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August 06, 2007

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Justin Rietz

"Trade is simply too important for economic development to be left to free trade economists."

I would extend this to say economists in general - no offense Dani :-)

Having taken a look at the TFP numbers, I'm not sure they support one position over another. They are high level aggregates that don't reveal details about a myriad of factors that may have played underlying roles. Also, perhaps Krueger is using country-by-country stats? Having had her as my professor for undergrad international economics, I too would be shocked if she ignored such data.

As I have stated before, I think a country that already has strong protectionist policies in place would be loathe to suddenly throw off all trade restrictions in "shock therapy" fashion. The results of post-communist Europe should be ample evidence for this.

In regards to Panagariya, perhaps he can lend a copy of his book to Sachs?

jonfernquest

Ha-Joon Chang's reaffirmation of history and human agency is truly a breath of fresh air:

"...economies develop in the particular ways they do because someone somewhere makes a conscious decision to 'invest acquire skills, and gain knowledge' in particular areas. In the same way in which business managers often go deliberately against market signals in making such decision...governments can, and often should, go against market signals."

Yes, if you read the exact description of why and how Park Chung Hee originated the HCI drive, this becomes obvious, not only foreign exchange rationing but credit rationing directed at specific promoted export sectors, amking market prices irrelevant, accompanied with riot police, KCIA, and strict monitoring and control, massive subsidization until the end of the Vietnam war, to suggest that HCI did not work is ridiculous, it is exactly what distinguishes Korea from, for instance, Southeast Asian states that rely on joint ventures for these inputs, but I think the massive cold war subsidies and post WWII war indemnities from Japan, as well as the oppressive authoritarian control are exactly what make it infeasible today, but at the same time this history does define one possible feasible solution that worked

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thanks for your insightful comments on the FT discussion. As Ha-Joon Chang is a Senior Research Associate at CEPR (www.cepr.net ), we posted the discussion along with a plug for his book, Bad Samaritans, on our web site.

To me the one of the most interesting parts of the discussion was Martin Wolf's concession that developing countries ought to be able to choose their own policies and make their own mistakes. This is a concept that is rarely given consideration in Washington. But, as I argue in a recent article, it is one that the world is increasingly approaching as the IMF and associated institutions (including the IMF's dominant shareholder, U.S. Treasury) continue to lose influence over developing countries.

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