In This Review

The Key to the Asian Miracle: Making Shared Growth Credible
The Key to the Asian Miracle: Making Shared Growth Credible
By Jose Edgardo Campos and Hilton L. Root
Brookings, 1996, 198 pp

While some economists focus on exceptionally high investment, others on education and absorption of foreign technology, to explain the remarkable rise of seven Asian economies from poverty to the ranks of "middle class" nations over the last seven years, this short book emphasizes political conditions. To achieve business cooperation, even authoritarian regimes (which governed these countries much of the time) must persuade the public to accept the rationale for their economic strategies and must elicit a reaction from business. Political stability is more likely to prevail if the benefits of growth are widely shared, and are perceived to be widely shared, through land reform, public education, and the provision of credit to small enterprises and even households (for housing). Competent officials must be put in charge of implementation and protected from continual political interference from legislatures and heads of government. The authors note that concern that the 1949 communist revolution in China would spread may have spurred these countries to adopt growth policies. Occasionally drawing comparisons with developing countries elsewhere, they add to scholarly knowledge about the successful countries but do not definitively identify the keys to success.