Guide Zero (Transformations Series on Geopolitics Book 18)

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Introduction

For those looking for the optimistic take on Asian studies, this collection is likely to be welcomed. This book explores the interconnection between geopolitical context and the ways this context frames our knowledge about Asia, highlighting previously neglected cause—effect relations. It also examines how various knowledge institutions promote and shape Asian Studies. The authors seek to explain why Asian Studies and its subfields developed in the way they did, and what the implications of these transformations might be on intellectual and political understandings of Asia.

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The book not only builds on the current debates on the decolonization and de-imperialization of knowledge about Asia; it also proposes a more multifaceted view rather than just examining the impact of the West on the framing of Asian Studies. This book takes a critical view of these developments by going beyond the geopolitical backdrop, contextualising Asian studies in terms of its colonial and Orientalist roots, and bringing attention to the critical reactions to these problems of knowledge production.

The book is unique in that it not only looks at Asian studies in the West, but also examines the field in the former Soviet Union as well as within the Asian centres of research. Professor, Department of Sociology. Anyone determined to move beyond pedagogical categories must engage with this transnational project. Professor, National Taiwan University. PDF is available. In France, the second-largest country of the eurozone, a zero growth rate indicated a disappointing economic development.

In light of the latest economic data, the French government felt compelled to lower its growth prognosis by half, i. French GDP will only grow by 0. The growth stagnation in the currency union endures and the danger for the region to slide into yet another recession period grows. This would be the third time within six years; after the double dip, we might yet experience a triple dip.

Fifthly : in this, the seventh year after the financial crisis, Germany also continues to struggle with the changed economic structures. There is no sign of a strong, sustainable upturn; the German economy has slowed down significantly at the mid-year point. German GDP contracted by 0. At least the core economies were expected to experience a strong upturn which — due to excessive demand — would even lead to a shortage of economic capacity in Looking back on the past years, the way the economy has developed cannot be explained with well-established economic theories, which are based on a continuous cycle of economic boom and bust.

The Federal Reserve has now overestimated the US growth rate for the fifth consecutive year — not just by a little, but by a large margin. However, the FED still clings to its hopes for a sustainable economic upturn and for the US-American economy to return to robust growth rates see fig.

Since , the global economy has been in a continuous state of stagnation. The truth is that during a period of stagnation, we do see some slight changes; the growth rate, however, is below the historical trend and will remain at this low level unless structural changes are implemented. The EU, in particular, has not managed to make any progress in combatting the crisis; overall, economic performance remains below the pre-crisis level. Unemployment rates are depressingly high in the European crisis countries, and the competitiveness of the latter has not improved, despite the widely-applied austerity policies that hoped to achieve this aim.

Although most countries have experienced a significant break in the economic trend in terms of the development of unit labour costs — which is the stipulated goal of competition policies — these changes in labour costs are not sufficient enough to strengthen the position of those countries on the international market fig. In the first quarter of , the government debt ratio increased in the EU as well as in the eurozone.


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The EU 28 registered an increase from Once more, Greece boasted the highest government debt ratio At the same time, the investment positions of surplus countries such as Germany and the Netherlands have continuously improved. As such, imbalances keep growing which is why the IMF advocates boosting demand. In Europe, countries such as France and Italy have been demanding a reorientation of policies towards greater growth and flexibility. Thus, we may still be some way off actually seeing an economic upturn within the eurozone.

In May, companies reduced their production rate by 1. Portugal saw the strongest slump In Germany, production was down by an unusually large margin of For the current year, the IMF predicts economic growth of 1.

Geopolitics

The average industrial production rate of the EU and the eurozone has not yet reached the pre-crisis level. In comparison to US data, the backlog is especially obvious fig. The large gap that has opened up between the big economies is especially worrying. With its strong growth rates, the British economy is outdoing every country in the eurozone.

Between April and June it grew by 0. In comparison to the previous year, British GDP even grew by 3. Changes in the British economy began to appear when the property sector started to change. This means that public funds are used as mortgages and collateral for home buyers. In the months after this programme was announced, house prices changed significantly and the economic growth rate increased.

A much hoped for process of economic reweighting — including areas of international trade — did not come to pass. Instead, soaring house prices have given rise to fears of a new asset price bubble, and British employee incomes are still curbed by sluggish wage growth which does not keep up with the level of inflation. As a result of decisions taken at a political level, the British economic cycle is subject to the very same forces which led the country into its current crisis: debt-financed consumption and a property boom; the provision of subsidies for mortgages instead of attempts to tackle structural weaknesses and imbalances.

