Economizing Debate: Rhetoric, Citizenship, and the World Bank

Author: Elizabeth Markovits

  • Economizing Debate: Rhetoric, Citizenship, and the World Bank


    Economizing Debate: Rhetoric, Citizenship, and the World Bank


How to Cite:

Markovits, E., (2004) “Economizing Debate: Rhetoric, Citizenship, and the World Bank”, Poroi 3(1), p.32-63. doi:

Rights: Copyright © 2004 Elizabeth Markovits



Published on
01 Jun 2004
Peer Reviewed
Poroi, 3, 1, Markovits Project on Rhetoric of Inquiry


Rhetoric, Citizenship, and the World Bank

Elizabeth Markovits

Poroi, 3, 1, June, 2004


Globalization is a discourse that has far-reaching implications for the political identities of citizens throughout the world.  Through rhetorical analysis of a 2001 World Bank report on Globalization, Growth and Poverty,   I examine how international financial institutions (IFIs) attempt to normalize citizen deference to economic policymaking that occurs outside democratic institutions.1  Focusing on the mundane world of public-relations texts can help round out the conversation between Thomas Friedman and anarchists masked by black bandanas (the Black Bloc).  While glamorous faces garner attention from media and scholars, the researchers and project directors at places like the World Bank undertake the quieter work of advocating and implementing life-changing policies.  Their reports, pamphlets, and educational materials try to persuade the public that their recommendations are the best courses of action.2


The publication analyzed here is especially interesting because it appeared as the so-called “anti-globalization” movement gathered strength to threaten neo-liberalism.3  By “neo-liberal,” I mean policies that assume markets are the basic elements of economies and can do no wrong.  Neo-liberals treat markets as the most efficient means for a nearly infinite variety of ends.  They advocate removing trade barriers, deregulating or privatizing state services, reducing taxes, and tight budgets so capital can flow freely between states.  This makes governments and politics secondary, devoted to serving market efficiency.


The analysis begins with “Fixing a Hole Where the Rain Comes In” to review the increasing criticism faced by advocates of globalization.  Following is a discussion of three rhetorical characteristics of Globalization, Growth and Poverty.  “The Realist Style” traces the ways IFI discourse uses metonymy to reduce politics to interests and competition.  This style, a wayward descendant of Greek parrhesia (frankness), characterizes the speaker as unbiased, frank, and particularly clear-sighted.  It denigrates other modes of seeing and speaking as naïve or interested.  This implies that it is possible and desirable to speak from an impartial position.  In this way, realist rhetoric attempts to preclude criticism from opponents. “Branding ‘Globalization’” discusses how the report,  buttressed by its realist tone, touts neo-liberal globalization as the way to aid the world’s poor.  The link between this form of world economy and poverty reduction selectively omits evidence.  “Ironic Appropriations” examines how pro-globalization discourse responds to critical counter-publics by hegemonizing their values.  It constructs trade openness as the only way to achieve a variety of public goods beyond poverty alleviation.  In this ironic re-appropriation of the “agenda of the streets,” the realist IFI discourse tries to subsume the most salient critiques of neo-liberal globalization, including environmental protection and cultural diversity.  It even claims to represent values that previously served as critical counter-norms.4


Then “Technocracy and the Public” focuses on how free-market discourse works for a voluntarily non-participatory public through its assumptions about economics and politics.  In an effort to delay final judgment on the neo-liberal agenda, its advocates exhort critics to maintain the faith.  They claim that all concerns can yet find accommodation within a market solution.  They argue that neo-liberal policy-makers are not partial but objective analysts who practice a science of economics.  If economics were akin to a pure science, capable of providing a single, necessary prescription for solving each problem, and if “the market” could address a wide variety of social goals, there would be little need for political activity.  In the end, “Possibilities For a Counter-Hegemonic Project” assesses the potential for sustained opposition to neo-liberal globalization, given the hegemonizing power of IFI discourse.

Fixing a Hole Where the Rain Comes In


In recent decades, international financial institutions have gained greater influence over decision-making processes around the globe.  Many IFIs, like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, originated with the goal of promoting economic development to stem poverty.  Yet the type of development IFIs endorse has come to have a distinctly neo-liberal flavor.  While the World Bank has been less aggressive in pursuing such policies than its sister institution, the IMF, its “Private Sector Development Strategy” belies the Bank’s claim to seek a variety of approaches.  Instead it favors delivery of services by the private sector and continues to make “investment climate assessments” in line with neo-liberalism.  The Bretton Woods institutions have moved toward greater policy coordination with the World Trade Organization (WTO), an institution with a mandate is to “ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably, and freely as possible.”5  Meanwhile numerous non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and civil-society leaders complain about the lack of transparency and democratic input in these institutions.6


These developments may be compatible with expert-driven or technocratic politics, except that the type of “free trade” promoted is the subject of great debate among economists and generates increasing anxiety for the public.  Several outspoken critics of free trade, including the former chief economist of the World Bank, Joseph Stiglitz, have pointed to the failures of market liberalization as advocated by IFIs.7  According to economist Dani Rodrick, “countries that have bought wholeheartedly into the integration orthodoxy are discovering that openness does not deliver on its promise.”8  On the contrary, “the evidence from the experience of the last two decades is quite clear:  The countries that have grown the most rapidly since the mid-1970s are those that have invested a high share of GDP and maintained macroeconomic stability.  The relation between growth rates and indicators of openness . . . is weak at best.”9  The frequently mentioned success stories – China, India, and the “Asian Tigers” – did not achieve high levels of growth after implementing tariff reductions and neo-liberal reforms.  Instead these governments pursued a variety of policies, many that violate the neo-liberal terms of “free trade.”


Neo-liberal policies have damaged the material lives of many in developing countries.  Contrary to some advocates’ claims, the poor are disproportionately affected by liberalization.  Social safety nets are dismantled, and economic shocks occur with increasing frequency as restrictions on capital flows are lifted.  “Free trade” and the institutional reforms now recognized as its necessary corollaries require significant trade-offs that siphon scarce resources from programs that benefit the poor more directly.10  Countries that have pursued liberalization seem to suffer more severe and frequent economic crises, which can lead in turn to increased economic inequality among countries.11  Inequality within countries also has risen.  “The connection between rapid trade liberalization and inequality appears to be universal, indicating downward wage pressures and rising inequality following trade liberalization in industrializing and industrialized economies.  A report by UNCTAD (1997) found that trade liberalization in Latin America led to widening wage gaps, falling real wages for unskilled workers (often more than 90% of the labor force in developing countries), and rising inequality.”12


As Rodrick says, moreover, the most successful of the newly industrialized countries (NICs) did not follow neo-liberal orthodoxy to achieve economic growth.  Neither did the developed world.  Free-trade policies only formed after significant development, and they remain only partially implemented.  With boards dominated by experts from northern and western countries, the IMF and the World Bank are about to undertake greater policy coordination with the WTO.  Yet “the industrial countries, by violating the principles of free trade, are costing the developing countries an estimated $60 billion a year – nearly equal to the total flow of foreign assistance.”13  Protectionist policies were a hallmark of Western development.  “In the late nineteenth century . . . a protectionist America and a protectionist Germany both outperformed free trade Britain.14  When President Bush imposed temporary (and since repealed) tariffs on steel imports in March 2002, world leaders loudly noted the contradiction.  Britain’s minister of trade and industry asked, “why should developing countries commit to free and open markets when the U.S. closes its domestic market . . . ?”15  Financial services groups within the World Bank have been accused of financing the investments of large corporations, based in donor countries, at the expense of projects designed to help the poor directly.16


The neo-liberal policies have not proven themselves empirically.  The LDC situation is further complicated by the fact that Western countries are much better equipped to handle the challenges of a global free trade regime.  LDCs find their range of policy options narrowed by free-market discourse, and they are relatively unprepared to handle the economic shocks and dislocations caused by liberalized trade.  Hence LDCs can ill afford these policies now, and there is little reason to believe that their situation will improve if the current discourse maintains its hold.


