Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism

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Bloomsbury Publishing USA, Aug 9, 2010 - Business & Economics - 288 pages
"Lucid, deeply informed, and enlivened with striking illustrations." -Noam Chomsky

One economist has called Ha-Joon Chang "the most exciting thinker our profession has turned out in the past fifteen years." With Bad Samaritans, this provocative scholar bursts into the debate on globalization and economic justice.

Using irreverent wit, an engagingly personal style, and a battery of examples, Chang blasts holes in the "World Is Flat" orthodoxy of Thomas Friedman and other liberal economists who argue that only unfettered capitalism and wide-open international trade can lift struggling nations out of poverty. On the contrary, Chang shows, today's economic superpowers-from the U.S. to Britain to his native Korea-all attained prosperity by shameless protectionism and government intervention in industry. We have conveniently forgotten this fact, telling ourselves a fairy tale about the magic of free trade and-via our proxies such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and World Trade Organization-ramming policies that suit ourselves down the throat of the developing world.


Unlike typical economists who construct models of how the marketplace should work, Chang examines the past: what has actually happened. His pungently contrarian history demolishes one pillar after another of free-market mythology. We treat patents and copyrights as sacrosanct-but developed our own industries by studiously copying others' technologies. We insist that centrally planned economies stifle growth-but many developing countries had higher GDP growth before they were pressured into deregulating their economies. Both justice and common sense, Chang argues, demand that we reevaluate the policies we force on nations that are struggling to follow in our footsteps.
 

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User Review  - HadriantheBlind - LibraryThing

Already read this. Very interesting criticism of neoliberal trade policy, and has some very relevant remarks on 'culture' and economic development. Argues that protectionism is a necessary component ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - CosmicPariah - LibraryThing

This book is one of the best economics books that I have read. The number of insights per page is very high here and no one else seems to be making these arguments which is a rare thing indeed. Read full review

Contents

The Lexus and the olive tree revisited
19
The double life of Daniel Defoe
40
My sixyearold son should get a job
65
The Finn and the elephant
84
Man exploits man
103
Windows 98 in 1997
122
Mission impossible?
145
Zaire vs Indonesia
160
Lazy Japanese and thieving Germans
182
epilogue
203
Notes
223
Index
267
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Ha-Joon Chang was born in Seoul, South Korea, and teaches Economics and Development Studies at the University of Cambridge. His books include the international bestseller Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism, Kicking Away the Ladder, winner of the Myrdal Prize, and 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism. Chang was awarded the Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought. He lives in Cambridge with his wife, Hee-Jeong Kim, and two children, Yuna, and Jin-Gyu.

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