The Asian Mediterranean: Port Cities and Trading Networks in China, Japan and South Asia, 13th-21st Century

Edward Elgar Publishing
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This insightful book draws upon a wide range of disciplines – political economy, geography and international relations – to examine how Asia has returned to its central position in the world economy.

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Edward Elgar Publishing
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Published on
Jan 1, 2011
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Business & Economics / Commerce
Business & Economics / Economic History
Business & Economics / Urban & Regional
History / Asia / China
Political Science / Public Policy / Economic Policy
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Eligible for Family Library

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In April 1956, a refitted oil tanker carried fifty-eight shipping containers from Newark to Houston. From that modest beginning, container shipping developed into a huge industry that made the boom in global trade possible. The Box tells the dramatic story of the container's creation, the decade of struggle before it was widely adopted, and the sweeping economic consequences of the sharp fall in transportation costs that containerization brought about.

But the container didn't just happen. Its adoption required huge sums of money, both from private investors and from ports that aspired to be on the leading edge of a new technology. It required years of high-stakes bargaining with two of the titans of organized labor, Harry Bridges and Teddy Gleason, as well as delicate negotiations on standards that made it possible for almost any container to travel on any truck or train or ship. Ultimately, it took McLean's success in supplying U.S. forces in Vietnam to persuade the world of the container's potential.

Drawing on previously neglected sources, economist Marc Levinson shows how the container transformed economic geography, devastating traditional ports such as New York and London and fueling the growth of previously obscure ones, such as Oakland. By making shipping so cheap that industry could locate factories far from its customers, the container paved the way for Asia to become the world's workshop and brought consumers a previously unimaginable variety of low-cost products from around the globe.

Published in hardcover on the fiftieth anniversary of the first container voyage, this is the first comprehensive history of the shipping container. Now with a new chapter, The Box tells the dramatic story of how the drive and imagination of an iconoclastic entrepreneur turned containerization from an impractical idea into a phenomenon that transformed economic geography, slashed transportation costs, and made the boom in global trade possible.


An epic, riveting history of New York City on the edge of disaster—and an anatomy of the austerity politics that continue to shape the world today

When the news broke in 1975 that New York City was on the brink of fiscal collapse, few believed it was possible. How could the country’s largest metropolis fail? How could the capital of the financial world go bankrupt? Yet the city was indeed billions of dollars in the red, with no way to pay back its debts. Bankers and politicians alike seized upon the situation as evidence that social liberalism, which New York famously exemplified, was unworkable. The city had to slash services, freeze wages, and fire thousands of workers, they insisted, or financial apocalypse would ensue.

In this vivid account, historian Kim Phillips-Fein tells the remarkable story of the crisis that engulfed the city. With unions and ordinary citizens refusing to accept retrenchment, the budget crunch became a struggle over the soul of New York, pitting fundamentally opposing visions of the city against each other. Drawing on never-before-used archival sources and interviews with key players in the crisis, Fear City shows how the brush with bankruptcy permanently transformed New York—and reshaped ideas about government across America.

At once a sweeping history of some of the most tumultuous times in New York's past, a gripping narrative of last-minute machinations and backroom deals, and an origin story of the politics of austerity, Fear City is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the resurgent fiscal conservatism of today.

La Chine n'a pas fini de surprendre. Elle a plus changé au cours de vingt années de réforme qu'en trois décennies de socialisme orthodoxe, et depuis son accession à l'Organisation mondiale du commerce (OMC) en 2001, le mouvement s'est emballé : les Chinois travaillent, échangent avec le reste du monde, et s'enrichissent. Face à leur entrée fracassante au premier rang du jeu économique mondial, le monde développé hésite entre crainte et contentement, scepticisme et fantasmes. Bien des inconnues restent à lever, mais une approche raisonnée est déjà possible. Ce livre la propose.
Nourri de discussions approfondies avec chercheurs et acteurs économiques chinois, il offre un riche bilan d'étape et saisit les points forts comme les lignes de fractures. Tourné vers l'avenir, il affronte les questions essentielles : l'impressionnante croissance de Chine, amplifiée par sa démographie, la hissera-t-elle au premier rang mondial sous deux, trois ou quatre décennies ? La coexistence d'une économie en pleine effervescence et d'un système politique particulièrement rigide est-elle viable à long terme ? La Chine reparcourt-elle le chemin des petits dragons d'Asie au moment de leur décollage (1967-1982), celui du Japon de la haute croissance (1953-1973, ou bien n'est-il de comparaison possible qu'avec les bouleversements apportés par les États-Unis au début du XXe siècle ?
Sans concession aux spéculations et jeux de l'esprit, très solidement informé, ce livre apporte un éclairage indispensable sur les enjeux de cette montée en puissance de la Chine, sur son affirmation comme rival stratégique des États-Unis et sur la modification en profondeur des relations économiques internationales qui peut en résulter.

François Gipouloux, directeur de recherche au CNRS, enseigne à l'École des Hautes Études en Sciences sociales et à l'Université de Paris III. Spécialiste de l'économie chinoise, il bénéficie d'une expérience de terrain de 15 ans en Asie (Chine, Japon, Hong-Kong).

La transition inachevée. La haute croissance chinoise : mythes et réalités.La longue marche de la paysannerie chinoise.Industrialisation des campagnes, migrations intérieures et urbanisation. David contre Goliath : le privé à l'assaut du secteur étatique. La vulnérabilité du secteur financier. Échanges extérieurs : la déferlante chinoise. Défis et facteurs de vulnérabilité.

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