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Kicking Away the Ladder: Development Strategy in Historical Perspective

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  416 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
How did the rich countries really become rich? In this provocative study, Ha-Joon Chang examines the great pressure on developing countries from the developed world to adopt certain 'good policies' and 'good institutions', seen today as necessary for economic development. Adopting a historical approach, Dr Chang finds that the economic evolution of now-developed countries ...more
Paperback, 187 pages
Published September 5th 2000 by Anthem Press
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Development as Freedom by Amartya SenMountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy KidderThe Bottom Billion by Paul CollierWhy Nations Fail by Daron AcemoğluThe White Man's Burden by William Easterly
International Development Book Club
33rd out of 95 books — 35 voters
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Books for Future Presidents
177th out of 198 books — 13 voters

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عز عبده
Mar 22, 2012 عز عبده rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
الكتاب فعلاً رائع
بل إنه كتاب فى الإقتصاد يجعلك تبكى
ما أعلمه أن كتب الرعب أو الرومانسية هى التى تجعل الإنسان يبكى
ولكن هذا الكتاب على الرغم من أنه كتاب فى الإقتصاد
إلا أنه يجعلك ترى الأمم هم أبطال الكتاب
الأمم المتقدمة والأمم المتأخرة
ثم يوضح لك كيف ان الأمة التى تتقدم تمحو كل الطرق التى تقدمت بها
حتى تكون هي فى المقدمة وتظل الأمم المتأخرة فى مكانها
الكتاب له أهمية خاصة أخرى أن مقدمة الكتاب كتبها د. مصطفى الرفاعى وهو وزير سابق للصناعة والتنمية التكنولوجية بمصر
رغم أن الكتاب به الكثير من الإحصائيات
May 22, 2014 Marwa marked it as to-read
كتاب أحزنني .. فهو يوضح كيف أصبحنا نحن الدول الناميه مجرد دميه تحركها الدول المتقدمه .. كم من الحلول المقدمه و التي تخبيء بين ثناياها السم .. فكل من يصل للقمه يركل السلم بعيدا .. فالدول المتقدمه و إدارتها لصندوق النقد الدولي و الليبراليه العالميه لا تسعي أبدا الي النهوض بالدول الناميه بل تريد أن تبقي دائما في ثالوث الفقر و الجهل و البطاله!! :(
Written more for an academic/professional/specialist audience than the general reader, Chang's short book is still accessible and full of information that is vital to our understanding of how the ideology of free trade has been created in order to reward developed nations at the expense of those trying to develop. The United States, Great Britain, Germany—essentially every country that has successfully industrialized—used tariffs, protections of infant industries, control of capital markets and ...more
May 18, 2013 linhtalinhtinh rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fic, econ
If Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism is more for general readers, Kicking Away the Ladder is directed towards more professional/academic audience. Highly organized and very clear + concise argument, it provides such a brief but meaningful overview of the history of development, and thus a perfect introduction for economists/policy makers. Ha-Joon Chang is also careful in presenting and interpreting data.

The scope of the book, however, does not allow dee
Aug 31, 2014 Jonathan rated it really liked it
Contrary to popular belief many of the now developed countries (NDCs) used activist industrial policies, including tariff protection, to spur their processes of economic development, so argues Ha Joon Chang in this much needed intervention into the debate on free trade as a panacea for the developing world.

By providing a sense of historical perspective and amassing a variety of empirical evidence he shows that the kind of policies currently championed today by dominant interests and institution
Lauren Sheil
Sep 24, 2012 Lauren Sheil rated it liked it
Key Quotes -

It is a very common clever device that when anyone has attained the summit of greatness, he kicks away the ladder by which he has climbed up, in order to deprive others of the means of climbing up after him. – Friedrich List; The National System of Political Economy

As has been repeatedly observed over the last few centuries, the common problem faced by all catch-up economies is that the shift to higher-value-added activities, which constitutes the key to the process of economic deve
Byunghwan Son
May 25, 2014 Byunghwan Son rated it really liked it
Are developed economies (along with international financial organizations and some of the investors) actually asking developing ones to do what they have done while they were developing? This is the central question Chang is grappling with in this book. The answer is a clear no. In fact, his argument is easily summarized by the following:

