The Asian economic miracle and its unmaking

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Before the Asian economic crisis of 1997 a rash of books on the ‘Asian miracle’ appeared that praised Confucian culture, the strong development state, and the region’s export-oriented industrialization strategy. Asian difference was lauded. Most commentators predicted smooth and spiralling economic growth into the future. When the region nose-dived after the currency crises of 1997 praise turned to derision, with book titles such as The Tigers Tamed and The Asian Eclipse: The Dark Side of Asia typifying much popular writing on Asia’s economic malaise. Asian difference was now a liability: Asian states were said to be too interventionist, Asian culture was endemically corrupt, and Asian education failed to spark entrepreneurship. In this chapter the ‘Asian economic miracle’ and the subsequent economic crash is used to introduce some key themes in international political economy. The main concern is to show that both the causes of the Asian economic miracle and the subsequent crash are heavily contested. The first section describes the Asian economic miracle. Secondly, competing explanations for the ‘miracle’ are explored. Thirdly, the economic crisis that besieged the region in 1997-98 is described, and is then followed by an examination of competing explanations of the crisis and its consequences.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe New Global Politics of the Asia Pacific
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)0203642074, 9780203642078
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2004
Externally publishedYes

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