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OECD and Asia: I
Wednesday, 30 March 2011 05:02

OECD and Asia: Worlds Apart in Today's Globalization

The OECD is sometimes referred to as the "hub of globalization", and yet it only counts two members from Asia, the region which is clearly the driver of 21st century globalization. 

This is the introduction to a series of articles on the OECD and Asia which seeks to understand why this is the case, and encourages a rapprochement between these two important actors on the global stage.

 

When the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was created half a century ago in 1961, its members accounted for the lion’s share of the world economy and that remained the case for almost three decades.  Major international developments occurred from the late 1980s like: the end of the Cold War; and the return of stability, open markets and democracy to Latin America.  But the OECD countries' global economic predominance was only really challenged by the rise of East Asia through its export-oriented growth strategies.

The OECD responded to all these developments by inviting countries to join the Organisation and participate in outreach activities.  But what is striking in this opening of the OECD membership is the lack of visible presence of Asia and a growing “eurocentricity”.  The OECD's membership has grown by 10 countries (to 34) over the past 17 years, but only one of these new members (Korea) comes from Asia.  Based on current trends, the OECD seems condemned to represent an ever declining share of the world economy.  

   

As the OECD enters its second half century, it is very much at a crossroads.  This paper argues that for the OECD to be more effective and legitimate player in global governance, it needs to make a major and immediate effort to recruit major Asian countries as members, even if it means adopting a more flexible approach to membership criteria and adapting the organisation.  While Asia’s leading economies would have much to gain from joining the OECD and accepting and committing to the Organisation’s policy standards, the OECD has to recognize that the global financial crisis has brought the “Western brand” (which the OECD represents) into serious disrepute.  This underlines the argument for greater flexibility with respect to membership criteria.

 

As major beneficiaries of globalization, Asia’s leading economies arguably have a responsibility to adopt more of the OECD’s values-based culture in terms of good governance and transparency.  Just as importantly Asia can contribute to this organizational culture which has always evolved and needs to evolve further.  This would ultimately be beneficial to them and the global economy, and they would thereby become more responsible stakeholders in the global system.

 

Complete Series of Articles

 

OECD and Asia:I -- World’s Apart in Today’s Globalization

http://www.mrglobalization.com/governing-globalisation/306-oecd-and-asiai

OECD and Asia: Introduction

http://www.mrglobalization.com/governing-globalisation/305-oecd-and-asiaii

Asia and the Evolving Logic of OECD Membership

http://www.mrglobalization.com/governing-globalisation/304-oecd-and-asia-iii

Non-member partnerships with Asia

http://www.mrglobalization.com/governing-globalisation/303-oecd-and-asia-iv

Why Asia Matters to the OECD

http://www.mrglobalization.com/governing-globalisation/302-oecd-and-asia-v

Adapting the OECD to Asian-led globalisation

http://www.mrglobalization.com/governing-globalisation/301-oecd-and-asia-vi

Asia in the OECD

http://www.mrglobalization.com/governing-globalisation/300-oecd-and-asia-vii

Concluding Comments

http://www.mrglobalization.com/governing-globalisation/299-oecd-and-asia-viii

 

 

 

 


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