Religion and Asia’s middle classes

Authored by: Daromir Rudnyckyj

Routledge Handbook of Religions in Asia

Print publication date:  September  2014
Online publication date:  September  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415635035
eBook ISBN: 9781315758534
Adobe ISBN: 9781317636465

10.4324/9781315758534.ch21

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Abstract

Since the oil shocks of the 1970s, Asia has been the site of the worlds most impressive economic growth. The “tiger economies” of Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and South Korea followed Japans model of export-driven development to become some of the world s fastest growing economies. These four were joined by the so-called “tiger cub economies” of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines. More recently, countries such as China, India, and Vietnam have attracted attention as sites for economic investment and growth. Tales of the spectacular economic achievements across this region are common in magazines, newspapers, television shows, and blog posts. An often-remarked feature of rapid economic development in many of these countries has been the corresponding expansion of the middle classes across the region. For example, the Economist noted that the number of middle-class Indonesian citizens (defined as those earning US$3,000 per year in disposable income) was forecast to grow from 50 million members in 2009 to 150 million by 2014 ( Economist 2011).

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