February 28, 2006
Written by C.N.
Newsweek Magazine’s feature article this week is entitled “India Rising” and similar to their article about China last year, describes the political, economic, and cultural emergence of India on the international global stage:
Fascinated by the new growth story, perhaps wary of Asia’s Chinese superpower, searching to hedge some bets, the world has woken up to India’s potential. But does it really know this complex, diverse country? Just as important, does India know what it wants of the world?
The marketing slogans wouldn’t work if there were no substance behind them. Over the past 15 years, India has been the second fastest-growing country in the world—after China—averaging above 6 percent growth per year. Growth accelerated to 7.5 percent last year and will probably hold at the same pace this year. Many observers believe that India could well expand at this higher rate for the next decade. . . .
A much-cited 2003 study by Goldman Sachs projects that over the next 50 years, India will be the fastest-growing of the world’s major economies (largely because its work force will not age as fast as the others). The report calculates that in 10 years India’s economy will be larger than Italy’s and in 15 years will have overtaken Britain’s.
By 2040 it will boast the world’s third largest economy. By 2050 it will be five times the size of Japan’s and its per capita income will have risen to 35 times its current level. Predictions like these are a treacherous business, though it’s worth noting that India’s current growth rate is actually higher than the study assumed.
At the same time, the article also notes that India is not without its problems, specifically poverty, slums, crumbling roads, underdeveloped infrastructure, huge HIV-positive population, etc. The article also notes that India’s growth is qualitatively different from that of China’s, where the central government controls virtually all aspects of economic activity, whereas in India, it’s largely a free market-driven system and the advantages and disadvantages involved therein.
Interestingly, the article also notes that in a recent international survey, Indians had the highest favorable impression of the U.S. of any country (except for the U.S. itself of course). I find this remarkable because if you asked the typical American if s/he has a favorable impression of India, I’m willing to bet that most Americans would answer no.
Why not? Mainly because of the outsourcing phenomenon and sensationalized reports of American workers losing their jobs to lower-paid workers in India. In many American industries, India is portrayed as some kind of depraved scavenger, sneaking up on unsuspecting Americans and waiting to grab whatever it can and run.
How ironic indeed, that Indians apparently admire Americans so much, but not the other way around.
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Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "The Rise of India" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2006/02/rise-of-india/> ().
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