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In Praise of Not-So-Free Trade

Economist Ha-Joon Chang challenges almost every belief sacred to open-market proponents

Bad Samaritans:The Myth of Free Trade andthe Secret History of CapitalismBy Ha-Joon ChangBloomsbury Press; 276pp; $26.95

Imagine a country where regulation of foreign investment is so strict that noncitizens can't own voting shares of financial institutions. Overseas banks are barred from opening branches. Foreigners can't own the most desirable land. Mining and logging are largely restricted to citizens. Foreign companies are taxed more heavily than domestic ones, and in some jurisdictions they're stripped of all legal protection. China? Some despotic state in Africa? Nope, says Cambridge University economist Ha-Joon Chang, it was the U.S.—in the late 19th and early 20th century.