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JC H2 History Tuition - What is World Trade Organization and its function - JC History Essay Notes

What is World Trade Organization and its function?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]: 
Paper 1: Understanding the Global Economy (1945-2000)
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapters 1: Reasons for growth of the global economy & Problems of economic liberalisation

Re-look at the contributions of the World Trade Organization ever since its inception in 1995 [Video by the World Trade Organization]

What is the World Trade Organization (WTO)?
The WTO is an inter-governmental organization that formalized international trade. Under the Marrakesh Agreement, the organization was formed on 1 January 1995, replacing the multilateral framework known as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

A Prelude to WTO: Trade Rounds under GATT
Before the WTO was established, GATT provided the essential guidelines on international trade from 1948 to 1994. During the Bretton Woods Conference, an International Trade Organization (ITO) was supposed to be formed alongside two other pillars (World Bank and the International Monetary Fund). Yet, the US Congress refused to ratify the Havana Charter. As such, the concept of an ITO was not realized.

Even so, GATT had played its part in promoting multilateral discussions. In the post-war years, GATT contributed to tariff reductions of nearly 8 percent on average till the 1960s.

1. Kennedy Round (1964-1967)
During the Kennedy Round, an Anti-Dumping Agreement was passed. ‘Dumping’ refers to an unfair trade practice in which a firm sell its exports at a price below the price set in the domestic market. The Act was recognized as a success, especially for developing nations.

Recognizing that anti-dumping practices should not constitute an unjustifiable impediment to international trade and that anti-dumping duties may be applied against dumping only if such dumping causes or threatens material injury to an established industry or materially retards the establishment of an industry;

Considering that it is desirable to provide for equitable and open procedures as the basis for a full examination of dumping cases;

An excerpt from the Kennedy Round.

2. Tokyo Round (1973-1979)
In the 1970s, the Tokyo Round was held with the intention to manage the imposition of non-tariff barriers (NTBs). Although participating countries managed to agree on the reduction of tariffs on industrial goods, they were unable to accept the use of plurilateral agreements (they are trade agreements between more than two countries).

The Tokyo Round also led to the adoption of a range of specific new disciplines. These included the legalization of preferential tariff and nontariff treatment in favour of developing countries and among developing countries.

Codes were negotiated on subsidies and countervailing measures, technical barriers to trade (product standards), government procurement, customs valuation, import licensing, antidumping (a revision of a Kennedy Round code), bovine meat, dairy products and civil aircraft…

By negotiating a code, like-minded countries were able to agree to new, legally binding commitments, without having all GATT contracting parties on board.

An excerpt from “The Political Economy of the World Trading System” by Bernard M. Hoekman, Michel M. Kostecki

3. Uruguay Round (1986-1994)
The eighth and final round lasted nearly seven and a half years. In the wake of the twin oil shocks of the 1970s, the Uruguay Round was held as the largest multilateral trade negotiation. The main purpose of the round was to reduce agricultural subsidies, introduce the protection of intellectual property and liberalise trade services in the banking sector. It was a tricky issue due to the sensitivity of the agricultural and textile sectors that affected many developing countries. Furthermore, the round dragged on due to the lack of consensus between the USA and European Union (EU) [also known as the “European Community”, EC] over the reforms to agricultural trade.

For much of the Round the USA and the EC held their own mini-round and their mutual intransigence, especially over agriculture and specifically a long-running dispute over oil seeds, stalled the Uruguay Round for some time. Completion of the Round was in the end facilitated by the so-called Blair House (Washington) accords…

Negotiations on agriculture were among the most contentious of the Round, the final Agreement on Agriculture seeking reforms for a ‘fair and market-oriented agricultural trading system’, but with special consideration for poorer countries and for non-trade concerns such as food security, environmental protection or schemes for diversification from narcotic crops and the like.

An excerpt from “The Free Trade Adventure: The WTO, the Uruguay Round and Globalism–a Critique” by Graham Dunkley.

The WTO
As the Uruguay Round concluded in December 1993, the Marrakesh Agreement was signed on 15 April 1994 by 123 participating nations. Officially, the WTO was formed eight months later, ushering a new era for international trade. The WTO replaced GATT as the institutional framework for trade.

1. The WTO shall facilitate the implementation, administration and operation, and further the objectives, of this Agreement and of the Multilateral Trade Agreements, and shall also provide the framework for the implementation, administration and operation of the Plurilateral Trade Agreements.

2. The WTO shall provide the forum for negotiations among its Members concerning their multilateral trade relations in matters dealt with under the agreements in the Annexes to this Agreement. The WTO may also provide a forum for further negotiations among its Members concerning their multilateral trade relations, and a framework for the implementation of the results of such negotiations, as may be decided by the Ministerial Conference.

