Home .Governing globalization OECD and Asia: VIII
OECD and Asia: VIII
Wednesday, 30 March 2011 04:57

Concluding Comments

As the OECD enters its second half century, it is very much at a crossroads.


It is an organization which once represented the lion’s share of the world economy, and much of the world’s economic leadership, and could thereby serve its membership effectively.  But today, the OECD is an organization that has been substantially bypassed by Asian-led globalization as politics have dominated economics in its choice of new members.  Nine of the OECD’s ten new members over the past two decades have been small/medium sized countries from Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.  Korea is the one Asian exception.


If the OECD continues down this path, it is condemned to represent a continuously declining share of the world economy.  This will greatly compromise its capacity to advise its members on the policy implications of “the economic, social and environmental challenges of globalization” (1), and thereby weaken the Organisation.  The OECD’s own leadership recognizes that there is a problem when it argues for a “Quantum Leap” in the quality, the depth and he breadth of relations with Enhanced Engagement partners, namely China, India, Indonesia, Brazil and South Africa.       


For the OECD to be more effective and legitimate player in global governance, it needs to make a major and immediate effort to recruit major Asian countries as members, even if it means adopting a more flexible approach to membership criteria and adapting the organisation.  The OECD must recognize that the global financial crisis has brought the “Western brand” (which the OECD represents) into serious disrepute.  This underlines the argument for greater flexibility with respect to membership criteria.  The membership equation has been weighted too much in favour of the existing members which wield the bargaining power of the membership prize, and thereby arguably deter the most interesting potential new members which may not believe that the accession process and the possible policy adjustments that will have to be made, are really worth the effort.


The OECD also needs to undertake a more proactive campaign to explain the benefits of the Organisation to Asia’s emerging economies.  They have much to gain from joining the OECD and accepting and committing to the Organisation’s policy standards.  As major beneficiaries of globalization, Asia’s leading economies arguably have a responsibility to adopt more of the OECD’s values-based culture in terms of good governance and transparency.  Just as importantly Asia can contribute to this organizational culture which has always evolved and needs to evolve further. 


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Complete Series of Articles


OECD and Asia:I -- World’s Apart in Today’s Globalization


OECD and Asia: Introduction


Asia and the Evolving Logic of OECD Membership


Non-member partnerships with Asia


Why Asia Matters to the OECD


Adapting the OECD to Asian-led globalisation


Asia in the OECD


Concluding Comments





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