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Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  2,538 Ratings  ·  220 Reviews
A rising young star in the field of economics attacks the free-trade orthodoxy of The World Is Flat head-on—a crisp, contrarian history of global capitalism.

One economist has called Ha-Joon Chang "the most exciting thinker our profession has turned out in the past fifteen years." With Bad Samaritans, this provocative scholar bursts into the debate on globalization and econ
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published December 26th 2007 by Bloomsbury Press (first published July 5th 2007)
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Randal Samstag
Jan 24, 2013 Randal Samstag rated it it was amazing
Shelves: economics, favorites
Ha-Joon Chang is not widely known (except by astute Goodreads readers!), even among economists, in the United States, but he is a rock star in his native Korea. He is not mentioned in the index or the bibliography of the recent neo-liberal tract, Why Nations Fail, by Acemoglu and Robinson. But on a recent trip to Busan, the Republic of Korea’s second largest city on the southern coast, I stopped beside Haeundae Beach to take in the scene. I began a conversation quite quickly (in English, my Kore ...more
Jan 18, 2009 Dion rated it it was amazing
This book outlines in a light narrative what I have suspected for a long time: free trade *can* be good, but applied wholeheartedly and blindly and at the wrong time is mostly destructive.

Fact: The US and Britain and Japan and South Korea built up their industries through pragmatic tariffs and government-sponsored protection/subsidization. NOT through the path of free trade. Almost no country has.

Free trade does *not* make you rich, it's what you want the other countries to do when you are econo
Leo Walsh
Dec 17, 2011 Leo Walsh rated it really liked it
Amazing when you think how ideological Economics has become. Most of what comes out of the media is Chicago School "Free Market." However, I began to notice that the people with the most intellectual muster, like Princeton's Paul Krugman and Cambridge's Ha-Joon Chang (author of this book) have consistently stood against the tide.

As academics, they "stand outside" the world, and observe. They are also used to searing intellectual debate and precision as they face the peer review process. Which ma
Jan 12, 2011 Chris rated it really liked it
The more I educate myself in economics, the more I am convinced it is a science that can offer no more conclusive answers about public policy than philosophy does about ethics or the nature of the self. The difference being, that when I sit down to a philosophy text, my greatest expectation is that it will be a beautifully articulated series of beliefs that will raise questions I had never pondered, or present the world in a unique light. But I always expect these texts to fall short of their st ...more
Of the 5 books on economics I read since the crash, this one was by far the one that most challenged what I believed. I try to base my life on evidence and not ideologies I've grown to accept without much thought. Of the five books, his was supported with the most evidence. It challenged my notion that free market is always the best; And made me reevaluate when government spending is bad, when it is OK, and when it is best. It also makes me question my support of the World Trade Organization, an ...more
Already read this. Very interesting criticism of neoliberal trade policy, and has some very relevant remarks on 'culture' and economic development. Argues that protectionism is a necessary component of international development, to prevent the industries of more developed companies to completely dismantle any competition.
Dec 14, 2011 Santo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Meat imports are restricted…, which not only benefits local farmers but also inspecting firms… The export of raw rattan is about to be prohibited, which will benefit the rattan industry… Businesses have to give priority to local products…”

These are only some of the arguments put forward by Hal Hill and Monica Wihardja in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, ringing alarm bells about anti-reformist forces in the Indonesian Government. They argued that in spite of the upgraded investment ratings
Aug 18, 2013 A rated it it was ok
I actually thought this book would be much better than it was. There is a coherent theoretical argument behind the whole import substitution, infant industries approach to development. I was hoping to see a more interesting/empirical defense of it (and maybe a more nuanced explanation of when/how it can work, and when it doesn't)...because development is ultimately an empirical question about "what works," not what makes sense in theory. Ha-Joon presents a basic version of theoretical argument, ...more
Jul 15, 2012 Solor rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An important reading for whoever wishes to look beyond the crap fed by Media and governments experts financed by immoral and unethical International Corporations.

The Formula Neoliberalism equals Development is another absurd lie trumpeted by the Good Guys of WTO, IMF and World Bank.

Ha-Joon Chang is not a Communist, a Charlatan or a Terrorist. He is a scientist; a Reader in the Political Economy of Development at the University of Cambridge. He has also served as a consultant to the World Bank,
Karim Ali
May 02, 2016 Karim Ali rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
تحفة! من تلك الكتب التي تجعلك تفهم كيف يسير العالم والأفضل كيف يجب أن يسير العالم وبالأخص الدول النامية إن أرادت التنمية اللإقتصادية..
موضوعات كثيرة فيه تستحق الإهتمام والمراجعة أهمها حماية السوق والملكية الفكرية وظلمها للدول النامية بصورتها الحالية,
أهمية التوجه الصناعي والسياسات "الواعية" طويلة الأمد
الثقافة وتأثيرها على الإقتصاد, الإقتصاد وتأثيره على الثقافة.
قراءة تلك النوعية من الكتب أراه أهمية قصوى لأصحاب الشركات والمشتغلين بالأعمال وقبلهم الساسة وصناع القرار. فضلًا عن القارىء العادي لفهم ومعر
Sep 27, 2012 Ilya rated it liked it
Shelves: economics
In 1963, when the author was born, South Korea was one of the world's poorest countries, with half the per capita income of Ghana. The fratricidal war with interventions by the United States and China had destroyed half her industry and three quarters of her railways. The country's principal exports were fish, tungsten, and wigs made of human hair. In 1982, when the author finished high school, South Korea was a middle-income country, on par with Ecuador. In 1997, when he was an adult professor ...more
Jul 13, 2013 K rated it really liked it
Shelves: economics
The main argument of Bad Samaritans is that most rich countries became rich by using protectionism and rejecting free trade policies that would undermine their economies. When they became prosperous, they kicked the ladder so developing countries couldn't do the same. Nowadays, the same countries, largely controlling institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank, dictate which policies should be followed by the developing ones. This is similar to saying : Don't do as I did, do as I say.

