Southeast Asia in the Global Economy: Securing Competitiveness and Social Protection

Southeast Asia in the Global Economy: Securing Competitiveness and Social Protection
Date of publication:  2009
Publisher:  ISEAS / RSIS
Number of pages:  259
Code:  PIC176


"The premise of this collection -- the outcome of a 2005 workshop -- is that Southeast Asian governments need to attend to the challenges faced by the emergence of other low-wage, relatively low-tech economies (notably, India and China), but also to those posed by the dislocating social impacts of globalisation. Nesadurai and Djiwandono rightly warn that while social protection is often seen as a threat to competitiveness, neglecting it may undermine the conditions necessary for capitalism to operate. The most useful chapters are those by Rahul Sen and Sadhana Srivastava on India, and Liu Yunha on China. The former shows convincingly that India and ASEAN's economies are largely complementary, providing wide scope for cooperation and mutual benefit, and implies that India's significance to the region has the potential for serious growth. The latter provides a balanced assessment, noting the boost Chinese demand has provided for ASEAN economies and the benefits accruing from China's WTO-entry-related tariff reductions, but ultimately admitting the serious challenge China poses to Southeast Asia's share of global investment and export markets" (Aseasuk News).

"A number of authors have written about how Asian economies cope with globalisation and the phenomenal rise of the Asian powerhouses, India and China. However, this book is one of very few to cover both the economic and social challenges that Southeast Asian countries must confront amidst globalisation and the rise of India and China. The book provides a comprehensive discussion of competitiveness and social protection in Southeast Asia. This is an excellent book and I recommend it to all scholars who are interested in globalisation and the Southeast Asian region. It is one of very few books to cover both the economic and social dimensions of globalisation. I congratulate the authors for their thorough and meticulous analysis" (Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies).

About the publication

While economic globalization benefited Southeast Asia, especially during the 1990s boom, the region now seems to be caught between two emerging economic giants - China and India. What challenges and opportunities does the rise of China and India pose for Southeast Asia and how should policy-makers respond? Are bilateral free trade arrangements and bilateral economic partnerships a boon or bane for competitiveness? In identifying approaches and strategies to coping with these challenges and leveraging on the opportunities available, this book also links the quest for competitiveness with the necessity of social protection. The link comes in the form of the people who work for firms as human resources, and as users and innovators of technology. The book acknowledges and discusses the problems of inadequate technological and innovative capacity and the problems of managing labour productivity in Southeast Asia. However, the book also cautions against focusing on people solely as productive labour, whether in production or the knowledge sector. By highlighting the adverse social, economic and political consequences of ignoring social protection issues and challenging the myth that addressing social protection undermines competitiveness, the book emphasizes the social responsibilities incumbent on governments and firms in this age of growing economic insecurities.

Co-publication: ISEAS / RSIS



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