September 4, 2014 To September 4, 2014
Humanities and Social Sciences
Abstract: South East Asia is driving the economic growth story of the 21st century. United by trade and divided by nomenclature, the region is also fast experiencing both integration and isolation at the same time. Economic and trade structures like ASEAN; ASEAN plus Three; ASEAN plus Three plus Three; East Asian Community (EAC) or even ASEAN CEPA or Washington mooted eleven member Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) are notions of integration and expansion of Asia’s economic boundary and confluence of seas where the political boundaries are stretched to accommodate neoclassical interests. The region is undergoing a spectacular economic and geopolitical churning internally as well as externally. This is the first time in history; the region is struggling and strategizing to configure the shape and size of economic boundaries of the region along with a quest to define and redraw the geopolitical space that most suits the bilateral, multilateral, regional and extra regional stake holders.
While theoretically economic neoclassicism is driving the internal economic, trade, investment contours of the region; dominated by core regional powers and influenced by politico-economic interests of the extra regional powers, the region is politically stretching itself into a political neoliberal format of Asia-Pacific image and identity. Asia-Pacific neoliberal profile means, half of world’s population, half of world GDP and half of world trade- a mega international interest zone of the world where competing powers like China, Japan and India at the regional end and Australia, South Africa and the United States at extra regional end guide the parameter and perimeter of regional grouping. In this scenario of diversity, while rising China is incrementally demanding better share of the regions prosperity, India and Japan stand in the same side of the fence to compete and contain the regional forces and parameters. Washington’s TPP idea on the other hand expands the economic scope and definition of the region but isolates China politically. Four fundamental objectives guide the contours of this paper. First, the paper shall analyze the emerging economic structures of the region and their implication to regional political economy. Second, the paper will provide a theoretical construct of political realism to political neoliberalism and constructivism at one end and economic neoclassicism on the other to explain the regional paradigm shift. Third, the paper shall analyze the implication of Indo-Japan bilateralism and its implication to the regional economic and political climate and ‘Multipolar Consociational Model’ that appears to be taking shape in the region. Finally, building on the theoretical and empirical evidence, the paper shall conclude with a comprehensive prospects and challenges analysis of these neo-formations and the road ahead.