Washington Post on A16

Brad De Long delong at econ.Berkeley.EDU
Thu Apr 20 07:32:06 PDT 2000

>Brad De Long wrote:
>> If your ideal is something different, then you have to deal with the
>> fact that the dominant feature of post-1945 economic history is that
>> the countries that integrate themselves into the world economy--that
>> export a lot, use the proceeds to buy capital goods to build up their
>> productive capacity, and then export some more--are the big winners.
> Which examples are you talking about? The greatest post-1945 success
>stories -- South Korea is the most notable -- followed a development model
>that not only differs from the IMF/Treasury model, but which the
>IMF/Treasury actively seek to demolish: Heavy protectionism to foster
>nascent industries, plus tight capital controls and state-directed
> Brad, wasn't the Western business press last year full of stories
>warning that East Asia was recovering "too soon" -- because it hadn't yet
>fully dismantled the same development policies that had made it rich from
>1960 to 1998? And let's be honest: We're not just talking about cleaning up
>some shady accounting practices. We're talking about getting rid of Asia's
>core policies: In business organization, capital allocaiton, capital
>controls, and tariffs.
> There seems to be a kind of doublethink here: Korea's development
>model is only called a "success" when you want to highlight the benefits of
>export-orientation: Everywhere else, it was a failure.
> Seth

I don't think you are listening to *me*--you're talking to somebody else. I think that the IMF's recommendations for structural changes in Korea were mostly wrongheaded. And they have been largely ignored, which is a good thing: even if the right reading of Japan since 1985 is that the East Asian model runs into big trouble when the technology gap vis-a-vis the core is no longer large, the East Asian model in Korea still has a substantial way to run.

But--as I said before--to argue that the IMF is imperfect and gets things wrong is not an argument that *you* should decide for the Koreans to foreclose their option to make use of it...

Brad DeLong, muttering about a bunch of do-good imperialists...

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