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Asia Rises As Europe Declines  
User currently offlineMoPac From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 215 posts, RR: 0
Posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 969 times:

Came across this article and found its viewpoint interesting. It seems to agree with some of the talking heads who note the U.S.'s shift of focus from Europe to Asia over recent years. Anyone see it differently?

Asia rises as Europe declines
December 27 2003

Europe's golden age has passed. The new world belongs to America and Asia.

Martin Jacques

Throughout the Cold War, Europe was the centre of the world. The global fault line ran through the heart of Europe. In the face of the Soviet threat, the world's most powerful country, the United States, felt that it must act in concert with western Europe, in an organic alliance that gave rise to the modern notion of "the West". The communist threat persuaded the US to subordinate, at least in part, its own identity and interests to that of "the West". The revolutions of 1989, which brought the Cold War to an end and transformed global politics, were exclusively European events.

In reality, though, the Cold War served to exaggerate Europe's true position in the world and mask its underlying decline; 1989 was the last time that Europe was the centre of global affairs. Ever since, its star has been on the wane. That fact alone is a portent of the world that is now slowly taking shape.

One could make the point in a slightly different way using the example of Paris. In the May events of 1968, it was de rigueur to look to Paris as the laboratory of the future, a city that had the capacity to reshape the world, a place where new ideas were born and new possibilities defined. In 1968 Paris signified the morrow. Nobody would seriously think like that today. Similarly French academe used to be regarded as one of the great intellectual hubs of the world. No more. These historic institutions have long since been usurped by the top US universities.

I use Paris here only by way of illustration of a wider point about European decline; in the '60s, Paris was Europe's foremost city.

However, it is the end of the Cold War and the emergence of the US as a hyperpower that has most clearly revealed the diminished status of Europe. Since September 11, the US has made it abundantly clear that it no longer needs Europe, except as cheerleader and supporter.

The decline of Europe is not to be measured solely in terms of its hugely diminished role and importance in the eyes of the US. For well over 30 years, the continent has accepted that it is America's economic inferior. Far more striking, but virtually unseen in terms of opinion formers and public alike, is the loss of Europe's position as the second most important economic region in the world. In a year or two, Britain will be overtaken in terms of economic power by China, as will Germany soon afterwards and, a little way down the road, Japan.

The point is that within the next five years, east Asia will be home to the second and third most powerful economies in the world. The world's centre of gravity has already shifted to the Pacific, and east Asia has already displaced Europe as the second most powerful economic region.

If New York and Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco long since overtook Paris in their global significance, so too have Beijing and Tokyo, Shanghai and Mumbai.

None of this is to suggest that Europe no longer matters: of course it does. President Chirac demonstrated how much Europe can matter when he stood up to the Americans over Iraq with a courage and foresight that helped to set clear limits to the exercise of US power. But it remains that Europe is - and will increasingly become - a secondary stage in world affairs, to be displaced by the US and east Asia, which, of course, above all means China.

Martin Jacques is a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics Asian Research Centre. This article first appeared in The Guardian.


http://www.theage.com.au/handheld/articles/2003/12/25/1072308626623.html


13 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineNorth County From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 712 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 940 times:



Very well written article.


In the US you can also point to the rise of the West Coast region in general, CA in particular, in unison with East Asia's economic rise.


User currently offlinePHX-LJU From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 926 times:

Well, I'm not really surprised by this; after all, Asia's population of 3,672,000,000 dwarfs that of Europe (727,000,000)* even today. By 2030, Europe, with its declining population, is expected to have only 670,000,000 inhabitants, many of them elderly, while Asia's population may balloon to a staggering 4,950,000,000**. Given this descrepancy in population, as well as the rapid economic development in China and elsewhere, it makes sense that Asia will overtake Europe and possibly even the US in terms of economic importance in this century.

Europe has also decided years ago that it values quality of life more than economic growth itself. Of course, the current economic crisis is forcing many Europeans to strongly consider substantial reforms in this area, and the forthcoming EU expansion will change many things, but I doubt that Europe will ever become as growth-focused as Asia.

However, I fully expect Europe to maintain its international significance in areas such as art, design, tourism, culture, etc., even if its loss of economic dominance over Asia results in a reduced political influence.

*UN 2000 estimates.
** UN forecasts.


User currently offlineEGFFbmi From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 907 times:

I believe that when the WHOLE of Europe is joined together.. that means.. Russia, Turkey, Ukraine etc are all in the EU.. Europe will be one of the most powerful, richest nations on earth. Let's look at this.. UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Holland, Belgium, Ireland, Iceland, Portugal, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Austria, Poland, Greece, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Belarus, Croatia, Serbia Montenegro.. (sorry if I have missed your country out) all working together to create a prosperous, wealthy, powerful EU.

I admit rapid growth in China and other countries in Asia has happened and will continue to grow.. but then after a certain amount of time manufacturing costs will rise in these developing countries causing manufacturing to move back to other parts of the world including Europe and the US.

Don't forget that there is a huge banking and more service industry in the EU now than ever before.. Maybe one day the whole of the world will be joined together (I wish).. that is when the world be at it's best!

On the population side of things Asia would have more mouths to feed.. unlike the EU.. would this create cause for concern.. after all someone would have to farm food..

I'm probably absolutely wrong about what I said but it's what I feel.. GO EUROPE!

Regards..

Chris


User currently offlinePHX-LJU From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 887 times:

EGFFbmi wrote:

"(sorry if I have missed your country out)"

Ahem... You've left Slovenia (due to join the EU in a few months) out, but you're not certainly not the first or the last person to do that, so you're forgiven.  Big grin

"I'm probably absolutely wrong about what I said but it's what I feel.. GO EUROPE!"

