Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A globalization reading list, compiled and annotated by my colleague and co-author, James Dean, slightly updated and amended.

Books on globalization

Four pre-meltdown classics:

Joseph Stiglitz, Globalization and Its Discontents, New York and London: W.W. Norton & Company, 2002.

Jagdish Bhagwati, In Defense of Globalization, New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Martin Wolf, Why Globalization Works, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004.

Thomas Friedman, The World is Flat, 2005 and/or his earlier book, The Lexus and the Olive Tree.

All four are “pro-globalization”, although Stiglitz has many nuanced warnings. His book was important because in 2002 he had just got the Nobel Prize and that added credibility to his critique. He was perhaps the first highly respected mainstream economist to express doubts about the unambiguous benefits from all aspects of globalization.

Wolf is not an academic economist but he is perhaps the world’s top economic journalist. He writes for the Financial Times.

Friedman, who writes for the New York Times, is an equally well-respected journalist but not as sophisticated about economics as is Wolf.

 A sample of post-meltdown books:
The books below are a small sample of the plethora of books related to  globalization that have been written since the global financial meltdown of 2007 – 09.

Nouriel Roubini and Stephen Mihm, Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance. Roubini is an NYU economics professor who came closer to predicting the crash than anyone else and is now a media celebrity.

Daniel Altman, Outrageous Fortunes.

Gordon Brown (ex-PM of Britain), Beyond the Crash.

John Cassidy (economics columnist for The New Yorker) How Markets Fail.

Bruce Greenwald and Judd Kahn, Globalization.

Paul Krugman, The Return of Depression Economics. Krugman wrote this book before the meltdown and partially predicted it. Read the revised edition, revised after the meltdown. Krugman is a Nobel prize winner, Professor of Economics at Princeton, and columnist for the New York Times.

Simon Johnson and James Kwak, 13 Bankers.

Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, This Time is Different. This is the definitive empirical study of financial crises, drawing from decades of meltdowns and using state-of-the-art econometrics.

Vietra Rivoli, The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy. Light-hearted but very instructive.

Joseph Quinlan, The Last Economic Superpower. If you are interested in the broad political and economic implications of 21st century globalization for the US, read this.

Stephen Roach, The Next Asia. By one of Wall Street’s gurus.

Robert Schiller, Irrational Exuberance. This book became a best seller because it predicted the US housing crash that triggered the global financial crisis in 2007. Schiller is Professor of Economics at Yale and best known for his work on “behavioral” economics, that draws heavily from psychology.

Joseph Stiglitz, Freefall. This is an excellent and readable analysis about what brought down global financial markets in 2007 -09, grounded in the economics of imperfect information that got Stiglitz the Nobel Prize.

Michael Lewis, The Big Short. Short’s book is hilarious. It traces the collapse of Wall Street’s mortgage-backed-securities market, that spread globally, by focusing on half a dozen major players. It is not only very funny and readable, it is the best non-technical explanation of the financial derivatives markets I’ve ever read. 

Another recent book by Michael Lewis is a collection of short essays about financial crises:

Michael Lewis, Panic.

And from a noted academic critic of globalization, a recent book:

Dani Rodrik, The Globalization Paradox.

An important book by a former IMF chief economist on the financial crisis and aftermath:

Raghuram Rajan, Fault Lines.

Finally, a book that is not exclusively about globalization or financial meltdown, nor is it written by an economist. But it makes a powerful economic argument for optimism about human progress and prosperity: gains from trade, especially international trade.

Matt Ridley, The Rational Optimist. Ridley wrote the best selling book, Genome. He writes brilliantly about human evolution and genetics – and now, economics.

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