An excerpt from the Marrakesh Agreement – Article 3 “Functions of the WTO”, 15 April 1994.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that trade liberalization was beneficial to the global economy from 1945 to 2000?

Join our JC History Tuition and find out more about the Bretton Woods System and other areas relating to the global economy. We provide summary notes for H2 History and H1 History as well as practices for essay writing and source based case studies. Attend our online learning classes to develop an analytical mind.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to learn more.

JC History Tuition Online - What is the Green Revolution - Economic Development - JC History Essay Notes

What is the Green Revolution?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Economic Development after Independence
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 1: Paths to Economic Development

Learn more about the the Norman Borlaug, “Father of the Green Revolution”.

Origins of the Green Revolution: Enter Norman Borlaug
Many countries such as Mexico and India were facing hunger and poverty. Together with a growing population, rice producers could not keep up with the burgeoning demand for food.

After Norman Ernest Borlaug completed his studies at the University of Minnesota, he embarked on his research journey in Mexico. He held the belief that sustainable agriculture could be achieved. In time, Borlaug’s efforts had paid off. It led to the creation of disease-resistant wheat strains that paved the way for the Green Revolution.

In 1964, Borlaug joined the Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maíz y Trigo (CIMMYT) that specialised in the improvement of maize and wheat as well as the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). The CGIAR later became the central network for international organisations that engaged in research on food security.

Over the years, Borlaug’s contributions led to the improvement of new crops like barley, sorghum and triticale.

International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)
In 1960, the Philippine Government oversaw the creation of the IRRI. The institute set up its headquarters in Los Baños, Laguna (near Manila). With funding support from the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, the IRRI aims to reduce poverty and hunger via rice research.

In 1978, the government capitalised on the Green Revolution by launching the Masagana 99 (Rice production programme) to improve credit access to rice farmers and achieve rice self-sufficiency. As a result, the local farmers benefited from the cultivation of high-yielding varieties (HYVs).

Impacts on Southeast Asian economies
The Green Revolution was a boon to many economies in the region. In Thailand, the government increased its investments in fertilisers and high-yielding strains of rice. From the late 1960s to early 1970s, rice production doubled.

In Indonesia, Suharto introduced the BIMAS (agricultural guidance programme) to facilitate the distribution of high-yielding rice varieities. By 1985, poverty was significantly reduced and the country attained self-sufficiency in rice.

“BIMAS is a system of agricultural extension, planned and on a mass scale, that aims to raise agricultural production, and at the same time to increase the propserity of farmers and of society…”

Soedarsono Hadisapoetro, Agriculture Minister (1978-1973)

Conclusion: Was the Green Revolution important?
In view of these developments, it is imperative to consider the significance of the Green Revolution in driving the growth of the economies in independent Southeast Asian states. Its importance has to be understood by analysing the state-guided approaches as well as the outcomes.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the economic development of independent Southeast Asian states was largely the result of external factors [to be discussed in class]?

Sign up for our JC History Tuition and find out how you can organise your content for the topic on Paths to Economic Development. Given the wide spectrum of issues to consider, we have derived a condensed set of notes to support your revision.

Besides, we have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition.

JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - What were the twin deficits of USA - Global Economy Notes

What were the twin deficits of USA?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]: 
Paper 1: Understanding the Global Economy (1945-2000)
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 1: Problems of economic liberalisation

Find out what it means for USA to experience a trade deficit to understand this contributing factor that led to the decline of the US economic dominance in the 1970s – Video by Peterson Institute for International Economics

Why was the “Golden Age of Capitalism” unsustainable?
In the first two decades of the post-WWII period were characterised by the miraculous economic recovery and expansion of many countries, such as Japan and Western Europe.

USA, as the major advocate of trade liberalisation, also benefited from this sustained period of economic progress, as observed by its wide-reaching influences through the deployment of American multi-national corporations (MNCs). Host countries gained from influx of foreign investment as well as job creation.

However, this economic exuberance did not last by the 1960s. USA experienced a severe economic problem known as the “twin deficits”. Furthermore, the energy crises (oil shocks) of the 1970s further exacerbated the problem as it gave rise to stagflation in the USA.

What are the “twin deficits”?
The “twin deficits” refer to the onset of fiscal deficit and current account deficit.

