Monday, May 30, 2005

Project Syndicate

Project Syndicate is an international not-for-profit association of 235 newspapers from 111 countries. It provides a platform for readers to choose articles on topics ranging from economics and international affairs to science and philosophy. The commentaries are written by respected economists (Joseph Stiglitz, Jeffrey Sachs, Bradford DeLong), novelists (Arundathi Roy, Nadime Gordimer), politicians (Kofi Annan, Gorbachev, Prince Hasan), academicians (Joseph Nye, Nina Kruschcheva), global strategists, activists and scientists from across the world. All articles are available in English, German, French, Spanish, Russian and Arabic.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Globalization Index

An index that measures a country's global link based on various measures definitely sounds interesting. Thats exactly what the Globalization Index developed by AT Kearney/Foreign Policy magazine has been trying to present every year (since 2002) .

Some of the things I found interesting in the index are..
Non-predictive - Although the study assigns an index to the 62 countries (representing 85% of the world population) studied, it does not draw conclusions as to whether a high index is necessarily good or bad.
Complexity factor - The study recognizes the complexity in defining globalization as one index and states that although cultural trends could be included in this index, it is too complex and defies measurement.
Measures - Both economic and non-economic measures are included in calculating the index. The four dimensions(with their measures) highlighted in the rankings are (i) economic integration (trade+FDI), (ii) personal contact (telephone+travel+remittances and personal transfers), (iii) technological connectivity (internet users+internet hosts+secure servers), and (iv) political engagement (international organizations+U.N. peacekeeping+treaties+government transfers).
Weightage - Variables such as investment flows and technology are double weighted as they are considered important drivers of globalization and affect different dimensions of life (economic, cultural, political, social).
Correlation - Given the fact that the index doesn't necessarily reflect the goodness or badnesss, the correlation of the index scores with different measures provides an insight into more than just the broader trends. The fact that China and India (supposedly HOT now) are positioned at 54 and 61 respectively in the 2005 rankings is an example how this data should not be misinterpreted.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Mises Institute - Austrian Economics

Hans-Hermann Hoppe, a Professor of Economics @UNLV, recently came under fire by his university's administration on the contentious 'academic freedom' issue! However, he is also a renowed Austrian school economist, a libertarian/anarcho-capitalist philosopher and the Editor of Journal of Libertarian Studies. He is also a student of the famous austrian economist Murray Rothbard, also a Professor of Economics @UNLV until his death in 1995. The writings of these two economists inspired me to explore Austrian economics and libertarian political theory. A good starting point in this endeavor was the Ludwig Mises Institute website - an invaluable resource of publications, biographies, research tools, etc.
Austiran school considers itself not as a field in economics that relies on mathematized models of the economy, but as an alternative way to look at it - more realistically and hence, socially scientific. Carl Menger's 'Principles of Economics' is considered the first formal publication for this school of thought and has since, influenced many thinkers. An important contribution later is Ludwig Von Mises's 'The Theory of Money and Credit' published in 1912 and his translated treatise 'Human Action' that followed. Mises is considered among the pioneers of free markets and along with F. A. Hayek, established the Austrian Institute for Business Cycle Research, and showed that the central bank is the source of the business cycle (Keynes later proved that the market itself is responsible for the business cycle). The first Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics was shared by F. A. Hayek in 1974 (a link to his wonderful short speech at the ceremony) for this work and hence, sparked an interest in Austrian economics and free markets, which is on a clear upswing at present.

A good way to keep in touch with the work done by the researchers @Mises is through the Daily Articles page that delivers one article every day in your mailbox upon registration.

