As we begin a new century a basic shift in the distribution of global wealth, power, and influence is occurring. The people of East Asia, after hundreds of years of economic and political domination by the West, are standing as equals of Europe and the United States. They are making their own course in the world and have demanded and began to receive the respect in the global realm. They deserve this recognition because of the two Asian "miracles" that have occurred over the past three decades. The first, and arguably the least significant, is the economic miracle which has made the East Asian countries some of the most prosperous on Earth. The second miracle, the social miracle, has transformed the countries into modern industrial societies that are known for having the safest streets, the best educational systems, and the most stable families in the world (Reid 227). The East Asian countries manage to maintain minimal rates of violent crime, property crime, and drug use. They keep the distribution of wealth and opportunity equal. They have created a society in which there is a sense of civility and harmony that allow people to feel safe when they walk through the streets of East Asia's cities. The basis of this social miracle, according to Reid, is the underlying ethical values embedded into the people of the society. These values are called Confucian values, or the Asian Way (Reid 228). .
The evidence that Reid presents of this social miracle comes from both his experience from living in Japan and from statistical data. He says about his family's experience, " this social miracle touched us- it influenced our daily life, for the better," (Reid 20). Reid's family quickly learned that in Japan they could live without fear. They did not have to worry about things like walking in the dark alone at night, leaving their luggage unattended, or locking their bikes up. They had a basic confidence that everyone in their family, even their smallest child, could go anywhere in the massive city at any time, without worrying about crime.