chapter  5
17 Pages

Significant US interests and influence in the market liberalization process

There is a clear pattern of American involvement in international economic crisis management ranging from post-war European reconstruction to the Latin American debt crisis of the 1980s. While there is a history of US engagement in the policy response to crises, a deeper level of analysis is necessary to shed specific light on the motives of government agencies and the depth of involvement by private actors. Baker’s analysis (2007: 35) of the Asian financial crisis is on the mark: “accounts of what was driving U.S. policy were often generalized, lacking in sufficient detail and with an inadequate appreciation of how U.S. officials actually operated.” Chapter 4 concluded that liberal market reform, particularly in areas of interest to foreign investors, was a principal outcome of the Asian crisis. While Korea’s economic reform project was more pathbreaking, both Korea and Thailand undertook significant liberalization to the outside world. Chapter 5 proceeds to define the American role in this process. Did US actors use the crisis to demand deeper Asian market opening and, if so, which public and private US actors were most involved? Certain sets of US actors were, indeed, key players in Korean and Thai economic restructuring. US government agencies and private US firms pressed local authorities on the need for financial restructuring and better corporate governance and then worked in these countries to implement this reform agenda. In key elements of market reform, the US business and policy communities were deeply engaged.