Some of the my favorite reads from this endless resource include..
'A Libertarian Case for Free Immigration' by Walter Block
'What Information Overload Can Teach Us' by Gary Galles
'What is the "Dark Side" and Why Do Some People Choose It?' by Mark Thornton
'A Reluctant Purist: Bhagwati on Trade' by David Cotton
'On Ricardo and Free Trade' by Richard C. B. Johnsson
'Mises Vs Marx: The Battle Continues' by Joseph Stromberg
'Why Professors Hate the Market' by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Amartya Sen

Amartya K Sen is a Nobel Memorial prize winning economist on the economics faculty @Harvard. He was educated in India and Cambridge and went on to become the Master of Trinity College, Cambridge later in his career (1998-2004). He has spent all of his life in academia teaching economics to students in India, England and the US. Professor Sen is considered, if not a pioneer, a strong force why 'welfare economics' has a special place among today's policy makers and people in the intellectual spectrum. He always worked to break the barrier between mathematized 'high theory' and 'real world' economics, and hence rightly acknowledged as the 'conscience-keeper' amongst economists.

Although he has published a vast amount of literature (some available here), below are some of his key contributions..

'Collective Choice and Social Welfare', 1970 - This book explores the study of collective choice not just within the realms of economics but with material from philosophy of ethics, theory of justice, political science, theory of state and theory of decision procedure. Although I couldn't find many reviews or critique of this book, there was a general acceptance of this work as a classic and a helpful tool to teach social choice theory.

'Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation', 1981 - This is one of Sen's best known works and develops on the social choice theory - a study of how individual preferences are aggregated to form a collective choice - developed by Kenneth Arrow, another Nobel Memorial Prize winner in Economics in 1972. Here is a review of the book by Arrow himself. From my simple understanding, Sen says that poverty or famine is not always associated with lack of food, but more so by the inequalities that exist in the dynamics of distribution. One of the key contributions that came out of this work is the entitlement approach', defined by Sen as 'the set of alternative commodity bundles that a person can command in a society using the totality of rights and oppurtunities that he or she faces'. 'Sen's Entitlement Approach: Critiques and Counter-Critiques' by Stephen Devereux is a balanced report on this approach, expressing the opinions of other economists along with his own. An interesting viewpoint from a non-economist on the same approach written by Nadine Gordinner, Nobel Prize winner in Literature in 1991, can be found here.
In the early 90s and after, Sen was instrumental in the formulation of the Human Development Report (published under the United Nations Development Program) and contributed extensively to the same.

'On Economic Inequality',1973 + 'Economic Inequality Reexamined', 1997 (with James Foster) - The basic issue that Sen tries explain is his first work and the expansion work later is that equality for one person may be inequality for another and hence, any claim to equality should consider the diversity of human beings and their characteristics.

'Development as Freedom', 1999 - Simply described in one review as a book that tries to explain development not by GDP but in terms of the real freedoms that people enjoy (Reminds me reading a TIME article that the King of Bhutan was more concerned with Gross National Happiness than with GDP!!). This book is considered an authentic account of an economist who is not part of the New Right that has dominated the study of economics for more than 20 years now. The essence of the book is the 'Capability Approach' - a broader definition of development that encompasses real freedom for people and their well-being - and the defintion of freedom as "the expansion of the 'capabilities' of people to lead the kind of lives they value - and have reason to value". In fact this theory and his earlier contributions to welfare economics raised flags amongst the intellectual spectrum (mostly American economists). In 'Collective Capabilites, Culture and Amartya Sen's Development as Freedom' by Peter Evans @Berkeley, the author sees 'hysteria' in people like Pollack(WSJ, 1998) due to Sen's very addressal of the 'muddlehead views of the established leftists' with precise 'clarity and logical elegance of his exposition'. The author also points out that Sen's 'capability approach' provides an invaluable foundation for those interested in pursuing development as freedom, and hence need to be built on (and not just admired). A review by Firoze Monji @Oxford briefly how Sen articulates his argument over conventional economics.

'Common Cultures', 2003 - An excellent one-on-one interview with Sen regarding clash of values between United States and Europe.

Some of his other work are in the areas of economic measurement, behavioral economics, economic methodology, socio-economic development among others.

