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World On Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Amy Chua
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8. Januar 2004
For over a decade now, the reigning consensus has held that the combination of free markets and democracy would transform the third world and sweep away the ethnic hatred and religious zealotry associated with underdevelopment. In this astute, original, and surprising investigation of the true impact of globalization, Yale Law School professor Amy Chua explains why many developing countries are in fact consumed by ethnic violence after adopting free market democracy.

Chua shows how in non-Western countries around the globe, free markets have concentrated starkly disproportionate wealth in the hands of a resented ethnic minority. These “market-dominant minorities” – Chinese in Southeast Asia, Croatians in the former Yugoslavia, whites in Latin America and South Africa, Indians in East Africa, Lebanese in West Africa, Jews in post-communist Russia – become objects of violent hatred. At the same time, democracy empowers the impoverished majority, unleashing ethnic demagoguery, confiscation, and sometimes genocidal revenge. She also argues that the United States has become the world’s most visible market-dominant minority, a fact that helps explain the rising tide of anti-Americanism around the world. Chua is a friend of globalization, but she urges us to find ways to spread its benefits and curb its most destructive aspects.
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  • Taschenbuch: 368 Seiten
  • Verlag: Arrow; Auflage: New Ed (8. Januar 2004)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0099455048
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099455042
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 13,2 x 19,9 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 147.683 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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"There is a plethora of books about globalisation, many saying roughly the same thing. This one is different ... This book is a gem ... Her theme is different, rich and compelling ... A pleasure to read" (Guardian)

"Very, very readable; very powerful - this is a very illuminating book" (Clare Short A Good Read)

"The greatest tribute to any book is the conviction upon closing it that the senseless finally makes sense. That's the feeling left by Amy Chua's World on Fire ... provocative, evocative, nuanced and highly readable, starting at page one" (Washington Post)

"Ambitiously conceived, impressively researched and gracefully written, Amanda Foreman has crafted a narrative rich in detail, anecdote, insight and personalities. It puts a human face - many human faces - on a brutal conflict remorselessly descending into an inhuman total war" (Brian Jenkins)

"A tour de force, a work of extreme virtuosity both in the research and the telling" (Bloomberg News)


The New York Times bestseller and one of The Economist's Best Books of the Year 2003. Perfect for fans of current affairs books with an emphasis on globalisation, by writers such as Naomi Klein and Eric Schlosser, World on Fire is the most original contribution to the globalisation debate in years.

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen
4.0 von 5 Sternen Unconventional analysis 18. März 2014
Von O. Neukum
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Her analysis is free of any taboos and comprehensive. The breadth of her coverage is very from clear to quite questionable cases. When she comes to conclusions, however, her courage falters.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 3.8 von 5 Sternen  121 Rezensionen
335 von 357 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Incredible book, yet so misunderstood 30. Januar 2003
Von Brock Buffum - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This book is amazingly clear and well-written (in fact its main weakness is that it is TOO clear, to the point of being mildly repetitive), which is why is amazes me that so many of the reviews here seem to either miss the point or misunderstand it altogether.
Chua DOES NOT blame free markets and democracy for all the evils of the world.
She DOES NOT attempt to propose some 'magic bullet' solution - she is simply providing analysis in attempt to further the discussion.
She DOES NOT claim that wealth redistribution programs are the ONLY reason for the relative success of the Western democracies - ethnic homogeneity is also a major factor, as are situational idiosyncrasies.
If you attempt to view this book as a narrow-minded attempt to shove the complex tangled peg of the world into a smooth round hole, you will have misunderstood it. Obviously, any book with an explanatory scope of this magnitude needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Her principle thesis is extremely powerful, but it does not explain everything since the big bang! In all the low-star reviews I have read, the criticisms have been completely misguided - do not base your opinion of this book on those reviews.
What Chua is trying to show is that - for better or worse - the policies we push onto the developing world far too often result in unintended consequences. We are pushing an extreme ideology onto the world - an ideology we don't practice ourselves and in fact NEVER HAVE IN OUR HISTORY.
Capitalism is about increasing returns - wealth begets more wealth. A small group of wealthy can raise the level for all people, which is generally hunkey-dorey.
This book builds on the concepts of path-dependence, lock-in, increasing returns in socioeconomic networks - all ideas that have been around for years now (see Brian Arthur and the Sante Fe people) but very few, especially in mainstream 'neoclassical' economics, seem to admit these things are real.
I am actually impressed with how even-handed and balanced this book is, with respect to liberal/conservative ideology. She comes off as slightly conservative(in other words, in favor of market 'liberalization') and definitely pro-market. She is NOT some leftist red commie. And the fact that Thomas Sowell - the high priest of conservate economics himself - gave this book an excellent review should be a tip-off to people on the right, who would dismiss this as some leftist rant.
This is an excellent, provocative book, and should be read and understood by many more people than it probably will be, which is unfortunate...
67 von 77 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Detailing the Volatile Mix of Globalization and Ethnicity 4. Juli 2003
Von Jeffery Steele - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Amy Chua has written an important book on how the accumulation of wealth by what she calls "market-dominant minorities" threatens globalization. By looking at a series of case studies, some of which she has personal experience with, Chua shows that the tendency of some minorities to benefit disproportionately, when their countries' markets open up to the world, inflames ethnic hatred among the ethnicities who make up the bulk of those countries' populations.

