Engine for Dynamism and Stability
Edited by Masahiro Kawai, Jong-Wha Lee, Peter A. Petri and Giovanni Capanelli
Chapter 11: How Asia Can Benefit from the European Experience
Barry Eichengreen There is now a small but rapidly growing industry concerned with lessons from Europe for regionalism in Asia. Europe’s experience is ritually invoked if only because the European Union (EU), starting at a relatively early date, has gone far in the direction of regional integration. Close study of Europe can thus shed light on facilitating conditions for regional integration and identify strategies for pursuing it. Insofar as the European story has not been one of uninterrupted progress, it can also point to barriers to overcome. Asia is not Europe. Both politics and economics differ across regions, whether one compares Asia now with Europe now or Asia now with Europe when the Treaty of Rome was signed in 1957. In Europe at mid century, nationalism was delegitimized by two devastating wars, and political integration was seen by important elites as an instrument for avoiding the recurrence of those same cataclysmic events. In Asia, in contrast, World War II triggered decolonization, which legitimized rather than discredited nationalism. Nationalism being alive and well, the willingness to contemplate political integration and build transnational institutions of economic governance remains more limited in Asia. Similarly, by 1957, only a few tentative steps had been taken in the direction of reconstructing the network of intra-European trade. Today, in contrast, Asia has already developed an extensive and rapidly expanding regional trade network. The global context also differs. In 1957, the process of rebuilding the world economy following the disruptions of two world wars and a Great...
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