“Why the West Sucks”
Why does Mohamad Mahathir think the West sucks?
October 31, 2000
Love him or hate him, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mohamad Mahathir is one of the true firebrands of the global economy. Even before the Asian financial crisis, Dr. Mahathir had started to question the value of Western advice for Malaysia and the Tiger economies of Southeast Asia. Our new “Read My Lips” feature shows how.
How do you view the Western perspective on globalization?
“Although the West advocates free speech, they don’t like others to freely criticize them. It is also the same with globalization. While they insist on free flows of capital across borders, they object to free flows of people — especially poor colored people into their countries.”
What happened at the end of the Cold War?
“When the Cold War ended with the defeat of communism, it was not democracy that won. It was capitalism with a big capital ‘C.'”
Does Asia have a role in reforming the international financial system?
“The North has decided that only the G-7 and institutions like the IMF, the World Bank, BIS and others under their control will design the new world financial architecture. We have no say.”
In what way should the globalization debate be changed?
“Developing countries like Malaysia should have a say in changing the world financial system since we have faced the problems that it has caused.”
“I don’t think I can change the image I have in the Western press because I will continue to condemn the West and their press — if they do anything wrong”
What about corruption in the global economy?
“Cronyism and corruption are more rampant in developed countries. The powerful countries use their influence on crony countries to get contracts for their companies. This is cronyism and corruption at the highest level.”
How do you view George Soros, one of world’s leading financiers?
“All these countries have spent 40 years trying to build up their economies and a moron like Soros comes along with a lot of money to speculate and ruin things.”
What do you think of foreign exchange markets?
“Currency trading is unnecessary, unproductive and totally immoral. It should be stopped.”
What about refusing the IMF’s advice for how to deal with the Asian financial crisis?
“If we are wrong, then we will pay the price. It would serve us right. But the world would have learnt something — and be better off for it.”
What is wrong with the IMF?
“The IMF hasn’t done a good job. It is too rigid and Euro-centric. It is not looking at the world as a whole but from the view of Europe or the United States. It cannot understand Asian ways.”
“While the West insist on free flows of capital across borders, it objects to free flows of people — especially poor colored people.”
What do you intend to do against currency traders?
“We are not going to allow these people to manipulate our economy as if they have a right to have a free ride on us.”
Was it a good decision to act independently after the crisis?
“The Malaysian economy has turned around. That is because no one with other interests is dictating to us.”
Is what matters most one’s reputation abroad — or at home?
“The important thing is what people in this country think of me. I don’t think I can change the image I have in the Western press because I will continue to condemn the West and their press if they do anything wrong. They would like to see me go — and so they will always give me a bad image.” (2000)