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212 China Review International: Vol. 1, No. 2, Fall 1994 Ravi Arvind Palat, editor. Pacific-Asia and the Future ofthe World-System. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1993. vi, 206 pp. Hardcover $55. Despite the editor's effort to provide a coherent theme for this volume, some chapters do not fit with the others, as is usual in conference volumes. For instance , Mark Sheldon's chapter is well written and worth reading but it looks like an orphan at the family dinner table. A chapter by Krishna is also a stranger to the discussion of the Rim except for a part which touches upon the possible link between U.S. hegemony and India's transition. More fundamentally, an overemphasis on the hegemonic structure in Pacific Asia—represented by the hegemon, the U.S., and its subordinate Asian countries—and a tendency to explain everything using the core-periphery model overlook emerging complex networks ofinternational relations through kinds of intraregional flows such as trade, investment , information, and migration. The result is a strained interpretation in some chapters, as characterized by the Chinese idiom qianqiangfuhui (Í^SPífH')· The fixed image ofhierarchical relations in Pacific Asia that is portrayed in most chapters of the book forces the authors to adopt an ethnocentric view. For instance, in the chapter by Cummings, it is correct to say that the Pacific Rim is neither a self-contained region nor a community. Cummings is also correct to mention that "Pacific Rim" is a Western construct. But he misses the fact that Asians also recognize the value of the concept and see the future in it as indicated in their active participation in and promotion of multilateral economic arrangements such as APEC, not necessarily because of their subordinate position to any core country but because of their own potential for restructuring regional relations in the post-Cold War era. The "aborted" idea of EAEG (for the time being) proposed by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir is indicative of this self-recognition by Asians. A reductionist tendency, overemphasizing the forest at the expense ofthe trees, is seen in Shaeffer's chapter on "Democratic Devolutions: East Asian Democratization in Comparative Perspective." Schaeffer's thesis, that democratization is a political response to economic crisis, has some truth to it, but it does not consider the real cause for democratization—a legitimacy crisis in East Asian countries such as South Korea and Taiwan rather than an economic crisis that brought change to their political system(s). Unlike what happened in Eastern Europe , the rise of the urban middle class, accompanied by economic development and support for democratization movements, was essential for the "devolution" ofbureaucratic authoritarian regimes in East Asia. The chapter by Arrighi, Ikeda, and Irwan provides an interesting picture on the relative position of the countries of East Asia vis-à-vis the "core" countries. Reviews 213 Their conclusion, that the Asian economic success ofthe 1970s and 1980s only applies to Japan and the Asian NIEs but not to the ASEAN three (Thailand, Malaysia , and Indonesia) is not surprising, because the catching-up process among the ASEAN three and China started in the 1980s. It is partially correct to assert that the East Asian miracle was possible through the transborder expansion of Japanese direct foreign investment and subsequently a yen-based international subcontracting system. But timing (the world economy was growing relatively fast during the 1960s and the 1970s; the American market was expanding and had less of a protectionist tendency) and state and corporate policies by the Asian NIEs were other contributing factors. Ongoing subregional economic integration —around Singapore, between Hong Kong and Guangdong, and between China 's Bohai Gulfregion and South Korea across the Yellow Sea—is a case for the initiatives taken by each NIE at the juncture ofshifting international relations in the region. The formation ofthe Chinese triangle—Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong—has been motivated largely by economic forces, as discussed in the chapter by Hsiao and So. China's rapid economic growth and its growing market are key to economic integration within the triangle. If China continues its policy of reform and openness, the further integration of Mainland China with Chinese communities in Southeast Asia is likely...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 212-214
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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