As the 2008-9 financial crisis spread from its epicenter in the United States to the rest of the world, policy makers found themselves in uncharted waters. The effects of the global contraction were so severe that the world experienced the largest drop in global trade volumes since World War II, with world trade of goods falling by 23 percent in 2009.
The crisis around jobs is particularly acute this time not just because 205 million people worldwide are officially unemployed, nor because the quality of available jobs are frequently perceived to be declining, especially the routine middle-grade white-collar jobs workers in the developed countries, nor is it just because skilled and talented people who are in short supply earn multiples of the average salary. The problem in today’s post-crisis world is that policymakers and practitioners around the world are no longer sure how to create jobs, and just as and perhaps even more important, how to
Europe and Asia provide two different models of integration and growth. The former relied on political willpower to create a unified common market; the latter based its integration on a buildup of regional trade, investments, and production networks—eschewing a formal link-up in political or monetary terms.
From Singapore to Shenzhen, Special Economic Zones—SEZs for short—have helped underpin the rapid export-oriented growth of East Asia. In an effort to replicate these sleepy-fishing-village-turn-thriving-metropolis success stories, many countries in the developing world have created economic zones of their own—and their growth has been dramatic.