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

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9780802119599: How Asia Works: Success and Failure in the World's Most Dynamic Region

In the 1980s and 1990s many in the West came to believe in the myth of an East-Asian economic miracle. Japan was going to dominate, then China. Countries were called tigers” or mini-dragons,” and were seen as not just development prodigies, but as a unified bloc, culturally and economically similar, and inexorably on the rise.

Joe Studwell has spent two decades as a reporter in the region, and The Financial Times said he should be named chief myth-buster for Asian business.” In How Asia Works, Studwell distills his extensive research into the economies of nine countries Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, and China into an accessible, readable narrative that debunks Western misconceptions, shows what really happened in Asia and why, and for once makes clear why some countries have boomed while others have languished.

Studwell’s in-depth analysis focuses on three main areas: land policy, manufacturing, and finance. Land reform has been essential to the success of Asian economies, giving a kick start to development by utilizing a large workforce and providing capital for growth. With manufacturing, industrial development alone is not sufficient, Studwell argues. Instead, countries need export discipline,” a government that forces companies to compete on the global scale. And in finance, effective regulation is essential for fostering, and sustaining growth. To explore all of these subjects, Studwell journeys far and wide, drawing on fascinating examples from a Philippine sugar baron’s stifling of reform to the explosive growth at a Korean steel mill.

Thoroughly researched and impressive in scope, How Asia Works is essential reading for anyone interested in the development of these dynamic countries, a region that will shape the future of the world.

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About the Author:

Joe Studwell is the founding editor of the China Economic Quarterly. A freelance journalist in Asia for over twenty years, he has also written for the Economist Intelligence Unit, The Economist, The Financial Times, The Asian Wall Street Journal and the The Far Eastern Economic Review. He is the author of The China Dream and Asian Godfathers.

Review:

I found the book to be quite compelling. . . . Studwell’s book does a better job than anything else I’ve read of articulating the key role of agriculture in development. . . . A good read for anyone who wants to understand what actually determines whether a developing economy will succeed.”—Bill Gates, Top 5 Books of the Year”

Pithy, well-written and intellectually vigorous . . . Studwell’s thesis is bold, his arguments persuasive, and his style pugnacious. It adds up to a highly readable and important book.” Financial Times

Provocative. How Asia Works is a striking and enlightening book A lively mix of scholarship, reporting and polemic.” The Economist

"Very readable.... A fascinating and thoroughly deep account." Bloomberg Radio

Gripping Readers will find Studwell’s informative and balanced report eye-opening.” Publishers Weekly

Consistently engaging.” Booklist

Studwell paints a vivid picture of business life in the region. If a copy of the Korean edition finds its way across the demilitarized zone to Pyongyang we may find we have yet another Asian Tiger in our midst.” Management Today

A solid blend of the descriptive and the prescriptive, with plenty of lessons that will be of interest to Asia hands, investors and policymakers.” Kirkus Reviews

Perhaps my favorite economics book of the year. Quite simply, it is the best single treatment on what in Asian industrial policy worked or did not work, full of both analysis and specific detail, and covering southeast Asia in addition to the Asian tiger winners.’ Definitely recommended, you will learn lots from it, and it will upset people of virtually all ideologies.” Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution

An interesting analysis of policy decisions that have and haven’t worked . . . a handy guide for anyone interested in one of the world’s fastest developing regions.” The Economic Times (India)

Studwell’s latest book, How Asia Works, is also his most ambitions. . . . Declining to make broad pronouncements or dovetail with doctrine, Studwell demonstrates that the way Asia works isn’t quite as simple as we ever imagined.” Smart Planet

"A landmark work." Asia Times (Bangkok)

Bold and insightful. . . . Essential reading for anyone interested in understanding the ingredients for economic success.” The News International (Pakistan)

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