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Globalization’s Other Side: The Negative Impacts on Poverty and The Environment

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Critiquing Jagdish Bhagwati's Interpretation of the Social Impact of

Economic Globalization

Date Submitted: November 19, 2004

There have been countless numbers of books and papers written on the

controversial topic that is globalization, and it seems every author or

activist has their own arguments against or in support of the

liberalization of trade and the social impact of economic globalization.

However, in regards to the novel In Defense of Globalization, there is no

doubt on which side its author Jagdish Bhagwati stands on the issue. Being

one of the leading authorities on globalization and a professor at Columbia

University, Bhagwati not only argues his case in support for globalization,

but also instinctively leaps to its defense, hence the title. It is worth

noting that this book addresses the issue of economic globalization and not

globalization as a whole. The main thesis and reoccurring central idea in

this book argues: Although globalization, in respect to the liberalization

of trade and global economic integration inherently contains flaws, overall

it is beneficial.

Throughout the book, Bhagwati systematically addresses each claim and

argument, separated by chapters, raised by the many critics of

globalization. The first relevant issue brought forth is the sudden upsurge

and rise in non-governmental organizations (NGOs), in which Bhagwati

claims, "globalization today owe their salience, shape and content" to this

trend. In response to the portion of NGOs that are anti-globalization, he

defends globalization by attacking the critics and attempting to undermine

their credibility by singling out the weak organizations and picking at

their flaws.

Bhagwati argues many more issues in his book regarding the social

impact of economic globalization as he tackles each chapter one after

another including: the reduction of poverty and the abuse of child labor,

the promotion of women's rights, the enrichment of culture, and even deals

with the false accusations regarding exploitation of workers and the

environment. In this last claim regarding exploitation of workers, Bhagwati

introduces a new perspective in which he reveals that the workers in most

cases are being paid more than domestic jobs.

Bhagwati claims that the multinational corporations are not creating

inequality globally by lowering wages and labor standards through foreign

direct investments. He notes that the isolated examples of social harm done

by globalization are exceptions and globalization, as a whole should not be

blamed, ultimately making these arguments flawed and not representing of

the whole. Moreover, Bhagwati argues that foreign competition forces the

wage gender gap to close resulting in higher wages, higher education, and

ultimately benefiting women and women's rights.

Bhagwati firmly believes that the liberalization of trade and opening

up of world markets would create growth, and growth would reduce poverty.

He justifies his claim with evidence surrounding the advances of China and

India and ignoring the rest of the developing countries, which makes the

supporting data misleading. Bhagwati then alleges that if poverty

decreases, parents with

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