Japan, China and US - National DNA and the problem of being second

Written by Ashwin Rattan Wednesday, 15 June 2011 12:06
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Since the start of the industrial age there has only been one major change in global economic leadership. 
For much of the nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth century, Great Britain could claim to be the world's leading economic and political power. However by the middle of the 20th century,  the US had taken over this position, and without America's economic support Britain would not have been able to finance itself through the 2nd world war, and without US assistance in the form of the Marshall Plan, western Europe would not have been able to recover so swiftly afterwards.
By the late 1950's, it was forecast by many that Soviet planning would soon overhaul the US and there would be a new leader. This did not come to pass and the end of the 80's saw the end of the Soviet system. By then Japan was positioned as the No. 2 economic power. The US Presidential elections of '88 and '92 both played out to the backdrop of what the US needed to learn from Japan, and why it might need to learn very quickly. Once again, though, a change in relative power did not occur and Japan entered its ''lost decade''.
In early 2011, China displaced Japan as the no.2 world economy and many predict that by 2030 it will in turn displace the US and make for only the 2nd change in global economic leadership since the 1800s.
Or will it?
Although China is formidably resourced and with a huge amount of momentum behind it, the experiences of the Soviet Union and Japan show how hard it is to make the transition from the no. 2 spot to that of leader.
This book looks specifically at the lessons that Japan offers China, US and indeed for all the economies of the world. Whereas most studies of national power focus on the relationship between economics and military power the analysis here is multi-disciplinary in so far as it draws upon lessons from the natural sciences, in particular from evolutionary biology, in addition to conventional economic, institutional and management analysis.
Last modified on Saturday, 18 June 2011 16:10

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