Asian Godfathers: Money and Power in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia

Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
2
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Hong Kong and Southeast Asia are home to five hundred million people, yet their economies are dominated by only fifty families whose interests range from banking to real estate, shipping to sugar, gambling to lumber. At their peak, eight of the world’s two dozen richest men were Southeast Asian, but their names would not be familiar to most regular readers of The Wall Street Journal. A complex mythology surrounds these billionaires, but in Asian Godfathers, Joe Studwell finds that the facts are even more remarkable than the myths. Studwell has spent fifteen years as a reporter in the region, and he marshals his unprecedented sources to paint intimate and revealing portraits of the men who control Southeast Asia. Studwell also provides us with a rich and deep understanding of the broader historic, economic, and political influences that have shaped Southeast Asia over the past 150 years. Asian Godfathers is a riveting and illuminating book that lifts the curtain on a world of staggering secrecy and hypocrisy, and reveals—for the first time—who the leaders of one of the planet’s most important and tumultuous markets really are, why they got to the top, and how they keep themselves there.
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About the author

Joe Studwell is the editor of the China Economic Quarterly. He lived and worked as a freelance journalist in Hong Kong and Beijing from 1991 to 2000. He is author of The China Dream.
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Reviews

5.0
2 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
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Published on
Sep 23, 2008
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Pages
368
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ISBN
9781555848927
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / International / General
History / Asia / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Joe Studwell
In the 1980s and 1990s many in the West came to believe in the myth of an East-Asian economic miracle. Japan was going to dominate, then China. Countries were called “tigers” or “mini-dragons,” and were seen as not just development prodigies, but as a unified bloc, culturally and economically similar, and inexorably on the rise.

Joe Studwell has spent two decades as a reporter in the region, and The Financial Times said he “should be named chief myth-buster for Asian business.” In How Asia Works, Studwell distills his extensive research into the economies of nine countries—Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, and China—into an accessible, readable narrative that debunks Western misconceptions, shows what really happened in Asia and why, and for once makes clear why some countries have boomed while others have languished.

Studwell’s in-depth analysis focuses on three main areas: land policy, manufacturing, and finance. Land reform has been essential to the success of Asian economies, giving a kick start to development by utilizing a large workforce and providing capital for growth. With manufacturing, industrial development alone is not sufficient, Studwell argues. Instead, countries need “export discipline,” a government that forces companies to compete on the global scale. And in finance, effective regulation is essential for fostering, and sustaining growth. To explore all of these subjects, Studwell journeys far and wide, drawing on fascinating examples from a Philippine sugar baron’s stifling of reform to the explosive growth at a Korean steel mill.

Thoroughly researched and impressive in scope, How Asia Works is essential reading for anyone interested in the development of these dynamic countries, a region that will shape the future of the world.
Bill Browder
New York Times bestseller

THE BOOK THAT EXPLAINS WHY RUSSIANS WANTED TO MEET WITH THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN

“Part John Grisham-like thriller, part business and political memoir.” —The New York Times

“[Red Notice] does for investing in Russia and the former Soviet Union what Liar’s Poker did for our understanding of Salomon Brothers, Wall Street, and the mortgage-backed securities business in the 1980s. Browder’s business saga meshes well with the story of corruption and murder in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, making Red Notice an early candidate for any list of the year’s best books” (Fortune).

This is a story about an accidental activist. Bill Browder started out his adult life as the Wall Street maverick whose instincts led him to Russia just after the breakup of the Soviet Union, where he made his fortune.

Along the way he exposed corruption, and when he did, he barely escaped with his life. His Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky wasn’t so lucky: he ended up in jail, where he was tortured to death. That changed Browder forever. He saw the murderous heart of the Putin regime and has spent the last half decade on a campaign to expose it. Because of that, he became Putin’s number one enemy, especially after Browder succeeded in having a law passed in the United States—The Magnitsky Act—that punishes a list of Russians implicated in the lawyer’s murder. Putin famously retaliated with a law that bans Americans from adopting Russian orphans.

A financial caper, a crime thriller, and a political crusade, Red Notice is the story of one man taking on overpowering odds to change the world, and also the story of how, without intending to, he found meaning in his life.
Joe Studwell
In The China Dream, acclaimed business journalist Joe Studwell takes to task the predictions that China will become an economic juggernaut on the world stage in the twenty-first century -- and instead foresees an economic crisis. He argues that since the days of Marco Polo, Western nations have seen the vast population of the Middle Kingdom as a fantastic opportunity for expanding trade, investing time and resources again and again in the hope to develop it, only to see, century after century, its economy crash and their dreams turn to dust. Studwell traces the most recent developments in China from Deng Xiaoping's "liberalization" of its market in the 1980s through the opening of its economy to foreign investment in the 1990s. In his rigorous analysis of the Chinese economy, government, and culture, Studwell also shows the roadblocks to the continuation of the country's unprecedented expansion and why its economy will fail once more -- but this time, harder than ever before, and with potentially catastrophic results. Provocative, flawlessly researched, and endlessly engaging, The China Dream is a book that will have the business and political worlds talking about what's really going on in China -- and what we can do to prepare for the coming crisis. "The much-needed antidote to the delusions ... about the riches to be made from investing and selling in China. Brimming with ... statistics." -- The Washington Post " An entertaining, if cautionary, tale of Western business woes in China, stretching back seven hundred years." -- Peter Wonacott, The Wall Street Journal "[A] detailed account ... An excellent examination of the political and economic history of China, fascinating and mostly unknown to Westerners." -- Booklist (starred review)
Daron Acemoglu
Brilliant and engagingly written, Why Nations Fail answers the question that has stumped the experts for centuries: Why are some nations rich and others poor, divided by wealth and poverty, health and sickness, food and famine?

