Whatever became of the anti-globalization movement? I learn from Robin Broad and John Cavanagh's latest book, Development Redefined, that it is alive and well and now called the alter-globalization movement (for "alternatives to globalization").
John Cavanagh directs the Institute for Policy Studies and has long been a thorn in the side of globalization's cheerleaders. I like him for many reasons, not the least because he got me my first job in development: it was his contacts at UNCTAD in Geneva that landed me a summer internship there between my first and second years at the Woodrow Wilson School. I also overlapped with Robin Broad at Princeton. I have fond memories of many discussions with Robin, who happens to be John's wife, on development issues.
As one might expect, the book takes swipes at the usual suspects: the Washington Consensus, the IFIs, the MNCs, Tom Friedman, and Jeff Sachs. Against the growth-focused and globalization-centered views of these institutions and commentators, Robin and John argue for a localized, community-based, self-sufficient model of development. What many others would celebrate as real development (for example the spread of commercial farming for export in the Philippines) they see as the destruction of local communities. They write: "We stand at a moment marking the end of what may well be the most destructive development era of modern history."
Can we be talking about the same era during which, according to World Bank calculations, the number of people in extreme poverty fell (in absolute terms!) by 400 million people? Broad and Cavanagh don't pay much attention to such figures because they seem to have a somewhat romantic view of the lives of rural poor, who apparently have a relatively decent quality of life until market forces in the form of international trade and MNCs encroach upon them.