Did the East Asian crash of 1997 signal the end of an eraor a temporary setback from which these societies will bounce back even stronger and healthier? In light of recent developments, now seems an appropriate time to reflect on the major reasons for East Asias phenomenal economic success. This book offers a historical perspective on the financial and political factors that account for the rapid progress of the region. At the same time, it warns against Asian (or Confucian) Values as an explanation and also cites the economic dangers of pervasive corruption in some countries. It emphasizes the joint influence of Japans Meiji restoration and communism upon East Asian development.
While East Asia struggles with matters of stability in an attempt to sustain its remarkable performance, South Asian countries are striving to reach East Asias overall level of development. Pakistans economic planners still wistfully recall the 1960s, when their country was at an economic level similar to those of many East Asian nations. Things have changed dramatically since then; the gap has widened both in terms of increases in income and progress in human development. To this day, experts have debated the question of why Pakistan did not assume the tiger status of its neighbors. Omar Nomans new study considers the full fifty-year history of Pakistans independence in answering this question.
But Economic and Social Progress in Asia does more than lament the past; it seeks to establish a strategic direction for the future. Noman observes that, despite recent upheavals, the prospects for East Asia seem sound over the medium term, while Pakistans structural weaknesses remain seriously unchecked. Pakistans policy makers, therefore, enjoy the unique opportunity of learning from East Asias substantive achievements while avoiding the pitfalls. However, major reforms are required if Pakistan is to build on its inherent dynamism. This analysis details these necessary reforms in a discussion focused upon Pakistans potential to become a major Asian economy.
About the Author
Formerly a Senior Research Economist at Oxford University, Omar Noman has undertaken numerous assignments with international agencies in Asia, Africa, and Europe, and currently works for the United Nations Development Program in New York City. He is also the author of Economic Development and Environmental Policy (1996), The Child and the State in India and Pakistan (with Myron Welner, OUP, 1995), and Economic and Political History of Pakistan (1990).