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Nov book: Bad Samaritans - The Myth of Free Trade and...

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

Author: Ha-Joon Chang

About the Book

Using irreverent wit, an engagingly personal style, and a battery of examples, Chang blasts holes in 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 shows, 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. We have conveniently forgotten this fact, telling ourselves a fairy tale about the magic of free trade and—via our proxies such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and World Trade Organization—ramming policies that suit ourselves down the throat of the developing world

About the Author

Ha-Joon Chang is a Cambridge economist who, for the past two decades, has taught and researched issues related to economic development and globalisation. He has also worked as a consultant for the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, various UN agencies and for the governments of Brazil, Canada, Japan, South Africa, the UK, and Venezuela. He has published numerous articles and books, including Kicking Away the Ladder Development Strategy in Historical Perspective, which won the 2003 Myrdal Prize and has been translated into seven languages . In 2005, he and Richard Nelson of Columbia University received the Leontief Prize. He has been on the editorial board of the Cambridge Journal of Economics since 1992.

Flipkart link (It is much cheaper on Junglee as compared to Flipkart) link (Please note that the kindle version is only $5.69

Author's wikipedia page (There are many links at the bottom to his articles and interviews)

Goodreads page

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  • Sumantra R.

    I was unfortunately not able to attend this meetup. I have read parts of the book however and while the author makes a few valid points in it (for example - his criticisms of the IMF, World Bank etc.), the infant industry argument that is the primary thrust of the book has been thoroughly debunked in the past and continues to be an absurd proposition.

    Here is a critique of the book:

    Here are some critiques of the infant industry argument that the book relies on:

    1 · November 20, 2013

    • Siddharth S.

      But I do not want to really get into it, empirical evidences are simply too obvious and provided amply by the book, which I think you haven't read fully yet. I think, there was nothing in the "nature" of my last two comments. I was simply pointing to the totality of these global systems ( to which you are somehow oblivious). Free trade has come with wars, famines, imperialism. It did not exist in vacuum. The common good that you talk about is of course for a better minority common. Not universal.
      I think , my reply was to the point, considering you said I don't "understand" freedom , which I believe should not be appropriated by Capital.

      November 23, 2013

    • Siddharth S.

      Free trade was /is is a tool to Capital. It does not exist by itself but comes with its own baggage, to serve its own end, which is to valorise Capital. And then free trade of what? To whom? What is your need? Cars? Oils? Do you really think that all the goods sold in market today are our needs. No, they are manufactured needs. Like Steve Jobs said, customer is an idiot, tell him what he needs and he will buy. Lastly, I am not a fan of Mises. I can share other articles from Zizek, Marx, Stiglitz, Prabhat , etc. as a response , but it's better to not drag them ! Also, I like to discuss more the idea itself, as a totality of events, hence lesser empirical evidences in previous comments.

      Thanks for your patience. I really appreciate it!

      November 23, 2013

  • arvind b.

    Dear friends,

    A reminder - We will be meeting day after tomorrow. Special welcome to the folks who will be attending their first meetup. I am looking forward to another evening of thoughtful discussion.
    Feel free to call me at - Eight Eight Six One Two Zero One Three Eight One , in case you have any queries.

    November 11, 2013

  • arvind b.

    Hi Friends,

    I finished reading the book yesterday. It was quite an informative read. Among other things, it discusses issues like FDI (at a very high level) and it gave a good perspective to me on its pros and cons and other alternatives. Some more food for thought - (a) As i was reading, i got a good references to Jagdeesh Bhagwati's book on Globalization. It will be good to have perspectives from him as well, may be more relevant given the recent Bhagwati vs Amartya Sen debate. (b) Given the points raised, i expected a lot of backlash against this book but i am not able to find negative reviews against this book. Anybody has references that questions the claims of this book?

    (c) Rightly, as someone pointed in the GoodReads review, as Why Nations Fail explained why nations failed, this book offers some points on why nations succeed. It will be good to see on how the two theories overlap/contradict. I am looking forward to our discussion next week.

    November 6, 2013

  • arvind b.

    A couple of points - (a) Please order the book early as it may take a week or more for it to be delivered. (Most of the sellers are selling an imported edition, so not sure how much of them are in stock)

    (b) Please RSVP only if you are sure that you will be able to read atleast 20% of the book. Thank you.

    September 21, 2013

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