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How Asia Works: Success and Failure in the World's Most Dynamic Region (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 28. März 2013


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Pithy, well-written and intellectually vigorous ... Studwell's thesis is bold, his arguments persuasive, and his style pugnacious. It adds up to a highly readable and important book Financial Times How Asia Works is not a gripping page-turner aimed at general audiences, but it's a good read for anyone who wants to understand what actually determines whether a developing economy will succeed. Studwell's formula is refreshingly clear-even if it's very difficult to execute. Bill Gates -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch .

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Joe Studwell is the founding editor of The China Economic Quarterly. He has contributed to the Economist Intelligence Unit, The Economist, The Financial Times, The Asian Wall Street Journal, The Far Eastern Economic Review, and many other publications. Previous books include Asian Godfathers [9781861977014] and The China Dream [9781847656933]

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22 von 24 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Outstanding! 20. Juni 2013
Von Loyd E. Eskildson - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Author Studwell argues that there are three critical interventions that governments can use to speed up economic development. Used in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and now China, they have produced the quickest progressions from poverty to wealth that the world has seen.

The first and most overlooked is to maximize output from agriculture. The second is to direct investment and entrepreneurs towards manufacturing exports. Machines can easily be purchased on the world market, and successful east-Asian governments promoted technological upgrading through subsidies conditioned on export performance. (Exporters were almost invariably better businesses than firms that sold only at home.) The third is to focus capital on the fastest possible technology learning and the promise of high long-term profits, not short-term returns and individual consumption. This tends to pit the state against many businessmen and consumers with shorter-term horizons.

Thus, economic development is as simple as one, two, three. Unfortunately, wealthy nations and their economic institutions (the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund) have provided contradictory advice to poor states, despite the fact that no significant economy as ever developed successfully via free-trade and deregulation from the beginning - including the U.S. and Great Britain. Positive intervention has been required in agriculture and manufacturing that fostered early accumulation of capital and technological learning.

Brazil is the only major economy outside east Asia which has grown more than 7%/year for over 25 years. But it crumbled after the 1982 Latin American debt crisis - currency depreciation, inflation, and years of zero growth. Too much of Brazil's earlier growth came from debt that did not translate into a more productive and competitive economy.

Studwell excludes east Asia's failed states - North Korea, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, and New Guinea. Their one common characteristic is a failure to trade and interact with the world. He also ignores Asia's two main offshore financial centers - Hong Kong and Singapore because of their lack of an agricultural sector. Micro oil state Brunei and east Asia's gambling center, Macau, are also omitted.

Another key finding is that a large working-age population and proportion increase the possibilities for fast growth. Rapidly declining death rates, especially for children and a rapidly rising work-age population have been a big part of east Asian development success since WWII. Mao boosted population growth in China, telling people there was strength in numbers, while Deng Xiaoping and successors put a stop to that.

The evidence of a positive correlation between total years of education and GDP growth is much weaker than most imagine. The Philippines have the highest levels of tertiary-educated students in southeast Asia, but because more important policy choices were flunked, the country is on the verge of becoming a failed state. Cuba has the world's second-highest literacy rate for children over age 15, and the 6th highest rate of school enrollment. It has inadequate employment opportunities for university graduates, however - one reason 25,000 Cuban physicians take state-subsidized work overseas. Another problem with education - there is too much of the wrong kind - eg. liberal arts. Asian education not only creates a much higher proportion of engineers than most, it also includes a considerable vocational component conducted inside firms and not elite universities.

Political pluralism, rule of law, and democracy are also outside Studwell's scope - again, because the evidence is contradictory. He also ignores geography/climate - most believe colder climates are more conducive to economic success - Studwell, however, points out that the Arabic world's ascension in the early 8th century began in the hot areas of today's Iraq and north Africa, while the famous Tang dynasty operated out of the 'boiling hot Xian' area.

