Flying geese paradigm

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The flying geese paradigm is a view of Japanese scholars upon the technological development in Southeast Asia viewing Japan as a leading power. It was developed in the 1930s, but gained wider popularity in the 1960s after its author Kaname Akamatsu published his ideas in the Journal of Developing Economies.

Akamatsu’s third flying geese paradigm[edit]

Akamatsu’s third flying geese paradigm is a model for international division of labor in East Asia based on dynamic comparative advantage. The paradigm postulated that Asian nations will catch up with the West as a part of a regional hierarchy where the production of commoditized goods would continuously move from the more advanced countries to the less advanced ones. The underdeveloped nations in the region could be considered to be "aligned successively behind the advanced industrial nations in the order of their different stages of growth in a wild-geese-flying pattern."[1] The lead goose in this pattern is Japan itself, the second-tier of nations consisted of the newly industrializing economies (South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong). After these two groups come the main ASEAN countries: Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia. Finally the least developed major nations in the region: China, Vietnam, Philippines etc. make up the rear guard in the formation.[2]

The main driver in the model is the "leader's imperative for internal restructuring"[3] due to increasing labor costs. As the comparative advantages (on a global scale) of the "lead goose" causes it to shift further and further away from labor-intensive production to more capital-intensive activities it sheds its low-productivity production to nations further down in the hierarchy in a pattern that then reproduces itself between the countries in the lower tiers. The impulse for development always comes from the top tier causing many to label the FGP a top-down model.[4] The FGP has proved to be a useful tool when describing the regional production patterns in East Asia as industries such as the textile industry has left not only Japan – the most advanced East Asian nation – but also, at a later point, South Korea and Taiwan etc. These second tier nations have now firmly established themselves in for instance the automotive industry and are now beginning to shift to the even more advanced production of microcomputers and the like.

The vehicle for technology transfer is where Akamatsu’s framework is least developed. He does however suggest that the demonstration effect of international trade plays an important part as well as the "animal spirit of the entrepreneurs" in developing countries. More recently, modified versions of the FGP – such as the one presented in Ozawa (1995) – stress the importance of transnational firms in this area.[5]

Regarding the internal order of nations within the model, Akamatsu did not consider the relative positions to be permanently fixed but could rather be seen as inherently unstable. This idea is most likely connected to the memories of the Japanese development in the late 19th century when it catapulted itself from a technological backwater to a mature industrial powerhouse. Other scholars, however, have emphasized the stability and harmony of the clustered growth envisaged in the FGP implying it would be difficult for a nation to shift from one tier to another.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ozawa, T. (2005), 9
  2. ^ Kasahara S. (2004), 2–13
  3. ^ Kasahara S. (2004), 10
  4. ^ Kasahara S. (2004), 9–10
  5. ^ Kasahara S. (2004), 12
  6. ^ Kasahara S. (2004), 12–13

Bibliography[edit]

  • Akamatsu K.(1962): A historical pattern of economic growth in developing countries. Journal of Developing Economies, 1(1):3–25, March–August.
  • Kasahara S. (2004): The Flying Geese Paradigm: A Critical study of Its Application to East Asian Regional Development, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Discussion Paper # 169, April.
  • Ozawa, T. (2005): Institutions, Industrial Upgrading, and Economic Performance in Japan – The ‘Flying-Geese Paradigm of Catch-up Growth. Northampton, Massachusetts: Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Terry, E. (2002): How Asia got Rich –Japan, China, and the Asian Miracle. Armonk, New York: M.E. Sharp Publishing.