“By demanding from developing countries institutional standards that they themselves had never attained at comparable levels of development, the NDCs [now devel
Mar 06, 2011 Robert rated it really liked it
This was another great book by Ha-Joon Chang. It covers a lot of the same ideas as "Bad Samaritans", though this one came first. There are some great comparative economic history charts in here. Either book is good for disabusing yourself of the idea that any rich country actually got rich by following the advice they give to poor countries (i.e., Neo-Liberal reforms). This is essential reading if you want to pull the rug out of most American libertarian arguments.
Aug 13, 2014 Adna rated it liked it
I read this book in the context of a university project, and I found it to both well-documented and clearly presented. Chang's main argument seems to boil down to the dissonance between the Western claim that free market economics is the recipe for economic growth (the so-called Washington Consensus), and the West's own history of protectionism and government involvement in economic activities. The analogy referenced in the title summarizes this point; free markets might be fine if you're on top ...more
Ben Page
Aug 12, 2012 Ben Page rated it really liked it
*Random notes I took on the book added long after I read/reviewed it.

Chang puts forth a goodwill argument that would benefit mankind as a whole by saying that allowing non-developed countries to develop and grow would afford its citizens numerous benefits and make the global economy more robust at the same time--although it's sad that a part of her closing discussion has to be framed in terms of ultimate benefits to now-developed countries.

Her ethical and historical arguments are superb, though
Margaret Sankey
Nov 11, 2011 Margaret Sankey rated it liked it
The "best practices" required of developing countries--free trade, patent protection, central banks, no child labor, etc. and tied to IMF aid and other projects are in fact practices which the first world did not impose upon itself until relatively late in their own imperial and industrial success. I really don't know to whom this is a huge surprise, and I also can't imagine any first world political body that would have the backing to offer monetary aid WITHOUT imposing things like patent regul ...more
Wim Schalenbourg
Jan 03, 2016 Wim Schalenbourg rated it it was amazing
Shelves: development
Important insights that change your view on how developed countries reached the stage of development, on trade liberalization and the impotance of institutions.
Ahmed El-sherbini
Apr 06, 2014 Ahmed El-sherbini marked it as to-read
i want this book
Daniel Milano
Jul 01, 2012 Daniel Milano rated it it was amazing
Proponents of free markets regularly omit to mention that in the course of the developmental history of their own country on many instances they did a back and forth routine between protectionism and (seemingly) market openness , changing their positions because of jingoistic and/or self centered considerations. Do as I say,.... Nowadays the 3rd model of development brought forth by the likes of China and Brazil have shaken the very foundations of that ideology.
Ka Ming
Jun 25, 2014 Ka Ming rated it really liked it
Essentially a paper with more editorializing.
Bethany Woodson
Jul 28, 2013 Bethany Woodson rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-for-school
Everyone should read this book. It is full of great info, very accessible and puts down a lot of myths regarding the "best" policies for economic development. Plus its only 140 pages, so much you can learn in a very reasonably sized book.
Jun 18, 2009 Judy added it
A quick read on how the world economy works against the already poor nations. I require it as often as I can in my courses on politics in the non-West.

It is a classic.
Dec 03, 2012 Aline rated it it was amazing
In college, it really widened my perspective on development and it should be part of development studies curriculum everywhere.
Apr 06, 2013 Tom rated it it was amazing
Excellent book putting development into a historical perspective, a necessary and welcome addition to the debate.
Nov 28, 2008 Matteo rated it liked it
Shelves: history, economics
when the newspapers preach about the 'free markets', it's all a bunch of hogwash. this book has the evidence.
Mar 22, 2008 Shubha rated it really liked it
Shelves: economics
Great book. Explains the hypocrisy underlying the US's approach to "free trade". Very readable.
Jun 11, 2015 Lauren marked it as to-read
Recommended to Lauren by: Deborah Brautigam
Had a copy. Was reading it. Lost it in the middle. Would really appreciate another one.
Mar 22, 2015 Keti rated it it was amazing
Shelves: development
This here is my bedside book.
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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.
More about Ha-Joon Chang...

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