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World on Fire

World on Fire

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Written by Amy ChuaAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Amy Chua

  • Format: Trade Paperback, 368 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor
  • On Sale: January 6, 2004
  • Price: $17.00
  • ISBN: 978-0-385-72186-8 (0-385-72186-2)
Also available as an eBook.
about this book

“A profound book, written in plain English, and challenging the very foundations of some glib—and dangerous—assumptions behind American foreign policy. This book should be read in the highest circles of decision-making, as well as by all those who like to consider themselves ‘thinking people.’ It should provoke some re-thinking—and, for some, really thinking for the first time.”—Thomas Sowell, Hoover Institution, and author of Ethnic America, Race and Culture

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.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Globalization and Ethnic Hatred

The Economic Impact of Globalization

1. Rubies and Rice Paddies: Chinese Minority Dominance in Southeast Asia

2. Llama Fetuses, Latifundia, and La Blue Chip Numero Uno: “White” Wealth in Latin America

3. The Seventh Oligarch: The Jewish Billionaires of Post-Communist Russia

4. The “Ibo of Cameroon”: Market-Dominant Minorities of Africa

The Political Consequences of Globalization

5. Backlash against Markets: Ethnically Targeted Seizures and Nationalizations

6. Backlash against Democracy: Crony Capitalism and Minority Rule

7. Backlash against Market-Dominant Minorities: Explusions and Genocide

8. Mixing Blood: Assimiliation, Globalization, and the Case of Thailand

Ethnonationalism and the West

9. The Underside of Western Free Market Democracy: From Jim Crow to the Holocaust

10. The Middle Eastern Cauldron: Israeli Jews as the Regional Market-Dominant Minority

11. Why They Hate Us: America as a Global Market-Dominant Minority

12. The Future of Free Market Democracy


“Fascinating and disturbing . . . with an authority born of rigorous research.” —BusinessWeek

“Superb. . . . Encourages us to confront the world as it is, and our actual place in it, with a humane and intellectually formidable imagination.” —The New York Observer

“A riveting and original book that challenges key tenets of American political faith.” —The Baltimore Sun

A comprehensive, wise, and well-written book. Highly recommended."
Choice (American Library Association)