Asian Economic Crisis and Legal Institutions: A Tale of Two Cities
University of South Australia - School of Law; Durham University - Law School
Journal of Chinese and Comparative Law, Vol. 4, No. 1-2, pp. 1-29, 1999-2000
LAW AND DEVELOPMENT IN EAST AND SOUTHEAST ASIA, C. Antons, ed., pp. 358-387, London, Routledge Curzon, 2003
The Asian and world financial crisis of the late 1990s has shown the limits of governments as the sole or even the primary contributor to policy debates regarding the development of commercial law and economic development. Non-governmental scholarly and professional groups have an important contribution to make to these debates. The Asian crisis presented opportunities for further collaborative endeavour; these possibilities were recognized by bodies such as APEC and the Asian Development Bank. This theme is explored in this paper. The Asian Financial crisis has also shown the fragility of the economic order and how easy it has been to be misled by the uncritical acceptance of prevailing myths and ideologies about such matters as Asian values, the so-called Asian century, Asian tigers and other such comforting illusions or stereotypes. Scholars and researchers interested in legal themes have an obligation to be more critical of concepts such as these and to be less timid in formulating research objectives and in devising research questions. This paper approaches these issues by looking at efforts by two well known public figures who have contributed to the understanding of some large questions affecting Asia; one may be called the Hong Kong Story ("East and West") while the other is called "The Singapore Story"; Hong Kong and Singapore are frequently seen as rivals. These “stories” have been developed in two books written respectively by former Hong Kong Governor Chris Patten and the former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. Each book in different ways tells a story of law and political development, although their authors have each reached different conclusions in regard to the distinctiveness of Asian values. By way of contrast with these stories, the paper then discusses a number of less well-known “stories” found in a number of wide-ranging academic studies which have approached similar themes.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 32
Keywords: Asian Financial Crisis, Legal Institutions, Law and Development
JEL Classification: G15, F02, G28, E65, N25, O19, O21Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: September 7, 2009 ; Last revised: September 16, 2009
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