial and economic crisis.

Stiglitz’s colleague from Columbia University, Frederic S. Mishkin, has produced a very different and more optimistic account of globalization, in which he traces very precisely how financial institutions make markets operate more efficiently. He agrees with Stiglitz that a very rapid opening of a country to capital flows may produce bad consequences, and wisely recommends that countries adopt a “sequencing”, in which they pursue domestic reforms before they open their external accounts. But Mishkin also acknowledges that the appropriate domestic reforms may be blocked by vested interests, and that a financial crisis has the not unwelcome side-effect of sweeping away those blockages and preparing the way for a more thoroughgoing liberalization. The conclusion Mishkin draws is precisely the opposite one to that of Stiglitz: that financial globalization is likely to create incentives that will lead to a more efficient allocation of resources, and consequently reduce the high level of interest rates in poor countries and emerging markets. Consequently, these economies will graduate from dependence on international financial institutions and grow. Institutional reform is then pushed by inbuilt incentives, which no longer require Stiglitz’s benevolent world authoritarianism.

Frederic Mishkin’s much more focused reform proposals, which involve an appropriate international institutional framework for further liberalization, appear as an effective retort to Joseph Stiglitz’s grandiose schemes for an untransparent and unworkable reordering of the international system. Reading the two books side by side shows how very much alive the debate about globalization still is.

Harold James is Marie Curie Professor of History at the European University Institute, and the author of The Roman Predicament, published this year, and The End of Globalization, 2001.



Artikel erschienen am 11.11.2006



Zu viel der guten Hoffnung

Joseph Stiglitz ist einer, der es besser wissen sollte. Trotzdem schreibt sich der Professor und ehemalige Berater von Ex-Präsident Clinton, sowie Chefökonom der Weltbank in seinem jüngsten Werk "Die Chancen der Globalisierung" den Fortschritt schön - zu schön für einen Insider.

Von Natan Sznaider

Joseph Stiglitz: Die Chancen der Globalisierung. Siedler, München, 24,95 Euro


Vor drei Jahren hat Joseph Stiglitz ein Buch über "Die Schatten der Globalisierung" vorgelegt, in dem die Weltbank und andere globale wirtschaftliche Institutionen auf das heftigste kritisiert wurden. Jetzt hat er mit "Die Chancen der Globalisierung" einen Fortsetzungsband geschrieben, in dem er die weltweite Ausdehnung des Kapitalismus als Erfolgsgeschichte beschreibt. Nun war Steglitz noch nie ein "üblicher" Globalisierungskritiker, sondern beinahe dessen Gegenteil.

Er ist Professor für Wirtschaftswissenschaften an der Columbia Universität in New York, war von 1993 bis 1996 Wirtschaftsberater des damaligen amerikanischen Präsidenten Bill Clinton und damit auch einer der wirtschaftlichen Vordenker des sogenannten Dritten Weges. Ende der neunziger Jahre arbeitete er als Chefökonom der Weltbank, die ihn freilich wegen seiner Kritik an ihr entließ. Im Jahre 2001 erhielt Stiglitz den Nobelpreis für Ökonomie.

Verknüpfung von Wirtschaft und Politik
Mit anderen Worten: Stiglitz ist ein Insider. Seine Kritik an der Globalisierung stammt aus der Feder eines Denkers, der an die Globalisierung und ihr Potenzial glaubt.

Stiglitz ist Sozialdemokrat für das globale Zeitalter; ihm geht es um die Verknüpfung von Wirtschaft und Politik und zugleich um Effizienz und Gerechtigkeit - zwei Begriffe, von denen er glaubt, dass sie einander ausschließen. Stiglitz will einen globalen Gesellschaftsvertrag, der international Armut eindämmen soll. Die Keynesische Kontrolle des Marktes soll wieder zum Leben erweckt werden - nur diesmal auf der ganzen Welt. Dann kann Globalisierung gut für alle werden.

