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How we globalise

Tom Friedman gets it. His taxonomy of so-called anti-globalisation protestors divides into the “whether we globalise” groups and the “how to globalise” ones. It’s a useful distinction.

“If you think globalisation is all good or all bad, you don’t get it,” Tom writes. I’m glad he has taken this view. His book, The Lexus and the Olive Tree, struck me as being an overly rosy-coloured view of globalisation.

In contrast, on the op-ed page of The New York Times, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri waffle about the meaning of the protests. “It is pro-globalization, or rather an alternative globalization movement — one that seeks to eliminate inequalities between rich and poor and between the powerful and the powerless, and to expand the possibilities of self-determination.”

Inequality is the issue

Globalisation is not in itself a folly: it has enriched the world scientifically and culturally and benefited many people economically as well.” Amartya Sen has been a consistent, resounding voice for the world’s poor. His analysis that the problem today is inequality, not globalisation, should be read by everyone on the streets in Genoa.

His conclusion that far-reaching institutional reforms are necessary is also right. But unlike most of the protestors, he recognises changes that have already been implemented in many of the key global institutions.

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