Monday, October 19, 2009

Books on Southeast Asian Economies and Economic Policies

Here is a selection of recent titles on Southeast Asian economies and economic policies:
  • Singapore: Trade, Investment and Economic Performance by Ramkishen S. Rajan and Shandre M. Thangavelu. Singapore's rapid evolution from a modest trading post under colonial rule into a prosperous, self-confident nation is one of the notable success stories of the second half of the 20th century. International trade and investment linkages have been the cornerstones of the city-state's economic success (more than 7 per cent per annum during the period 1970-2005). This book offers an overview of the Singapore economy with emphasis on its global trade and investment linkages and policies. It analyses patterns and policies of Singapore's trade and foreign direct investment and discusses issues related to its services sector, focusing on its multilateral and bilateral commitments.
  • Asian Industrial Clusters, Global Competitiveness and New Policy Initiatives edited by Bernard Ganne and Yveline Lecler. These 17 papers on Asian Industrial clusters and associated issues come from the field studies and research 2002-2006 in China, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand and West Malaysia by the University of Lyon and the National Scientific Research Centre. The first section deals mainly with policy issues. Then detailed discussion of local and national patterns and situations and their contexts enable understanding of the success or otherwise of the very varied models adopted.
  • Economics in Public Policies: The Singapore Story by Tan Say Tin, Leong Foong Lin et al. Designed to enlarge public understanding and in a style accessible to a wide readership, this is an account of the economic rationale and underpinnings of key government policies which influence or enable many aspects of Singapore life. The material in each chapter is supported by graphics and tables, reading references and suggestions for thought. The subjects addressed are: government expenditure and revenue; micro economic concepts; land transport; utilities; public housing; healthcare; education; the labour market; and a peek into the future.
  • Southeast Asia in the Global Economy: Securing Competitiveness and Social Protection by Helen Nesadurai and Soedradjad Djiwandono. While economic globalisation benefited Southeast Asia, especially during the 1990s boom, the region now seems to be caught between two emerging economic giants - China and India. What challenges and opportunities does the rise of China and India pose for Southeast Asia and how should policy-makers respond? Are bilateral free trade arrangements and bilateral economic partnerships a boon or bane for competitiveness? In identifying approaches and strategies to cope with these challenges and leverage on the opportunities available, this book also links the quest for competitiveness with the necessity of social protection. The link comes in the form of the people who work for firms as human resources, and as users and innovators of technology. The book acknowledges and discusses the problems of inadequate technological and innovative capacity and the problems of managing labour productivity in Southeast Asia. However, the book also cautions against focusing on people solely as productive labour, whether in production or the knowledge sector. By highlighting the adverse social, economic and political consequences of ignoring social protection issues and challenging the myth that addressing social protection undermines competitiveness, the book emphasizes the social responsibilities incumbent on governments and firms in this age of growing economic insecurities.
  • The Miracle: The Epic Story of Asia's Quest for Wealth by Michael Schuman. A senior US business journalist is the author of this accessible account of economic change and development in nine Asian countries in the recent past. Significant events and personalities are described, often with the flavour of personal contacts. Many of the realities of Asia's background of poverty, the achievements of the Asian Economic Miracle and the impact of the 1990s and ongoing "downturns" are outlined and set into context. The Epilogue highlights a human reaction common in US.

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