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Economic Determination in the Last Instance: China's Political- Economic Development Under the Impact of the Asian Financial Crisis

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[The Asian Financial Crisis (AFC) has thus far largely been analysed in terms of either the neoclassical or institutionalist frameworks. Initially, the common Western ‘wisdom’ was dominated by the former, in seeing the crisis as a manifestation of ‘the death throes of crony-state capitalism', on the basis of which the IMF's crisisaggravating ‘rescue’ program (domestic austerity, further financial liberalisation, and so forth) was imposed on the crisis-ridden East Asian countries. A contrary view soon emerged which saw the AFC's roots as lying in panic caused by a crisis, not of solvency, but of liquidity in a basically sound but under-regulated system. First raised by certain mainstream economists, it has been re-worked by ‘dissident’ economists taking a broadly institutionalist perspective. It is beyond my competence to speculate whether or not a Marxian, value theory-based account can be provided that goes beyond the insights of left-institutionalism. But for the purpose of this paper, we can take the following as a starting point. On the immediate concrete level, it seems clear that the panic among international creditors was triggered by stagnating export growth. As the countries concerned had previously liberalised their capital account, the panic was translated into runs on their currencies., The Asian Financial Crisis (AFC) has thus far largely been analysed in terms of either the neoclassical or institutionalist frameworks. Initially, the common Western ‘wisdom’ was dominated by the former, in seeing the crisis as a manifestation of ‘the death throes of crony-state capitalism', on the basis of which the IMF's crisisaggravating ‘rescue’ program (domestic austerity, further financial liberalisation, and so forth) was imposed on the crisis-ridden East Asian countries. A contrary view soon emerged which saw the AFC's roots as lying in panic caused by a crisis, not of solvency, but of liquidity in a basically sound but under-regulated system. First raised by certain mainstream economists, it has been re-worked by ‘dissident’ economists taking a broadly institutionalist perspective. It is beyond my competence to speculate whether or not a Marxian, value theory-based account can be provided that goes beyond the insights of left-institutionalism. But for the purpose of this paper, we can take the following as a starting point. On the immediate concrete level, it seems clear that the panic among international creditors was triggered by stagnating export growth. As the countries concerned had previously liberalised their capital account, the panic was translated into runs on their currencies.]

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