Article Title

Asia Pacific Perspectives Vol. 1 No. 1, Spring 2001

Document Type

Full Issue



To Change China: A Tale of Three Reformers by Greg Anderson

The cyclical rising and falling of historical Chinese dynasties has often been punctuated by the emergence of reformers who attempted to bring about improvements and to set the nation on what they believed to be the correct course. This paper examines the lives, motivations, reform programs, and results achieved by three such reformers – Wang Mang of the Han, Wang Anshi of the Song and Zhang Juzheng of the Ming – in an effort to understand the conditions that drove them to reform, and to draw lessons for modern day reformers in the People’s Republic of China. Wang Mang is judged to be a nearly complete failure as his reforms were based almost solely on nostalgia for a return to the idealized Zhou era, rather than on solutions to specific problems. Wang Anshi and Zhang Juzheng were more successful in addressing specific problems, though neither made an effort to gain support for their reforms from the bureaucracy. Wang Anshi was the most successful of the three as his reforms were not only far-reaching and integrated, but they also included an important self-sustaining component that, were it not for the downfall of the Northern Song, could have led to more permanent changes.

Buddhist Perspectives on Contemporary Ethical Issues Regarding Life and Death by Alison Burke

How do our cultural views affect our decisions on such controversial issues as abortion, capital punishment, and euthanasia? And what effect would Buddhist perspectives have on the surrounding arguments? Assuming Buddhism brings awareness to the fruits of compassion, material detachment, and the theory of mutual co-existence, in what capacity would this awareness influence the issues at hand? This paper focuses on controversial, contemporary medical issues affecting and affected by the modern world. Our understanding of what life in the face of death stands for is largely dictated by the culture in which we live. In this paper I seek to incorporate Buddhist viewpoints regarding the issue of life: bringing it into and keeping it in the world, and taking it away from others.

Globalized Chinese Capital in Central America by Amy L. Freedman and Ethel C. Brooks

This paper links two areas of scholarly interest: it examines globalization of capital by looking at Asian investment in Central America; and it addresses ethnic elements of migration. Our research illustrates how these two phenomena are intrinsically related. Using the example of Chinese-owned (and managed)textile factories in El Salvador and Honduras, the paper highlights both a dramatic shift in Chinese immigrants’ status in Latin America, and it furthers our understanding of the political economy of capitalist restructuring. Chinese migration and Chinese investment are intrinsically linked to the globalization of capital. This has implications for how Chinese immigrants are perceived in their adopted countries and it impacts the economic and social conditions of factory workers. Most factory workers are Salvadoran, not fellow Chinese as was the case 100 years ago. Despite a shift from a time when impoverished Chinese workers were consigned to the lowest rungs of the social ladder, to Chinese as owners of capital, ethnic Chinese are still viewed derogatorily. They are stereotyped as crafty, greedy, and culturally distinct from the native population. Ultimately this paper aims to show how globalization is linked to issues of race, class, and gender.

Sony's Morita: A Visionary Leader by Richard J. Lambert

Sony has become one of the world’s most recognizable names since its inception in the war torn rubble of 1946 Japan. Akio Morita, 15th generation son of a sake brewer, gave up a post war privileged life to break with the past and spearhead the effort to build Sony. He did so through personal passion combining traditional Japanese personality with aggressive international business acumen, setting the standard for post war corporate development that resulted in a hybrid method of Sony corporate management that operated to please the will of Akio Morita. The paper explores a sequence of events unique in corporate Japan, which if examined separately would have contributed to the development of a good company, but when administered in sequence under the visionary leadership of Morita culminated in Sony. Morita is seen at the center of Sony’s major decisions, which he orchestrated based on his conviction of capacity of Sony to realize product synergy from their diverse resources. Morita always felt that Sony could develop and exploit the technology of the future, with Morita's success often coming from his ability to apparently see what the future would bring. Morita certainly broke with the previous concrete like management style, The visionary leadership he demonstrated should be held as an example not only for business Japan, but as an illustration of what a leader can be for the whole of Japanese society. The vitality of Japan's future into the 21st century depends on the society being able to produce more men like him.

Vatican City and the Forbidden City, St. Peter's Square and Tiananmen Square: A Comparative Analysis by Lauren Mallas

Architecture reflects the political, social, and religious forces at work within the society out of which it has evolved. Both the Vatican City in Rome, with Basilica and Piazza San Pietro, and the Forbidden City in Beijing, with Tiananmen Square reflect this principle; both were built by powerful autocrats as large-scale capital cities superimposed on the ruins of previous regimes, and both embody universal world views in the form of microcosms deliberately and clearly set off from the mundane world around them. There are also important differences between the two complexes, differences that grow out of the particular cultural and historical milieus out of which each has emerged, and which continue to play themselves out in the contemporary context.

Globalization and Economic Crises in Emerging Countries by Rolf Màrio Treuherz

Any country emerging from whatever state of development into the tumult of the global economy can expect to be jolted by the experience. Some observers have claimed that the economic crises suffered by some such countries from the mid-90s onward can be attributed to the effects of globalization and the unique demands it places on national economic policy makers and economic actors. This paper will examine the course of economic crises in nine countries on four continents, tracing the existing circumstances, the challenges presented by the crises, and government responses in each case. A concluding section rates each country’s experience according to a set of ‘prerequisites’ for successful integration into the global economy.