What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about first-world countries?
Chances are, your answer will be along the lines of high GDP per capita, rich natural resources, or vast income from trade. But a nation’s progress and prosperity depend on more than just chalking up economic gains.
There can even be times when pursuing a fast and furious growth can backfire.
For instance, a young nation on the fast-track to growth may see its efforts bearing fruit in the short term. But if that growth comes at the cost of environmental damage, pollution, or inadequately developed infrastructure, then its citizens will suffer a lower quality of life overall.
With today’s increasing emphasis on quality of life, economies are starting to recognise that it’s about time we take a fresh approach to growth and development.
Measures such as equality, environmental sustainability, education and a stable government, are now considered better gauges of a country’s social well-being and progress.
With this shift in mindset, it’s easy to see why industries that seek to improve people’s lives, like fintech, biotech, healthcare and urban planning, are the way of the future.
With a more holistic perspective, Asia 2030 promises to be a more grounded outlook exercise compared to its optimistic predecessor.
Will taking this long, hard look at what real prosperity is then enable us to ride the new challenges that lie ahead?