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A nation must think before it acts.
Many analysts have suggested that Washington’s attempts to bring prosperity to poor and semi-poor countries in the Third World and former Second World should be based on lessons provided by East Asia’s economic success over the last thirty to forty years. That is a sound idea. However, contrary to much scholarly and popular opinion in the United States, the chief economic lesson of East Asia is not that judicious intervention by wise bureaucrats produces high rates of economic growth. Rather, the lesson of East Asia’s success is that economic growth is due either to low government intervention or to reductions in government intervention.