In the next decade and a half, China and India will become two of the world’s indispensable powers—whether they rise peacefully or not. During that time, Asia will surpass the combined strength of North America and Europe in economic might, population size, and military spending. Both India and China will have vetoes over many international decisions, from climate change to global trade, human rights, and business standards.
From her front row view of this colossal shift, first at the State Department and now as an advisor to American business leaders, Anja Manuel escorts the reader on an intimate tour of the corridors of power in Delhi and Beijing. Her encounters with political and business leaders reveal how each country’s history and politics influences their conduct today. Through vibrant stories, she reveals how each country is working to surmount enormous challenges—from the crushing poverty of Indian slum dwellers and Chinese factory workers, to outrageous corruption scandals, rotting rivers, unbreathable air, and managing their citizens’ discontent. “Incisive…lively and accessible…Manual shows us that an optimistic path is possible: we can bring China and India along as partners“ (San Francisco Chronicle).
We wring our hands about China, Manuel writes, while we underestimate India, which will be the most important country outside the West to shape China’s rise. Manuel shows us that a different path is possible—we can bring China and India along as partners rather than alienating one or both, and thus extend our own leadership in the world. This Brave New World offers “a thoughtful analysis…and a strategy for keeping it from turning violent” (The Wall Street Journal).
China's prominence is explored in the context of how it complements and competes with the rest of Asia, especially Japan and India, and how it interacts with other major emerging-market countries, such as Brazil, Russia, and Turkey. The book also looks at the challenge China's ascendancy poses to the assertion that a successful capitalist system must be accompanied by political democracy. Finally, the authors suggest ways in which Asia's rise can be accommodated in the West and elsewhere and offer thoughts on where Asia, and especially China, will be in 2030.
Bingmans book analyzes their similarities and critical differences. Both remain heavily linked to their farms and villages, but in both, the future is in the cities. Bingman analyzes their new economic policies, the rise of new middle classes, and their disturbing inability to provide adequate social services. Both are struggling with seriously flawed governments. China remains a “top down” tyranny. India’s government is “bottom up” and wildly chaotic.
In his career as one of India's leading journalists and entrepreneurs, Raghav Bahl has often faced this question, and many others, from bewildered visitors:
* Why are Indian regulations so weak and confusing?
* Why is your foreign investment policy so restrictive?
* How come your hotels are world class, but the roads leading to them are so potholed?
* Why don't you lower your voice when you make fun of your politicians?
* Why do you control the price of oil and cable TV?
Clearly there's a huge difference in how India and its arch-rival China work on the ground. China is spectacularly effective in building infrastructure and is now reinvesting almost half its GDP. Meanwhile, India is still a "promising" economy: more than half its GDP is consumed by its billion-plus people, yet India has some unique advantages: Half its population is under twenty-five, giving it a strong demographic edge; 350 million Indians understand English, making it the largest English-speaking country in the world; and it's the world's largest democracy.
In the race to superpower status, who is more likely to win: China's hare or India's tortoise? Bahl argues that the winner might not be determined by who is investing more and growing faster today but by something more intangible: who has superior innovative skills and more entrepreneurial savvy.
He notes that China and India were both quick to recover from the financial crisis, but China's rebound was accompanied by huge debt and deflation, with weak demand. India's turnaround was sturdier, with lower debt and modest inflation. So India's GDP grew twice as fast as China's for a few quarters-the first time that had happened in nearly three decades. And in contrast to China's Yuan, which is pummeled for being artificially undervalued, India's rupee largely floats against world currencies. In the end, it might come down to one deciding factor: can India fix its governance before China repairs its politics?
With insights into the two countries' histories, politics, economies and cultures, this is a well-written, fully documented, comprehensive account of the race to become the next global superpower. For anyone looking to understand China, India and the future of the world economy, this is the book to read.