Mongolia's Munkh-Orgil: Middle-class surge will change everything
Foreign minister says globalization is 'unstoppable' despite protectionism
ALEXANDER MARTIN and TSUBASA SURUGA, Nikkei staff writers
Of all the important trends shaping Asia, the rise of the middle class will have the most profound impact, Mongolian Foreign Minister Tsend Munkh-Orgil told the conference.
Citing an OECD estimate that the middle-class population will surge to 4.9 billion by 2030, from 1.8 billion in 2009, Munkh-Orgil said the figures are "mind-boggling." The change, he said, will have wide-ranging repercussions on politics and globalization.
"It will have a significant impact on every aspect of life for the next 20-30 years in Asia," he said. In his view, the future will not be about cheap labor or resources -- rather, it will be centered on connections and technological innovation.
Munkh-Orgil stressed that despite talk of spreading protectionism, Asia will see itself increasingly connected and integrated. "We do not believe globalization will stop or slow down, we believe it is unstoppable."
Munkh-Orgil said that countries should not try to avoid the risks associated with globalization -- epidemics, terrorism, human trafficking and so on -- by closing their doors.
"We know what happens when nations do that," he said. "Nothing good comes out of it."