Friday, May 13, 2005

How Much Information?

New information created is either stored in four physical media - print, film, magnetic and optical - and seen or heard in four electronic channels - telephone, tv, radio and internet. An interesting study (2003), by a team of researchers from the School of Information Management and Systems @Berkeley, attempts to estimate the amount of information created each year.

I like to mention this project because all the information sources/channels that I can possibly think of are included in this study!!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

US Labor Market Discrimination

'Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination' by Marianne Bertrand (Professor of Econimics @Chicago) and Sendhil Mullainathan (Professor of Economics @Harvard) is a paper that gives a much needed (and practical) insight into the labor market discrimation in the US based on the applicant's race. Both these economists in collaboration (since their MIT days I suppose!!) have come up with several interesting papers.
In this particular paper, (statistical) results of labor market discrimation that are presented are based on fictious applicants with White-sounding names (Greg, Brad, Emily, etc.) and African American sounding names(Lekisha, Jamal, Jermaine, etc.). Realistic resumes are prepared for these fictitious names and they are sent to employers in four occupational categories: sales, administrative support, clerical services and customer services in two cities Boston and Chicago. The results are based on interpretation of data from average callback rates, returns to resume quality among others. From these results, the authors suggest that the race discrimation in the labor market in favor of White sounding names over African American sounding names may be a factor why African Americans fare poorly in the labor market. They also conclude that applicants with African American sounding names find it hard to overcome this hurdle in callbacks by improving their observable skills or credentials.
Some of the weaknesses of this study as the authors see it are - (i) outcome measure is crude, (ii) even though the names are chosen to be race salient, the employer didn't necessarily notice the names or the racial content and hence, the results might not be representative of an African American (iii) since newspaper job search is the only channel used in the study, if African Americans tend to find jobs through social networks, this results could be affected quantitatively.

However, by applying to 1300 REAL jobs posted in newspapers and adding 5000 NON-EXISTENT resumes during the period of study, maybe the study changed the hiring process of atleast a few jobs and thus affected the actual outcome of those jobs for a few REAL applicants!! I guess that would require a complete followup into the actual outcomes of the jobs, the mindset of the hiring authority in seeing a few extra (African American) resumes, etc. I wish the possibility for even one such event would be very low..

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Ann Coulter

Ann Coulter is the legal correspondent for Human Events and writes a popular syndicated column for Universal Press Syndicate. She graduated with honors from Cornell University and later completed her J.D. from University of Michigan Law School. Her latest novel published in 2004 is 'How To Talk to a Liberal (If You Must)'.
Even though she is a regular on (mostly) conservative dominated media, I remember her as the writer who tops the list on for being most partisan in her writing (Krugman is on that list too). Trying to understand her stance, I started to read some of her articles (in her website and elsewhere) until I stumbled upon an article she wrote after the 9/11 attacks in a syndicated column that goes like this - "..we should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity". Hence I STOP!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

2005 Doors to Diplomacy Award

The US Dept of State announced its Doors to Diplomacy Award for 2005. [All the world is one] and [Vaccinations for Nations -] take away the award this year and each member of the participating teams is extended an invitation to Washington D.C. The first site was developed by a team of students from Ryan International School in Haryana, India while the second one by students from a school in Toledo, Ohio.

Note: What started as schools to serve the children of foreigners (diplomats, businesmen, etc) working in India, International Schools in India are more in number mainly attributed to the IT boom but still considered expensive ($4,437-$11,700 for tuition,etc + around $5,000 for boarding facilities) compared to an average Indian school education that would cost a fraction. These schools offer the IB (International Baccalaureate) curriculum offered by different boards (American, British, Canadian, etc) and usually have a good representation from different countries across the world, children of Non-Resident Indians and children of local parents who can afford the high fees. The high fees translates to superior facilities/infrastructure (some having golf courses of their own), and do not necessarily represent the average Indian school education academically or otherwise.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Thomas Friedman

