An RSAA panel discussion with Simon Commander, Saul Estrin and Vasuki Shastry.
A central feature of modern Asia is the web of close relationships running between and within business and politics: the connections world. These networks facilitate highly transactional interactions yielding significant reciprocal benefits. Although the connections world has not yet seriously impeded Asia’s economic renaissance, it comes with significant costs and fallibilities.
Saul Estrin and Simon Commander have argued in their book The Connections World: the future of Asian capitalism, that if Asia’s claim to the 21st century is not to be derailed, major changes must be made to policy and behaviour to promote more sustainable economic and political systems.
Vasuki Shastry, who spoke to the RSAA last year, sees similar problems. As he set out in his book Has Asia Lost It?, “the growth engine is carrying a train which is filled with self-satisfied elites,” while hundreds of millions of have-nots are “stranded on the platform unable to get in”.