Wolf, "Why Globalization Works" Martin Article Review

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Wolf identifies globalization as having a net positive effect on the lives of the poor, and "in a nutshell," he states bluntly, this improvement in quality of life "is why" the focus on inequality "is wrong," since "globalization has not increased inequality." (Wolf 705). Wolf notes that overall the only thing held in common by all countries where conditions are improving is that each "chose, however haltingly, the path of economic liberalization and international integration. This is the heart of the matter: all else is commentary…" (Wolf 706). He notes that this kind of rapid growth is "bound to be uneven" and addresses critics like Pogge and Reddy, who suggest that rather than looking at income the welfare of the poorest countries should be measured in terms of "calories and essential nutrients" (Wolf 707). But Wolf cites improving statistics on life expectancy, infant mortality, literacy, reduced fertility rates -- and a decline in malnourishment and child labor, together with global trends toward democratic government and women's equality. Wolf notes that "social progress has been greatest where incomes have risen fastest" (Wolf 710). And in his conclusion he returns to the seven points usually claimed about globalization and inequality which he had summarized at the beginning. In light of the additional information he has offered, he now suggests that the only facts advanced by critics of globalization which are actually true are the first two points: that overall inequality between richest and poorest countries has increased, and the gap in living standards between them has grown. But the other five points, he reveals, are all entirely false because the material sitation of the poor has improved vastly under globalization. At this point, he notes in conclusion, the "problem of the poorest is not that they are exploited, but that they are almost entirely unexploited:… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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