This growth has been achieved by following an “old economy” industrial and export‑driven model. Because this model depends on low wages and the acceptance of environmental damage, it is unsustainable. Success drives up wages and wealthier populations typically demand cleaner and healthier environments.
Asia has become much richer, not only absolutely, but relatively, too. Over the past 10 years, its share of global gross domestic product has increased from 24 percent to 31 percent. Its vast population is increasingly urban and middle‑class.