I hope EAA readers are having a pleasant fall. This issue’s special section is “Entrepreneurship in Asia.” Merriam-Webster’s definition of entrepreneur—”a person who organizes and operates a business, or businesses taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so”—is technically correct in my opinion, but reveals nothing about the hard work, creativity, and incredible perseverance of successful entrepreneurs. Innovative entrepreneurs have always existed in Asia, but the rise of multiple economies throughout the continent in the last seventy-four years is inextricably linked to a profusion of incentive structures and human creativity that spawned impressive business results. Our special section helps explain this phenomenon.
Although his article is not formally part of the special section, widely acclaimed author and historian Stewart Gordon in “Asia, Power, and Robes of Honor” tells the story of how a luxury good historically played a key role in diplomatic relations throughout the continent and elsewhere.
In the call for manuscripts, we encouraged submissions from a wide range of countries but authors of some of the best features and essays focused upon India. Economist and economic historian Nimish Adhia’s interview with Alan Rosling on his book Boom Country? The New Wave of Indian Enterprise will give readers a good sense of the dynamism of contemporary Indian entrepreneurs. Hawai`i Pacific University Entrepreneurship Director Ken Schoolland’s companion pedagogical essay review of Boom Country? complements the interview through extending reader knowledge and raising interesting questions suitable for further class discussion. Jayati Bhattacharya, in “The Story of Indian Business: The Great Transition into the New Millennium,” provides readers with a wide ranging account of merchants, businesses, and entrepreneurs that includes historical, contemporary, and probable future opportunities and challenges entrepreneurs face. Center for Civil Society researchers Bhuvana Anand, Prashant Narang, Ritika Shah, and Vidushi Sabharwal’s online supplement essay, “The Ease of Doing Business on the Streets of India,” focuses on national, state, and local governments’ relations with street vendors, the unsung entrepreneurs of India.
In “China’s ‘National Champions’: Alibaba, Tencent, and Huawei,” Jeffrey Melnik writes an excellent, informative, and critical overview of three multinational Chinese tech companies. Recent AAS book prizewinner Tom Cliff in “Entrepreneurial Success and Grassroots Philanthropy in a Rural Chinese Township” describes how differing factors for two separate industries in a Chinese township affect both industries’ bottom lines and their propensity to engage in local philanthropy. The article is an excellent introduction that enables students and instructors to learn perhaps the most important economic education generalization: incentives matter. John Sagers in “The Importance of Entrepreneurship in Japan’s Late Nineteenth–Century Meiji Industrial Transformation” emphasizes a critical factor often overlooked in accounts of Meiji economic development: the efforts of private business entrepreneurs.
Sarah Grant in “Café Creatives: Coffee Entrepreneurs in Việt Nam” helps readers better understand some of the most innovative Vietnamese millennials in their struggles to succeed in a highly competitive market. Matthew Mitchell’s “Borrowing from the Buddha: Buddhist Temples as Financial Centers in Premodern East Asia” is a compelling argument that Buddhism, or by implication any religion, is on one level a business endeavor where at least some adherents are obligated to successfully use innovative financial practices for institutional viability. This usually means thinking entrepreneurially. In this issue’s “Facts About Asia” column the connections among economic freedom, entrepreneurship, and political freedom are drawn for two of the “Four Little Dragons”: Taiwan and Hong Kong. David Janes, in the teaching resources essay “EngageAsia: An Entrepreneurial Approach to Creating Transnational Communities,” which concludes the special section is an account of a promising and recently created social entrepreneurship endeavor.
The issue as usual includes several teaching resources and book review essays that are non-thematic on the steppe nomads, teaching about girls and women in China, Indonesia, and post-World War II Chinese history.
The winter 2019 special section is “Asian Literature in the Humanities and the Social Sciences.” The spring 2020 special section is “Asian Philosophies and Religions” and the deadline for initial receipt of manuscripts is November 30th, 2019. Please visit the EAA website at www.asian-studies.org/eaa for author guidelines and for information about all future special sections. We also consider publication of non-thematic manuscripts for each issue.
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Editor: Education About Asia