Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Tyler Cowen recommends "How Asia Works"

by Jo Studwell, about Southeast Asia and the Asian tigers. There is more comprehensive review at Reap what you sow. From the FT review:
"The measures taken by Japan, then South Korea, Taiwan and, after 30 years of Maoist missteps, communist China were, argues Studwell, threefold. They involved land redistribution, the development of an export-oriented manufacturing policy, and the formation of a closely controlled finance system. The three important development insights, he argues, are that “a country’s agricultural potential is most quickly released when its farming is transformed into large-scale gardening supported by agricultural extension services; that the technological upgrading of manufacturing is the natural vehicle for swift economic transformation ... and that finance must be harnessed to both these ends”. Only the small city-states of Hong Kong and Singapore have successfully taken a different path.

The most original part of the book deals with farming. Studwell, whose Asian Godfathers (2007) dissected the failures of crony capitalism, argues convincingly that successful Asian nations were built on radical land reform.....

Of India’s attempt to build wealth through IT services, which employ only a few million people, he says: “Punditry that likens India’s economic development to that of the more northerly countries is fatuous.” 

The implication of Studwell’s analysis is that talk of globally converging living standards is overdone. Those countries that do not begin with comprehensive land reform or bully their entrepreneurs into nation-building – as opposed to rent-seeking – are bound to fail."

The whole review is interesting and I plan to peruse the book which I just bought (kindle edition). He also has a blog

No comments: