In Defense of Globalization

By Jagdish Bhagwati | Go to book overview

3
Globalization Is Good
but Not Good Enough

What, then, are the principal dimensions of an approach to making the beneficial globalization process work even better? I will sketch here the three principal prescriptions that need to be kept in view:

The beneficial outcomes are only what economists call a “central tendency,” which is to say that they hold for the most part but not always. They leave room for downsides, and we must have institutional mechanisms to cope with such adverse outcomes if and when they materialize.

Also, we will want to go faster in achieving social agendas than globalization permits and facilitates. The question then is: what choice of policy and institutions will achieve that acceleration?

Finally, we can never forget also that a transition to more rewarding globalization requires careful steering and optimal speed of policy changes, not maximal speed à la the “shock therapy” of excessively rapid reforms that devastated Russia.


Handling Possible Downsides

Occasionally globalization will do harm that requires attention. We must create institutions and policies that either reduce the probability of such downsides or can be triggered so as to cope with them, preferably doing both. Let me illustrate.

Consider the recent concerns raised by some NGOs about the rapidly proliferating shrimp farms along the coasts of India, Vietnam, Thailand, and many other countries, including some in Latin America. I first

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