The Overselling of Globlization
Working Paper #313
Globalization was oversold. Politicians and some economists wrongly argued for trade agreements on the basis of job creation. The gains to GDP or growth were overestimated, and the costs, including adverse distributional effects, were underestimated. There have been important political consequences of this overselling, including the undermining of confidence in the elites that advocated globalization.
The failures of globalization and the misguided backlash against it contain many lessons: about the importance of science and learning in society, the importance of the shared acceptance of facts, the dangerous consequences of deliberately misinforming the public, and the folly of ignoring the distributional consequences of economic forces just because they may lead to growth. The new protectionism advocated by the administration of Donald Trump will only worsen the plight of those already hurt by globalization. What is needed is a comprehensive system of social protection. After cataloguing the failures of globalization and explaining how they led to our current political mire, this paper outlines a set of policies that could put the economy and our politics back on a better path.
About the Author
Initiative for Policy Dialogue (IPD)
Joseph E. Stiglitz is co-President of the Initiative for Policy Dialogue, and Chairman of the Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University. He is University Professor at Columbia, teaching in its Economics Department, its Business School, and its School of International and Public Affairs. He chaired the UN Commission of Experts on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System, created in the aftermath of the financial crisis by the President of the General Assembly. He is former Chief Economist and Senior Vice-President of the World Bank and Chairman of President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisors. He was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 2001.