The post-World War II economic development of the four East Asian economies of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (Hong Kong), Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), Singapore, and South Korea has shown a distinctive pattern. A superficial review of these four East Asian economies reveals that they are not too different from others nearby in terms of their shortage of natural resources and ready availability of other resources, e.g. labor. Their economies are not particularly strong, but, on the other hand, military expenditure is low. However, at the end of World War II, the economy of the Philippines was considered to have more potential for growth than that of its neighbors in Asia.
The economic success of the four East Asian economies has been documented in a great volume of literature. The culture heritage of Confucianism could be a historical convenience, while the stages of growth and capital accumulation theories are the conventional approaches. The economics of laissez-faire, together with foreign trade and investment, have constituted another area of study. The “flying geese” model of development looks at growth from a regional perspective. Studies of industrialization and changes in industrial structure tend to focus on the internal dynamics, while human capital and technology advancement are advocated by the endogenous growth theory. The change in East Asia's growth experience and its geopolitical position have also been examined.
A major failing of all these studies is that they do not provide a cohesive and comprehensive conceptual framework that goes beyond analysis based on individual subject disciplines and areas. At the conceptual level, these studies lack a comprehensive framework that examines the economic growth experience of these four economies in their entirety. The growth experience of the four East Asian economies represents a new paradigm that may not have parallels in other countries - a paradigm that requires specific conceptual interpretations, demands new ways of translating existing economic principles, and projects a growth pattern that can be exported to other economies.
The paradigm of economism attempts to provide a conceptual framework