Publication Date

October 2006

Publication Details

Sanidas, E, The Long Term Fate of Korea and Other “Small” Economies in East Asia: Economic Development, Integration Issues, and Political Power, Working Paper 06-24, Department of Economics, University of Wollongong, 2006.


In this paper it is argued that Korea and other countries in East Asia like Korea have a particular fate quite predictable in the long run in terms of economic growth and political dependency unless economic integration takes place in a particular direction. Thus the presence of the potentially giant China makes things “difficult” for “Korean” countries (e.g Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, and even Japan). This fate is not coloured with optimism unless some measures are taken that ensure a particular way of integration in East Asia. It is not unique that a giant economy is the centre of economic activities for the wider region. Unlike the European Union which does not contain any giant member in its process of integration, the USA could be the closest good example of how neighbouring countries have evolved next to this giant. In East Asia the situation is not similar to that of the USA at the moment, but in this paper there is a set of propositions and arguments that predict the fate of “Korean” economies next to a potentially giant China. Several methods will be used to demonstrate the validity of these propositions (mathematical model, cluster and scale analyses, and so on). Various strategies will be examined in the context of the propositions. It will be demonstrated that the short term and long term strategies that countries such as Korea and Thailand in isolation might have to follow are not necessarily consistent unless an overall strategy of regional integration takes place.