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Some Asian economic wisdom

18 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 07 February 2012

For decades the West lectured the East on how to manage their economies. Well, now the shoe is on the other foot.

Emerging Asia is the model of steady, consistent economic policy and sustained growth; while America, Europe and Japan are mired in debt and slow growth or even recession.

Malaysia's former Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamed, has some home truths for Western economies. During his two decades in power he helped transform Malaysia from a sleepy former colony into an economic tiger.

Justin Rowlatt asks him why he believes Asia has managed to weather the financial storm so much better than its western rivals.

Plus, the second in the Challenges of Work series examines the role of women in the workplace. Is it becoming easier for a woman to have a child and hold down a job - or are women still left holding the baby?

Kim Elsesser has been researching just that. She left her job as a highly paid hedge fund manager to become a research scholar at the Centre of the Study of Women at the University of California. Justin Rowlatt asks her to what extent it's true that women still do most of the childcare.

And it has described as India's biggest corruption scandal - and may well be world's. The mis-selling of mobile phone bandwidth is reckoned to have cost the country up to $40bn according to Indian Government auditors.

Last week the supreme court annulled 122 licences, while the minister who issued them is on trial for fraud, but concerns about doing business in India remain.

India's economy may have opened up over the past twenty years but corruption and graft still seem endemic.

The BBC's Mumbai correspondent Nidhi Dutt says a key reason for that is the country's Byzantine bureaucracy.

It's something successive governments have said they will tackle but she says it doesn't look like things will improve any time soon.

(Photo: A person counts ringgit bills. Credit: AFP)


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