January 4, 2006

THEY ARE WHO THE EUROPEANS THINK THEY ARE:

A rising power called India (Ehsan Ahrari, 1/05/06, Asia Times)

In the realm of improved standard of living, India is definitely going through revolutionary changes. Clyde Prestowitz, in his excellent book Three Billion New Capitalists, presents a fascinating case of India's emergence as a world-class center for information technology. He states that, at one point in the past decade and a half or so, India became the focus of outsourcing for jobs that were cheaper to carry out in that country than in the United States. Now, it is increasingly becoming a country where multinational conglomerates are gathering for lucrative returns on their investments and a leading hub for highly sophisticated research and development. The statistics on foreign direct investment regularly portray India as a more attractive place for global entrepreneurs than even the US.

Prestowitz writes:

India's economy can sustain 7-8% annual GDP [gross domestic product] growth for the indefinite future. In the past two years it has grown faster than China, and some believe that with its legacy of capitalist institutions, rule of law, and democratic processes it may well outstrip China over the long term. At those rates of growth India would have a GDP over [US]$2 trillion, making India the world's third-largest economy and perhaps on the way to becoming the biggest.

According to another source, India's economy is likely to be larger than Japan's or Germany's within the next 30 years. India also has the advantage of being one of the countries with the youngest population. And according to statistics cited by Steve Sjuggerud, president of Investment U ("Investing in India: Sizing up its opportunities"), "25% of people in the world under the age of 25 are in India, and a full 80% of the population is under 45 years old". [...]

Becoming a world-class military power requires enormous expenditures in facilitating training programs, in building a highly intricate support infrastructure, in concluding capital-intensive contracts facilitating transfer of technology to manufacture high-tech military platforms indigenously, and in purchasing other high-tech platforms from the established major powers that cannot be covered under such contracts or produced under joint ventures.

To that end, India is making tremendous investments. It is focused on acquiring military technology from the United States as well as Russia. It has recently signed a "safeguard agreement that will pave the way for Indian defense companies to obtain US technology". Since the US administration's decision in 2001 to lift sanctions against India, "the US government has approved more than 700 export licenses for direct commercial defense sales to India. US defense sales to India tripled from $5.6 million in 2003 to $17.7 million in 2004, and are projected to nearly quadruple again to $64 million in 2005", Defense News reported last month. At the same time, India on December 6 signed "a much-awaited agreement on intellectual property rights" with Russia "to regulate joint defense research and development work between those two countries". According to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, India has imported more than $9 billion worth of Russian arms since 1998. In 2004, India purchased more than $1 billion in Russian arms, said the Defense News report.

Despite its tremendous economic prosperity, India's Achilles' heel remains its weak and very backward civilian infrastructure. Last August, the World Bank granted it a loan of more than $9 billion for rural development over the next three years. Even though these "loans are earmarked for roads, drinking water and irrigation facilities in rural areas", there is not much evidence of progress in those realms at this point.


There's no better indictment of the MSM than the disparity in amounts of coverage between India, a nation that matters, and France, which doesn't.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 4, 2006 9:32 AM
Comments

"At those rates of growth India would have a GDP over [US]$2 trillion, making India the world's third-largest economy and perhaps on the way to becoming the biggest."

OK, once I hit this sentence, I stopped reading. Extrapolating current high growth percentages for several decades is absolutely ludicrous. Especially considering that there is little reason to think the next few decades are going to be boring ones...

Posted by: b at January 4, 2006 10:47 AM

If I keep feeding this amoeba, it will eventually subdivide to the extent that it outweighs planet Earth.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at January 4, 2006 12:30 PM

b;

You missed the key error of the quoted paragraph – the lack of any date. At any positive rate of growth, India would have a GDP over $2 trillion … eventually. Without a timescale, that statement isn't an extrapolation, it's flat out meaningless.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at January 4, 2006 6:21 PM

As China demonstrates, start with 1 billion people and they don't have to create much product per cabita to hit those kinds of levels. What's $2 trillion divided by 1 billion?

Posted by: oj at January 4, 2006 8:18 PM

OJ: Why do you give so much attention to France, then? They seem to be your favorite scapegoat country, which I'm guessing has been the case since the fall of the Soviet Union?
The reason the MSM has covered the French opinions of the War on Terror is because of previously existing prejudices towards the French that were used to demonize Americans who might share their same point of view.
I honestly don't know how you guys can complain about the media; they're the ones that do all the work for you! If the media had done its job honestly, Bush wouldn't have gotten away with nearly as much as he tried to. Its a very well-greased PR machine that operates under the pretense of impartiality.
From a certain perspective, when a news story or opinion comes out in seeming to criticize the Bush administration, you might say that it is a bias of liberal elitists in the industry (even though, elitists tend to vote Republican, last time I checked) who are being unfair.
More often, it seems to me, that MSM's criticism of Bush act to actually support his image in the ways that they limit the debate to terms that Bush is confident he can win on; essentially, its a staged fight.

