East Asian Miracle and Neo-Liberal View of Development

The East Asian Miracle has been an important theme in contemporary literature on development. There are wide range of efforts on the part of academicians, policy makers and politicians to universalise the experiences of East Asian Model of Development . A key approach to the East Asian development as illustrated by the World Bank’s and related literature, has been to point to East Asian success as evidence of the global applicability of liberal economic policies. On the other hand, Dependency and other radical views of development simply dismissed the Miracle economies as temporary experience in periphery. Before going into this discussion, it is necessary to understand the real nature of East Asian development.

By the mid-1970s the radical challenges of Dependency theories have been partially contained by the developed countries. This has happened through the political accommodation of the Third World by various international organisations such as United Nations and the theoretical incorporation of important elements from the critics of economic growth model into the dominant liberal discourses. This has resulted in the considerable revision of modernisation theory of 1950-60s. Through adopting this approach the countries of South-East Asia like South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Hangkong, Taiwan and Latin American countries like Mexico and Brazil were noted to be having fast economic growth rates. These countries are at the major economic boom, whose growth record is commented by some scholars as the one lifting them out of their Third World status and shifting axis of global political economy to Pacific-Rim.

From the 1960s, the East Asian countries, as said above, have credited with a remarkable statistical record, in terms of growth rates in income, GDP per capita and manufacturing employment, out put and exports. Though clear and obvious difference exist between the specific growth paths and processes of all East Asian countries, it is their common characteristic that have attracted the most attention.

The initial impetus for development in East Asian countries could be traced to their increasing interaction within a changing world capitalist economy and to their particularly favorable internal conditions that allowed the spread of modern economic growth. This economic growth has been achieved through the spread of growth impulses like capital, technology, institutions and value systems to them from developed countries. The means that are implied for this purpose by developed countries are aid programmes, financial institutions, trade and multinational corporations. This successful penetration of elements of modernisation into the East Asian economies can be attributed to their economies and societies being organised, along commercial, capitalist lines. Because their structures are roughly isomorphic with those of the more developed areas.

The greater dispute regarding the exact nature of the economic growth and export performance of East Asian economies, is the interpretation that is to be placed upon such growth paths and the processes underlying them. It is also significant, that many of the Third World countries are at present actively encouraging the promotion of free production zones or export platforms in an attempt to persuade multinational companies to establish manufacturing plants with in their boundaries. There are broadly two categories of interpretations. First is the neo-classical, represented by the World Bank through its reports, the other is the radical interpretations given by Dependency Theorists.

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