Monday, February 6, 2012

Too much pessimism over East Asia

BBC reports that the Indonesian economy grew at its fastest pace in 15 years last year: 6.5%.

Great. What a success for Indonesia, and for anyone who cares about poverty.

There is not enough acknowledgement of the really great economic improvements in many Asian countries. When the rich Western countries are growing fast I see complaints about the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Now that most Western countries are nearly stagnant and many Asian countries are booming, there is alarmist pessimism and complaints that the global centre of power is shifting east.

Will there never been a celebration of the rise of Asian economies? These are drastic reduction in poverty enjoyed by hundreds of millions of people. Sure the rise of China might provoke strategic fears, but anyone who cares about poverty should surely be delighted to see vast numbers of Chinese people climbing out of it. Good for them.


  1. I heartily agree, Shane. The great poverty reductions in many asian countries in recent decades is marvellous, but it hardly ever makes the news. All we hear of countries like Indonesia is whenever a ferry sinks or a storm hits, nothing about all the families that can afford to buy twice as much food as they could 15 years ago.

  2. Cheers Vidar, yes. The rise of China is often depicted as something alarming and worrying, either as a military threat or an environmental disaster. It MIGHT be, to be fair, but I am also glad to see great numbers of people leave poverty and keep thinking: good for them! While the rapid growth of developing countries might indeed cause environmental pressures I'm still glad to hear of it. Yet the people who I see wringing their hands over poverty in developing countries tend to be quieter about success.


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