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Up for Debate: Globalization and Poverty

The complex economic and cultural connections among nations that underpin globalization also make possible stark international comparisons. The inequalities that globalization reveals challenge the world economic order to deliver for the poor.

Yet what globalization means for a "poor country" may differ from what it means for the poor within that country.

When it comes to capturing the benefits and mitigating the risks of globalization, are the interests of the poor and those of their governments aligned? What is the track record, and what are the prospects? And what do Western-based activists, academics, and policymakers add to the debate?

Participants

Moises Naim
Editor, Foreign Policy Magazine; Minister of Industry and Trade of Venezuela, 1989-1990

Foreign Policy editor Moises Naim emphasized that investment in health and education were a crucial component of reducing inequality and helping a developing country become part of the global economy.

P. Chidambaram
Finance Minister of India, 1996-1998

For P. Chidambaram, former commerce minister of India, it is reversals of the movement toward free trade that pose the highest risk of hurting the world's poor.

Naomi Klein
Author and activist

Award-winning author and prominent figure in the anti-globalization movement, Naomi Klein was concerned that globalization was driven by corporate interests, which undermined institutions of democracy.

Manmohan Singh
Finance Minister of India, 1991-1996

Manmohan Singh, India's former finance minister and architect of liberalization, saw in globalization an opportunity for developing country governments in the form of a challenge.

Benjamin Mkapa
President of Tanzania

For President of Tanzania Benjamin Mkapa, the most troubling trend in globalization was the increasingly uneven playing field and developing countries' inability to fully participate in setting the rules of the game.

Nemat Shafik
Vice President, The World Bank

Vice President of the World Bank Nemat Shafik pointed out that resolving the problem of inequality was fundamentally in the developed world's own self-interest.

Narayana Murthy
Founder and CEO, Infosys Technology

India's software entrepreneur Narayana Murthy, a beneficiary of expanded trade, cautioned that rich countries retained the capability to arrest the benefits of globalization in favor of domestic concerns.

Thea Lee
Assistant Director for International Economics, AFL-CIO

For economist Thea Lee of the U.S. AFL-CIO trade union confederation, developing countries should not have to forsake social progress if they are to benefit from globalization.

Domingo Cavallo
Economy Minister of Argentina, 1991-1996, 2001

Former Argentine economy minister Domingo Cavallo saw globalization challenging governments to increase productivity by investing in people.

Osvaldo Sunkel
Professor of Economics; Director, Centro de Analisis de Politicas Publicas, Chile

For social democratic economist Osvaldo Sunkel, the salient recent improvements to the lives of the poor result from decades of patient investment, not from the recent explosion of world trade.

Hernando de Soto
Economist; Founder and Director, Institute for Liberty and Democracy, Peru

For Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto, the increased pressure to participate in the world economy exposed the divergence of interests and opportunities between elites and the poor within developing countries.

James Wolfensohn
President, The World Bank

World Bank President James Wolfensohn pointed to the world's demographic projections to demonstrate the long-term stakes of adapting to globalization, in rich and poor countries alike.

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