The Free Trade Heretic

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Description: That's not all that is inaccurate. [Ha-Joon Chang] says that while the media and political elite lead us to believe industrialized countries achieved their wealth by eliminating tariffs, history suggests it's exactly the opposite: The strategic use of tariffs is precisely what built the industrialized world into an economic powerhouse. Bad Samaritans shows that wealthy countries' demands on poor countries to reduce tariffs is a way to keep the developing world in a subservient role-or a means to "kick away the ladder," as he puts it.Let's not forget that in much of the world for much of the time, free-trade theory was not an orthodoxy, even in economics. It was the orthodoxy in the late 19th and the early 20th century in Britain and its sphere of influence-but elsewhere, it was not the orthodoxy. Even during that time, protectionist theory was the orthodoxy in the United States, Germany and many other countries. In the 1960s and '70s, in much of the developing world, free-trade theory was discredited because people there had seen how free trade imposed on them by imperialism prevented their economic development.The result will be the persistence of slow growth and income inequality in developing countries. We have seen this in the last 25 years of free-trade orthodoxy. Don't forget that the developing countries used to grow at almost double the rate in the "bad old days" of protectionism in the 19605 and "708, compared to the next two decades of trade liberalization. Inequality has also grown significantly in many countries in the last 20-10-25 years.
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