Economics and Business
This chapter discusses some of the core areas of debate, consensus and disagreements on the new International financial architecture. To critics, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is a Bretton Woods relic incapable of playing a constructive role in the building of the new International financial architecture. While its harshest critics want the IMF altogether abolished, others are prepared to live with a severely restricted institution with limited powers and resources. Despite the fact that the IMF made mistakes in dealing with the Asian crisis, this should not invalidate the rationale for having a universally representative institution to oversee the implementation of collectively agreed rules. The Asian countries hardest hit by the crisis had all pursued dive. During the height of the Asian crisis, the Malaysian government dramatically challenged the prevailing wisdom and imposed capital controls by bringing the issue to the forefront of economic policy debates.
This chapter provides some emphasis to the influence of markets on the growth and use of individual knowledge and explains how knowledge within firms may benefit from market relationships. It identifies some basic elements of human cognition to provide a credible psychological basis for economic reasoning. The chapter also explains the effectiveness of marketing institutions which match cognitive needs. Market institutions are an important part of consumers' external organisation: the rules and conventions form part of their interpretative system and their framework for decision making. New products may require the creation of new market institutions, and the possibility of creating new market institutions may suggest product redesign. Business customers may have stronger incentives than do their suppliers to simplify the process of transacting, and this may not merely be a matter for the purchasing department, for production is closely linked with purchasing as well as marketing.
A challenge to the new economic sociology is that central economic processes should become the focus of theoretical and empirical sociological analysis. This chapter argues that competition processes are co-instituted with markets, and that market processes are in turn co-instituted with industrial divisions of labour. It begins with an examination of some of the few empirically based studies of competition, suggesting that they often are developed for overtly normative or prescriptive purposes. The chapter then returns to analyse some of the early Weberian conceptions of competition, upon which to build an economic sociology of competitive processes. It provides an exemplification of the analytical framework through a schematic analysis of changing forms of competition in the historical development of UK food supermarkets. The conclusion drawn from this analysis is that competitive processes are a result of processes of transformation wider than intra-market dynamics.
This conclusion presents some closing thoughts on concepts discussed in preceding chapters of this book. The book resides within a now-flourishing broader stream of ideas at the interface between economics and sociology. It contributes more to a sophisticated understanding of particular markets than they do to the theory of the general market system. Market activity implies that buyers and sellers are 'brought together' across time and space and that transactions are consummated and recorded. During the 1990s, sociological investigation of markets has tended to abandon earlier concerns with the social effects of the operation of markets and to concentrate instead on the social processes by which markets are made. As with the new economic sociology, evolutionary economists are wedded to a more sophisticated notion of individual behaviour than that embedded in the idea of Olympian rationality.
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.
When the financial crisis unexpectedly hit the high-performing East and Southeast Asian economies in mid-1997, it was widely believed that the People's Republic of China (PRC) would be the next domino to fall. This chapter argues that China's handling of the crisis, and in particular, the country's ability to withstand the crisis, must be understood within the context of its domestic political economy. An important lesson of Mexico's peso crisis of 1994 and the Asian financial crisis was that a sound banking sector is the single most essential element of a healthy financial system. The State Administration for Foreign Exchange (SAFE) approval requirements and the related limitations on foreign participation in PRC equity markets had translated into low levels of portfolio investment. The Chinese authorities significantly intensified the enforcement of exchange and capital controls and moved to reduce circumvention.
This chapter studies the evolution of the software industry in the UK. It describes the role of demand factors in the process of vertical disintegration and distinguishes between the product and service segments of the software market. The chapter reviews the changing need for software in the growth of the global software industry. It highlights the role of a narrow demand base in the emergence of a market for traded software in the UK. The chapter examines the supply side of the software market. It also examines the impact of the demand- and supply-side factors on the nature of competition, competitive advantage and barriers to growth for firms in the UK software sector. The absence of a large commodity software market has meant a less radical impact of the software industry upon industrial growth in the UK economy.
This chapter argues that a more nuanced understanding of Indonesia's economic crisis can be gained by differentiating between the sources of 'vulnerability' and the 'precipitating' factors. The roots of the crisis can be traced back to the mid-1980s, when Indonesia embarked on an ambitious economic reform program. On January 27, 1998, with their backs against the wall, both the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Indonesian government took steps to deal with the banking sector problems. In the ensuing weeks, as the embattled Suharto vacillated and stalled, the economic downturn deepened and the Indonesian economy was brought to the brink of total collapse. Liquidity support to the banking sector continued to increase in large part to meet the continuing deposit withdrawals. Moreover, as part of Indonesia's commitments to the IMF, the government took steps to review and strengthen the prudential and regulatory framework of the banking system.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book provides a critical evaluation of the idea of the market as the definitive form of co-ordination and of the socially embedded nature of market processes. It explores the idea of competition as an instituted economic process. The book focuses on an empirical study of cultural industries in East London. It also explores the instituted arrangements constituting the 'peculiar economics' of professional sports. The book presents an analysis of the emergence of one particular market in the UK, that for computer software. It examines some of the conditions which resulted in the UK coming to specialise in services to client companies rather than the production of software packages for an arm's length market. The book also provides an account of regional economic adaptation to changed market circumstances.
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.