While Seattle demonstrators in 1999 and larger social movements brought the issue into the public consciousness, a former official of the World Bank found “a feeling that the shouts on the streets are echoed by murmurs inside the institutions.”17  Joseph Stiglitz remarked that the neo-liberal orientation of the so-called “Washington Consensus” has “lived on as an institutional position,” even though it reflects outdated thought rooted in the Reagan-Thatcher era.18  He announced that he would leave the World Bank in late 1999:  “it has become obvious to me that it would be difficult to continue to speak out as forcefully and publicly as I have on a variety of issues and still remain as chief economist.”19  Stiglitz remains a critic of many of the Bank’s policies, challenging the claim that open markets lead to growth and reductions in poverty in the absence of government intervention.


Another World Bank economist, Ravi Kanbur, author of the 2000 World Development Report, resigned his position in June 2000 amid reports that his original draft (which had been posted on the Internet) was changed to remove calls for a “cautious approach” and increases in social spending along with criticisms of neo-liberal reforms.20  The final version of the report lobbies for reductions in inequality; but critics remarked that it is a “Janus document,” where policy prescriptions vary widely chapter by chapter.  It calls for increased redistribution in one place then reasserts free-market principles in the next.21  Two other researchers left the Bank after being disciplined for publishing articles in the Financial Times without proper clearance from the Bank’s External Relations Department.  The World Bank staff newsletter for November and December of 2001 contains editorials in response to these cases.  They liken the External Relations Department to “thought police” and warn that the Bank’s “public image matters more than germane research findings.”22


Meanwhile academic criticism of World Bank and IMF policies persists.  Critics include Robert Wade at the London School of Economics, Dani Rodrick at Harvard University’s Kennedy School, Roberto Unger at the Harvard Law School, and Mark Weisbrot at the Center for Economic and Policy Research.  Stiglitz, who returned to academia after his resignation, reports that there is “an intellectual gap between what we know and what is still practiced.”23  Other academic economists who disagree with Stiglitz’s public criticism of the Bank or who lean more toward the free-market orientation – including Kenneth Arrow, who won the 1972 Nobel Prize for his research on open-market efficiency – nonetheless acknowledge the validity of the criticisms.24


It is clear that neo-liberal globalization is under mounting pressure from within and without. Yet the lack of even greater protest against neo-liberal globalization is the primary concern of this essay.  Stuart Hall points out that “no social practice exists outside of the domain of the semiotic – the practices and production of meaning.”25  Thus rhetorical theory can provide insight into this system and its response to outside pressures.


The method here is similar to Manfred Steger’s treatment of what he calls globalism.  “Recognizing the importance of communication through the media,” critical discourse analysis “focuses on the interpretation of coherent units of spoken and written language.  At the same time, it places ideas in their historical context . . . by scrutinizing texts in the public domain, critical discourse analysis is particularly suited to help the researcher comprehend the role played by language use in producing and reinforcing asymmetrical power relations that sustain certain forms of social and political identity.”26


The present method also shares much with Deirdre McCloskey’s rhetoric of economics.  I read Globalization, Growth and Poverty as a text with four elements:  fact, logic, metaphor, and story.27  It fits together some bits and pieces while omitting others.  In addition to historical facts and mathematical formulas, the report offers a narrative of neo-liberal globalization to shape our understandings of past and future.  Evaluating it as a narrative, we can understand it as constructed, rather than natural, to identify its presuppositions and implications for our lives.


Accordingly the analysis differs somewhat from traditional rhetoric.  The classical study of rhetoric interprets meaning and a speaker’s effectiveness at communicating that message. It treats a message in terms of its logos (argument), ethos (the speaker’s authority and tone), and pathos (the emotional pull on the audience exerted by the argument).  This goes beyond the sense of rhetoric in ordinary language, where it refers mainly to verbal ornaments added to persuade an audience aside from the substance of any argument.  But while the speaker’s “true” intention is a central concern, the classical version of rhetoric is not particularly concerned with relations of power structures to language.


By the late 1960s, however, the field of rhetoric takes an “ideological turn.”  Influenced by social movements, technological developments, and postmodern or poststructural thought, rhetoricians begin to examine ties between rhetoric and social theory.  A number of scholars insist that all communication connects to larger issues of politics and society.28  Thus Raymie McKerrow calls for a “critical rhetoric” that serves a “demystifying function by demonstrating the silent and often non-deliberate ways in which rhetoric conceals as much as it reveals through its relationship with power/knowledge.”29  Following Michel Foucault, rhetoricians are analyzing the discursive field, to stress interrelationships among language, power, and social practices.


Discourse is “a language or system of representation that has developed socially in order to make and circulate a coherent set of meanings about an important topic area.  These meanings serve the interests of that section of society within which the discourse originates and which works ideologically to naturalize those meanings into common sense.”30  In this view, texts must be re-connected to their social contexts for full understandings of their meanings.  No speech acts stay unaffected by the power relations that embed speakers.  Because postmodern rhetoricians construct a “coherent set of meanings,” they examine what exists positively as part of a particular text or speech, but they also explore omissions:  what do speakers ignore (or de-emphasize) for specific messages or images to make sense to listeners or viewers?


Many rhetoricians also shift from a concern with oratorical devices meant to induce particular responses and to a view that rhetoric runs all the way through a text.  This involves dropping the classical dichotomy between “rhetoric” and “logical argument.”  In postmodern rhetoric, all communication is rhetorical.  It is possible to separate form from substance, to imagine several ways of relating much the same point; yet in political practice, argument and delivery are inseparable.  Arguments themselves cannot be separated from their expression; a written text or a spoken work only exists as such.  Meanings do not divide simply into rational elements and emotional devices, but they are delivered whole with their social contexts.


Through postmodern rhetoric, the next section examines the realist tone of Globalization, Growth and Poverty to show how this legitimates the text while denigrating its critics.  The ensuing section uses “chains of equivalence” from Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe to explain how Globalization, Growth and Poverty attempts to brand globalization as the most effective tool for eliminating world poverty.  That leads to an analysis of how the counter-norms espoused by critics of neo-liberal globalization have been appropriated into World Bank rhetoric.

The Realist Style


As a whole, Globalization, Growth and Poverty projects an ethos ―a “realist” tone ―that claims sole legitimacy in the discussion.31  This prepares the way for other tropes that reinforce the realist style of the report.  It engages in a meta-discursive discussion that self-authorizes the text.  Thus the report itself provides a description of the only acceptable grounds for discussion that limits potential criticism while shoring up it own position.  The report also provides a peculiar picture of the social world.  It reduces all politics to an economic calculus in which rational actors vie for power.  In this setting, the World Bank can say it seeks power, not for its own benefit, but as an institution that can use the natural laws of self-interest to protect people living in poverty.  The World Bank is not Machiavelli’s prince , but it can play by his rules to help the poor.  This twist can help to mask the economizing as benign; but the report still reduces politics to a single, often anti-political mode of behavior.


