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The Adaptive Developmental State in East Asia.

Journal of East Asian Studies 2004, Sept-Dec, 4, 3

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In 1997, several of Asia's economies collapsed and the international community was called in to help mend the ailing region. The crisis attracted a great deal of attention among both the scholarly and policy communities. At that time, it seemed that the Asian miracle had come to an abrupt end. Places such as South Korea enjoyed a prosperous run though suffered a dubious demise. Later developers in Southeast Asia and China, having just emerged from out of the starting gate, quickly stalled in their attempts to ride the wave of Asia's postwar economic dynamism. Fortunately, things would not remain dour for too long. Some countries, such as Taiwan and Japan, made it through the crisis relatively unscathed. Both China and South Korea quickly rebounded. Southeast Asian countries, such as Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand, adapted and have consequently begun new growth trajectories. In the end, it seemed that the most severe and lasting casualty of the 1997 crisis was the East Asian developmental state model itself. (1) To be sure, the more recent literatures on East Asian political economy have taken a sharp turn, wherein terms like "booty capitalism" and "crony capitalism" have quickly come to replace more laudatory titles such as the "East Asian Miracle." (2) In retrospect, the 1997 Asian financial crisis should have been predicted; if not the precise time and place, then the notion that the postwar developmental state in East Asia needed to adapt to changing social, political, and economic realities surely should have been foreseen. Democracy had begun to sweep the region. The international political economic climate had changed as a result of the end of the Cold War and the deepening of GATT institutions. Asian economies were increasingly compelled to industrially restructure, having to move from conventional manufacturing sectors toward higher-tech, value-added industrial sectors. For the most part, cheap labor was no longer the region's comparative advantage, particularly among the more advanced East Asian economies such as Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan. And most important, economic fundamentals had become disaligned, evidenced by persistent and increasingly out of control stock market and real estate bubbles, and exacerbated by the unabated proliferation of nonperforming government loans throughout the region's national economies. In other words, the challenges to the postwar developmental state model, and thus the imperatives for developmental states in the region to adapt, long predated the crisis moment of the late 1990s.

The Adaptive Developmental State in East Asia.
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  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Social Science
  • Published: 01 September 2004
  • Publisher: Lynne Rienner Publishers
  • Print Length: 27 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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