Over the course of the 20th century, there were some very important changes in the economy of the Pacific Rim. These changes happened both before and after World War II. Before WWII, Japan’s economy became more and more powerful. It was the only real economic power in the Asian part of the Pacific Rim. After WWII, Japan’s economy rose once again, this time even further than it had before. Japan became one of the most powerful countries in the world in economic terms during the post-war era. The same kind of rapid growth occurred in two other Pacific Rim countries, Singapore and South Korea. As the century ended, China’s economy was beginning to rise as well. This came about as China moved away from a command economy and more towards a market economy of sorts.
At the same time, there were clearly continuities in the economies of the region. The United States was the world’s largest economy throughout this period. North Korea was a tightly controlled communist economy from the time of its founding to the end of the century. Singapore and Japan both had economies that were based on free market principles but were also strongly influenced by their governments.
Thus, there were important changes as well as important continuities in various Pacific Rim economies in the 20th century.