Globalization, Growth and Poverty uses this rhetoric to establish its central argument.  The master trope of this “realist style” is metonymy.  The description of realist rhetoric provided by Robert Hariman in studying The Prince is instructive:  “This style begins by marking all other discourses with the sign of the text:  It devalues other political actors because they are too discursive, too caught up in their textual designs to engage in rational calculation.”32  It aligns itself with the “real, natural” world by claiming objectivity and transparency.  James Arnt Aune argues that it is “the default rhetoric for defenders of the free market.  The realist economic style works by radically separating power and textuality, constructing the political realm as a state of nature, and by depicting its opponents as prisoners of verbal illusions.”33  A realist text purports merely to describe reality and therefore to avoid bias.  These claims hide its strategic selection of evidence to get the particular representations that serve its interests.


Advocates of neo-liberal globalization insistently deny their own rhetoricity.  David Dollar, Research Manager in the Development Research Group at the World Bank, says that “This report is a detailed and accurate statement of how global integration can benefit the poor, and as such it is fair and balanced.”34  The authors of the report claim that its market orientation is driven by observed results rather than ideology or theory.  Later changed to “Building an Inclusive World Economy,” the draft report’s subtitle was “Facts, Fears, and An Agenda for Action.”  The report as issued presents World Bank economists as truth-speakers but critics as Luddites for their “anti-industrial romanticism.”35  The claim to objectivity functions to preclude skepticism and deliberation.  Because the report is objective, it is realistic, leaving no reason to distrust its prescriptions.


Taking on its own personality and destiny, “globalization” becomes the protagonist in the text.  “Globalization” begins as a descriptive term; yet the report, with its continual placement of the noun as the subject in sentences, makes it a central actor in our political life.  It is “globalization” that leads to reductions in poverty ―not the politicians, bureaucrats or NGOs who make decisions regarding budgets, taxation, social spending, and trade.  As it becomes a character, globalization appears less responsive to our desires and plans; it appears to have a path independent of choices by other people.


The report’s language casts critics as obstructionists.  “Integration ―or ‘globalization’―has generated anxieties about rising inequality, shifting power, and cultural uniformity.  This report assesses its impact and examines these anxieties.  Global integration is already a powerful force for poverty reduction, but it could be even more effective.  Some, but not all, of the anxieties are well-founded” (p. 1).  Criticisms are “anxieties,” and far from all are reasonable.  There is “a widespread anxiety is that growing integration is leading to heightened inequalities within countries,” but “usually this is not the case” (p. 5).  In fact, “between countries, globalization is now mostly reducing inequality” (p. 1).  Yes, “globalization does involve shifts in power, but these do not always favor the already powerful” (p. 2).  The critics are wrong; they lack the real, incontestable facts available to the Bank.


Worse, critics have narrow horizons and supposedly lack concern for people who live in poverty:

A “development round” of trade liberalization should focus on improving market access of developing countries to rich country markets and to each other’s markets.  However, such a “development round” is threatened by narrow protectionist interests in the North.  Protectionists are seeking to load up the trade agenda with a host of other, institutional development issues.  If the rich countries insist on institutional harmonization in areas such as intellectual property rights and standards for health, labor, and the environment as a prerequisite for market access, then prospects for greater trade between North and South will be greatly diminished (p. 9).

In this passage, the Bank aligns neo-liberalism with global prosperity and critics with protectionism.  Implicitly it denigrates alternatives as irresponsible and self-interested.36  According to the report, “in part our agenda overlaps with the agenda of the streets, but it is diametrically opposed to the nationalism, protectionism and anti-industrial romanticism that is all too prominent” (p. 18).  Thus the World Bank hegemonizes the moral power of advocates for economic justice, while it links critics in civil society with at least two elements (nationalism and protectionism) that many in the global-justice movement reject and a third (anti-industrial romanticism) that depicts the movement as naïve.


Hariman continues, “the greatest advantage for the realist comes from constraining the wide array of public discourse ―keeping deliberation within a vernacular of sovereign powers, calculations of interest and the like.”37  This style delegitimates alternatives from the start.  If they are not based on considerations deemed worthy by the text, they are not reasonable or otherwise respectable.  Marginalization follows.  In this way, the report constricts human behavior to individual economic self-interest.  The related ontology dictates proper goals for social institutions:  economic growth and non-interference in the free market.


But the realist tone here is softened by the Bank’s proclaimed intent to increase global prosperity.  That is the only goal deemed worthy in the text, and the only way to achieve it is through free markets that can account for how “people really are.”  While the alleviation of poverty is certainly a goal of many, there are numerous interests in the developing and developed worlds.  This metonymy reduces people to a social unity and fails to take into account their variety of needs.  If someone makes a claim for an alternative value and denies globalization’s ability to address it, the claim is devalued as “romantic,” “anti-industrialist,” or “protectionist.”  It is a personal flaw, not a legitimate political concern.


The private market is characterized as an arena of unrivalled efficiency and opportunity, while non-economic social organization is always suspect.  The suggestion is that economic self-interest can lead to a virtuous, poverty-free society but that other values will disappoint.  For example, the report acknowledges that strong institutions are crucial in a free-market system; yet it asks, “If effective institutions are needed to get strong benefits from openness, should countries wait until they have such institutions to open up?  Not necessarily.  One of the reasons why liberalization of trade in services is so important is that developing countries can use this market to improve the investment climate:  allowing foreign firms to provide financial services, telecommunications, and power” (p. 86).  What of the “inefficient regulation” and “corruption” that holds back firms in the developing world (p. 85)?  The report does not locate corruption in the private sector; instead the “free market” solves such problems.  It assumes that private firms would implement better regulatory schemes, since developing countries are encouraged to open their economies before attending to regulation.  Meanwhile trade deals are threatened not by environmentalists or labor-rights advocates but by “narrow protectionist interests” and by NGOs that may “exploit [people’s] ignorance to pursue their own agendas” (pp. 9 and 124).  The implication is that only those involved in market transactions can be trusted to help the poor.


Another manifestation of the realist claim to objectivity and the reduction of the social world to economics is the characterization of neo-liberal globalization as unavoidable.  This rhetoric denies the social construction of both the theoretical concept and material reality.  It presents this particular manifestation of power as the unfolding of natural laws.38  Neo-liberal globalization is part of the “grand narrative” of world history that is to structure the reader’s understanding of past and present.39  “Corporate financiers, as well as spokesmen for national government . . . use the language of capital mobility to obscure the notion that other choices have been possible.”40  In this spirit, the report claims that “a century ago globalization seemed as inevitable as it does today” (p. 4).  It discusses ways that globalization previously receded and might be rolled back in the future, but these are always unnatural and “vain,” leading to war, destruction, and poverty (p. 27).


The telos is economic integration on the way to global harmony.  Neo-liberal economy becomes the only type of economy possible within this new reality.  “In many countries today, disengagement of politics from the economy is defended with reference to constraints of economic internationalization that would frustrate any other economic strategy.”41   Other models are portrayed as proven failures; only a fool would choose otherwise.  By denying contingency and choice, this rhetoric denies the possibility of deliberation.  It excludes critics from the table, since the plan of action cannot differ.  If there is no choice among paths and economists can be trusted to frame the proper terms for proceeding, there is no reason for citizen engagement.


Yet realist rhetoric can be characterized by an inability to fully account for itself.42  In its denigration of politics and communication, it ends up unable to explain the full range of human behavior, as promised.  It has acute trouble facing its own frustrations.  When its predictions do not materialize but its critics do, the rhetoric reaches erratically beyond its core categories.  As “free-market” reforms lead to economic crises in the developing world, for example, advocates begin to stress the need for effective “institutions” of other kinds.  These add to requirements for development and increase costs of compliance, but they do not modify neo-liberal theories or imply that neo-liberal reforms might be to blame for problems (p. 10).43  Like a “pathology of rational-choice,” neo-liberal rhetoric claims an exemption to charges of failure on the grounds that previously unforeseen (but logical) components of the formula were insufficiently addressed in practice.  But if “non-accountable non-governmental organizations” cannot be trusted to pursue agendas other than their own, how can the World Bank expect the non-interference it claims to need (p. 124)?


