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Spring 2000


An Asian Middle Class


This comment is excerpted from a paper titled "Japan: Major Source of Conceptual Shocks" delivered by Karel van Wolferen at Universitait van Amsterdam in February.

Amsterdam - There is one objective that could and should draw together the elites of "emerging markets," less developed economies, Western governments and international organizations, for formulating a practical policy discussion. That objective is the fostering of an economically strong and politically significant middle class. Without losing from sight the need for fundamental assistance to the desperately poor in countries negatively affected by globalization, economic policies aimed at lifting the recently poor and less poor into an enlarged middle class with money to spend, and with political aspirations, would seem to be the best hope for all developmental areas of the world.

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