Chapter 1 Introduction: doing social policy, East Asian style
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Nowhere in the world presents a more dramatic case of wealth creation than East Asia. With the enormous post-war expansion of economic activities, the economic powerhouses of East Asia have grown strong even after the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. However, if we turn our attention to the development of modern welfare states in the region, the story has been much less remarkable. One of the most widely cited accounts presents that this tension was almost invariably resolved by subordinating the former to the latter. How far is this the case after decades of policy development? Are social programmes in these economies indeed as restrictive as commonly understood? And finally, what explains the growth and shape of social programmes? These questions are the main concerns of this book.