chapter  1
38 Pages

Asia’s development model

We live in Asia’s century. If neither China nor any other Asian state dominates the twenty-fi rst century in the way that Britain and the United States were successive geopolitical leaders in the preceding 200 years, the region as a whole will still infl uence world affairs as never before in modern times. The twenty states and territories that we take to comprise East and South Asia are home to over 3.6 billion people or 53 per cent of the world’s population. This region is host to many hundreds of indigenous languages and its cultural roots include important Austro-Asiatic, Austronesian, Dravidian, Indic, Japonic, Sino-Tibetan and Tai-Kadai traditions, each of which is distinct. Western infl uences have impacted the region at recurring intervals but only embedding in the former settlement colonies of Australasia. Breadth of scale in resource endowments, institutional origins and culture means that it is often diffi cult to generalize about Asia or its economies. Yet two factors of interest to us are widely shared, a supervening concentration on economic development and a strong desire for social stability, two preferences that can sometimes confl ict.