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Ha-Joon Chang

To most of those who govern the global economy today – the developed country policy-makers, international business leaders, and the international economic organisations (the IMF, the World Bank, and the WTO) – the solution to the problem of economic development is obvious. What the developing countries need, they argue, is the ‘good’ economic policies and institutions that the developed countries themselves used in order to develop – such as liberalisation of trade and investment and strong patent law. Their belief in their own recommendation is so absolute that in their view it has to be imposed on the developing countries at all costs, through strong bilateral and multilateral external pressures. This chapter discusses that, by having the freedom to choose policies and institutions that are more suitable to their conditions, developing countries will be able to develop faster, benefitting the developed countries in the long run by increasing their trade and investment opportunities.