Since 1980 the path of economic development has changed in East Asia. For 40 years now, East Asia has had one of the strongest overall HDI of anyregion in the world. Life expectancy in East Asia has raised to an average of 73 years in 2010 from 59 in 1970. Also literacy rates rose to 34 percent in 2010 from 53 percent in 1970.Late developers now follow a path that can be best described as compressed development. This is the compression of stages of development. Economic development usually depends on high massconsumption. Industrialization also has been a key to development: “A developing country, in an open economy context, industrializes and goes through industrial upgrading, step by step,by capitalizing on the learning opportunities made available through its external relation with the more advanced world” (UNCTAD, 1995:259, cited in Nam, 2002). In East Asia, thedevelopment theory has passed from importation of foreign goods, to the production of them so they can be exported. East Asia has a process of economic development with distributive and growthobjectives, hence its egalitarian pattern of income. Human and social development in East Asia is characterized by basic education since the beginning of the development process, healthcare, and creating social opportunities so people can participate in economic expansion.
(2002b), ‘The Role of Social Policy in Economic Development: Some theoreticalreflections and lessons from East Asia’ prepared for UNRISD, Geneva.
"2010 Human Development Report: Asian Countries Lead Development Progress over 40 Years." 2010 Human DevelopmentReport: Asian Countries Lead Development Progress over 40 Years. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Sept. 2012. <http://www.un.org.vn/en/news-highlights/1622-2010humandevelopmentreport.html>.