Stiglitz plädiert in der globalisierten Welt für mehr Demokratie: Es soll nicht nur das getan werden, was den reichen Staaten nützt. Die Kritik an den Vereinigten Staaten ist ein Leitmotiv dieses Buches: Auf der einen Seite trieben die USA die wirtschaftliche Globalisierung voran, andererseits täten sie nichts, um die politischen Grundlagen für eine verzahnte globale Welt zu schaffen. Eine gerechte Globalisierung könne nur erreicht werden, wenn Ungleichheit und Armut nicht mehr als nationale, sondern als globale Probleme verstanden würden.

Stiglitz versteht, dass sich der Nationalstaat dadurch legitimiert hat, dass er Armut und Ungleichheit als nationales Problem wahrnimmt - und dadurch globale Ungleichheiten aus dem Gesichtskreis verbannt. Das heißt aber für Stiglitz, dass nur der Nationalstaat "es richten kann".

Auslandshilfe und Schuldenerlass sind ein Anfang
Gleichzeitig verlangt sein Gesellschaftsvertrag nach globalen Lösungen; Auslandshilfe und Schuldenerlass sind die ersten Schritte dafür. Stiglitz führt den Leser nach Ostasien, Lateinamerika und andere ferne Länder, die in seiner Schilderung zu unserem Hinterhof werden. Der Leser wird von seinem Globalisierungsenthusiasmus angesteckt - und Stieglitz versucht, sein Publikum für eine neue Politik in der doch nicht ganz so "flachen Welt" (Thomas L. Friedman) zu begeistern.

So wehrt sich Steglitz gegen die feste Verankerung von geistigen Eigentumsrechten. Ihm geht es nicht nur um Innovationen, sondern darum, wie sie mit den Interessen der Allgemeinheit verknüpft werden können. Stiglitz behauptet, dass der Schutz geistigen Eigentums Monopolinteressen dienen, er fordert freien Informationsaustausch. Dabei geht es nicht nur um akademisches Wissen, sondern darum, dass Entwicklungsländer freien Zugang zu Medikamenten und Impfstoffen erhalten: Gerade das lebenserhaltende Wissen soll zum öffentlichen Gut werden. Stiglitz will außerdem den sogenannten Fluch des Rohstoffreichtums abschütteln und die rohstoffreichen Nationen dazu bringen, dass sie ihre Einnahmen sinnvoll zu verwenden. Natürlich setzt er sich auch für global kontrollierten Umweltschutz ein.

Alles klingt vernünftig und gut
Man kann eigentlich nichts gegen diese Vorschläge einwenden. Alles klingt vernünftig und gut. Das Ziel der Demokratisierung der globalen Welt ist in der Tat löblich. Stiglitz will mehr, als alternativlos gegen die Globalisierung zu argumentieren, wie es heute in der Antiglobalisierungsbewegung üblich ist.

Gleichwohl wundert man sich, dass jemand, der aus dem Insidermilieu von Washington stammt, so voller Hoffnung argumentieren kann, als wäre alles nur eine Frage des guten politischen Willens. Stiglitz ist guter Hoffnung, dass die politische Globalisierung mit der wirtschaftlichen Schritt halten kann. Aber wie das - jenseits des guten Willens und der guten Hoffnung - denn genau funktionieren soll, bleibt in diesem Buch im Dunkeln.

Adam Snmith vor den Neolieberalen retten
Stiglitz scheint nicht zu verstehen, dass wir in finsteren Zeiten leben. Sozialwissenschaftler haben angesichts der neuen Barbarei einen schweren Stand. Ihr Handwerkszeug taugt nicht viel, wenn es darum geht, die heutigen Gefahren zu verstehen. So drehen sie sich im Kreis und versuchen, die Welt in den alten Kategorien zu verstehen, die sie einst fleißig gelernt haben.

