Raghav Bahl, the author, was an unknown figure to me but after reading this book, hats off to the man. As per my expectations, the book has downplayed both the overestimated and over-celebrated democratic success of India and economic success of Chinese totalitarianism. The commentary in this book is not political per se but has conformed to the tradition of economic comparison. Both India and China story have tutored me very differently as far as numbers are concerned. A very impressive example of this statement was captured in the story of youth of India. In the story, the author has highlighted both the conventional and pragmatic wisdom regarding the population that goes around in India.
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Who does Bahl believe is going to win this race, and what are the implications for the U. He posits that in the short term China has the greatest advantages owing both to its manufacturing base, as well as its ability through the medium of large cash surpluses, to bargain both persuasively and effectively with respect to mergers and acquisitions outside of China as well as its capacity through a planned economy to create and implement effective five year plans.
Having said that there is a downside to the Chinese miracle as well. The Chinese have exploited the global consumer-led economic demand surge by focusing on investments and exports.
Finally, the other compelling factor for preservation of the Chinese miracle is the advancing age of their population. India, as Dahl argues, also brings great resources to bear in this race, but they are perceived at this point to play second fiddle in their mutual competition to, at this point, to the overwhelming prestige and power of China.
Where India is disadvantaged in, at least the medium term, is in their paucity of modern infrastructure, as was evidenced by the difficulties relating to the Commonwealth Games Why is this book important, and what are the implications for the rest of the world regarding both the race between the Chinese Hare and the Indian Tortoise, and the ability of the U.
First, Mr. Bahl exhibits an exquisite sensibility and intimate sense regarding the attributes and flaws of both of these countries. Though he is an Indian patriot, he is also, through the benefit of a fine analytical mind, able to analyze in some detail the policy implications of Chinese strengths and weaknesses.
He is quick to note that China, owing to the ability of its leaders such as President Hu Jintao, and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to effectively use their authority through the auspices of a planned economy to make the hard decisions regarding infrastructure and energy that will create certain advantages in their competition with India over the short and medium term for at least the next 20 years.
Bahl argues that the Chinese face a potential pivot point in 20 years owing to the rapid aging of the Chinese population, and the pressures brought about by domestic Chinese consumers and ethnic factions which may impact their global competitiveness. Bahl describes India as being a tortoise whose greatest strengths rely in its ability to persevere for the long haul.
However, there are a series of compounding and potentially escalating implications for India as well. Can they continue to feed their population as well as bring more and more of their populace into the middle class while overcoming infrastructure difficulties? Will India be able to capitalize on its business process re-engineering capabilities to make them an effective global player for the remainder of this century and beyond?
Both of these countries have compelling advantages and disadvantages as they continue to emerge on the world stage.
Raghav Bahl has provided us with the benefit of his wisdom to further the process of analysis on how best to engage with both of these countries while at the same time helping to protect U.