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Asian Tigers: Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea


Subject Imperial, Colonial, and Postcolonial History » Postcolonial History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781444334982.2016.x


Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea are often grouped under the label of “Asian Tigers” or “Asian Miracle Economies.” In the decades following World War II, they led development in the Third World by establishing successful manufacturing and export industries and achieving high levels of economic growth. Whereas many other newly independent countries attempted, at least initially, to develop along independent or socialist lines, the Asian Tigers, by contrast, were the earliest postcolonies to link themselves directly to the interests of global capital, promoting multinational investment and export-oriented development and pioneering the Export Production Zone. The Asian Tigers were first identified and labeled as such by scholars of modernization studies in the 1980s. In the World Bank's influential study The East Asian Miracle (1993), the four Tigers were touted as good pupils of Japan's export-led model of industrialization and capitalist development. Key ingredients to the “miracle” include investment in human capital, macroeconomic stability, high levels of capital accumulation, rapid technological catch-up, and government-directed export orientation. Challenging neoclassical models of free market development, the Tigers displayed varying degrees of government intervention, and are characterized politically as authoritarian. They therefore counter the widespread ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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