How did East Asia, generally viewed in the mid-1990s as an economic miracle, become seen only a few years later as the bastion of failed ‘crony capitalism’? I argue that the Asian crisis of 1997-8 is insufficient to explain this reversal of opinion, as is the dominance of the US in the IMF and other key international forums. Rather, the de-legitimation of the ‘Asian model’ was due to a combination of the crisis with the contemporary ascendance of a set of broader, conventional economic ideas about optimal economic governance. Moreover, this shift in thinking was replicated within many of the East Asian countries themselves. The crisis empowered those who were able to use these ideas to push for convergence upon western governance models (particularly Anglo-Saxon ones), both within East Asia and without. Nevertheless, ideas alone have not so far been sufficient to achieve full convergence, creating a large gap between the new rhetoric of governance in Asia and regulatory and private sector practice
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