Studwell then goes on to detail the rationale for his thinking - its both interesting and invaluable reading.
19 von 24 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Industrial policy works 11. Juli 2013
Von Michael Pettis - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This book argues among other things that that protectionism and industry policy are important policy tools for countries at an early stage of development, and that Asian governments have adopted this model with varying degrees of success. Heretical as this claim may be to some, in my opinion it is not even worth debating whether or not the most advanced economies achieved success under "Smithian" conditions.With the possible exception of a few, small trading entrepots, there is not a single example of a country that did. There are rich countries that were "Smithian" (like, laissez-faire Haiti -- if you don't count slaves of course -- in the late 18th Century), but their wealth was unsustainable and they were in no way "advanced" economies.

You can find it all in the works of the brilliant Alexander Hamilton. The "American System" of the early 19th Century was the basis of the economic writings of the German Freidrich List and which went on to influence Germany, Japan (in 1872 one of the leading proponents of the American System, E. Pechine Smith, moved to Tokyo and became the leading adviser to the Mikado on Japan's economic restructuring), and a host of other countries. The three pillars of the American System were infant industry tariffs and subsidies, internal improvements (i.e. infrastructure provided by state and local governments) and a sound system of national finance, with the state playing a leading role.

These are the same pillars that supported the growth of every country that has developed rapidly, and the fact that this is even debated in economic circles suggests to me how unreal academic economics has become and how divorced from historical understanding. I agree with the authors that to debate whether or not industrial policy can work is silly. Of course it can. The real interesting question is to figure out under what conditions it is wealth enhancing and under what conditions it is wealth destroying. This is why the debate is so important for China. The Chinese growth model clearly "worked", I would argue, in the 1980s and 1990s, although in part simply because it involved a rejection of the insanely inefficient polices of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Today, in my opinion, it clearly no longer "works". So why did it sometimes help and sometimes hinder Chinese development?

Unfortunately it is very hard to debate this question because most economists are either ideologically committed to the idea that it is almost always a bad idea (the consensus in economics) or to the idea that it is always the right approach (perhaps the consensus in political economy or economic history). The truth, however,may be that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Although I don't always agree with Joe Studwell's conclusions. this book does a great job of teasing out the important and relevant issues.
5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Brilliantly done 26. Dezember 2013
Von James R. Maclean - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This book is an exceptionally lucid history of development policy in the major economies of East Asia. There is particular focus on the economies of South Korea, Malaysia, and the Philippines, but Studwell addresses other nations as well.

Understandably, development policy is an explosively controversial topic, and readers will be divided by prejudice on this matter. For decades, "the Washington Consensus" (WC) has been pushed onto less developed countries (LDCs) as an unworkable combination of "free trade," currency convertibility, and "stable exchange rates" (1). At the same time, building up a strong farming sector plays a far greater role in the Asian success stories than "liberalization" of FDI.

Readers may be astonished to see how much attention Studwell pays to farming policy in the history of Asian development, seeing as how the prominent successes for countries like Japan, South Korea, and China have been in manufacturing. But sustaining the needs of the population and allowing them to save is a paramount step for any metric of economic success. For instance, when countries are developing, a failed agricultural policy (and concomitant food imports) can suck up foreign capital required for capital projects. Als, as in the case of the Philippines, failures to implement land reform can result in a powerful landed aristocracy upon which the national leadership is completely dependent (2).

After addressing farm policy, he moves on to the challenge of industrial development. He points out that "liberal" trade policy is incontrovertibly unsuited to industrial development(3), but also that competition and export discipline are crucial ingredients of success. Hence, the success of South Korea's industrialization, with massive redundancy of industrial output (multiple car makers, for example, where only one would be ultimately successful), as opposed to Malaysia's doomed reliance on a single national champion. Korea, Japan, and China would also impose rigorous obligations to export on their domestic producers.

Chapter three addresses the role of finance in successful development policy. Studwell's careful marshaling of the evidence suggests that there is really nothing to be gained from a liberal, lightly-regulated financial sector. Liberalized financial sectors are prone to massive swings in asset valuations, as occurred in Thailand in 1997. Indeed, the crisis hit South Korea in large measure because that country had moved to curb the power of the _chaebols_ by concentrating financial power in capital markets and NBFIs (4).

