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Bad Samaritans: Rich Nations, Poor Policies and the Threat to the Developing World [Hardcover]

Ha-Joon Chang
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 July 2007
It's rare that a book appears with a fresh perspective on world affairs, but renowned economist Ha-Joon Chang has some startlingly original things to say about the future of globalization. In theory, he argues, the world's wealthiest countries and supra-national institutions like the IMF, World Bank and WTO want to see all nations developing into modern industrial societies. In practice, though, those at the top are 'kicking away the ladder' to wealth that they themselves climbed. Why? Self-interest certainly plays a part. But, more often, rich and powerful governments and institutions are actually being 'Bad Samaritans': their intentions are worthy but their simplistic free-market ideology and poor understanding of history leads them to inflict policy errors on others. Chang demonstrates this by contrasting the route to success of economically vibrant countries with the very different route now being dictated to the world's poorer nations. In the course of this, he shows just how muddled the thinking is in such key areas as trade and foreign investment. He shows that the case for privatisation and against state involvement is far from proven. And he explores the ways in which attitudes to national cultures and political ideologies are obscuring clear thinking and creating bad policy. Finally, he argues the case for new strategies for a more prosperous world that may appall the 'Bad Samaritans'.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books (5 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 190521135X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905211357
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.8 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 860,234 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'A smart, lively and provocative book that offers us compelling
new ways to look at globalization' -- Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel Laureate in Economics, 2001

'Every orthodoxy needs effective critics. Ha-Joon Chang is
probably the world's most effective critic of globalization' -- Martin Wolf, Financial Times, author of 'Why Globalization Works'

'a marvellous book. Well researched, panoramic in its scope and
beautifully written... I strongly urge you to read it'
-- Larry Elliott, Economics Editor, Guardian

'an excellent book ... the logical discipline of economics... in jargon-free prose that sparkles with anecdotes and practical observations.'
-- International Affairs, September 2007

'in this more polemical tract, he adds the spark of personal reflection ... and some mischievous rhetorical set-pieces' -- The Economist , 1 September 2007

Lucid, deeply informed, and enlivened with striking illustrations, this penetrating study could be entitled "economics in the real world." -- Noam Chomsky

Book Description

A radical look by a leading economist at the issues surrounding the future of globalization. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Right on point! 24 Dec 2010
Format:Paperback
I first came across the "infant industry argument" during my A-level economics class at Bearwood College. It was forever imprinted on my memory as an absurd excuse by inefficient states for protectionism. We were taught that the process to good economic development was through free trade and more importantly history and theory supported it. Of course since then I have come across fantastic papers that debunk the one sided nature of the free trade indoctrination, with Robert Driskill's `Deconstructing the argument for free trade' probably being among the best of them. However, it remains the case that this simplistic and biased view of free trade continues to dominate current development economic thinking and media punditry. Such is the scale of the challenge that the brilliant South Korean economist Ha-Joon Chang seeks to overcome in this entertaining and highly readable book. In my view the book successfully demolishes the free trade and economic development myths that are perpetuated by "neo-liberal economists" and the "bad Samaritan" institutions of the IMF, World Bank and WTO and their supporting governments.

Anyone preaching a different doctrine of development from the "neo-liberal" brigade is naturally declared a heretic and consigned to the periphery of mainstream economic thought. Not Ha-Joon Chang. A renowned development economist, who has worked as a consultant for the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, various UN agencies and many governments around the world. A recipient of the prestigious Leontief Prize and good friend of Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, Professor Chang has published many articles on the subject, including the critically acclaimed 'Kicking Away the Ladder - Development Strategy in Historical Perspective'.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book. 29 Nov 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
There are so many books on poverty out there, they all seem to blur into one....Not Bad Samaritans. This book stands out as far and away the best I've ever read (and I've done post-graduate study in International Development so I've read a lot!). If you are looking for a factually balanced, well written book which is accessible to everyone, pick this!

Dr. Chang is a Professor from Cambridge University, UK and it shows. His views are a product of years of detailed reserach - everything he says is backed up with accurate and balanced data.

