Category: Southeast Asia

The ‘Dutertefication’ of America

FORBES William Pesek “The Donald Trump of Asia.” That’s how the international media labeled Rodrigo Duterte in 2016, when the firebrand won the Philippine presidency. Turns out, it’s the other way around. True, Duterte’s shock election win predated the U.S. president’s by 183 days. But the strongman rallied voters with Trumpian bluster, anti-establishment populism and
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‘Teflon Thailand’ feels the heat

NIKKEI ASIAN REVIEW Political upheavals will impose economic cost and deter investment William Pesek Thailand’s “Teflon” coating shows serious signs of stress after the March 24 election. The upheaval-prone Southeast Asian economy earned its nothing-sticks reputation time and again since 2006, when the latest cycle of coups and political intrigue began. The first democratic contest
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Breathing space for Mahathir

NIKKEI ASIAN REVIEW Growth spurt offers Malaysian leader a window for economic reform William Pesek Count Mahathir Mohamad among those unhappy with the performance of Malaysia’s government. Odd, perhaps, since he is prime minister. But considering how the 93-year-old ran Malaysia the first time around, from 1981 to 2003, recent moves suggest he is not
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Election risks reigniting Philippines inflation

NIKKEI ASIAN REVIEW Failure to fix economic bottlenecks leaves country vulnerable to price pressure William Pesek What might Milton Friedman make of the Philippines today? The Nobel economist popularized the theory that inflation is “always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon.” Since the 1960s, his argument that demand for money controlled all prices won converts from
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