The Korean financial system created systemic risk for the South Korean economy that had not existed before, but for South East Asian economies, the financial system has amounted to another colonial power, suppressing any possible means these countries might have had of taking control of their economic destinies.

The chapter on China is excellent, although a bit short--most readers will feel it is suitably concise, without any damaging shortcuts. I feel there is some shortchanging of environmental issues (although it's not clear that neoliberalism is any better for air quality!), and the risks the Asian economies pose to each other: China's rise, for example, has posed extreme challenges to budding signs of life in the industrial economies of "other" Asia, not to mention Latin America. However, this book is a brilliant piece of work, with exceptionally thorough documentation and excellent writing.
________________________________________________

UPDATE (25 December 2013): After writing this review, I noticed a passage in Stuckler & Basu, The Body Economic: Why Austerity Kills (2013) on the response of various East Asian nations to the Asian Currency Crisis (1997). While the Government of Malaysia gets low marks by Studwell for its management of economic development, it gets high marks from Stuckler & Basu for its management of health services during the crisis.

When the crisis hit, Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad rejected IMF "assistance" because of the conditions imposed (B&S, pp.45-47); these conditions included massive budget cuts, so that the Asian economies would continue to run budget surpluses. The cuts invariably stimulated massive poverty, as intended by the IMF. Malaysia suffered the same dire collapse of GDP as its neighbors: 34%, compared to 30% in South Korea, 27% in Thailand, 56% in Indonesia, and so on. But Malaysia did not suffer a major increase in poverty, while South Korea's poverty rate doubled (11% in 1997 to 23% in 1998). Health care outcomes also worsened dramatically in countries following IMF conditions.

None of which is meant to detract from Studwell's book, but I feel this certainly does give a more comprehensive picture of the situation.
________________________________________________

(1) For a summary of the ten points of the Washington Consensus (WC), see Wing Thye Woo, "Serious Inadequacies of the Washington Consensus: Misunderstanding the Poor by the Brightest" pp.9-43 in Jan Joost Teunissen & Age Akkerman (editors),Diversity in Development : Reconsidering the Washington Consensus, FONDAD, The Hague, (2004). One crucial aspect of development economists in Western countries is their occupational need to constantly rewrite history, so as to divorce themselves from policy recommendations that turned out badly. The WC is especially convenient in this regard because it includes a combination of policies that can never be implemented concurrently, so the World Bank/IMF can always claim their policies were never implemented correctly.

Specifically, it is impossible to have (a) "liberal" (i.e., "market-determined") interest rates, (b) a "competitive" exchange rate, (c) "liberal" trade, and (d) "liberal" inflows of direct foreign investment--all at the same time. For one thing, (a), (c), and (d) preclude any control over the exchange rate.

(2) The go-to example of failure in this regard is the Philippines, which had the educational achievement necessary for developmental "take-off," but also a class dictatorship in the truest sense of the word--by the latifundias. Studwell hints rather strongly that this was a factor in the failures of Malaysia and Thailand as well.

(3) Ha-Joon Chang and many others have long made the case, in the face of massive bad-faith challenges, that all industrial countries became so under conditions of massively protected infant industries. See, for instance, Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism, The East Asian Development Experience: The Miracle, the Crisis and the Future, and many others. See also Alice Amsden, Escape from Empire: The Developing World's Journey through Heaven and Hell (et alibi). For detailed accounts of European development, see Alfred D. Chandler, Scale and Scope: The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism, and so on.

