Expert on World Economies to Speak

Ha-Joon Chang, one of the world’s leading scholars on economics and development, will give a public lecture at Seattle University School of Law at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, April 3. He will talk about his new book, “Bad Samaritans — The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism,” in the second floor gallery of Sullivan Hall, on the corner of 12th and Columbia.

Chang’s lecture marks law school’s Seattle Journal for Social Justice release its symposium issue, Free Market Fundamentalism: A Critical Review of Dogmas and Consequences (from the 2006 LatCrit Conference in Bogotá, Colombia) .

This event is free and open to everyone. No RSVP is necessary.

Professor Chang has taught at the University of Cambridge since 1990. In addition to numerous articles in journals and edited volumes, he has published 11 books and has consulted for many international organizations, including the United Nations, the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank. He was awarded the 2005 Wassily Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought.

Free market fundamentalism (known more commonly as the neoliberal economic model) can be characterized as a move to privatize sluggish state sectors and minimize government interference in the market in order to achieve economic prosperity.

As the papers in the Free Market Fundamentalism symposium issue make clear, the failure of states, corporations and international trade and financial institutions to address the negative social, economic, cultural and environmental consequences of “free market” policies has had adverse repercussions on much of the world’s population. Indeed, as many of the papers suggest, the market may not in fact be “free” at all, but an ideological construct that harms millions and metaphorically imprisons them in low-paying jobs with poor working conditions and in unhealthy living environments.

In his new book, Professor Chang takes up where the Free Market Fundamentalism symposium papers leave off. He takes aim at the neoliberal economists who argue that open markets will lift struggling nations out of poverty. Chang shows how today’s economic superpowers — from the United States to Britain to his native South Korea — all attained economic prosperity by shameless protectionism and government intervention in industry.

Unlike many economists who construct models of how economies are supposed to behave, Chang examines the history of how they actually behave. His pungently contrarian history demolishes one pillar after another of free market mythology.

The mission of SJSJ is to promote critical interdisciplinary discussions on urgent problems of social justice, including exploring the often conflicting meanings of justice that arise in a diverse society.

For more information, contact (206) 398.4988 or sjsj@seattleu.edu.