The ﬁnancial and economic crisis that hit the Southeast and East Asian economies in the late 1990s has generated a voluminous literature just as their successes did. Pundits, including those who were upbeat in their assessment of the continued virtuous circle of growth in these economies, have been quick in condemning the very model of development that was claimed to lie at the heart of their successes. This shows that a prevailing paradigm is in disarray, and both the successes and failures of Asian econ-omies remain an insuﬃciently understood phenomenon. The rapid transformation of a small band of Southeast and East Asian economies has been termed one of the greatest revolutions in the history of economic thought. It was seen as ushering in the dawn of a new ‘Asian Century’. Sadly, with the sudden and unexpected crisis that has wreaked havoc on the lives of millions of people in the region, ‘Asia approaches the new century in an introspective and apprehensive mood’ (Tadashi and Chia, 1999: 7). As Asia examines the causes of a sudden fall, and searches for a way forward, there is unprecedented turmoil in current thinking on development policy. As the dust settles after the turbulence of 1997 and as growth returns to Southeast and Northeast Asia, this collection of contributions by both Asian and international scholars adopts a reﬂective approach. They attempt to bring together the current thoughts on the crisis and seek to navigate pathways to sustainable development. While the individual country studies vary in terms of the importance of various factors that contributed to the crisis, most point to the necessity of paradigm changes in development policy. For those who believe that a ‘strong state’ is essential for economic growth, the sudden collapse of these economies means that the system of semi-democracy or ‘strong state’ can no longer serve the purpose of further development. For innovation-driven sustainable development, any society must be open to ideas and democratize its polity. And for those who used the success of East Asian economies as a vindication of the neoclassical orthodoxy, referred to as the ‘Washington consensus’, the crisis points to the follies of progressive withdrawal of the government from the economic sphere and unfettered ﬂows of short-term capital. To appreciate the issues involved, we provide a brief review of the debate in this introduction.
Beyond the Asian Crisis: Pathways to Sustainable Growth