[The point instead is that Chang is giving us a simple answer to the question “How do you make an economy grow?” when, at this point at least, no such answer exists. There have been innumerable studies, for instance, looking at the relationship between free trade and economic growth, and the only thing that’s clear is that neither free trade nor protectionism is a cure-all. The problem of disentangling all the factors that go into a country’s economic performance in order to isolate the ones that really count is a monumental task, and not one we have accomplished. Bad Samaritans is written with a kind of smug certainty that is, paradoxically, reminiscent of precisely the neoliberal triumphalism that it’s written against. What’s missing is a recognition of how mysterious the secret of economic growth remains, despite all the energy that economists have poured into solving it. Chang may know the answer—the rest of us will have to keep looking.
James Surowiecki writes the Financial Page column for the New Yorker...bookforum.com Feb/Mar 2008]
An honest engagement with ontology can instill the "recognition of how mysterious the secret of economic growth remains" for which there is no other authentic treatise than The Life Divine. [TNM]