Challenges the conventional view of economic history in which capitalism is
assumed as the backdrop. Argues that thrift as frugality is simply the daily
reality for the majority of the world’s population; thrift (as frugality and
thriving) does not constitute ‘moments’ in a smooth trajectory of
capitalism; and that thrift (as thriving, and even in some cases as
frugality) proves that material conditions are just as likely to result in
reciprocity than maximisation. Attempts to make a small start towards
re-thinking the concept of thrift, both in terms of attempting to remove it
from frugality per se (as its primary principle or motivation), and in terms
of attempting to prove it can be used to carve out future alternatives, not
simply shore up existing systems.
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.