Remember the "Asian miracle?" Less than six months ago, it was the main engine pushing stock markets around the world to new records. In the US and parts of Europe, inflation was low and trade was booming. Meanwhile, in Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Indonesia, immense projects that boggled the mind were being pursued. As long as Asia’s growth continued, criticism about pay, working conditions, and environmental damage could be downplayed. Any suggestion that the "miracle" wasn’t what it seemed sounded like paranoid party-pooping.