Thomas Friedman is the three time Pulitzer prize winning foreign affairs columnist at the New York Times. He has a master's degree in Modern Middle East Studies from Oxford University (on a Marshall scholarship) and later, worked with the NYT covering different issues in the Middle East. His book 'From Beirut to Jeruselam' received the National Book Award and the Overseas Press Club award in 1989 and was on the NYT bestseller for nearly 12 months. Since then, he has covered among other issues - Washington politics and international economics mainly - for NYT.
He presented a documentary 'Does Europe Hate Us?' on PBS and also appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Dennis Miller show among a variety of others. His way of expressing the 'Flat World' theory is interesting - envisioning the world as moving from size
Medium(Ver 1.0) --> Small (Ver 2.0) --> Tiny (Ver 3.0), something he though about when he was sleeping!!
Here is an interesting link exploring his weaker side (supposedly!!)

Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman, with Ivy League credentials (if thats supposed to automatically give credit to one's work!!), is a Professor of Economics and International Affairs @Princeton. He is one of the founders of the new trade theory (which is about the consequences of increasing returns and imperfect competition for international trade) and the 1991 John Bates Clark Medal winner. He comes across as more of an in-the-face type of economist and is popular due to
his *understandable by laymen* op-ed column for the NYT.
To me - he is the short and fast-speaking economist who came on Jon Stewart's Daily Show, a student of Bhagwati @MIT, the person who defined Bushies' policy as '..they dont make policies to deal with problems. They use problems to justify things they wanted to do anyway', ex-Enron advisor, free trade proponent, and the pundit who ranks second overall in the total partisanship index in
Most of his articles can be found here.

The first two articles of his that I read are..

'Does Third World Growth Hurt First World Poverty?', 1994 - This article published in the HBR (the magazine I first subscribed when I landed in the States) asks a very fundamental question more appropriate to the politics behind the power struggle among the governments of developed and developing countries at present (keywords: offshoring, nuclear threat, technological skills, etc).

'Ricardo's Difficult Idea' - An article thats helped me understand the idea behind Ricardo's Law of Comparitive Advantage. This read basically aroused an interest in me to explore the pros n cons/ different adaptations/ etc of the Law.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Book: Freakanomics

Freakanomics - A book written by Steven D. Levitt and co-authored by Stephen J. Dubner. Steven Levitt is a Professor of Economics @Chicago and the 2003 John Bates Clark Medal winner of the American Economics Association. I found many reviews about this book, however the one line that really impressed me was this - 'If morality represents how we would like the world to work, then economics represents how it actually does work'. Looks interesting on the outset..
This blog would add to the already huge publicity (extensively provided by the authors themselves) for the book!! Personally, would like to get hold of a copy of the book as soon as it is off-the-hold in atleast one of the libraries, and I am talking about multiple-copies in multiple-libraries across the city!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Avinash Dixit

Avinash Dixit is a John J. F. Sherrerd '52 University Professor of Economics at Princeton University. He was recently inducted to the US Academy of Sciences. He was a student of Nobel prize winning economist Paul Samuelson @MIT.

A recent read that interested me is a comment by Dixit on Samuelson's paper titled 'Where Ricardo and Mill Rebut and Confirm Arguments of Mainstream Economists Supporting Globalization' (also discussed directly by Arvind Panagariya)..

'Samuelson Says Nothing About Trade Policy' (with Gene Grossman) - Even though the authors agree with the logical possibility of the theoritical proposition of Samuleson's paper, they question the policy implications!!

Professor Dixit's interests span the areas of microeconomic theory, game theory, international trade, industrial organization, growth and development theories, public economics, political economy, and the new institutional economics. I would like to read more of his work before I can write anything!

Gimme (ANOTHER) Five!

a special date on the calendar - 05/05/05
also my birthday..5*5!

