Asia in the Twenty-First Century
This chapter looks at Asia at the start of the twenty-first century, considering population growth and mobility, economic development and the growth of cities, and environmental issues. The accelerated growth of the global human population and its dangerous cumulative impact on a fragile environment began on a large scale with industrialization and mushrooming technological change in the nineteenth century. Industrial development proceeded quickly in the decades around 1900 in Japan and then gradually in much of the rest of Asia, leading to profound social changes. Almost all areas of Asia are now fully integrated into the global economy, excepting North Korea and Myanmar, which still have relatively limited international trade and tourism. Asian cities are the chief growing points of industrializing economies and the chief centers of technological, cultural, and institutional change. The chapter concludes with a discussion of religious and cultural traditions in a rapidly modernizing Asia.