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New Left Review 59, September-October 2009

Achin Vanaik


The mass of recent literature on the ‘rise of Asia’ largely focuses on the implications of this development for the West. [1] Bill Emmott, Rivals: How the Power Struggle between China, India and Japan will Shape Our Next DecadeAllen Lane: London 2008, £20, hardback 314 pp, 978 1 846 14009 9 It rarely stops to consider the impact on inter-relations between the Asian states themselves. In Rivals, ex-Economist editor Bill Emmott attempts to correct this by examining the cases of China, India and Japan, and argues that the interaction between the three will decisively influence the shape of the coming world order. As he points out, their triple coexistence as major powers represents a historical novelty. In 1820, when China and India between them accounted for almost half of world output, Japan remained a relative backwater, its modernizing drive of the Meiji period lying decades in the future; by the 1930s, when Japan had become a full-fledged industrial and military power, China was impoverished and riven by warlordism, while India groaned under the British yoke. The headlong economic development of the prc and steady growth in India over the past decades suggest that the two Asian giants will join Japan among the top five national economies in the world.

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Achin Vanaik, ‘Misconceiving Asia’, NLR 59: £3

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