In the news today: India moves past Taiwan on the foreign currency reserve rankings. Just another example of our collapsing economy — now we only have the fifth largest foreign currency reserves in the world.

Speaking of development, I was poking around the internet the other day — the joys of vacation! — and found this interesting piece over at Japan Focus which argues that Japan’s colonial policies were not so exceptional as once thought….

Since the 1980s, a widespread view has arisen in the literature that the post-1950 economic successes of Taiwan and the Republic of Korea have been due, in part at least, to the legacy of Japanese colonialism. This paper challenges that view by comparing Japanese economic achievements in both Taiwan and Korea with those of the British, French, Dutch and Americans in their Southeast Asian colonies. The paper examines the record of economic growth and structural change across the various colonies, and also discusses policies relating to government revenue and expenditure and to trade, exchange rates and the balance of payments. The paper also looks at some non-monetary indicators relating to living standards, including mortality rates and educational enrolments. The main conclusion is that the facts do not wholly support the case for Japanese exceptionalism.

A very suggestive paper, too broad for a very tight comparison across all factors, but it did give me a new appreciation for our colonial policy in the Philippines.