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by Venky


Winston Churchill once famously remarked “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”
Combining a delectable mix of irreverent wit, dollops of common sense and precocious statistics, Ha-Joon Chang delivers a veritable tour de force scything wide open some of the ‘taken-for-granted’ virtues of unbridled capitalism.

Setting out 23 concrete examples, this intrepid Economist ventures to debunk what he himself terms to be “myths” in the form of neo- liberal ideologies. Ranging from the tickle down effect to the pressing need for regulating esoteric financial instruments once termed “financial weapons of mass destruction” by Warren Buffet, Ha-Joon Chang revels in his methodical, meticulous and meaningful dismantling of ultra-capitalist notions.

The most heartening feature of this book is the fluid language employed to explain even complicated topics. One need not be an Economist to grasp the contours of the logic elucidated by this ebullient economist. For example when explaining the perils and deviousness of excessive immigration control, the author provides a classic example of obscene differentials in the level of wages earned between a bus driver in Scandinavia and his counterpart in India – an unfair scenario especially when considering the fact that the Scandinavian driver in all probability would never have encountered a situation of having had to dodge a cow in stark distinction to his Indian counterpart.

23 Things… is a fervent appeal to the policy makers, public and the proponents of neo liberalism to untangle the global economy from the complicated and avoidable mess that it finds itself in today. And the most realistic manner in which such a liberating deed is by a thorough, clinical and candid reassessment, reevaluation and review of some of the myopic and jaundiced policies being practiced today.

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