Nowadays, it is almost common to say, “The 21st century is the Asian century.” However, Asia continues to face many obstacles that can hinder this dream. The rise of Asian power, both economically, politically and culturally, is one thing, but real progress can only be made as long as the world cooperates globally.
What is the Asian century?
The Asian Century is a term used to describe a prediction of the dominant influence of Asian political and cultural power in the 21st century, based on future demographic and economic trends. This concept is similar to the characteristics of the 18th century of the French Empire, the 19th century of the British Empire, and the 20th century, the century of the United States.
However, according to thousands of years of history, from the first year to the 1800s, Asia has always been a region of economic and political power, diplomacy, because China and India are countries with large economies. Most from the beginning, except during the 18th century, when the Western economy grew the most after the Industrial Revolution.
According to a report released by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank, 3 billion Asians could raise their living standards to the level of Europeans today, while Asia may have a larger economy. More than half of the global economy in the middle of the 21st century.
Where did the phrase Asia Century come from? In 1924, Karl Haushofer, a German professor, geographer and politician, used the term “Pacific age” to refer to the growth of Japan, China and India. He envisioned the rise of the Pacific after the American Atlantic and European Mediterranean eras.
In fact, the phrase Asia Century has been around since the mid-1980s. It was during a meeting between the leader of the People’s Republic of China, Deng Xiaoping, and Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. But at the time, Deng Xiaoping said: “In recent years it has been said that the next century is the Asia-Pacific century, and if it does happen, I do not agree with this view.”
In Asia today, population growth is expected to continue at least in the middle of the 21st century, although growth rates have slowed since the late 20th century. Asia currently has a population of 4 billion. Asia will have a population of more than 5 billion by 2050. At the same time, the population of North America and Europe, compared to the world population, is expected to decline sharply in the coming days.
For economic growth, the expected growth rate of China and other Asian neighbors will create favorable conditions to allow its economy to catch up with the West. Economic power is the main source for military power. Over the next 30 years, the incomes of Asians, such as China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia, can be expected to grow.
There are a lot of people. In fact, although the standard of living of Asians cannot keep up with the standard of living of Europeans, the size of the Asian economy is expected to represent more than half of the global economy. Apparently, during the Cold War, the European and North American economies combined represented half of the global economy during that period.
In many areas, including the rise of technology, finance and Asian culture, it has also been studied to have a profound effect on the next generation of the world.
What might be the obstacles to the dominance of the Asian century?
Nowadays, it is almost common to say that the 21st century is the century of Asia. However, there can be many obstacles that can hinder this dream. Across Asia, the main weaknesses can be described as follows:
Asians may have grown old before they became rich. At the same time, the role of women is very low. The direct impact of the aging population on economic development may be related to labor shortages, changes in utilization, increased public finances and health care costs. And so on. Continued social inequality in Asian countries is also a problem as wealth and opportunities fall into the hands of the rich. Social inequality can destabilize society, politics and democratic principles.
Many other Asian countries have a hard time raising capital to invest in infrastructure development, education and other policies that are key to high-income countries. Other challenges include increasing regional competition for limited natural resources, such as land, water, fuel or food.
Global warming and climate change could also threaten agricultural production, people in coastal areas and many major urban areas. Corruption is also a hot topic in many Asian governments.