22/10/2019 The Hindu Editorials Mains Notes- Mains Sure Shot
Question – Analyse the several aspects of the rise of Asia in the past 50 years. Was it a mere coincidence?(250 words)
Context – The rapid rise of Asia vis a vis the West.
Economic condition of Asia in the early 19th century:
- In the 1820s (the early 19th century) Asia accounted for two-thirds of the world’s population and more than half of the world’s income.
- It also contributed more than half of the manufacturing production (i.e. the total goods produced) in the world economy.
The subsequent decline:
- The subsequent decline of Asia is attributed to its integration with the world economy through colonisation, shaped by imperialism. India had trade relations with other countries of the world even earlier but colonisation was the new filter that had gradually come in between.
- As a result by 1962, its share in the world income had declined to 15% from half in 1820, and its share in manufacturing had dropped to 6%.
- So much so that by the 1970s Asia was the poorest continent.
- Its demographic and social indicators of development were among the worst anywhere. This epitomised (showed/highlighted) its underdevelopment.
- And as seen in the book ‘Asian Drama’ in 1968 by Gunnar Mydal, people did not even have much hope about its recovery and development in the future at that time.
- But now as we see, an age of Asian prominence has already been set in motion!
- In half a century since then Asia has witnessed profound transformation in terms of economic progress of nations and living conditions of people.
- By 2016, it accounted for 30% of world income, 40% of world manufacturing, and over a third of world trade.
- The per capita income also matched with world average. Although this was not too high, yet if we see the initial gap with the rest of the industrial was so much that this increase seems an achievement.
- Even though this rise was unequal among among countries and people, this economic transformation is also unprecedented in history.
Why was it unequal?
- For this it is essential that we recognise the diversity of Asia.
- There were marked differences between countries in not only geographical size,but also embedded histories, colonial legacies, nationalist movements, initial conditions, natural resource endowments, population size, income levels and political systems.
- The reliance on markets and degree of openness in economies varied greatly across countries and over time.
- The politics too ranged from authoritarian regimes or oligarchies to political democracies.
- So also was difference in ideologies, from communism to state capitalism and capitalism.
- So development outcomes differed over space and time.
So despite differences, what led to the rise?
- First it was political independence, which restored their economic autonomy which enabled them to pursue the best policies suited to their national interests. Here it is important to note that even the Latin American countries had gained independence just like Asian countries, but they did not have a long history of well-structured states and cultures, which were not entirely destroyed by colonialism.
- What drove development in these countries was economic growth. Growth rates of GDP and GDP per capita in Asia were stunning and far higher than elsewhere in the world.
- Rising investment by capitalists and industrialists in Asia, combined with the spread of education were underlying factors. So growth was driven by rapid industrialisation, often export-led (though this varied greatly from country to country).
- So there was a kind of virtuous circle of cumulative causation, proper and timely investment growth (growth through rise in investment) along with rapid export growth, led to rapid GDP growth.
- This led to structural changes in output and employment (means the type of employment people did before and after industrialisation also changed because the output i.e. the things that were produced also changed like more motor cars than bullock carts and so on).
- Governments played an important role ranging from leaders, to catalysts or supporters, in half a century economic transformation of Asia.
- The success of economic development in Asia also depended on the ability of the leaders to manage the evolving relations between the state and the markets. Both complementing each other rather than substitutes, by finding the right balance in their respectives roles that also changed over time (i.e. initially the state played a major part and later the markets and so on).
- Countries that could not balance this relationship between state and markets, lacked in development.
What was the outcome of this development?
- As seen there were large scale differences among the countries. So the level and outcome of development was also unequal across countries.
- East-Asia was the leader and South Asia was the laggard (follow up/ lagging behind), with South Asia in the middle, while progress in west Asia did not match its high income levels.
- In just 50 years, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore joined the league of industrialised nations. China was a star performer throughout, making impressive strides in development after 1990. The growth performance of India, Bangladesh and Vietnam was most impressive during the last quarter century, although India and Bangladesh did not match the rest of Asia in ‘social progress’. While in comparison, the performance of Sri Lanka was respectable, Turkey was average, and the performance of Pakistan was poor.
- Rising per capita incomes transformed the social indicators of development such as literacy, life expectancy. Both of these increased. (but despite this the stark poverty that exists despite this unprecedented growth is striking).
- Inequality between people within countries rose almost everywhere, while the gap between the richest and poorest countries in Asia is also very visible.
The role played by openness and industrialisation:
- Openness facilitated industrialisation when combined with proper industrial policy. Clearly, success at industrialisation in Asia was driven by sensible industrial policy that was implemented by efficient governments.
- But in the future good policies will not be enough to promote industrialisation. Technological learning and technological capabilities are also essential to provide the foundations of sustaining industrialisation.
- The countries in Asia which modified, adapted and contextualised their agenda, while calibrating the sequence of, and the speed at which, economic reforms were introduced did well i.e. they did not hesitate to use unorthodox and unconventional policies which were experimental and innovative, for their national development objectives.
Challenges and Way Ahead:
- The rise of Asia reflects a change in the balance of economic power in the world and an erosion of the political hegemony of the West.
- The success of it will depend on how efficiently Asia exploits the opportunities and ,ets the challenges associated with it.
- By 2030, the per capita income of Asia is supposed to return to its 1820level but still they will not reach the income levels of rich countries like the U.S or Europe.
- So the Asian countries will emerge as world powers without matching the income levels of rich countries.
- But despite all this it can be said that if managed well, by 2050, a century after the end of colonial rule, Asia will reach its 1820 status and also have an economic and political significance in the world that would have been difficult to imagine 50 years ago.
In the article ‘The roadmap for criminal justice reforms’:
- The main argument of the article is that criminal law is the most apparent expression of the relationship between the State and its citizens. So any change or revision of the IPC needs to be done carefully, while keeping several things in mind.
- First, keeping the rights of the victim of the crime in mind because it is very important to give a proper space of expression to the victim in solving and dealing with a crime. The introduction or revision of the victim or witness protection schemes , use of victim impact statements, advent of victim advocacy, increased victim participation in criminal trials, enhanced access of victims to compensation and restitution all point towards the increased role of victims in criminal justice system.
- Second, the constitution (introduction) of new offences and revising the existing offences must be informed by the system of criminal jurisprudence (i.e. the philosophy of law) may be the purpose of introducing the law.
- Third is that many laws such as those relating to criminal conspiracy, sedition, and offences against coins and stamps must be abolished or replaced because it is unnecessary to have hundreds of sections that are mostly ignored or not in use.
- Also the discretion of the judges regarding deciding the quantum of punishment needs to be checked because at times different punishments are awarded for similar crimes.
- But these reforms and revisions will not make much desired results if it is not accompanied by improvement in police, prosecution, judiciary and in prisons.
- A Criminal Justice Reform Committee with a mandate to evolve criminal justice policy should be formed for this exercise. It should work as a furtherance (continuation) of the work done by the Menon Committee on Criminal Justice System, the Malimath Committee, and the Law Commission of India in this regard.