For most people, the ‘economic miracle’ in Asia means Japanese, Korean or Taiwanese dynamism. Less is known about Southeast Asia, where economies grouping over 300 million people have clocked astounding growth rates since 1970. But fast growth is only part of the story. In this book, first published in 1989, James Clad offers an inside look at Malaysia’s ‘kampong commerce’, at oil-rich Brunei’s ‘Shell-fare state’ and at Thailand’s business blend of bureaucrats, generals and local Chinese. The author opens the window on business politics in Indonesia and the Philippines, as well as explaining how Singapore, although a notable exception to economic passivity and business corruption, still remains hostage to geography and overseas Chinese insecurity. Apart from these country surveys, this book also analyses the constants of South East Asia and Hong Kong, including commodity earnings and the financial power of the Chinese. It describes claims of ‘intellectual dishonesty’ at Asia’s largest development bank and counters fashionable optimism that weak regional institutions will evolve into an Asian common market. Yet Clad also describes South East Asia’s impressive achievements, including an account of how their new multinational companies are feeling their way into the world economy.

1. The End of an Era  2. Full Circle in the Philippines  3. Malaise in Brunei and Malaysia  4. ABRI-Culture: Dual Functioneering in Indonesia  5. Boomtime in Bangkok  6. Singapore: the Exception that Rules the Proof  7. Chinatown  8. Wellsprings of Wealth: South East Asia’s Commercial Crucibles  9. Commodities: Glutted Cornucopias  10. Development Bunk  11. Reluctant Regionalism  12. The Clouded Future