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Asian century or multi-polar century ?

  • Dollar, David

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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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4174.

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Date of creation: 01 Mar 2007
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4174
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  1. Roland-Holst, David & Verbiest, Jean-Pierre & Zhai, Fan, 2008. "Growth and Trade Horizons for Asia: Long Term Forecasts for Regional Integration," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  2. Rawski, Thomas G, 1994. "Chinese Industrial Reform: Accomplishments, Prospects, and Implications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 271-75, May.
  3. Lin, Justin Yifu, 1988. "The Household Responsibility System in China's Agricultural Reform: A Theoretical and Empirical Study," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(3), pages S199-224, Supplemen.
  4. Robert J. Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 2000. "International Data on Educational Attainment Updates and Implications," NBER Working Papers 7911, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Lin, Justin Yifu, 1992. "Rural Reforms and Agricultural Growth in China," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 34-51, March.
  6. Felipe, Jesus & Lim, Joseph Anthony, 2005. "Export or Domestic-led Growth in Asia?," Asian Development Review, Asian Development Bank, vol. 22(2), pages 35-75.
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