Bad Samaritans: Rich Nations, Poor Policies And The Threat To The Developing World

Ha-Joon Chang / Current Affairs / Non-Fiction

Book cover

UK Publisher

Random House Books

US Publisher

Bloomsbury USA

Date Published

May 1st, 2008


Commonwealth Magazine (Taiwanese)
Universita Bocconi/Egea (Italian)
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Elsevier Editora (Brazillian)
Social Sciences Academic Press (Chinese simplified/China)
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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? The simple answer is that rich and powerful governments and institutions are ‘Bad Samaritans’: their intentions are often worthy, but their simplistic free-market ideology and faulty understanding of history leads them to inflict policy errors on others. Chang demonstrates this by contrasting the route to success taken by 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 privatization and against state involvement is far from proven. And he explores the ways in which prejudices about national cultures and political ideologies are obscuring clear analysis and creating bad policy. Finally, he argues the case for new strategies for a more prosperous world that will surprise but may – perhaps – convince the ‘Bad Samaritans’.


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

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

- Noam Chomsky

I recommend this book to people who have any interest in these issues i.e. everyone.

- Bob Geldof

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