I hope the transition to a multi-polar world is peaceful.
Manish is spot on in his summary.
India is nowhere close to break into the group of "developed" nations, irrespective of the noise it makes. With the shackles of caste, class and religion unlikely to go away in another two generations, the political leadership will continue to fail us on every front.
The next generation belongs to China and US.
Pepe Escobar's analysis is very shaky; it is not based on "logic", reality or intelisense. USA is a "logical", "creative" and "thinking" country. China on the other hand has few more dollars because its past growth was export oriented because Western Countries had then the "buying" "power". Now the Western Countries buying power is minimal, hence Chinese exports have dried up in the West and diverted to Africa and Latin American countries where buying power is very very low.
China now has to concentrate to home growth, like India has been doing for all these years since independence. Whatever growth has been achieved in India, is solid, but now the growth for China on the home fornt will be on very dody wickets. Chickens will now come home to roost.
It is the character of the people that makes a Country great; Chinese do not have that character. Chines are not "Creative"; though they are "devious"; believe in "stealing" technology; Chinese are "corrupt" and "Selfish". Chinese do not have the "management" faculties. Chinese do not have the "far sight" either.
USA has realised that it needs "Creative" Indians on the cheap for its future research and development and it will provide all the resources.
So, China will not be a "Super" power, nor will "India" be.
USA with help of Britain and other European countries, and its allies in Asia - Japan, India, et el. will retain iys susperiority for a long time to come.
Gowth per se is not unmixed blessings. The 4 BRIC countries each are in some sort of financial doldrums with possible exception of China.
Brazil's growth is heavily commodity driven. Its heavy dependence on export of commodities like iron ore, coffee , sugar etc has dragged its economy to some sort of degrowth on onset of 2008 slow down. This has agravted with command & control slow down in China which accounted for largest part of its raw material & commododity export. Instead of investing big on infrastructure, Brazil concentrated on social welfare. This aproach has its own pro & con. While the country's infrastructures are dated & creaking , a degree of social & political stability has brought some sort of equilibrium.
Russsia of course is an one horse economy - oil. Post glassnost state controlled big industry were sold dirt cheap to cronies who are now a handful of oligarchs & who make Russia look dazzling. Whether Vladimir Putin can withstand the shock of crash in internatioanl oil prices has not yet been tested. One must remember worldwide there there has been frantic oil/gas hunt. With exception of mainland Europe & Japan , their energy hunt is showing results. Shell oil for example may reduce external energy dependence of many a oil-guzzling economies, reducing dependence on Russian oil.
China by & large is the most promising. It may be the only BRIC country which has & will live upto its deserved reputation of top growth economy. Despite large scale incentive to private enterprise , China is the only country where state invested heavily on infrastructure like roads, bridges, railways, airports, housing , telecommunication , surface & water transport & most importantly its human resources. China invested heavily in education & training of its young population. Leaving alone Hong Kong to its pre-war economic system has proved to be an extremely wise move. So China is the only country which looks to be living up to its promise of being the next economic giant.
India growth story has so far been given too much hype. India grew by default with the world wide unprecented economic growth from 2003 through 2008. It failed to cash on this growth revenue to build up infrastuactre. Roads, Railways, major ports, air ports, communication , housing - you name it & its in shambles. Nowhere world in the world metropolitan cities like Delhi , Bombay , Chennai , Kolkata looks so obviously decaying. Indian countryside is living in early last century oblivion. Most important , it failed to develop its fabulous human resources. So though young, major portion of the population is cloistered & immobile. They are largely not educated or ill-educated , hungry , malnourished lot with little skill-sets & therefore unemployable. This young population instead of being engine of growth is & will remain a drag on its growth. On top of it the boom of first decade of the century has spawned a pecular type crony capitalism which thrives on individual contact with the ruling dispensation of the the day. No wonder today with growth rate crashing down to 6 % , these cronies are clueless & crying hoarse about high interest rates , GAAR or retropestive taxes & son , whereas proven history is that cost of money never affects growth. Nor there is proof that rate of taxation retards growth. In any case , Indian oligarchs get their money from public sector banks & very often forgets to repay.
So in my book China looks to be the only one country which can give America a run for their money but will never rival political, economic , cultural & scientific clout of the United States of America.
It must be said that the United States is an amazing country. Development & growth story of today's world - be it economic & human development - has germinated, incubated , nurtured , sustained here. It invariably started there & spread through the world. Even during the reccession of 2008 , it quickly recovered from negative growth to about 2% positive. Remember that for US 2 % is no joke , considering it huge base.
US is & will remain the country which in foreseeable future will write the rules of the development game !
A very realistic and sober appraisal.
The fact of the matter is that we are entering into a phase which could be termed as the pre-final of what could be the world order for a very very long time.
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