MindBullet: Pouncing Tiger Stumbling Dragon (6 June 2021)

There is a slide in the FutureWorld "10 Lessons from the Future" presentation that talks about India overtaking China as a world power in the year 2020. It's a fairly easy scenario to debate I think. My favourite dinner table points:

  • China have 1 billion people. That's a lot of people to employ in an increasingly automated manufacturing environment.  
  • China competes on low quality, low cost. That only works until some other country goes lower. Sure, it might mean even more heinous human rights violations. Sure, it may mean living in a box instead of a 1x1 cage. But hey, people get desperate in recession. (*Andy does not condone the Chinese labour policies*)
  • You can hire an Indian MBA student for $5/hr on eLance. That's just a silly amount of brain power for that kind of money. India is investing in high tech industries and further education. China is investing in Henry Ford style automatons. 

This is going to be the economic battle to watch over the next 10 years. And with the Internet, we'll all have ringside seats. How awesome!

MindBullets are a fantastic series of articles from the FutureWorld group. Essentially they're news broadcasts from the future, showing us examples of just how quickly our world is changing, and where it might take us. Explore further MindBullets or read more about the FutureWorld Group (of which Andy Hadfield is a member). 


  1. Andy,

    India overtaking China is a fascinating subject and something that I personally would like to see happen. But the idea that it will happen by 2020, or even 2030, is ridiculous.

    China's economy is more than three time the size of India's. For India to catch up, either it would annual growth rates in the region of 30% or China would have to suffer a complete economic collapse,which would derail economies globally, including India's.

    China is at a turning point. It's nearing the 'middle-income trap': labour is becoming more expensive and productivity growth is slowing. Its banks have a lot of bad debt on their books - but so do banks everywhere at the moment - and this will make it harder for the government to tackle an economic slowdown. It nevertheless estimates that GDP growth for 2011 will be over 9%. India expects its economy to grow by 7.6% this year.

    The root of China's incredible growth, according to economist Huang Yasheng, has been basic education, and in this India, which has some good universities but turns out less graduates than China, has failed miserably for decades. Illiteracy is India's number one problem in my opinion. Take a look at what Huang Yasheng has to say: http://www.ted.com/talks/yasheng_huang.html.


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