(4) As Studwell sagely observes, the adoption of neoliberal economic policies are often (usually) stimulated by real problems and ceiling effects of the prior regime. In Korea, the _chaebol_ naturally resisted state projects for development and sought more lucrative outlets in fields such as real estate. The government of Chun Doo Hwan responded by building up capital markets and non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs). Capital markets, in practice, means investment banks, stock markets, etc. This scheme backfired because the Korean _chaebol_ won control over many of the NBFI. See Studwell, pp.183-184.
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Capitalist prosperity thanks to the Communists! 11. September 2013
Von Bak Jin-sing - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
'How Asia Works' passes the sniff test in that it actually helps to explain current events in Asia - for example the current fun and games with the Thai government's guaranteed rice purchases, which post-date the publication of the book.
The most important premise in the book is the need for land reform to fund industrialisation.
By 'land reform' he means distributing land equally among farming families, by taking it off the big landowners.
Land reform does not come easily:
In Japan the first (and initially successful) reform was after the Meiji Restoration, and the second immediately after the Second World War.
In Taiwan it followed the defeat of the Kuomintang (KMT) by the Communists in China. Initially Communist land reform in China was popular with the people, and the KMT were forced to copy it in Taiwan to achieve some popularity with the locals.
In South Korea Syngman Rhee's government resisted land reform until it was nearly swept into the sea by Kim Il Sung's invasion. When the South Koreans retook Korea, they found Communist land reform was very popular with the farmers, and were forced to accept it.
The ensuing agricultural boom gave these governments the cash to fund industrialisation. Studwell shows how they largely got it right, by copying the 19th Century Prussian model.
(In China and North Korea the agricultural boom ended when the Communists collectivised the farms.)
In South East Asia land reform never took place, probably because events were not dramatic enough to force it to happen. Consequently large landowners live very well, while ordinary farmers are very poor, and agricultural productivity is low.
In describing industrialisation, Studwell compares the successful Japan/South Korea/Taiwan model of competition between state supported companies (with the creative destruction of the failure of some) and the discipline of serving export markets versus the failure to introduce competition and export discipline in South East Asia. The outcome is exemplified by Toyota/Honda/Hyundai versus Proton.
The failings in South East Asia described in this book are pretty much as described in Studwell's earlier "Asian Godfathers".
'How Asia Works' attracted a fair amount of criticism here in Hong Kong for appearing to advocate financial repression (paying derisory interest rates on household savings, enforced by exchange controls) and state planning - we have a very good vantage point of this process in China, and worry about the effects - for example an uncontrolled shadow banking system and misallocation of easy credit by State Owned Enterprises.
Studwell does not advocate this as a universal panacea - he points out the problems that South Korea had, and that they were lucky to get away with it - and that the system gets a country to a certain level of development, after which it is necessary to modernise - which may not always work - as in Japan.
His conclusion is that South East Asia will probably never fulfil its potential, and that China might.
This book offers a helpful political-economic model for those attempting to understand Asia generally, and, most importantly, China.
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
explains how asian political and economic policy delivered amazing growth and challenges ahead 19. Mai 2014
Von Matthew J Crowley - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
This book is not well known, but is a fantastic history that explains how the political and economic policies pursued by various asian leaders produced the remarkable growth since the meiji restoration that has pushed certain east asian economies to technological parity with europe and n america. specifically answers the question of why japan, s korea, taiwan and china have moved so far so fast where the philippines, thailand, malaysia and indonesia have lagged. there are some fascinating and controversial characters that drove the economies forward to the current state of parity. this is a great book for everyone who does business in asia to understand the industrial policies that guide much of the business tactics in east asia. it also highlights the challenges in the future where advanced asian economies can no longer play catch up and all the world's economies are on a level playing field. it also informs what political and economic policies contribute to robust societies and what leads to failure. good companion to mancur olson's works and some relevance to the thomas piketty to see how extreme inequality and entrenched interests (Philippines is a great example) lead to national stagnation. Especially interesting is general park chung-hee, the controversial ruler of s korea who drove the amazing surge of economic and technological growth in s korea, but was a dictator who was assassinated by his own guards. Another interesting point was what terrible/self -intersted advice western economic advisers gave asian leaders. The more these economists were ignored the faster the countries developed. Another ironic point was how the US forced land distribution in japan and other places as a tool to fight communism.
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