Bad Samaritans (Paperback)
The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism
Bloomsbury Press, 9781596915985, 288pp.
Publication Date: January 2, 2009
"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.
About the Author
Praise For Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism…
"Lucid, deeply informed, and enlivened with striking illustrations ... [Chang's] incisive analysis shows how, and why, prescriptions based on reigning doctrines have caused severe harm, particularly to the most vulnerable and defenseless, and are likely to continue to do so." - Noam Chomsky
"I recommend this book to people who have any interest in these issues - i.e. everyone." - Bob Geldof
"A smart, lively, and provocative book that offers us compelling new ways of looking at globalization." - Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel laureate in economics, 2001
" The resulting polemic about the shortcomings of neoliberal economic theory's belief in unlimited free-market competition and its effect on the developing world is provocative and may hold the key to similar miracles for some of the world's most troubled economies." - Publishers Weekly, starred review