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Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism Hardcover – Bargain Price, December 26, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Press (December 26, 2007)
  • ISBN-10: 1596913991
  • ASIN: B001P3OMQY
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,776,071 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In the 1950s, South Korea was one of the poorest countries in the world, suffering the aftereffects of decades of brutal Japanese colonialism and war with its northern counterpart. During his childhood, Chang (Kicking Away the Ladder), a respected economist at the University of Cambridge, witnessed the beginnings of Korea's postwar economic miracle as Gen. Park Chung-Hee's dictatorship (despite its corrupt machinations) set the economic groundwork that would lift Korea out of poverty. Though Korea's strategies are heretical to first world, free-market economists, Chang argues that the world's wealthiest nations historically relied on the same heavy-handed protectionist approaches in their quests for economic hegemony. These wealthy, first world economies, which preach free market and free trade to the poor countries in order to capture larger shares of the latter's markets and to pre-empt the emergence of possible competitors are Chang's bad Samaritans. Chang builds his outsider stance through a history of capitalism and globalization and stories of other struggling countries' economic transformations. 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. (Jan.)
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Review

“A well-researched and readable case against free-trade orthodoxy.” —Business Week

“A lively addition to the protectionist side of the debate…well written and far more serious than most anti-globalization gibberish.” — New York Sun

“Bookstore shelves are loaded with offerings by economists and commentators seeking to explain, in accessible prose, why free-trade-style globalization is desirable and even indispensable for countries the world over. Now comes the best riposte from the critics that I have seen. Readers who are leery of open-market orthodoxy will rejoice at the cogency of Bad Samaritans. Ha-Joon Chang has the credentials -- he's on the economics faculty at Cambridge University -- and the storytelling skill to make a well-informed, engaging case against the dogma propagated by globalization's cheerleaders. Believers in free trade will find that the book forces them to recalibrate and maybe even backpedal a bit….Chang's book deserves a wide readership for illuminating the need for humility about the virtues of private markets and free trade, especially in the developing world.” —Paul Blustein, Washington Post

 “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.  He goes on to provide sensible and constructive proposals, solidly based on economic theory and historical evidence, as to how the global economy could be redesigned to proceed on a far more humane and civilized course.  And his warnings of what might happen if corrective action is not taken are grim and apt.” – Noam Chomsky

“A smart, lively, and provocative book that offers us compelling new ways of looking at globalization.” —Joseph Stiglitz, 2001 Nobel Laureate in Economics

“I recommend this book to people who have any interest in these issues—i.e. everyone.” —Bob Geldof

“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 marvelous 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 globalisation. I strongly urge you to read it.”—Larry Elliott, economics editor, the Guardian

 


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Customer Reviews

Very easy reading.
Gonzalez Guillermo A
I find it interesting to think that patent protection for most things is not necessary or enforcable in developing countries and is incompatable with free trade.
Charles Wigo
The audio book is wonderful.
V. Restrepo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

184 of 195 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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92 of 105 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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