1. Fiscal Deficit: Overspending
By definition, fiscal deficit occurs when the government expenditure exceeds its revenues. This is more commonly known as a ‘budget deficit’. In the case of the post-war years, countries encounter a fiscal deficit when the government spend large sums of money to rebuild their infrastructure. Similarly, this form of deficit can also be seen when governments are trying to recover from a recession.

Fiscal Deficit - Problems of Economic Liberalisation
Understand the fiscal deficit of the USA to recognise its impacts on the economy.

The causes of fiscal deficit in USA were largely linked to two notable areas: US President Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” programme and the Vietnam War.

In 1964, Johnson introduced the welfare programme to eliminate poverty (War on Poverty) and improve the socioeconomic conditions of the American people.

However, as the American troops were increasingly deployed in Vietnam to fight the Cold War proxy conflict, the US President had to divert his funds from the above-mentioned welfare programme to sustain the war effort.

According to The New York Times, the American government spent approximately $141 billion in Vietnam over the course of 14 years. It was reported that the Vietnam War cost the USA nearly $2 billion per month.

Therefore, the US government directed the Federal Reserve to increase money supply by printing more US dollars (USD). Later, this created an oversupply issue that caused the collapse of the Gold-Dollar fixed exchange rate system in 1971.

2. Current Account Deficit: Trade Imbalances
The second type of deficit is more closely related to the condition whereby the import expenditure exceeds the export revenue. This is a problematic condition as the government has to finance the trade deficit.

US Trade Deficit - Problems of Economic Liberalisation
Examine the trends of the US trade deficit to understand how it hampered the economy.

This trade deficit can be explained by the increased trade competition with Western Europe and Japan. In the post-war years, USA tolerated the protectionist measures of these two growing economies so that they can become new markets for trade.

However, after these economies achieved pre-war industrial levels of production, many firms competed with American counterparts. In particular, West Germany and Japan became the key competitors that outpaced USA in the global markets.

For example, Japanese automobiles were highly sought-after due to its fuel efficiency and affordability. In fact, some of the top ten automobiles originated from Japan, such as Nissan and Toyota.

As a result of the loss of export competitiveness, USA experienced severe trade imbalances vis-à-vis West Germany and Japan. By 1980, US trade deficit rose to $40 billion. In response, USA reversed its trade liberalisation policy and engaged in protectionism, as seen by its imposition of the Voluntary Export Restraint (VER) towards Japan autos in May 1981 to mitigate the adverse effects of trade imbalances.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the twin deficits of USA were the most important cause for the decline of American economic dominance in the 1970s [to be discussed in class]?

Join our JC History Tuition and discover the essentials of essay writing for the topic of the Global Economy. We also offer H1 History Tuition for students who are in need of guidance. We provide summary notes, essay outlines and source based case study practice questions to raise the productivity of your revision.

Besides, we have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to learn more.

JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - What is the role of the International Court of Justice - JC History Essay Notes

What is the role of the International Court of Justice?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security

Examine the role of the International Court of Justice to understand this judicial organ of the United Nations.

Role of the International Court of Justice (ICJ)
The ICJ is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN). Its establishment took place during the San Francisco Conference (25 April to 26 June 1945) that officially formed the UN itself.

The International Court of Justice shall be the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. It shall function in accordance with the annexed Statute, which is based upon the Statute of the Permanent Court of International Justice and forms an integral part of the present Charter.

Article 93, Chapter XIV of the UN Charter

Functions of the ICJ
There are two main functions performed by the ICJ. The Court provides advisory opinions and facilitates dispute resolution.

Feature #1: Advisory Opinion
The ICJ can provide advisory opinions for UN members for any legal matters. In other words, the Court is an embodiment of world opinion to reflect the international community’s will. Examples include the ‘Legality of the Use or Threat of Nuclear Weapons‘ [19 December 1994].

The General Assembly or the Security Council may request the International Court of Justice to give an advisory opinion on any legal question.

Article 96, Chapter XIV of the UN Charter [Advisory Opinion]

Feature #2: Dispute Resolution
Second, the Court is responsible for dispute resolution between sovereign states. It acts as a fair mediator and provides an internationally-recognised platform. Examples include the Pedra Branca dispute‘ [24 July 2003] and Frontier Dispute‘ [18 October 1983].

The parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice.

Article 33, Chapter VI of the UN Charter [Dispute Resolution]

In making recommendations under this Article the Security Council should also take into consideration that legal disputes should as a general rule be referred by the parties to the International Court of Justice in accordance with the provisions of the Statute of the Court.

Article 36, Chapter VI of the UN Charter [Dispute Resolution]

Institutionalization of the ICJ: First Case
In April 1946, the precursor to the ICJ, also known as the Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ), was dissolved. Subsequently, the President Judge, José Gustavo, was elected in the ICJ. In May 1947, the first case that was submitted by United Kingdom against Albania. It was known as the ‘Corfu Channel’ incident.

