1997 Asian financial crisis

financial crisis in many East/Southeast Asian countries starting in 1997

The Asian financial crisis was a period of financial crisis that gripped much of East Asia beginning in July 1997 and raised fears of a worldwide economic meltdown due to financial contagion.


  • The interesting thing is that, on the whole, the economics profession didn't learn the lessons of the East Asian crisis. I wrote about it a great deal, and I continued to do some research on the subject. But because we didn't learn the lessons of that crisis, we've had the crisis that began in 2007.
    • Joseph E. Stiglitz, Trinity's Nobel Economists Lecture, September 2009, published in Lives of the Laureates: Twenty-three Nobel Economists (2014) edited by Roger W. Spencer, David A. Macpherson
  • Everyone in the world needs money – to get paid, to trade, to live. Paper money is an ancient technology and an inconvenient means of payment. You can run out of it. It wears out. It can get lost or stolen. In the twenty-first century, people need a form of money that's more convenient and secure, something that can be accessed from anywhere with a PDA or an Internet connection. Of course, what we're calling 'convenient' for American users will be revolutionary for the developing world. Many of these countries' governments play fast and loose with their currencies. They use inflation and sometimes wholesale currency devaluations, like we saw in Russia and several Southeast Asian countries last year [referring to the 1998 Russian and 1997 Asian financial crisis], to take wealth away from their citizens. Most of the ordinary people there never have an opportunity to open an offshore account or to get their hands on more than a few bills of a stable currency like U.S. dollars. Eventually PayPal will be able to change this. In the future, when we make our service available outside the U.S. and as Internet penetration continues to expand to all economic tiers of people, PayPal will give citizens worldwide more direct control over their currencies than they ever had before. It will be nearly impossible for corrupt governments to steal wealth from their people through their old means because if they try the people will switch to dollars or Pounds or Yen, in effect dumping the worthless local currency for something more secure.
    • Peter Thiel, In a speech delivered at PayPal in 1999, as remembered by Eric M. Jackson in The PayPal Wars
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