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

Author: Ha-Joon Chang

Subject: General; economics; Business & Economics; International; Economic History; Capitalism; Free trade

Publisher: Bloomsbury Press (2008-12-23)

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

“Lucid, deeply informed, and enlivened with striking illustrations, this penetrating study could be entitled ‘Economics in the Real World.’ Chang reveals the yawning gap between standard doctrines concerning economic development and what really has taken place from the origins of the industrial revolution until today. His 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

Using irreverent wit, an engagingly personal style, and a battery of examples, Chang blasts holes in the “World I s Flat” orthodoxy of T homas 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, I nternational Monetary Fund, and World T rade Organization—ramming policies that suit ourselves down the throat of the developing world.

From Publishers Weekly

Chang's detailed, thorough book puts another theoretical nail in the coffin of free trade and unbridled capitalism. Chang illustrates a vast array of contradictions and hypocrisies spouted by the neoliberal agenda (sometimes known as neo-conservative in the U.S.) to completely deregulate developing governments. Looking at the history of capitalism, he reveals how often free trade has failed where protectionism has benefited many of the richer countries today including the U.S. and U.K. Bond, who has his work cut out for him with Chang's long, technical and fact-laden work, does a good job of emphasis and pacing. But staying atop the tidal wave of information and complex connections in Chang's writing may require listening to the audiobook in small chunks or listening to some sections more than once. Bond's smooth but stern delivery proves a useful companion. Simultaneous release with the Bloomsbury hardcover (Reviews, Nov. 12).
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Review

"A smart, lively and provocative book that offers us compelling new ways to look at globalization " -- Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel Laureate In Economics, 2001 "Every orthodoxy needs effective critics. Ha-Joon Chang is probably the world's most effective critic of globalization. He does not deny the benefits to developing countries of integration into the world economy. But he draws on the lessons of history to argue that they must be allowed to integrate on their own terms" -- Martin Wolf, Financial Times, Author Of 'why Globalization Works' "This is a marvellous book. Well researched, panoramic in its scope and beautifully written, Bad Samaritans, is the perfect riposte to devotees of a one-size-fits-all model of growth and globalization. I strongly urge you to read it" -- Larry Elliott, Economics Editor, Guardian "In this more polemical tract, [Chang] adds the spark of personal reflection ... and some mischievous rhetorical set-pieces." The Economist "This is an excellent book...deploys the logical discipline of economics and its engagement with quantitative evidence, but does so in jargon-free prose that sparkles with anecdotes and practical observations." International Affairs 20070901