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 Globalization for the Good
 
Globalisation: The show must go on
New York Times, United States Sunday, June 08, 2008

Tyler Cowen
In the last 20 years, more than 400 million Chinese climbed out of poverty. India has become a rapidly growing economy, the middle class in Brazil and Mexico is flourishing, and recent successes of Ghana and Tanzania show that parts of Africa may be turning the corner as well. Despite these enormous advances, however, there is a backlash against globalization and a widespread belief that it requires moderation. It is wrong to play down the costs of globalization, but the reality is that we’ve been playing down its benefits for a long time, writes Tyler Cowen in the New York Times

This Global Show Must Go On

 

The last 20 years have brought the world more trade, more globalization and more economic growth than in any previous such period in history. Few commentators had believed that such a rise in trade and living standards was possible so quickly.

 

More than 400 million Chinese climbed out of poverty between 1990 and 2004, according to the World Bank. India has become a rapidly growing economy, the middle class in Brazil and Mexico is flourishing, and recent successes of Ghana and Tanzania show that parts of Africa may be turning the corner as well.

 

Despite these enormous advances, however, there is a backlash against globalization and a widespread belief that it requires moderation. Ordinary people often question the benefits of international trade, and now many intellectuals are turning more skeptical, too. Yet the facts on the ground show that the current climate of economic doom and gloom simply isn’t warranted. The classic economic recipes of trade, investment and good incentives have never been more successful in generating huge gains in human welfare.

 

The globalization process has had its bumps, of course, as reflected recently by rising commodity prices, but that is largely a consequence of how much and how rapidly prosperity has grown.

... ... ...

 

Trade advocates focus on the benefits of goods arriving from abroad, like luxury shoes from Italy or computer chips from Taiwan. But new ideas are the real prize. By 2010, China will have more Ph.D. scientists and engineers than the United States. These professionals are not fundamentally a threat. To the contrary, they are creators, whose ideas are likely to improve the lives of ordinary Americans, not just the business elites. The more access the Chinese have to American and other markets, the more they can afford higher education and the greater their incentive to innovate.

 

... ... ...

 

A wealthier China and India also mean higher potential rewards for Americans and others who invest in innovation. A product or idea that might have been marketed just to the United States and to Europe 20 years ago could be sold to billions more in the future.

 

... ... ...

 

In fact, for the poor, discounting in stores such as Wal-Mart has offset much of the rise in measured income inequality from 1994 to 2005.

This article was published in the New York Times on Sunday, June 08, 2008. Please read the original article here.
Author : Tyler Cowen is professor of economics at George Mason University in the United States
Tags- Find more articles on - free trade | globalization | poverty alleviation

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