- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Yale University Press (January 10, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0300212224
- ISBN-13: 978-0300212228
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,493 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The End of the Asian Century: War, Stagnation, and the Risks to the Worlds Most Dynamic Region Hardcover – January 10, 2017
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1. It provides details, not platitudes. We are all familiar with the platitudes about Asia being the world’s growth engine. Michael Auslin shows us the fouled spark plugs inside the engine that may freeze it up. He calls it “The Asia nobody sees.”
2. It provides an in-depth analysis of countries from India to Indochina to Japan to Korea to China to Indonesia and the Philippines. We are accustomed to thinking of these countries in common as “Asia-Pacific.” Auslin shows us that differences between neighboring Asian countries often exceed the differences between Canada and Argentina at opposite ends of our hemisphere.
3. Because Asia has such a wide spectrum of extremes, its trendlines exaggerate what we see in the USA. For example, Japan has a much steeper demographic decline than we do. They are automating their society because they do not have enough humans to do the work. We can understand demographic challenges by observing how the Japanese, and soon the Chinese, will deal with theirs. We can learn from their mistakes and successes.
4. It’s a warning against complacency. We see trouble brewing in Asia from many smoldering conflicts, but we imagine that prosperity brought by trade will smooth over the differences. Peace is not inevitable. We could wake up one morning and find North Korean artillery demolishing Seoul, and warning that if we intervene, Los Angeles and Seattle will be vaporized by North Korean nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles. We could find ourselves in a war with China invading Taiwan or another country where maritime boundaries are disputed. Asian nations are not as stable as they appear.Read more ›
In The End of the Asian Century Michael R. Auslin throws cold water on the idea of Asia as an unstoppable economic juggernaut and instead recasts it as a divided place that could experience many upheavals which threaten to unravel the great promise of the much hyped Asian century of peace and prosperity for all. The threats range from political to the social and demographic. I thought it was a fairly quick, briskly paced read with a lot of useful information on an area that I truly didn’t know much about.
The only real question I have is “How many Americans will read this book”? I only ask because a lot of the places that are discussed garner scant mention on the headline news cycle. As Aslan correctly points out, Asia is more than China, but many Americans equate Asia with China. The Asian Century can help fix these perceptions, but are the people who need to read this book, ready to listen?
Looks are deceiving.
The author, Michael Auslin, has been to Asia and looked beneath the surface and interviewed different people from all parts of the continent. What he found was a very different Asia, with staggering economies, democratic and tyrannical governments with rampant corruption, invest pollution and the destruction of the environment, demographic pressure, a clinging to the past, and potential conflicts that can lead to war, war involving the United States.
Back in the 1980s, it was believed that Japan would soon dominate the world’s economy, but it stagnated in the 1990s due to overbuying, bad investments, and deep debt, and Japan has been fully recovered.
Then it was China, but their (overheated) economy also stagnated, with over investing (e.g. building hundreds of square kilometers of literally emptm cities), companies moving out of China for cheaper labor, intense pollution, corruption, and a tyrannical government interfering with private businesses.
There are up and coming economies like that of India, but their problems of poverty and overpopulation has to be confronted.
All this is just the tip of the iceberg and does not involve the economy alone.
Asia, unlike Europe, cannot unite into a single “Asian Union” or “Asian Common Market.” There is ASEAN, the Southeast Asian Association of Nations, but it does not include China or Japan, and they just talk, with little action, if any. The problem is differences of customs, cultures demographics, and ancient feuds, dating back to World War II, and earlier, that were never resolved.Read more ›
The question is, of course, whether the author knows Asian enough to provide good prediction. Well, statements like "Visitors to Southeast Asia come away with similar concerns for long-term social stability " inform us on how he gets the notion concerning how he reaches his conclusion.