CAMBRIDGE – The twenty-first century is witnessing Asia’s return to what might be considered its historical proportions of the world’s population and economy. In 1800, Asia represented more than half of global population and output. By 1900, it represented only 20% of world output – not because something bad happened in Asia, but rather because the Industrial Revolution had transformed Europe and North America into the world’s workshop.
Asia’s recovery began with Japan, then moved to South Korea and on to Southeast Asia, beginning with Singapore and Malaysia. Now the recovery is focused on China, and increasingly involves India, lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty in the process.