We now have a fairly good understanding of the economic causes of the 1977 Asian financial crisis. There is as yet, however, little understanding of the politics behind the crisis. Not only did various political systems in Asia play a significant role in fomenting the crisis, they have also demonstrated remarkable capacities in dealing with its aftermath. Nowhere is this more evident than in the far-reaching economic reforms implemented by the Kim Dae-Jung administration in South Korea. The key to Korea's success in weathering the crisis lay in the decisive leadership of Kim Dae-Jung and in the "developmental state" structures and institutions he inherited-both of which exemplify the autonomy of a putatively democratic state from societal, especially elite, pressures.