Book review Bad Samaritans

Topics: Developing country, Developed country, Economic development Pages: 3 (801 words) Published: September 29, 2013
The author of the book, professor Ha-Joon Chang, is not a globalization critic, however, all along the book he points out the harmful policies driving globalization. He takes a historical approach to answer the question of how less developed and poor countries became rich. Chang believes that international trade is essential in order to achieve economic development. Nevertheless, he admits many neo-liberal economic policies are not only hypocritical but also damaging to developing nations.

The main thesis to highlight in Bad Samaritans is that neo-liberal policies do not particularly help developing countries, and instead favor the rich ones. According to Chang, the developed West promotes laissez-faire and free-trade policies even though they actually follow protectionist strategies. He enumerates all the negative consequences on developing countries for example less freedom of choice, the inability to protect their “infant industries”, and the external regulation on their finances. International institutions forced less developed countries to adopt free-trade policies, which has “kicked away the ladder” (Chang, p.xxii prologue). Chang affirms it is in developed countries’ interest to do so, and states historical cases to reaffirm his beliefs.

According to Chang, developed countries would not be as rich as they are today if it were not for tariffs and subsidies they used in the past. In other words, rich countries used the same protectionist policies they claim to be unethical today. The idea is that “they are preventing the poorer countries from using the tools of trade and industrial policies that they had themselves so effectively used in the past in order to promote their own economic development” (Chang, p.62). Chang’s main point is that not allowing poor countries to do the same is quite unfair. The author affirms that the only path towards economic development is through the acquisition of foreign technologies, applying it on their industries,...

Bibliography: Chang, Ha-Joon. Bad Samaritans - The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism. Ed. Bloomsbury Press. 2007.
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