Back in 2000 I predicted that India might well be "The second world superpower of the 21st Century". In some respects, India already surpasses China, and I anticipate that the gap between the two is expanding exponentially. This is a reflection of India's labour surplus and (increasingly) it's political freedom.
I wrongly predicted that "Chinese leaders" ...
"policy of industrial expansion by absorption
will probably fail, as will be clearly omened by the decline of Hong
Kong." China has prospered by applying the lesson of water to
their currency (i.e. keeping it low by selling it cheap). This
was achieved by the purchase of US government bonds, & has kept
their exchange rate favorable (much like Japan when the fixed currency
(Bretton Woods) agreement was in force following WWII) This allowed
Japanese industry to develop. As I recall, the Japanese
suffered from (what many analysts thought was) excessive government (i.e. MITI)
management of their economy. However as the Chinese economy
seems that information censorship is also expanding, meaning
censors. Sooner or
later, they will run into a problem. Quis custodiet ipsos
The Western democracies do not
(mostly) manage information by censorship. Anybody who can use
Google will find that there are conspiracy theories all over the www,
already tailored to every conceivable prejudice. Trouble is, very
few people care except the authors (presumably) & the few political & religious extremist
groups who enter the prejudiced search criteria, such as fundamentalist
Muslims & "vast conservative conspiracy" liberals.
Indonesia has lost it's way after the exuberance
following Suharto's overthrow. One particularly painful event was
the loss of the West Timorese colony. Other colonies are also in
revolt. (Sumatra and the Moluccas and West Irian and Kalimantan, i.e.
everywhere except Java). This reversal is producing a retreat
into religion, which in this case is Islam.
Political and economic growth in this country of 50
million is atrophied
while the military rule. Neighboring democratic Thailand has
fewer natural resources, similar population, and a PPP of around $8,300
p/a, compared to around $1,700 p/a in Burma. Before the Junta
took over, these two countries were comparable. Now Burma has the
largest standing army in the region.
Thailand was omitted from my last review. It
has become a top tourist destination in the intervening years.
This is no doubt partly due to the fact that Muslims are a vanishingly
small (< 5%)
minority. It is also becoming an industrial center of note.
Malaysia is a true multicultural country, with about
51% Malays, around 25% Chinese and a mixture of other races making the
balance. To retain political power, the governing Malays give
preference to majority Malays in government and education, (much like
we in Australia give preference to Women and Aboriginals in government
and education.) Malaysia is rich in natural resources (rubber
Singapore has prospered,
despite the fact that it has no natural resources (it even has to
import water). It seems to be an example of the "benign
dictatorship" form of government that the Greeks considered to be the
best form of government.
Singapore is not doing quite as well in the economic
growth stakes as sister city Hong Kong, and HK has an even less
democratic system of government. However I feel that HK(SAR) has
the advantage of being the business node for most of China. In
context, HK is not governed as well as Singapore.
This update June 2006. Previous versions August 2000 & January 2000
of "Barvennon.com" page.