Amy Chua’s remarkable and provocative book explores the tensions of the post-Cold War globalising world. As global markets open, ethnic conflict worsens and democracy in developing nations can turn ugly and violent. Chua shows how free markets have concentrated disproportionate, often spectacular wealth in the hands of resented ethnic minorities – ‘market-dominant minorities’. Adding democracy to this volatile mix can unleash suppressed ethnic hatred and bring to power ‘ethno-nationalist’ governments that pursue aggressive policies of confiscation and revenge. Chua also shows how individual countries may be viewed as market-dominant minorities, a fact that could help to explain the rising tide of anti-American sentiment around the world and the visceral hatred of Americans expressed in recent acts of terrorism.
Chua is not an anti-globalist. But in this must-read bestselling book she presciently warns that, far from making the world a better and safer place, democracy and capitalism – at least in the raw, unrestrained form in which they are currently being exported – are intensifying ethnic resentment and global violence, with potentially catastrophic results.