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Asia and the Pacific: A story of transformation and resurgence - economic and social survey of Asia and the Pacific 1947-2014

image of Asia and the Pacific: A story of transformation and resurgence - economic and social survey of Asia and the Pacific 1947-2014
The UN-ESCAP (and its predecessor UN-ECAFE) has been ahead of the curve in shaping the ideas on economic and social development in the Asia-Pacific region through its annual economic and social Survey. This publication aims to provide a first-hand account of what was happening during a period of unprecedented economic and social transformation. It contains a succinct narration of the countries’ reconstruction efforts and needs after the Second World War as well as their development aspirations and endeavours providing an analytical narrative of the transformation of the region infested with pervasive hunger and deprivation to the Asian miracle that lifted billions of human beings out of extreme poverty. It tells how the region from a periphery became the centre of gravity for the world economy. In short, it is an analytical story of the unfolding of the Asian drama.

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South Asia: A subcontinenta saga

…India and Pakistan are still below $500 whereas those for East Asian developing countries range from over $2,000 for Thailand to as high as about $8,500 in the Republic of Korea. Given the vastly divergent economic development among the groups of countries, it would be a common myth to presume that the discrepancy in development is somehow inherited by the respective groups of countries. Contrary to this general perception, it is quite an enigma to note that, this had not been the case in the past. In fact, economic development measured in terms of GNP per capita in the 1960s for all these countries was quite similar and comparable to the extent that all the countries, with the exception of Malaysia, were below the $200 mark. Not only that, the Republic of Korea had a per capita income of only $130 in 1966, which is even lower than that of Cambodia at that time… (ESCAP, 2001, p.4).

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