Ha Jin’s War Trash upends everything economists thought they knew about war and conflict

Well, possibly it does not, but Ha Jin’s War Trash is one very good war novel. Apparently based on the experiences of his father in the Korean War (and it is fascinating to search for the real historical events described in the novel), the “memoir” tells the story of soldiers in the Chinese “volunteer army” captured by the Americans and the South Koreans. The POW experience is haunting. The many choices they have to make worthy of an entire semester of game theory. The possibilities for empirical analysis nearly endless: what happened to the Chines POWs who repatriated to China compared with those who went to Taiwan? The observations about POW experience as an occasion for learning: so much time sitting around with nothing to do, changes you in many ways.

Lots of keen insight into human behavior and sharp writing.  Highly recommended!

About mkevane

Economist at Santa Clara University and Director of Friends of African Village Libraries.
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