Rough Trade

Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism, by Ha-Joon Chang, appears to be causing a bit of a stir at the minute. I finished it yesterday. It’s a punchy and confrontational engagement with dominant neo-liberal economic doctrine. His style at times strikes one as an wittily ironic imitation of the Big Idea economist-commentator. Basically, the book shows how rich nations -the US, the UK, Japan- developed their economies via protectionist measures, and how the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO -the tools of rich nations- shaft the world’s poor countries by forcing them to conform to economic policies that prevent them from developing their own economies.

This lecture above is a good and amusing overview of the book’s thesis.

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