The United States and East Asia in an age of financialization

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Abstract:

This article starts from Peter Gowan's notion of a Dollar-Wall Street Regime (DWSR) characterized by financial deregulation, the dollar as the world's currency, large international capital flows, and frequent financial crises. The author argues that the DWSR has relied on a special economic relationship between the United States and East Asia, characterized by large East Asian trade and current account surpluses with the United States and the investment of East Asian dollar holdings in U.S. capital markets. For some time both parties benefited from this relationship, but eventually it gave rise to financial crises in East Asia. Thus, Japan's financial crisis around 1990 and the 1997/98 East Asian financial crisis are both related to economic over-accumulation caused by the buildup of currency reserves through trade with the United States. Attempts at East Asian monetary integration since 1997 are viewed as a potential challenge to the DWSR. These attempts have however been blocked or rendered harmless by regional divisions as well as by U.S. resistance. While an East Asian political challenge to theDWSRis unlikely for the time being, the special U.S.-East Asian economic relationship may become substantially weakened by the growing problems of the U.S. economy.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1467271052000305296

Publication date: March 1, 2005

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