Asia's economic miracle looks increasingly vulnerable to the end of a decidedly earthly phenomenon - five years of ultra-cheap financing sparked by the U.S. monetary policy dubbed "quantitative easing".
The notion that a region associated with thrift, low debt and high savings is vulnerable to an ebbing tide of global credit is controversial.
But the sell-off gripping emerging foreign exchange and equity markets this week has exposed an Asia that, despite amassing huge currency reserves and devising policies to insulate it from the kind of fund flight that triggered the Asian financial crisis in 1997 and 1998, has once again become susceptible to the rapid reversal of capital inflows.
"Some of the tailwinds that Asia has enjoyed over the past five to 10 years are coming to an end - and in some cases are turning into headwinds," said Andrew Swan, a portfolio manager at Blackrock in Hong Kong who oversees roughly $2.2 billion in Asian stocks.
Economists, bankers and investors say they caught a glimpse of Asia's possible future in June, when regional markets convulsed at a suggestion by Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke that the central bank of the world's largest economy might start scaling back quantitative easing, or QE.
Those concerns have returned with a vengeance this week to batter markets in India and Indonesia.
Having failed to dismantle politically and socially knotty obstacles to growth, Asia has instead relied on low interest rates and massive borrowing to keep its economies expanding, particularly since the 2008/09 global financial crisis that prompted the Fed to start aggressively buying bonds.
As a result, if and when QE finally ends, Asia could find its growth targets much more costly to achieve.
"Policymakers have been so worried about trying to keep growth going, they've eased all the kind of stimulus levers but have done that at the expense of structural reforms," said Rob Subbaraman, chief Asia economist at Nomura in Singapore. "That's coming back to bite them.
Where it bites in a region as diverse as Asia varies widely.
But whether it's immigration and labor laws in Japan, the dominance of state enterprises in China or hurdles to foreign investment in India, each nation faces its own third rail of reform - one that stands to revive productivity and boost potential growth if resolved, but which has proved too politically fraught to undertake.