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Karel van Wolferen gained worldwide fame as an authority on Japan with his seminal study "The Enigma of Japanese Power" (translated into 12 languages), which is generally considered to be the most detailed and path-breaking work to date on the inner workings of the political and economic systems in the world’s second largest industrial power and biggest creditor nation. He is in demand for policy advice by top Japanese opposition politicians.
He has lived in East Asia for most of his life, covered political crises, wars and coups in the region for seventeen years as a correspondent for the quality Dutch daily, NRC Handelsblad, and was awarded the Netherlands Prize for Journalism for his reporting on the Peoples’ Revolution in the Philippines.
He has written extensively about the global economy and about the alternative approaches to economic development that can be seen in the newly industrialised countries of Asia. For a Japanese readership he has written on subjects relating to democracy, economic organization, political accountability, globalization and other themes. This has resulted in seven full-length books and four bundles of essays and columns, with a total circulation of well over a million copies. He is currently University Professor of Comparative Political and Economic Institutions at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), and Head of a research institute and shares his time between Europe and Asia.
His most recent book, published in Japanese and Dutch (Ondergang van een Wereldorde, Uitgeverij Contact), with an international edition in preparation, is inspired by the current state of world disorder.
An engaging and dynamic speaker, he cuts through much conceptual smog produced by today's controversies and he has enlightened audiences in the United States, Britain, Japan, Thailand, Korea, Germany, France, Denmark, Switzerland, Ireland and the Netherlands.
Any organisation pondering the best strategy for global competition in the coming years will be much inspired by his unique analyses and thought-provoking insights into the various possible futures of Capitalism.
After some fifteen years of focussing on the evolving global economic structure and on transnational business giants, he is a superb commentator on globalisation. He shows how a lot can be learned from the different varieties of "Capitalism", like that with has been the most important example for national economic development in East Asian countries.
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