August 3, 2004

Alternative Economic Policies Would Aid Development

Current globalization policies not necessary or desirable, argue economists

For Immediate Release: August 3, 2004

Contact: Debi Kar, 202-387-5080

Developing countries would be helped by a combination of strategic trade policy, government spending, and financial regulation that are currently discouraged by Washington, argue Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) Senior Research Associate Ha-Joon Chang and University of Denver Professor Ilene Grabel in their new book,  Reclaiming Development: An Economic Policy Handbook for Activists and Policymakers (Zed Books: 2004). Their book demonstrates that alternative economic policies would bring about rapid, sustainable and equitable growth, including policies used by the US and other developed countries during their own periods of development.

The book details the prevailing ‘neoliberal’ explanation for how economies develop and the economic policies it imposes worldwide. By analyzing the actual historical experiences of the leading Western and East Asian economies during their development, the authors question the validity of the neoliberal development model.

Grabel and Chang, who is also International Forum for Development Co-Chair, then set out concrete, practical alternatives across the key economic areas: trade and industrial policy; privatization; intellectual property rights; external borrowing, portfolio and foreign direct investment; domestic financial regulation; and management of exchange rates, central banking and monetary policy; and government revenue and expenditure. The authors bring together a combination of already existing alternatives and some innovative measures of their own.

What critics are saying about Reclaiming Development:

'This unusually well-written, direct and succinct book describes neo-liberal positions fairly; offers theoretically rigorous and empirically accurate critiques; and describes feasible, practical alternative policies that take realistic account of political, economic and financial constraints. Discussion of financial, monetary, fiscal, trade and industry policy and intellectual property rights is especially strong and constructive and makes important innovative contributions…' - John Langmore, Representative of the ILO to the UN.

'This book is not only a superb antidote to the numbing myths of neoliberalism but also a cogent and stimulating presentation of the many possibilities for alternatives to neo-liberal economic policy that both theory and history provide policy-makers and students of development.' - Thandika Mkandawire, Director, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD).

'The dominant neo-liberal economic doctrine asserts that there is no alternative to its policy prescriptions which provide the foundations for success in an age of globalization. This book questions and refutes the belief system implicit in the assertion. … Yet, it is solidly grounded in economic theory and empirical evidence, both historical and contemporary.' - Deepak Nayyar, Vice Chancellor, University of Delhi.

The book is available from Zed Books or at Amazon.com.

These important global issues will be discussed further at the International Forum for Development first annual forum October 18-19 in New York City. See www.ifdnet.org.