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Book Review: Has Asia (really) lost it?

The region's gleaming exterior hides myriad social problems, including widespread poverty and a self-entitled elite

In his new book, "Has Asia Lost It? Dynamic Past, Turbulent Future," author Vasuki Shastry is essentially saying that after you read all about Asia's achievements and potential, it is time to learn about how the bottom tiers of society have made insufficient gains. (Nikkei montage; source photos by World Scientific and Getty Images)

In the years before COVID-19 started battering the world, consultancies and multilateral lenders among others published a plethora of upbeat books and reports on the theme of "Asia Rising." There was not much writing that countered the tide of strong optimism about what was billed as the "Asian Century."

Among the bullish forecasts for emerging Asia was one from accounting firm PwC in 2017 predicting which economies would be the world's biggest in 2050. China was given the top spot -- no surprise there -- followed by India, the U.S. and Indonesia.

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