Posted by: Grog at January 4, 2006 11:17 PM

Grog: The Democratic Party is the party of the rich and powerful. The irony was almost painful when, at the Democratic convention in Boston, "Billionaires for Bush" was putting on its street theater protests while, in the hotel suites, actual billionaires were plotting out how they could push Kerry to victory.

Posted by: David Cohen at January 5, 2006 12:06 AM

David: Do you really believe that, or are you just trying to come up with a quick and easy way to dismiss my argument?
Journalists may vote for the Dems, but the owners don't. And the owners of the largest media conglomerates are usually directly involved in businesses within other that have a great stake in the decisions made by who is elected.
The more money you make, the more likely you are to vote Republican (not to say that a lot of poor people don't vote Republican).
How come the Republicans consistently raise more campaign money (that they don't try to hide) than the Democrats?
Democrats may be the party of wealthy individuals, but the Republicans are certainly the party of wealthy business, which have a lot more pull.
And you still didn't address all my points, or even the most significant ones.

Posted by: Grog at January 5, 2006 12:18 AM

...previously existing prejudices towards the French that were used to demonize Americans who might share their same point of view...

The French didn't just not support the U.S. at the UN during the run-up to the beginning of the Iraqi Pacification, they were actively hostile, not for geo-political reasons, but because Saddam was lining their pockets.

The Dec. riots exposed some of the weaknesses of French society, and there've been entire forests of virgin timber felled to print the stories of French political corruption...

Google "Elf corruption".

French politicians and society are what you believe that America is, which is what makes it so hammerin' hilariously ironic that you defend France, while reviling America's "corporate control".

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at January 5, 2006 6:15 AM

Grog:

Because it's easy to make fun of them and they deserve it--they're a vile nation.

Posted by: oj at January 5, 2006 7:56 AM

Grog;

You might try looking at the data you cite, rather than simply repeating sound bites. In this case, Republicans raise more money from small, individual contributors than the Democratic Party does. Moreover, a much higher percentage of contributions to the Democratic Party are from corporations and large donations than is the case for the Republican Party. Therefore, based on the data you brought to the thread, it is just as Mr. Cohen said: The Democratic Party is the party of the rich.

P.S. You asked earlier for me to refute the "facts" you use in your comments, rather than nit picking. I think this is a prime example of one of your "facts" that isn't and that goes directly to the heart of your argument.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at January 5, 2006 1:31 PM

george soros
stephen bing
bill gates
warren buffet
summner redstone
ted turner
the googlers
the yahooers
jeff bezos

just off the top of my head

Posted by: toe at January 5, 2006 1:59 PM

"..you might say that it is a bias of liberal elitists in the industry (even though, elitists tend to vote Republican, last time I checked)..."
Grog, even for a troll, you're making this too easy. Someone did a study of MSM reporters regarding their voting in one of the elections in which Clinton was a candidate ('92 or '96; I've forgotten which). About 89% of them voted for Clinton. Hunt around on the Net; you'll find the study I'm sure.

Posted by: Tom at January 5, 2006 5:30 PM

What's $2 trillion divided by 1 billion?

Click here.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at January 5, 2006 6:36 PM

Michael: I never denied French corruption, so I don't know why you are still talking about it.

OJ: I would ask you to elaborate, but I already know what your going to say.

Tom: Duh, I said that; but the opinions of the journalist matter little compared to the owners, who vote Republican.

Toe: I didn't want this to turn into a Republicans vs. Democrats fight. My point was to say that Bush and the Republicans have gotten their way for the past 5 years because of a media complicity with the interest of the worlds largest and most powerful industries in corporations. Republicans, Dems, and the MSM are all a part of its PR apparatus. In a few years, when there is a Democratic president, you will hear me saying the same. All are bought.
However, The Republicans still rake in more money, and are more obviously inclined towards policies that benefit the richest sectors of America. The Dem's, supported by some of the same wealth, stage a rigged battle against them, and the MSW videotapes the whole process. You should be thanking them.

Posted by: Grog at January 5, 2006 6:42 PM

Make that MSM; the MSW counsels the rest of us who are sick of the whole thing.

Posted by: Grog at January 5, 2006 6:50 PM

What toe and AOG said.

