[People; Ha-joon Chang] New Interpretation of the International Trade System



Hello readers! Do you enjoy reading finance books? I am sure you have heard of the recent best-selling books Kicking Away the Ladder and Bad Samaritans.’ They are all written by Ha-joon Chang, economics professor at Cambridge. He has been the hot potato on the table in the field of economics these days. He graduated from Seoul National University in Korea, and further pursued his educational achievement at Cambridge University. Now, I will briefly introduce you those two books mentioned above, as they are drawing lots of attention today.


Let me begin with the book, Kicking Away the Ladder. In this book, the author addresses some flaws of the international trade system. His critique mainly stems from a historical perspective examining how developed countries take their roles in international economy. Do you know the implication drawn by kicking away the ladder? For you to have a look at it, I added the image of book cover below. ‘Ladder’ has more than its literal meaning, referring to ‘opportunities’ for developing or under-developed countries to step towards a higher level of economic advancement. That is, ladder is a tool for those countries to catch up with the developed countries in terms of economic growth. Thus, the title ‘kicking away the ladder’ means vicious and unjust acts by developed countries intentionally halting developing countries’ economic prosperity.




The author argues that this act of kicking away the ladder is the most fundamental and problematic obstacle in international trade system. Imminent actions are in need to resolve this issue so as to alleviate global poverty. Mr. Chang’s this perspective and creative interpretation of the current international economy let him win the Gunnar Myrdal Prize.


Then, let us move on to the next book, Bad Samaritans. In this book, Mr. Chang casts doubt on the optimistic vision of global economy in which money, commodities, and people stride over borders, creating a flat world. ‘Bad Samaritans’ refer to self-centered and cunning entities, implying the developed countries seeking neo-liberal economies. Although such nations call for a globalized open market without borders, the author criticizes their attempt to make developing economies highly vulnerable to side-effects of globalization. While the developed countries have strengthened their economic capacity through closed-economic strategies and protectionism in the past, they now assert that developing should remove barriers and open their markets. Addressing such irony is exactly how Ha-joon Chang has become the focus of spotlight to readers all around the globe. 


If you want to know more about Mr. Chang’s interpretation and perspective, why not pick up those books and read them? You may gain a new insight to analyze the current international trade system.





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