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


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Bloomsbury Press


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1596915986

9781596915985

288 Pages

$17.00

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One economist has called Ha-Joon Chang “the most exciting thinker our profession has turned out in the past fifteen years.” With Bad Samaritans, this scholar takes on the debate on globalization and economic justice. Using irreverent wit, an engagingly personal style, and a battery of examples, Chang challenges the “World Is Flat” orthodoxy of Thomas 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 reminds us, 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. Via proxies such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and World Trade Organization, we have pushed policies that suit ourselves on to countries in the developing world. Unlike economists who construct models of how the marketplace should work, Chang examines the past: what has actually happened. His contrarian history demolishes one pillar after another of free-market mythology. According to Chang, we treat patents and copyrights as sacrosanct—but developed our own industries by studiously copying others’ technologies. We insist that centrally planned economies stifle growth—but many developing countries had higher GDP growth before they were pressured into deregulating their economies. Both justice and common sense, Chang argues, demand that we reevaluate the policies we force on nations that are struggling to follow in our footsteps.

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Ha-Joon Chang has taught at the Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge, since 1990. He has consulted for numerous international organizations, including the U nited Nations, the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank. He has published eleven books, including Kicking Away the Ladder, winner of the 2003 Myrdal Prize. In 2005, Chang was awarded the Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


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  • Ha-Joon Chang has taught at the Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge, since 1990. He has consulted for numerous international organizations, including the United Nations, the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank. He has published eleven books, including Kicking Away the Ladder, winner of the 2003 Myrdal Prize. In 2005, Chang was awarded the Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought.
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