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Parag Khanna: The Future is Asian

5 min read

Parag Khanna is a leading global strategy advisor, best-selling author and TED speaker. He has written a number of highly influential books and his latest book, coming out in Spring 2019, is ‘The Future is Asian: Commerce, Conflict & Culture in the 21st Century’.  It is set to be the definitive guide to Asia’s global influence in the 21st century.  test

Parag explains that in the 19th century, the world was Europeanized.  In the 20th century it was Americanized.  Now in the 21st century, the world is being irreversibly Asianized.  The ‘Asian Century’ is even bigger than you think. Far greater than just China, the new Asian system taking shape is a multi-civilizational order spanning Saudi Arabia to Japan, and Russia to Australia—linking five billion people through trade, finance and infrastructure networks that together represent 40 percent of global GDP. China has taken a lead in building the new Silk Roads across Asia, but it will not lead it alone. Rather, Asia is returning to the stable multipolar order that existed long before European colonialism and American dominance, with India and Southeast Asia coming into their own as economic and strategic hubs.

Dr Khanna states that large but dormant societies from Iran to Indonesia are finally emerging, teeming with young and urban, ambitious and entrepreneurial youth, while from Saudi Arabia to Vietnam, privatization is unlocking a new wave of growth. Asians are sharing economic and governance models as never before, and their confident outward push is reshaping business and culture life across North America and Europe, South America and Africa. From investment portfolios and trade wars to Hollywood movies and holiday travels, no aspect of life is immune from Asianization.

To conclude, Parag poses the question “The world has become used to hearing “America First”—but is it ready for “Asia First”? What happens when Asia no longer just produces for the West but the West produces for Asia? And when Asians don’t aspire to live like the West but rather Western societies wish they had Asians’ stability and far-sighted leadership?” Get ready to see the world, and the future, from the Asian point-of-view.

When he isn’t writing books Parag Khanna is Founder & Managing Partner of FutureMap, a data and scenario based strategic advisory firm. A widely cited global intellectual, Dr. Khanna provides regular commentaries for international media. He is currently a CNN Global Contributor.  He serves on a number of advisory and he holds a PhD in international relations from the London School of Economics. Parag has been honored as a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and in 2002 was awarded the OECD Future Leaders Prize.

Parag lectures at international conferences as well as delivering executive briefings to government and corporations on global trends and scenarios, systemic risks and technological disruptions in addition to market entry strategies and economic master planning.  He has put together a range of industry-specific comments.  We show an edited selection below, for a greater range click here.


The major transitions in Asia’s economic landscape towards structural reforms, local currency debt issuance, privatization and diversification all offer tremendous opportunities but also risks for the financial sector, with Dr. Khanna providing regional and country-level insights based on his extensive advisory work and research.


As Dr. Khanna elaborates, only half of Asia is aging, while the other half is youthful and benefiting from new lifestyles and medical technologies. Asia’s expanding pharmaceutical and medical services sectors present enormous opportunities for life sciences and healthcare companies, with Dr. Khanna’s demographic and socio-economic analysis providing essential insights for gaining ground among Asia’s billions.


Asia’s leapfrogging is most evident in the digital technology space, with China, Japan, South Korea and India all investing heavily in AI, Internet of Things and other high-tech areas, while even less innovative countries are making themselves testbeds for the latest 5G networks, digital governance, e-commerce, and smart city toolkits. Dr. Khanna’s analysis the national priorities and competitive landscape of Asia’s technology sectors gives crucial insights to companies seeking to gain market share in digital Asia.

To conclude on the topic of Asia, Parag Khanna commented on the recently released film ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ that although they may appreciate the romance of the film, western cinema-goers might be unlikely to be comfortable with the geopolitical rebalancing upon which this growing Asian self-assurance is based.  Parag said “This is a huge change, as it dawns on the west that Asians used to make things for us and now we are making things for them”.

When the media and arts start portraying ‘the future is Asian’, you know that it is truly already happening; let us recognise this and embrace it.

CSA Speaker Bulletin September 2018


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