Economic Development and Asian Regional Cooperation

Publication Year : 1962

The Seminar on Asian Trade was convened by the institute of Development Economics, Karachi, to discuss certain economic problems which, to a great or less degree, are common to Asian countries and to consider possible methods of economic cooperation among them. There were 25 members from 15 nations, all of which, apart from that of the “Observer”, were Asian. Twenty-two papers were presented. The purpose of this preliminary report is to give an account of some of the salient ideas that were put forward. The “Observer” may perhaps be allowed to take this opportunity of recording his impression of the very high quality of the discussions, in respect of their intellectual acumen and brilliance and of the sound grasp of fundamental economic theory manifested by the participants. He does not recall attending any Seminar that out-classed this one in these respects. Thus, the non-Asian countries, which should be seeking a deeper understanding of Asian problems and be giving thought as to how to shape their own policies in the spirit of cooperation, on the basis of the mutual interdependence of prosperity in the world as a whole, may have confidence that, at the top level, there is economic thinking of the highest quality in a number of Asian countries. It does not follow that there is at present a sufficient amount of economic competence at any level. Attention will be drawn later to the urgent need for these countries to build up at the quickest possible rate the number of technologists and other professionally well-qualified classes; not less important is the need to increase the number of those competent in economics, especially as the situation urgently requires a greater amount of economic planning, which is in fact in progress, than may be needed in the more advanced countries.

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