We think so highly of China that many parts of the world (including the US) think it’s the dominate power already. China gets all the attention as my post yesterday alluded to. 10 years ago we talked about India. We were going to outsource all our call centers and technology jobs the India. But then we got distracted when we realized that all our manufacturing jobs got outsourced too. But to China.
As China grew India kind of fell through the cracks. And so no one talks about India anymore.
But they should be. China is without a doubt on their way to being the largest and most economically powerful country in the world. There is little debate they will get there. Hiccups like a world financial crisis and rising wages have slowed things down, but they have a growing middle class that alone will be larger than the entire US. Part of China’s growth has been fueled by population growth. The sheer size of China will be enough for them to grow beyond the US economically.
India has a lot of people too. And China instituted their one child policy a generation ago. This has led to an aging population that is like a massive baby-boomer generation that is aging. This will skew the population to having a lot of old people that can’t work and a labor force that struggles to sustain them (see China population pyramids. The US will be dealing with this as well as our boomers retire. For China, it means their population is expected to peak over the next 15 years and then decline. India will still be growing.
The economy is not entirely dependent on people for productivity. With machines and robots it’s easy enough to replace human labor, a trend that is moving like India’s population is. But until the machines gain enough intelligence to overtake their masters and rule the world, ingenuity and growth ultimately come from humans.
Indians are already masters of engineering and technology, and have a greater proficiency of English. Like it or not, English is not likely to be superseded by Mandarin or Hindi, though its dominance will be more like a universal second language for many. India has other advantages that will help it grow sustainably. What they lack in fossil fuels they make up for in investments and resources for 21st century energy resources. They also have a growing telecommunications infrastructure fueled by none other than market competition, which doesn’t exist in China.
So we aren’t just talking about population growth, India has the makings to be the first sustainable superpower beyond the US or EU. If this were basketball, China is Lebron James, not at the peak of his career but getting there with loads more potential. The US is Michael Jordan, the still undisputed best ever. India is a 14 year old with mad skills but few are giving any attention to yet. However he will be bigger than anything we’ve ever seen, but he needs a few more years to develop.