Why Muslim Economies Fail
Lessons for the Middle East
from Asia's dynamic transformation
© 2005 by Steven Schlossstein
475 pages, Stratford Books
(Source notes, Bibliography, Index)
In 1963, average per capita income in the Arab world was higher than the per capita income of South Korea. Today, it is half that of Korea, which is now the 11th-largest economy in the world. Forty years ago, Egypt and Korea had equivalent national incomes. Today, Korea's national income is ten times that of Egypt.
What's worse, during the past twenty years, growth in per capita income for Arabs has been the lowest in the world except for sub-Saharan Africa. Islamic terrorism and fanatic suicide bombers now symbolize a region known all too long for soaring rates of population growth, widespread illiteracy, and numbing poverty.
In another corner of the world, optimism and hope have driven out pessimism and despair. The East Asian economic miracle of the last forty years is no longer a mystery: China, Japan and the four fast-growing tigers of the Far East — Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong — have been setting new standards for developing countries to meet.
The vibrant economies of East Asia have consistently demonstrated the power of dynamic transformation, by showing how effective modernization strategies can be created and implemented while protecting their own historical and cultural traditions.
By contrast, the Middle East is locked in a hostile death-dance with the West, a conflict that has religious roots in the Crusades. Endangered Species documents critical lessons that the Arab world can — and should — learn from Beijing and Tokyo, not from Washington or London.
This is the most recent non-fiction book from Far East expert Steven Schlossstein, whose works have consistently been characterized as "highly intelligent, eminently sensible, and well written."