Things they don’t tell you about capitalism: an interview with Ha-Joon Chang

Published on ZNet

Ha-Joon Chang is a development economist with a special interest in economic history. His most recent book, “23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism”, as well as previous books, have critiqued neoliberalism and laissez-faire economics. I interviewed him by telephone on August 9.

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Ultraviolent conflicts

Between economic austerity and riot stories, my reading is out of sync with the headlines. I’ve been reading more about African conflicts, especially very recent and ongoing ones. Specifically:

-Allen and Vlassenroot’s book on the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda.

-Jason Stearns’s book on the Congo war, “Dancing in the Glory of Monsters”.

-My friend Lansana Gberie’s “A Dirty War in West Africa” on Sierra Leone, and a book he critiques, Paul Richards’s “Fighting for the Rainforest”.

-Assis Malaquias’s “Rebels and Robbers” on Angola’s civil war.

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Numeracy alert. Gravy drain.

I read Metro Today on the subway today. There was a story blaming City of Toronto staff for squandering – wait for it – up to $1 MILLION dollars in sole-sourced contracts.

So, Rob Ford is right, and there is waste to be cut, eh?

Except that $1 million is, for example, 1/3 of what the KPMG report that suggested closing libraries and taking fluoride out of the water cost.

Or 1/64 of the vehicle registration tax whose disappearance is now contributing to the supposed $700 million deficit.

And oh yes, it’s 1/700 of the deficit.

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