A unique cluster of highly performing Asian economies1 produced the biggest economic sensation of the postwar decades. They shook the world with their high growth rates, rapid industrial development, and quick rises in living standards. In 1993, the World Bank called their success the “East Asian miracle.” The cluster was steadily enhancing its role in the world economy, opening enormous trade and investment opportunities. The trend was dramatically amplified when China joined its ranks in the 1980s.
Successful Asian economies set an example for developing countries around the world. Furthermore, led by Japan, they created a model of capitalism, which was largely an alternative to the one established in the West. The pillars of the economic model—the role of the state and its relations with the private sector; corporate ownership, governance, and management; intercompany and company–bank links; and labor relations—in their Asian version were quite different from American and European patterns.
There is a great deal of literature covering the many aspects of the East Asian miracle and the specificity of Asian capitalism. The region’s remarkable growth was interrupted by the Asian crisis of 1997–98: the first financial crisis of the globalization era. At that point the focus of attention, naturally, shifted to the reasons which led to the crisis and to its implications, and many books and articles appeared where the issue was thoroughly analyzed from various angles.
By 1999 ...