Global Corporations and Economy
Eurasia as a Platform

This year Russia celebrates the 100th anniversary of Eurasianism, a school of thought that emphasised the uniqueness of Eurasia as a continent characterised among other features by extreme distances of its inland regions from coastal lines and trade routes.

In recent decades these findings of the leading economist in the Eurasianist school of thought, Petr Savitskiy, were re-discovered and re-evaluated with respect to the development constraints and needs of world’s land-locked economies. From today’s vantage point Eurasia’s geography of unique continental expanses and the prevalence of landlocked countries rather than being a hindrance to development may harbour tremendous economic potential related to connectivity projects. To attain this outcome Eurasia needs to build an open, human-centred platform of economic cooperation that makes use of the “network effects” of platforms and allows for the pooling of the tremendous resources spread across the continent. 

The economic geography of Eurasia is characterised by a combination of the vastness of the territorial expanse (more than 36% of the continental land mass of the world), the enormity of the human capital reserve (nearly 70% of the world’s population) and the extreme unevenness in its distribution across a common continental platform. This in turn determines the main vectors of the evolution of Eurasia as a platform for international cooperation. The vastness of the continental mass raises the optionality and expands the possibility set of alternative connectivity projects. The Eurasian platform becomes the scene of intensifying competition among alternative East-West projects (such as the various tracks of the BRI project) as well as the North-South dimension (between the Northern sea route and the southern Indo-Pacific track).
This competition holds one of the important keys to unlocking the tremendous efficiency potential of the Eurasian platform.

The other implication of the vastness of the continental landmass is the necessity in connectivity projects to overcome the “distance curse”. Eurasia is the focal point of the global demand for infrastructure development related to road and rail-roads with infrastructure spending needs in the trillions of dollars – according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) the infrastructure spending needs of developing Asia alone amount to 1.7 trillion dollars per annum.

A related corollary of the size of the continental landmass is the greater need for regional integration and the lifting of customs barriers to overcome the unprecedented fragmentation of the economic space. To put it simply: in many respects Eurasia needs regional integration even more than countries located in other continents where the challenges of distance are not as overbearing. This in turn implies that formation of the common platform for economic cooperation across Eurasia will need to be predicated on the cooperation not just among individual countries, but also regional integration blocks. Rather than being a curse, the tremendous size of the continental landmass is also a major advantage for the “autonomous development” of Eurasia through building inward connectivity across continental space. This enormous scope for developing intra-continental connectivity raises Eurasia’s growth potential that is to a significant degree specific to the continental economies. 

Another important element in the setup of Eurasia’s economic geography is that the two growth poles are concentrated in the extremes of the West of Europe and the East of Asia. Economic cooperation between these two Eurasian poles harbours tremendous potential for the global economy through engaging and incorporating the inland regions of Eurasia that lie between the two extremes of the continent. Landlocked regions such as Central Asia or the enormous tracts of Russia’s continental mass rather than succumbing to economic isolation become the intermediaries of trade and investment flows between Western Europe and East Asia in case a common continental platform for economic cooperation were to be formed. In effect Eurasia’s inland regions get “electrified” by the “charge” between the two continental growth poles, with the intermediation of trade and investment serving to satiate these regions with greater economic activity as well as integrate these regions into the global economy in a sustainable way. 
Eastern-Style Globalization
Regionalism in Global Governance: Exploring New Pathways
Yaroslav Lissovolik
As of May 2018, 287 RTAs were in force, with recent trends in regional integration pointing to the widening scale of such arrangements via the formation of megaregional blocs. Furthermore, according to the IMF report the size of the regional financing arrangements has overtaken the resources of the International Monetary Fund as part of the Global Financial Safety Net (GFSN).

The enormity of Eurasia’s population as well as the unevenness of the income and human capital distribution across the expanse of the continental platform lead to pent-up pressure for migration. This in turn raises the need for greater human capital development in the less developed regions of Eurasia in order to attenuate migration pressures. It also accentuates the need for greater regulation, coordination and monitoring of migration flows across the Eurasia, which calls for the creation of a common Eurasian digital platform. The need for such a platform becomes particularly significant during crises such as the current covid-19 crisis, when intra-continental migration flows become a risk factor for spreading the pandemic. The high concentration of the world’s population in Eurasia implies that the continent is also the largest data-generator in the world, which calls for developing storage and data-processing capacity as well as ways of coordinating data sovereignty issues across countries. Apart from the human capital/migration element, the creation of a digital platform for Eurasia is also needed for the build-up in connectivity projects as well as a factor that serves to overcome the gravity of distance. 

The building of the common infrastructure connectivity framework across Eurasia could be predicated on the operation of a common platform for Eurasia’s regional development institutions, namely regional development banks and regional financing arrangements. Such a pragmatic platform may prove to be more feasible than the building of a platform for regional integration arrangements such as the EU, EAEU and ASEAN. While a platform for Eurasia’s regional integration arrangements may well be attained in the distant future in line with visions such as the Greater Eurasian Partnership, a more realistic and near-term prospect could be the formation of a framework for cooperation among Eurasia’s development institutions to co-finance large-scale development projects as well as to build a continental financial safety nets, reserves and buffers. 

In the end, the platforms that will constitute the Eurasian edifice need to include a common digital platform, a connectivity platform predicated on the cooperation among continental development institutions as well as a platform for human capital development and innovation. These platforms may reinforce each other through ecosystem-type effects. More broadly, in order to raise its economic dynamism Eurasia needs to expand the operation of continental “network effects” in line with the emergence of corporate digital platforms and ecosystems. Historically, Eurasia exhibited a rising proclivity towards exploration, discovery and bringing the best from different parts of the continent. The current challenge is to bring out the best from different parts of Eurasia to create a human-centred platform that is globally competitive.  
Global Corporations and Economy
A Post-Pandemic Revival for Regionalism: The Role of the EU
Yaroslav Lissovolik
In a world where regionalism is playing an increasingly prominent role, there is still no mechanism for cooperation/coordination among regional integration blocks and their development institutions.
Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.