Joseph Stiglitz made his name in 2001 with his trenchant insider exposé of the IMF and World Bank. Globalization and its Discontents is still bedtime reading for many disgruntled anti-globalisation activists. Where the first book was an analysis of the rotten core of our international monetary system, the sequel, Making Globalization Work, is Stiglitz glimpsing a way out. He takes issue with the usual suspects such as forced market liberalisation, which has been disastrous across the world, from Russia to Argentina, and drug patenting laws, which have resulted in the deaths of thousands across the developing world.
For those not well versed in the economics of globalisation, Stiglitz's lucid synthesis of the counter-arguments to the Washington consensus will be valuable. But for those more inured to the debates, there is little new or revealing in his diagnosis. His solutions to the problem of global poverty are more enlightening. His ideas about real "free trade" that avoids preferential terms for western countries, carbon-taxing, and the importance of an activist government in liberalising economies are important to hear. His development of these proposals should help bring them closer to reality.