Most helpful positive review
193 of 207 people found the following review helpful
Entertaining, educational and funny
on January 16, 2008
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. Thinking about it, the more competition he is exposed to and the sooner this done, the better it will be for his future development. It will whip him into a mentality that is ready for hard work. I should make him quit school and get a job. Perhaps I could move to a country where child labour is still tolerated, if not legal, to give him more choice in employment" [page 65].
I found this tongue-in-cheek style of criticism of global capitalism both hilarious and enlightening.
There are many more examples of Chang's knowledgeable and funny criticism of neo-liberalism I could list here, but I don't want this review to be a spoiler. So go read Chang's book.