Asian century or multi-polar century ?
The"rise of Asia"is something of a myth. During 1990-2005 China accounted for 28 percent of global growth, measured at purchasing power parity (PPP). India accounted for 9 percent. The rest of developing Asia, with nearly a billion people, accounted for only 7 percent, the same as Latin America. Hence there is no general success of Asian developing economies. China has grown better than its developing neighbors because it started its reform with a better base of human capital, has been more open to foreign trade and investment, and created good investment climates in coastal cities. China's success changes the equation going forward: its wages are now two to three times higher than in the populous Asian countries (Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Vietnam), and China will become an ever-larger importer of natural resource and labor-intensive products. Developing countries need to become more open and improve their investment climates to benefit from these opportunities. China itself faces new challenges that could hamper its further development: unsustainable trade imbalance with the United States, energy and water scarcity and unsustainable use of natural resources, and growing inequality and social tension. To address the first two of these challenges, good cooperation between China and the United States is essential. The author concludes that we are more likely to be facing a"multi-polar century,"than an Asian century.
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