Introduction: Mapping the contours of East Asian commercial law for the Asian century

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Tomasic, R. & Wolff, L. (2014). Introduction: Mapping the contours of East Asian commercial law for the Asian century. In R. Tomasic & L. Wolff (Eds.), Commercial Law in East Asia (pp. xi-xxxi). Farnham, England: Ashgate Publishing Limited.

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Copyright © Roman Tomasic and Leon Wolff, 2014.

2014 HERDC submission




Extract: The centre of economic gravity in the new century is shifting to the East. Since 200 1, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Asia's contribution to world economic growth has matched that of the United States and Europe combined, and, since 2006, has even exceeded it (IMF, 20 I I; Neumann and Arora, 20 II ). This surge is easy to explain: China has emerged as a global super-power; Japan remains the third-largest world economy, despite only recently emerging from over twenty years of economic stagnation (The Age, 2013); South Korea and the ' tiger ' economies of Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore have achieved high-level economic development through capital investment and technological innovation; and Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia have supplied riches in labour and resources to the regional economy (Macintyre and Naughton, 2005, p. 78). A growing middle class is lifting consumption. ‘Billions of Asians,' writes Mahbubani (2008, p. 3), 'are marching to modernity.’ This book examines scholarly interpretations for the role commercial law has played in East Asia's economic rise. At first blush, this might seem a daunting task. After all, as some theorists have argued, the East Asian experience is largely neglected in writings on Jaw generally and commercial law more broadly (Wolff, 20 12). This is because law, as a discipline, was largely forged in the prior European and American centuries; these 'Anglo-American moorings' ill-serve legal analysis in the new Asian Century (Cossman, 1997, p. 539).

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