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G2S2 Lecture – Dr. Taewan Kim : The Diverse Set of Tools and Methods on Political Economy

By 08/26/2019No Comments

08/08/2019?Political Economies of Asia
Lecture Topic: The Diverse Set of Tools and Methods on Political Economy
Class taken by Dr. Taewan Kim
Dr. Taewan Kim is a Professor from the Department of Political Science at Dong-eui University in Busan, South Korea. He is also the Director of Asia Development Institute and International Cooperation Center. His lecture touches on the relationship between economics and politics as well as the features of economic development in Asia.
He explains that the study of political economy applies a diverse set of tools and methods to examine the links between individuals and society, and between the market and the state. He adds that while economics is concerned about generating value, politics is about distributing value in an authoritative and legitimate way. Likewise, he argues that economic calculation influences political decisions; however, when matters are urgent or critical the political dimension takes precedence over the economic dimension.

He then relates the concept of political economy to the development experience of Asian economies. He notes that the government-led export-driven industrialization of major Asian economies such as Japan after World War II, the four Asian tigers (i.e. South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong) in the 1970s to 1980s, and China are very different from the economic development strategies promoted in the West. With Asia’s continued economic growth, the center of the global economy is shifting toward this part of the world. Many observers now agree on the resurgence of an Asian century. Dr. Kim explains that until the 15th century, the Eastern civilization was very much advanced compared to the Western civilization. It was during the Ming dynasty when Zheng He led the seven voyages to the West. Korean people used the oldest moveable type since 1377, many years before the Gutenberg Bible was published in 1455.
Moreover, Dr. Kim notes that the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century was a decisive point in the world’s history, and it led to the rise of Britain as a dominant power. As the world enters the Fourth Industrial Revolution, major powers like China, US, Japan and Germany are competing to secure their dominance since the leader of the Fourth Industrial Revolution will determine the next hegemon, according to Dr. Kim. He also discussed that Taiwan and India are becoming important partners for the US in deterring China’s rise. Just this year, the US Congress enacted the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019 to strengthen US defense ties with Taiwan and India.
Participants raised questions on the issues surrounding the US-China trade war, South Korea-Japan trade dispute, and the Chinese government’s use of artificial intelligence, among others.