An honest discussion of free trade and how nations can sensibly chart a path forward in today’s global economy
Not so long ago the nation-state seemed to be on its deathbed, condemned to irrelevance by the forces of globalization and technology. Now it is back with a vengeance, propelled by a groundswell of populists around the world. In Straight Talk on Trade, Dani Rodrik, an early and outspoken critic of economic globalization taken too far, goes beyond the populist backlash and offers a more reasoned explanation for why our elites’ and technocrats’ obsession with hyper-globalization made it more difficult for nations to achieve legitimate economic and social objectives at home: economic prosperity, financial stability, and equity.
Rodrik takes globalization’s cheerleaders to task not for emphasizing economics over other values but for practicing bad economics and ignoring the discipline’s own nuances that should have called for caution. He makes a case for a pluralist world economy where nation-states retain sufficient autonomy to fashion their own social contracts and develop economic strategies tailored to their needs. Rather than calling for closed borders or defending protectionists, Rodrik shows how we can restore a sensible balance between national and global governance. Ranging over the recent experiences of advanced countries, the eurozone, and developing nations, Rodrik charts a way forward with new ideas about how to reconcile today’s inequitable economic and technological trends with liberal democracy and social inclusion.
Deftly navigating the tensions among globalization, national sovereignty, and democracy, Straight Talk on Trade presents an indispensable commentary on today’s world economy and its dilemmas, and offers a visionary framework at a critical time when we need it most.
Dani Rodrik is the Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He is the author of Economics Rules: The Rights and Wrongs of the Dismal Science and The Globalization Paradox: Democracy and the Future of the World Economy.
"Straight Talk on Trade looks at the possibility that the world has proceeded too hastily with globalization and emphasized globalization of the wrong kind. Dani Rodrik contends that we have neglected notions of national sovereignty at our peril, and his knowledge, sources, methods, and arguments are all first-rate and battle-tested."--Tyler Cowen, author of The Complacent Class
"Not many economists are able to make astute observations about economics and politics based not only on professional knowledge but also on common sense. And only a few can speak at once to the academic economist, the economics student, applied economists, and intelligent readers outside the field. In Straight Talk on Trade, Dani Rodrik accomplishes this and more."--Ariel Rubinstein, Tel Aviv University and New York University
Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by Dani Rodrik: