Sustaining Growth and Performance in East Asia
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Sustaining Growth and Performance in East Asia

The Role of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises

Edited by Charles Harvie and Boon-Chye Lee

This third book in the series focuses on how small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) contribute to achieving and sustaining growth and performance in their economies, as well as the ways in which governments can assist and enhance that contribution. This is of particular concern given the trauma suffered by East Asian economies in the wake of the financial and economic crisis of 1997–98.
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Chapter 2: Small, Diversified and Sustainable: Small Enterprises in a Sustainable Production System

Hock-Beng Cheah and Melanie Cheah


2. Small, diversified and sustainable: small enterprises in a sustainable production system Hock-Beng Cheah and Melanie Cheah With three billion people still living under [US]$2 a day, with growing inequity between rich and poor, with forests being degraded at the rate of an acre a second, with 130 million children still not in school, with 1.5 billion people still not having access to clean water, and two billion people not having access to sewage [facilities], we cannot be complacent. More than this, we must be concerned that 80 to 90 million people are being added annually to our planet, mainly in the developing world. Two billion more souls must feed themselves by the year 2025, hampered by wars, with growing inequity, and with distortions of economies and politics as evidenced in crises from Indonesia to Russia and from Latin America to Africa. With the reduction in Overseas Development Assistance and current instability in the international financial markets, there is much to be concerned about. (Wolfensohn, 1999) 2.1 INTRODUCTION Since the President of the World Bank, James Wolfensohn, offered the remarks above, it is arguable that the situation has worsened. Japan has remained in the economic doldrums since 1990, with no sign of improvement in the near future. Singapore, ranked for several years as the second most competitive economy in the world (after the USA), has slipped into recession. The USA too is experiencing slower growth (Godley and Izurieta, 2001), with ominous implications for many countries in Asia...

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