Past Event

The Connections World: The Future of Asian Capitalism

March 6, 2023
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
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International Affairs Building, 420 W. 118 St., New York, NY 10027 Room 1512

The Center on Global Economy and Governance, the Columbia-Harvard China & the World Program (CWP), the Columbia University Weatherhead East Asian Institute, the APEC Study Center, and the Greater China Initiative will host Simon Commander (Altura Partners and IE Business School in Madrid) and Saul Estrin (LSE) for a discussion of their book, The Connections World: The Future of Asian Capitalism (Cambridge University Press, 2022). 

Asia’s development model has depended on industrial policy to support new sectors along with a common reliance on large and powerful business groups. These groups use close and highly transactional connections with politicians to acquire assets, secure financing and other preferential treatment. Not only does the resulting economic firepower of these business groups allow them to dominate the various markets in which they operate, but it also allows them to achieve significant scale relative to the economy as a whole. This has been matched by a parallel and rapid accumulation and concentration of wealth. In their recent book, Commander and Estrin call this the Connections World. Although it has, for the most part, supported Asia’s extraordinary growth, problems with this model, and the configuration of economic and political power that it has enabled, are mounting. Demographics challenge reliance on extensive growth while the attenuation of competition holds back productivity growth, limits the number of high-quality jobs and, most significantly, stands in the way of Asia shifting to greater reliance on innovation. New policies for corporate governance, taxation and the design of competition policy will be needed. Failure to come to grips with the Connections World will impair the brightness of Asia's future.

Advanced registration is required.

Author Biographies: 

Simon Commander is Managing Partner of Altura Partners which provides policy advice to governments and companies in emerging economies. He is also Visiting Professor of Economics at IE Business School in Madrid. From 1998 to 2011 he worked at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London and from 1988-1998 at the World Bank in Washington DC.
Saul Estrin was the founding Head of the Department of Management at LSE and formerly Professor of Economics and Associate Dean at London Business School. He researches in international business and entrepreneurship, especially with reference to emerging economies. He is former President of the European Association for Comparative Economic Systems and a Fellow of the Academy of International Business.

Contact Information

Center on Global Economic Governance