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 ©2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
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. Chua illustrates the disastrous consequences arising when an accumulation of wealth by "market dominant minorities" combines with an increase of political power by a disenfranchised majority. Chua refutes the "powerful assumption that markets and democracy go hand in hand" by citing specific examples of the turbulent conditions within countries such as Indonesia, Russia, Sierra Leone, Bolivia and in the Middle East. In Indonesia, Chua contends, market liberalization policies favoring wealthy Chinese elites instigated a vicious wave of anti-Chinese violence from the suppressed indigenous majority. Chua describes how "terrified Chinese shop owners huddled behind locked doors while screaming Muslim mobs smashed windows, looted shops and gang-raped over 150 women, almost all of them ethnic Chinese." Chua blames the West for promoting a version of capitalism and democracy that Westerners have never adopted themselves. Western capitalism wisely implemented redistributive mechanisms to offset potential ethnic hostilities, a practice that has not accompanied the political and economic transitions in the developing world. As a result, Chua explains, we will continue to witness violence and bloodshed within the developing nations struggling to adopt the free markets and democratic policies exported by the West. (On sale Dec. 24) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.