Enforcement of Court’s Decisions
Should any involved party refuse to comply with the Court’s decision, the Security Council can enforce the decisions. In fact, all members of the United Nations must adhere to the decisions of the Court, if they are involved in a submitted dispute.

Each Member of the United Nations undertakes to comply with the decision of the International Court of Justice in any case to which it is a party.

If any party to a case fails to perform the obligations incumbent upon it under a judgment rendered by the Court, the other party may have recourse to the Security Council, which may, if it deems necessary, make recommendations or decide upon measures to be taken to give effect to the judgment.

Article 94, Chapter XIV of the UN Charter

Final Summary
In view of the ICJ’s roles, the United Nations has arguably remained relevant in ensuring adherence to the international law. Although there are occasional setbacks that hamper its ability to resolve complex disputes, particularly in the South China Sea region, many countries still defer to the Court’s decision.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following questions to understand the topic:
– To what extent do you agree that the International Court of Justice was hindered by the great powers in ensuring adherence to the international law? [to be discussed in class].

Now that you have examined the functions of the ICJ, you can consider signing up for our JC History Tuition. We will teach you to write concise and well-organised paragraphs to ace your A Level History essay sections in Paper 1 and Paper 2 [for H2 History].

Besides, you can sign up for other JC tuition programs, such as GP TuitionEconomics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to learn more.

JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - What is peacekeeping - JC History Essay Notes

What is peacekeeping?

Topic of Study [For H1/H2 History Students]:
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security

Learn more about the role of the United Nations peacekeepers.

Origins of ‘Peacekeeping’
At the initial stage, the United Nations Charter did not consider the notion of ‘peacekeeping’. In the Chapter VI and Chapter VII, the United Nations Security Council is empowered to carry out ‘peace-making’ and ‘peace enforcement’. ‘Peacekeeping’ is commonly known as ‘Chapter V 1/2’ as it includes both diplomatic solutions and forceful actions.

‘Peacekeeping’ was formalized by the United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold and Canadian Minister of External Affairs Lester Pearson. This development coincided with the Suez Canal Crisis of 1956.

Three principles of Peacekeeping
The conceptualization of peacekeeping led to the definition of three principles: (i) Consent of the parties (ii) Impartiality (iii) Non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate

(i) Consent of the parties
Before the United Nations peacekeepers are deployed to the conflict zone(s), the international organization must require consent by the involved parties. Should a country be involved, the government must grant host-state consent, as it reflects the respect of national sovereignty.

(ii) Impartiality
The second principle involves the need for United Nations peacekeepers to be neutral throughout the conflict. Impartiality is needed to preserve the legitimacy of the United Nations and maintain the consent of all parties.

(iii) Non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate
Although the peacekeepers are armed for self-defence, they are not authorized to use force as it may compromise the other two principles. Nevertheless, there are instances in which the United Nations Security Council authorizes the peacekeepers to ‘use all necessary means’ to fulfil the resolutions (e.g. Congo Crisis and Gulf War).

Phases of Peacekeeping
From the 1950s to 1980s, the United Nations was involved in ‘traditional peacekeeping’, which involved inter-state conflicts. The peacekeepers are charged with the responsibility of monitoring ceasefires. The relevant case studies include Suez Canal Crisis (UNEF I) and the Cyprus Crisis (UNFICYP).

From the 1980s onwards, the evolution of peacekeeping began, which included intra-state conflicts. The role of the United Nations peacekeepers expanded to the provision of humanitarian aid and monitoring of elections. Examples of such case studies are the Cambodian Crisis (UNTAC), East Timorese Crisis (UNTAET).

Reflections on peacekeeping
In view of these roles and responsibilities of peacekeeping, the successes of the United Nations were occasionally limited by obstacles, such as Cold War rivalry and operational constraints. In the next article, we will examine the challenges of peacekeeping and how the international organization has derived solutions to overcome them.

What can we learn from this case study?
Consider the following questions to understand the topic:
– How far do you agree that the effectiveness of the United Nations peacekeeping missions were dependent on great power consensus? [to be discussed in class].

Sign up for our JC History Tuition and learn more about peacekeeping case studies to answer JC History essay questions. Also, you can sign up for related JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to learn more.

JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - What is the role of the United Nations General Assembly - JC History Essay Notes

What is the role of the United Nations General Assembly?

Topic of Study [For H1/H2 History Students]:
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security

Examine the role of the UNGA to understand its contributions to the world.

