Asia 2050: Realizing the Asian Century
The resilience of Asian economies in the face of the global downturn has excited much economic discourse in recent years, more so when advanced economies appear still to be mired in various financial, social and credit crises. Despite Asia’s seemingly unstoppable rise, Asian Development Bank statistics point to a few more sobering realities:
Asia remains home to most of the world’s extreme poor, illiterate and unemployed; demographic imbalances and widening inequalities need urgently to be addressed; legal, regulatory and financial infrastructures are far from perfect; and rapid economic development is being achieved to the detriment of the environment. Moreover, it is yet to be proven whether Asian economies have successfully decoupled from the advanced economies, which means that Asia remains heavily reliant on the markets of Western economies that are themselves struggling to recover.
Asia’s two economic powerhouses – China and India – are yet to find ways to overcome their respective challenges. Despite the many differences between them, both economies are in danger of falling into the “middle-income trap”, a growth stagnation that has ensnared many former developing economies for prolonged periods. Some never managed to get out of it.
It is to these long-term questions that Asia 2050 attempts to find answers. The book postulates two scenarios for Asia’s future – “the Asian Century” and “the Middle-Income Trap” – revolving around seven key areas:
- growth and inclusion
- entrepreneurship, innovation and technological development
- massive urbanisation
- financial transformation
- energy and natural resources
- climate change
- governance and institutions.
Integral to most development activities is finance which, according to contributor Andrew Sheng, President of the Fung Global Institute, needs deepening and reform. In his chapter “Transforming Finance”, Sheng effectively argues for the transformation of Asian financial system to one that is more inclusive and transparent, so that present growth can be buttressed and future challenges met – in all sectors. Asia 2050is a forward-looking and comprehensive study of Asia’s development written for all stakeholders in Asia and in the future – political and economic leaders, those in the private sector and academia, development practitioners and civil society. It offers candid opinions and workable frameworks for crafting long-term strategies and country-specific development programmes.
Edited by Harinder S. Kohli, Ashok Sharma and Anil Sood
Publisher: Sage Publications, 2011. For more information, click here.