In This Review

Seeking Social Justice Through Globalization: Escaping a Nationalist Perspective
Seeking Social Justice Through Globalization: Escaping a Nationalist Perspective
By Gavin Kitching
Pennsylvania State University Press, 2001, 339 pp

The debate on globalization is polarized between free-market champions and leftwing (or nationalist) critics. This book breaks through the polemical divide by offering a defense of globalization from a leftist perspective. Kitching argues that the left has failed to understand the costs and benefits of trade and global economic integration. The impact of globalization on poor countries varies according to both region and national policies on production, trade, labor migration, finance, and communications. But on balance, he contends, economic openness does lift more people up than it pushes down. Inequality and economic depredation are not unique to the global market system but inherent in society and modernization. Autarky or other policies opting out of the global economy are utterly fanciful. Indeed, the best way to raise mass standards of living in the poor parts of the world is to completely remove the remaining barriers to agricultural and industrial trade. Until labor migration becomes widespread, poor people need to get capital to come to them -- something best done in a globalizing world economy. Kitching's economic analysis is quite conventional, but his call for a market-friendly, antinationalist agenda for the left remains intriguing.