Stiglitz versucht, die Welt mit Hilfe von Begriffen aus dem 18. Jahrhundert zu verstehen: Verantwortung, Selbst-Interesse - das sind die Vokabeln, die er gebraucht. Stiglitz argumentiert aus einer liberalen Grundhaltung heraus. Das bringt ihn zurück zu Adam Smith, dem Theoretiker der liberalen Moderne, der außerhalb Englands und der USA als solcher leider immer noch ignoriert wird.

Stiglitz will Adam Smith vor den Neo-Liberalen retten, die ihn nur als Theoretiker des freien Marktes kennen. Für Adam Smith war der Markt aber immer auch eine moralische Institution, die sich ihre Ethik nicht von anderen Institutionen ausborgen muss. Menschen in einer Handelsgesellschaft sind nicht automatisch potenzielle Gegner (oder Verbündete), wie das vor der Zeit der Handelsgesellschaft der Fall war, vielmehr sind sie in authentischer Weise gleichgültig gegeneinander. Sie begegnen einander als "unparteiische Zuschauer". Die moralische Ordnung der Gesellschaft wird durch die Existenz dieser vielen gleichgültigen Fremden nicht geschwächt, sondern im Gegenteil mitdefiniert.

Welt der Egoisten
Just das ist die Herausforderung der globalen Politik. Wir leben in einem globalen Verantwortungszusammenhang, aus dem niemand wirklich flüchten kann. Doch Adam Smith (und mit ihm Joseph Stiglitz) gehen von der Annahme aus, dass alle Menschen ihrer Natur nach gleich sind: Alle wollen nur das Beste für sich selbst. Das dies anders sein könnte, ist mit den Mitteln einer liberalen Sprache nicht zu fassen. Dabei sehen wir es jeden Tag in den Abendnachrichten.

Niemand - auch nicht die Globalisierungsgegner - kann die Globalisierung rückgängig machen. Und Stiglitz bewegt sich noch in den alten Modellen, obwohl er versucht, eine neue Sprache zu sprechen. Gleichwohl: Sein Buch kann als Brücke dienen, die schließlich zu einem neuen, einem gerechteren globalen Gesellschaftsvertrag führt.


DIE ZEIT, 09.11.2006 Nr. 46

Mücke und Elefant

Der Markt löst das Armutsproblem nicht. Joseph Stiglitz, Ökonom und Nobelpreisträger, entwirft eine gerechtere Globalisierung.

Von Thomas Assheuer


Die Euphorie über die Globalisierung ist vorüber, ihre Propagandisten sind kleinlaut geworden. Dabei waren die Versprechen, die nach dem Fall der Mauer in die Welt gesetzt wurden, durchaus faszinierend. Wenn die Weltwirtschaft schrankenlos wachse und gedeihe; wenn auf dem Erdkreis alle Handelshemmnisse beseitigt und die Kapitalinvestoren überall freie Hand bekämen, dann werde die Menschheit einer leuchtenden Zukunft entgegensehen. Früher oder später würde der Wärmestrom der Globalisierung alle Boote erfassen, auch die der Armen und Elenden, und sie hinaustragen in ein Meer aus Wohlstand und Freiheit.

Kaum jemand hat kenntnisreicher seine Zweifel an diesem marktgängigen Zukunftsversprechen vorgetragen als Joseph Stiglitz, seines Zeichens Nobelpreisträger für Ökonomie, ehemaliger Chef-Volkswirt der Weltbank und Berater der Clinton-Regierung. Stiglitz weiß, wovon er spricht, denn er ist aus Erfahrung klug geworden. Viele Weichenstellungen der neunziger Jahre, schreibt er selbstkritisch, seien falsch gewesen, ungerecht und von westlicher Arroganz getragen. Deshalb zweifelten immer mehr Menschen daran, »dass die Kosten der Globalisierung – niedrige Löhne, wachsende Arbeitslosigkeit – die vermeintlichen Vorteile überwiegen«.

