In response to the economic successes of the activist East Asian governments, a new generation of scholars has emerged to advocate the role of a strong state in promoting economic development. Unfortunately, like their “weak state” opponents, the “strong state” scholars fail to distinguish between strong governments with limited power and those with unlimited power, leading them to misidentify the root causes of economic development.

Hilton L. Root is senior fellow and director of global studies at the Milken Institute, Santa Monica, California.
AsiaDefense and Foreign PolicyEconomic FreedomEconomic History and DevelopmentEconomyGovernment and PoliticsGovernment PowerInternational Economics and DevelopmentLaw and LibertyPolitical TheoryPublic ChoiceThe Nanny State
Other Independent Review articles by Hilton L. Root
Spring 2023 The Rise and Fall of Imperial China: The Social Origins of State Development
Summer 2020 Has the West Lost It?
Winter 2018/19 The Invisible Hand?: How Market Economies Have Emerged