Nonteheless, rocks and intimidation are the worst arguments; indeed, they are no arguments. Neither is running away. IMF and World Bank have plenty of good arguments against those critics who are at least willing to listen. The kind of liberal global capitalism these institutions embody has worked better in the postwar period than any competing system, especially in the guise of autarky-minded state capitalism of the Soviet or Third World kind.

Whoever runs the numbers through his computers ends up with the same message: openness is good for development, and closure is not. And the more open a country to world-trade and investment, the more rapidly it grows. As it grows, other good things happen, such as a rapid increase in literacy and life expectancy. As a result, integration into the world economy even helps to get rid of brutal, corrupt and incompetent regimes. Globalization, as the Economist reminds us in its current issue, makes the difference between "South and North Korea, Malaysia and Myanmar."

Yet instead of arguing, IMF and World Bank absconded. In Prague, practicing capitalism with a cowardly face.