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After Neoliberalism »

Authored by: John Quiggin
Publication date: 2024
Since the early 1980s, Australian economic policy has been dominated by the ideology of neoliberalism (also known as ‘economic rationalism’), including policies of privatisation, financial deregulation and micro-economic reform. Throughout this period, John Quiggin has presented critical assessments of neoliberal policies and the claims about productivity growth made in support of those policies. The credibility of neoliberalism was fatally wounded by the Global Financial Crisis and its aftermath. Nevertheless, market ideology has lumbered on in zombie form, for want of a clear alternative. It is only recently that we have begun to reverse the failed policies of privatisation and deregulation and to consider radical alternatives such as a shift to a four-day week. This book provides a historical perspective in the form of a series of articles written from the mid-1980s to the present day. It concludes with some suggestions for the way forward, after neoliberalism. ‘John Quiggin is the intellectual equivalent of a dazzling fireworks display. I walk away from every encounter with a bright new insight, and this book is no exception. Agree or disagree, Professor Quiggin is a veritable trove of fresh insights. Spanning nearly four decades, this volume brings together some of Professor Quiggin’s most provocative contributions, driven by a deep commitment to equity. It will pique your curiosity and encourage you to work towards a better world.’ —Andrew Leigh, Parliamentarian and author of The Shortest History of Economics

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East Asia Forum Quarterly: Volume 15, Number 4, 2023 »

Publication date: November 2023
It’s back: the past decade has seen a remarkable resurgence of industrial policy in the developed world. Geopolitical fragmentation and resultant suspicions of international trade, the politically induced adoption of second-best industrial policies to address carbon emissions, and the use of manufacturing incentives sparked by fears of deindustrialisation and widening inequality risk tit-for-tat protectionism and further splintering of the global economy. This issue of East Asia Forum Quarterly examines what the new enthusiasm for industrial policy activism means for the global system and Asian economies: exploring its effects on the ability of emerging Asian economies’ to break into manufacturing in global value chains; investigating how measures aimed at encouraging domestic processing of raw materials affect the stability of policy environments and green industrialisation; detailing and comparing the experiences of major regional economies with policy developments in semiconductor and electric vehicle manufacturing and renewable energy; and appraising industrial policy’s effects on smaller economies and the rules-based trading system from a global perspective.
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East Asia Forum Quarterly: Volume 15, Number 3, 2023 »

Publication date: September 2023
As ASEAN and Japan celebrate the 50th anniversary of their official relationship, the challenge to redefine the goals and purpose of this relationship is now pressing. Great power rivalry, regional power relativities, and sweeping political and economic disruption have injected new dynamics and exposed serious vulnerabilities. With ASEAN member states and Japan each facing their own domestic challenges, the opportunity presents itself for a more 'equal' partnership that is able to 'co-create' a regional economy and society, from paternalistic origins. This issue of East Asia Forum Quarterly addresses these challenges for the ASEAN–Japan relationship and offers ideas, vision and initiatives that might guide its future: exploring the policy options for a relationship challenged by regional economic fragmentation; detailing the lessons available for policymakers beginning to act on sustainability and digital and green transformation; and examining the opportunities taken and thus far unrealised for the fashioning of new soft diplomacy and investment in intra-ASEAN infrastructure.
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East Asia Forum Quarterly: Volume 15, Number 2, 2023 »

Publication date: June 2023
Global trade stands at a crucial crossroads. The multilateral trading system that underpinned globalisation for three-quarters of a century is being pulled apart by big power politics and the way forward is fogged in mistrust. Global growth is projected to decline this year and remain anaemic. Inflation, the rising rivalry between the world’s two largest economies, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine weigh heavily on the global outlook. The European war underscores how quickly the trading ties between nations might be undone and weaponised. This issue of East Asia Forum Quarterly examines the impact of trade sanctions as they rip into the trading system well beyond the battlefield. It interrogates how far sanctions have succeeded in hobbling Russia’s war machine and questions their deterrent value outside of conflict or their universal application, explores how supply chains have reshuffled around the reach of regulators, and asks how nations are probing opportunities created by the conflict.
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Navigating Prosperity and Security in East Asia »

Publication date: May 2023
The world’s two largest economies, the United States and China, are locked in a trade war, complicating policy choices internationally. These choices are sharper for the countries of East and Southeast Asia than they are elsewhere, because the multilateral rules-based economic order on which East Asian economic integration and cooperation is built is under threat. Economic policy has never been separate from security considerations. For decades, the national security risks inherent in economic exchange have been mitigated under a US-led system that allowed the strengthening of economic ties, including between China and the rest of the world. But economics and security are increasingly entangled in a way that is damaging to both, creating a dangerous trade-off. Now, as global uncertainties grow, the risks of international exchange—rather than its benefits—are beginning to dominate the calculus for some policymakers. Against this backdrop, how can Southeast Asian countries and US allies in Asia balance their security interests and their economic interests? And how can these countries, individually and collectively, broaden their policy options and deepen economic integration? This volume investigates the domestic and international dimensions of these questions.

