Book Forum: Connected Worlds: The future of asian capitalism by Simon Commander
BOOK FORUM: ‘The Connections World: The future of asian capitalism’,
Summary of the exciting book forum: Is Asia overrated, in which Simon Commander’s book “The Connections World: The future of Asian capitalism” was discussed. This event brought together leading economic and political experts, including Miguel Sebastián, former Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism between 2008 and 2011, economic advisor to the think tank, and Simon Commander, economist, managing partner of Altura Partner, professor at IE Business School and Cambridge University, as well as author of the book in question.
The first part of the event was devoted to an exciting debate between Commander and Sebastián, focusing on the concept of “oligarchic capitalism” that has driven the economic growth of Asia-Pacific countries in recent decades. As the British economist explained, this system is based on the relationships between governments and large business groups, as well as on the business networks woven between the latter, which are mostly family-based.
As for the future, Commander emphasised the weaknesses of this model, with the lack of innovation being its main weakness for the region’s growth. According to Commander, “there is a significant gap with the United States and the Western world, reflected in the number of patents granted, among other things. Asia is innovating, but not enough to make progress. In fact, “in China, only one third of the patents applied for are granted, while in the US the percentage is 60%”.
In addition, Commander also highlighted the importance of “creative destruction”, a concept that addresses Asian countries’ protectionism in the area of ideas and knowledge. Other challenges that Asia must face in order to maintain its growth include low productivity, the high level of the informal economy and the duality of the labour market.
On this point, Miguel Sebastián pointed out that “patents are not what is relevant, what is really important is the volume of exports, and China accounts for 30% of the world total. It has gone from copying to innovating”.
This book forum organised by the Gate Center provided a valuable space to analyse and reflect on the future of Asian capitalism and the challenges ahead. The exchange of ideas between Simon Commander and Miguel Sebastian, with their complementary perspectives and knowledge, further enriched the debate.
The debate between Simon Commander and Miguel Sebastian was followed by a panel discussion, with the participation of Águeda Parra, an analyst of China’s geopolitical and technological environment. Founder and editor of ChinaGeoTech and author of the book ‘China, the routes of power’.