Allow me to share some of my boring, sleepy-time viewing with you…
Meet Ha-Joon Chang, a Cambridge economics professor who turns Tom (aka “the moustache of wisdom”) Friedman’s now widespread orthodoxy about the miraculous panacea of globalization on its head.
If you can manage to get over Chang’s rather annoying idiomatic verbal tics and the awfully poor audio quality of this presentation, you may well be delighted by his sparkling wit, delightfully irreverent sense of humour and the scholarly insight that he employs to effortlessly dismantle the “conventional wisdom” of neo-liberal thinking when it comes to the issue of free trade and protectionism in particular.
The main thrust of Chang’s thesis as set out in his book Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism largely concerns itself with the iniquitous relationship between so-called first-world nations and developing countries, but it takes on a brilliant new relevance in light of the current economic crisis and the sudden resurgence of protectionism in America. After listening to this presentation, it made the World Economic Forum “debate” on this issue at Davos seem quite absurdly ridiculous (there’s a curious appearance by Howard Dean in the Q+A… no surprise however that his question about labour rights got blown off by the panel)