Over the past 25 years, the share of employment accouted for bymanufacturing has fallen dramatically in the world's most advanced economies, a phenomenon widely referred to as "deindustrialization."Many see deindustrialization as widening income inequalities and causinga sharp rise in unemployment. This paper argues that, contrary to popularperception, deindustrialization should not be regarded as alarming, butrather as a natural consequence of continued economic growth within the advanced economies.
During the past 25 years, employment in manufacturing as a share of total employment has fallen dramatically in the world’s most advanced economies, a phenomenon widely referred to as “deindustrialization.” The trend, particularly evident in the United States and Europe, is also apparent in Japan and has been observed most recently in the Four Tiger economies of East Asia (Hong Kong, China, Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan Province of China). Not surprisingly, deindustrialization has caused considerable concern in the affected economies and has given rise to a vigorous debate about its causes and likely implications. Many regard deindustrialization with alarm and suspect it has contributed to widening income inequality in the United States and high unemployment in Europe. Some suggest that deindustrialization is a result of the globalization of markets and has been fostered by the rapid growth of North-South trade (trade between the advanced economies and the developing world). These critics argue that the fast growth of labor-intensive manufacturing industries in the developing world is displacing the jobs of workers in the advanced economies.
The spectacular growth of many economies in East Asia over the past 30years has impressed the economics profession, which often refers to thesuccess of the so-called Four Tigers of the region (Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan Province of China) as "miraculous." This papercritically reviews the reasons alleged for this extraordinary growth.It weighs arguments in the debate over factor accumulation versustechnical progress, the role of public policy, the contribution ofinvestments and exports, and the influence of initial conditions onsubsequent growth.
The spectacular growth of many economies in East Asia over the past 30 years has amazed the economics profession and has evoked a torrent of books and articles attempting to explain the phenomenon. Articles on why the most successful economies of the region Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan Province of China have grown, to say the least, robustly invariably refer to the phenomenon as “miraculous.” When practitioners of the Dismal Science have recourse to a Higher Power, the reader knows that he is in trouble. Confusion is compounded when he discovers that ideological debate has multiplied even further the analyses of this phenomenon. Rather than swelling the torrent of interpretations, this paper sets for itself the modest agenda of reviewing the weightiest arguments in the literature that attempt to identify the reasons for the extraordinary economic growth in East Asia and trying to decide which arguments make sense. The exercise has value because finding the right explanation might suggest how to replicate this success elsewhere and, as a bonus, might also satisfy the reader’s urge to solve an engaging intellectual puzzle. It is best if we start with the facts.
Since 1978 the Chinese economy has grown on average more than 9 percenta year. Per capita income has nearly quadrupled in the past 15 years andsome analysts predict that within 20 years the Chinese economy will belarger than that of the United States. This pamphlet analyzes the reasonsfor the extraordinary growth of the Chinese economy.
In 1978, after years of state control of all productive assets, the government of China embarked on a major program of economic reform. In an effort to awaken a dormant economic giant, it encouraged the formation of rural enterprises and private businesses, liberalized foreign trade and investment, relaxed state control over some prices, and invested in industrial production and the education of its workforce. By nearly all accounts, the strategy has worked spectacularly.