In the aftermath of East Asia's spectacular economic collapse in mid-1997, even the most optimistic predictions gave at least a decade before Asia could fully recover. Although it was expected that the growing intra-Asian trade and demand from the European Union would help to fill the void, there was little doubt that Japan's recovery was crucial to the region's recovery. Most Asian countries experienced a sharp economic slowdown beginning in the last quarter of 2000. The problems of a deteriorating external environment due in large part to the downturn in the US economy were exacerbated by the September 11 terrorist attacks. The single greatest push for East Asian regionalism had been the Asian financial crisis. It was clear that the Asian governments agreed that they must reduce their dependence on the G-7 countries and multilateral financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.
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This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book presents the case studies of the individual countries: Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea and the People's Republic of China (PRC). It examines the factors behind the financial crisis and highlights the underlying similarities and the fundamental differences between the individual cases. The book provides a review of the competing perspectives on the new international financial architecture. It explains a number of fundamental issues and its implications for the emerging market economies. The book also presents a more nuanced picture of the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) policies and its socioeconomic impact. It assesses the IMF's efforts to reduce moral hazard. The book also examines the reasons behind Asia's remarkable economic recovery and the challenges that lie ahead.