More Than Fiscal »

The Intergenerational Report, Sustainability and Public Policy in Australia

Publication date: May 2023
Every five years, the Australian treasurer is required to publish an intergenerational report (IGR), which examines the long-term sustainability of current government policies and seeks to determine how demographic, technological and other structural trends might affect the economy and the budget in coming decades. Despite these lofty objectives, the five IGRs produced from 2002 have received only muted applause. Critics say that they are too mechanical, too narrow and too subject to the views of the government of the day and that they don’t provide the intended wake-up call for public understanding of looming economic, social and environmental issues. This analysis of the most recent IGR (2021) is based on a workshop hosted by the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. While finding that the 2021 IGR is an improvement on the previous report (2015), the authors identify several fiscal and broader policy issues that deserve greater attention, including Australia’s structural deficit, rising inequality and the impacts of climate change. They argue that the report fails to discuss the policies required to support greater resilience against future shocks, including the case for earlier budget repair. They propose that future IGRs be prepared with greater independence, cover all levels of government, have more transparent analysis and draw upon a wider ‘wellbeing’ approach to long-term sustainability. This book aims to attract close attention from public officials and politicians and generate constructive debate in the community.

East Asia Forum Quarterly: Volume 15, Number 1, 2023 »

Publication date: March 2023
While many rejoice in something like ‘normality’ after the years of disruption caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic, the world will not resume its former shape. Nowhere is this more evident than in China. After the disastrous economic performance of 2022, a recalibration of China’s policies was essential—including by retreating from zero-COVID and, under the banner of ‘Chinese-style modernisation’, relaxing restrictions on the free market. China’s greatest post-pandemic challenge, however, will be the terms of its engagement with the outside world. Its claims to both developing-nation status and global leadership define China, some say, as an ‘anxious adolescent superpower’. This issue of East Asia Forum Quarterly canvasses a range of shifts in Chinese society and daily life as well as policy direction: describing women’s leading role in the calls for social change, explaining how China’s demographic crunch is unlikely to affect its economic modernisation over the coming two decades, examining the difficulties faced by rural migrants and in investing in the education of the rural young, and detailing the public response to the poorly understood social credit system.
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East Asia Forum Quarterly: Volume 14, Number 4, 2022 »

Publication date: December 2022
Southeast Asian nations have long understood that effective national security goes well beyond military preparedness, encompassing a variety of ‘non-traditional’ security issues. This idea is at the heart of political cooperation within ASEAN and competes with traditional notions of regional security in East Asia. But the vocabulary that has developed in the face of growing geopolitical tensions—decoupling, dual circulation, friendshoring, ‘strategic’ supply chains, securitisation—suggests that the big powers are working towards their own notion of comprehensive security. Contributors to this issue of East Asia Forum Quarterly recognise that comprehensive regional security—an approach that embraces economic, environmental and energy security as well as military interests and considers how they are secured within today’s economically interdependent and politically cooperative regional system—can only be secured collectively: one country’s resilience to climate change, or its access to free and well-served markets for energy and food, cannot come at the expense of others.
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China’s Transition to a New Phase of Development »

Publication date: November 2022
The Chinese economy is currently undergoing fundamental changes. In this context, the 2022 China Update examines the key characteristics of China’s transition towards a new phase of economic growth and development. This year’s update book covers a range of diverse topics that reflect the complex and changing nature of the economy. It explores critical questions: Why does China need a new development paradigm, and what is the best way to achieve it? What are China’s choices when faced with the restructuring of global industrial value chains? What key roles will domestic consumption play in the next phase of China’s development? What does the digital transformation mean for the Chinese economy? What has been the domestic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on income inequality and labour market outcomes? What pathways exist for China in its transition towards carbon neutrality? How does China’s emissions-trading market compare with that of Europe? How will China’s carbon neutrality strategy affect the Australian economy? What are the political factors influencing bilateral trade flows between China and its trading partners? And what is at stake for China–US relations?

East Asia Forum Quarterly: Volume 14, Number 3, 2022 »

Publication date: September 2022
Japan ‘crossed the Rubicon’ after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Unlike eight years ago when Russia annexed Crimea, the Kishida government quickly implemented sanctions against Russia with other Western countries. Japanese people have generally stood behind the Kishida government’s foreign and security policy activism, yet uncertainties about Japan’s future remain. Can Japan confront ‘a three-front war’ against China, North Korea and Russia? How can Japan manage its relations with the United States and China amidst great power competition and a growing risk of military conflict? How can it cope with inflation, energy shortages, global warming and the crisis of the nuclear non-proliferation regime? Domestically, Japan has yet to escape from the impact of COVID-19. Maintaining international competitiveness in an era of ageing and shrinking population remains a top priority for Japan. The articles in this EAFQ examine the challenges and opportunities facing Japan and explore its future in an era of growing uncertainty.
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