The ruling logic of neo-liberal globalization requires a purity in practice that its own principles imply it could not have.  According to neo-liberals, free markets do not fail in the developing world; they do not get tried there.  IFI policies run into trouble, say neo-liberals, because of continued rent-seeking on the part of developing societies.  Somehow these societies do not include the markets or the IFIs.  Nor on the other side do their insufficient services, deficiencies in democratic sovereignty, or neo-colonial relations with the developed world surface as intrinsic impediments.  Politics are inefficient and corrupt; economics are efficient and virtuous.  If only the neo-liberal economic model were fully implemented, it would lead to the most prosperous, equitable, and environmentally sustainable society possible.  Sadly, politics are allowed to intrude.  This crucial step in neo-liberal apologies has no place in neo-liberal theories.

Branding “Globalization”


Enabled by its realist tone, Globalization, Growth and Poverty argues for beneficial consequences of globalization.  In doing so, IFI discourse attempts to brand its prescriptions as the one way to fulfill its mandate to alleviate poverty worldwide.  The branding occurs as advocates of neo-liberal globalization link their project to a variety of social goods.  Laclau and Mouffe call these “chains of equivalence,” to indicate how discourses work through connecting objects and ideas to modify their meanings for audiences.44  Some links are positive, tying items together; other links are negative, shedding previous associations.  The report ties globalization positively to “free markets” but negatively to “deforestation” and “sub-Saharan Africa,” working to divorce globalization from those objects.


Globalization, Growth and Poverty repeats some chains or clusters to gain consent for globalization.  The fundamental link is between globalization and poverty reduction.  According to the foreword, “the focus of our research is the impact of economic integration on developing countries and especially on the poor people living in these countries” (p. ix).  The report seeks credibility for the World Bank as an advocate for poor.  Indeed it implies that the Bank has no predetermined concern except for the welfare of those who live in poverty.


The very title of the report, “Globalization, Growth and Poverty,” connects these three elements:  globalization leads to growth, which alleviates poverty.  The opening paragraph affirms this: “global integration is already a powerful force for poverty reduction” (p. 1).  The penultimate sentence restates it:  “Many poor people are benefiting from globalization” (p. 159).  These links are so insistent in the report that they eclipse its acknowledgment of disputes about them.  “Globalization” and “openness” are “pro-poor,” producing “poverty reduction,” “growth,” “rising productivity,” “opportunity,” [economic] “convergence,” “weakened monopolies,” and a “raise in per capita income.”  Globalization virtually comes to mean poverty reduction, so that critics who resist economic integration are pursuing policies that necessarily will harm the poor.


Throughout the report, examples of newly industrialized countries (NICs) provide further links between growth and globalization.  India, China, Hungary, Brazil, Vietnam, Malaysia, Mexico, and Argentina (!) supposedly show that economic integration diminishes poverty.  The financial crises experienced by many of these countries get mentioned, but the report sheds most of the negativity associated with such disruptions.  It minimizes their impact while portraying them as necessary steps to future stability:  “we would like to emphasize the distinction that being open financially is associated with greater stability, whereas becoming open financially is often associated with financial and exchange rate crises” (p. 70).  The report does not address the social and political stresses caused by open trade; nor does it notice that economic disruptions and dismantled state services place enormous pressures on populations and governments.  The Argentine collapse occurred after the report went to press, but its neglect of impending troubles is telling.  The report de-links negative representations from global trade, giving it a relentlessly cheerful image.


The report also sheds any responsibility of globalization for “marginalized countries,” including many in Africa and the former Soviet Union.  It treats them as foils for the successful integrators.  Awkward countries (including sub-Saharan Africa) and histories (like colonialism) get distanced rhetorically from globalization.  They have been marginalized, the report explains, because of adverse geography and climate as well as poor (internal) policies and infrastructure (p. 7).  The report mentions capital flight from Africa but sees it as an exodus of domestic wealth in search of security and profit rather than a response to capital volatility induced by global trade (p. 41).  The report ignores the legacies of colonization, failed privatization, loan conditionality, and debt crises.  The marginal countries appear to have failed in a historical vacuum, without any ties to international dynamics.  The text does include a critical discussion of trade barriers in the OECD countries; but it focuses on the current scene and neglects any consideration of potentially valid reasons for maintaining certain tariffs, subsidies, or quotas.  The notion that Africa is poor because it cannot join the global market since it has a bad climate is poor social science, it masks the entire colonial experience, and it leaves any blame to corrupt domestic politicians or bad luck.  (The Bank is there to help.)  De-linking poverty from Africa’s history of colonization, then Western neglect and domination, the rhetoric crafts a sense of the situation amenable to the World Bank’s project of globalization.


The presentation of economic data in Globalization, Growth and Poverty links neo-liberal globalization to “Science.”  Contributing to the realist tone of the report, the data imply an authority that cannot be questioned.  The principal author describes the report, with its abundant tables and statistics, as a “detailed and accurate statement.” 45  The report includes 55 graphs, tables, and maps in 159 pages.  This profusion of data suggests that the report is a collection of facts speaking for themselves -- and all saying the same thing:  globalization is good.  Yet the data come from statistical analysis that varies with the specification of models, which varies across hosts of debatable assumptions.  This is why, as McCloskey says, economics must work through “trust, conversation, persuasion.”46  Instead the report offers its data as expert, neutral verdicts.  The report is reality speaking.  McCloskey cautions that “The suppression of the ‘I’ in scientific writing is more significant than one might think . . . the scientist says:  It is not I the scientist who make these assertions but reality itself.  . . . Scientists pretend that Nature speaks directly, thereby effacing the evidence that they the scientists are responsible for the assertions.  . . . The scientist avoids being questioned for his reliability by disappearing into a third-person narrative of what really happened.”47


The report could have emphasized factors that it instead largely ignores, such as civil-society input. Its exclusive attention to econometric analysis shapes not only the conclusions but even the conceptions of questions and possible answers.  This “methodism” can lead to a neglect of contextual factors and “foster a technicism, instrumentalism, and impatience that obscure political complexities.”48  Of course, the quality of empirical evidence depends on the quality of data-gathering, which can be notoriously difficult in the developing world.  In some cases, the difficulty appears to be intentionally concealed.  One telephone survey cited by the report asked 20,000 people in 20 countries whether they thought “globalization would materially benefit their families,” and it found that people answered in the affirmative by a 2-to-1 margin (p. 15).  The original draft notes that the poor were more or less excluded, because they often lack telephones, but the published report omits this niggling detail.


The report pays little attention to studies by economists who contest the power of open trade to improve the lives of the poor.  “The doubts that one can retain about each individual study,” it says, “threaten to block our view of the overall forest of evidence” (p. 5).  In a sidebar, the report acknowledges the Rodriguez and Rodrick criticism of measures used to gauge trade openness, then it turns back to evidence for links between open trade and growth as though the criticism had never arisen (p. 37).  The report presents the community of trained economists as relatively united; it barely notes the increasingly loud debate.  The report simply claims that the “preponderance” of expert-derived evidence supports globalization (p. 5), and it minimizes the fact that several prominent economists reach different conclusions.


