In This Review

Asia Rising: Why America Will Prosper as Asia's Economies Boom
Asia Rising: Why America Will Prosper as Asia's Economies Boom
By Jim Rohwer
Simon & Schuster, 1995, 382 pp.

The title of this well-written book suggests its two main themes. The author was a correspondent for The Economist in Hong Kong for some years and became enamored of the economic surge in the Asian crescent, from India to South Korea, during the past two decades--China since 1979 and India since 1991. He attributes the development to family ties, saving, individual effort, vigorous competition, and the absence of a publicly financed safety net, so that families and firms must adjust to economic change.

The author expects this growth to continue during the next quarter-century, although at a lower rate, provided Asian societies can overcome their serious institutional weaknesses. The most significant obstacles are the reluctance of governments to provide needed physical infrastructure and the absence of clear and transparent rules to govern the behavior of families and firms, for example in business accounting. Far from being a threat to American interests, in the author's view, Asia's future growth offers the rest of the world, especially high-technology American firms, lucrative opportunities.