Thursday, February 23, 2012

Non-Fiction Reading Break - The Miracle - Michael Schuman

So after reading between 8-12 hours a day of Western Canon fiction. Not only did I feel like punching Harold Bloom in the face...but I began to feel like all plots lines were one continuous stream of consciousness. One myopic blend of endless rambling...

So for the month of December I decided to jump into some of the non-fiction that's been piling up by my nightstand.

So the first book on the list was Michael Schuman's The Miracle, The Epic Story of Asia's Quest for Wealth. The book traces the rapid economic development of Asia's economies since the 1950s. It is rich on anecdotal stories of key protagonists ranging from presidents, dictators, bureaucrats and entrepreneurs covering Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, China and India. It is a good comparative study of history, but at times the anecdotes seemed to miss a strong qualitative analysis.

Many of the Asian countries in question started their development process with similar degrees of poverty and a lack of substantial natural resources. Some used heavy government intervention such as in Korea and Indonesia, others let the free market rule such as Singapore and Hong Kong. While the approaches differed, what all had in common was the realization that to succeed, they had to develop industries that could survive and excel in the global market. Whether that meant nurturing domestic companies like in Japan and Korea or attracting foreign companies like in Singapore and Taiwan. The key was exposure to global competition and the pragmatic adoption of best practices. Governments who strayed from that formula suffered slower growth and often greater political instability as in the case of Indonesia and Malaysia.
The downside to developmental dictatorships, which many of the countries engaged in for a time is human rights, yet some countries, like Korea, willingly sacrificed civil liberties in return for national economic advancement...this methodology only works for extremely poor countries. While poor people might be willing to trade liberty for improved living standards the middle class will demand political right to match their economic rights...

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Henry V - William Shakespeare

In this essay, I will examine the rhetorical and dramatic effectiveness of King Henry’s speech to the Governor of Harfluer in Act 3 Scene 4 ...