This book argues that the geopolitical history of East and Southeast Asia had a major impact on the economic success of the region’s ‘miracle’ economies. The series of ‘hot’ wars, such as the Korean and Vietnam Wars, that preoccupied the region from the Second World War onwards, in conjunction with the all-encompassing Cold War, significantly shaped the political and economic institutions that emerged in the three waves of highly successful Asian economies. No analysis of the booming economies of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore and, subsequently, Malaysia and Thailand; the more recent success of China and Vietnam; and, by comparison, the more sporadic success of Indonesia and the problems of the Philippines is complete without considering the crucial geopolitical context. Just as importantly, the institutions and policies that were put in place in the ‘miracle’ economies during the Cold War years have been perpetuated by the developmental-state coalitions that still play an influential role in economic policy-making. There is, then, a need to rethink the way we examine East and Southeast Asia’s remarkable economic success, the 1997–98 Asian financial crisis, and the way the region’s achievements have been continued into the twenty-first century.
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