The rather popular and interesting Cambridge economist, Ha-joon Chang, whom I’ve written about here before has apparently been banned by the South Korean Air Force. The Korean translation of Chang’s recent book, Bad Samaritans, which is a Keynesian attack on neo-liberalism and free trade, has been categorised as a subversive book liable to corrupt the minds of those brave Koreans defending the homeland:
In the instructions, the Air Force states that “seditious books” can hinder soldiers’ concentration and suggested a list of 23 books to be banned in three categories: pro-Pyongyang, anti-government and anti-U.S., and anti-capitalism.
So I guess that Chang’s Keynesianism must fall under the category of ‘anti-capitalism’. The ironies in this are just too many to point out, but we could perhaps start with the fact that South Korea’s military probably wouldn’t exist at all without a long history of the sort of protectionist and interventionist economic policies that Chang is advocating. The biggest irony though, must surely be that far from being anti-capitalist these same Keynesian/statist policies probably did the most to save capitalism from self-destruction during the 20th century.
Fascinating also that being ‘anti-government’ and ‘anti-US’ are considered to be part of the same category of sedition here…