Asia Future Shock

Asia Future Shock

Business Crisis and Opportunity in the Coming Years

Palgrave Macmillan, 2007 more...

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable


This short book offers a concise, comprehensive survey of political, economic and social opportunities and challenges in Asia. Michael Backman does a solid job of aggregating information about the most important countries in this vast region, especially information that challenges conventional wisdom. At a time when numerous books prophesy China’s unstoppable ascent, getAbstract recommends this refreshingly frank look at an alternative future – a future of problems in China so daunting as to seem almost insoluble. Asia’s future, it seems, will be at least as complex and difficult as its past.


Demographic Destiny

Asia’s importance is undeniable. China and India are already the world’s most populous countries, and their economic growth has certainly captured attention. However, few recognize the complexities and challenges reshaping this rapidly changing region.

Demography is destiny, and the fate it hands out will be kinder to some Asian countries than to others. China’s notorious population control policies have turned it into one of the most rapidly aging nations in the world. China will get old before it gets rich. By imposing the one-child policy, its leaders have guaranteed that in the near future China will have fewer working-age people than older people. Since economic growth is correlated with the number of workers and their productivity, this demographic development seems to suggest that China’s growth will slow down. The demographic picture for India is somewhat brighter, since the country has a relatively young population, and its attempts at draconian population controls simply did not work.

However, in both India and China, technology has offered new means of exercising a traditional preference for male rather than female children. As ...

About the Author

Michael Backman, a columnist for The Age in Melbourne, also wrote Asian Eclipse: Exposing the Dark Side of Business in Asia, named by the Economist as one of 2008’s best nonfiction books.

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