Kishore Mahbubani: Western Misconceptions of Asia's Resurgence

The West cannot imagine a world in which it isn't the dominant power.
  • Transcript


Kishore Mahbubani: Basically the Western mind remains closed and trapped in 19th and 20th centuries, and they cannot conceive of a world where they no longer the dominant force. And so, they look at what's happening in Asia and seem to think it is a passing shower. It is going to go, come and go. Just like Asia was growing very rapidly in the 1990s and then, of course, there was this remarkable economic meltdown in the Asian financial crisis, so well this is temporary, they won’t make it, they will crash and burn again. So, I mean that may happen and I can rule that out, but the whole point of my book is that this time it is real. There has been in addition, by the way, to the implementation of the seven pillars of Western wisdom, the success of these Asian societies has led to what I call an explosion of cultural confidence, and this is an explosion on nuclear proportions. Suddenly, hundreds of millions of young people in Asia who never thought that their tomorrow will be better than today are all believing my tomorrow is going to be better than today, and they believe that they can do anything, as well as anybody else in the world. They no longer see themselves in any way as being inferior or second-class citizens, and that's remarkable and that explosion of cultural confidence is key in terms of understanding the rise of Asia, because you can see it is being driven by a clear conviction that they can do it.

Recorded on: 2/28/08