Conceptions and misconceptions about the economic rise of Asia

ASIA FORUM Conceptions and misconceptions about the economic rise of Asia: economic structures, institutional fragility and international power

Monday October 19, 2009, 10:00-11:30

Fredrik Erixon
Director and Chief Executive of the European Centre for
International Political Economy (ECIPE), Brussels

Location: ISDP, Västra Finnbodavägen 2, Stockholm-Nacka. For a map and directions, please go here.

To attend: RSVP to Ms. Martina Klimesova at


The twenty-first century, it is said, belongs to Asia. After centuries in the economic backwater, Asia will again rise to economic prominence. The export-oriented model for economic growth will continue to boost wealth. While America and Europe are in decline, the Asian model has proven its resilience – if not superiority – during the worst economic contraction since the Great Depression. China is also in a recession, but its growth in 2009 is expected to be 12 percentage points higher than in the US. Soon the world will grow used to Chinese and Indian brands dominating the global market. Its wealth and power will also reflect upon international institutions: Asia will lead, not be led.

This is the scripture for modern Asian exceptionalism. But is it true? Notwithstanding the unprecedented speed of growth in Asia – in the recent past and today – economic power structures in the world twenty years from now will be remarkably similar with contemporary structures. Asia has the potential for continued growth, but the speed will slow down. The Chinese model for growth in particular will have to be fundamentally changed.  Asian countries lack the institutional strengths to exert foreign economic power.  Talk of G2 (Group of 2: China and the US) as the new configuration of world power is premature – it comes 30 years too early.  China and India have regional power, but on the international scene it can only block, not lead.

About the Speaker

Fredrik Erixon is the Director and Chief Executive of the European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE), a world-economy think tank based in Brussels. He is an expert on Asian political economy and is currently advising five governments in Asia on their trade and investment policies.