By equating its practice of economics with the one true science, the report and other advocates of globalization disarm calls for greater public input into technocratic organizations.   This occurs in two ways.  First, with economics presented as science, globalization advocates can do away with politics.  This logic turns around what Susan Bickford says about Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics:  “there are certain things about which we simply do not deliberate, such as . . . the principles of mathematics.  . . . we only deliberate about ‘things that are in our power and can be realized by action.’  . . . we deliberate in order to act.”49  As pure economics, development projects become applications of mathematical rules.  We cannot change these “rules” through communicative action, nor should we want to.  At the same time, the increasing influence of IFIs and trade regimes can shrink the sphere of politics.  It becomes technical management by an elite who may summarize its case for the public but is excused from open debate of ends and means.50


Second is the problem of accessibility.  If the World Bank’s emphasis on participation is taken at all seriously, its report would edify citizens on advantages and costs of globalization.51  Given the contestation among economists, how can citizens judge conflicting economic data?  According to the report, people living on less than $1 a day in the new globalizers declined by 120 million between 1993 and 1998 (p. 2).  According to Joseph Stiglitz, people living on less than $2 a day increased by 100 million in the 1990s.52  Can both be right?  Who is correct?  How does one decide?  The report does not seek to help citizens think their ways through such questions.  It provides no glossary, index, of general explanation of its statistical analyses.  The implication is that the report speaks for the scientists and the realities:  now citizens must agree.


The report’s attempted metonymy, turning globalization into economic growth, ignores three developments.  First, as Rodrick points out, many of the most successful NICs arose as highly regulated, development-oriented states, with tight controls over investment and trade.53  Second, there are many developmental goals, not just one.  Often touted as a model of liberalization, China has attained great growth, with a developmental-state apparatus, yet it “is an environmental nightmare . . . [and] systematically represses human rights and worker’s rights.”54  Third, open trade strains poor populations and national governments, inducing politics that undo free markets.55  The report is not entitled to identify globalization with economic growth while omitting a fuller account of its elements and dynamics.

Ironic Appropriations


Counter-public groups are bringing various development issues to public consciousness.  On its Web site, Global Trade Watch, a division of Public Citizen, says that its activism focuses on “health and safety, environmental protection, economic justice, and democratic, accountable governance.”56  The Ruckus Society, which has been active in global justice protest actions, “provides training in the skills of non-violent civil disobedience to help environmental and human rights organizations.”57  The platform of the U.S. Network for Global Economic Justice (or “50 Years Is Enough”) includes calls for greater openness in IFIs and “an end to all environmentally destructive lending and support.58  Such counter-public groups promote debt relief, peace issues, anti-capitalist and anti-corporate causes, environmental protection, workers’ rights, and more.


Richard Falk calls these “world order priorities” and claims that they “relate, first and foremost, to protecting the planet and its inhabitants from the ongoing gathering of destructive tendencies that currently threaten human well-being and the viability of the global commons.  . . . [They] also extend to affirming an ethos of human solidarity.”59  As these counter-norms exert pressure, the rhetoric of IFIs shifts.  We can see this in the report’s attempt to disperse tensions from these critiques by appropriating their values within the Bank’s own discourse.60


Rhetorical chains in Globalization, Growth and Poverty treat globalization as the route to economic growth solutions for many social problems.  Four of the report’s sections cite critics to identify a range of social problems.  The report’s strategy is to show how globalization alleviates them or does no further damage.  Its hegemonizing rhetoric is clearly exhibited in these sections:  “Social protection in globalizing economies,” “Globalization and power,” “Globalization and culture,” and “Globalization and the environment.”  The report includes the values espoused by critics in the list of worthy goals that the World Bank hopes to achieve through globalization.  The concessions are partial at most.  Thus the Bank does not advocate a more cautious approach to free trade in order to protect against “Americanization,” but claims that only globalization can lead to cultural diversity.  In these acts of ironic appropriation, the discourse attempts to broaden the base of consent to its policies.  It recomposes meanings to absorb criticism and renew support, but it does not acceptance other voices as equal contributors to a broader development project.  It re-asserts the Bank’s unified authority, and it rejects any role for deliberation or democratic decision-making.  Implicitly it denies that the report is partisan and suggests that the critics are self-interested.  Coupled with the realist tone of the report, the rhetoric offers at best a fatherly pat on the head.


The report specifically seeks to quell criticism as a threat to the consensus that the Bank imputes to its mission.  The environmental movement has provided a strong challenge to free-trade advocates, and the report devotes several pages to green concerns.  Global Trade Watch argues for greater environmental protection and connects degradation with an unregulated economic sphere.  The report claims that the World Bank shares green goals and that globalization is the way to a cleaner planet.  It cites a study that links globalization to improved air quality in industrial centers (p. 16); and its section on “Globalization and Environment” takes what at first appears to be a very sober look at environmental degradation throughout the world, addressing “beggar-thyself” environmental standards (p. 130).  Yet the report finds that evidence does not support the fear of a “race to the bottom.”  It says that industries servicing domestic demands produce the most pollution, it argues that Western subsidiaries do not appear to pollute more than indigenous industries, and it says that they tend to adopt “near-uniform” standards throughout their corporate structures (p. 132).


But the claims that Chevron pollutes no more in Nigeria than in Mississippi and pollutes less than would a domestic firm are cold comfort to environmentalists.  The report concedes that “many countries are simply not implementing pollution abatement measures that are readily available, cheap, and effective” (p. 134).  Again, though, the report frames the issues as if these countries exist in a vacuum, with pollution the fault of domestic rather than international actors.  The report lists local popular movements, effective domestic regulation, and international collective action (but only with regard to global warming, put into a different section than the more general “pollution”) as the keys to environmental protection.  It says that globalization facilitates these through spreading “innovative idea[s]” (p. 143).  It portrays as a “protectionist” ploy the notion that “institutional harmonization in areas such as . . . the environment” might become “a prerequisite for market access” (p. 9).  The report embraces open markets as the only path to social goods, while it derides stricter regulations for environmental or other reasons.


Critics also complain about the lack of participation in the policy formation for open trade.  The report calls for increased participation of developing countries in trade negotiations, but it ignores democratizing trade institutions to focus on encouraging developing countries to improve their own cooperation and knowledge bases (pp. 63-64).  Considering the moral traction of the global-justice movement, the appropriation is logical.  The report’s advocacy of globalization must compete with counter-publics, but it can only do so by acknowledging their validity then shifting blame so that actual bets get placed on open markets.  The report repeatedly invokes the importance of participation, but it insistently paints civil societies as a rent-seeking and untrustworthy partners for trade.  At first, the report lauds “globalization from below” as a way to limit the unrestrained power of capital.  It even cites civil-society pressure on De Beers in response to its diamond buying practices in Africa (p. 124).  In the same paragraph, though, the report maintains that civil involvement “is not an unmitigated good.  Non-accountable non-governmental organizations . . . can sometimes exploit [popular] ignorance to pursue their own agendas at the expense of poor people” (p. 124).


The reports coöpts criticisms also by linking globalization to stable levels of inequality.  Unregulated economic expansion actually aggravates socioeconomic stratification.61  When the report acknowledges increasing inequalities within OECD economies, it finds causes other than free trade:  “A part of this may be due to immigration.  However, it may also have been due to policy changes on taxation and social spending unconnected to globalization.  . . . globalization has probably been equalizing” (p. 48).  Yet changes in tax structures connect with globalization.  Countries engage in tax competition to attract business and capital, and they locate more jobs in the informal or lower-wage service sectors when they let corporations “use extra ‘flexibility’ in labor laws . . . to shed and downsize.”62


The report denies that inequality has increased in low-income countries, save for China (p. 48), but this is a dubious claim.63  The reports notes contrary evidence only once:  “They find no relationship between changes in openness and changes in inequality.  . . . Ravallion qualifies this result.  He finds that although on average openness does not affect inequality, in low-income countries it is associated with greater inequality.  Regardless of its net effect, there are winners and losers from trade policies.  . . . The combination of rapid growth with no systematic change in inequality has dramatically reduced absolute poverty in the new globalizers” (pp. 48-49).  A page later, the last paragraph concludes that “globalization clearly can be a force for poverty reduction.”  So the report asserts that globalization means low-income countries have greater inequality yet greater equality.  It buries the complexity of the situation in contradictory claims and unexplained data.  Its rhetoric offers claims “regardless of net effect,” when its conclusions base themselves on net effects.  Overall it elides the unhappy effects of increased stratification on those least equipped to bear it.


