The term NIC, pronounced “nick” and meaning “newly industrialized country,” entered the vocabulary of international politics and economics during the 1960s and 1970s. It referred to the astonishing performance of the East Asian capitalist developmental states—namely, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and South Korea. All four were characterized by relative political stability, complex combinations of quasi-authoritarian politics and capitalist economics, very high-speed economic growth, an equitable distribution of income, and a high level of education. In the space of two decades, these four NICs achieved the highest per capita incomes in East Asia, exceeded only by Japan. During 1982, per capita gross national products (GNPs) were (in U.S. dollars) Japan $9,684, Hong Kong $5,390, Singapore $5,220, Taiwan $2,587, Korea $1,720, and the PRC circa $300. 1