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Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism Paperback – December 23, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Press; Reprint edition (December 23, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596915986
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596915985
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,493 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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).
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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 --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Very easy reading.
Gonzalez Guillermo A
Ha-Joon Chang's "Bad Samaritans" is easily the best single work on the myths of Free Trade.
Jonathan
The audio book is wonderful.
V. Restrepo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

182 of 192 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover
One of the principle complaints of conservatives is that all education in America is deliberately skewed with a "left-wing" bias from kindergarten to college. And yet the field where this "bias", (if you accept this view) is clearly undone is the field of economic education. Whether you read the business section of the New York Times, the Harvard Business Review or National Public Radio, the actual bias present is really for the neo-classical economic model (AKA, neo-liberal economics) of the laissez-faire variety.

Dr. Chang, a professor of economics at Cambridge and former World Bank researcher, deconstructs in general and in detail many of the prevailing myths of the neo-liberal school of economic development. My favorite chapters were these two:

Chapter 1-The Lexus and the olive tree revisited. In this chapter Dr. Chang explains why he thinks that NYT columnist and author Thomas Friedman is full of crap about the benefits of globalization for ordinary people [pages 19-40].

Chapter 3-My six-year-old son should get a job. Says Chang: "I have a six-year-old son. His name is Jin-Gyu. He lives off me, yet is quite capable of making a living. I pay for his lodging, food, education and health care. But millions of children of his age already have jobs. Daniel Defoe, in the 18th century, thought that children could earn a living from the age of four. Moreover, working might do Jin-Gyu's character a world of good. Right now he lives in an economic bubble with no sense of the value of money. He has zero appreciation of the efforts his mother and I make on his behalf, subsidizing this idle existence and cocooning him from harsh reality. He is over-protected and needs to be exposed to competition, so that he can become a more productive person.
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93 of 106 people found the following review helpful By Robert David STEELE Vivas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on February 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While other books (linked below) have focused on the evils done in our name, this is the first book I have seen that dissects economic history in order to demonstrate the hypocrisy of the current regime that bullies lesser developed countries with the IMF-WTO-World Bank interlocking conditionalities.

The author comes down solidly in favor of protectionism, foreign investment controls, state-owned enterprises, avoidance of privatization, not allowing patents to clash with the public interest, the need to defy the marketplace and respect the role of manufacturing, and the influence of culture (and changing the culture through government direction).

This is a nuanced book that trashes the neo-liberals while speaking truth to power. On any given prescrption, the author will say "it depends" and avoid leaning to one extreme over another.

He touches on democracy as not necessarily good for developement, and corruption not necessarily bad.

Other books that I respect as much as this one:
The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It
The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time
The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits (Wharton School Publishing Paperbacks)
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67 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Loyd E. Eskildson HALL OF FAME on February 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
"Free Trade" has been progressively wrecking America's economy for at least two decades. Meanwhile, economists in our colleges continue, almost without exception, to warn of protectionism while extolling the writings of Adam Smith and David Ricardo - written long before today's gross wage imbalance between Asia and the U.S., instant communications, and fast, economical international transportation. Finally, a Cambridge economist, Ha Joon Chang, brings facts and common sense to the debate - aided considerably by the free-trade ignoring successes of his native country, South Korea - eg. Samsung, and Pohang Iron and Steel. (And then there's Toyota - started out in textiles, was protected by auto tariffs, and now the world's #1 auto manufacturer and teacher of advanced management techniques.)

"Bad Samaritans," as Chalmers Johnson points out, refers to "people in the rich countries who preach free markets and free trade to the poor countries in order to capture larger shares of the latter's markets and preempt the emergence of possible competitors." They are saying "do as we say, not as we did" and take advantage of others who are in trouble. He also points out that all of today's rich countries (INCLUDING the U.S.) used protection and subsidies to encourage their manufacturing industries - anathema in today's economic orthodoxy and contrary to the WTO, IMF, and World Bank. As a result, third-world nations' growth rates have fallen to less than half of that recorded in the 1960s (1.7 percent instead of 4.5 percent).

As for corruption being incompatible with high growth, Chang points to Zaire vs. Indonesia. Both suffered from murderous corruption, yet the former's living standards fell two-thirds while Indonesia's tripled.
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