chapter  9
25 Pages

The Pacific Asian challenge to neoliberalism

The Pacific Asian economies have come to occupy a critical position in the development debate. Their development since the 1950s has been the subject of a voluminous literature, which has generally divided sharply on ideological grounds. On the one hand, there are those who have depicted the emergence of the four Asian NIEs (the newly industrialising economies of Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea) as the result of open, free-market development where 'State intervention is largely absent. What the state has provided is a suitable environment for entrepreneurs to perform their functions' (Chen 1979: 84). In contrast, a large number of writers (for example, Amsden 1989; Castells et ah 1990; Wade 1990; White and Wade 1988) have concluded that the growth of NIEs was the product of extensive state intervention. Indeed, White and Wade (1988) described the NIEs as 'guided capitalist markets', drawing attention to the similarities with the Asian centrally planned economies. Despite differences in ideology and economic systems between the East Asian countries:

the role of the state has been prominent in a ll.... In each case the developmental impact of the state extended far beyond economic policy to include ideological mobilisation, pervasive political controls and social engineering. Each state has sought to define and implement economic priorities through varying forms of strategic planning.