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The World's First Modern Financial Crisis: 1997 Edition

A look back at the crisis and the economic and political changes it wrought.

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Every week, hosts Dan Moss and Scott Lanman bring you a jargon-free dive into the stories that drive the global economy.

Twenty years ago this week, a momentous event more than a century in the making finally occurred: Hong Kong's handover to China. Turns out, that wasn't even close to the biggest story that year. What really did transfix the world in 1997 was the financial crisis that exploded a day after the handover -- in, of all places, Bangkok. Today on Benchmark, Dan, a former Malaysia bureau chief, and Hong Kong-based Malcolm Scott look back at the crisis and the wrenching economic and political changes it wrought. They're joined by Alec McCabe, who covered the drama from Hong Kong, and Lee Miller, then Bangkok bureau chief and now a professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing. One conclusion: Asia's convulsions were the first modern global financial crisis and a harbinger of a much greater shakeout in the U.S. a decade later.


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