How Asia Works: Success and Failure In the World's Most Dynamic Region

By Joe Studwell
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How Asia Works by Joe Studwell is a concise and insightful book that explains the reasons behind the remarkable economic success of several Asian countries. Studwell focuses on the experiences of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and China, highlighting their unique developmental paths.

Studwell begins by debunking the myths surrounding the Asian Miracle, emphasizing that there is no universal model for economic growth. He then dissects the successful strategies employed by these countries, emphasizing the importance of land reform, agricultural productivity, and industrial policy.

Drawing on extensive research and case studies, Studwell demonstrates how these nations prioritized agriculture as the foundation of their economies. The implementation of land reforms aimed at redistributing land, which in turn boosted productivity, increased income levels, and spurred rural development.

Another critical aspect of Asia's success, as highlighted by Studwell, is the importance of an interventionist state. He explains how these governments utilized industrial policies to target specific sectors and protect domestic industries. By adopting policies such as export-oriented industrialization and directing credit to priority sectors, these countries were able to foster economic growth and technological advancement.

Studwell also explores the role of finance in Asian development, emphasizing the key factors that led to the success of their respective financial systems. He sheds light on the importance of proactive state-led financial institutions, which provided necessary funding and facilitated the prioritization of growth-oriented investments.

In conclusion, How Asia Works provides a comprehensive analysis of the specific policies and strategies that have propelled Asian countries to economic success. Studwell's writing is clear, concise, and supported by strong empirical evidence, making this book an invaluable resource for policymakers, economists, and anyone interested in understanding the dynamics behind Asia's rapid economic transformation.
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