Podcast: The End of the Asian Century?

Observers frequently characterize Asia as “emerging”, “ascendant”, or headed for an “inexorable rise”. But what if demographic, economic, and security trends are instead propelling the continent in a different direction?

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Episode Guests
  • Elizabeth C. Economy
    Senior Fellow for China Studies

Show Notes

Observers frequently characterize Asia as “emerging”, “ascendant”, or headed for an “inexorable rise”. But what if demographic, economic, and security trends are instead propelling the continent in a different direction? On this week’s Asia Unbound podcast, Michael Auslin, resident scholar and director of Japan Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, lays out the provocative arguments at the heart of his new book The End of the Asian Century: War, Stagnation, and the Risks to the World’s Most Dynamic Region. He suggests that while Asian countries have previously reaped demographic dividends from their large youth populations, governments now confront new challenges. Northeast Asian states must accommodate rapidly aging societies, while South and Southeast Asian states must find ways to accommodate younger generations’ demands for education, infrastructure, and opportunity. Beyond demographic risks, the threat of a regional arms race also looms large in Asia. Many would expect the likelihood of conflict to fall in an increasingly wealthy continent connected through a veritable alphabet soup of institutions from APEC to the SCO. Instead, it appears to be rising. Why is this and what steps can be taken to help avert conflict? Listen below to hear Auslin’s take on how the region can address its impending challenges and why active U.S. involvement in Asia is critical in doing so.

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