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World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Globalinstabilityby Amy Chua
Synopses & Reviews
Every few years, a book is published about America's role in the world and the changing contest of global affairs that gets everyone thinking in a new way. Amy Chua's WORLD ON FIRE will have exactly that kind of impact on the debate of how the world has changed in light of the events of last September.
Apostles of globalization, such as Thomas Friedman, believe that exporting free markets and democracy to other countries will increase peace and prosperity throughout the developing world; Amy Chua is the anti-Thomas Friedman. Her book wil be a dash of cold water in the face of globalists, techno-utopians, and liberal triumphalists as she shows that just the opposite has happened: When global markets open, ethnic conflict worsens and politics turns ugly and violent.
Drawing on examples from around the world--from Africa and Asia to Russia and Latin America--Chua examines how free markets do not spread wealth evenly throughout the whole of these societies. Instead they produce a new class of extremely wealthy plutocrats--individuals as rich as nations. Almost always members of a minority group--Chinese in the Philippines, Croatians in the former Yugoslavia, whites in Latin America, Indians in East Africa, Jews in post-communist Russia--these "market-dominant minorities" have become targets of violent hatred. Adding democracy to this volatile mix unleashes supressed ethnic hatreds and brings to power ethnonationalist governments that pursue aggressive policies of confiscation and revenge. Chua further shows how individual countries are often viewed as dominant minorities, explaining the phenomena of ethnic resentment in the Arab-Israeli conflict and the rising tide of anti-American sentiment around the world. This more than anything accounts for the visceral hatred of Americans that has been expressed in recent acts of terrorism.
Bold and original, WORLD ON FIRE is a perceptive examination of the far-reaching effects of exporting capitalism with democracy and its potentially catastrophic results.
"A professor at Yale Law School, Chua eloquently fuses expert analysis with personal recollections to assert that globalization has created a volatile concoction of free markets and democracy that has incited economic devastation, ethnic hatred and genocidal violence throughout the developing world." Publishers Weekly
Book News Annotation:
The pursuit of free markets in the developing world tends to concentrate wealth in the hands of a minority, leading invariably to one of three forms of backlash, argues Chua (Yale Law School). Contrary to neoliberal orthodoxy, free markets and democracy do not necessarily coincide, she contends. She describes cases where the concentration of wealth among an "outsider" minority leads to an ethnically targeted anti-market backlash (Mugabe's Zimbabwe), an anti- democracy backlash favorable to the market-dominant minority (Marcos's Philippines), or violent backlash directed against the market-dominant minority itself (Rwanda). She argues for the promotion of market democracy, but cautions against an "unrestrained" approach. Annotation (c)2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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