Review of International Studies

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Special Issue

Whatever happened to the Pacific Century?



Typical of the opposing trends that have been a part of the decade 1989 to 1999, many of the states in the Asia-Pacific in these ten years have shifted from ‘miracle’ status to crisis. From being the political and economic model for other countries in both the developing and the developed world, they now signal how best to avoid the less savoury pitfalls of rapid development. The miracle status, deriving from two decades or more of impressive growth rates on the basis of a presumed distinctive politico-economic model, was supposed to herald a Pacific Century. The key characteristics of this new era were a newfound regional coherence and a related transfer of economic and above all political power from the Atlantic community towards Asia-Pacific. The crisis, in turn, is seen as marking the end of that shift in the economic and political centres of gravity.


1 The authors would like to thank Jonathan Aronson, Stephan Haggard, Stuart Harris, Michael Leifer, and Robert Wade, together with the editors of this Special Issue, for valuable comments on an earlier draft.