Seoul Journal of Economics
[ Article ]
Seoul Journal of Economics - Vol. 33, No. 4, pp.539-559
ISSN: 1225-0279 (Print)
Print publication date 30 Nov 2020
Received 25 Sep 2020 Revised 15 Oct 2020 Accepted 15 Oct 2020

Entrepreneurship in the Context of Western vs. East Asian Economic Models

Peter W. Heller
Peter W. Heller, Executive Director, Canopus Foundation, Günterstalstr. 9A, D – 79102 Freiburg, Germany, Tel: +49 7612020172

JEL Classification: P51


Recent developments in the global economy, notably the accelerating trade war between the US and China and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemia, have fuelled the debate which model of economic development, the Western or the East Asian one, is more competitive in a long term perspective. The intention of this paper is a brief investigation, based on historical and empirical research, into the role of entrepreneurship as a major factor of competitiveness and key driver of economic development in both models. International reports based on data of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor and the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index come to diverging conclusions which model might prevail. The paper outlines why the entrepreneurial dynamics in East Asia, particularly in China and Vietnam cannot be adequately captured by standards and rating systems based on the theoretical framework of liberal capitalism, as the historical, cultural and social factors of the East Asian model lie beyond its reach. However, the Western narrative envisages a determined course of history that economic progress will inevitably drag China and Vietnam on a trajectory towards the Western model. There is sound evidence that this will not happen.


Entrepreneurship, Economic Models, East Asia


I gratefully thank Prof. Vladimir Popov for his valuable comments on my draft paper, and the DOC Research Institute, Berlin for the meticulous editing of the manuscript, as well as one anonymous referee for useful comments.


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