Thursday, August 17, 2017 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Ha-Joon Chang


Korean development economist.
Ha-Joon Chang
The days are over when technology can be advanced in laboratories by individual scientists alone. Now you need an army of lawyers to negotiate the hazardous terrain of interlocking patents. Unless we find a solution to the problem of interlocking patents, the patent system may actually impede the very innovation it was designed to encourage.
Ha-Joon Chang quotes
Culture changes with economic development.
Ha-Joon Chang
Markets have a strong tendency to reinforce the status quo. The free market dictates that countries stick to what they are already good at. Stated bluntly, this means that poor countries are supposed to continue with their current engagement in low-productivity activities. But their engagement in those activities is exactly what makes them poor. If they want to leave poverty behind, they have to defy the market and do the more difficult things that bring them higher incomes—there are no two ways about it.




Ha-Joon Chang quotes
I have a six-year-old son. His name is Jin-Gyu. He lives off me, yet he is quite capable of making a living. I pay for his lodging, food, education and health care. But millions of children of his age already have jobs. Daniel Defoe, in the 18th century, thought that children could earn a living from the age of four.
Moreover, working might do Jin-Gyu’s character a world of good. Right now he lives in an economic bubble with no sense of the value of money. He has zero appreciation of the efforts his mother and I make on his behalf, subsidizing his idle existence and cocooning him from harsh reality. He is over-protected and needs to be exposed to competition, so that he can become a more productive person. Thinking about it, the more competition he is exposed to and the sooner this is done, the better it will be for his future development. It will whip him into a mentality that is ready for hard work. I should make him quit school and get a job. Perhaps I could move to a country where child labour is still tolerated, if not legal, to give him more choice in employment.
Ha-Joon Chang
Corruption exists because there is too much, not too little, market.
Ha-Joon Chang quotes
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.
Ha-Joon Chang
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.
Ha-Joon Chang quotes
Countries are poor not because their people are lazy; their people are ‘lazy’ because they are poor.
Ha-Joon Chang
As water flows from high to low, knowledge has always flowed from where there is more to where there is less. Those countries that are better at absorbing the knowledge inflow have been more successful in catching up with the more economically advanced nations. On the other side of the fence, those advanced nations that are good at controlling the outflow of core technologies have retained their technological leadership for longer. The technological ‘arms race’, between backward countries trying to acquire advanced foreign knowledge and the advanced countries trying to prevent its outflow has always been at the heart of the game of economic development.
Ha-Joon Chang
The Korean economic miracle was the result of a clever and pragmatic mixture of market incentives and state direction.
Ha-Joon Chang
Financial markets need to become less, not more, efficient.




Ha-Joon Chang quotes
We are not smart enough to leave things to the market.
Ha-Joon Chang
Corruption often exists because there are too many market forces, not too few.
Ha-Joon Chang quotes
It takes time and experience to absorb new technologies, so technologically backward producers need a period of protection from international competition during this period of learning. Such protection is costly, because the country is giving up the chance to import better and cheaper products. However, it is a price that has to be paid if it wants to develop advanced industries.
Ha-Joon Chang
There is no hard and fast rule as to what makes a successful state-owned enterprise. Therefore, when it comes to SOE management, we need a pragmatic attitude in the spirit of the famous remark by China’s former leader Deng Xiao-ping: ‘it does not matter whether the cat is white or black as long as it catches mice.’
Ha-Joon Chang quotes
There is a big logical jump between acknowledging the destructive nature of hyperinflation and arguing that the lower the rate of inflation, the better.
Ha-Joon Chang
Low inflation and government prudence may be harmful for economic development.
Ha-Joon Chang quotes
Britain and the US are not the homes of free trade; in fact, for a long time they were the most protectionist countries in the world. Not all countries have succeeded through protection and subsidies, but few have done so without them. For developing countries, free trade has a rarely been a matter of choice; it was often an imposition from outside, sometimes even through military power. Most of them did very poorly under free trade; they did much better when they used protection and subsidies. The best-performing economies have been those that opened up their economies selectively and gradually. Neo-liberal free-trade free-market policy claims to sacrifice equity for growth, but in fact it achieves neither; growth has slowed down in the past two and a half decades when markets were freed and borders opened.
Ha-Joon Chang
Global economic competition is a game of unequal players ... Consequently, it is only fair that we ‘tilt the playing field’ in favour of the weaker countries. In practice, this means allowing them to protect and subsidize their producers more vigorously and to put stricter regulations on foreign investment. These countries should also be allowed to protect intellectual property rights less stringently so that they can more actively ‘borrow’ ideas from more advanced countries.
Ha-Joon Chang
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.


© 2009–2013Quotes Privacy Policy | Contact