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The Slow Pace of Economic Reform
In the late 1980s, Japan's strong economic performance put it on a the verge of becoming a major player in regional and global affairs. But nearly a decade of economic stagnation, a mounting of bad debts, and a continuing stream of scandals have tarnished the country's distinctive economic model. At the turn of the millennium, the Japanese economy remained mired in a pattern of stagnation. As this disappointing condition dragged on, the government pursued policies to restore economic health. Yet Japan has been slow to embrace the systemic reform on which a robust economic recovery depends. In Arthritic Japan, Edward J. Lincoln examines the causes and implications of this weak response. Concluding that Japan is unlikely to pursue the vigorous reform necessary for economic growth, Lincoln warns of serious consequences: a stumbling economy bedeviled by recession and financial crisis, eroding leadership in economic and security issues, a continued defensive trade posture, and a disgruntled population that could turn a more nationalistic stance in foreign policy.
In this collaboration between the Brookings Institution and the Asian Development Bank Institute, eminent international economists examine the increased influence of Asian nations in the governance of global economic affairs, from the changing role of the G-20 to the reform of multilateral organizations such as the International Monetary Fund.
Established in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis at the ministerial level, the G-20 has served as a high-level platform for discussing economic analyses and policy responses since 1999. During the current global financial crisis, however, the G-20's role moved toward that of a global crisis management committee at the leadership level. The challenge now for the G-20 is to succeed in fostering ongoing and increasing cooperation among its members while being supportive of, rather than trying to replace, more universal institutions.
After analyzing the dynamics of growth in Asia comparatively and historically, the volume appraises the scope for policy coordination among key economies. The contributors analyze financial stability in emerging Asia and then assess the implications of Asia's increasing role within the newly emerging system of global economic governance, focusing especially on reform of the international monetary structure.
Contributors: Dony Alex (ICRIER, New Delhi), Kemal Dervis¸ (Brookings), Hasan Ersel (Sabanci University), Karim Foda (Brookings), Yiping Huang (Peking University), Masahiro Kawai (ADBI), Rajiv Kumar (FICCI, New Delhi), Domenico Lombardi (Oxford University and Brookings), José Antonio Ocampo (Columbia University), Jim O'Neill (Goldman Sachs)
Exploring the Penumbra of Transnational Power
For several centuries, international relations has been primarily the purview of nation-states. Key powers have included at various times Great Britain, France, Japan, China, Russia (then the U.S.S.R., and then Russia again), and the nation most influential in international relations for the past several decades has been the United States. But in a world growing smaller, with a globalizing system increasing in complexity by the day, the nation-state paradigm is not as dominant as it once was.
In Asia in Washington, longtime Asia analyst Kent Calder examines the concept of "global city" in the context of international affairs. The term typically has been used in an economic context, referring to centers of international finance and commerce such as New York, Tokyo, and London. But Calder extends the concept to political centers as well particularly in this case, Washington, D.C.
Improved communications, enhanced transportation, greater economic integration and activity have created a new economic village, and global political cities are arising within the new structure distinguished not by their CEOs or stock markets but by their influence over policy decisions, and their amassing of strategic intelligence on topics from national policy trends to geopolitical risk.
Calder describes the rise of Washington, D.C., as perhaps the preeminent global political city seat of the world's most powerful government, center of NGO and multilateral policy activity, the locale of institutions such as the World Bank and IMF, and home to numerous think tanks and universities.
Within Washington, the role of Asia is especially relevant for several reasons. It represents the core of the non-Western industrialized world and the most challenge to Western dominance. It also raises the delicate issue of how race matters in international global governance a factor crucially important during a time of globalization. And since Asia developed later than the West, its changing role in Washington raises major issues regarding how rising powers assimilate themselves into global governance structure. How do Asian nations establish, increase, and leverage their Washington presence, and what is the impact on Washington itself and the decisions made there? Kent Calder explains it all in Asia in Washington.
Although emerging economies as a group performed well during the global recession, weathering the recession better than advanced economies, there were sharp differences among them and across regions. The emerging economies of Asia had the most favorable outcomes, surviving the ravages of the global financial crisis with relatively modest declines in growth rates in most cases. China and India maintained strong growth during the crisis and played an important role in facilitating global economic recovery.
In this informative volume, the second in a series on emerging markets, editors Masahiro Kawai and Eswar Prasad and the contributors analyze the major domestic macroeconomic and financial policy issues that could limit the growth potential of Asian emerging markets, such as rising inflation and surging capital inflows, with the accompanying risks of asset and credit market bubbles and of rapid currency appreciation. The book examines strategies to promote financial stability, including reforms for financial market development and macroprudential supervision and regulation.
Strategies and Realities of Counterinsurgency and State-Building in Afghanistan
After more than a decade of great effort and sacrifice by America and its allies, the Taliban still has not been defeated, and many Afghans believe that a civil war is coming. Aspiration and Ambivalence analyzes the U.S. and international efforts in Afghanistan and offers detailed recommendations for dealing with the precarious situation leading up to the 2014 transition to Afghan control and beyond. Vanda Felbab-Brown argues that allied efforts in Afghanistan have put far too little emphasis on good governance, concentrating too much on short-term military goals to the detriment of long-term peace and stability. The Western tendency to ally with bullies, warlords, smugglers, and other shady characters in pursuit of short-term military advantage actually empowers the forces working against good governance and long-term political stability. Rampant corruption and mafia rule thus persist, making it impossible for Afghans to believe in the institutional reforms and rule of law that are clearly necessary. This must change otherwise, the chances of building responsive and sustainable governmental structures are slim, indeed.
Felbab-Brown combines thorough research and analysis with vivid personal accounts of her time spent in the war-torn nation powerful vignettes illustrating the Afghan aspirations for peace, stability, and sovereignty and the stubborn obstacles to securing them.