Ethnicity is used as a sociological concept in this book, not a genetic or national concept. Thus, the overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia, Lebanese in West Africa, Jews in Russia, whites in Latin America and Africa, and various African tribes in Africa are all considered as case studies of market-dominant minorities, despite their various differences.

Some ethnicities are thoroughly assimilated by their host countries; some are not. Some are citizens of their host country; some are not. Some rely on key cultural differences to take advantage of globalization while others simply had an advantageous history that allowed them to fill key niches in expanding markets.
But however you define ethnicity, and whatever allows these fortunate minorities to take advantage of spreading markets, the key point is that certain minorities, separate from and identifiable to the bulk of the population, have a hugely disproportionate influence in these expanding national economies. And the bulk of the population sees what is going on and is not happy about it.

Chua is comprehensive (perhaps too comprehensive -- more on that later) but doesn't get bogged down in details; as a result, this is an easy book to read. She looks at numerous aspects of ethnicity and globalization, from the economic and political implications, and even examines the question of assimilation and mixed blood with the fascinating case of Thailand's Chinese population.
But "World on Fire" begins to lose some of its force as Chua takes on too many cases. Near the end, she looks at the former Yugoslavia and the Middle East. While she clearly qualifies her remarks here by saying that the problems in these areas do not stem from globalization alone, she nevertheless is too eager to show some connection between them. She would have been better served, I think, to understand the limits of her theory and to apply it only where it clearly had some explanatory power.
171 von 203 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Eye-opening and important 11. Februar 2003
Von Amazon Customer - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Francis Fukuyama famously announced at the end of the Cold War that humanity had reached "the end of history." Unfortunately, he forgot to tell history not to bother coming to work anymore.
Easy as it is to make fun of Fukuyama, where exactly did he go wrong?
Fukuyama's conception was formed by his expensive miseducation in the works of Hegel and other 19th Century German philosophers. History consists of the struggle to determine the proper ideology. Now there are no plausible alternatives to capitalist democracy. History, therefore, must be finished.
Lenin held a more realistic theory of what history is about: not ideology, but "Who? Whom?" (You can insert your own transitive verb between the two words.) History continues because the struggle to determine who will be the who rather than the whom will never end.
Amy Chua's readable and eye-opening new book "World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability" documents just how pervasive ethnic inequality is around the world-and how much that drives the traumas we read about every day.
Chua builds upon Thomas Sowell's concept of the "middle-man minority"-the often-persecuted immigrant ethnic group with a talent for retailing and banking, such as Jews, Armenians, Chinese, Gujarati Indians, Lebanese Christians, etc. She broadens that idea to include other relatively well-off groups, such as un-entrepreneurial hereditary landowners, like the Tutsis of Rwanda and the Iberian-descended whites of much of Latin America. She lumps them all together under the useful term "market-dominant minorities."
Chua begs off explaining why economic inequality exists between hereditary groups. So let me offer a general explanation.
Creating wealth is difficult. People who have wealth tend to pass down their property, their genes, and their techniques for preserving and multiplying wealth to their descendents, rather than to strangers.
In countries without a reliable system of equal justice under the law, clannishness is particularly rational. Businessmen must depend upon their extended families for protection and enforcement of contracts. So they are particularly loath to do serious business with people to whom they have no ties of blood or marriage and who would thus be more likely to stiff them on a deal.
"Globalization," or economic liberalization, tends to make the poor majorities slightly richer and the "market dominant minorities" vastly richer. Sometimes the masses find this an acceptable tradeoff. But sometimes it drives them into a fury.
