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6th Lecture - International Economics with Prof. Takatoshi Ito

Date: Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Time: 08.00 - 10.00 GMT+7

Platform: Zoom Meetings & Youtube Livestream

Speaker: Prof. Takatoshi Ito, Professor of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University

Moderator: Prof. Dr. Jose Mora, American University of Phnom Penh

Asia has seen rapid economic growth in the 50-60s, but the outsiders – the economists, policymakers and all people in the West – viewed Asia with very different lenses in different periods. In the 50s and 60s, Asia was viewed as the center of poverty. In the 70s and 80s, we started to see the growth spread to the rest of Asia. But those high growths of the emerging markets in Asia were caught by surprise by the currency crisis in 97-98. But this currency crisis was managed in several years and once we came into the 21st century, the rise of China has dominated the story of Asia.

Many Asian policymakers view that Asian growth is greatly helped by government intervention and mostly summarized as an industrial policy. Export-led growth started in Japan in Asia and that was copied by some other countries in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. There was a big blow to some of the Asian countries. The currency crisis basically wrecked the economy for a year or two. And the IMF loans – which we call IMF programs – were given to Thailand and Indonesia and Korea. There is a huge controversy between the group of people, including myself, that the IMF program was either insufficient or counterproductive in managing the crisis. And 2000 on, the big story is the rise of China. So China’s economic growth started, I would say, from the so-called “Reform and Opening Up,” and this is Deng Xiaoping’s policy back in 1978.

One of the characteristics of the Asian countries is that it is populous. A large population means a larger income GDP, given the per capita income is also growing, then it has more economic power and political power.

However, in the 21st century, a new type of crisis emerged. It is much harder to manage this type of crisis because it happens very quickly and you have little time and little tools to fight against those capital outflows. To prevent those crises, there is the Chiang Mai Initiative Multi-lateralization, and also Asian Bond Initiative. So, it looks like Asia as a region is a big success and continues to be successful in the 21st century.


SEA Lecture Hall - 6th Lecture Full Report
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