Emergence of a new century for Asia?

By Hamka Rosli

Political and economic power is one of the major keys to be the world dominance, and right now we can see the shift of world dominance from West to Asia.

Some political ideologists believe that Asian countries will dominate the 21st century. Others believe that “Asian century” is a prophecy. And for common people like us, we think that Asia has already dominated the world by looking at the economic control. But there are more factors to look for before we can conclude that, and one of the major factors is the economic control by Asian countries.

By 2050, Asia will account for over half the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) according to the Asian development Bank, with three billion newly well-off citizens. China, being the largest Asian country, has become the second largest economic power in the world. With a population of 1.3 billion, China is increasingly playing an important and influential role currently in the global economy.

Not only China, but Japan and India as well are the top countries with the largest economy, with Japan being the third and India being the fourth. One of the reasons for China’s success now is due to their economic reformation back in 1978, and since then they have achieved economic growth averaging 10 per cent annually. For that, they managed to get half of their population out from the poverty.

Additionally, China might outpace the U.S economically due to their increase of GDP, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Apart from that, IMF also named the Chinese Yuan a reserve currency – a main world currency – joining the pound, dollar, euro and yen.

Besides, Southeast Asia has strong demographic profiles. India, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines, they are the “new Asia.” These countries have the economic potential to drive economic growth if they reform the markets the way the northeast Asia did and could be strong partners of America. These radical economic changes in Asia and the fall of western power surely give a slight hope for Asia to become world dominance.

Does this means the prophecy of Asian century will eventually come true? Maybe not certainly. To be world dominance, one must have strength in several aspects such as economy, military, political, science and technology, culture, and also ideology. Right now the U.S is still, in some ways, the dominant nation with its political, military, and economy strength. It is still are the largest producer of oil and gas, the second largest manufacturer and have highest trained labour and the U.S dollar is also the strongest currency in the world. And yet we can see that China is less likely to have the strength other than economic strength.

Contrary to the popular opinion of Asian century, they are supposed to drive the 21st century in the midst of serious economic slowdown. The second largest economy in Asia, Japan, is seen stagnant economically and slowly ageing. Furthermore, China’s growth is slowing further due to large debt. China’s economic problems have been brewing since 2003, and the country may also be heading for stagnation unless progressive measurement is being taken. Without China, there is no Asian century. With shrinking workforces and ageing population, economic development becomes harder. This shows uncertainty in the Asian world despite involving in dynamic economic changes.

Perhaps the world that we are living right now is too complex to be having a “dominance” century. It should neither be considered the end of a “West century” nor the beginning of an “Asian century”. Instead, all nations should positively regard it as the coming of a “global millennium,” in which an increasingly internationalised economy will raise the living standard of even greater number of people.***


Photo taken from Iran Daily
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