Often, the minority's post-globalization riches are honestly earned, but not always. American-backed privatization schemes in Russia and Mexico put huge government enterprises into the hands of the most economically nimble and politically well-connected operators at give-away prices.
Chua, a professor at Yale Law School, is herself the progeny of a market dominant minority: the Chinese of the Philippines. Chinese-speakers make up only 1% or 2% of the Philippines' population. But they own the majority of the country's business assets. They seclude themselves in a luxurious world fenced off from the indigenous majority, whom they hold in contempt and wouldn't dream of marrying.
Not surprisingly, the impoverished natives aren't crazy about the rich newcomers. Chua's beloved aunt in Manila was brutally murdered by her chauffeur. The unmotivated cops made little effort to find him.
It's definitely nicer to belong to the minority than to the majority in these countries. But Chua makes clear that, to Americans used to our norms of congeniality and social equality, it would be an awfully depressing way to live.
A grimmer example: Indonesia. The Chinese made up 3% of its vast population, yet owned the great majority of all businesses. The dictator Suharto, whose family had lucrative ties to the Chinese community, fell in 1998. Democratization set off a vicious pogrom against the Chinese, many of whom fled to Chinese-majority Singapore. The government expropriated $58 billion in assets.
Not surprisingly, the native Indonesians proved inept at running the businesses nationalized from the Chinese, and the economy collapsed.
All of which leads to a disquieting conclusion: it can be contradictory for America to demand that other countries simultaneously free their economies and democratize their politics.
We are seeing this in Venezuela right now. The dark-skinned, democratically-elected Hugo Chavez is at war with the fair-skinned rich, who want the national oil company privatized. The Bush Administration ludicrously endorsed the white elite's coup against Chavez last spring as a "victory for democracy," only to be embarrassed when the majority rose up and reinstalled him.
That property rights and one man-one vote democracy don't always mix well would not have surprised Aristotle, Edmund Burke, or Alexander Hamilton. Yet many Americans who call themselves conservatives have forgotten this.
One reason: we are one of the fairly small number of lucky countries with "market dominant majorities." We can have our cake (capitalism) and eat it too (democracy) because our majority group is economically quite competent.
This raises obvious questions about the long term impact of our immigration policy, which, with all the brilliant people in the world to choose among, manages to bring in huge numbers of people who have never seen the inside of a high school.
46 von 52 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Man doesn't live by bread alone 5. Mai 2003
Von Wayne C. Lusvardi - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
How did a book written by a heretofore little known law professor on the topic of globalization of all things receive so much acclaim? The answer is that the book is clearly and poignantly written unlike many books on globalization by economists and sociologists. But its clarity and simplicity also subtly and superficially reduces globalization to an oversimplified and hackneyed version of Marxist materialsm. Amy chua is on to something big - really big - in her book: that in nearly every third world nation the transition to a capitalist economy has brought about the rise of a "market dominant majority" that is able to capture most of the wealth and power resulting in ethnic hatred and a viscious circle of violence. Chua starts out the book by writing about the tragic and gripping story of the murder in the Philippines of her ethnic Chinese wealthy aunt at the hands of her chauffer. She then enlarges her story to discuss the economic dominance of Chinese in Asia, Crotians over Serbs in the former Yugoslavia, Europeans in South American and South Africa, Jews in post communist Russia, and the resulting spiral of ethnic conflict. Her overworked thesis is the paradox that "free market democracy" breeds ethnic hatred, genocide, terrorism, and ethnic wars. All of the praise for the book by scholars on the back book cover and elsewhere misses the obvious -- this is an old thesis originally addressed by Marx and Engels over 150 years ago. Substitute the word "bourgeoise" for Chua's "market dominant minority," "the proletariat" for "the poor," and "control over the modes of