McKenzie Wark on Tue, 29 Jul 1997 01:34:03 +0200 (MET DST)

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Re: <nettime> Blaming Soros, the Burmese currency crisis

The claim by the Malaysian Prime Minister that Soros is to blame
for the recent spate of currency devaluations in SE Asia strikes
me as one of the most ludicrous bits of political blame-shifting
I've heard for some time. A more plausible explanation would be
to look at the effects of the devaluation of the Yen on regional
economies. This has forced devaluations in Japan's more developed
competitors, such as Taiwan and Korea, and this in turn exerts
a downward pressure on the currencies of emerging industrial
countries such as Malaysia and Thailand. As Japanese goods get
cheaper on international markets, its competitors lose market
share. As the trade position weakens, the currency falls. Its true
that there may also be a speculative element in these currnecy 
movements, but this mostly reflects pessimism about the current
trade outlook for these newly industrialising countries. Soros
is hardly alone in opposing the entry of Burma into the ASEAN group
of countries. Most western countries are very sceptical about
ASEAN extending to both Vietnam and Burma. In any case, Burma is
off the ASEAN agenda now that Hun SEn has staged a virtual coup in
Cambodia. ASEAN wants to play a leading role in solving that
particular crisis, and is on notice that western acceptance of
an expanded ASEAN depends in part on its demonstrated abilities
in regard to the Cambodian crisis. 

"We no longer have roots, we have aerials."
 -- McKenzie Wark 

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