"The year 2014 will mark a critical juncture in Afghanistan's odyssey. After more than a decade of arduous fighting and political involvement, the U.S. and international presence there will be significantly reduced and circumscribed. Although the international community has committed itself not to abandon Afghanistan as it did in the 1990s, the onus will be on the Afghan government to provide for the security of the country, its economic development, and governance that attempts to meet the needs of the Afghan people. Difficult challenges, major unresolved questions, and worrisome trends surround all three sets of processes. The biggest hole in the U.S. strategy and international efforts to stabilize the country is the failure to adequately address the country's fractured and brittle political system and very poor governance." from Aspiration and Ambivalence
Brazil on the Long Road to Global Influence
Brazil’s soft power path to major power status. The largest country in South America by land mass and population, Brazil has been marked since its independence by a belief that it has the potential to play a major role on the global stage. Set apart from the rest of the hemisphere by culture, language, and history, Brazil has also been viewed by its neighbors as a potential great power and, at times, a threat. But even though domestic aspirations and foreign perceptions have held out the prospect for Brazil becoming a major power, the country has lacked the capabilities—particularly on the military and economic dimensions—to pursue a traditional path to greatness. Aspirational Power examines Brazil as an emerging power. It explains Brazil’s present emphasis on using soft power through a historical analysis of Brazil’s three past attempts to achieve major power status. Though these efforts have fallen short, this book suggests that Brazil will continue to try to emerge, but that it will only succeed when its domestic institutions provide a solid and attractive foundation for the deployment of its soft power abroad. Aspirational Power concludes with concrete recommendations for how Brazil might improve its strategy, and why the great powers, including the United States, should respond positively to Brazil’s emergence.
Changing the Way America Saves
Automatic offers an innovative new way to think about how Americans can save for retirement.
Over the past quarter century, America's pension system has shifted away from defined benefit plans and toward defined contribution savings programs such as 401(k)s and IRAs. There is much to be done to improve the defined contribution system. Many workers fail to participate and those who do often contribute too little, invest the funds poorly, and are not adequately prepared to manage funds while in retirement.
To resolve these problems, the authors propose that employees should be automatically enrolled into a 401(k) plan when they are hired, with the right to opt out, change the amount that they contribute, or change investment choices if they choose. If the employer does not sponsor a 401(k) or similar retirement plan, they would be enrolled in a payroll deduction Automatic IRA. This vision of a transformed defined contribution system incorporates key positive features of defined benefit plans to improve retirement security. Employess contributions would increase over time, their investments would benefit from professional management and rebalancing, and they would receive lifetime income upon retirement. These automatic features will make the 401(k) and similar plans a more effective tool for retirement saving, and they can be extended to the many workers who do not currently have access to an employer plan.
In Automatic, the authors present proposals to implement automatic features in all phases of the 401(k) and in IRAs for workers with no employer plan. They also draw from the experience of countries that have implemented automatic saving structures.
A Study in Comparative Political Economy
Aviation performance is an important cog in modern globalized economies, which demand flexibility, mobility, efficiency, and dependability. Airport delays have gone from being a nuisance to being a salient public concern, drawing the ire of even the White House. In this important book, international transportation experts compare and contrast how different nations have managed their airports and air traffic control systems and how well they are meeting the needs of their people. The book's cross-national approach encompasses several different institutional arrangements, making it a timely and valuable study in comparative political economy. Among the countries studied, the United States is sometimes seen as a bastion of free markets, at the forefront of airline deregulation, but its airports and air traffic control system are publicly owned and operated. The same is true in continental Europe, for the most part. In contrast, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Canada are experimenting with privatization, while even mainland China is allowing the private sector to participate in airport ownership. Which methods work best, and under what circumstances? This book provides the answers.
America, India, and Pakistan to the Brink and Back
India and Pakistan will be among the most important countries in the twenty-first century. In Avoiding Armageddon, Bruce Riedel clearly explains the challenge and the importance of successfully managing America's affairs with these two emerging powers and their toxic relationship.
Born from the British Raj, the two nations share a common heritage, but they are different in many important ways. India is already the world's largest democracy and will soon become the planet's most populous nation. Pakistan, soon to be the fifth most populous country, has a troubled history of military coups, dictators, and harboring terrorists such as Osama bin Laden.
The longtime rivals are nuclear powers, with tested weapons. They have fought four wars with each other and have gone to the brink of war several times. Meanwhile, U.S. presidents since Franklin Roosevelt have been increasingly involved in the region's affairs. In the past two decades alone, the White House has intervened several times to prevent nuclear confrontation on the subcontinent. South Asia clearly is critical to American national security, and the volatile relationship between India and Pakistan is the crucial factor determining whether the region can ever be safe and stable.
Based on extensive research and Riedel's role in advising four U.S. presidents on the region, Avoiding Armageddon reviews the history of American diplomacy in South Asia, the crises that have flared in recent years, and the prospects for future crisis. Riedel provides an in-depth look at the Mumbai terrorist attack in 2008, the worst terrorist outrage since 9/11, and he concludes with authoritative analysis on what the future is likely to hold for America and the South Asia puzzle as well as recommendations on how Washington should proceed.
China's Economic Restructuring
The days of rapid economic growth in China are over. Mounting debt and rising internal distortions mean that rebalancing is inevitable. Beijing has no choice but to take significant steps to restructure its economy. The only question is how to proceed.
Michael Pettis debunks the lingering bullish expectations for China's economic rise and details Beijing's options. The urgent task of shifting toward greater domestic consumption will come with political costs, but Beijing must increase household income and reduce its reliance on investment to avoid a fall.