The boo
May 25, 2016 Razi rated it it was amazing
I will rate this one! It is so easy, so simple and simple facts are put forward so succinctly that there is no way it should be rated anything less than five stars.

Media, intellectuals, journalists and columnists all tell us that globalisation is good for the poor countries. Free market, it is repeatedly exhorted, is good for all. Organisations like WTO, the World Bank, the IMF are there to protect the poor countries and help them grow economically. Some countries are culturally lazy and corrup
Nov 23, 2008 Zak rated it liked it
When you steal books from Barnes and Noble, I feel you recognize that nearly any mass-produced economics tract deriding free-market capitalism is going to be a bit simple. If you already have an academic grounding in infant-industries theory or even a somewhat informed critique of globalization, you will most likely read this book in two days. With this said, I had a plane to catch in an hour, little pocket money, and limited options.

Anecdote aside, the reviews below me have well described th
Jul 12, 2008 Terence rated it liked it
Despite an annoying writing style and some egregious typos ("the these," "casualty" for "causality" and "samller" for "smaller," among others), the substance of this book is a cogent dissection of the neo-liberal religion and the obsession with "globalization" that has brought even the giants of the developed world to the brink of economic implosion in just 30 years.

The gist of Chang's argument is that, after 150 years of avid protectionism, market intervention and lax patent protection, the dev
Feb 23, 2012 Eric rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Outstanding! The author lays out his argument in an incredibly straightforward and well-supported manner. He parses out the claims that neoliberal free trade and capitalism are an inherently better and more efficient economic model, and breaks down the reasons of why this is simply untrue and based on historical events that directly refute the claims of "bad samaritanism's" proponents.
In some respects, I feel he's a little too reasonable and doesn't take his argument far enough against capitali
Feb 17, 2010 Willowwind rated it it was amazing
A detailed rebuttal of free market ideology for the lay person from an award winning Cambridge economist born and raised in pre-industrial Korea. The author shows how the free market policies imposed by the IMF and World Bank have seriously damaged developing countries as well as setting the record straight about how the current industrial giants (far from practicing free trade) consistently protected their infant industries. This excellent and lucid book also deconstructs free market ideology i ...more
Josh Stewart
Aug 18, 2009 Josh Stewart rated it really liked it
this looks like a boring me-too business book on the cover - a friend had to twist my nipple to get me to crack the cover. What a great surprise. The author takes the neo-liberal economist trade dogmas and exposes them as unproven and likely very damaging policy choices for the poor developing countries they are often forced upon. The label "neo-liberal" is confusing because these are ideas strongly supported by conservative politicians and violently supported by right wing commentator crazies. ...more
Jun 19, 2009 Rhesa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: economics
I have read many books that's anti WTO, IMF & World Bank, majority of them are so biased and over simplyfing the complexity of reality, just as the pro's one, like Thomas Friedman's. But this book is different, Chang explains with convincing argument & rich datas that the preachers of free trade, in this case UK as well as US, were once an ultra protective countries, they imposed heavy tariffs & gave many subsidies to national companies, mostly SOE. Only when their domestic manufactu ...more
Ahmed Mansour
الليبرالية الجديدة اتعلمها الجلاشة في الكتاب دا تقريبا
كل افكار المدرسة بداية من حرية التجارة الخارجية والاستثمار وحقوق الملكية الفكرية والخصخصة والتضخم ودور(الصندوق والبنك الدوليين ومنظمة التجارة العالمية) تم مناقشتها واعطاء بدائل غير نمطية بناء على معطايت النظريات الاقتصادية بالاضافة الي التجارب الواقعية والتاريخية للدول المتقدمه ذاتها !
Sep 07, 2015 Rossdavidh rated it really liked it
Shelves: white
Subtitle: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism. Ha-Joon Chang, the author, says he told Joseph Stiglitz (Nobel prize-winning economist) that he felt privileged to have been born in South Korea in 1963, when it was about as underdeveloped as Vietnam is today. South Koreans born even 20 years later have no memory of South Korea as a poor nation (although of course there are still poor South Koreans today, as there are still poor in every country of any size). The topic Chang ...more
Stan Murai
Jan 20, 2014 Stan Murai rated it really liked it
The author Ha-Joon Chang, a leading economist
who specializes in developmental economics, has
chosen a interesting title for his book based
on the biblical parable of the 'Good Samaritan'
who helped a stranger in distress. The original
Samaritans of the bible were despised by the Jews
for whom this parable was told. But 'Bad Samaritans'
of this book, namely neo-liberal free market
economists, are taking advantage of those in trouble
and harming instead of helping those in developing
countries with their
Chad Kohalyk
Sep 17, 2016 Chad Kohalyk rated it really liked it
I picked up this book expecting a straight critique of free trade, but it is more about how free trade keeps poor countries down, and the double standards that rich countries use to do it. A slightly different angle of analysis than I expected, but valuable and enlightening nonethless. Chang Ha-Joon's tone is conversational, but there are still some heavy economic sections where my eyes glazed over a bit. I don't have the economics background to critically read those sections. However, the endle ...more
Oct 27, 2013 Isaac rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
An alternative title for this book could be:
Neo-Liberalism is BAD!

