East Asia Forum

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East Asia Forum
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Analysis of economics, politics and public policy in East Asia and the Pacific.

Can Indonesia Raise Incomes And Eradicate Poverty By 2030?

Date: 14 August 2013

Several studies suggest that Indonesia is on track to end poverty and attain high-income country status in a decade or so, while others suggest that the economy could grow to be among the world’s top ten largest by 2030 if more investments are placed in manufacturing, infrastructure development and urbanisation. However, an honest look at long-run trends in inequality and historical growth rates indicate that 2040 or longer may be more likely.

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Sloppy Policymaking Behind Asia’s Worst Performing Currency

Date: 5 August 2013

Despite widespread investor concern, the Indian rupee, already Asia’s most volatile and worst-performing currency, continues to be weighed down by rising pessimism in Asia’s third largest economy, which is growing at a decade-low rate of 5 percent amid worsening public finances. 

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Will Migration Cure Japan’s Demographic Dilemma?

Date: 26 July 2013

At the core of the Japan problem is the need to lift potential, efficiency and productivity in an economy that has a shrinking population and workforce. Migration is seen as central to overall reform efforts because it offers a way towards socioeconomic rejuvenation and effective participation in the global economy.

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Is The G20 The New Steering Group For The Global Economy?

Date: 19 July 2013

In the course of the 2008 financial crisis, the global geography of power has shifted from the G8 to the G20. Despite being a coalition of smaller economies, the G20 achieved relative success in consensus formation, effectively limiting the potential of the crisis, and became therewith a new player within the international community. 

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Can Security Be Achieved Through Surveillance And Spying?

Date: 9 July 2013

Intelligence-gathering post 9-11 is increasingly more complex mainly due to the changing nature of contemporary national security threats. As surveillance techniques expand and become more invasive, how do we strike the right balance between privacy and security?

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Resource Rivalries: Japan and China Race To Invest in Africa

Date: 24 June 2013

The competition between China and Japan, the two economic heavyweights of East Asia, has now intensified at a time when both countries are hungrier than ever for resources and energy to cope with its development challenges. Earlier this month, Japan pledged some $32 billion in aid for Africa, a move designed in part to counter China’s rising influence on the resource-rich continent. But will Japan succeed, given China’s historical and political ties to the continent?

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Have India’s Ponzi-Styled Reforms Run Out Of Steam?

Date: 10 June 2013

India’s particular brand of economic reforms can be analogised to a Ponzi scheme: Each year, state-owned enterprises and public assets are privatised in the name of asset reallocation at throwaway prices while billions of dollars of subsidies and tax breaks are handed out to private industries in the name of reform or liberalisation. But how long can such a scheme hold up?

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Could Rising Tensions Over South China Sea Lead to Sino-American War?

Date: 15 May 2013

The risk of conflict in the South China Sea is significant. China claims it has sovereign rights to nearly all of the territory, which is believed to sit atop extensive reserves of oil and gas. The claims are however fiercely contest by regional players such as Taiwan and the Philippines. As diplomacy is not likely to be a sufficient means of quelling rising tensions, the United States must make hard choices and put forth the effort necessary to ensure the South China Sea remains peaceful in 2013 and beyond. 

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Will Reform Inertia Blemish Myanmar’s Economic Potential?

Date: 24 April 2013

Myanmar’s economic potential has been vastly enhanced by its access to foreign resources — in the form of new trading opportunities, the inflow of foreign investment and elevated levels of bilateral and multilateral assistance. The country’s opening represents a new chapter in Asian development but Myanmar’s golden promise will ultimately depend on what success it has with political and economic reforms at home.


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Racing Against Time: Will Asia Grow Old Before Getting Rich?

Date: 12 April 2013

A large proportion of Asian countries are currently at the top of the working-age population hump. For them, the window of opportunity to prepare for an older population will close within the next decade. But how can Asian countries take advantage of this window of opportunity? They can start by reforming retirement income provision systems, especially given the retreat of traditional family support.

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The Broken BRIC: India Faces Economic Challenges

Date: 26 December 2012

India has been labelled the weakest nation in the so-called BRIC alliance, evidenced by foreign investors forsaking the country for more promising emerging markets. Restrictive policies and slow infrastructure investment saw India grow at one of its slowest pace in 2012 and credit ratings agencies have signalled that India could be downgraded to junk status if nothing is done to restore its economic health. Overall, 2012 has been rough in terms of economic and political developments but are there better days ahead? 

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What Obama’s Victory Means for Asia

Date: 12 November 2012

The Obama Administration has made major shifts towards Asia. During his first term, Obama’s foreign policy understood that the best way to manage a fast-growing China is not to contain it, but to ensure that the United States remains aligned with the other Asia-Pacific nations. Yet, there are also misgivings across the region about how exactly the United States intends to manage the crucial China relationship and anxieties about whether China and the United States might drift or be led into unwanted conflict, threatening regional prosperity centred on the growing strength of the Chinese economy.

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The Missing Link in Japan’s Lost Decades

Date: 24 October 2012

The Japanese economy crashed in the late 1980s and annual growth has since averaged 0.8 percent – despite the Bank of Japan’s zero interest rate strategy. For two decades, the Japanese economy was characterised by meagre growth, unemployment and persistent deflation, forcing businesses in Japan to slash costs and add value to their production. Comparisons have been made, increasingly, between America’s stagnant economic growth and Japan’s lost decade, and in this light, it is worthwhile revisiting the lessons from Japan. 

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