Critical Analysis of Ha-Joon Chang’s “23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism”

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CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF HA-JOON
CHANG’S “23 THINGS THEY DON’T TELL
YOU ABOUT CAPITALISM”

Depending on one’s definition of globalization (whether it be the international trade liberalization that facilitates technological production and economic integration across borders, or social integration that exemplifies our interconnectedness and focuses on the speed of information, shrinking time and space, and the relations that we have built beyond physical location.

Theoretical perspectives are said to be interpretive

frameworks that help us in understanding reality and determine what is important (O’ Brien and Williams, 16).

Often, prestigious academics identify with a particular

perspective. However drawing upon more than one perspective is not uncommon. Such is the case with Ha-Joon Chang in his book 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism. Chang seems to draw upon several perspectives, two of which prevail as most predominant: “economic nationalist perspective” (which carries the heaviest weight in Chang’s thought) and the “critical perspective” (which underlines his overarching theories of capitalism and the state). First, this essay will state that Ha-Joon Chang can fall within the ‘economic nationalistic’ theoretical perspectives. However, perceivable cracks in his logic would lead one to believe that he may also be attune to a ‘critical’ perspective, seeing as he often touches on social and class inequalities created by liberalized economies. A critique of his perspective in identifying where he deviates from the economic nationalist thought and portrays a more critical one, becoming identifiable with historical materialist Robert Cox. Significant cleavages are identified but Chang fails to recognize a key pillar in the critical perspective that is, the role of women in capitalism and globalization.
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