The current account balance is chronically negative; imbalances between the regions have intensified. Although 1. The budget consolidation process is barely progressing.

While Great Britain is experiencing an economic boom, despite not having taken any steps to tackle its underlying problems, France and Italy continue to lose ground. Both EU member states seem to be making little progress with regard to the implementation of reforms they claimed would boost productivity and employment. Elsewhere growth prognoses for Spain were raised to 1. Matteo Renzi, the Italian prime minister, has been using his political capital to enforce changes to fiscal rules which would make it possible for Italy to borrow more money for higher investments.

Since then he has achieved very little, and has extended this term to 1, days. Extensive reforms of public administration, the legal system, public expenses and the labour market have been announced, but little is known about the details and a clear time frame has yet to be defined. Alongside Italy, the other country in the throes of economic woe is France. Here, the private business sector contracted in June for the second consecutive month. The manufacturing industries, as well as the service sector, are struggling, with the number of orders falling.

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The purchasing manager index which measures the mood amongst managers of large companies using surveys for the French industry stands at Therefore, unemployment is steadily spreading and no stabilisation is in sight. Cautious estimates predict the curve to flatten at the end of at the earliest; a real reduction can only be expected at the end of In April the number of registered fully unemployed people in France had increased by 0.

The situation in March, when only 1, newly unemployed people were registered, has proven to be misleading. Not even the government, which, after two years in office, is facing an almost insurmountable chaos of issues, was surprised by this development. Since then, the number of fully unemployed people has increased by , France is on the dangerous road to becoming accustomed to mass unemployment.

By the end of April 4. With a total population of 66 m, including French overseas territories, the overall number of unemployed amounts to 5.

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It is obvious that a majority has also indirectly been affected by the labour market crisis — through their families, a reduced number of entry-level job offers, difficulties when changing jobs, fear of job loss etc. These are also the reasons behind widespread social unrest. Current economic data increasingly confirm the suggestion that France is not on the path towards turning its economy around. Unemployment in the eurozone has decreased to Thus, in the 18 countries of the eurozone, approximately The unemployment rates of the euro countries are substantially different.

Whereas Austria boasts a rate of 4. The situation regarding youth unemployment has improved slightly: standing at The announcement two years ago that, if necessary, the ECB would buy government bonds from those countries hit by the crisis, has led to the ECB now having more room for manoeuvre. On the one hand, the bank balances at the ECB have shrunk over the past years to as little as EUR 17 bn, which is the figure given today fig.

On the other, more and more doubts are being raised about the proposition that greedy banks are solely to be blamed for declining volumes of credit.


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Moreover, it is increasingly the case that people and companies are eschewing loans in favour of paying off their debt. Due to escalating unemployment and centrally managed austerity measures, purchasing power is decreasing in many countries.

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Why should an Italian, Spanish or Portuguese company or member of the middle class take out a loan in order to expand his or her business if there are no prospects for business expansion? This included, amongst others, a negative deposit rate and specific long-term loans to banks. By doing so, he aims to tackle high unemployment rates in the eurozone which are the result of the stagnation period the continent has endured over the past years.

The ECB is currently witnessing a period of extremely low inflation, but sees no risk of an increased deflationary pressure within the eurozone fig. And such low inflation means facing the increased risk of having no buffers left should the European economy be hit once more by an unpredicted external shock. The ECB has opened the floodgates for the continued easing of monetary policies, not only by enabling negative interest rates and introducing targeted liquidity measures to improve loan conditions for small and medium-sized enterprises, but also by taking preparatory measures for further unconventional actions.

It is to be expected that the ECB will stay quiet while fears of a debt crisis remain restrained and the organisation awaits the results of a stress test for banks to be announced at the end of October. Instead of building confidence, this test could cause further distrust. Further expansive steps would be necessary should price increases continue to be in decline. A lowering of expectations with regard to inflation can be taken as evidence of sluggish growth in the eurozone and further increase the pressure the euro is facing.

Reaching a new annual low would open the doors to greater depreciation of the euro within the present slow currency fluctuation process. For this reason, the ECB has recently lowered the base rate further and established a negative deposit rate of interest. ECB measures ensure that banks are generously provided with loans, but the credit institutions do not pass these funds on to companies.