Modernization in East Asia: Political, Economic, and Social Perspectives

Modernization in East Asia: Political, Economic, and Social Perspectives

Modernization in East Asia: Political, Economic, and Social Perspectives

Modernization in East Asia: Political, Economic, and Social Perspectives

Synopsis

The broad conclusions here are that "East Asia" is useful as a unit of political and economic analysis, that there are many varieties of "modernization" of which the Western model is only one, and that processes of modernization are best understood in pluridisciplinary, regional, and global perspectives. The volume especially focuses on the interaction between nations of East Asia; the advantages and limits of export-led growth; and the interactions between such processes as state formation, industrial growth, urbanization, and movement from status- to class-based social hierarchies. Relations between state, market, and civic culture are also explored.

Excerpt

In the 1960s, social scientists created "development economics" as a tool for understanding social change in less developed countries, but these new theories largely failed to illuminate the modernization of non-Western countries. Current theories are still inadequate, particularly Eurocentric theories applied to East Asian nations.

The present volume helps to develop alternative theoretical models with particular reference to East Asia. Despite differences in race, language, culture, and institutions -- both between and within the countries of East Asia -- there are still factors that compel us to consider it as a single region. There is the growing recognition among East Asian leaders that they share many problems, particularly in the area of economic growth. Additional unifying factors include overlapping religious and colonial histories, national rivalries and imperial conquests, similar efforts at political modernization, responses to private enterprise and foreign investment, and regional geopolitics, such as the Sino-Soviet rapprochement. Each of these complex interconnections -- historical, religious, cultural, economic, and political -- are discussed in chapter one by Richard Harvey Brown, to suggest that events in East Asia cannot be fully understood without a regional perspective.

In chapter two, Gavin Boyd discusses the relations of Japan, East Asia's Newly Industrializing Countries (NICs), and the United States in the world political economy. Today the international political economy suffers from strains in trade and money systems, a slow recovery from recession, and stagnation. Yet, high growth occurs in East Asia, in Japan, in the NICs of South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore, and in the second-tier NICs of Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Boyd argues that these nations of East Asia, plus North America, Australia and New Zealand, could achieve export-led growth and redress some negative effects of the international political economy through greater collaboration. However, political and . . .

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