Download Kicking Away the Ladder by Ha Joon Chang: A Historical Perspective on Development Strategy
Ha Joon Chang Kicking Away the Ladder PDF Download: A Critical Review of Economic Development Policies
Have you ever wondered how some countries became rich while others remained poor? Have you ever questioned the conventional wisdom that free trade and market liberalization are the best ways to promote economic development? Have you ever wanted to learn more about the history and theory of development economics from a different perspective?
ha joon chang kicking away the ladder pdf download
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you might be interested in reading Ha Joon Chang's book Kicking Away the Ladder: Development Strategy in Historical Perspective. In this book, Chang challenges the dominant narrative of economic development and exposes the double standards and hypocrisy of rich countries that preach free trade and market reforms to poor countries while they themselves used protectionism and state intervention to industrialize.
In this article, I will provide a critical review of Chang's book and its main arguments. I will also discuss its implications for development policy and practice. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of the book's content, context, and contribution to development economics.
But before we dive into the details, let me give you a brief overview of what the book is about and why it is relevant.
The Historical Perspective: How Rich Countries Developed
One of the main objectives of Chang's book is to provide a historical perspective on how rich countries achieved economic development. He argues that contrary to what they claim today, most rich countries did not follow free trade and market liberalization policies when they were developing. Instead, they used protectionism and state intervention to foster their domestic industries and protect them from foreign competition.
For example, Chang shows that Britain, which is often regarded as the pioneer of free trade, was actually one of the most protectionist countries in history. It imposed high tariffs on imports, subsidized exports, banned foreign manufactures, regulated domestic production, and even waged wars to secure its markets. It was only after it became the dominant economic power in the world that it switched to free trade in the mid-19th century.
Similarly, Chang demonstrates that other rich countries such as the United States, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and China also used various forms of protectionism and state intervention to promote their industrialization. They adopted policies such as tariffs, subsidies, quotas, import bans, export promotion, public ownership, regulation, planning, coordination, innovation, education, infrastructure, and social welfare. These policies helped them to overcome market failures, create comparative advantages, enhance productivity, diversify their economies, and catch up with more advanced countries.
Chang argues that these historical facts reveal the hypocrisy of rich countries that impose free trade and market liberalization policies on poor countries through institutions such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank. He claims that these policies are not only ineffective but also harmful for economic development, as they prevent poor countries from using the same tools that rich countries used to develop.
The Theoretical Perspective: How Development Economics Evolved
Another objective of Chang's book is to provide a theoretical perspective on how development economics evolved over time. He argues that contrary to what most people think, there is no single or universal theory of economic development. Instead, there are different schools of thought that have different assumptions, methods, and policy implications.
For example, Chang shows that in the early post-war period, there was a consensus among development economists that free trade and market liberalization were not sufficient for economic development. They recognized that developing countries faced structural problems such as market failures, externalities, coordination failures, technological gaps, institutional weaknesses, and social inequalities. They advocated for policies such as protectionism, state intervention, planning, industrial policy, import substitution, and income redistribution.
However, Chang explains that this consensus was challenged and replaced by a new school of thought in the 1980s and 1990s, known as the neoclassical school. This school is based on the assumption that markets are efficient and self-regulating, and that government intervention is unnecessary and harmful. It prescribes policies such as free trade, market liberalization, privatization, deregulation, fiscal austerity, and structural adjustment. These policies are often referred to as the Washington Consensus or the neoliberal agenda.
Chang argues that this neoclassical school is not only dominant but also dogmatic in development economics. He claims that it ignores or dismisses alternative perspectives and evidence that challenge its assumptions and prescriptions. He also criticizes it for being biased and ideological in favor of rich countries and their interests. He accuses it of being ahistorical, abstract, unrealistic, simplistic, and inconsistent.
The Policy Perspective: How to Promote Development in Poor Countries
A third objective of Chang's book is to provide a policy perspective on how to promote development in poor countries. He argues that there is no one-size-fits-all or best-practice approach to development policy. Instead, he suggests that each country should adopt a pragmatic and context-specific approach that takes into account its history, culture, institutions, resources, capabilities, preferences, and objectives.
