Few observers today doubt that the last three decades have seen a dramatic shift eastwards in the world’s economic center. But profound uncertainty surrounds the significance of that event. At the same time the advanced Western economies continue to confront steep economic turmoil, made ever more apparent following the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.
This course evaluates what is known about the Great Shift East and the potential decline of the west. Has the rise of the East, driven by China, unbalanced the global financial system, with the East attaining the clout to be culpable but not the maturity to be responsible? Sure, the rise of the East has helped stabilize the global economy and has lifted out of deepest poverty hundreds of millions of human beings: Yet many observers continue to yearn for an earlier world order involving US unipolarity and global hegemony, even if that world order is one where the interests of the entire world and those of the global hegemon do not always perfectly align. Scepticism abounds on sustainability: Have the last 30 years been an aberration, or has the East built the political and technological systems needed to maintain growth? Has the East only grown because the West provided the consumption-driven engine of growth? Is the East now caught in a middle-income trap? Does the East need to become more like the West? And, finally, regardless whether political legitimacy and economic sustainability obtain only with Western-style democracy, will continuing democratization of the world, paradoxically, be blocked by the democratic publics of the West? On this last question, if China and the rest of the East fail, we will never find out the answer.
Full course outline [PDF]
About the instructor
Professor Danny Quah is Kuwait Professor of Economics and International Development at LSE, Senior Fellow at LSE IDEAS, Academic Director of the LSE Executive Summer School, and Chair of the Board of the LSE-PKU Summer School Board. He is Tan Chin Tuan Visiting Professor in the Economics Department at the National University of Singapore.
In 2006–2009 Quah served as the Head of Department for Economics at LSE; in 2009-2011 he served as Council Member on Malaysia's National Economic Advisory Council. He is currently on the Editorial Boards of East Asian Policy, Journal of Economic Growth, and Global Policy, and on the Advisory Board of OMFIF Education.
For further information, please see Professor Quah's LSE Experts Profile or his Department of Economics website.