Publication in Economics, Politics and Public Policy in East Asia and the Pacific

Canada and the Asia-Pacific: Joining EAS should be top priority

Author: Amitav Acharya, Asia-Pacific Foundation of Canada and American University

It is bad enough that Canada is absent in Asia. But what’s worse is that nobody in Asia seems to care.

In a recent op-ed, Joseph Caron (Canada’s former ambassador to China and Japan and former High Commissioner to India) and David Emerson (former Canadian Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister) wrote: ‘Canada remains on the fringes of [Asia’s] remarkable transformation, whether diplomatic engagement, trade, foreign investment or educational or cultural exchanges. We risk being left behind.’

Read more…

Energy governance in Asia: beyond the market

Author: Neil Gunningham, ANU

Climate change is widely recognised as the greatest challenge confronting our generation, and one which, if not addressed, may have catastrophic consequences.

Recent science reveals that the window for effective mitigation is short. Read more…

Emerging countries must unite to win IMF leadership

Author: Jeffrey Frankel, Harvard University

It is time for the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund to come from an emerging market country.

But that has been said often before. Whining about the injustice of the 65-year duopoly under which the IMF MD comes from Europe and the World Bank President comes from the US won’t change anything. Read more…

Threat to Asia’s energy security

Author: Peter Drysdale, Editor, EAF

The wave of political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa puts the spotlight once more on Asia’s oil dependence and energy security.

The pressure on oil prices and growing anxiety over energy security, until recently, have largely been driven by the surge in demand from emerging economies, notably China and India. Read more…

The Middle East and North Africa and Asian energy security

Author: Yoshikazu Kobayashi, IEEJ, Tokyo

The world oil market is experiencing another once-in-a-decade oil supply crisis in the Middle East and North Africa.

Such crises have been a chronic phenomenon in the market since the 1970s, starting with the two oil crises in the 1970s, the Gulf War in 1991 and the Iraqi War in 2003, although the volume disrupted has actually varied on each occasion. Read more…

The legitimacy of Japan’s Self Defense Forces

Author: Andrew Levidis, Melbourne University and Kyoto University

At the beginning of the film Bokoku no Aegis (‘Aegis of a ruined country’), based on the popular novel by Fukui Haruhito, the special agent of the fictional Japanese defence intelligence agency DAIS reads from the thesis of a murdered naval student: ‘Aegis: the mythical shield of the god Zeus. A ship armed with the Aegis system is the ultimate defensive weapon but dare we ask: What is the purpose of such a shield?

If Japan cannot change, it will no longer be worth defending, then Aegis will be nothing more than a shield for a lost nation.’ Read more…

Ten years of the war on terror: a strategic reassessment

Author: Vikas Kumar, Bangalore

The future of international terrorism and the War on Terror is being hotly debated after Osama bin Laden’s death.

Bin Laden’s demise could trigger competition for supremacy among extremists. Read more…

Quiet revolution against corruption in India

Author: Vidya Sharma, Melbourne

A plethora of commentary has recently appeared in the Western media about the extent of corruption plaguing India. Typical of such work was a piece, ‘India hobbled by heavy weight of corruption’ by ex-foreign minister Jaswant Singh and a senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader.

Singh failed to mention that last year, Outlook magazine found the BJP-led Karnataka state government to be the most corrupt in India, but he is broadly correct. Read more…

India’s reform-led growth benefits the poor

Author: Nabeel A. Mancheri, NIAS

India’s recent government census data reveals remarkable progress in human development: an increasing literacy rate, reduced population growth, and a declining infant mortality rate throughout the country.

The evidence runs counter to those who argue that India’s growth is only helping the rich, thus widening the poverty gap. Read more…

Australia’s trade liberalisation prospects in hostile conditions

Author: Neville R. Norman, University of Melbourne

Australia’s experience in recent decades shows that significant trade liberalisation can be achieved if providential economy-wide conditions, professional exposition and adjustment assistance accompany the political will to deliver it.

In July 1973, severe excess demand favoured such policies as the 25 per cent all-tariff reduction; however, it was the sudden reversal of these conditions in 1974 that led to tariff, quota and exchange-rate protectionism that was greater than before the change. Concurrently, the then-Government had lost most of its political majority and failed to effectively answer public critics who confused macro and trade policy effects. Read more…

China’s jasmine crackdown and the legal system

Author: Donald C. Clarke, George Washington University Law School

When the Chinese authorities detained human rights lawyer Teng Biao last year, they had little patience with his legal objections.

‘Don’t talk so much about the law with me. Read more…

Why the IMF needs an Asian leader

Author: William Overholt, Harvard University

It is doubtful that Washington politicians understand just how important the IMF leadership decision is. This decision is crucial because of a history that Americans have largely forgotten.

During the Asian Crisis of 1997-8, the IMF made two decisions that continue to threaten the world’s ability to have a coherent financial crisis management policy based on a single institution.

Read more…

Taiwan on the fence as South China Sea tensions mount

Author: Joel Atkinson, Monash University

The Asia Pacific is in muted tumult. China has seized on perceived changing regional power equations following the financial crisis and attendant economic stagnation in the US, and adopted a harsher and more insisting tone over its interests.

Taken aback, many regional countries have come to view China in a new, more ominous, light and have moved to embrace (or re-embrace) the US. Read more…

Indications of India’s legal investment climate: Who cares?

Author: Amanda Perry-Kessaris, University of London

For the last 15 years, the World Bank has argued that a country or sub-national region can be analysed in terms of its ‘investment climate’, a collection of legal, political, infrastructural and economic characteristics which are thought to determine investment flows.

In this context it is constantly asserted that investors are drawn to ‘climates’ offering efficient (quick, predictable, cheap) administrative and judicial systems. In an attempt to identify which legal systems are relatively efficient, the Bank has created legal system indicators. Read more…

Is the South China Sea a new ‘Dangerous Ground’ for US-China rivalry?

Author: Chengxin Pan, Deakin University

On British imperial navigational charts, much of the area now commonly known as the South China Sea was called ‘Dangerous Ground’, its small islands, rocks, reefs and low-tide elevations once seen as mere navigational hazards, best avoided.

Now boasting some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, this region — dubbed by some as ‘a new Persian Gulf’ and ‘a hydrocarbons Eldorado’ — is a focal point of ongoing sovereignty disputes among its adjacent countries. Read more…