Role of the UN General Assembly (UNGA)
The General Assembly is the principal deliberative organ of the United Nations. It comprises of the representatives of all member states that admitted the international organization.

#1: Discussions and recommendations on matters affecting international peace and security
In particular, the UNGA is charged with the responsibility to facilitate discussions among member states to address matters pertaining to international peace and security.

The General Assembly may discuss any questions or any matters within the scope of the present Charter or relating to the powers and functions of any organs provided for in the present Charter, and, except as provided in Article 12, may make recommendations to the Members of the United Nations or to the Security Council or to both on any such questions or matters.

Article 10, Chapter IV of the UN Charter

However, it is imperative to acknowledge the advisory role of the UNGA as the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) bears the primary responsibility in the authorization of use of force in dealing with such matters.

The General Assembly may discuss any questions relating to the maintenance of international peace and security brought before it by any Member of the United Nations, or by the Security Council, or by a state which is not a Member of the United Nations in accordance with Article 35, paragraph 2, and, except as provided in Article 12, may make recommendations with regard to any such questions to the state or states concerned or to the Security Council or to both. Any such question on which action is necessary shall be referred to the Security Council by the General Assembly either before or after discussion.

Article 11(2), Chapter IV of the UN Charter

#2: Voting Process and Resolutions
After much deliberation, member states of the UNGA would undertake a voting process to decide whether to adopt a resolution (i.e. a course of action). Each member state is entitled to one vote. A two-thirds majority must be made before the resolution can be passed.

These resolutions can be passed to address matters, such as the admission of new member states to the General Assembly.

Decisions of the General Assembly on important questions shall be made by a two-thirds majority of the members present and voting. These questions shall include: recommendations with respect to the maintenance of international peace and security, the election of the non-permanent members of the Security Council…

Article 18, Chapter IV of the UN Charter

#3: ‘Uniting for Peace’ Resolution
Although there were Charter limitations that inhibited the UNGA’s role, a reform was introduced on 3 November 1950, known as the ‘Uniting for Peace’ (UfP) resolution.

If the Security Council, because of lack of unanimity of the permanent members, fails to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security in any case where there appears to be a threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression, the General Assembly shall consider the matter immediately with a view to making appropriate recommendations to Members for collective measures, including in the case of a breach of the peace or act of aggression the use of armed force when necessary, to maintain or restore international peace and security.

Resolution 377(V), 3 November 1950

In practice, the UfP resolution was first invoked during the Suez Canal Crisis of 1956. Due to the vetoes by France and the United Kingdom, the resolution empowered the UNGA to act. This lead to the successful formation of the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) that supervised the cessation of hostilities in Egypt.

What can we learn from this case study?
Consider the following questions to understand the topic:
– Assess the view that great power politics impeded the role of the United Nations General Assembly during the Cold War [to be discussed in class].

Sign up for our JC History Tuition as we teach you to organise your content for the United Nations topics, which is one of the most comprehensive chapters that JC History students will cover in the A Level History syllabus. Also, you can sign up for related JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - What were the consequences of the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997 - JC History Essay Notes

What were the consequences of the Asian Financial Crisis?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Economic Development after Independence
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 2: Asian Financial Crisis

The aftermath of the regional currency crisis
In view of the causes that explain how the Asian Financial Crisis began, it is important to examine its consequences. This includes the government responses that varied between Southeast Asian nations, such as the bail-out loans by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), crisis response packages and stringent financial regulatory measures.

Immediate government responses
After the Asian Financial Crisis happened, governments played a critical role in introducing immediate responses to arrest the situation.

For instance, the Thai government tried to maintain the peg by tapping on its reserves to prevent further currency depreciation, which was caused by speculative attacks. From 1997 to 1998, it was estimated that nearly US$30 billion was spent to maintain the baht.

Unfortunately, their efforts proved futile, such that the abandonment of the fixed exchange rate led to rapid currency depreciation. On 2 July 1997, the baht was allowed to float, resulting in the depreciation of the currency value by 18%. By January 1998, the value had fallen to US$1 to $55 baht.

Given the economic interconnectedness of Southeast Asian markets, the Thai economic crisis spread to other neighbouring economies, which was known as the contagion effect.

Crisis Response Measures
Another important consideration was the introduction of crisis response measures to contain the economic crisis. These measures involved large government spending to stimulate the markets and facilitate recovery.

For example, the Malaysian government formed the National Economic Action Council (NEAC) in 1998 to pursue economic stabilization. One method included the imposition of capital controls to stabilize the ringgit.

