On Urbanity and Wealth, and the Future of the Countryside

By Ooi Kee Beng

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URBANISATION IS AN oft-cited sign of radical socio-economic changes in a country.The process at some point could be one of necessity, where the agricultural sector has undergone such huge disruptions that unemployed agricultural workers have to leave the pastoral lifestyle to live in squalid quarters in foul cities. This was definitely the case in the early years of industrialisation in the West, and urban poverty was a huge social problem.Or it could be something that happens at a relatively slow...

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Ooi Kee Beng

is the Executive Director of Penang Institute. His recent books include The Eurasian Core and its Edges: Dialogues with Wang Gungwu on the History of the World (ISEAS 2016). Homepage: wikibeng.com