Dragons in Distress: Asia’s Miracle Economies in Crisis

Stephanie Rosenfeld and Walden Bello | 08.01.1992


Challenging the prevailing wisdom on Asia’s “miracle economies,” Dragons in Distress argues that South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore are headed for crisis. Writing for a diverse audience, Walden Bello and Stephanie Rosenfeld lead their readers on an exploration of the different dimensions of this crisis: environmental degradation, agriculture on the road to extinction, deteriorating labor-management relations, eroding political legitimacy, and deepening structural fissures in the industrial economy.

Showing how these problems stem from the dynamics of the model of high speed, export-oriented industrialization, they suggest strategies to surmount the unfolding crisis and open up the path to equitable and ecologically sustainable development. The first comprehensive critique of the “Newly Industrialized Countries” (NICs) paradigm, this book is a very welcome antidote to the usual uncritical celebration of the “dragon” or “tiger” economies.

Paperback, 168 pages, ISBN 0935028552

$12.95Read more

Praise for Dragons in Distress

“A thorough, fascinating, but disturbing analysis of the fragile economic miracles of Taiwan, Korea, and Singapore…. Indispensable reading for anyone who wants to know what is really happening to this important corner of the world economy.”

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–Richard Barnet, senior fellow, Institute for Policy Studies

“A well-done and much-needed critique of the Korean economy. The exposition is clear, the collation of information quite impressive and convincing, the material on textiles, automobiles, and computers excellent.”

–Bruce Cummings, Professor of History, University of Chicago

“Miracle-believers will want to burn this book; others will find it a well-argued and refreshing antidote to the current wisdom.”

–Sam Bowles, Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts

“Bello and Rosenfeld’s provocative and highly informative analysis makes an invaluable contribution to a balanced understanding of the South Korean political economy and its implications for other Third World economies.”

–Hagen Koo, Professor of Sociology, University of Hawaii

“At a time when the world is beginning to understand the inextricable link between misguided development and environmental degradation, Dragons in Distress provides a provocative and vivid warning to the blind disciples of the NICs model.”

–David Brower, environmentalist