A Pacific Century?
This essay explores the implications of a force that is transforming world politics and economics, namely the dynamism manifested in the Pacific region. Since the early 1960's the Pacific Basin has been undergoing more rapid economic advances than ever before. Its spectacular growth in production and international trade and its overall economic attainments have brought about a shift in the world's political and economic center of gravity.
The world is becoming more complex, with an increasing number of actors on the global stage. The new actors— Japan, the Asian newly industrializing countries (NICs), the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations ( ASEAN), and most recently China, as well as the whole Pacific region as such—have been claiming and getting a larger role for themselves. As a result, the political and economic influence of the various world powers, groups, and blocs is being redistributed.
The successful Pacific countries are all market economies with private entrepreneurship and private property. They give considerable attention to efficient allocation by way of rational prices, and they have an outward-oriented development strategy focused on international trade. The success of the Pacific countries means that other regions are experiencing a relative decline as their share in world activity falls. This decline will prove especially difficult for countries that rely on a different economic system from that of the successful Pacific