Not that most of us can put ourselves in the shoes of eminent Cambridge physicist Dennis Sciama Some graduate-level professors might even feel threatened by such a student.
Chang's contribution to heterodox economics started while studying under Robert Rowthorna leading British Marxist economist with whom he worked on the elaboration of the theory of industrial policywhich he described as a middle way between central planning and unrestrained free market.
His work in this area is part of a broader approach to economics known as institutionalist political economy which places economic history and socio-political factors at the centre of the evolution of economic practices. The World Trade OrganizationWorld Bankand International Monetary Fund come in for strong criticism from Chang for "ladder-kicking" of this type which, he argues, is the fundamental obstacle to poverty alleviation in the developing world.
Chang only looks at countries that developed during the nineteenth century and a small number of the policies they pursued. He did not examine countries that failed to develop in the nineteenth century and see if they pursued the same heterodox policies only more intensively.
This is a poor scientific and historical method. Suppose a doctor studied people with long lives and found that some smoked tobacco, but did not study people with shorter lives to see if smoking was even more prevalent.
Any conclusions drawn only from the observed relationship would be quite misleading. Ha-Joon Chang has examined a large body of historical material to reach some very interesting and important conclusions about institutions and economic development.
Not only is the historical picture re-examined, but Chang uses this to argue the need for a changing attitude to the institutions desired in today's developing nations. Both as historical reinterpretation and policy advocacy, Kicking Away the Ladder deserves a wide audience among economists, historians, and members of the policy establishment.
Chang also argued that while state interventionism sometimes produced economic failures, it had a better record than unregulated free market economies which, he maintained, very rarely succeeded in producing economic development.
He cited evidence that GDP growth in developing countries had been higher prior to external pressures recommending deregulation and extended his analysis to the failures of free trade to induce growth through privatisation and anti- inflationary policies. Chang's book won plaudits from Nobel Prize—winning economist Joseph Stiglitz for its fresh insight and effective blend of contemporary and historical cases but was criticised by former World Bank economist William Easterlywho said that Chang used selective evidence in his book.
Chang responded to Easterly's criticisms, asserting that Easterly misread his argument. Easterly in turn provided a counter-reply. This includes assertions such as "Making rich people richer doesn't make the rest of us richer", "Companies should not be run in the interests of their owners", and "The washing machine has changed the world more than the internet has.
This marks a broadening of Chang's focus from his previous books that were mainly critiques of neo-liberal capitalism as it related to developing countries. In this book, Chang begins to discuss the issues of the current neo-liberal system across all countries.
Chang's book, Economics: The User's Guide, is an introduction to economics, written for the general public.So what is the public attitude towards the Duchess of Cambridge? What does she represent? What is changing?
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