Globalisierung ist für Stiglitz kein Schicksal; sie ist das Ergebnis politischer Steuerung und der Durchsetzung ökonomischer Theorien. Wären die Weichen anders gestellt worden, wäre es heute um die Welt besser bestellt. Entsprechend trostlos fällt in seinem neuen Buch Die Chancen der Globalisierung die Bilanz aus. Die Reichen sind reicher geworden, die Armen oft arm geblieben. Die Globalisierung hat weniger Menschen zu Wohlstand gebracht als erhofft; nur Indien und China bilden die spektakulären Ausnahmen. »Obgleich der Prozentsatz der in Armut lebenden Menschen rückläufig ist, steigt die absolute Zahl der Armen weltweit.«

Die Behauptung, Reichtum werde auf natürlichem Wege von oben nach unten zu den Armen durchsickern (»trickle down«), sei eine Fabel. Die Forderung, der Nationalstaat müsse sich klein machen wie eine Mücke und dem Elefanten des Kapitals das Feld überlassen, führe auf einen Irrweg. Tatsächlich erzeugten Märkte nicht von sich aus effiziente Ergebnisse oder »lösen das Armutsproblem«; womöglich werde es noch verschärft. Nur in der mythischen Welt der Freihandelsbefürworter komme der Abbau von Handelsschranken allen Menschen zugute, denn die »unsichtbare Hand des Marktes ist unsichtbar, weil es sie gar nicht gibt«. Auch der gern gesungene Refrain, Märkte sorgten langfristig für Vollbeschäftigung, sei falsch, denn langfristig »sind wir alle tot«.



Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 15.11.2006, S. 9

Erhebliches Ungleichgewicht
Nobelpreisträger Joseph Stiglitz fordert einen globalen Gesellschaftsvertrag


Joseph Stiglitz: Die Chancen der Globalisierung. Aus dem Amerikanischen von Thorsten Schmidt.
Siedler Verlag, München 2006. 446 S., 24,95 [Euro].


Wenn jemand ein gerngesehener Gast sowohl auf den Weltsozialforen der Globalisierungskritiker als auch auf den Davoser Weltwirtschaftsforen der globalen Spitzenmanager ist, dann Joseph Stiglitz. Seine eindrucksvolle Karriere als Professor für Volkswirtschaftslehre an einigen der besten amerikanischen Universitäten führte er als Wirtschaftsberater der Clinton-Administration und danach als Chefvolkswirt der Weltbank fort. Im Jahr 2001 erhielt er wegen seiner schon etwas zurückliegenden theoretischen Arbeiten zur Informationsökonomik den Nobelpreis für Wirtschaft. Seit seinem globalisierungskritischen Buch "Die Schatten der Globalisierung" gilt er als ein wirtschaftspolitischer Außenseiter mit Insider-Kenntnissen. Seine Argumente gegen den neoliberalen "Marktfundamentalismus" trägt er anschaulich und meist ohne schrillen Tonfall vor. Dies und die zahlreichen Illustrationen seiner Ansichten durch Beispiele aus den vielfach verfehlten Entwicklungsstrategien des Internationalen Währungsfonds (eines seiner liebsten Angriffsziele) und anderer internationaler Wirtschaftsakteure haben seinen Ruf unter Globalisierungskritikern stetig vermehrt.

