I remember sitting in a finance lecture on superannuation, presumably paying little attention, until the lecturer suddenly decided to embark upon a tangential rant. Being an avid listener of talkback radio on the long drives to and from Monash University, Clayton, I had acquired a taste for the rhetorical art-form commonly known as ‘the rant’. I listened keenly.
Paul Krugman wrote a famous paper in the 1990s outlining the myths surrounding the Asian miracle of the 20th century. Rather than it being a ‘miracle’, he presented a less dazzling critique of Asia’s economic success. He proposed that it was a combination of stringent government policy and the further adoption of free trade that was key to sustaining economic growth in East Asia. Most of this growth occurred in eight economies, collectively referred to as the High Performing Asian Economies (HPAEs) – Japan, Hong Kong, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, and the newly industrializing Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand . The relationship between public policy and economic growth is now more important than ever, and in light of the continuing economic crisis in Europe, there are a number of lessons to be learnt from the success of the HPAEs.
Last year on December 26th, Shinzo Abe assumed office as Japan’s current Prime Minister and immediately began fulfilling his electoral campaign promises of bringing sweeping economic reform and output growth to the world’s third largest economy. After suffering decades of lacklustre output and many failed attempts to induce growth, Abe’s policies, both currently implemented and in the pipeline, are the biggest things to hit Japan since Godzilla itself.