Wednesday, April 21, 2010

REVIEW: From Unipolar to Tripolar World

From Unipolar to Tripolar World
Arvind Virmani
Academic Foundation
Rs. 995.
Pp 352
ISBN - 978-81-7188-799-6

Developed country experts on international affairs and the global economy have consistently underestimated the speed with which China’s economy and power would rise relative to Germany, Japan and the USA. They are now similarly underestimating the speed at which India’s economy will close the economic size and power gaps. This book shows, why and how a tri-polar global power structure will emerge from the current confused system variously described as ‘multipolar’, ‘apolar’, ‘pluripolar’, ‘West and the rest’ and ‘unipolar with an oligopolistic fringe’. The Book goes on to draw out the implications and consequences of this evolving global power structure and makes suggestions on the policy options that need to be explored and pursued to increase the possibility of a peaceful transformation .

And now, a tripolor world Hindu
After holding some key positions in the country — such as Chief Economic Adviser, Ministry of Finance; Principal Adviser, Planning Commission; and Director, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations — Arvind Virmani has moved to the International Monetary Fund, where he is serving as Executive Director.

The first two chapters of this book, he says, summarise the analysis done during 2004-05 and 2005-06 on the “economic foundations of a nation's global power.” They spell out the author's notion of the power of nations using an index he has developed — Virmani's Index of Power, VIP for short. In the rest of the chapters, barring two, there are repetitive elaborations and restatements of this theme. In fact, the volume is just a compilation, without careful editing, of papers presented by him over a decade.

Of the two exceptions, the chapter on China's socialist market economy is a self-contained piece, having some bearing on the main theme. However, the other, on “proliferation by nuclear weapons states and NNWS NPT partners”, provides an account of Pakistan's explorations into the nuclear arena, and is at best only tangentially related to the theme.

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