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Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism (Anglais) Broché – 23 décembre 2008

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Revue de presse


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. He does not deny the benefits to developing countries of integration into the world economy. But he draws on the lessons of history to argue that they must be allowed to integrate on their own terms" (Martin Wolf, Financial Times, author of 'Why Globalization Works')

"This is a marvellous book. Well researched, panoramic in its scope and beautifully written, Bad Samaritans, is the perfect riposte to devotees of a one-size-fits-all model of growth and globalization. I strongly urge you to read it" (Larry Elliott, Economics Editor, Guardian)

"In this more polemical tract, [Chang] adds the spark of personal reflection ... and some mischievous rhetorical set-pieces." (The Economist)

"This is an excellent book...deploys the logical discipline of economics and its engagement with quantitative evidence, but does so in jargon-free prose that sparkles with anecdotes and practical observations." (International Affairs) --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.

Présentation de l'éditeur

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'.

--Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.

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Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 276 pages
  • Editeur : Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; Édition : Reprint (23 décembre 2008)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 1596915986
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596915985
  • Dimensions du produit: 14,4 x 2 x 20,9 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
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Par ANGKOR le 9 septembre 2013
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191 internautes sur 203 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Entertaining, educational and funny 16 janvier 2008
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur
Format: Relié
One of the principle complaints of conservatives is that all education in America is deliberately skewed with a "left-wing" bias from kindergarten to college. And yet the field where this "bias", (if you accept this view) is clearly undone is the field of economic education. Whether you read the business section of the New York Times, the Harvard Business Review or National Public Radio, the actual bias present is really for the neo-classical economic model (AKA, neo-liberal economics) of the laissez-faire variety.

Dr. Chang, a professor of economics at Cambridge and former World Bank researcher, deconstructs in general and in detail many of the prevailing myths of the neo-liberal school of economic development. My favorite chapters were these two:

Chapter 1-The Lexus and the olive tree revisited. In this chapter Dr. Chang explains why he thinks that NYT columnist and author Thomas Friedman is full of crap about the benefits of globalization for ordinary people [pages 19-40].

Chapter 3-My six-year-old son should get a job. Says Chang: "I have a six-year-old son. His name is Jin-Gyu. He lives off me, yet is quite capable of making a living. I pay for his lodging, food, education and health care. But millions of children of his age already have jobs. Daniel Defoe, in the 18th century, thought that children could earn a living from the age of four. Moreover, working might do Jin-Gyu's character a world of good. Right now he lives in an economic bubble with no sense of the value of money. He has zero appreciation of the efforts his mother and I make on his behalf, subsidizing this idle existence and cocooning him from harsh reality. He is over-protected and needs to be exposed to competition, so that he can become a more productive person. Thinking about it, the more competition he is exposed to and the sooner this done, the better it will be for his future development. It will whip him into a mentality that is ready for hard work. I should make him quit school and get a job. Perhaps I could move to a country where child labour is still tolerated, if not legal, to give him more choice in employment" [page 65].

I found this tongue-in-cheek style of criticism of global capitalism both hilarious and enlightening.

There are many more examples of Chang's knowledgeable and funny criticism of neo-liberalism I could list here, but I don't want this review to be a spoiler. So go read Chang's book.
94 internautes sur 107 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Speaking truth to power, helpful revisionism 22 février 2008
Par Robert David STEELE Vivas - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
While other books (linked below) have focused on the evils done in our name, this is the first book I have seen that dissects economic history in order to demonstrate the hypocrisy of the current regime that bullies lesser developed countries with the IMF-WTO-World Bank interlocking conditionalities.

The author comes down solidly in favor of protectionism, foreign investment controls, state-owned enterprises, avoidance of privatization, not allowing patents to clash with the public interest, the need to defy the marketplace and respect the role of manufacturing, and the influence of culture (and changing the culture through government direction).

This is a nuanced book that trashes the neo-liberals while speaking truth to power. On any given prescrption, the author will say "it depends" and avoid leaning to one extreme over another.

He touches on democracy as not necessarily good for developement, and corruption not necessarily bad.

Other books that I respect as much as this one:
The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It
The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time
The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits (Wharton School Publishing Paperbacks)
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
Manufacture of Evil: Ethics, Evolution, and the Industrial System
Open Society: Reforming Global Capitalism
The Pathology of Power - A Challenge to Human Freedom and Safety
Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming
The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People

See also my varied lists.
71 internautes sur 80 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Time to Update Economics 4 février 2008
Par Loyd E. Eskildson - Publié sur
Format: Relié
"Free Trade" has been progressively wrecking America's economy for at least two decades. Meanwhile, economists in our colleges continue, almost without exception, to warn of protectionism while extolling the writings of Adam Smith and David Ricardo - written long before today's gross wage imbalance between Asia and the U.S., instant communications, and fast, economical international transportation. Finally, a Cambridge economist, Ha Joon Chang, brings facts and common sense to the debate - aided considerably by the free-trade ignoring successes of his native country, South Korea - eg. Samsung, and Pohang Iron and Steel. (And then there's Toyota - started out in textiles, was protected by auto tariffs, and now the world's #1 auto manufacturer and teacher of advanced management techniques.)

