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Review

2251 words - 10 pages

This critical comparative review discusses three books written by Kenneth Pomeranz and Steven Topik (2012), Ha-Joon Chang (2008), and Gavin Fridell (2013). Above books examine the historical context and the present intricacies of the world trade and its relationship with broad political, economic, societal and ideological forces. The aim of this review is to provide a critique of the increasingly hegemonic position held within the international trade and development community that offers that to eliminate poverty through a particular kind of economic growth known as free trade. The international trade and development community represented by Jeffrey D. Sachs (2005) believes, free trade policies can bring some positive changes in the developing countries. Conversely, this critical review will bring up the fundamental arguments made against Sachs (2005). Pomeranz and Topik (2012), Ha-Joon Chang (2008), and Gavin Fridell (2013) disagrees with the views of international trade and development offered by Sachs (2005) on several issues such as- his understandings of geography, trade and history, overlooking the social and cultural dimensions of development, his notion of considering the world a positive-sum opportunity, climbing the development ladder, inability of poor countries to absorb the levels of aid that he offered, and the damage caused by suggesting that it is indeed possible to end poverty.
The fundamental idea of Pomeranz and Topik (2012) was explaining the fact that, Europeans were not the single entrepreneurs, but also non-Europeans nations played a role in the world economy. For an example, during the British colonial period, China and Japan focused on defense-oriented industrialization and contributed in the world economy through trade (269). However, compare with the non-Europeans, Europeans used violence as a tool to gain economic control over emerging economies, for an example, British colonization as corporations in India, this is just one of countless example of British colonization throughout history (174-176). Although, famous economists, Smith and Ricardo argued, free trade will benefit both parties, however, if this is the case, then it could prevent countries from engaging in violence and wars (248). Moreover, Sachs (2005) also shares similar thoughts as Smith and Ricardo did, in his words, “the world is not a zero-sum struggle in which one country's gain is another's loss, but is rather a positive-sum opportunity” (16). Surprisingly, no evidence found about the notion of postivite-sum opportunity in the world trade history. In addition, Pomeranz and Topik (2012) also identified, “warfare” is the force behind the last five hundred years of trade and the current powerful markets (160), therefore rich countries are not concerned about the loss of weaker countries. The authors also mentioned, “The market structures that are basic to our world were not natural or inevitable, always latent and waiting to be ‘opened up’; rather,...

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