Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ Free Shipping
Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism Paperback – January 2, 2009
|New from||Used from|
Books with Buzz
Discover the latest buzz-worthy books, from mysteries and romance to humor and nonfiction. Explore more
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
"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
About the Author
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Yet Professor Chang not only lampoons the obvious failures of Chicago School orthodoxy, he explains in simple terms where it goes wrong. One comes away with a solid understanding of why many activists from developing countries regard the present world order as "neo-colonial". That is, while the IMF, World Bank, and WTO preach that free markets and free trade will be a "golden straightjacket" leading to rapid development, the results have been the opposite. Instead successful countries like the Asian Tigers have used strongly protectionistic measures to build their "infant industries" (the term coined by Alexander Hamilton, the architect of US protectionism). These results expose a hidden neo-colonial agenda, designed to benefit first world mega-corporations and speculators.
However Chang's book totally misses the most fundamental economic issue of our times, namely, limits to growth. Mainstream economic theory is based not only on "greed is good" but also "growth is good". Yet resource and environmental limits to growth are bearing down hard, threatening global "ecological overshoot and collapse" over the coming decades. The kind of economic growth that would bring all developing countries up to current first world standards is simply impossible, no matter what the trade or industrial policies. Instead a determined attempt to achieve that growth will simply hasten the collapse. How to do justice in this situation, let alone survive, is a tall order.
various manifestations. I didn't give it 5 stars only because it is a tad tedious at times, unlike another of his works which was spell binding.
The author, this economist, is someone we all should be hearing from on a wide range of topics. Eye opening stuff.
Its strongest point is surveying economic history of today's rich countries. All of them share one common theme: 'Infant industry protection' (as argued by Alexander Hamilton, the first US treasury secretary, although he was not the first one to follow this path). Their early industrial policymakers were not encumbered by economic ideologies (compare them to today's overly dogmatic elites!). Not to mention they had no illusion as to what to do to make economic progress, including how to wield the power of their governments to achieve their goals.
Unfortunately, economic history has been neglected in most economics classes, but fortunately a book like this one is available to fill this intellectual gap. Also, by taking a look at their developmental economic policies, you get a better understanding of mercantilism and colonialism of 17th through 19th centuries. The book's historical treatment also helps to explain economic policies of newcomers like China and India: Notice how little they are buying today's free-market orthodoxy when it comes to their respective national economic developments.
Kudos for professor Ha Joon Chang !!
Top international reviews
It seems that all the chickens espoused by the likes of Margaret Thatcher, the Americans and every other idiot who bought into this madness are at last coming home to roost. This book is a timely reminder that it hasn't always been this way. In fact many of the countries that promote free trade economics have themselves used the same protectionist policies to grow their economies when starting out. The tactic of name calling is not only childish, but doesn't allow younger economies to grow their own economies so they are no longer dependent on foreign aid. A brilliant book, well written by a superb economics professor who makes so many others populist economists seem only interested in promoting themselves rather than good policies. The book was also delivered very quickly and in good order.
Its a must read!
Neo-Liberalism is BAD!
If you don't know what that is, no worries. You will be sick of the term just 20 pages into this book.
Anyway, some interesting things this book argues:
- Not only is piracy fantastic for developing countries (hooray for piracy!!!) but almost all rich countries have indulged in it themselves on their way up the global ladder. It follows that advancing patent and copyright laws are having dire consequences for developing countries e.g. the golden rice example.
- Corrupt governments can be a relatively good thing for developing countries, especially if it speeds up a turgid bureaucratic systems and allows underpaid officials to keep their jobs. (Poor countries often don't have the taxation to support their officials).
- Culture is practically insignificant from an economic standpoint. Muslim? Confucian? Protestant? (sorry Max Webber!) It doesn't matter squat!! Economy creates hard working culture. The most striking example is Japan and Germany's 19th Century reputation for being lazy, unambitious, and carefree. Given the economic conditions, any country can and will produce an energetic work force.
- Probably ALL rich countries have blood on their hands, when it comes to stifling the growth of developing countries. Double standards abound.
- Nationalisation and state subsidies are probably the BEST defense for budding industries in developing countries. (This is main argument of the book and is probably the most complex and difficult to explain).
So there you have it.
I'll admit the book wasn't as accessible as I had wished - each chapter starts vividly, but descends into very complex ideas quickly - but it met my expectations as to it's content.
I'm just happy for one thing.
I am as angry as anyone about the state of the world *rage*, and this book has helped me articulate that anger to myself. (Not I believe I could make a difference *sadness*)
P.S. A few bits of advice for those with no background in economics (like myself).
This is not a light read like Bad Science. It's full of initialisms that are explained but I found myself flipping to the index to remind myself what they meant. A glossary would have been nicer.
This book is part historical, part analytical. It contrasts the current economic policies imposed by Western institutions on developing countries, with the policies adopted by these countries at similar stages of development in the 19th and 20th century. In doing so, he highlights the hypocrisy of government's and global institutions (mainly the WTO, IMF and WB) who impose deregulation & free trade, having used many of these protectionist tools whilst they themselves were undergoing their major economic development.
The book is not perfect. For anyone familiar with Ha-Joon Chang, it is still spiked with his polemical and sometimes myopic approach. However, it is informed, interesting, engaging, and challenging - highly recommended, for all.
Anyone with any interest in politics should read this.