Globalization, Growth and Poverty encourages countries to develop various programs of social protection.  These are to target both formal- and informal-sector employees as integration brings about (merely) short-term dislocations (p. 87).  Yet the report also says that a large public-employment sector would limit the benefits of globalization and that the imposition of a standard set of labor regulations across the globe is of doubtful benefit.  Meanwhile the report promotes greater liberalization of trade through privatizing services and providing competition in primary utilities such as power and water delivery.  It gives developing countries the option of financing short-term unemployment insurance schemes, with the hope that the economy will recover from crisis before its funds run out. Considering that standards would vary from one country to the next, that tax structures would vary, and there would be a greater emphasis on privatization and a “sound investment climate,” it is hard to see how a “race to the bottom” would not occur.  The report accepts social protection as a necessity, given the (short-term) volatility from liberalizing trade, but its neo-liberal provisions leave acceptable measures for social protection hard to imagine.


Critics worry about the “Americanization” of world culture as U.S. brand names become consumables of choice around the world.  The report replies that economic integration increases “diversity.”  McDonald’s has brought “hamburgers to Britain, co-existing with fish and chips” (p. 15).  Ikea has entered Russian markets but “has not driven out Russian style” (p. 129).  To show that Wal-Mart has not driven out of business every other general store in North Carolina is not to make it a harbinger of cosmopolitanism or a model for labor policy.  The report seems to equate “diversity” with the spread of large corporations throughout the world.  Here is a rhetoric of homogenous diversity.


Discussing the potential for American cultural hegemony, the report offers a seemingly candid assessment of global impact by American films and brands (p. 130).  Yet it concludes that “globalization does limit the independence of national government in some dimensions, but governments have many degrees of freedom to manage the interaction between trade, capital, and labor flows, on the one hand, and national culture and environment on the other.  . . . globalization is consistent with the maintenance of a vibrant culture” (p. 142).  Criticisms of homogenizing by globalizing are too widespread and plausible to be brushed aside like this.


In the effort to suture growing fissures, the report seeks to subsume commonsense values such as environmental protection and decent equality within its hegemonic worldview.  Neo-liberal discourse coöpts criticisms by claiming to share their ends and better their means.  Open trade becomes the scientific path to whatever goals seem defensible.  The report crafts a vision of market globalization that acknowledges and incorporates many values cited by counter-publics.  No matter how diluted or morphed, of course, some values remain rhetorically incompatible with neo-liberal trade, whereupon the document tells us how unrealistic they are.  Then the report denies any validity to the associated criticisms.  It ignores them as extremist, it dismisses their proponents as delusional, and it contrasts these with the objective truth-seekers who advocate globalization.

Technocracy and the Public


Many affected by neo-liberal globalization have it imposed on them.  Still it is striking that resistance has been largely silent or sporadic.  Advocates of globalization have been able to find many supporters in the developing world as well as the developed world.64  If globalization were just economic policy, this might not be surprising, but it also generates a particular political subjectivity.  Although it remains popular to talk about “democracy” as politics worth struggling and even dying for, there is a little mainstream discussion of how this form of global economy might pre-empt people’s democratic ability to determine what policies their country will follow.  As a discourse, globalization normalizes non-democratic politics by assuming that (1) economics is a natural science, (2) public needs can be addressed best by markets, so (3) publics should step aside to let economies and economists function naturally to determine social conditions.


The World Bank is a large organization with varied interests and multiple legacies.  Its report on Globalization, Growth and Poverty often acknowledges the need for local input and the existence of many paths toward development.  Yet many of the report’s passages and the Bank’s policies, like those of corollary institutions such as the IMF and the WTO, endorse only the route of neo-liberal reform.  It becomes the objective output of scientific analysis, the one way to rid developing countries of “special interests,” and the best way to achieve such desirable results as less inequality, environmental protection, and global diversity.  Giving short shrift to dissenters, neo-liberal discourse presents itself as the consensus of mainstream economists, the only experts on development.  Turning politics into economics, neo-liberalism makes the policy landscape increasingly “technocratic.”


“Politics,” as Frank Fischer writes, are “increasingly reduced to the technically oriented task of ‘keeping the machine running.’  Economic and political guidance becomes more a problem of planning and management than an issue for public deliberations, and, as such, is seen as a job for which only the experts are uniquely equipped.”65  Make no mistake:  these anti-politics are highly political.  They require publics that consent to their formation as audiences or clients rather than participants.  Neo-liberal discourse secures the consent tacitly through its rhetorical construction of the social world.  It presupposes necessity (as opposed to contingency) and self-regulating orders (rather than collective problems).66  In the neo-liberal world, the best path to success is public disengagement.  Once that occurs, necessity and the natural laws of the market can function under the oversight of academically trained economists rather than rent-seeking publics.


Unfortunately this economic technocracy is not radically out-of-step with some current “democratic theory.”  The definition of democracy most prevalent in political science, national governments, and institutions like Freedom House continues to be Joseph Schumpeter’s:  “the democratic method is that institutional arrangement for arriving at political decisions in which individuals acquire the power to decide by means of competitive struggle for the people’s vote.”67  Democracy becomes a mere method, implying a view of citizen as consumers and of politicians as the centers of power.  Supposedly this prefers no particular outcomes or inclusions.  Once the people choose elites, participation ends until the next election.  This eliminates the “danger” that public participation might affect policies.  Social scientists often treat this as the most accurate way to define “democracy,” and “the contemporary theory of democracy does not merely describe the operation of certain political systems, but implies that this is the kind of system that we should value.”68  Purported description becomes prescription, and publics grow accustomed to low levels of participation within elite-led systems.  Technocracy requires elites, not masses.  Within a globalized system, this conception of democracy threatens to obscure the transfer of power to IFIs, and it promises to normalize public deference to their decisions.

Possibilities for a
Counter-Hegemonic Project


Globalization, Growth and Poverty tells us a good deal about the character of citizenship within the emerging situations of globalization.  First, its realism as a rhetorical style depicts critics of neo-liberalism as naïve romantics, incapable of understanding the “real world” where globalization works.  Advocates of open trade are the only ones who can see the world clearly and tell it like it is.  Whether aware of it or not, critics engage in misleading rhetorical strategies.


Closely related, the report brands globalization as the way to aid the world’s poor.  It articulates chains of equivalence that link neo-liberal globalization favorably with economic science and resulting policies to reduce poverty.  Simultaneously it discredits possible ties for globalization to negative developments such as polluted environments, increasing gaps between haves and have-nots, or prevention of popular participation.


To quell increasing criticism faced by IFIs, neo-liberal discourse claims to include the values of counter-publics.  It revises their meanings to suit its mission.  It presents itself as open to criticism, yet it attempts to eliminate any effective space for critics to operate persuasively.


Fourth, the neo-liberal discourse of IFIs promotes voluntarily non-participatory publics.  Its assumptions about economics and politics render public participation marginal at best.  If economics is a pure and natural science, able to specify singular and necessary prescriptions for social problems, and if markets can address a wide variety of social goals, there is little need for political activity by ordinary people.


These tropes pose significant challenges to critics of neo-liberal globalization.  Yet there remain openings for counter-hegemonic projects.  The strength of the dominant discourse lies in its ability to regulate debate:  absorbing criticisms or dismissing them as irrational.  But the fact that neo-liberal discourse must make the effort to hegemonize and encompass counter-norms is heartening.  Some see this characteristic as one of the most frustrating qualities of the discourse, and I agree.  Let us not, however, miss the counter-power apparent in this situation.


Neo-liberal discourse focuses on the realm of consent.  It maintains authority for the project of globalization by hegemonizing commonsense counter-norms of equality promotion, environmental protection, and poverty reduction.  The power of those counter-norms to secure consent surfaces when critics start to reframe debate.  We can have politics only when we have some shared understandings and values that enable us to make sense to one another.  This is keeping alternative values alive on both sides of the debate, even though their meanings become highly contested.


Critics can take advantage of the play in meanings to keep neo-liberal discourse from eliminating counter-indications and criticisms.  The task can be arduous, especially in publics dominated by neo-liberal institutions.  Yet movements against globalization suggest that some room remains for contesting such neo-liberal assertions as market mechanisms provide best for environmental protection.  Publication of counter-evidence is starting to seem fairly effective.  The report’s impressive efforts to hegemonize counter-claims testifies to this, and that kind of articulation opens neo-liberal discourse to further dispute.


Moral traction for democracy means significant possibilities for critique.  There are no promises for success.  Contradictions in a discourse or a practice need not find some progressive resolution.  To expose fissures within neo-liberal globalization nonetheless can become a step toward undermining its power.  To distinguish participatory from liberal democracy can help.  Where neo-liberal globalization seems less than effective, objective, necessary, or coherent, doubts can arise.  In turn, these can weaken the consent that neo-liberal globalization wants to win from ordinary people as well as elites.  Rhetoricians who help to denaturalize globalization can contribute significantly to the ensuing politics.


1     World Bank, Globalization, Growth and Poverty:  Building an Inclusive World Economy, Washington, DC, World Bank and Oxford University Press, 2002.  See text-2857/ to access the full text on the internet.  The publication was repeatedly delayed after the cancellation of the World Bank meetings for September 29, 2001, but was previously available in draft form:  World Bank, Globalization, Growth and Poverty:  Facts, Fears, and an Agenda for Action, Draft Policy Research Report, August 6, 2001.  After several NGOs obtained copies and openly criticized its findings, its existence was first publicized by Alan Beattie:  “World Bank Report to Defend Globalisation,” Financial Times, September 14, 2000, p. 6.  The original subtitle has since been changed to “Building an Inclusive World Economy.”

2     The report does not describe the intended audience, but the report figured prominently in the “Publications” section of the World Bank’s Web site.  This warrants the assumption that the report addresses anyone in the general public with an interest in the World Bank.  (The same goes for the Bank’s annual World Development Report.)  The Web site has links for “NGOs and Civil Society,” “Researchers,” “Students,” “Journalists,” “Bond Investors,” and “Parliamentarians,” indicating some groups that the people at the World Bank believe to be looking for information on their projects.

3     September 11, 2001 and the resulting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have caused re-evaluations and shifts in focus on both sides.  Nonetheless the debate has continued.  For example, one reason the peace movement was able to mobilize so quickly was because the “anti-globalization” movement was already in place and gearing up to protest a World Bank meeting in Washington, DC on September 29.

4     Whether this embrace attempts co-optation I cannot say.  The focus here is on effects of the text rather than intentions of the authors.

5     The Bretton Woods Project, “More WTO - World Bank - IMF Cooperation on Trade,” November 2, 2001, knowledgebank. 2509.html;  World Trade Organization, “The WTO in Brief:  Introduction,” June 15, 2002, thewto_e/whatis_e inbrief_e/inbr00_.htm.

6     See J. Robert Cox, “‘Free Trade’ and the Eclipse of Civil Society: Barriers to Transparency and Public Participation in NAFTA and the Free Trade Area of the Americas,” Proceedings of the Sixth Biennial Conference on Communication and Environment, July 27-30, 2001, p. 177; Paul Blustein, “Critics Get World Bank to Ease Disclosure Policy,” September 6, 2001, www.; Global Trade Watch, “FTAA ‘Draft’ Text Made Public Today Is Missing Vital Information; Has Been Released Too Late,” July 3, 2001, www. citizen. org/ pctrade/ media/ 070301. htm; The Bretton Woods Project, 2001.  “Pakistanis Walk Out From WB ‘Consultation,’” May 17, 2001, adjustment/a23pakwalkout.html; The Bretton Woods Project, “Africans Query World Bank, IMF Governance Mantra,” June 15, 2002, topic/governance/g2201_mantra.html.

7     See Joseph E. Stiglitz, Globalization and Its Discontents, New York, Norton, 2002.

8     Dani Rodrick, “Trading in Illusions,” Foreign Policy, March-April, 2001, _marapr_2001/rodrick.html.

9     Dani Rodrick, The New Global Economy and Developing Countries:  Making Openness Work, Washington, DC, Overseas Development Council, 1999, p. 1.

10    See World Bank, World Development Report 2002:  Building Institutions for Markets, Washington, DC, World Bank, 2001 .

11    Christian W. Weller, Robert E. Scott, and Adam S. Hersh, “The Unremarkable Record of Liberalized Trade,” October, June 15, 2002, sept01inequality.html.

12    Ibid.

13    1994 United Nations Development Report cited in Noam Chomsky, “Free Trade and Free Market:  Pretense and Practice,” The Cultures of Globalization, Frederic Jameson and Masai Miyoshi, eds., Durham, NC, Duke University Press, 1998, pp. 366-367.

14    Alfred E. Eckes Jr., Opening America’s Market:  U.S. Foreign Trade Policy Since 1776, Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 1995, p. xvii.

15    Steven Pearlstein and Clay Chandler, “Reaction Abroad on Steel in Harsh:  Bush Decision to Impose Tariffs Called Setback to Free-Trade Effort,” Washington Post, March 7, 2002, p. E01.

16    Special Report by the International Forum on Globalization, Does Globalization Help The Poor? San Francisco, CA, IFG, August, 2001, pp. 7 and 32.

17     “Globalisation’s Children Strike Back,” Financial Times, September 27, 2001.

18    Tim Shorrock, “Stiglitz Roars Back.” The Nation, June 15, 2002, special&s=shorrock20011015.

19    Louis Uchitelle, “World Bank Economist Felt He Had to Silence His Criticism or Quit,” New York Times, December 2, 1999.

20    Charlotte Denny, “World Bank Report on Poverty Censored, Say Aid Agencies,” Manchester Guardian Weekly, September 27, 2000, p. 14; Alan Beattie, “Reduce Inequality, Says World Bank,” Financial Times, September 13, 2000, p. 14.

21    Ibid.

22    The Bretton Woods Project, “Bank Staff Criticise ‘Thought Police,’” January 17, 2002, www. k2610thoughpol.html.

23    Uchitelle, “World Bank Economist . . .”

24    Ibid.

25    Stuart Hall, “The Toad in the Garden:  Thatcherism among the Theorists,” Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture, Cary Nelson and Lawrence Grossberg, eds., Urbana, University of Illinois Press, 1988, p. 51.

26    Manfred B. Steger, Globalism:  The New Market Ideology, Lanham, MD, Rowman and Littlefield, 2002.

27    D. N. McCloskey, If You’re So Smart:  The Narrative of Economic Expertise, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1990.

28    See Michael Calvin McGee:  “In Search of ‘the People’:  A Rhetorical Alternative,” Quartlerly Journal of Speech, 61, 3, October, 1975, pp. 235-249; “The Ideograph:  A link between Rhetoric and Ideology,” Quarterly Journal of Speech, 66, 1, February, 1980, pp. 1-16.