Additionally, the national asset management company, known as Pengurusan Danaharta Nasional Berhad, was in responsible for relieving the banking system of its non-performing loans (NPLs) and assets. By 30 September 2005, the Danaharta had resolved all of its NPLs. It was reported to have met its recovery target of RM30.35 billion.

In fact, Danaharta was one of the three-pronged strategy that the Malaysian government introduced to achieve stabilization of the banking system. It also included Danamodal Nasional Berhad and the Corporate Debt Restructuring Committee (CDRC).

Acceptance of IMF Bail-out Loans
Lastly, the IMF also offered to provide bail-out loans to affected Southeast Asian economies. These conditional loans required governments to accept an IMF-imposed set of policies. In particular, the IMF required recipient countries to engage in fiscal austerity (spending cuts) to correct their balance of payment deficits. Yet, these governments were not running budget deficits, thus worsening the economic slowdown.

“I thought this was a mistake. For one thing, unlike the Latin American nations, the East Asian countries were already running budget surpluses. In Thailand, the government was running such large surpluses that it was actually starving the economy of much ­needed investments in education and infrastructure, both essential to economic growth. And the East Asian nations already had tight monetary policies, as well: inflation was low and falling. (In South Korea, for example, inflation stood at a very respectable four percent.) The problem was not imprudent government, as in Latin America; the problem was an imprudent private sector­­ – all those bankers and borrowers, for instance, who’d gambled on the real estate bubble.”

Former World Bank Chief Economist, Joseph Stiglitz, New Republic, 17 April 2000 – Source: https://bit.ly/2GIk2cp

For example, Indonesia accepted the IMF bail-out reluctantly. By the time the third agreement was introduced, the government acceded to IMF’s demands to remove subsidies on essentials, like food, medicine and fertiliser.

This proved to be disastrous, given that the loss of state support raised the cost of living and worsened socio-economic conditions. As a result, the skyrocketing basic commodity prices resulted in a surge in inflation rate. Poverty rate increased from 11% before the crisis to nearly 60% afterwards.

Furthermore, the economic instability had severe socio-political consequences that culminated in the resignation of Suharto.

What can we learn from this case study?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that governments of Southeast Asian economies were responsible for the consequences of the Asian Financial Crisis? [to be discussed in class]

Now that you have learnt the consequences of the Asian Financial Crisis, it is imperative that you apply your knowledge to A Level History essay questions. You can sign up for our JC History Tuition to find out how you can organise your content and form well-analyzed essays to ace the GCE A Level History examination.

Furthermore, we conduct other useful JC tuition classes, like GP TuitionEconomics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we offer Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to sign up now.

JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - Why was the ASEAN established - JC History Essay Notes

Why was the ASEAN established?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Regional Conflicts and Co-operation
Source Based Case Study
Theme III Chapter 2: ASEAN

Examine the origins of ASEAN to comprehend its rising prominence in recent decades.

What is ASEAN?
On 8 August 1967, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional organization that was established. The foreign ministers of five Southeast Asian countries – Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines and Thailand – signed the historic document, known as the ‘ASEAN Declaration‘ in Bangkok, Thailand.

In the 1980s and 1990s, ASEAN expanded its membership by including other neighbouring countries, like Brunei (1984), Vietnam (1995), Laos and Myanmar (1997) and Cambodia (1999).

The aims and purposes of ASEAN
Within the ASEAN Declaration, it outlined what ASEAN was meant to achieve objectives such as:

1. To accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region through joint endeavours in the spirit of equality and partnership in order to strengthen the foundation for a prosperous and peaceful community of South-East Asian Nations;

2. To promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law in the relationship among countries of the region and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter;

ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration), 8 August 1967.

In view of these efforts, it is important to consider the challenges that countries in the Southeast Asian region encountered in the 1950s and 1960s to understand the rationale behind its establishment.

Factor #1: Maintenance of regional security
Before ASEAN was formed, there were inter-state tensions that gave rise to conflicts. These conflicts threatened the security of affected countries, including those in the neighbouring zones. For instance, the Konfrontasi (Confrontation) was a controversial foreign policy that affected the political stability of nations, like Singapore and Malaysia. Following the de-escalation of the tumultuous phase, the formation of ASEAN would help to mend the diplomatic ties of the affected countries and encourage Indonesia to adopt a more collaborative position.

Furthermore, following the Suez Crisis, the British announced the withdrawal of its military from the region by 1971. This move raised security concerns for Singapore as its small and vulnerable state could expose the country from any potential external threat. Therefore, the formation of a regional organization (i.e. ASEAN) would arguably compensate for the departure of the external powers.

