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Protecting the global poor

Almost all rich countries got wealthy by protecting infant industries and limiting foreign investment. But these countries are now denying poor ones the same chance to grow by forcing free-trade rules on them before they are strong enough

By Ha-Joon Chang   July 2007

Once upon a time, the leading car-maker of a developing country exported its first passenger cars to the US. Until then, the company had only made poor copies of cars made by richer countries. The car was just a cheap subcompact (“four wheels and an ashtray”) but it was a big moment for the country and its exporters felt proud.

Unfortunately, the car failed. Most people thought it looked lousy, and were reluctant to spend serious money on a family car that came from a place where only second-rate products were made. The car had to be withdrawn from the…

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