Publisher halts sale of book by Nobel economics winner over mistranslations

By KH디지털2
  • Published : Oct 27, 2015 - 17:25
  • Updated : Oct 27, 2015 - 17:25

Sales of the Korean-language edition of “The Great Escape,” written by Angus Deaton, this year’s winner of the Nobel Prize in economics, have been halted due to “changes that are not approved by the author.”

Princeton University Press, the book’s original publisher in the U.S., requested the Korean publisher Hankyung BP discontinue sales, citing “changes (in the Korean edition) that do not accurately reflect the original work.”

A new edition -- which will be “independently reviewed, to accurately reflect the original text of Prof. Deaton’s book” -- will be published by Hankyung BP, the U.S. publishing house said in a statement uploaded last week on the website of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, where Deaton is currently a professor. 

Angus Deaton, recipient of the 2015 Nobel Prize in economics (AP-Yonhap)

Controversy flared in Korea last week after Kim Gong-hoi, a research fellow at the Seoul-based Society Research Institute, pointed out inaccuracies in the Korean edition of Deaton’s book, which discusses the patterns of disproportionate economic development among nations.

Kim claimed the local edition had shortened the book’s preface, altered chapter divisions and changed the original subtitle from “Health, Wealth and the Origins of Inequality” to “How Inequality Precipitates Development,” among other errors.

Hankyung BP’s Korean-language edition of “The Great Escape,” written by Angus Deaton, recipient of the 2015 Nobel Prize in economics (Hankyung BP)

The Korean introduction added by Hankyung BP also became a point of contention.

Titled “Piketty versus Deaton” and written by Hyun Jin-kwon, an economist and director at Korea’s Center for Free Economy, the introduction suggests that Deaton’s work is a counterpoint to French economist Thomas Piketty’s views on inequality -- a stance that Princeton later said was “not vetted or approved by either the author or by Princeton University Press.”

In response, Hankyung BP argued Monday that there was “no mistranslation of the original text,” but only “editorial changes” aimed at the “convenience of readers.”

Angus Deaton is a British-born economist at Princeton University who was awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in economics for “his pioneering work into what determines poverty and how people make their consumption decisions,” according to the Financial Times. 

By Rumy Doo (