In the first part, we looked at the preamble that Raghav Bahl builds for his case for India’s potential case in the coveted SuperEconomy club. In the second part, we then looked at the Raghav Bahl’s separate chapter-wise exploration of the past events of the international stage, wherein the involvement US, China and India, translated into the future case of ‘Shall it or shall it not ?’ for India’s Super Economy status. In the third and penultimate part, we looked at how Raghav Bahl views the points of common heritage, common systems of governance, a critical mass of Indian Americans and examines whether these two great parallels will ever, if at all, converge.
Raghav Bahl thus completes his panoramic analysis of the factors that brings India at the present critical junction of its future journey to the SuperEconomy status. In the concluding part, we join Raghav Bahl to see Where Do We Go From Here?
Geopolitics seemed to be the driving force in the 20th century. That dramatically underwent a change in 1989 with the fall of Berlin Wall. By the end of the century, Japan was failing to deliver on the great post-WWII promises expected of it.EU, established in 1993, was not ticking as economic powerhouse as was anticipated. The reforms undertook in China, as well as in India, had seemed to bring in a flurry of development, and hope.
9/11 attack, at the dawn of 21st Century, changed all that…Almost imperceptibly; the forces of globalization began to change the nature of geopolitical power, once primarily exercised through the State’s military might. The sphere of influence was getting increasingly leveraged by citizens, businesses and non-governmental agencies through economic, cultural and humanitarian channels.
While the SuperPower era was characterized by a cold war of estrangement and impassivity, The Age of SuperEconomies engenders a much ‘warmer’ kind of interaction during the moments of conflicts. In citizen-to-citizen interactions too, the Age of SuperEconomies is unrecognizable from those of SuperPower era.
It is this extraordinary level of integration that distinguishes the Age of SuperEconomies from the SuperPower era….And yet, today’s world mirrors the Superpower Era in one crucial way : The one-party states like Soviet Union or China have continued to flourish under rigid government controls.
What Europe was to 20th Century, Asia will be for the 21st Century : the core theatre of global commerce and conflicts, where aspirations and political ideologies collide. For the first time in 500 years, the bulk of global power resides not in Europe or America but in Asia.
Globalization has precluded of a ‘cold war’; countries are economically so interdependent that no trading partner can be ignored, isolated or quashed without wrecking the entire global order in one or more major ways.
Just as no one could envision the Age of SuperEconomies arising from the remnants of Cold War, we probably have no way of knowing how the geopolitical landscape will unfold going forward. Of all the possible developments that would transform the world by mid-21st Century, these five seem most likely to happen:
- The birth of NATO and NAFTA for Pacific will help stabilize Asia. The economic Integration among Asia’s democracies will counterbalance China’s hegemony.
- Robust growth of India, combined with America’s success in the recovery of its own economy will help the combined growth of the two economies dwarf that of China.
- China will reclaim Taiwan and strengthen its foothold in the South China Sea.
- America, China and India will unite to forestall Islamic terrorism.
- China will become ‘near-democracy’, thereby becoming a more open society.
Most of the considered reviews that were published when the book was released had, more or less, painted Raghav Bahl’s version of Indian Turtle vs. Chinese Hare race as the one painted by having put on Rose coloured glasses. But, like him, every one of us knows pretty well what is wrong with the way have been approaching our destined economic, and thereby social, pre-eminence. In more than the two years that the book was published, the economic and political landscapes in the three principal theatres of USA, China and India have scripted quite different, unexpected and certainly the unintended ways.
For India it is no more question of whether it will be able to size the opportunities available at this most interesting phase of its journey. The question that every Indian must ask and answer is what everyone should do to enable India leapfrog the economic growth and thereby, social and humanitarian challenges that will come up on this journey. India has to clearly identify forces that can help it to remain the game and sustain its staying power over the long haul. The plot that is being etched is quite tantalizing. But it is a once-in-a-lifetime, Do or Die situation for India. Every Indian should do every thing that he or she should to realize this, if not for themselves, if not for becoming a Super economy, at least for its generation that will come in the future. That is the cross of responsibility that the present generation carries on its shoulders.