If you don't know what that is, no worries. You will be sick of the term just 20 pages into this book.

Anyway, some interesting things this book argues:

- Not only is piracy fantastic for developing countries (hooray for piracy!!!) but almost all rich countries have indulged in it themselves on their way up the global ladder. It follows that advancing patent and copyright laws are having dire consequences for developing countries e
Otto Lehto
Feb 20, 2015 Otto Lehto rated it really liked it
Very entertaining book. I would be wary, however, of taking its lessons too seriously.

Basically it is an argument against the free markets as the best system for developmental economics. He makes the case that, in fact, DEVIATIONS from free market doctrine have been occasionally helpful, perhaps even necessary, for the development of almost all Western countries. He also tells the story of Korea, rising fast out of poverty, as an example of market socialism. He claims that preaching all-too-has
Hoang Trang
May 26, 2016 Hoang Trang rated it it was amazing
I first learned about Ha-joon Chang through one of his articles on the 1997 Asian Crisis written more than a decade ago. To be frank, I was shocked by his bombarding WB and IMF with criticism for their influence and intervention in the region before and after the crisis. His strong support for protectionism and the role of state-owned enterprises also diverged to a great extent from what I had been taught at school as an economic student. I started to read more of his papers and articles out of ...more
Jul 12, 2008 Marne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: economics
Everything that the developing world has known but were afraid to say or could not articulate, or were helpless against under trading or financing terms imposed by the developed world, is what Bad Samaritans is all about. Contrary to Friedman and others, the world is not flat and the developing world is always at the brunt of "free trade." The wealthy nations imposing "free trade" on the poorer nations did not become wealthy because they practiced free trade. Their own histories prove the contra ...more
عبدالرحمن عقاب
يعالج الكتاب المفاهيم الاقتصادية التي تنبني عليها الليبرالية الاقتصادية الحديثة (نيوليبرالية) بترجمة الكتاب. وتكمن أهمية هذه المفاهيم في أنّها الأساس الذي تنبني عليه تعاملات الدول الثرية الحاكمة (التي يسميها الكاتب السامريون الأشرار)، وكذلك فهي لبّ توصيات وقرارات المنظمات الثلاث (صندوق النقد الدولي- منظمة التجارة العالمية- و البنك الدولي) للدول الفقيرة، لكي تلحق في ركب التنمية الحديث.
يُناقش الكتاب هذه المفاهيم بصورة متّزنة، فلا يهاجمها ولا يُنكر فوائدها، ولكنّه يشير إلى أنّها لم تكن سبل الدول ال
Adam Ross
Mar 29, 2016 Adam Ross rated it really liked it
A captivating history of the dark side of free trade and capitalism in world history, particularly 20th century world history. Chang undoes many of the myths of capitalist rhetoric, that it expands wealth and is a net good on the planet, etc. Instead, he shows that global economies grew much more quickly under what are typically called "interventionalist" economic policy by governments, often times growing many times more quickly per year under governmental oversight and heavy regulations than u ...more
Dec 07, 2009 Robert rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Consider this a schooling of neo-liberal economics. Basically, Chang argues that developing economies need time to nurture their manufacturing industries in order to increase their standard of living. Further, opening up their markets in the manner endorsed by the IMF, World Bank and WTO (and in concert with the interests of the rich countries) undermines real development. Chang backs this up by showing that, without fail, all the rich economies used a combination of tariffs, subsidies, state ow ...more
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Ha-Joon Chang teaches economics at Cambridge University. His book 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism was a no.1 bestseller and was called by the Observer 'a witty and timely debunking of some of the biggest myths surrounding the global economy.' He is a popular columnist at the Guardian, and a vocal critic of the failures of our economic system.
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“When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.” 8 likes
“free trade economists have argued that the mere co-existence of protectionism and economic development does not prove that the former caused the latter. This is true. But i am at least trying to explain one phenomenon - economic development-with another that co-existed with it - protectionism. Free trade economists have to explain how free trade can be an explanation for the economic success of today's rich countries, when it simply had not been practised very much before they became rich.” 5 likes
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