Offensichtlich hat ihm nach seinen publizistischen Erfolgen die Erich-Kästner-Frage "Wo bleibt das Positive?" keine Ruhe gelassen. Und so liegt der Schwerpunkt seines neuen Buches auf dem, was seiner Meinung nach kurz- und mittelfristig an der Gestalt und den Handlungsregeln internationaler Wirtschaftsorganisationen, an den Prioritäten staatlicher Wirtschaftspolitik und überhaupt am Wirtschaftsgebaren der Menschen geändert werden sollte: Einen globalen Gesellschaftsvertrag braucht es. Sehr ambitioniert klingt das, und doch ist der Blickwinkel aufs Ökonomische konzentriert und also zu beschränkt. Die einzelnen Kapitel befassen sich mit der ganzen Themenbreite ökonomischer Globalisierung: Entwicklungspolitik, Welthandelsordnung, Patentschutz und geistiges Eigentum, fossile Rohstoffe, Umweltschutz, multinationale Konzerne, Schuldenerlasse, Weltwährungsordnung.
In jedem dieser Kapitel wird zunächst der Ist-Zustand beschrieben. Um den steht es in den Augen des Autors gar nicht gut. Danach stellt er unterschiedliche Verbesserungsvorschläge vor und kritisiert die vorherrschende neoliberale Weisheit, um schließlich Reformmaßnahmen aufzuzählen, die besser geeignet seien, der weltwirtschaftlichen Probleme Herr zu werden.

Am Anfang nimmt er den Slogan des Weltsozialforums 2004 im indischen Mumbai auf: Eine andere Welt ist möglich. Aber was genau heißt "anders"? Am Schluß wird die Forderung erhoben: Die Globalisierung demokratisieren. Das sind beides, mehr oder weniger deutlich, politische Bekenntnisse, und unpräzise dazu. Bei dem Verhältnis Politik - Wirtschaft liegt allerdings auch der Hase im Pfeffer. Hier kommt es auf die richtige Balance an, von Marktfreiheit und staatlichen Vorschriften und Regelungen etwa, oder von lokalen und globalen Normen. Daß diese Balance nach dem Ende des Ost-West-Konflikts in vielen Ländern verlorenging, zuweilen sogar sehenden Auges aufgegeben wurde, ist richtig. Ebenso stimmt es, daß gar nicht so wenige westliche Länder, die nach außen eine möglichst ungehemmte Globalisierung aller Wirtschaftsbeziehungen propagieren, hin und wieder und auf manchen Feldern sogar durchgängig eine Politik des Protektionismus betreiben. Wirtschaftsinteressen werden eben nicht nur in der Produktion, beim Handel und bei Dienstleistungen verfolgt, sondern immer auch politisch.

Auch dafür liefert Stiglitz Beispiele, manche aus eigener praktischer Erfahrung. Dennoch will ihm der Schritt, oder soll man sagen: der Sprung von der Kritik zur internationalen Orientierungshilfe für die Gestaltung einer "anderen Welt" nicht recht gelingen. Das macht sich während der Lektüre zunächst an Kleinigkeiten bemerkbar, an apodiktischen Urteilen etwa wie "die Nordamerikanische Freihandelszone Nafta ist gescheitert" und an Übertreibungen wie "die Europäische Zentralbank hat Wachstum und Beschäftigung in Europa in Trümmer gelegt". Solche Unschärfen, um es milde auszudrücken, sind Indizien dafür, daß es sich bei Stiglitz' Reformen vielleicht doch nicht um Vorschläge handelt, die aus der Empirie hergeleitet sind, sondern einfach nur um weltanschauliche Programmpunkte. So etwas ist freilich auch legitim, nur eben weniger überzeugungskräftig.

Jedenfalls stößt man hier auf ein erhebliches Ungleichgewicht. Den ausführlichen, sehr interessanten, aber wohl nur für Wirtschaftsexperten mit allen ihren Implikationen verständlichen Ausführungen über ein alternatives System der Weltwährungsreserven stehen relativ oberflächliche Bemerkungen über die Notwendigkeit gegenüber, die Globalisierung zu demokratisieren. Klar doch, das freundlich-chaotische Gewimmel auf den Weltsozialforen flößt einem leicht die Vorstellung ein, daß - wenn erst die Menschen selbst die Entscheidungen träfen - Gerechtigkeit und Fairness sich von selbst einstellten. Ein kurzer Blick in die politischen Dimensionen der Globalisierung zeigt, daß dies nichts als eine Illusion ist.

