Chapter 1: Introduction
Economic growth has rightly attracted major attention from economists and policy makers. It is vital from the point of view of human welfare, and challenging intellectually, to attempt to answer basic questions related to the past, present, and future performance of nations in economic development: Why are some countries rich while others are poor? What factors have enabled some poor countries to achieve miraculous success in catching up with rich countries? Is the disparity in per capita income between rich and poor countries decreasing? Addressing these questions requires rigorous theories and robust empirical studies. In these efforts, one needs not only well-established concepts but also in-depth knowledge of prominent development stories, not only knowledge of development patterns in the past events but also the current dynamics that are shaping the trends in the world’s future economic growth. Of these questions, none is more important than what has produced remarkable economic growth in Asia. In a single lifetime, countries have been lifted from rural underdevelopment to the living standards of developed economies.