For example, Chang shows that different countries have achieved economic development by following different paths and strategies. He cites cases such as Switzerland, which developed by being politically neutral and financially secretive; Finland, which developed by being socially democratic and technologically innovative; Botswana, which developed by being politically stable and diamond-rich; Mauritius, which developed by being ethnically diverse and export-oriented; Vietnam, which developed by being communist and market-friendly; and Singapore, which developed by being authoritarian and open.
Chang argues that these cases illustrate the importance of institutional diversity and policy space for developing countries. He contends that each country should be allowed to experiment with different policies and institutions that suit its specific conditions and needs. He opposes the imposition of uniform and standardized policies and institutions by rich countries and international organizations. He advocates for more democracy and sovereignty for developing countries in deciding their own development paths.
The Critical Perspective: How to Evaluate the Book's Arguments
A final objective of Chang's book is to provide a critical perspective on how to evaluate his own arguments. He acknowledges that his book is not perfect or definitive. He admits that his book has some limitations and weaknesses in terms of its methodology and evidence. He also anticipates some potential objections and counterarguments to his claims.
For example, Chang recognizes that his book is not comprehensive or balanced in covering all aspects of economic development. He admits that his book focuses more on criticizing the neoclassical school than on presenting alternative perspectives. He also concedes that his book relies more on historical anecdotes than on rigorous statistical analysis. He explains that these choices are due to his limited space and time constraints.
However, Chang defends his book against some common criticisms that he expects to receive from his opponents. He argues that his book is not anti-market or anti-globalization. He clarifies that he does not reject free trade or market liberalization altogether. He maintains that he supports these policies when they are appropriate and beneficial for economic development. He asserts that he is not against markets but against market fundamentalism.
Conclusion: What Can We Learn from the Book?
In conclusion, Chang's book Kicking Away the Ladder: Development Strategy in Historical Perspective is a provocative and insightful critique of economic development policies and practices. It challenges the conventional wisdom that free trade and market liberalization are the best ways to promote economic development. It exposes the double standards and hypocrisy of rich countries that preach these policies to poor countries while they themselves used protectionism and state intervention to develop.
The book also provides a historical, theoretical, and policy perspective on how economic development can be achieved in different ways and contexts. It shows that there is no single or universal theory or model of economic development. It suggests that each country should adopt a pragmatic and context-specific approach that takes into account its history, culture, institutions, resources, capabilities, preferences, and objectives.
The book is not only informative but also inspiring for anyone who is interested in learning more about economic development and its challenges and opportunities. It invites readers to rethink development policies and practices and to challenge the status quo. It encourages readers to be more critical, creative, and democratic in their thinking and action.
If you want to read the book for yourself, you can download it for free from this link: https://www.globalpolicy.org/images/pdfs/Chang.pdf. You can also watch a video of Chang explaining his book here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuO8n5nFOrs.
Here are some frequently asked questions about the book and its topic:
Q: Who is Ha Joon Chang?
A: Ha Joon Chang is a South Korean economist and professor at the University of Cambridge. He is an expert on development economics and institutional economics. He has written several books and articles on these topics. He is also a consultant for various international organizations and governments.
Q: What is the meaning of the title "Kicking Away the Ladder"?
A: The title is based on a metaphor used by Friedrich List, a 19th-century German economist. List argued that Britain kicked away the ladder of protectionism and state intervention after it climbed to the top of economic development. He warned that other countries should not follow Britain's example of free trade and market liberalization.
Q: What are some examples of protectionism and state intervention used by rich countries?
A: Some examples are tariffs, subsidies, quotas, import bans, export promotion, public ownership, regulation, planning, coordination, innovation, education, infrastructure, and social welfare. These policies helped rich countries to overcome market failures, create comparative advantages, enhance productivity, diversify their economies, and catch up with more advanced countries.
Q: What are some examples of free trade and market liberalization policies imposed by rich countries on poor countries?
A: Some examples are trade liberalization, market opening, privatization, deregulation, fiscal austerity, and structural adjustment. These policies are often imposed by rich countries and international organizations such as the WTO, the IMF, and the World Bank through trade agreements, loan conditions, policy advice, or pressure.
Q: What are some alternative perspectives and evidence that challenge the neoclassical school of development economics?
A: Some alternative perspectives are institutional economics, evolutionary economics, behavioral economics, social economics, political economy, and heterodox economics. Some alternative evidence are historical facts, case studies, cross-country comparisons, and empirical analysis.