Bhagwati, a professor at Columbia University, is an economist of high professional achievement, especially in the theory of international trade and trade policy. He cannot resist commenting on a bad or unworthy argument, hence has prolific output, popular as well as professional. He here collects 56 popular essays, book reviews, and letters to the editor written over the past dozen years. While his reach is broad, the collection centers on the three areas of foreign trade, democracy, and development, and -- fittingly for an Indian-born, British-educated American -- immigration.
Bhagwati is an uncompromising advocate of free, nondiscriminatory trade, providing cogent up-to-date arguments why the latest assaults on free trade are misguided or simply wrong, and why preferential trading arrangements, such as the proposed western hemisphere free trade area, are both misguided and a threat to multilateral trade. He strongly supports wide engagement of the public in political decision-making, that is, democracy, in poor as well as rich countries. He rejects the view that development requires an authoritarian government. And perhaps not surprisingly he has good things to say about international migration. These are essays in persuasion. Even when they do not convince, they provoke thought with their clarity and conviction.