production" for "market dominance," and you have a new lexicon of Marxism. The words "market" and "laissez faire" are also used in a biased fashion as misnomers to mean their opposite: cartels, monopolies, and elites. Chua says that poverty doesn't make people kill - indignity, grievances, and hopelessness does. But then she proceeds to prove otherwise in case study after case study. But man doesn't live by bread alone. This what social scientists call "legitimation" - which means that society is held together not simply by material needs and interests but also by beliefs and religious theodicies that justify the prevailing social order. What Chua misses is the even bigger issue of not why there is so much ethnic hatred, but why there isn't more or revolution? Chua says that third world globalization invariably ends up with a small ethnic elite subjugating the mass of poor people. She fails to mention that totalitarian government does the same only with a class of muggers instead of a commercial class. Some of her solutions such as stock ownership are naive; others such as creating legal property rights are more promising. For a deeper understanding of the issues I would suggest reading:
1. Peter Berger, The Capitalist Revolution: 50 Propositions about Prosperity, Equality, and Liberty.
2. Peter Berger, Pyramids of Sacrifice: Political Ethics and Social Change.
3. Peter Berger and Samuel Huntington, eds., Many Globalizations.
32 von 36 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen A Good Thesis, But Not Solidly Presented 21. Januar 2003
Von doomsdayer520 - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Amy Chua�s main thesis in this book, which can be seen in the subtitle on the cover, is indeed a strong and useful one. The doctrinaire democracy and capitalism that the US is pushing on developing nations, usually as a condition for financial or military aid, is nonsensical and barely rooted in reality. First, there has never been unrestricted (laissez-faire) capitalism in the US or any successful Western nation, given minimum wages, subsidies, and other aspects of a social safety net. There also has never been �pure� democracy in the US, as it took generations for women and minorities to achieve suffrage. One must also consider the structure of the Electoral College that was disastrously evident in the 2000 election (though Chua misses the opportunity to use this very pertinent example). In fact, total democracy and capitalism, which have even been rejected by the US, are extreme ideologies with as little hope for success in the real world as any other type of extremism. However this is exactly what we are forcing on the developing world, with plenty of disastrous consequences.
Chua�s main tool of reference here is �market dominant minorities� which are the main beneficiaries in societies where capitalism is still developing, such as the Chinese in all of the nations of Southeast Asia, or whites in most of Latin America. These peoples are usually seen as greedy outsiders who are concentrating wealth in countries where the ethnic majorities are increasingly exploited and humiliated. Adding unrestricted democracy to this troublesome situation gives political power to the oppressed majority that they can then use to enact revenge on the exploitative ethnic minority. Horrific examples are the confiscation of Chinese businesses by Indonesia (which indirectly led to the Asian financial collapse in 1998) and even the genocide in Rwanda. This ethnic structure is not a problem in the Western world, but breeds instability and violence in non-Western developing nations when extreme American ideals are forced on unready societies.
However, this strong thesis is not the end-all explanation to the world�s ethnic problems, and this can be seen in the weaknesses in Chua�s presentation. She is a rather repetitive writer, with the same examples popping up again and again in an attempt to beef up the argument. Also, Chua is far too worried about avoiding critics and continuously tries to prove that she is not anti-American or anti-globalization. In the process she wavers politically and indirectly shoots down many of her own points. Examples are her forced analyses of examples that don�t quite fit her thesis but that she tries to use as support anyway, especially Yugoslavia (chapter 7) and her attempt to expand the argument to explain worldwide resentment of America (chapter 11). Chua�s thesis in this book is certainly a very strong and believable one, but it probably requires more focus and political muscle to gain acceptance among policy makers.
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