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bs_bs_banner ASIAN-PACIFIC ECONOMIC LITERATURE emerging markets to mature markets are easier than is often described. FT 3—bubble creation is a normal economic growth method in capitalism: trying to get rid of bubbles in crisis-hit countries worsens economic conditions and hinders recovery. FT 4—trust conspiracy theories: financial corporations create profits from uneven and asymmetric access to information. FT 5—do not be deceived by flow indices: there may be a deal between asset values and economic growth rates. Although the use of certain words such as conspiracy may alienate some readers, the author nevertheless provides compelling evidence for each of these claims. In Chapter 3, the author deploys the FTs developed in the previous chapter to re-interpret the causes of the GFC and the concurrent financial crisis in Korea. Korea is portrayed as a country that did not orchestrate a successful recovery from the GFC ahead of other OECD countries. Rather, Korea is shown to be one of the hardest-hit countries in the world due to the inherent instability of the open financial market system, which allowed speculative activities of international finance to override economic fundamentals. The analysis rendered in the book challenges the usefulness of neo-liberal policies in responding to crises in Korea, and also provides lessons for other emerging economies. Forcibly opening up financial markets to international competition before domestic corporations establish their competitiveness is shown to allow for erratic and speculative behaviour. Foreign financial corporations are revealed to have taken advantage of the vulnerabilities of emerging economies after they have been opened, creating conditions of asymmetric access to information. Furthermore, the application of tight fiscal and monetary policies on crisis-stricken, emerging economies is shown to overkill the deflation of bubbles, impeding economic growth potential. The author highlights potential differences between the interests of a nation, those of it; s policy makers, and those of international players, including the international economic agencies such as IMF, World Bank, and international financial companies. If and when interests of policymakers and international players align, the policies adopted (especially those created during economic crises) often result in decreasing national wealth. The author calls for an alternative regime, a so-called ‘middle way’ for middle-income countries. In a re-interpretation of the Beijing consensus, the author proposes the following principles: (1) gradual, step-by-step reform; (2) sustainability and equality as primary objectives of the developmental model; (3) self-determination and no intervention; and (4) consensus on diversity. The author urges that states place their national wealth over the interests of global financial markets. Capital controls are a necessity (not an option) to protect the interests of states vis-à-vis the interests of international finance. The book proceeds to illustrate how to implement financial reforms. The author first discusses the diversity of foreign exchange (FX) regimes in Asia, ranging from Japan’s free-floating system to the fixed exchange rate system in Hong Kong. Shin’s main recommendation is for Korea to move away from the free-floating system to a managed floating system in order to align FX rates to national interests. In particular, the author advocates a band basket system, similar to Singapore’s current FX regime. Shin’s assessment of current weaknesses in the Korean economy is plainly explained, and the accompanying evidence is convincing. But it is often easier to diagnose an illness than it is to find a cure. As neo-liberal restructuring of the Korean economy has been extended to almost all corners of the Korean economy since 1997, the ‘middle way’ regime offered seems inadequate to address the core problems faced by Korea. A new regime should address all areas of an economy, extending beyond reforming FX regimes. Further investigation into the ‘middle way’ is warranted before it can be presented to policy makers as a persuasive and robust alternative. Chung-Sok Suh University of New South Wales The US Strategic Pivot to Asia and Cross-Strait Relations: Economic and Security Dynamics Peter C. Y. Chow (ed.) Palgrave and Macmillan, New York, 2014 Pp. 272. ISBN 978 1137 36462 3 The development of the ‘rebalancing’ or the ‘pivot’ strategy to Asia of President Obama’s 206 © 2015 Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University and Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd. BOOK REVIEWS administration during 2010 and 2011, intended to demonstrate continued commitment to the AsiaPacific region in economic, security and diplomatic contexts, has ushered in a spate of research and discussion on various issues. This volume, edited by Professor Peter C. Y. Chow, is definitely a welcome and timely addition to this eyecatching, growing literature. In addition to the well-known debate on engagement with and containment of China and concern about the ability of the USA to sustain the pivot strategy over the long run, the book explores the very important, yet somewhat neglected problem of where crossstrait relations fit into this new US strategy. Professor Chow is to be congratulated for being able to bring together a group of seasoned scholars and observers to address this question. Apart from the