29    Raymie E. McKerrow, “Critical Rhetoric:  Theory and Praxis,” Contemporary Rhetorical Theory, J. L. Lucaites, C. M. Condit, and S. Caudill, eds., New York: Guilford Press, 1999, pp. 441-463, on p. 442.

30    John Fiske, quoted in Democracy, Dialogue, and Environmental Disputes:  The Contested Languages of Social Regulation, Bruce A. Williams and Albert R. Matheny, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1995,  p. 10.

31    See John S. Nelson, Tropes of Politics:  Science, Theory, Rhetoric, Action, Madison, University of Wisconsin Press, 1998, pp. 138-139.

32    Robert Hariman, Political Style:  The Artistry of Power, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1995, p. 17.

33    James Arnt Aune, Selling the Free Market:  The Rhetoric of Economic Correctness, New York, Guilford Press, 2001, p. 40.

34    Beattie, “World Bank Report to Defend Globalisation.”  See World Bank, Globalization, Growth and Poverty.

35    Ibid., p. 18.  All further citations to this report appear in parentheses in the text.

36    For more on how the label of “private interest” can lead to depoliticization of issues, see Nancy Fraser, “Rethinking the Public Sphere:  A Contribution to the Critique of Actually Existing Democracy,” Habermas and the Public Sphere, Craig Calhoun, ed., Cambridge, MA, MIT Press, 1993, pp. 128-132.

37    Hariman, Political Style, p. 44.

38    For more of the myth of globalization as natural and irreversible, see Dana Cloud, “Doing Away with Suharto ― and the Twin Myth of Globalization and New Social Movements,” Counterpublics and the State, Robert Asen and Daniel C. Brouwer, eds., Albany, State University of New York Press, 2001, pp. 235-263.

39    On the use of grand narratives in realism, see Francis A. Beer and Robert Hariman, “Realism and Rhetoric in International Relations,” Post-Realism:  The Rhetorical Turn in International Relations, Beer and Hariman, eds., East Lansing, Michigan State University Press, 1996, pp. 1-30, on p. 6.

40    Louis Pauly, “Markets versus Politics:  On Globalization, Language and Legitimacy,” The End of Politics:  Explorations into Modern Antipolitcs, Andreas Schedler, ed., New York, St. Martin’s Press, 1997, pp. 149-167, on p. 159.

41    Wolfgang Streeck, quoted in Paul du Gay, “Representing ‘Globalization’:  Notes on the Discursive Ordering of Economic Life,” Without Guarantees:  In Honour of Stuart Hall, Paul Gilroy, Lawrence Grossberg, and Angela McRobbie, eds., New York, Verso, 2000, pp. 113-125, on p. 116.

42    See Hariman, Political Style, pp. 39-49; Aune, Selling the Market, Chapter 2, pp. 38-56.

43    See World Bank, World Development Report 2002:  Building Institutions for Markets.

44    Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy:  Towards a Radical Democratic Politics, New York, Verso, (1985), second edition, 2001.

45    Beattie, “World Bank Report to Defend Globalisation,” p. 6.

46    D. N. McCloskey, The Vices of Economists, The Virtues of the Bourgeoisie, Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Press, 1996, p. 128.

47    McCloskey, If You’re So Smart, pp. 32-33.

48    J. Peter Euben, “Introduction,” Greek Tragedy and Political Theory, Euben, ed., Berkeley, University of California Press, 1986, pp. 1-42, on p. 33.

49    Susan Bickford, The Dissonance of Democracy, Ithaca, NY, Cornell University Press, 1996, pp. 26-27.

50    See Fraser, “Rethinking the Public Sphere,” pp. 131-132.

51    See items 6, 8, and 10 in “10 Things You Never Knew About the World Bank,” a brochure and PDF file put out by the World Bank and available at www. worldbank. org.

52    Stiglitz, Globalization and Its Discontents, p. 5.

53    Rodrick, The New Global Economy and Developing Countries.

54    John Cavanagh of the Institute for Policy Studies, quoted in Eyal Press, “Rebel With a Cause:  The Re-Education of Joseph Stiglitz,” The Nation, 274, 22, June 10, 2002, p. 14.

55    At the APEC summit in October 2001, for example, the Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad criticized the “dictation” of economic policy by the West” and argued “if we leave too many of the disempowered and the disadvantaged behind, globalization cannot hold.  It cannot even be defended”:  “Mahathir Calls for Asia to Unite against Foreign Domination,” Agence France Presse, October 20, 2001.  See Joseph Kahn, “Globalization Proves Disappointing,” New York Times, March 21, 2002.

56    Global Trade Watch, May 22, 2002, www.

57    The Ruckus Society, May 22, 2002, http://

58    U.S. Network for Global Economic Justice, May 22, 2002,

59    Richard Falk, Predatory Globalization:  A Critique, Cambridge, Polity, 1999, pp. 3-4.

60    Again I do not want to speculate as to whether this appropriation is devious or genuine; what matters here is its effects.

61    The relationship between economic development and inequality has long been a subject of research.  Simon Kuznets argued that these two variables have an inverted U-shaped relationship, with the highest inegalitarianism arising at the middle levels of development:  “Economic Growth and Income Inequality,” American Economic Review, 45, 1, March, 1955, pp. 1-28.  Further work has called this relationship into question, arguing that reductions in inequality also depend on socio-political environments within each country.  See Kirk Bowman, “Should the Kuznets Effect be Relied on to Induce Equalizing Growth:  Evidence from Post-1950 Development,” World Development, 25, 1, January, 1997, pp. 127-143.  That is, economic stratification can continue throughout development unless addressed through institutional mechanisms.

62    1995 United Nations Trade and Development Report, quoted in Special Report by the International Forum on Globalization, Does Globalization Help the Poor? p. 13.

63    See Christian W. Weller, Robert E. Scott, and Adam S. Hersh, “The unremarkable record of liberalized trade.” October, June 15, 2002, briefingpapers/sept01inequality.html.  The World Bank continually reiterates that globalization does not necessarily lead to increased inequality, yet the neo-liberal orientation necessarily involves trade-offs as public expenditures fall.  David Dollar, a World Bank economist and principal author of the report analyzed here, recently co-wrote an article that repeats many of the report’s findings and states:  “But these shifts [in inequality] cannot be explained by any globalization-related variable.  . . . What changes in inequality do reflect are country-specific policies on education, taxes, and social protection” (David Dollar and Aart Kraay, “Spreading the Wealth,” Foreign Affairs, 81, 1, January-February, 2002, pp. 120-133, on p. 128.  Still these last three variables can reflect globalization, as when an IMF program or the future General Agreement on Trade in Services would require privatization of basic public services such as education, health care, and water supply.

64    See the telephone survey cited on p. 14 of Globalization, Growth and Poverty [Environics, “Poll Findings Suggest Trouble Ahead for the Globalization Agenda, Survey of 20,000 Citizens across 20 Key Countries, 2001, available at http://www.]; Thomas Friedman, “The Golden Straightjacket” The Lexus and the Olive Tree, New York, Anchor Books, 2002, pp. 101-111, especially the story of Sirivat Voravetvuthikun.

65    Frank Fischer, Technocracy and the Politics of Expertise, Newbury Park, CA, Sage, 1990, p.16.

66    Andreas Schedler, “Introduction:  Antipolitics – Closing and Colonizing the Public Sphere,” The End of Politics:  Explorations into Modern Antipolitics, pp. 1-20, on p. 3.

67    Joseph Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy, New York, HarperPerennial, 1942, p. 269.

68    Carole Pateman, Participation and Democratic Theory, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1970, p. 15.