Has anyone else read this book? I saw the author on C-Span, and it stoked my curiosity. A friend of mine barely escaped Indonesia alive a few years ago, and has told me much about the situation with the Chinese there, so I am familiar with this aspect of her book.
The reviews for it seem to be quite impressive, and I am on the verge of getting it for myself. However there are things from both the interview and the book reviews that I might take issue with.
Her assertion that the current impasse in Venezuela is fundamentally “ethnic” or “racial” in nature. I am well aware of the huge chasms in many Latin American societies, and how the legacy of Spanish colonialsim plays a part. But I also had believed that Venezuela was a relatively open society, racially. Are her assertions that Hugo Chavez has introduced starkly racial politics true. And more broadly, does the Latin American elite truly fit any definition of a “market minority”?
She also cited the Croats as a “market minority” in the former Yugoslavia. If I am not mistaken, it was the Slovene population that was far and away the wealthiest in the former Yugoslavia. The Croats were indeed economically better off than other groups such as the Bosnians and Montenegrins, but they their antagonism to the Serbs was, I believe, the classic tension between a large articulate majority with political aspirations, and a dominant political majority or plurality (the Serbs).
The labelling of most of the principal “oligarchs” of Russia is rather explosive given the history of Russia and the common prejudices of the area. How true is this, and how is this topic dealt with…
And fundamentally, what do others think of her assertions, that rapid democratization and laissez faire neo-liberalism are hurting the developing world - not because of the familiar anti-globalization arguments - but because of the potential for out and out race war.