Smadja Sees Updating `Globalization Software' as Key to Asian Economy Growth

Korea Times (Seoul, Korea), June 2, 1999 | Go to article overview

Smadja Sees Updating `Globalization Software' as Key to Asian Economy Growth


Although the Asian economic decline has stopped and all the countries in the region should see some positive growth in 1999, fundamental problems that will stunt further growth remain, said Claude Smadja, managing director of the World Economic Forum.

``This is obvious given growth levels that lag behind presumed levels before the crisis and also the high level of unemployment even in Korea and Thailand, two model recovering nations,'' he said.

Smadja was a guest lecturer for the opening day of the 1st Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Investment Mart at the COEX in Seoul.

According to Smadja, the solution to the Asian crisis -- which occurred because its ``economic modernization and growth'' were racing ahead of political and institutional modernization -- is in updating the ``globalization software.''

``This `software' includes strengthening the legal and regulatory framework, sheltering the economic decision-making process from corruption, cronyism and political patronage and adopting transparent accounting practices,'' he said.

Specifically, the Asian countries should focus on implementing some kinds of``safety nets'' which would help segments of the population to cope with the pains of the restructuring process, he said.

``Though this may sound far-fetched to the leaders, who see their priorities a attracting foreign investors through improved external developments, in reality fundamental changes like upgrading the skills of the workforce, ensuring social cohesion and establishing some form of corporate loyalty are more important,'' he said. …

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