introduction, the remaining 11 chapters are evenly divided into three sections. Section I, The Role of Taiwan Strait in the US Strategic Pivot to Asia, consists of three chapters detailing the ‘pivot to Asia’ policy from the perspectives of the US and China, and the triangular relationship among China, Taiwan and the US. Together, they provide the backdrop for the analyses in the following two sections, each of which comprises four chapters. Section II deals with the Economic-Security Nexus and China’s Responses. Chapters 7 and 8 discuss how the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is incorporated into one of the major components of the pivot and the extent to which the TPP and the ‘pivot’ are emblematic of the irreconcilability of ‘Economic Asia’ and ‘Security Asia’. Chapter 5 carefully examines the evolution of the Obama administration’s policy towards East Asia in general and towards China in particular, as well as China’s reactions to these policy changes. Using a simple conceptual model, Kastner (ch. 6) examines how various parameters and the US pivot affect the expected costs and benefits of China’s involvement in a conflict in the Taiwan Strait. Strictly speaking, this is the only chapter that is directed at the cross-strait relationship. The third section of the book focuses on Retrospect and Prospect of Cross-Strait Relations amid the US Pivot to Asia. The first two chapters emphasise Taiwan’s geo-strategic significance by tracing its historical trajectory as well as how Taiwanese leaders have elaborated it since 1949 when the Nationalist government was driven to the island of Taiwan by the Chinese Communists. In a some- what technical chapter, Fisher presents quite a lot of data to convince readers that the USA should spend much more on military equipment if it is to deter or contain China’s assertiveness effectively. In a similar vein, Tkacik in the final chapter eloquently argues that, out of realpolitik, the strategic significance of Taiwan in the ‘first island chain’ has been deliberately ignored and maintains that the efforts of the pivot to Asia strategy are doomed to failure if the island is continually alienated from America’s security network. This review is deliberately short. This is because the editor’s introduction and the foreword by Michael Yahuda have jointly provided an excellent summary of each chapter such that further details are redundant. Some weaknesses deserve mention, however. First of all, readers might find that the contents are somewhat out of sync with the title. While entitled The US Strategic Pivot to Asia and CrossStrait Relations, some three quarters of the book deals with different, and in some cases similar, aspects of the US strategic pivot, leaving the question of cross-strait relations essentially a sideshow and disappointing those who expect to learn more about the subtleties and complexities of one of the most dangerous flashpoints in East Asia. Worse still, only two chapters are devoted to economic issues. This fact does not justify the subtitle Economic and Security Dynamics. Second, the authors of the chapters are not sufficiently diversified. With the exception of York Chen from Taiwan, all others are affiliated with universities or the think tank International Assessment and Strategy Center in the USA. Of course, this by no means implies that they will have a consensus of opinion. As a matter of fact, they do not; in some cases, they are diametrically different. However, more often than not, the chapters reflect USA-centric viewpoints. The discussion could have been much more exciting and penetrating if experts from different countries in the region had also contributed. For example, a combination of three chapters by authors from the USA, two from Taiwan and China, and one from each of Japan, Australia, the Philippines and Vietnam should have been able to provide more balanced and diversified views on the most crucial policy initiative in the Western Pacific region in recent years. Finally, it would be a service to readers if the editor could have added as an appendix some full-page maps of the ‘first island chain’ and East 207 © 2015 Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University and Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd. ASIAN-PACIFIC ECONOMIC LITERATURE and South China seas, with all the islands/islets mentioned in the book clearly indicated. The two maps in Chapter 12 are extremely helpful. Unfortunately, even some islands mentioned in that chapter, such as Macclesfield Bank (‘Middle Sand’) (p. 236) and Yonagun (p. 247), cannot be found in either map. Not every potential reader would be familiar with this region. A little more effort might usefully inform a wider audience of the issues discussed in this engaging book. Despite these weaknesses, this is a book worth reading. It provides invaluable, updated informa- tion on lesser known but no less important aspects of the ongoing competition between the rising and the reigning great powers in the Western Pacific. Students and researchers of international relations, Asian studies and international political economy will benefit from this resourceful collection. Policymakers of the states mired in this inextricable situation could also be enlightened by the messages revealed. Pan-Long Tsai National Tsing Hua University 208 © 2015 Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University and Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd.