Ha-Joon Chang Quotes

Once you realize that trickle-down economics does not work, you will see the excessive tax cuts for the rick as what they are — a simple upward redistribution of income, rather than a way to make all of us richer, as we were told.

Making rich people richer doesn’t make the rest of us richer.

As South Korea shows, active participation in international trade does not require free trade. Indeed, had South Korea pursued free trade and not promoted infant industries, it would not have become a major trading nation. It would still be exporting raw materials (e.g., tungsten ore, fish, seaweed) or low-technology, low-price products (e.g., textiles, garments, wigs made with human hair) that used to be its main export items in the 1960s.

Equality of opportunity is not enough. Unless we create an environment where everyone is guaranteed some minimum capabilities through some guarantee of minimum income, education, and healthcare, we cannot say that we have fair competition. When some people have to run a 100 metre race with sandbags on their legs, the fact that no one is allowed to have a head start does not make the race fair. Equality of opportunity is absolutely necessary but not sufficient in building a genuinely fair and efficient society.

The best way to boost the economy is to redistribute wealth downward, as poorer people tend to spend a higher proportion of their income.

Rich countries have ‘kicked away the ladder’ by forcing free-market, free-trade policies on poor countries. Already established countries do not want more competitors emerging through the nationalistic policies they themselves successfully used in the past.

There are different ways to organise capitalism. Free-market capitalism is only one of them-and not a very good one at that.

Rational thinking is an important aspect of human nature, but we have imagination, we have ambition, we have irrational fear, we are swayed by other people, we get indoctrinated and we get influenced by advertising.

The history of capitalism has been so totally re-written that many people in the rich world do not perceive the historical double standards involved in recommending free trade and free market to developing countries.

95% of Economics is common sense deliberately made complicated.

The free market doesn’t exist. Every market has some rules and boundaries that restrict freedom of choice. A market looks free only because we so unconditionally accept its underlying restrictions that we fail to see them.

If we are really serious about preventing another crisis like the 2008 meltdown we should simply ban complex financial instruments, unless they can be unambiguously shown to benefit society in the long run. This is what we do all the time with other products-drugs, cars, electrical products and many others.

The danger is not only that these austerity measures are killing the European economies but also that they threaten the very legitimacy of European democracies – not just directly by threatening the livelihoods of so many people and pushing the economy into a downward spiral, but also indirectly by undermining the legitimacy of the political system through this backdoor rewriting of the social contract.

A well-designed welfare state can actually encourage people to take chances with their jobs and be more, not less, open to changes.

The Korean economic miracle was the result of a clever and pragmatic mixture of market incentives and state direction.

Countries are poor not because their people are lazy; their people are ‘lazy’ because they are poor.

95 percent of economics is common sense made complicated, and even for the remaining 5 percent, the essential reasoning, if not all the technical details, can be explained in plain terms.

Democracy is acceptable to neo-liberals only in so far as it does not contradict the free market.

Assume the worst about people and you get the worst.

Manufacturing is the most important…route to prosperity.

People who live in poor countries have to be entrepreneurial even just to survive.

[Good managers] know that people have ‘good’ sides and ‘bad’ sides and that the secret of good management is in magnifying the former and toning down the latter.

Gore Vidal, the American writer, once described the American economic system as ‘free enterprise for the poor and socialism for the rich’. Macroeconomic policy on the global scale is a bit like that. It is Keynesianism for the rich countries and monetarism for the poor.

The widely accepted assertion that, only if you let markets be will everyone be paid correctly and thus fairly, according to his worth, is a myth. Only when we part with this myth and grasp the political nature of the market and the collective nature of individual productivity will we be able to build a more just society in which historical legacies and collective actions, and not just individual talents and efforts, are properly taken into account in deciding how to reward people.

People ‘over-produce’ pollution because they are not paying for the costs of dealing with it.