Just a few years ago there was a meltdown of Asian economies. That’s history, writes a knowledgeable observer. Now, he claims, financial benefits will not just trickle down, they will flow copiously from America to the recovering tigers of the East.
The 1997–98 hemispheric collapse is attributed by economist Rohwer (Asia Rising, 1995) to traditional and inherent lack of concern for credit risk, systemic institutional weakness (characterized by corruption and cronyism), and mindless international liquidity. The feckless IMF didn’t help much, either. National pride, individual arrogance, disdain for unconnected shareholders, bizarre bookkeeping, and little understanding of the concept of due diligence are all described as contributing to the remarkable disappearance of value in this study of the causes, effects, and results of a financial panic. Despite its excesses, the author believes that the mysterious East shall rise again, no longer moribund and a lot less inscrutable. Their indigenous financial repairmen, trained in the US and clutching cell phones, are cognizant of the mighty impact of the new information technology. With (or even without) Western investment, the new Asian capitalists will certainly employ Western (i.e., American) management techniques, and although one impediment may be destabilizing politics, the change will surely come. With daunting thoroughness we are taken through the diverse, restricted economic turfs of Japan and Indonesia, Thailand and Taiwan. We learn of Singapore and Hong Kong from the local bigwigs. There are candid interviews with the likes of Jack Welch and Lee Kuan Yew. Daewoo and Samsung, Korean chaebol and Chinese family connections are covered in this sweeping analysis. Along with the text, charts, and tables, many perverse readers may, however, wish for an executive summary.
A current, exhaustive, and fact-filled tale of the Eastern phoenix (formerly a tiger) that will be of particular interest to economists, policy wonks, and investment bankers.