Munich Personal RePEc Archive

How did East Asia grow so fast? Slow progress towards an analytical consensus

Singh, Ajit (1994): How did East Asia grow so fast? Slow progress towards an analytical consensus. Published in: UNCTAD Discussion Paper , Vol. 97, (1 February 1995): pp. 1-58.


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Although in the post-World War II period as a whole, developing countries have made substantial economic and industrial progress, during the last decade or so, many of them, particularly in Latin America and Africa, have been in an acute economic crisis . As a consequence, these countries have been obliged to go to the Bretton Woods institutions (BWIs) for economic assistance for stabilisation and structural adjustment. Such assistance has, however, normally only been forthcoming subject to conditionality, both short and long term . Implicit in this conditionality is a specific approach to economic policy for achieving long term economic growth. Central to this perspective are two elements:

i. An increase in the role of free markets and private enterprise as far as possible and a diminution in that of the state. Hence the BWI espousal of measures such as privatization, deregulation, financial liberalization, changes in taxation and other incentive systems. This reduced role for the state, is encapsulated in the World Bank concept of a 'market-friendly' approach to development.

ii. A close integration with the world economy. Hence the emphasis in BWI structural adjustment programmes on export promotion, import liberalization, bringing domestic prices in line with the world market prices through changes in the exchange rate, promotion of foreign investment.

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