Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Will India pull ahead?

But will India always remain the tortoise-elephant to China's dragon-hare? If India could transcend its fractious politics (and there are signs in recent elections that it might), then it certainly has the potential to excel economically. It has a demographic advantage over China - it will have a larger working-age population by 2050. Its diversity is also a source of creativity - something its dour northern neighbour fears it may lack. And while China's rulers have managed economic liberalisation masterfully, it remains to be seen whether they can achieve the same miracle in the political sphere. China has enjoyed the short-term bonus of authoritarianism - the power to impose restructuring regardless of popular opinion - but authoritarianism also brings a lack of transparency. Many commentators believe this has shrouded serious overinvestment, bad debts and potential asset bubbles.

Moreover, China - unlike India - has not been effective at managing its gross regional inequalities. Few doubt that China's economic triumph will eventually bring political turmoil in its wake. India, unlike China, has had 60 years of experience in managing political turmoil. Though there are pockets of extreme radicalism, Maoist factions and Islamist extremism, mass revolutionary violence is highly unlikely; people accept the mediation of political conflict through elections. And so, paradoxically, though India's political life is chaotic, it is also curiously stable. India's elephantine advantages may yet win out.




Rethink in Germany: "After years of calling Iraq a disaster, debacle and quagmire, SPIEGEL ONLINE has decided to declare the following: "The US military is more successful in Iraq than the world wants to believe.". This all stems from last week's Der SPIEGEL magazine cover feature article by Ullrich Fichtner: An enormous, fascinating and remarkably honest report on the complex situation in Iraq. SPIEGEL ONLINE is also publishing Fichtner's report that US troops are in a remarkably good mood and have high morale. That also flies directly in the face of past SPIEGEL reporting that consistently depicted US troops as demoralized, depressed, defeated, prone to suicide and suffering from low morale. As a long-time observer of the publication, my first reaction to reading this on SPIEGEL ONLINE was: Are they on drugs?! - this directly contradicts everything they've reported for the past four years! My second reaction was: Have they finally gotten off the drugs?! Maybe reality is finally starting to sink in!"

Rare realism from a British charity: "One of Britain's leading charities has warned students not to take part in gap-year aid projects overseas which cost thousands of pounds and do nothing to help developing countries. Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) said that gap-year volunteering, highlighted by Princes William and Harry, has spawned a new industry in which students pay thousands of pounds for prepackaged schemes to teach English or help to build wells in developing countries with little evidence that it benefits local communities. It said that "voluntourism" was often badly planned and spurious projects were springing up across Africa, Asia and Latin America to satisfy the demands of the students rather than the needs of locals. Young people would be better off simply travelling the world and enjoying themselves, it added."

BBC presenter was NOT drunk! Oh no!: "Normal service will be resumed, the BBC has promised, after Radio 2 listeners raised concerns over another baffling early-morning performance by Sarah Kennedy. The broadcaster mispronounced words and let sentences tail off in a rambling show that prompted a number of listeners to voice fears for her health on the station's website. Kennedy, 57, referred to Diana, Princess of Wales, wearing a "pink polka blot" dress and described the victim in the Phil Spector murder trial as having a "gunshot to her month". She offered to send some "panties" to soldiers in Afghanistan and also appeared to have difficulty reading the newspaper review."

Cricket taking off in China: "Shouts of "Howzat!" resounded across a Beijing football pitch as China's cricketers battled yesterday for victory in the first final of the National Cricket Tournament. The winners of the inaugural national championship were the team from the Shenyang Sports Institute who defeated Shanghai Fudan University by seven wickets. A total of 59 men's teams and 19 women's teams took part in the tournament - an increase from the 37 men's teams who played regional matches last year. The first finals were played under rare blue skies in the usually polluted capital and on the grounds of Tsinghua University. In the absence of a pavilion, the players waited on the boundary, sipping iced water under red Coca-Cola umbrellas" [The headline on this article in The Times is amusing: "Oh no! Another country to beat us at cricket"]

A low, dishonest decade: "The Roosevelt Myth is more than a simple error of fact; it has a normative component that makes it one of the most pervasive and harmful in contemporary America. Forty years ago, historian Arthur Ekirch, Jr., wrote that 'the years 1929 to 1941 transformed the traditional values and attitudes of the American people, conditioning them to look, as never before, to the national state as the basic arbiter and fundamental factor in their lives.' And indeed, the notion that government planning rescued the economy -- or the almost equally perverse notion that it 'saved capitalism' -- is firmly embedded in the catechism of untruths that rationalizes the ambitions of both Left and Right. It does not appear that any politician since Ronald Reagan has seriously questioned the success of the New Deal, and even he did not challenge its theoretical assumptions or moral pretensions."

Freedom's example on Taiwan: "Democracy can be chaotic. While in Taipei last May I saw demonstrators inside the Chang Kai-shek Memorial. I read press critical of government policies. And I talked to opposition leaders plotting political campaigns to regain power. But from the messiness of freedom comes resilience, strength and order. Free people pursue their dreams, hold their leaders accountable, and accept the rule of law because they choose the lawmakers. The machinery of democracy allows competition while promoting compromise, cooperation and coalitions. It provides a peaceful pathway for change. Taiwan's rambunctious democracy rebuts Beijing's assertion that democracy cannot flourish in a Confucian Society."

Good news for Australian and Californian winemakers: "Britain faces a champagne shortage because vineyard owners in eastern France are refusing to sell tens of millions of bottles stocked in their cellars. Their unwillingness to give up what they see as their retirement nest eggs has left the country's most prestigious champagne houses struggling to keep pace with a rise in demand in the US and developing countries. Champagne experts say that producers will soon be unable to supply emerging markets in Russia, China and India as well traditional customers in countries such as Britain."


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party".


No comments: