cover image The Road to Global Prosperity

The Road to Global Prosperity

Michael Mandelbaum. Simon & Schuster, $28 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4767-5001-9

The world economy will continue speeding along the highway to wealth and freedom, with a few bumps along the way, according to this conventional primer on globalization. Johns Hopkins professor Mandelbaum (The Frugal Superpower) advocates standard neo-liberal principles of free markets, free trade, and free immigration as almost unalloyed blessings to every nation that help knit the world into a peaceful economic community. (Transnational investment flows, he allows, are disruptive enough to require regulation.) He also explores the central role of politics in nurturing or debilitating the market: the public goods of military security and financial stability must be provided, either by the United States—“the World’s Policeman”—or by international cooperation; governments must finesse protectionist and anti-immigrant backlashes; China, Russia, India, and Brazil must reform state and political dysfunctions to maintain growth. Mandelbaum pens lucid overviews of everything from comparative advantage to the Eurozone crisis, but his accounts are sometimes simplistic and couched in metaphors that evoke more than they explain. (The Great Recession, he writes, was a “drinking binge” followed by a “heart attack” and then “the flu.”) Mandelbaum is adept at popularizing orthodox political economy, but there’s nothing here that has not been said with more insight by other treatises on globalization.Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM. (Mar.)