Trotzdem liest man das Buch von Stiglitz, unter gewissen Mühen, letztlich mit Gewinn. Denn wenn auch seine Reformvorschläge nicht das Gelbe vom Ei sind, so können sie sich doch für die nicht abreißende Debatte über Dynamik, Defizite und Gefahren der Globalisierung als nützlich und anregend erweisen, insbesondere für selbstzufriedene Anhänger einer von jeglicher Politik freigehaltenen globalisierten Wirtschaft. Denn daß diese auch einer Illusion und einer Selbsttäuschung auf den Leim gegangen sind, zumindest das wird in diesem Buch unwiderlegbar deutlich.


18.11.2006 taz Magazin Politisches Buch


Nichts für Träumer und Trottel

Joseph Stiglitz will Wege für eine sozial gerechtere Globalisierung weisen. Seine Vorschläge sind differenziert und anregend


Joseph Stiglitz: "Die Chancen der Globalisierung". Aus dem Englischen von Thorsten Schmidt. Siedler Verlag, Berlin 2006,
448 Seiten, 24,95 Euro


Im vorletzten Kapitel seines neuen Buchs, "Die Chancen der Globalisierung", stellt Joseph Stiglitz den Plan vor, einen "Weltdollar", den global greenback, als internationale Leitwährung einzuführen. Dies würde das Weltfinanzsystem vom US-Dollar abkoppeln und dadurch stabiler machen. Denn die US-Schuldenpolitik gefährdet den Dollar, der ohnehin bereits kräftig an Geltung und Härte eingebüßt hat. Am Ende würden alle Länder draufzahlen, die Währungsreserven in Dollar halten - also fast alle.

Also sollte eine neue Währung her, deren Wert nicht vom Gebaren einer einzelnen Nation abhängt, und mit der sich Krisen im Weltfinanzsystem ausbügeln lassen. "Die Idee ist nicht neu, aber vielleicht ist die Zeit jetzt dafür reif", schreibt Stiglitz.

Um ihn fortzusetzen: Manche von Stiglitz' Forderungen sind nicht neu, aber vielleicht wird die Zeit dafür umso reifer, wenn er sie noch einmal ausformuliert. Der heute 63-jährige Wirtschaftsprofessor an der New Yorker Columbia-Universität war Wirtschaftsberater von US-Präsident Bill Clinton, dann bis 2000 Chefökonom der Weltbank und bekam 2001 den Wirtschaftsnobelpreis. 2002 erschien seine Abrechnung mit der Politik des Internationalen Währungsfonds (IWF): "Die Schatten der Globalisierung".

Die Politik des IWF, die Entwicklungsländer zur Öffnung ihrer Märkte zu zwingen, ohne sie konkurrenzfähig werden zu lassen, habe versagt und die Globalisierung in Verruf gebracht, schrieb Stiglitz damals und wurde so zum Kronzeugen der Globalisierungskritik. Es gibt keinen angeseheneren Ökonomen, der so klar und fundiert erklärt: Der Marktfundamentalismus hat nicht nur mehr Ungerechtigkeit geschaffen, sondern er ist auch als unrealistisch und ineffizient entlarvt. Der schnellstmögliche Abbau von Handelsschranken nützt nicht etwa allen und meist nicht einmal vielen, sondern oftmals nur wenigen.

Jetzt lässt Stiglitz seinen dramatischen Schilderungen von 2002 eine Reihe von Vorschlägen folgen, wie die Industrieländer, vor allem die USA, zur Wiedergutmachung in die Pflicht genommen werden können. Er beginnt auf weitgehend bekanntem Terrain: bei den Landwirtschaftssubventionen in den USA und der EU.

Allein die rund 25.000 steinreichen Baumwollfarmer der USA bekommen 3 bis 4 Milliarden Dollar an Subventionen pro Jahr und weiten ihre Produktion deshalb stetig aus. Im Gegenzug sinkt der Weltmarktpreis für Baumwolle stetig - und das Jahreseinkommen von Millionen afrikanischer Kleinbauern gleich mit. Da das Gros der US- wie auch der EU-Subventionen an Großbetriebe und -konzerne geht, verlangt Stiglitz hier mit dem mittelfristigen Abbau wenigstens eine Deckelung.

