Clifford, Mark L. 1957-
CLIFFORD, Mark L. 1957-
Far Eastern Economic Review, correspondent, 1987-95; Business Week, Asia correspondent, 1995-99, Asia regional editor, 1999—.
Foreign Correspondents' Club (correspondent member governor, 2003—).
Overseas Press Club Award, 1997, for coverage of Asian financial crisis; Human Rights Press Award in Commentary and Analysis (merit), for article "The Chinese Need Capital and Condemnation."
(With Myra Alperson) The Food Lover's Guide to the Real New York: Five Boroughs of Ethnic Restaurants, Markets, and Shops, photographs by Erica Lansner and Amalie Rothschild, maps by Sheila McManus and Howard Scherzer, illustrated by Sheila McManus, Prentice Hall (New York, NY), 1987.
Troubled Tiger: Businessmen, Bureaucrats, and Generals in South Korea, M. E. Sharpe (Armonk, NY), 1994, revised edition published as Troubled Tiger: The Unauthorized Biography of Korea Inc., Butterworth Heinemann Asia (Singapore, Malaysia), 1998.
(With Pete Engardio) Meltdown: Asia's Boom, Bust, and Beyond, Prentice Hall (Paramus, NJ), 2000.
(With Supachai Panitchpakdi) China and the WTO: Changing China, Changing World Trade, John Wiley & Sons (Singapore, Malaysia), 2002.
Contributor to radio and television networks, including BBC World Service and CNBC. Also contributor to periodicals.
Mark L. Clifford is a business writer, reporter, and editor specializing in topics related to business and commerce throughout Asia. As Asia regional editor for Business Week, Clifford "oversees the coverage of some twenty countries, building a team of six correspondents and numerous special writers," commented a Business Week writer in a profile of Clifford on the magazine's Web site. "The turf includes China and Greater China, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent," and Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other countries in the region. He has written books exploring the social and business aspects of financial crises, booms, and collapses in Korea and throughout Asia, as well as works on global trade and the World Trade Organization.
In Troubled Tiger: Businessmen, Bureaucrats, and Generals in South Korea, Clifford explores the intricacies of economic policy in Korea. The author's goal "is to 'sketch a more nuanced picture of one of the world's most extraordinary economies,' and in this respect he succeeds admirably," remarked Marcus Noland in the Far Eastern Economic Review. The book's focus is on "the 1960s and 1970s, when President Park Chung Hee built Korea, Inc., and on the 1980s, when the generals who succeeded him ran it into the ground," Noland stated.
The Korea that Clifford describes was "a continuing criminal enterprise," Noland wrote. A stringent and labyrinthine system of laws, infrequently enforced, ensured that nearly everyone at some time or another would break one or more, transforming them into a criminal. "This creates a powerful mechanism for social control and produces correspondingly large incentives to conform to the wishes of the powerful," Noland remarked. "The result is the rule of men, not of law." Korea thrived even under this manipulative and authoritarian system early in Park's era, largely due to Park's vision and competence, and the abilities of those in key positions around him. Korea's institutional structure also helped ensure that government-set goals would be met. A gradual downturn began in the 1970s, however, and Park pushed for an increase in heavy industry to reduce Korean reliance on imported arms. "Opportunities for inefficiency, incompetence, cronyism and corruption, always present in the stateled model, increased dramatically," Noland commented. Park was assassinated in 1979, but those who came after him were unable to avert financial crisis in the 1980s. "Clifford has written a superb book, which weaves together history, economics, and politics," commented Donald Zagoria in Foreign Affairs.
In Meltdown: Asia's Boom, Bust, and Beyond, Clifford and coauthor Pete Engardio methodically examine the causes and results of another financial crisis, this one resulting in the devastation of a number of Asian economies in the late 1990s. The authors first outline the boom times of the early part of the twentieth century, with the growth of infrastructure development, real estate markets, heavy industry, and export markets. Foreign countries that eagerly invested in Asian markets, "hot to participate in the Asian miracle, were also constant spurs of too-rapid growth," observed Publishers Weekly reviewers Jeff Zaleski, Paul Gediman, Charlotte Abbott, and Sarah Gold. Thailand's decision in 1997 to devalue its official currency, the bhat, began a cascade of economic collapse throughout Asia. "At the root of Asia's downfall were Old World business cultures, political systems, and financial institutions that were too entrenched to keep up with the New World of warp-speed capital movements that they had entered," commented a reviewer in the Filipino Reporter. "Where Meltdown shines is in its description of the years leading up to the boom," remarked G. Pierre Goad in the Far Eastern Economic Review. "The two chapters on the mad rush into Asia by multinationalists and foreign banks are brilliant." Clifford and Engardio also provide "a solid take" on and "many memorable examples" of the "follies of Asia's own governments and businesses" that led up to the collapse, Goad wrote.
Clifford collaborated with Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, Thailand's former deputy prime minister who was director of the World Trade Organization at the time the book was written, on China and the WTO: Changing China, Changing World Trade. The book "is an enlightening and honest assessment of the two powers that are set to dominate future world business," wrote Hari Raj in Malaysian Business. Clifford and Panitchpakdi examine the fifteen-year course that China took on the way to membership in the World Trade Organization. The authors express their belief that China's place in the WTO will result in tremendous benefits for China, the WTO, and the international community, "not the least of which is that the world's largest and fastest-growing economy will now operate under internationally accepted rules," observed a reviewer in Business Week. Stephen J. Anderson, writing in the China Business Review, noted that the book contains details on U.S. and European Union bilateral, market-access agreements that outline the terms under which China entered the WTO. Further, Anderson remarked, "The authors make an important contribution to the debate that will arise from the process of integrating China into the world economy." Anderson called China and the WTO "a compelling and forceful case for giving China the benefit of the doubt during its early phases of WTO implementation."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, November 1, 1999, David Rouse, review of Meltdown: Asia's Boom, Bust, and Beyond, p. 488.
Business Week, February 11, 2002; February 18, 2002, "Joining the Club," p. 24.
China Business Review, January-February, 2002, Stephen J. Anderson, review of China and the WTO: Changing China, Changing World Trade, p. 50.
Far Eastern Economic Review, February 19, 1998, Marcus Noland, "Cat on a Tightrope," p. 161; January 27, 2000, G. Pierre Goad, "Post-Crash and Burn—What's Next?," pp. 64-65.
Filipino Reporter, December 16, 1999, review of Meltdown, p. 41.
Foreign Affairs, March-April, 1995, Donald Zagoria, review of Troubled Tiger: Businessmen, Bureaucrats, and Generals in South Korea, pp. 165-167.
Malaysian Business, March 16, 2003, Hari Raj, review of China and the WTO, p. 66.
Publishers Weekly, October 25, 1999, Jeff Zaleski, Paul Gediman, Charlotte Abbott, and Sarah Gold, review of Meltdown, p. 67.
BOAO Forum for Asia,http://www.boaoforum.org/english/ (October 28, 2003), biography of Mark L. Clifford.
Hong Kong Trader,http://www.hktrader.net/ (January 30, 2004), profile of Mark L. Clifford.*