ABOUT THIS BOOK
Economic news once confined to the business pages of the newspapers now receives headline coverage, whether it involves protests in Seattle or sweatshops in Asia. As attention is increasingly focused on economic policy, it becomes even more important for noneconomists to be able to make sense of these stories. Is the Asian economy sinking or rising? What effects will a single European currency have on the US economy? Kenneth W. Dam's The Rules of the Global Game provides, in clear and practical language, a framework to help readers understand and answer such questions. Dam takes us beyond the headlines and inside the decision-making process as it is populated by lobbyists, special interest groups, trade associations, and public relations firms. While some economists and thinkers have idealized plans for US international economic policy, Dam, currently the deputy secretary of the treasury, manages to merge this idealism with a consideration of what it means to govern at the intersection of competing groups with competing claims.
In The Rules of the Global Game, Dam first lays out what US international economic policies are and compares them to what they should be based on how they affect US per capita income. With this foundation in place, Dam then develops and applies principles for elucidating the major components of economic policy, such as foreign trade and investment, international monetary and financial systems, and current controversial issues, including intellectual property and immigration. Underlying his explanations is a belief in the importance of worldwide free trade and open markets as well as a crucial understanding of the political forces that shape decision making. Because economic policy is not created in a political vacuum, Dam argues, sound policymaking requires an understanding of "statecraft"-the creation and use of institutions that channel the efforts of interest groups and political forces in directions that encourage good economic outcomes.
Dam's vast experience with the politics and practicalities of economic policy translates into a view of policy that is neither academic nor abstract. Rather, Dam shows us how policy is actually made, who makes it, and why, using examples such as GATT, NAFTA, the US-Japan semiconductor agreement, and the Asian financial crisis. A rare book that can be read with pleasure and profit by layperson and economist alike, The Rules of the Global Game allows readers to understand the policies that shape our economy and our lives.