Is it culture, the weather, geography? Perhaps ignorance of what the right policies are?

Simply, no. None of these factors is either definitive or destiny. Otherwise, how to explain why Botswana has become one of the fastest growing countries in the world, while other African nations, such as Zimbabwe, the Congo, and Sierra Leone, are mired in poverty and violence?

Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson conclusively show that it is man-made political and economic institutions that underlie economic success (or lack of it). Korea, to take just one of their fascinating examples, is a remarkably homogeneous nation, yet the people of North Korea are among the poorest on earth while their brothers and sisters in South Korea are among the richest. The south forged a society that created incentives, rewarded innovation, and allowed everyone to participate in economic opportunities.

The economic success thus spurred was sustained because the government became accountable and responsive to citizens and the great mass of people. Sadly, the people of the north have endured decades of famine, political repression, and very different economic institutions—with no end in sight. The differences between the Koreas is due to the politics that created these completely different institutional trajectories.

Based on fifteen years of original research Acemoglu and Robinson marshall extraordinary historical evidence from the Roman Empire, the Mayan city-states, medieval Venice, the Soviet Union, Latin America, England, Europe, the United States, and Africa to build a new theory of political economy with great relevance for the big questions of today, including:

- China has built an authoritarian growth machine. Will it continue to grow at such high speed and overwhelm the West?

- Are America’s best days behind it? Are we moving from a virtuous circle in which efforts by elites to aggrandize power are resisted to a vicious one that enriches and empowers a small minority?

- What is the most effective way to help move billions of people from the rut of poverty to prosperity? More philanthropy from the wealthy nations of the West? Or learning the hard-won lessons of Acemoglu and Robinson’s breakthrough ideas on the interplay between inclusive political and economic institutions?

Why Nations Fail will change the way you look at—and understand—the world. 
Joe Studwell
In the 1980s and 1990s many in the West came to believe in the myth of an East-Asian economic miracle. Japan was going to dominate, then China. Countries were called “tigers” or “mini-dragons,” and were seen as not just development prodigies, but as a unified bloc, culturally and economically similar, and inexorably on the rise.

Joe Studwell has spent two decades as a reporter in the region, and The Financial Times said he “should be named chief myth-buster for Asian business.” In How Asia Works, Studwell distills his extensive research into the economies of nine countries—Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, and China—into an accessible, readable narrative that debunks Western misconceptions, shows what really happened in Asia and why, and for once makes clear why some countries have boomed while others have languished.

Studwell’s in-depth analysis focuses on three main areas: land policy, manufacturing, and finance. Land reform has been essential to the success of Asian economies, giving a kick start to development by utilizing a large workforce and providing capital for growth. With manufacturing, industrial development alone is not sufficient, Studwell argues. Instead, countries need “export discipline,” a government that forces companies to compete on the global scale. And in finance, effective regulation is essential for fostering, and sustaining growth. To explore all of these subjects, Studwell journeys far and wide, drawing on fascinating examples from a Philippine sugar baron’s stifling of reform to the explosive growth at a Korean steel mill.

Thoroughly researched and impressive in scope, How Asia Works is essential reading for anyone interested in the development of these dynamic countries, a region that will shape the future of the world.
Joe Studwell
In The China Dream, acclaimed business journalist Joe Studwell takes to task the predictions that China will become an economic juggernaut on the world stage in the twenty-first century -- and instead foresees an economic crisis. He argues that since the days of Marco Polo, Western nations have seen the vast population of the Middle Kingdom as a fantastic opportunity for expanding trade, investing time and resources again and again in the hope to develop it, only to see, century after century, its economy crash and their dreams turn to dust. Studwell traces the most recent developments in China from Deng Xiaoping's "liberalization" of its market in the 1980s through the opening of its economy to foreign investment in the 1990s. In his rigorous analysis of the Chinese economy, government, and culture, Studwell also shows the roadblocks to the continuation of the country's unprecedented expansion and why its economy will fail once more -- but this time, harder than ever before, and with potentially catastrophic results. Provocative, flawlessly researched, and endlessly engaging, The China Dream is a book that will have the business and political worlds talking about what's really going on in China -- and what we can do to prepare for the coming crisis. "The much-needed antidote to the delusions ... about the riches to be made from investing and selling in China. Brimming with ... statistics." -- The Washington Post " An entertaining, if cautionary, tale of Western business woes in China, stretching back seven hundred years." -- Peter Wonacott, The Wall Street Journal "[A] detailed account ... An excellent examination of the political and economic history of China, fascinating and mostly unknown to Westerners." -- Booklist (starred review)
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