Eight countries in East Asia--Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia--have become known as the "East Asian miracle" because of their economies' dramatic growth. In these eight countries real per capita GDP rose twice as fast as in any other regional grouping between 1965 and 1990. Even more impressive is their simultaneous significant reduction in poverty and income inequality. Their success is frequently attributed to economic policies, but the authors of this book argue that those economic policies would not have worked unless the leaders of the countries made them credible to their business communities and citizens.
Jose Edgardo Campos and Hilton Root challenge the popular belief that East Asia's high performers grew rapidly because they were ruled by authoritarian leaders. They show that these leaders had to collaborate with various sectors of their population to create an environment that was conducive to sustained growth. This required them to persuade the business community that their investments would not be expropriated and to convince the broader population that their short-term sacrifices would be rewarded in the future. Many of the countries achieved business cooperation by creating consultative groups, which the authors call deliberation councils, to enhance accountability and stability. They also obtained popular support through a variety of wealth-sharing measures such as land reform, worker cooperatives, and wider access to education.
Finally, to inhibit favoritism and corruption that would benefit narrow interest groups at the expense of broad-based development, these countries' leaders constructed a competent bureaucracy that balanced autonomy with accountability to serve all interests, including the poor.
This important book provides useful lessons about how developing and newly industrialized countries can build institutions to implement growth-promoting policies.
This book serves as a useful reference text for those who seek to understand the Asian economies, and contributes to ongoing policy debate on Asia's economic future.
Currency wars are one of the most destructive and feared outcomes in international economics. At best, they offer the sorry spectacle of countries' stealing growth from their trading partners. At worst, they degenerate into sequential bouts of inflation, recession, retaliation, and sometimes actual violence. Left unchecked, the next currency war could lead to a crisis worse than the panic of 2008.
Currency wars have happened before-twice in the last century alone-and they always end badly. Time and again, paper currencies have collapsed, assets have been frozen, gold has been confiscated, and capital controls have been imposed. And the next crash is overdue. Recent headlines about the debasement of the dollar, bailouts in Greece and Ireland, and Chinese currency manipulation are all indicators of the growing conflict.
As James Rickards argues in Currency Wars, this is more than just a concern for economists and investors. The United States is facing serious threats to its national security, from clandestine gold purchases by China to the hidden agendas of sovereign wealth funds. Greater than any single threat is the very real danger of the collapse of the dollar itself.
Baffling to many observers is the rank failure of economists to foresee or prevent the economic catastrophes of recent years. Not only have their theories failed to prevent calamity, they are making the currency wars worse. The U. S. Federal Reserve has engaged in the greatest gamble in the history of finance, a sustained effort to stimulate the economy by printing money on a trillion-dollar scale. Its solutions present hidden new dangers while resolving none of the current dilemmas.
While the outcome of the new currency war is not yet certain, some version of the worst-case scenario is almost inevitable if U.S. and world economic leaders fail to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors. Rickards untangles the web of failed paradigms, wishful thinking, and arrogance driving current public policy and points the way toward a more informed and effective course of action.