Factor #2: Assertion of an independent region free from external interference
In view of the Konfrontasi, Southeast Asian nations formed the regional organization to promote accommodation and collaboration between one another. Although some of these member nations held contrasting perspectives towards co-ooperation with external powers, there was a general consensus that ASEAN would become the central focus in promoting intra-ASEAN engagement.

For example, Singapore was supportive of the formation as it would lead to the increased accessibility of the region’s markets. Following the ‘Separation’, Singapore was in dire need of economic support from abroad to facilitate its economic nation-building efforts. In 1967, it was estimated that Southeast Asia had a combined market of more than US$280 million. Hence, intra-ASEAN trade would no doubt be beneficial for member nations.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the view that security reasons were the most important in explaining the formation of ASEAN in 1967 [to be discussed in class].

Now that you have learnt the reasons that explain the formation of ASEAN, we strongly encourage you to attempt related source-based case study questions to review your knowledge application skills. Alternatively, you can join our JC History Tuition as we provide numerous practice questions and review your answers to ensure that there is progressive learning.

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JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - What caused the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997 - JC History Essay Notes

What caused the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Economic Development after Independence
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 2: Asian Financial Crisis

What exactly is the ‘East Asian Crisis’?
In July 1997, the markets in East and Southeast Asian were affected by a financial meltdown that began in Thailand. Due to a mix of factors, such as financial speculation and inadequate regulatory measures, the Thai government was forced to float the baht. This caused market pessimism, which led to the outflow of capital. In view of the inter-connected markets within the Southeast Asian region, the economic problems in Thailand began to spread to other neighbouring countries, like Thailand. This was known as a ‘financial contagion‘.

1. Unregulated financial liberalization
One possible factor for the Asian Financial Crisis was the unregulated liberalization. Partially, this was the result of the increased liberalization of the financial sector in the 1980s. As foreign investments were welcomed as major sources of economic growth, there were minimal regulations to stem the flow of capital.

As such, the sustained economic growth boosted market sentiments, thereby creating the optimistic outlook that Southeast Asia was a potential for future growth. Thus, foreign investors funded investment activities in the region. However, financial liberalization exposed several weaknesses.

In Thailand, the Bangkok International Banking Facility (BIBF) enabled banks and finance companies to access short-term credit with low interest rates. The credit was lent to Thai borrowers to finance long-term projects with high interest rates. Therefore, the ease of credit access resulted in the expansion of BIBF loans that amounted to nearly $115 billion baht.

2. The shortcomings of a fixed exchange rate system
The second contributing factor relates to the use of a fixed exchange rate system in some of the SEA economies. A fixed exchange rate system meant that governments could determine the external value of money. Currency stabilization was an ideal consideration as it raises market confidence to promote investment and trading activities.

However, a large pool of foreign reserve was needed in order for governments to intervene in the foreign exchange (i.e. ‘forex’ in short) market and maintain the exchange rate.

Initially, the Thai baht was pegged to the American dollar (USD) at 25 baht : 1 USD. Yet, the inability to maintain the currency value had left the economy vulnerable to speculative attacks that began in November 1996. Thailand’s reserves of US$39 billion declined to US$2 billion by June 1997.

Eventually, the inability to maintain the currency peg led to the eventual floating of the baht on 2 July 1997, thus losing 17% of its value relative to the USD. Consequently, there was a plunge in investor confidence, resulting in the withdrawal of foreign capital from the regional markets.

3. Speculative attacks
The third contributing factor relates to foreign currency speculation. Short-term capital flows created exchange rate instability, which was exacerbated by market pessimism. Therefore, the outflow of capital resulted in currency depreciation.

In Thailand, foreign investors sold their baht, causing a sharp fall in the currency value. By end 1997, the baht lost 80% of its value relative to the USD. There were lingering perceptions that the neighbouring economies were also susceptible to market volatility.

Therefore, this dampened investor confidence, resulting in the subsequent outflow of capital in other economies, like Indonesia. By February 1998, the Indonesian rupiah lost 76% of its value relative to the USD.

How did the financial crisis affect the Southeast Asian economies?
In general, the massive currency devaluation led to a significant economic downturn that hampered the development of many economies in Southeast Asia, including Singapore and Indonesia.

With currency depreciation, some of these economies experienced higher unemployment and inflation rates. For instance, Indonesia was adversely affected by the Thai financial crisis. The unemployment rate in Indonesia surged beyond 6% in 1999. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate was at -15% in 1998. In Malaysia, the GDP growth rate was at -5.8% in the same year.

