"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

"Over the past two decades a literature big enough to fill a small airplane hangar has been produced on the causes of East Asian economic success...

To say that the Left critics got it wrong is not to say that the neoliberals got it right. The neoliberals have tended either to ignore contrary evidence or to acknowledge it without thought for its theoretical implications. This selective inattention to data that would upset the approved way of interpreting things and the use of repetition as a chief weapon of argument are two strong signs that the neoliberal paradigm is in a degenerative stage, taking on attributes of a disciplined delusional system. Like much Marxist writing of the 1970s, in fact. And like classical economics during the Great Depression, before Keynes's theoretical breakthrough...

My own evidence, illustrated above, suggests that neoliberal economists have been pioneering a whole new principle of causal inference - that to explain superior economic performance one may either simply ignore everything that is not in line with neoliberal prescriptions or assert that it hindered what would otherwise have been an even better performance. When this principle is combined with a wider professional propensity to treat "power" as a third-rank concept (the new 4,000-page Palgraue Dictionary of Economics has no entry for "power"), the result is an aversion to serious investigation of the role of the state in economic development. Assertions like "success has been achieved [in Korea] despite intervention" are put forth without a shred of evidence. In this way the circle is closed, the paradigm is protected, and minds can be set at rest...

After the Economist published an unusually enthusiastic review of Governing the Market (June 1, 1991, pp. 102-3), the reviewer received over six transatlantic phone calls from World Bank officials ringing to complain about the Economist publishing a favorable review of a book by an interventionist. Several said the journal was lowering its standards. Another said, "Don't you know he is an interventionist?" The reviewer asked each whether he had read the book or even glanced at it. Answer: No, in every case."

- EAST ASIA'S ECONOMIC SUCCESS. Conflicting Perspectives, Partial Insights, Shaky Evidence, ROBERT WADE, 1992
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