Jagdish Bhagwati – In Defense of Globalization

Jagdish Bhagwati – In Defense of Globalization

Bhagwati’s most famous book, published in 2004. A general-level look at globalization. He very clearly explains that the remedy to many global social ills—from child labor to intellectual property theft—is not with trade sanctions. For example, 95 percent of the products of child labor never leave their country of origin, so trade embargoes would do almost nothing to make child labor less profitable. In fact, by slowing growth and reducing other opportunities, such measures make child labor rates worse, not better.

The economic prosperity made possible by globalization and free trade is what allows parents able to afford to send their children to school instead of putting them to work in the farm or factory. Free trade improves lives; trade barriers are at best virtue signaling, and hurt the very people they intend to help.

Bhagwati applies a similar approach to issues across the spectrum, from environmental quality to corporate governance. The book is starting to show its age a bit at this point, but it remains highly relevant.


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