China, Japan, Southeast Asia and the Global Economy Essay

2260 Words 10 Pages
To properly consider the impact of integrating with the global economy on China, Japan, India and Southeast Asia, it is useful to first define the global economy. When did it come into being? Frank (1998) posits that a global economy had existed since the start of the thirteenth century. Although financial flows were limited, there was a burgeoning exchange of commodities between Asian and European economies. Of the Asian economies, China and India stood out for the extensiveness of their trade links and magnitude of their trade volumes. Both countries traded with Southeast Asia, the Islamic world, the Mediterranean and European countries. In addition, China traded with the Middle East and North Africa.
However, while the extant global
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Japan was a large exporter of silver, copper, sulphur, camphor, iron, swords, lacquer, furniture, sake, tea and high quality rice. Southeast Asia was a major hub of entrepôt activity. There, Indian textiles, Japanese and American silver and Chinese silk and ceramics were traded for Southeast Asian pepper, spices, woods, resins, lacquer, tortoise shells, pearls and deerskin. The Indochinese countries, especially Vietnam, were also significant exporters of sugar. (Frank, 1998)
In being part of the global economy, these countries allowed commercial forces to shape the structure of their economies. In many areas, the economic changes led to political ones. For example, agricultural trends were profoundly altered. Perdue (1999) presents Sucheta Mazumdar's study of Guangdong's sugar industry as an example of how commercial forces transformed rural agricultural patterns in China. As foreign demand and exports of sugar grew, peasants reacted by switching from rice to sugar cane cultivation. Likewise, Indian peasants were quick to adapt to the new economic paradigm. Between 1600 and 1650, cultivators throughout Mughal India widely adopted tobacco and maize – valuable crops introduced to India by traders from the New World. In Bengal, Dutch purchases of cotton textiles, raw silk, saltpetre and opium rose from 150,000 florins in 1648 to 4.6 million florins in value in 1720 (Prakash, 1985, p. 70-71 in

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