World After Covid-19: The Economist

Kishore Mahbubani, founding dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, has long observed that the era of Western domination is ending. The Covid-19 pandemic hurries the demise and marks the start of an Asian century. “The crisis highlights the contrast between the competent responses of East Asian governments (notably China, South Korea and Singapore) and the incompetent responses of Western governments (such as Italy, Spain, France, Britain and America),” he writes for the Economist. Asia’s lower death rates “reflect not just medical capabilities, but also the quality of governance and the cultural confidence of their societies.” Asians express shock about how many governments have rejected advice of public health experts. Governments have a tendency to downplay reports that deliver economic damage: China initially downplayed the virus, punishing doctors who tried to relay alarm before imposing tough restrictions. Political divisions in many democracies hampered that response. Mahbubani concludes that respect for education, science, environment and public service – and efficient investment – contributes to global leadership. “Clearly there are sharp differences between the communist system of China and the societies of South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Singapore,” he writes. “Yet one feature they share in common is a belief in strong government institutions run by the best and the brightest.” Competence, cooperation and smart decisions for the global common good based on best science translate into global influence. – YaleGlobal

World After Covid-19: The Economist

The West’s incompetent response to the pandemic, for the most part rejecting public health expertise, will hasten the power shift to East Asia
Kishore Mahbubani
Thursday, April 23, 2020

Read the essay from the Economist about influence and power shiftng from west to east.

Kishore Mahbubani is a former Singaporean diplomat and Founding Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, NUS from 2004 to 2017. He is currently a distinguished fellow at the Asia Research Institute, NUS and the author of numerous books on Asia and the West, most recently Has China Won? This article is part of a series from outside contributors on the world after covid-19. More can be found at

Government Expenditures on Education and Science, % of GDP	 		 	Science	Education  S Korea	5%	5% Japan	3%	3% Taiwan	3%	5% Germany	3%	5% US 	3%	5% Singapore	2%	4% China 	2%	4%
Global competition: Efficient investments in education and science contribute to prosperity and global influence (Source:  World Bank, Xinhuanet, Singapore budget, Taiwan Statistical Data Book; data from 2016 to 2018)

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