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The topic of this volume, "Asian Studies in the Age of Globalization." directly points to two issues which I wish to discuss. Our title reflects these: first, Asian studies as an aspect of the academic study of foreign areas or area studies ; and, second, the increasingly rapid golbalization of enconomics, politics and even cultrual patterns and developments in this century.
From a historical perspective, the central concern for industrializers was how to establish and promote the national economy. This meant the protection of strategic but infant industries from foreign competition and nurture them to be competitive.
In China, a new management system called the "household responsibility system" was introduced and the commune was dissolved in the early 1980s. When independent family farms were revived, reforms in agricultural market were developed simultaneously. The policy measures of direct control, such as the planned or compulsory procurement and supply system, have been crowded out since mid-1980s. On the contrary, the former Soviet republics have had many difficulties in agricultural reform. Since 1990, reformers were in favor of re-establishing private farms. However, by late 1994, the number of private farms have actually started declining as farmers abandoned their land. Moreover, the marketing of agricultural products is still predominantly in the hands of the states. Since 1978, China's grain production has increased at a much faster rate than before. Production of other crops and animal husbandry products rose by even larger margins. Grain production stagnated during 1985-88, but livestock and many other crops continued to do well after 1985. On the other hand, production of most crops-including grain, cotton, and edible oils-dropped as the USSR was disintegrated. Radical reformers wanted the market-induced downsizing of the inefficient livestock sector. Animal inventories and livestock product output have fallen markedly since 1990. China's agricultural trade surpluses increased rapidly in the mid-1980s, however, theses surpluses gradually declined in the latter half of the decade. But due to a succession of good harvests since 1989, the agricultural surpluses increased again. China's grain exports consist mostly of corn and rice, the importance of which have risen. Simultaneously, a significant decline in the relative importance of livestock product exports has occurred. On the other hand, the former USSR imported less grain, including inter-republic trade, because of significant decreases in demand for feed use. With a reduced consumer demand for meat, decreased subsidies for meat imports, and growing tariffs on meat imports, total meat imports in the former USSR have declined. There was no unique relationship between prices paid and quantity supplied in the pre-reform socialist economy. Soviet procurement prices after Stalin's death were higher than the shadow equilibrium price, while China assigned low prices according to the classical Stalinist policy pattern from 1949 until 1978. In China's case, institutional reforms may shift the supply curve outwardly and increase agricultural exports. However, the demand curve's shift by improved domestic demand could offset increases in exports. In the former USSR, both the supply curve and the demand curve are defined by inward shifts. Reduced consumer demand for livestock products relative to other foods, resulting in a decrease of grain import demand. Concerning the reasons for the distinct model of economic transition in China and the former USSR, we paid particular attention to Pei(1994) who focused on their different degrees of industrialization and different agrarian structures. North Korea's level of industrialization is not higher than the former USSR, but perhaps higher than China. In the future, North Korea's larger urban populations and higher non-agricultural employment will make her transition much more difficult than China's. North Korea has a bigger state sector than China, and her degree of socialization is certainly lower than the USSR. If North Korea's state farms are to be reformed, the losers will likely be strongly oppose to reforms.
By way of concluding remarks, let me touch briefly on religious revivalism in the contemporary world as a mode of social change. Its expressions range from desecularization to fundamentalism. While in Latin America Jesus and Marx work hand in hand, as it were, in the form of 'liberation theology', in eastern Europe the Catholic church has been a major factor in the retreat of Marxism as a theory of society and state. Christmas is now a big event in Moscow and Beijing just as it has always been in London and New York. The Lranian Revolution signalled in 1979 that religious authority could be used in unprecedented ways to restructure society through the capture of state power. Fundamentalist movements today stalk the world and they are very much a part of the South Asian scene. Although not all fundamentalist movements are exactly the same, they do share a family resemblance.