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Big Ideas from Small Countries

CAMBRIDGE – Two decades ago, many people thought that the lesson of the 1980’s was that Japan’s variant of capitalism was the best model, and that other countries around the world should and would follow it. The Japanese model quickly lost its luster in the 1990’s.

A decade ago, many thought that the lesson of the 1990’s was that the United States’ variant of capitalism was the best model, and that other countries should and would follow. The American model lost its attractiveness in the 2000’s.

So, where should countries look now, in 2010, for models of economic success to emulate?

Perhaps they should look to the periphery of the world economy. Many small countries there have experimented with policies and institutions that could usefully be adopted by others.