C.K. Prahalad

CKP is a Professor of Business Administration at the University of Michigan's Ross Business School. He specializes in corporate strategy and the role and value addition of top management in large diversified, multinational corporations. He, along with Gary Hamel, coined the term ' CORE COMPETENCE'. One of the first management gurus whose work I read..and, helped inspire me in a lot of ways!!

Some of his oft-quoted work..

'The Fortune At The Bottom Of The Pyramid', 2004
#1 Biz Book of 2004 at, Fast Company, The Economist
The Fortune At The Bottom Of The Pyramid advocates that the world’s most exciting, fastest-growing market is where you would least expect it: at the bottom of the pyramid. Collectively, the world’s billions of poor people have immense entrepreneurial capabilities and buying power. Companies have a genuine opportunity to commit their energy and resources to help the disadvantaged of the world, and Prahalad shows how it is being done – profitably.

'The Future of Competition', 2004 (with Venkat Ramaswamy)
#Voted as one of the best business books of the year by BusinessWeek and Strategy+Business

'The New Frontier of Experience Innovation', 2003 -
#SMR-PWC award for the best paper

'The End of Corporate Imperialism', 1998 (with Kenneth Lieberthal)
#Harvard Business Review's McKinsey Prize for best paper

'Weak Signals vs. Strong Paradigms', 1995
# 1997 ANBAR Electronic Citation of Excellence

'Competing for the Future', 1994 (with Gary Hamel)
#Best Selling Business Book of the Year in 1994
#Printed in fourteen languages

'The Role of Core Competencies in the Corporation', 1993
#1994 Maurice Holland Award as the Best Paper published in Research Technology Management

'The Core Competence of the Corporation', 1990 (with Gary Hamel)
#Harvard Business Review's McKinsey Prize for best paper
#Most Reprinted essay on the HBR

'Strategic Intent', 1989 (with Gary Hamel)
#Harvard Business Review's McKinsey Prize for best paper

'The Dominant Logic: A New Linkage between Diversity and Performance', 1986 (with Richard Bettis)
#Best Article published in the Strategic Management Journal for the period 1980-88.

Housing bubble - Diagnostic tool??

'The Anatomy of a Housing Bubble' by Grace Wong, Asst Professor of Real Estate Management@ Wharton, is a work in progress. The author makes an effort to provide a way to spot future real estate bubbles in time to introduce corrective measure before the damage takes its toll.
The author discounts the relevance of macro-economic fundamentals and movements in the underlying market in (fully) justifying the dramatic price upswing, and hence, explores the non-fundamental price component. She takes the specific case of the the Hong Kong housing market which saw an increase in prices of 50% between 1995 and 1997, followed by a decrease of 57% between 1997 and 2002 (percentages adjusted to inflation). She considers Hong Kong to be a suitable setting to draw lessons for markets elsewhere in the world (my uneducated guess: markets in the developed world!!) and predicts the study to act as a diagnostic tool to track movements ONLY DURING the price upswing and not after.
All I can imagine is a futuristic visual diagnostic tool that can predict housing bubbles (different colors for different levels of speculation)...and later a similar tool to encompass bubbles that are worth exploring!!!

The Muddles Over Outsourcing

'The Muddles Over Outsourcing' is a policy paper by three world famous trade theorists/economists Jagdish Bhagwati, Arvind Panagariya and T.N.Srinivasan, partly in refute to Paul Samulson's earlier paper. The three pro-globalization authors start by reinforcing the definition of outsourcing as the services trade at arm's length that does not require geographical proximity as defined by WTO and widely accepted by its members. They go ahead by stating that outsourcing is similar to conventional trade in that the former raises no new analytical issues or quantitatively different results. They end the essay on a optimistic note hoping to dispel some of the fear of outsouring, but also a cautious one - 'Fear has big eyes. It also has deaf ears'.

