Asia in the 1990s: American and Soviet Perspectives

Asia in the 1990s: American and Soviet Perspectives

Asia in the 1990s: American and Soviet Perspectives

Asia in the 1990s: American and Soviet Perspectives

Excerpt

Never has it been more difficult to assess political developments at the national and international levels. The pace of change at present is breathtaking. The unexpected is commonplace. Generalizations are hazardous, projections doubly so. Theories regarding politics and society, new and old, have a poor survival rate.

The Pacific-Asian region has been in the vortex of the global transformation now taking place. Asia's dynamic societies have exhibited rapid economic growth with accompanying social change for decades. They are the truly revolutionary societies of our times, with their problems as well as their achievements testimony to that fact. Even Japan is showing signs of the friction and instability produced by growing political pluralism and affluence unevenly distributed. Yet Japan has served as a model for those Asian states following it. The flying geese metaphor advanced by Japanese economists is apt. Like the leader, the followers pursued neomercantilist policies and an export-oriented strategy, gradually shifting from a reliance upon foreign loans to foreign investment, and in the more advanced cases, beginning to export their laborintensive industries in favor of higher technology industries as labor costs climbed and new technology was acquired.

But not all of the Asian geese are in formation. The old Leninist states of Asia have been searching desperately for a way in which to meld a command and market economy. For them, internationalism is taking on a new meaning-- not the brotherhood of the proletariat, but participation in the explosive interaction of the market economies so as to benefit from their capital, technology, and managerial practices. Yet the secret of successfully merging Stalinist-type socialism and the market remains elusive. Hence, the Asian socialists, although commencing the march toward inclusion, remain largely on the periphery of the new economic order.

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