Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Far East 1947

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This latest edition of the Survey analyzes current economic and social developments in the region against the background of events in the world economy. It also focuses on the serios problems of growth and transformation of the area's least developed and Pacific Island developing economies.




With the establishment of the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East a new chapter opens in the economic history of the countries included in its territorial scope. For the first time a forum is provided by the United Nations at which the accredited representatives of the governments of the region can meet together to discuss common economic problems, establish agreed principles of action and carry out, if they choose, the policies determined by mutual agreement. Such a thing has not been known in the past; the ECAFE countries have not constituted an economic unit in the sense in which, for instance, Europe has been. Economic and trade relations have undoubtedly existed between them but these have largely been of a bilateral nature, confined to groups of countries within close proximity to one another. Thus, India and Burma, India and Ceylon, China and Hong Kong, have had a considerable degree of intimate trade relationship; the only exception was Japan, which sought to play a dominant role as a supplier to the region of consumer and capital goods, in return for the import of food and raw materials. In general, the economic bond that knit these countries together in their trade and other economic relationships was not based on geography but on political ties resulting from the metropolitancolonial orientation. In the production and export of several commodities, their economies were largely competitive. The countries have thus largely been mere aggregates of separate entities with loose political and economic ties with one another. Such being the case, the production of an annual economic survey dealing with problems common to the whole region may appear to be something like wishful thinking. There is the danger that the Survey, instead of being an analysis of common problems, may become in large part an examination of the situation in respect of each country of the region.


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