Arvind Panagariya

Arvind Panagriya is the Jagdish Bhagwati Professor of Indian Political Economy and Professor of Economics at Columbia University. He has been the Chief Economist of the Asian Development Bank in the past.

Some of his papers that I found interesting include..

'Agricultural Liberalization and the Developing Countries: Debunking the Fallacies' - A public policy paper that debunks six major fallacies that arise due to agricultural liberalization. The author says that such fallacies were initially based on allegations by World Bank leadership and anti-globalization NGOs who hold the view that developed-country subsidies and protection hurt the poorest countries, agricultural liberalization was mostly a developed-country problem, and that they act as the principal barrier to the development of poorer countries.
Even though am not familiar with the technicalities of the paper and some of the theory discussed, I found the paper interesting in other ways. The author rejects the views of the anti-globalization (agriculture) movement by systematically breaking down the problem and then supporting his theory with necessary evidence (factual, logical, etc.) and then making concluding remarks by saying how such anti-globalization movement can affect the poorer countries and result in lost oppurtunity later. From what looked like more of a defensive ended up aggresive!!

'Why the Recent Samuelson Article is NOT about Offshore Outsourcing' - A clarification (sort of refute) of Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Sameulson's paper. The author clearly differentiates the right from the wrong with all due respect to Samuelson and some of the results in his paper. Ultimately, the author concludes the paper is NOT about offshore outsourcing as it might lead the reader of Samuelson's paper to think.

India-Israel-United States Axis

An article by Vivek H. Dehejia, a past student of Bhagwati@ Columbia..

- An axis drawn without considering the basic secular fabric of India!!

All I can see from this 'axis of good' is the potential to look like this..

(Indian Hindu majority + American Catholic majority + Israeli Jews)

Paul A. Samuelson

Paul A. Samuelson is a Nobel Memorial prize (1970) winning economist and Professor of Economics at the Massachusettes Institute of Technology. He is also a very highly regarded teacher and researcher.

A recent read includes..

'Where Ricardo and Mill Rebut and Confirm Arguments of Mainstream Economists Supporting Globalization' , 2004 - The author takes a direct shot at the pro-globalization economists including Alan Greenspan, Jagdish Bhagwati, Douglas Irwin and Gregory Mankiw. He refutes the basic argument that "the gains of the American winners are big and more than enough to compensate for the losers" and considers the same as untrue.
Even though this paper has stirred an already hot debate, it has been considered UNIMPORTANT or IRRELEVANT (more eloquently) by leading trade economists and policy makers. And who exactly are these people? Here..
Jagdish Bhagwati: "Paul and I disagree only on the realistic aspects of this...The Samuelson model yields net economic losses only when foreign nations are closing the innovation gap with the United States. But we can change the terms of trade by moving up the technology ladder. The U.S. is a reasonably flexible, dynamic, innovative society. That's why I'm optimistic."
Douglas Irwin (as quoted in his mail to Daniel Denzer) : "[Samuelson’s paper] doesn't have much to do with outsourcing. If a foreign country experiences technological progress in a home country's export industry, it can deteriorate the terms of trade of the home country and make it worse off (not vis a vis autarky, but its previous trade situation). We've know this since the U of C's great Harry Johnson pointed it out in the 1950s…. Pretty thin stuff."
Arvind Panagariya..
I would like to come back sometime and write about more of Samuelson's contributions, that include..
'Foundations of Economic Analysis', 1947
'Economics: An Introductory Analysis', 1948
'Theory of Reveled Preferences', 1938, 1947
'Non-substitutions Theorem', 1951

All I can think of about the above quoted work of Samuelson and the response from the intellectual spectrum is a quote from Alfred Marshall, "Students of social science, must fear popular approval: Evil is with them when all men speak well of them". Though I see this logic applies to all economists, not many seem to accept they might be wrong!!

