Can one tame a tiger?
- The extensive growth of South East Asian Economies -
A tiger economy is a name given to a region or country which undergoes a heavy and fast economic growth. This usually also leads to rising living standards. This term was first applied to South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Since the 1960's, these four countries are known as the East Asian Tigers. Later on more Tiger Economies emerged, but this essay will focus mainly on the first four. Even though the countries do not share their borders, together they can be considered as an economic region, for they share a lot of characteristic and they have gone to similar developments at the same time. All tigers were relatively poor during the 1960's. Due to this factor, they had the comparative advantage of cheap labour. In this essay the competitiveness of the East Asian Tigers today will be elaborated on. This will be done by analyzing the positive and negative production assets, the economic sectors, the economic model and the basic market characteristics. The main question that will be tried to answered is whether the Tigers will maintain their reputation as really fast growing economies.
This figure shows the extensive growth of Korea and Taiwan's GNP (gross national product) per working-age person and their TFP (total factor productivity).
The whole of South East Asia has a very uniform temperature regime. Except for in some highlands and some regions all up in the North, South East Asian temperatures seldom fall below 26°C. The most determining factor of the climate in South East Asia is, however, the rainfall. This rainfall is influenced by two air masses moving across South East Asia, and where these two Air Masses meet, a zone roughly along the Equator, which is commonly called the Intertropical Convergence Zone is formed. In this zone there is an upward air movement, producing convective rainfall, mainly in the two rain seasons per year. This makes the climate of the East Asian Tigers, compared to other countries close to the Equator, relatively good for agricultural production. (CIA World Fact book 2006) (Dwyer, 1990)
South East Asia is a mineral-rich region. The East Asian Tigers, however, do not focus on source exploitation as much as their neighbour countries such as Malaysia (which has long been the world's leading tin producer), Burma, Indonesia and the Philippines. Some of the main resources are fish, coal, lead, zinc, graphite, magnesite, iron ore, copper, gold, pyrites, salt, and hydropower. (CIA World Fact book) (Dwyer 1990, 82)
Contrary to the climate, the East Asian's soils are anything but uniform. As Dwyer argues, "The soils of any locality is a function of a complex of factors: parent rock, climate, relief, aspect, vegetation, drainage, human and animal activity and the time span over which deposits have developed." (1990, 86) There are however some generalities that can be posed on this region. The soils have the tendency to erode easily. The presence of impermeable deposits beneath the upper layer often causes this, hindering drainage and causing the ground above to become waterlogged. This is why South East Asian soils need special attention and agricultural is often on terrace-plants.
Water and forests resources
Even though these sources are renewable, the Tigers region is dealing with great pollution problems in air and water, due to the rapid urbanization and industrialization. Furthermore deforestation is one of the region's main environmental problems. South East Asia has in fact the highest deforestation rate in the world and this rate is assumed only to increase over the next years. (ASB)
Advanced production assets
The infrastructure is a very important factor for...