"Bad Samaritans," as Chalmers Johnson points out, refers to "people in the rich countries who preach free markets and free trade to the poor countries in order to capture larger shares of the latter's markets and preempt the emergence of possible competitors." They are saying "do as we say, not as we did" and take advantage of others who are in trouble. He also points out that all of today's rich countries (INCLUDING the U.S.) used protection and subsidies to encourage their manufacturing industries - anathema in today's economic orthodoxy and contrary to the WTO, IMF, and World Bank. As a result, third-world nations' growth rates have fallen to less than half of that recorded in the 1960s (1.7 percent instead of 4.5 percent).

As for corruption being incompatible with high growth, Chang points to Zaire vs. Indonesia. Both suffered from murderous corruption, yet the former's living standards fell two-thirds while Indonesia's tripled. The difference was that corruption funds in Zaire fled to Swiss banks, while those in Indonesia remained in the country to help create additional jobs.

"Level playing field" rhetoric is often used to justify WTO and IMF prescriptions. Chang, however, reminds us that this is inconsistent with our practice of segregating sports by size and age, and that it is similarly unrealistic to expect eg. Honduras to compete evenly with the U.S.

Capital markets have a bias towards short-term gains, not risky, large-scale projects with long gestations. This is especially pronounced in the earliest stages of development - thus, government support is kick-starting, not replacing capitalism. In France, Renault, Alcatel, Thomson, etc. used to be SOEs. Brazil's EMBRAER was also, and the state (lower Saxony) is VW's largest shareholder. Taiwan began with key industries owned by the state; even after 1996 privatization the government maintains a controlling stake (average = 35%) and appoints 60% of their directors.

Absent government support in developing economies is akin to becoming frozen in the status quo. Break-out requires government intervention, including subsidies, tariffs, regulation (eg. maintain quality), infrastructure, prohibiting exportation of raw materials, exempting imported raw materials from tariffs, currency controls. IMF, WTO, and World Bank decrees associated with loans have been a disaster.

Communists early-on saw private ownership as not just the source of distributive injustice but also economic inefficiency. Too many capitalists routinely invested in the same things because they did not know their competitors' plans, or overestimated future potential. Communism failed as a system, but that does not demonstrate that SOEs don't work. Conservatives argue that the imbalance of information between principals and agents makes it very difficult to appropriately pay/incentive managers. The 'free-rider' problem also essentially eliminates citizen monitoring. 'Soft budget constraints' (mid-year added subsidies) is another problem impeding SOEs, per conservatives. Change, however, contends these same problems confront private enterprise, with the 'soft-budget' issue becoming 'too big to fail,' and the 'Greenspan put.'

China's TVEs are a hybrid ownership form - owned by local authorities but usually operated as if privately owned by powerful political figures.

SOEs can be ideal where 'natural monopolies' exist - utilities, railroads, communications, etc. where the main cost is that of a distribution network. Assuring equity is another reason - eg. mail service in rural areas. Regulation is an alternative, but not always satisfactory - eg. California's electricity deregulation, England's defacto re-nationalization of rail tracks. Corrupt SOEs are difficult to sell off without even greater corruption (eg. Russia); privatization of natural monopolies without appropriate regulation can bring new problems (eg. Bolivia's 1994 sale of a water company to Bechtel brought a tripling of rates, riots, and re-nationalization). SOE performance can often be improved without privatization by simplifying and prioritizing goals. Simplifying regulation by consolidating agencies is another alternative. Requiring SOEs to export and compete internationally or setting up another SOE for competition also are used. There are no hard and fast answers as to when an SOE is best.

Chang also points out the strong agricultural subsidies in Europe (milk), the U.S. (corn), and Japan (rice). The good news is that these subsidies keep farming viable in those areas and the nations involved more independent; the bad news is that U.S. corn is exported to Mexico - making economic survival impossible for their farmers and driving them to illegal immigration into the U.S.

Free-trade reduction of tariff revenues also plays undermines national budgets in poor countries because they lack efficient tax collection capabilities and tariffs are the easiest taxes to collect. Combined with free-trade-caused damage, the struggling nations are left far less able to fund health care and education for their citizens.

Still another Chang insight is his pointing out that pursuit of copyrights and patents are simply a sophisticated form of protectionism that again works against third-world nations by preventing their starting important new industries (eg. drug manufacture) that boost not only their economy but citizens' health as well. (97% of all patents and the vast majority of copyrights are held by rich countries - these are also a special problem for poor countries wanting textbooks. IMF also insists on enforcement mechanisms, further adding costs to poor nations.) Chang sees the U.S. as the worst offender in this area. Chang asserts that self-development of new technology is difficult in third-world nations, using North and South Korea as examples. North Korea has tried to be self-sufficient (and done poorly), while South Korea has assiduously copied wherever possible and is now an industrial powerhouse.