Schutzzölle, und seien sie befristet, lässt Stiglitz den Industrieländern nicht durchgehen - etwa auch die 2005 eingerichteten Wälle gegen die chinesische Importtextilien-"Springflut". Schließlich hätten nach der Aufhebung der Textilquoten die USA und die EU zehnjährige Übergangsfristen gehabt, aber nicht genutzt. Stiglitz weiß, dass das aus Sicht der US- und EU-Textilarbeiterinnen etwas anders aussieht. Natürlich seien die Geringqualifizierten der Industrieländer auch von der Globalisierung bedroht. Doch sei dem nur mit stärkeren Sozialstaaten, stabilen Löhnen und einer stärkeren Steuerprogression beizukommen.

Er sieht, soll das heißen, die Ursache für Arbeitslosigkeit nicht etwa in angeblich globalisierungsuntauglichen Lohnhöhen, Sozialabgaben und Steuern, sondern darin, dass die Industrieländer mangelhaft in Innovation und Bildung investieren, und im Übrigen in der restriktiven Geldpolitik der Europäischen Zentralbank. Diese Absätze kommen ganz ohne direkte Kritik an der deutschen Regierungskoalition aus - lassen sich aber als solche verstehen.

Stiglitz fordert zudem den Zugang der Entwicklungsländer zu günstigen Medikamenten und das Ende der Biopiraterie, womit Konzerne die natürlichen Ressourcen und das traditionelle Wissen der Entwicklungsländer zu Geld machen wollen. Er erklärt, wieso ausgerechnet die Länder mit den reichsten natürlichen Ressourcenvorkommen die ärgsten Diktaturen sind - der "Ressourcenfluch" - und wie die Staatengemeinschaft mithelfen soll, dem entgegenzuwirken.

Auch prangert er das Kioto-Drama an: wie das Protokoll zum Klimaschutz daran krankt, dass die USA nicht mitmachen, und sich seither auch die Entwicklungsländer gegen jeglichen Klimaschutz unter Verweis auf die USA sperren, die ihrerseits nun behaupten, ohne jene machten sie sowieso nie mit. Stiglitz schlägt vor, die US-Weigerung, Treibhausgase zu reduzieren, als eine verbotene Subvention zu bewerten und die USA deshalb mit Handelssanktionen zu belegen. Er verlangt die Fortsetzung der Entschuldungspolitik und mehr Verantwortung für Kreditgeber. Letztlich aber müsse eine internationale Insolvenzagentur her, die die Kriterien für Ent- und Umschuldung zu formulieren habe.

Stiglitz' Rundumschlag zur Rettung der Welt ist einseitig, und man mag bezweifeln, dass er notwendigerweise einseitig ist. Könnte es sein, dass afrikanische und südamerikanische Regierungen bei der Verwendung von Krediten furchtbar geschlampt haben? Dass Korruption nicht nur etwas ist, was durch IWF und USA gefördert wird? Dass auch die konkreten Verhandlungspartner der Entwicklungsländer um mehr Transparenz, mehr Teilhabe und mehr Gerechtigkeit ihrerseits große Undemokraten sind?

Es braucht niemand zu unterstellen, dass Stiglitz seine Vorschläge selbst für schnell umsetzbar hält. Allemal aber zeigt er, dass sich keiner in die Träumer- und Trottel-Ecke stellen zu lassen braucht, der der Globalisierung Gerechtigkeit beibringen will - und dies nicht bloß mit ökonomischen, sondern, Schreck lass nach, auch mit moralischen Argumenten und Forderungen. Er ist den Nichtregierungsorganisierten weltweit ein würdiger Pate. Hoffentlich wird er nicht nur von ihnen gelesen.


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