How ironic is it that as this blog discusses the IMF bailout of Korea during the East Asian Financial Crisis of 1997-98, U.S. and Europe are undergoing similar problems? The Economist captures very well a sentiment of schadenfreude among some Asian commentators:
What’s Schadenfreude in Chinese? [The Economist]These sundry calamities in the West have provided Asian commentators with an unmissable chance to unveil Western hypocrisy. Many Asian leaders have vivid memories of the lectures they endured in 1997-98 over their thriftless, incompetent economic management, and of the harsh medicine they were forced to swallow in return for IMF assistance. So some must enjoy the reversal of roles: emerging Asia as the model of steady, consistent economic policy and sustained growth; America, Europe and Japan mired in debt and slow growth or even recession. Mr Mahbubani, now dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore, says “every piece of advice that the Asians received has been ignored” in the West.
A few weeks ago, China’s prime minister, Wen Jiabao, rebuked Britain for its obsessive harping on human-rights abuses in its dealings with his country. How he must have relished hearing his British counterpart, David Cameron, say this month that his government would not let “phoney human-rights concerns” get in the way of hunting down rioters and looters.
Please do read the rest of the article, as it nicely discusses why the West's problem is also Asia's problem.
Part IV of the IMF Bailout series, which will discuss the social impact of East Asian Financial Crisis on Korea, will come out soon. The Korean has always said that in many ways, the events of Korea presages the events in America. In all likelihood, the lessons learned by Korea a little more than a decade ago will be directly applicable to the United States.
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