Chang suggests that third-world countries use tariffs to protect their developing industries. However, he does not propose that the U.S. do likewise - perhaps in his next book. Nonetheless, "Bad Samaritans" punches enough holes in free trade thinking to help others rethink America's self-destructive commitment to it.
49 internautes sur 59 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
An argument for state-driven economic management 5 juillet 2008
Par ConsDemo - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Critics of free trade tend to fall into two camps, irrational and rational. The irrational camp includes hard core socialists and developed world nationalists such as Lou Dobbs, who have an almost religious belief in certain statist policies as some sort of recipe for broad based prosperity absent much evidence and they simply ignore any evidence that policies such as protectionism may do more harm than good. Ha-Joon Chang falls into the second group. His book is generally quite well written and he regularly acknowledges the trade offs involved in his discussions.

Anyone looking for evidence to raise trade barriers or further regulate markets in the developed world won't find it in this book. Chang is quite critical of "neoliberalism" but he generally seems to suggest low trade barriers on trade and foreign investment are wise in the developed world, or at least he doesn't think they are wrong. His argument is whether such policies are wise in the developing world and he goes on to argue for state-driven development strategies for developing nations.

Some of his arguments are interesting and even persuasive. Chapter 9 ("Lazy Japanese and thieving Germans") provides one of the best rebuttals I have seen of the argument that suggests some cultures are destined to fail. He doesn't say culture doesn't matter; merely that it isn't fixed over time.

Chapter 8 ("Zaire vs. Indonesia") has an interesting discussion of corruption. He suggests corruption is not necessarily incompatible with economic growth and modern China is certainly an example of the argument's validity. Nevertheless, he concludes corruption is worth fighting because it erodes confidence in governing institutions.

Other parts of the book are less compelling. One of his central messages is that proponents of free trade are ignorant of (or at least unwilling to acknowledge) the history of protectionism among now developed world economies. That may be true of the free traders he encounters casually but anyone who is even remotely familiar with the economic and political history of the US and UK would know they employed protectionism in the past.

I can't completely reject the argument that developing nations should engage in some protection of domestic producers, but his discussion of the topic tends to omit two problems. He rarely discusses the downsides of protectionism, such as the fact that if tariffs are used, it raises the prices of consumer goods to citizens, rich and poor alike, of those countries. Second, he admits that industries should not be protected in perpetuity but seems to assume such protections will be phased out at an "appropriate" time. Protected industries and their advocates generally don't want to give up the special privileges they enjoy and are often quite successful at delaying or even preventing the day of reckoning. Developed world agricultural subsidies are a perfect example. It is much easier to prevent a special privilege from being enacted in the first place then to end it once it is in place and has developed a constituency to defend it. At some point the costs of a protection that has outlived its usefulness outweighs whatever initial benefits it might have brought.

His discussion of state-owned industry in Chapter 5 also omits certain complications. He ignores the political difficulty in rationalizing a money-losing state owned enterprise. Unions can make demands of a private firm but ultimately they don't have an interest in seeing it go bankrupt. However, there is less of a restraint on union demands in the public sector because the treasury can be seen as a bottomless till. On page 113 he also makes an argument for state ownership of natural monopolies, such as electricity or land line telephones, ignoring the poor performance of many instances when these industries are in state hands.

Chang likes to cite countries that rejected the free market approach, but he is often selective in his examples. Some Asian countries, such as South Korea, China and Japan do appear to have successfully managed state-driven development. However, there are still plenty of others that are less appealing. Many of the far left love to cite Venezuela but much of Venezuela's success is from the oil bonanza, not necessarily wise economic policy. After a decade of increasing state control, nearly half the Venezuelan work force remains employed in the informal economy, devoid of labor protections enjoyed by those in less statist economies; even though Venezuela is flush with oil revenues.

Chang makes some mistakes or dubious statements in a few cases. He associates the Chrysler bailout with the Reagan Administration, when it was actually enacted under President Jimmy Carter. He also makes a reference to the "September 11 bombing of the Word Trade Center" which makes him sound like some nut job conspiracy theorist, although I did a Google search and didn't find any references that associate him the 9/11 conspiracy theories, it was a curious statement just the same.

I gave the book three stars because it is generally well written and acknowledges real world trade offs. I don't find all or even most of his policy prescriptions persuasive but he does make some of the better arguments for state driven development in the underdeveloped nations. Anyone interested is some credible counter arguments should check out Freedom From Want: American Liberalism and the Global Economy or In Defense of Globalization: With a New Afterword
11 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
a vital new look at an old history 7 octobre 2009
Par J. Tinsey - Publié sur
Format: Broché
Do not simply cast this book aside as a piece of economic nonsense from the left. Admittedly, the title may not welcome a broad economic audience, however, after the first chapter Chang will have any reader thinking, at the very least, 'you know, that's a damn good point.' By using the most powerful weapon to backup his claims- history- a thought-provoking and necessary criticism of current orthodox, neo-liberal economics is made.

Orthodox assumptions on FDI regulation, currency manipulation, the principal-agent problem, corruption, public enterprise, and, of course, free trade, are challenged and scrutinized. The next time someone says, "all a country needs to do to develop is just open their markets," please include this book in your list of suggested readings that say..."actually, i think it's a bit more complicated."
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