I recommend this book to everyone!
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 18 Aug 2008
Format:Hardcover
Bad Samaritans is a more personal and more polemical book than Ha-Joon Chang's earlier Kicking Away the Ladder, but it is still very restrained compared to most "anti-globalisation" books, and far more effective. Chang is not properly opposed to trade and markets as such, but merely argues that the current economic policies supported by the IMF and wealthy countries are hindering development and creating poverty. He bases this view not only on his very rigorous research into comparative development over his years as an economics professor, but also on his direct experience of his native South Korea's development.

Chang's brilliant riposte to Thomas L. Friedman, in the chapter "The Lexus and the Olive Tree Revisited" is worth more than the very modest cost of the book on its own. While the economics is spot-on, and very well informed, the style is easy to read, and just right for the general reader.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent economics book by Chang 7 July 2008
Format:Paperback
Bad Samaritans is a more personal and more polemical book than Ha-Joon Chang's earlier Kicking Away the Ladder, but it is still very restrained compared to most "anti-globalisation" books, and far more effective. Chang is not properly opposed to trade and markets as such, but merely argues that the current economic policies supported by the IMF and wealthy countries are hindering development and creating poverty. He bases this view not only on his very rigorous research into comparative development over his years as an economics professor, but also on his direct experience of his native South Korea's development.

Chang's brilliant riposte to Thomas L. Friedman, in the chapter "The Lexus and the Olive Tree Revisited" is worth more than the very modest cost of the book on its own. While the economics is spot-on, and very well informed, the style is easy to read, and just right for the general reader.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By German
Format:Paperback
I bought this book by chance and have to say that I was completely surprised by it's content. I was born and raised in a third world country in South America, then did a PhD in Europe and worked a little bit so I have a view on both worlds and find the content of this book very accurate, according to my own experience. What this book tells is the story of how third world countries had to struggle to survive using the rules imposed by rich countries. Many people is convinced that we always have to do as they said but recently, after years of using that formula, some countries started listening to new ideas and tried (and are still trying) to brake the vicious circle they are into.
This books explains in easy terms why is that those formulas were not working and why they are appealing to the rich countries. Thus why they impose them on the poor countries.
For people living in rich countries this book can show them the cost of their high standards of living and once they know they will be able to try to change things. This books also shows how the rich countries can grow while the poor countries also do it. So it is not an apolitical view, on the contrary, I see it as a message of hope. The more we know the more we can change.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars PERFECT
This is what I wanted, I can't complain about it... I could be cheaper but it's good. Thanks a lot!
Published 2 months ago by Raquel
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
Very interesting book. Well written, not so academic, but based on facts. I could read that in few days. Thank the author.
Published 5 months ago by alena georgiu
5.0 out of 5 stars Good pop economics book. But be warned it isn't light reading!
An alternative title for this book could be:
Neo-Liberalism is BAD!

If you don't know what that is, no worries. Read more
Published 5 months ago by I. Cummings-knight
1.0 out of 5 stars Bad samaritans... bad writing...
Interesting subject and opinion, but the writing is dull as dish water making the book practically unreadable, which is a shame. Read more
Published 6 months ago by WebSanity
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
I needed to read one of 5 books for a course andf chose this one and do not regret it. A very interesting read.
Published 9 months ago by Kishan Parmar
5.0 out of 5 stars Stop drinking the Kool-Aid: read this book now
Do free trade and unregulated markets produce real prosperity for all?

Instead of comparing theories, Chang's book gives a historical record of what today's rich... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Q. Dake
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading
Effortlessly and undeniably, this book demolishes most of what we were taught in my MBA courses about the desirability of free markets for all. Read more
Published on 23 Feb 2012 by Z de MC
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, informative
If you're interested in political economy, globalisation and international development and have read a lot on these topics, you will probably not find many new arguments or... Read more
Published on 4 Feb 2011 by B. Celiktemur
5.0 out of 5 stars A most important work
This is, hands down, one of the best books I've ever read. Drawing on an impressive range of historical works and observations, Chang gives a balanced view of present economic woes... Read more
Published on 23 Nov 2010 by Marcus Aurelius
3.0 out of 5 stars Great book but not on Kindle
I have recently become a fan of Prof Chang after reading "23 Things etc" so I immediately downloaded "Bad Samaritans" to find, on the Kindle version the Contents section and... Read more
Published on 10 Nov 2010 by ajb bucks
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