India as a future superpower

Josh Marshall excerpts an interview with Peter Drucker, who argues that India will be a greater economic power in the future than China.

I’ve long believed that India rather than China would be the nation to eventually supplant the United States as the world’s leading superpower, for three reasons:

First (as Drucker notes), English is a main language in India, which would make a transition from American primacy to Indian primacy easier (just as the British to American transfer was aided by a common English language, and the French to British transfer was aided by a common knowledge of French).

Second, India has maintained the British legacy of democracy and relative freedom and tolerance, which, combined with the recent loosening of state controls on the economy, makes India more likely to foster innovation and change than China.

(A side note…Notice what kinds of work have been subcontracted to the two countries: China is best known for its industrial production; India for its software writing and technical support. Which country is more likely to become an economic leader: One which produces commodities or one which produces creative work?)

Third, because of the two reasons already stated, Americans would be more comfortable ceding leadership to the Indians — people with whom we have important attributes in common — than we would to China (which is not to say we’d like ceding leadership, any more than the British liked what happened between 1870 and 1945). In fact, I don’t think the United States would step aside for China without being forced to by warfare.

In the aftermath of 9/11, I wondered if we would see a global re-configuration of alliances, with the United States and India against China and the Islamic world, with the European Union and Russia wavering in the middle (or possibly forming a lesser bloc of their own). That exact re-configuration seems less likely to me now, but I do believe that interesting times are ahead.

One Response to “India as a future superpower”

  1. Sam Says:

    I agree but since I have lived half my life in Idnia and the other half in the western world I ebelive almost 70% of the inidan population in urban areas would have difficulty in knowing if it is English or Hindi that is their first language as most families speak a mix.

    However 90% of the schools teach all subjects in English with an option of choosing Hindi, Sanskrit, French or in some cases another foreign language.

    In terms of technology superiority in next 25 years India will possibly surpass the US as the means to incubate the technology develop within the country and it is most closly aligned tro the American thought process.


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