Bad Samaritans

  • by Ha-Joon Chang
  • Narrated by Jim Bond
  • 9 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

With irreverent wit, an engagingly personal style, and a battery of real-life examples, Ha-Joon Chang blasts holes in the "World Is Flat" orthodoxy of Thomas Friedman and other neo-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 United States to Britain to his native South Korea - all attained prosperity by shameless protectionism and government intervention in industry. We in the wealthy nations 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, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization - ramming policies that suit ourselves down the throat of the developing world.Unlike typical economists who construct models of how economies are supposed to behave, Chang examines the past: what has actually happened. His pungently contrarian history demolishes one pillar after another of free-market mythology. 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 weaker nations.Bad Samaritans calls on America to return to its abandoned role, embodied in programs like the Marshall Plan, to offer a helping hand, instead of a closed fist, to countries struggling to follow in our footsteps.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Would Be Better As An Article

Would have made an excellent Atlantic article - not enough for a book. It is good that Chang challenges the conventional wisdom of the Washington consensus on free-trade. As an Economist reader I'm happy to my assumptions challenged. The best chapters are routed in history - not argument.

I very much enjoyed hearing a first-hand account of the risk of South Korea, from one of the world's poorest countries to one of the wealthiest - and the policies that allowed this transformation. This story is particularly interesting to me as my in-laws are Korean immigrants. But Chang does not have enough new to say for a whole book, and ends up repeating himself and his argument far too often.
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- Joshua Kim

Everyone should have to read this book

If you couple this book with Alan Greenspans book and hold our current economic crisis against them you can easily see where we have failed to apply what we know but instead began to believe our own propaganda.
The only truly successful Free MArket Societies are regulated one. It is not arguable. History simply proves it.

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- Ginger

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-18-2008
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio