Regional Lab: Adapting development models to geoeconomic disruption

Guided by innovative methodologies, members and friends of the FES Asia Strategic Foresight Group discussed how Asian economies and societies can best adapt to geopolitically driven paradigm shifts in the world and regional economy.

It's undeniable that geopolitical competition has driven geoeconomic disruptions across the world and particularly in Asia. What was theorized has started to play out in different forms. Whether these are the politicization of market entry, or the weaponization of technology and finance. Economic levers have become tools and objectives of geopolitics. Facilitated by the spread of digital automation, industrial powers have begun to near and friend-shore their supply chains. Distinctly, the two large powers have started to shore up their domestic markets and industries with China using the Dual Circulation Economy route and the United States through what is variously termed as Bidenomics or interventions such as the Inflation Reduction Act.

The Regional Lab in Bangkok has wrapped up with the multi-disciplinary expert groups from all around Asia and just to name a few; Bangladesh, Pakistan, Australia, Japan, India, Malaysia, Nepal, Thailand and etc who convened to identify how geopolitical competition and geoeconomic disruptions impact on their countries. Invariably, all scenario building exercises have triggered a wider debate on how these countries adapt their overall strategies and in particular their development models to the changing strategic environments.

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Geoeconomic challenge, disruptions and the people

Watch our video series where each thought leader talks deep about geoeconomic challenges, disruptions and the impact they have upon their respective countries and the people.


According to Dr. Happymon Jacob, an Associate Professor of Diplomacy and Disarmament at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University and the Founder Director of the Council for Strategic and Defense Research, geopolitical and geoeconomic disruptions have started to pressure India to make choices and choose sides. Dr. Jacob is also an elected member of the Pugwash Council since 2013.


Professor Kim Heungchong from the Graduate School of International Studies, Korea University, who is also an advisory board member of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy of ROK, and a member of Korea-Russia Dialogue discussed how growing tensions between China and USA are pushing Korea’s semiconductor industries into a difficult situation.


Dr. Minendra Rijal, Chairperson of Apex College and a member of Central Working Committee of Nepali Congress discussed how geopolitical and geoeconomic megatrends are taking a toll on a mountainous country like Nepal. He talked further deeper about geoeconomic challenges especially in terms of climate change, disruptions and the pressure to choose sides and the impact they have upon the people of Nepal.


Robert Walker, a Research Associate at the Lowy Institute who works as an economist in the Institute’s Indo-Pacific Development Centre talks deep about geoeconomic challenges, disruptions and the impact they have upon Australia and its people.


Shihoko Goto, the Director of the Asia Program and Director for Geoeconomics and Indo-Pacific enterprise at the Wilson Center, a Washington DC based think tank chartered by the US Congress rolled a conversation on the table articulating how geopolitical competition has driven geoeconomic disruptions across the world and in the Asia region. What was theorized has started to play out in different forms.


Sri Suparin S. Sudarman, a senior lecturer at International Relations Studies Department Faculty of Social and Political Sciences Universitas Indonesia, had pinpointed her concerns on inequality and the overall situation of supply chain of food and energy that would affect the people of Indonesia while Jakarta government has the ambitions to seek for good relations with both China and the United States for economic development. The challenge, though, remains for them to balance the act between major powers.


Dr. Thitinan Pongsudhirak is a Professor of International Relations at Chulalongkorn University’s faculty of political science and Senior Fellow at its Institute of Security and International Studies in Bangkok. He highlighted in the interview that Thailand, if it heavily relies of cheap labor for its industries, that would create more risks. Thailand cannot be addicted to the influx of cheap labor but why?


Dr. Yeo Lay Hwee, Director of the European Union Centre in Singapore articulated that the nation which is a city state; the only one in Southeast Asia, that relies pretty much on a free-trade economy to survive. Geopolitical tensions between the superpowers are thus creating a tremendous cost to Singapore which does not want to get caught in such a bind. Dr. Yeo Lay Hwee is also Council Secretary at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs.

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