Pranab Bardhan writes in Scientific American about whether globalization helps or hurts the world's poor. He writes that the macro evidence is ambiguous, but gives micro examples of how globalisation has benefited individual communities, though the transition can be wrenching.
He highlights the complexity of the problem:
In 1993, anticipating a U.S.
ban on imports of products made using child labor, the garment industry
in Bangladesh dismissed an estimated 50,000 children. UNICEF and local
aid groups investigated what happened to them. About 10,000 children
went back to school, but the rest ended up in much inferior
occupations, including stone breaking and child prostitution. That does
not excuse the appalling working conditions in the sweatshops, let
alone the cases of forced or unsafe labor, but advocates must recognize
the severely limited existing opportunities for the poor and the
possible unintended consequences of "fair trade" policies.
Bardhan is optimistic about the emergence of greater coordination among transnational companies,
multilateral organizations, developing country governments and local
aid groups on programs to help the poor. He discusses six possible measures to help share the benefits of globalization more equitably:
Simplistic antiglobalization slogans or sermons on the unqualified
benefits of free trade do not serve the cause of alleviating world
poverty. An appreciation of the complexity of the issues and an active
interweaving of domestic and international policies would be decidedly