Your Money or Your Life! the Tyranny of Global Finance

By Olsen, Wendy | Capital & Class, Autumn 2002 | Go to article overview

Your Money or Your Life! the Tyranny of Global Finance


Olsen, Wendy, Capital & Class


Eric Toussaint Your Money or Your Life! The Tyranny of Global Finance translated from French by Raghu Krishnan with Vicki Briault Manus Pluto Press, London and Sterling, VA, 1999. Originally published as La Bourse ou La Vie: La finance contra les peuples, Mkuki na Nyota Publishers, Dar Es Salaam, 1998. ISBN 0-7453-1417-1 hbk (Pluto Press) L60.00 ISBN 0-7453-1412-0 pbk (Pluto Press) L17.99 ISBN 9976-973-54-3 pbk (Mkuki na Nyoti)

Toussaint's book is everything you want for teaching undergraduates about international money. It is packed full of detail-both quantifying the growth of debt, pensions and money flows 1970-- 1996, and qualitatively exposing the nitty-gritty differences between neoliberal and non-neoliberal thought. The book is stimulating, concise and well written with lots of examples and three country case studies. I highly recommend it as a core or supplementary text on Economic Development, International Finance, or Macroeconomics.

Three aspects of the book will strike you on close reading. Firstly, the book offers a heterodox alternative to orthodox neo-classical thought whilst also describing very self-consciously the core of neo-classical thinking. Toussaint quotes plenty of original works of Hayek, Friedmann, Keynes and others which illustrate what is core and what is marginal (not to make a pun) in today's economic orthodoxy. Toussaint's own position is not just Keynesian but I'll return to this question later on.

The second useful element in the book is its basic internationalism. It reads as an excellent textbook at certain points where the author defines neoliberalism (Chapter 13), compares it with globalisation (Chapter 3), explains the evolution of the World Bank (Chapters 9 and 10), and explains differences between how Europeans and North Americans describe the crusaders for free markets. In European countries it is common to use the term `neo-liberal' or 'liberal' for such a viewpoint, but the translator points out (p. 170) that in North America the phrase `fiscal conservative' is more likely to be used. …

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