February 27, 2023

Is India the next China?

 First, Peter Zeihan's take on it:

He seems to predict a mixed bag but positive future for India.  The have labor in abundance, they have less land than appears on the surface due to the mountainous nature of much of the country.  They are not capital rich.  Those are the 3 classical factors of production.  The 4th, more modern component of production is entrepreneurship.  The latter factor boils down to the notion of maximizing what you do with the other 3 factors.  Because India still has one foot in the Soviet era Russia camp, their is less of an entrepreneurship than there could be.

Much of what vaulted China into its current economic zenith was Western investment.  A naive West pumped a lot into China in the mistaken notion that China would liberalize and a whole massive new market would be created and available for a new source of demand.  Now that this particular illusion is evaporating, India is one of the countries in a position to benefit.  For the United State the cheap labor option is clearly Mexico.  But there's Europe and Japan who will still need a low to middle range tech production option.  India is in a position to take advantage of this.  But so is Turkey, which does have a geographic locality advantage for Europe. There's also Vietnam as a potential competitor in that regard.  And Bangladesh for the really low tech industries like textiles.

I'm not sure India won't benefit from the new paradigm.  In fact I believe they will, but I don't know that they will benefit as much as they could potentially.  They are not a point politically where they  are seizing the opportunity and availing themselves to situation.  It's always hard to predict the future because things change, political decision impact the landscape, be they internal or external.  Nevertheless India has an opportunity, whether it does its best to seize that opportunity is the real unknown.

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