Social Scientist. v 5, no. 52 (Nov 1976) p. 82.


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BOOK REVIEW

T N SINDHWANI, ECONOMIC FEASIBILITY OF AN ASIAN COMMON MARKET, A STUDY OF THE ESGAP REGION, Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi 1975, 230 pp. Rs 50.

FOR ANY serious discussion dealing with the complex processes of integration, especially among developing countries, it is essential that a distinction be drawn between the content of economic integration and its outward superficial appearance. This is so not for the simple reason that the integrating countries do not all belong to a given socioeconomic system, each country being rather circumscribed by specific features and trends produced by the concrete historical conditions of its development. Most discussions regarding economic integration which rely on quantitative indices (such as per capita income, industrial production, or exports) alone, have implicit in them a particular view of economic development which totally ignores qualitative aspects: the possibilities of popular participation in meaningful economic activity organized for the satisfaction of the material needs of not a few, but all citizens.

Sindhwani's quantitative study of the economic feasibility of an Asian common market for the region covered by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESGAP) starts with the observation: ^A viable political unit of yesterday may have to compromise its political ambitions due to economic necessity and dependence on other countries for raw materials and/or market for its finished products."

The introduction deals with a historical background of the free trade movement delineating the transition from the phase of economic nationalism in which each country pursued the ee mirage of self-sufficiency" to one in which the principle of international division of labour and specialization on the basis of favourable factor endowments assumed sway. ^One of the main reasons for the early and easy adoption of liberal economic policies in Great Britain was the fact that England was the



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