Jagdish Bhagwati

Jagdish Bhagwati is an University Professor at Columbia's Economics Dept. His homepage is I wish he gets the much deserved Nobel Prize in Economics for his contributions in the field of international trade. One of the more important positions that he holds is that of the Director of NBER.

Some of his articles/papers that I read include..

'Bush's Immigration Blunder', Sep 2001 - a 3 page writeup criticizing US Prez GW Bush's (then) proposed GUESTWORKER program for Mexicans who wish to work in the States. He states that the motive behind such a program is purely political and hence, leaves a non-Mexican immigrant discriminated (given the fact that America belongs to immigrants who arrived from different parts of the world and contributed to what it is today!!).
In the 2004 State of the Union Address, Bush stated, '...I propose a new temporary-worker program to match willing foreign workers with willing employers when no Americans can be found to fill the job. This reform will be good for our economy, because employers will find needed workers in an honest and orderly system. A temporary-worker program will help protect our homeland, allowing border patrol and law enforcement to focus on true threats to our national security."

'Trade and Poverty in the Poor Countries', May 2002 - The authors take up the issue of trade and its impact on poverty in poor countries. They give supporting numbers to show increasing growth and declining poverty levels among developing economies that integrated with the world economy, citing examples of India, China, Vietnam and Uganda. Thus, they eliminate the many critics of free trade(and FDI) who see the heavy hand of globalization casting an evil spell on the poor of the poor countries.

'In Defense of Globalization', 2004 -
The riot-torn meeting of the World Trade Organization in Seattle in 1999 was only the most dramatic sign of the intensely passionate debate now raging over globalization, which critics blame for everything from child labor to environmental degradation, cultural homogenization, and a host of other ills afflicting poorer nations. Now Jagdish Bhagwati, the internationally renowned economist known equally for the clarity of his arguments and the sharpness of his pen, takes on the critics, revealing that globalization, when properly governed, is in fact the most powerful force for social good in the world today. Drawing on his unparalleled knowledge of international economics, Bhagwati explains why the "gotcha" examples of the critics are often not as they seem, and that in fact globalization often alleviates many of the problems for which it has been blamed. For instance, when globalization leads to greater general prosperity in an underdeveloped nation, it quickly reduces child labor and increases literacy (when parents have sufficient income, they send their children to school, not work). The author describes how globalization helps the cause of women around the world and he shows how economic growth, when coupled with the appropriate environmental safeguards, does not necessarily increase pollution. And to counter the charge that globalization leads to cultural hegemony, to a bland "McWorld," Bhagwati points to the example of Salman Rushdie, a writer who blends Bombay slang and impeccable English in novels touched by magic realism borrowed from South American writers. Globalization leads not to cultural white bread but to a spicy hybrid of cultures. With the wit and wisdom for which he is renowned, Bhagwati convincingly shows that globalization is part of the solution, not part of the problem. Anyone who wants to understand what's at stake in the globalization wars must read In Defense of Globalization. (Source:Amazon).
Even when most of the reviews by the media and fellow economists applauded this book, a critical review by Daniel Drezner @Chicago says that although this book is an useful tool to defend globalization, it does very little to persuade anti-globalization activists. Drezner also suggests that Bhagwati is confusing in his views about the government's role in a globalizing economy and 'fatally flawed' in defining globalization in different business cycles. A sharp rebuttal by Bhagwati in the Times is a good follow-up.

'Religion in Public Space', 2005 - A very logical breakdown of simple related history and practices..and yet another shout-out for equality (in law) from Bhagwati!!

'Truth About Trade', 2005 - He makes a clarification by separating the wheat (legitimate concerns about WTO's workings) from the chaff (mistaken rejections of the advantages of freer trade).

Monday, May 02, 2005

Gandhiji's Talisman

I will give you a talisman. Whenever you are in doubt or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test:
Will he gain anything by it? Will it restore him to a control over his own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to Swaraj for the hungry and spiritually starving millions?
Then you will find your doubts and your self melting away.