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Understanding the Region Today Using History:
Asian Economic History that Captures Local Energy

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During the past two hundred years, the Asian economy has developed vigorously, riding on the surge of globalization. This dynamic development has attracted the interest of academics who seek to unveil the local forces that drive the growth of regional economies. This is in contrast to conventional interpretations that focus on the worldwide expansion of the Western economy. These new studies have introduced the methodology of economic history which seeks to illuminate regional economic development using local primary sources, particularly historical data, such as trade and financial records. By analyzing the numbers extracted from these records, we can reconstruct historical changes in socio-economic phenomena, and also reveal economic incentives behind industrialization and the circulation of currency. This helps to shed new light on the positive reactions of regional economies to globalization. Moreover, the experience of conducting field surveys in parts of Asia helps us to see the current situation, which gives us a regionally focused perspective. By using this viewpoint when analyzing historical data, we expect this to offer new insights into Asian economic history.

KOBAYASHI, Atsushi (CSEAS)

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