Actually, I think you're absolutely right in your analysis. A truly united Europe presents an opportunity for growth not seen since the 1950s. I'm not sure if it's enough for the continent to keep pace with Asia, but it will be enough to provide all Europeans an enviable standard of living... and that's the point of economic growth, isn't it? That's why the anti-globalization hysteria of the left and the "national sovereignty ueber alles" drama-queen-like tactitcs of the right (and Britain's tabloids  Big grin) don't make much economic sense.

"but then after a certain amount of time manufacturing costs will rise in these developing countries causing manufacturing to move back to other parts of the world including Europe and the US."

You're right; this will happen eventually, but it will likely take many years.


User currently offlineEGFFbmi From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 860 times:

WOW! I got something right Big grin...

Chris


User currently offlineYyz717 From Canada, joined Sep 2001, 16335 posts, RR: 56
Reply 6, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 858 times:

A truly united Europe presents an opportunity for growth not seen since the 1950s.

I have my doubts. If additional unity was a prescription for EU growth, then the EU would have boomed when the UK joined: it didn't. It would also have boomed when Spain & Portugal & the other addl countries joined: it didn't then either.

The EU is VERY bureaucratized and over-governed both as a whole and arguably within each country. This will only worsen. Overly generous work rules & strong unions make efficiency gains hard to come by which then limits growth.

Whatever gains possible by uniting Europe happened long ago when the primary EU nations came together...the UK, Germany, France & Italy. Adding Malta, Cyprus et al is far along the road of greatly diminishing returns.

Anyway, 2 of the wealthiest Euro nations have chosen to remain out of the EU: Norway & Switzerland. Their economies have hardly been negatively effected by this decision.



Panam, TWA, Ansett, Eastern.......AC next? Might be good for Canada.
User currently offlineEGFFbmi From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 830 times:

Anyway, 2 of the wealthiest Euro nations have chosen to remain out of the EU: Norway & Switzerland. Their economies have hardly been negatively effected by this decision.

Norway and Switzerland are from the two wealthiest countries in Europe!

I would say the UK, Germany and France are the three wealthiest countries with Italy and Holland not too far behind...Although Switzerland does have a large banking and investing industry!

Regards..

Chris


User currently offline777236ER From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 825 times:

Overly generous work rules & strong unions

Aren't our "overly" generous work rules OUR business and not yours? I appreciate you think there shouldn't be a limit on how long people can work, or a limit on how little people can get paid, but it appears that Europe does think there should be such limits. If the hampers us economically, so be it. Our citizens still enjoy a greater quality of life.


User currently offlineBobrayner From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2003, 2227 posts, RR: 6
Reply 9, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 796 times:

The EU is VERY bureaucratized and over-governed both as a whole and arguably within each country. This will only worsen. Overly generous work rules & strong unions make efficiency gains hard to come by which then limits growth.

Remind us again... who has the highest productivity per hour? France, or the USA?



Cunning linguist
User currently offlineN79969 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 795 times:

I think this article is far too negative about Europe's future. Europe has a lot of things going for it that Asia does not. There are numerous security, legal, and political issues that will trouble Asia for a while. Actually this guy is just wrong in most respects.

"Remind us again... who has the highest productivity per hour? France, or the USA?"

I am sure the answer is probably France. But I am also sure that the French have imposed such high burdens (in the form of quasi-fixed costs) on employers that hardly any opportunities exist for the poor and low-skilled workers (read low productivity). They are priced out of the market by legislative fiat and are chronically unemployed. The only people that can work are those at the high end of the productivity chain.

I do not believe that a French worker is truly more productive than an American in an apples to apples comparison.


User currently offlineYyz717 From Canada, joined Sep 2001, 16335 posts, RR: 56
Reply 11, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 788 times:

Aren't our "overly" generous work rules OUR business and not yours?

If I own a company that can choose to invest in the US or France....I'll think twice about France due to the required/expected 6 weeks vacation and anti-employer labour laws. So, no.....it's everyone's business.

If the hampers us economically, so be it. Our citizens still enjoy a greater quality of life.

A higher quality of life in Europe than in North America? Hahaha....that's a good one. I've seen & experienced the UK quality of life....you can have it.




Panam, TWA, Ansett, Eastern.......AC next? Might be good for Canada.
User currently offlineBobrayner From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2003, 2227 posts, RR: 6
Reply 12, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 780 times:

A higher quality of life in Europe than in North America? Hahaha....that's a good one. I've seen & experienced the UK quality of life....you can have it.

Lacking productivity stats, would you care to quote quality-of-life survey results instead?



Cunning linguist
User currently offlineJwenting From Netherlands, joined Apr 2001, 10213 posts, RR: 19
Reply 13, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 765 times:

That "greater quality of life" in the EU is mainly a figment of our own (and then again mostly our politicians') imagination.

Our economies are doing so poorly that this year most EU citizens will see a net decline in their realterm income for the 3rd year running.
Despite government claims to the contrary I have seen my buying power decrease by about 10% a year over the last 2 years and will see the same again this year (despite no drop in disposable income, it's all due to inflation).
My income and income structure is about average for the country...

I have 23 days of paid vacation time a year, the legal minimum here. While less than the US you have to remember that we have a lot less official holidays when offices are closed without taking away vacation time so effectively I don't think I have more days off than a US worker in the same kind of function.
This is often forgotten...



I wish I were flying
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