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Western extended economic development

Towards a Capitalist Manifesto

Sung-Hee Jwa

Chapter 4 overviews the so-called extended (or gradual) Western economic development experiences in Britain and Europe, and later in the United States since the Industrial Revolution. It also argues that the limited liability joint-stock company or corporation was critical in the rise of Western economic development.

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Securitising rare earth minerals

The Political Economy of Conflict and Cooperation

Jeffrey D. Wilson

Chapter 8 provides a case study of a mineral resource at the heart of the ‘economic-security nexus’ in the Asia-Pacific: rare earth minerals. These are a group of metals essential for a range of applications in both the consumer electronics and aerospace/defence industries; and while not geologically rare China controls 98 percent of world production. Hitherto uncontroversial, rare earths shot to the top of the international agenda in 2010 when the Chinese government announced a series of policies which restricted supply to foreign customers. Justified by the Chinese government as an environmental protection initiative, many affected parties have alleged the policies are instead a Chinese attempt to economically blackmail the United States, Japan and European Union. The result has been an intense series of international disputes, including a frantic US rush to sponsor rare earths production ‘anywhere but China’, a series of Sino-Japanese diplomatic clashes, and a landmark dispute at the World Trade Organization (WTO) that has recast the principles of international trade law for natural resources. The rare earths dispute highlights how the securitisation of resources is multilayered, connecting domestic debates over sharing the benefits of resource exploitation to international concerns over geopolitics.

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Regional politics: soft-law cooperation

The Political Economy of Conflict and Cooperation

Jeffrey D. Wilson

Chapter 5 explores the interactions between producer and consumer governments by evaluating regional architectures for resource interdependence. There has been no shortage of efforts to promote resource cooperation in the Asia-Pacific, with many regional organisations (including ASEAN, APEC and their associated bodies) launching new resource security initiatives during the 2000s. However, the outcomes have been decidedly poor. None have moved from talk-shop activities to more impactful forms of cooperation, and many initiatives have either foundered due to poor compliance or been vetoed by governments outright. This is symptomatic of a ‘soft-law’ approach to resource security, where sovereignty-protective vetoes limit cooperation to dialogue and principle-setting activities. These patterns are then traced to the effects of securitisation and economic nationalism, which have meant governments are unwilling to commit to anything but low-cost (but arguably ineffective) dialogue-based responses to resource insecurity. The absence of effective cooperation means the potential benefits of regional interdependence have not been fully exploited and have left the Asia-Pacific without institutions to manage resource tensions between governments.

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Producer politics: resource nationalism

The Political Economy of Conflict and Cooperation

Jeffrey D. Wilson

Chapter 4 considers resource policies in the producer countries servicing Asian markets: Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, the Gulf States, Russia, the United States and the Central Asian republics. It identifies resource nationalism, a governmental strategy to exercise control over mining and energy industries, as one of the defining features of the global boom of the 2000s. It reviews emerging forms of resource nationalism, including state ownership, nationalisations, and restrictive trade and policies, to demonstrate the high levels of governmental control that characterise regional resource markets. These forms of resource nationalism are connected to the securitisation of resources, particularly regime security in authoritarian rentier states, industrialisation strategies in developing economies, and uncertain geopolitical environments. It is argued that resource nationalism has contributed to international conflict by exacerbating resource insecurity, preventing the integration of regional markets, and undermining governments’ commitment to trade and investment liberalisation.

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Sung-Hee Jwa

Chapter 8 analyses the role of politics and political ideology in economic development. Politics is viewed as an important deciding constraint on economic development. This chapter provides a positive theory of political economy that is used to distinguish countries according to a discriminatory_egalitarian and totalitarian_democracy matrix. The chapter concludes by providing some comments on inequality.

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Peculiarities of economic development

Towards a Capitalist Manifesto

Sung-Hee Jwa

Chapter 2 provides a description of economic development and takes a closer look at the complexity nature of development, and deliberates on implications about what the necessary ingredients for the development of a General Theory of Economic Development would be. More specifically, it compares complexity economics with mainstream economics and discusses the emergence failure of evolution and the synergy market failure of emergent development, which is referred to as market failure. The chapter addresses in depth the idea of externalities in economic analysis, which are viewed as ubiquitous, and also highlights some important differences between markets and organizations.

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The Northeast Asian scramble for resources

The Political Economy of Conflict and Cooperation

Jeffrey D. Wilson

Chapter 6 explores the emerging ‘scramble’ among Japan, Korea, and China to acquire resource projects abroad. Driven by intensifying energy insecurity and anxieties over being locked-out of key regional markets, these governments all launched mercantilistic energy strategies around the middle of the 2000s. But while their national oil companies (NOCs) collectively acquired over 100 oil and gas projects, few tangible benefits for either national or regional energy security have resulted. Intense investment competition for scarce assets have forced their NOCs to waste billions on costly projects with little commercial viability, while the governments have fallen victim to ‘investment shakedowns’ by nationalistic suppliers. Moreover, energy competition has led to several security spill-overs – particularly controversies over pipeline routing and territorial disputes in the South China Sea – which are complicating already tense geopolitical relations in the Asia-Pacific. Securitisation has meant resource interdependence is a factor for conflict, rather than cooperation, amongst regional powers.

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Natural resources in international politics

The Political Economy of Conflict and Cooperation

Jeffrey D. Wilson

Chapter 2 develops a framework to theorise the role of natural resources in international politics. It reviews existing IR approaches, identifying their bias towards systemic theorising as a problem which obscures the distinctive political economy dynamics surrounding resource interdependence. It then develops the theoretical argument that the securitisation of resource policy is the factor explaining the likelihood of international conflict. Securitisation is a conceptualised as a variable process, contingent on economic dynamics (namely, world market cycles) and political factors specific to certain states (such as external dependence, rentier institutions and complicating geopolitical relationships). When these securitising pressures are high, governments respond with economic nationalist policies. This encourages rivalrous behaviour and creates an environment prone to inter-state conflict. Conversely, when securitising tendencies are low, governments are less likely to adopt nationalistic policies. This instead enables forms of cooperative behaviour, by augmenting markets and enabling cooperation for shared energy goals. Securitisation is therefore the variable which determines whether international resource politics is conflictual or cooperative.

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Introduction: Asia-Pacific resource politics between boom and crisis

The Political Economy of Conflict and Cooperation

Jeffrey D. Wilson

What explains the emergence of international resource conflicts in the Asia-Pacific during the last decade? This chapter first introduces the empirical scope of this book – providing a broad overview of the global resource boom of the 2000s, the resource security challenges it has posed, and emerging patterns of inter-governmental conflict these have engendered. It then reviews existing theoretical approaches to international resource politics, outlining how these fail to move beyond the systemic level to probe the wider range of factors at both the international and domestic levels driving government’s policy behaviour. It argues that to adequately explain these dynamics, it is necessary to examine why resource interdependence has become a securitised policy domain, and the political-economic factors driving this shift.

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International Resource Politics in the Asia-Pacific

The Political Economy of Conflict and Cooperation

Jeffrey D. Wilson

Resource security is a new battleground in the international politics of the Asia-Pacific. With demand for minerals and energy surging, disputes are emerging over access and control of scarce natural resource endowments. Drawing on critical insights from political economy, this book explains why resources have emerged as a source of inter-state conflict in the region.