Abstract

This article attempts to think through important connections and missed connections between the “Asian financial crisis” of 1997–98 and the U.S. “subprime” crisis and ongoing sovereign debt crises. The possible lessons to be learned in 1997–98 about the dangers of unfettered capital mobility and the growing market in occult financial instruments such as derivatives were foreclosed by the “Asianization” of the crisis itself. The essay begins by problematizing the temporal enclosure of the 1997–98 crisis by recalling three intermeshed Asianizations in the 1990s, from “Asian miracle” to “Asian crisis” to “Asian recovery.” Then, it moves to broaden the geographic bounding of the 1997–98 crisis by contextualizing it in terms of three other interconnected “stories” about the globalization of finance capital. The article ends by considering a fourth, more recent Asianization in the discourse of “Asian triumph” expressed in the aftermath of the “subprime crisis,” which exposed the deep dysfunctions of Wall Street and later British firms. These shifting uses of Asianization provide instructive demonstrations of the analytic work necessitated by the broadened purview and dispersed archives of a transnational, interdisciplinary American studies.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6490
Print ISSN
0003-0678
Pages
pp. 411-436
Launched on MUSE
2012-09-28
Open Access
No
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