The Four Little Dragons

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Overview

Japan and the four little dragons--Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Singapore--constitute less than 1 percent of the world's land mass and less than 4 percent of the world's population. Yet in the last four decades they have become, with Europe and North America, one of the three great pillars of the modern industrial world order. How did they achieve such a rapid industrial transformation? Why did the four little dragons, dots on the East Asian periphery, gain such Promethean energy at this particular time in history?

Ezra F. Vogel, one of the most widely read scholars on Asian affairs, provides a comprehensive explanation of East Asia's industrial breakthrough. While others have attributed this success to tradition or to national economic policy, Vogel's penetrating analysis illuminates how cultural background interacted with politics, strategy, and situational factors to ignite the greatest burst of sustained economic growth the world has yet seen.

Vogel describes how each of the four little dragons acquired the political stability needed to take advantage of the special opportunities available to would-be industrializers after World War II. He traces how each little dragon devised a structure and a strategy to hasten industrialization and how firms acquired the entrepreneurial skill, capital, and technology to produce internationally competitive goods. Vogel brings masterly insight to the underlying question of why Japan and the little dragons have been so extraordinarily successful in industrializing while other developing countries have not. No other work has pinpointed with such clarity how institutions and cultural practices rooted in the Confucian tradition were adapted to the needs of an industrial society, enabling East Asia to use its special situational advantages to respond to global opportunities.

This is a book that all scholars and lay readers with an interest in Asia will want to read and ponder.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review - David E. Sanger
[Vogel] explains how government and industry have interacted in South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong, turning charity case nations into business school case studies. [This book] may be the quickest dose of reality yet for anyone left with a romantic vision of Asia.
China Business Review - Greg Jones
Ezra Vogel...provides a fascinating look at the economies of Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Singapore...This well-documented analysis is recommended as good background reading for those doing business in East Asia and anyone looking for general information about the explosive economic growth in these countries.
Boston Globe - Davis Bushnell
What a ride it's been for East Asians, and Vogel captures nicely, in conversational prose, the highlights of the Pacific Rim's 40-year march to industrial greatness in sectors as different as shipbuilding and textiles. It is an achievement that refutes, once and for all, the notion that industrial revolutions only occur in the West.
Times Higher Education Supplement - Rupert Hodder
Ezra Vogel has written an immediately attractive book...[His] account of the spread of industrialization in the four countries is always eminently readable, yet scholarly and authoritative, with just the right amount of sharp detail.
Boston Globe

What a ride it's been for East Asians, and Vogel captures nicely, in conversational prose, the highlights of the Pacific Rim's 40-year march to industrial greatness in sectors as different as shipbuilding and textiles. It is an achievement that refutes, once and for all, the notion that industrial revolutions only occur in the West.
— Davis Bushnell

New York Times Book Review

[Vogel] explains how government and industry have interacted in South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong, turning charity case nations into business school case studies. [This book] may be the quickest dose of reality yet for anyone left with a romantic vision of Asia.
— David E. Sanger

Times Higher Education Supplement

Ezra Vogel has written an immediately attractive book...[His] account of the spread of industrialization in the four countries is always eminently readable, yet scholarly and authoritative, with just the right amount of sharp detail.
— Rupert Hodder

China Business Review

Ezra Vogel...provides a fascinating look at the economies of Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Singapore...This well-documented analysis is recommended as good background reading for those doing business in East Asia and anyone looking for general information about the explosive economic growth in these countries.
— Greg Jones

New York Times Book Review
[Vogel] explains how government and industry have interacted in South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong, turning charity case nations into business school case studies. [This book] may be the quickest dose of reality yet for anyone left with a romantic vision of Asia.
— David E. Sanger
China Business Review
Ezra Vogel...provides a fascinating look at the economies of Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Singapore...This well-documented analysis is recommended as good background reading for those doing business in East Asia and anyone looking for general information about the explosive economic growth in these countries.
— Greg Jones
Boston Globe
What a ride it's been for East Asians, and Vogel captures nicely, in conversational prose, the highlights of the Pacific Rim's 40-year march to industrial greatness in sectors as different as shipbuilding and textiles. It is an achievement that refutes, once and for all, the notion that industrial revolutions only occur in the West.
— Davis Bushnell
Times Higher Education Supplement
Ezra Vogel has written an immediately attractive book...[His] account of the spread of industrialization in the four countries is always eminently readable, yet scholarly and authoritative, with just the right amount of sharp detail.
— Rupert Hodder
Booknews
A widely read scholar of Asian affairs, Vogel (social studies, Harvard U.) explains the industrialization of Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Delivered as the Edwin O. Reischauer Lectures, date and place not noted. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674315266
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 3/15/1993
  • Series: Edwin O. Reischauer Lectures Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 154
  • Product dimensions: 0.36 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 8.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Ezra F. Vogel is Henry Ford II Research Professor of the Social Sciences, Emeritus, at Harvard University and former Director of Harvard's Fairbank Center for East Asian Research and the Harvard University Asia Center.
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Table of Contents

Preface

1. A New Wave of Industrialization

2. Taiwan

3. South Korea

4. Hong Kong and Singapore

5. Toward an Explanation

Notes

Index

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