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Regional and global forces in East Asia's economic engagement with international society

Beeson, M. and Breslin, S. (2014) Regional and global forces in East Asia's economic engagement with international society. In: Buzan, Barry and Zhang, Yongjin, (eds.) Contesting International Society in East Asia. Cambridge University Press, pp. 93-118.

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This chapter provides an overview and analysis of the remarkable economic evolution that has drawn so much attention to the East Asian region. It does this by placing regional economic development in its specific historical context – something that highlights the region's changing relationship with the wider international society of which it is becoming an increasingly important part. Like other contributions to this volume, this chapter adopts a conceptual framework that is broadly sympathetic to the English School (ES). However, the relative underdevelopment of the ES's interest in, and understanding of, political economy means that some of the concepts we employ, and some of the features we identify as important and distinctive, will undoubtedly prove contentious. The first section of the chapter briefly traces the historical development of regional economic activity, describing the operation of regional primary institutions, such as the Sino-centric tributary system, and international primary institutions, such as colonialism. War, or more particularly the overlay of the Cold War, was also an especially important influence on regional development in the twentieth century. We trace the ambiguous impact of the Cold War in particular, which, because it had the effect of both spurring economic development in the region and dividing it along ideological lines, in essence foreclosed the possibility of region-wide economic integration.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Management and Governance
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Copyright: The Authors
Publisher's Website:
Other Information: DOI: 10.1007/9781139939447.006
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