What can we learn from this case study?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997 was the result of currency speculation? [to be discussed in class]

Now that you have examined the possible contributing factors that gave rise to the Asian Financial Crisis, it is important to apply this knowledge by answering similar practice questions. You can also join our JC History Tuition. We provide additional learning resources, such as summary notes, essay outlines and case study materials.

Additionally, we offer other related JC tuition programmes, like GP TuitionEconomics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we offer Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to join now!

JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - How did Thailand advance its economy - JC History Essay Notes

How did Thailand advance its economy?

Understanding the ‘Land of Smiles’
To comprehend the vast landscape of Thailand’s economic development, it is important to organise the assessment by time periods, lasting from 1938 to 1997. In general, the economic development was largely guided by strong government intervention. Under the guidance of the government, different sectors were being developed, starting with agriculture, followed by industry and tertiary aspects (like tourism).

Find out how Thailand’s economy has developed over the years, as observed by the World Bank

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Economic Development after Independence
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 1: Paths to Economic Development

1938 to 1957: Development of domestic capabilities
One of the central government policies, while under Phibun’s rule, was nationalization. Before the Siamese revolution of 1932, the economy was heavily guided by foreign investments from Western colonial powers, like the British. For instance, the government nationalized the British-American Tobacco Company. The Tobacco Act also restricted foreign participation in critical sectors. Over time, such policies allowed the locals to restore economic control in these areas.

In addition, the government formed the National Economic Development Corporation (NEDCOL) in 1954 to promote state-led industrialization. The Industrial Promotion Act provided tax exemption to encourage the participation of local manufacturers. As such, the protection of domestic firms from foreign competition gave them time to grow, thus contributing to economic growth.

1957 to 1980: Outward Expansion and Industrialization
Although Phibun was successful in achieving economic nationalism to undergo resource consolidation, the strong reliance on primary exports limited the extent of growth. Hence, the subsequent political leaders in this time period explored other options, particularly export-led industrialization.

The NEDCOL was reformed into the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) in 1950. The government formulated several plans to enhance the growth of Thailand. One notable target was the promotion of foreign investment. As such, the government established the Board of Investment (BOI) in 1959. Then, the Promotion of Investment Act was passed to provide various incentives for foreign investors to finance the industrialization process. For example, tax exemptions were granted to firms that imported raw materials for production.

Additionally, the government tapped on the favourable international climate, seen in terms of the Green Revolution (mid-1960s), to enhance the growth of the agriculture sector. The government introduced high-yielding and disease-resistant varieties (IR-8) to raise the output effectively. More importantly, diversification of crops helped to expand the sources of growth. For example, the farmers grew not only rice, but also rubber and maize.

Therefore, these policies have benefited the economy. The inflow of foreign investment was critical in financing the local projects, thus contributing to the development of infrastructure. Also, diversification proved to be an astute decision as the country grew as a result of multiple sectors.

1980 to 1997: Financial Liberalization and Tourism
Following the Crisis Decades, which saw a slight dip in the growth by the mid-1980s, the Thai government pursued export-led growth to sustain the economic development. To achieve this, there was strong emphasis on financial liberalization to attract the essential foreign investment and propel growth.

One of the most significant policies involved the establishment of the Bangkok International Banking Facility (BIBF), which provided tax incentives to numerous banks. As such, this enhanced credit access for exporters.

Besides, from the late 1980s to 1997, the Thai government nurtured the growth of the tourism sector through the support from private entities. The private firms were given more control in the provision of tourist-related services. As a result, the economy benefited from a surge in inflow of foreign currencies.

Nevertheless, it is important to consider the drawbacks of financial liberalization as it left Thailand vulnerable to speculative attacks in the 1990s, which culminated in the disastrous Asian Financial Crisis of 1997.

Concluding remarks
In retrospect, the Thai government played a crucial role in contributing to the growth of various sectors, starting with agriculture. Over time, the government also provided opportunities for the private businesses to play a larger role by the 1980s and 1990s.

What can we learn from this case study?
Consider the following questions to understand this country-specific case study:
– ‘Industrialization was the most crucial feature that explained the growth of the Thai economy.’ Discuss. [to be discussed in class]

After examining this country-specific case study, it is important for you to apply this knowledge to essay questions. Join our JC History Tuition as we teach you to form logical and well-analyzed arguments effectively. Also, we provide useful summary notes and outlines to raise the productivity of revision sessions.

Furthermore, you can join other JC tuition classes, like GP Tuition, Economics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition to get ready for the A Level examinations. For Secondary Tuition classes, we offer Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Contact us at 9689 0510 to learn more!