Assessing Globalization's Critics: 'Talkers are No Good Doers???'

41 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2003

See all articles by Kimberly Ann Elliott

Kimberly Ann Elliott

Center for Global Development; Institute for International Economics

Debayani Kar

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

J. David Richardson

Syracuse University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: September 2002


This paper is about the critics of the "doers" of globalization. It describes who they are, where they came from, what they want, how economists, policymakers, and others might understand them better, and where globalization might head from here. Many critics are themselves strongly internationalist and want to see globalization proceed, but under different rules. Some, particularly the protesters in the streets, focus mainly on what is wrong with the world. But some of them put forward broad alternative visions and others offer detailed recommendations for alleviating the problems they see arising from status quo globalization. Most of them have roots in long-standing transnational advocacy efforts to protect human rights and the environment and reduce poverty around the world. What brings them together today is their shared concern that the process by which globalization's rules are being written and implemented is undermining democracy and failing to spread the benefits broadly. This paper sketches the key issues and concerns that motivate the critics in a way that is broadly representative and intelligible to economists. It finds more resonance for the critics' agenda in economics than they commonly recognize. And it attempts to capture the concerns of Southern as well as Northern critics and to analyze the issues that divide as well as bring them together. Finally, it evaluates those issues and alternative proposals on which even globalization enthusiasts and the critics might come together cooperatively.

Keywords: globalization

JEL Classification: F01, F02, J08

Suggested Citation

Elliott, Kimberly Ann and Kar, Debayani and Richardson, J. David, Assessing Globalization's Critics: 'Talkers are No Good Doers???' (September 2002). Available at SSRN: or

Kimberly Ann Elliott (Contact Author)

Center for Global Development

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Debayani Kar

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

United Kingdom

J. David Richardson

Syracuse University ( email )

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Syracuse, NY 13244
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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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