THE MONEY MAN: Can George Soros’s millions insure the defeat of President Bush? (JANE MAYER, 2004-10-11, The New Yorker)

On August 6th, a week after the Democratic Convention, a clandestine summit meeting took place at the Aspen Institute, in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. The participants, all Democrats, were sworn to secrecy, and few of them will discuss the event. One thing that is certain, however, is that the guests formed a tableau that not many people would associate with the Democratic Party of the past. Five billionaires joined half a dozen liberal leaders in a lengthy conversation about the future of progressive politics in America. The billionaires were not especially close socially, nor were they in complete agreement about politics or strategy. Yet they shared a common goal: to use their fortunes to engineer the defeat of President George W. Bush in the 2004 election.

"No one was supposed to know about this,” an assistant to one participant told me, declining to be named. “We don’t want people thinking it’s a cabal, or some sort of Masonic plot!” His concern was understandable: the prospect of rich men concentrating their wealth in order to sway an American election was an inflammatory one, particularly given the Democratic Party’s populist rhetoric. This private meeting of plutocrats was an unintended consequence of the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance-reform law of 2002. Previously, wealthy donors had contributed “soft money” to the political parties, which controlled how the funds were spent. The reform legislation had banned such gifts, forcing donors to find new ways of influencing the political process.
The meeting’s organizer was Peter B. Lewis, the seventy-year-old reclusive chairman of the Progressive Corporation, an insurance company based in Cleveland, Ohio. He has spent much of 2004 discreetly directing millions of dollars to liberal groups allied with the Democratic Party, such as America Coming Together and MoveOn.org, while cruising the Mediterranean Sea on his two-hundred-and-fifty-foot yacht, Lone Ranger. The yacht has communications equipment that allows Lewis to monitor political developments in America while sunbathing off the coast of Italy. Lewis, a major backer of efforts to decriminalize marijuana, has helped underwrite campaigns to hold referenda on decriminalization in Arizona and California. (In 2000, he was arrested in New Zealand for possessing marijuana.) According to Lewis’s friends, he concluded that it would be best to remain a shadow figure in the 2004 campaign; he has declined all requests for interviews.
Flying in from Arizona was John Sperling, an octogenarian businessman who in 1976 created the for-profit University of Phoenix. Sperling is also the co-author of a recent book, “The Great Divide: Retro vs. Metro America,” which suggests that the 2004 election is a contest between “‘God, Family, and Flag’ folks”—who live in the South, the Great Plains, the Rockies, and Appalachia—and forward-thinking metropolitans who support “economic modernity,” “religious moderation,” and “excellence in education and science.”
Herb and Marion Sandler, a California couple in their seventies, came to Aspen looking for ways to give back to a country that had allowed them to prosper. The founders of Golden West Financial Corporation, a savings-and-loan company worth seventeen billion dollars, the Sandlers are devoted to the idea of preserving progressive income taxes and inheritance taxes.
The wealthiest participant at this meeting of hard-core partisans—and the one whose presence was the most surprising—was George Soros, the seventy-four-year-old Wall Street speculator turned philanthropist.

One of the great ironies of McCain/Feingold was that the myth of the Democrats as the party of the little guy was so engrained that no one noticed that it would be devastating to the Democrats' fat cat driven fund raising.

Posted by: David Cohen at January 5, 2006 7:07 PM

Grog:

You wrote

Tom: Duh, I said that; but the opinions of the journalist matter little compared to the owners, who vote Republican.
The owners pick the stories? The owners write the copy? The owners edit the columns? The owners pen the editorials? It's quite disputable that the owners vote Republican (how many of the owners of the NY Times vote Republican – any?), but even if so how does that affect the output of the layers of journalists and editors who vote for the Democratic Party? In fact, it's the opinions of the owners that matter little compared to the people who actually generate the content.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at January 5, 2006 8:24 PM

AOG's post pretty much says it all; I can only add: Ted Turner.

Posted by: Tom at January 5, 2006 10:21 PM

AOG: You have a very naive view of the modern journalistic process.

Posted by: Grog at January 5, 2006 11:39 PM

Grog;

No, I don't. I actually have close friends in that industry who work for major newspapers and I think you'd be hard to pressed to find someone with a more cynical view than mine. Further, I've worked in large companies and interacted with people who run them, which tells me just how much control such people can really exert on the rank and file. In contrast, what's your source of information, Chomsky?

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at January 6, 2006 12:44 PM

Actually, the point is made nicely by watching the war between the Wall Street Journal's news pages (liberal) and editorial pages (conservative).

Posted by: David Cohen at January 6, 2006 4:24 PM
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