A New World Order [Archives:2006/1009/Business & Economy]

December 21 2006

By: Raidan A. Al-Saqqaf
[email protected]

There is no question that Western societies are more developed and advanced compared to their Asian counterparts when it comes to human sciences, technological advancements, and other areas of excellence. Take the example of music: No Asian orchestra comes close to matching top Western orchestras. Also, there are few Asian business schools with a reputation for research matching their counterparts in the West. The bottom line is that Asian societies might seem to have a long way to go until they call themselves the more advanced and more developed societies of the world.

Having said that, Asians have successfully imported and utilized technology and know-how of the developed western societies to create economic miracles; over half of the world's economic growth and development has been taking place in Asia, in 1960 east and Southeast Asia contributed 4 percent to the global economy while North America contributed 37 percent. However the global economic growth and the 'Asian miracle' resulted in giving both regions an equal contribution to the global economy of about 24 percent each. In Economic terms, East Asia has the same economic power and influence as that of North America.

While it took the British 58 years and the North Americans 47 years to double the output of their economies, Asian countries such as South Korea took 11 years and China 10 years to do the same, singling that the incredible economic performance of Asian societies would eventually change the world order we see today. Asia is developing rapidly, but is developing in different manner compared to the western model.

When Japan first kicked-started the development of Asia, it used a strategy of copying the West in every respect in order to embrace development and join the 'Western' club, leading to Japan becoming a rival to western powers during the world wars and being accepted as a developed society in global standards, with a prosperous economy, democratic stability and social freedoms in a similar manner to Western societies.

However, the social consequences of the Western model of development has deterred other Asian societies from copying it. The U.S., for example, deemed to be the most advanced nation and society, has a huge gap in incomes where the richest 1 percent have an accumulative worth equal to that of the poorest 50 percent of U.S. residents; ghettos still persist as the most inequitable example of human exclusion in the world, and France's riots are a reminder of how such developed societies can be on the verge of collapse.

Asian societies are redefining development, their development isn't mainly based on financial terms but it also gives great emphasis to their inherent values of cultural identity, morals and ethics. Asian societies are redefining development big time, focusing more on the issue of human prosperity and harmony in keeping the family together and the society healthy and rather than increasing purchasing power. After all, Asia is home to some of the greatest civilizations, ever to exist, such as Islam and Confucianism.